Game of Thrones: The Red Woman   Show Only 
April 24, 2016 6:50 PM - Season 6, Episode 1 - Subscribe

At Castle Black, Thorne defends his treason while Edd and Davos defend themselves. Sansa and Theon race the cold and the hounds.

Written by David Benioff & D. B. Weiss

Directed by Jeremy Podeswa

Full cast and crew credits

SHOW ONLY THREAD!
posted by Brandon Blatcher (176 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
Well, Melisandre's aged like a fine cheddar.
posted by lydhre at 6:56 PM on April 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


do we still need a books included thread now though? there aren't any more books, it's all show now.
posted by poffin boffin at 6:56 PM on April 24, 2016 [6 favorites]


also oh how i lol'd at the "what's the red woman going to do?" line

obviously she's gonna get naked for no reason
posted by poffin boffin at 6:57 PM on April 24, 2016 [28 favorites]


i mean if indira varma was like "i wanna stab you to death" i'd be like omg yaaaass do it step on me but i'm still hella mad that she murdered dr bashir
posted by poffin boffin at 7:02 PM on April 24, 2016 [21 favorites]


Also the Three Dothraki Stooges kind of took me out of that scene. Was it suppose to be some weird joke on the famous Conan "what is best in life" line?

And Tyrion's line about "because you don't have a cock" seemed really odd. Like, that was clearly the point of his "you're not a boy anymore line". It was weird that they felt they had to spell that one out.
posted by Sangermaine at 7:03 PM on April 24, 2016 [6 favorites]


I mostly liked this for balancing the various plotlines much more evenly than a lot of last season did, and it felt like many things moved along.

I'm already supertired of the portentous Ser Jorah Checks His Dragonscale And No One Else Notices His Pain moments, though.
posted by TwoStride at 7:04 PM on April 24, 2016 [13 favorites]


I lol'd when the two snakes asked Dr. Bashir's son to choose his killer, and he idiotically turned his back to the other snake who was so very obviously going to kill him. At that moment I said, you know what, the sand snakes are right, he really is too weak and dumb to live.
posted by gatorae at 7:06 PM on April 24, 2016 [17 favorites]


Also the Three Dothraki Stooges kind of took me out of that scene.

Who's on Meereen, What's on Yunkai, and Idonknow's on Astapor!
posted by leotrotsky at 7:06 PM on April 24, 2016 [12 favorites]


Guys, I read all of the books over the winter so that I could join the "Books Included" thread. It never once occurred to me that we would be giving up separate threads. I was going to be all "hey guys I joined your club" in the season 6 premiere thread.

Dammit.
posted by Alison at 7:08 PM on April 24, 2016 [9 favorites]


i mean if indira varma was like "i wanna stab you to death" i'd be like omg yaaaass do it step on me but i'm still hella mad that she murdered dr bashir

Just needs a little raktajino, be right as rain.
posted by leotrotsky at 7:08 PM on April 24, 2016


Well, Melisandre's aged like a fine cheddar.

"You want boobs? We'll give you boobs!"
posted by leotrotsky at 7:09 PM on April 24, 2016 [6 favorites]


tbh I think we should probably still do the books included ones because presumably non-readers will not want to deal with the billion words of meta and background and spoilers of stuff that could potentially still happen.
posted by poffin boffin at 7:09 PM on April 24, 2016 [5 favorites]


There's still a few things that could be discussed in the book only thread.
posted by drezdn at 7:10 PM on April 24, 2016 [2 favorites]


Briene! And Pod, helping with lines! I am happy.

Also I laughed out loud when Mel's reflection took over. Firstly because yay cronehood, and secondly thinking of the dudes who watch the show for boobs.
posted by rewil at 7:12 PM on April 24, 2016 [18 favorites]


ok someone who isnt me make a books included thread pls

i am v busy crying while watching lemonade for the 5th time
posted by poffin boffin at 7:15 PM on April 24, 2016 [2 favorites]


All in all not a bad first episode if not a very memorable one. It set the stage for the new season competently, though with few real surprises or hooks.
posted by Sangermaine at 7:18 PM on April 24, 2016 [1 favorite]




With one, no two, no THREE strokes, the Sand Snakes have redeemed themselves from last season. Didn't see a coup coming at all, but makes sense in retrospect. Considering that most of the guards did nothing, it's clear Dorne is ready for a change. Plus it's a good time to be going to war with King's Landing.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:25 PM on April 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


Brienne and Sansa and Pod were great. Especially Pod helping Sansa along with her oath. Sansa now has an inner circle of fiercely loyal fighters and one who's schooled on courtly rituals.

Can't wait until Baelish sees her again, with Brienne by her side.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:29 PM on April 24, 2016 [11 favorites]


Somehow I can totally accept dragons and zombies and 500 year old naked witches but the idea that Jorah could be all 'the dragon flew north lets ride that way yep here's a burned carcass she must have come this way lets ride some more OH HEY LOOK A RING right here on the ground in the middle of the fucking wilderness' well that just completely ruined my suspension of disbelief.
posted by googly at 7:33 PM on April 24, 2016 [25 favorites]


Okay for one of those "spend four minutes with each set of characters" episodes. At least it was once we got fucking HBO Now to finally work.
posted by octothorpe at 7:34 PM on April 24, 2016 [3 favorites]


Where can I get one of those necklaces?

Where did Bolton's hounds go? The vicious attack dogs were nowhere to be seen during the fight. I figured it was a choice between having them just disappear and having Brienne et al. kill them, and they decided the latter would be too upsetting. I agree with the choice although it was a little strange the way it played out.

The Cersei/Jaime scene fell really flat for me, I just wasn't feeling the grief for Myrcella at all. There should have been grief, anger, bloodlust. Not just "oh well prophecy lol."

Overall I felt the episode was too rushed and I wish they hadn't tried to pick up every thread. Highlights for me were Arya and Danerys.
posted by mama casserole at 7:36 PM on April 24, 2016 [4 favorites]


oh man some of the dialogue tho. SOOOO CLUNKY.

[ms lalochezia's observations] but interesting: powerful women losing their power....and less powerful women gaining power...

also interesting that jaime talks cersei out of reflection and back into revenge

how can tyrion and varys just stroll around a city that wants them dead
posted by lalochezia at 7:37 PM on April 24, 2016 [2 favorites]


"OH HEY LOOK A RING right here on the ground in the middle of the fucking wilderness"

In the defense of the show writers, it was a ring on the ground, yes, but on the ground in a small circle of un-trampled grass surrounded by a billion horse hoof prints.
posted by komara at 7:37 PM on April 24, 2016 [21 favorites]


OH HEY LOOK A RING right here on the ground in the middle of the fucking wilderness' well that just completely ruined my suspension of disbelief.

The grass was trampled everywhere except for a circle where Dany had been standing. It makes a lot of sense that they found the ring in that context.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:38 PM on April 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


Where can I get one of those necklaces?

I don't think it's the necklace that does it. I believe she's been shown bathing without it before, though I could be wrong on that.

I think it's what they've established earlier with the drunkard red priest Thoros of Myr: the Red God's power only works if you really, absolutely believe. When Thoros was a half-committed drunk he couldn't do anything. When he found his faith he could resurrect people. Melisandre has had her faith shaken by the deaths of Jon and Stannis. She thought the flames showed her Jon living to attack Winterfell. I think her power is shaken because she's no longer so absolutely sure of it.
posted by Sangermaine at 7:40 PM on April 24, 2016 [5 favorites]


I don't think it's the necklace that does it. I believe she's been shown bathing without it before, though I could be wrong on that.

Yeah, the internet has found a photo of her bathing with the necklace off. So it's not vital, perhaps. Could just be a plot hole. Or at that point, Mel was full of magic and belief, so she didn't need it as much.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:42 PM on April 24, 2016 [2 favorites]


I think it's what they've established earlier with the drunkard red priest Thoros of Myr: the Red God's power only works if you really, absolutely believe. When Thoros was a half-committed drunk he couldn't do anything. When he found his faith he could resurrect people.

I thought the point of that was to foreshadow Melisandre doing the Red God Raise Dead on Jon Snow, but I guess not.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:53 PM on April 24, 2016


Books included thread.
posted by homunculus at 7:56 PM on April 24, 2016 [2 favorites]


well that just completely ruined my suspension of disbelief.

for me it was the "there were recently 30,000 dothraki on horseback here, which we can clearly see from the hoofprints, but there is no horse poop anywhere in this field"

horses gotta poop
posted by poffin boffin at 7:57 PM on April 24, 2016 [17 favorites]


i'm still hella mad that she murdered dr bashir

You know those greyscale dudes look sorta Cardassian maybe Jorah will turn into Garak and then he and Varys and Littlefinger will do a spinoff called Game of Smirks.
posted by googly at 7:58 PM on April 24, 2016 [19 favorites]


Oh no, we thought she was a beautiful evil witch lady, but she's really an unattractive OLD evil witch lady! This changes everything!
posted by redsparkler at 8:00 PM on April 24, 2016 [7 favorites]


And Tyrion's line about "because you don't have a cock" seemed really odd. Like, that was clearly the point of his "you're not a boy anymore line". It was weird that they felt they had to spell that one out.

That extra step of crassly and unnecessarily rubbing Varys's nose in it seemed exactly in keeping with their relationship to me.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:02 PM on April 24, 2016 [5 favorites]


Random thoughts:

Theon found his balls!

Suddenly Sansa has a very loyal small council.

Arya is much like her sister has been described by fans: selfish and slow to learn. The big difference is that Arya is born fighter, literally, while Sansa is familiar with courtly intrigue.

Drogon's going to be mad about Mom being captured. It is known.

Don't be greedy, share the killing of weak men with your sister!

Stay out Cersei's way for the forseeable future.

Stay out of Dorne's way too.

Jon Snow really is dead! We've seen a body and everything!

Oh, the Red Woman really does have magic. And she's been using it cheat death. Interesting!

Roose plays Ramsay like a fiddle "Well, son, if you can't produce an heir, I'll just make my own." Interesting how Ramsay doesn't think "Hey any child of yours won't have Stark blood in it, you're just pushing my buttons dad!"
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:03 PM on April 24, 2016 [2 favorites]


i'm sure she'll be an MRA meme within hours

"u cant trust wimmins u gotta make them take off their jewelry on the first date"
posted by poffin boffin at 8:03 PM on April 24, 2016 [14 favorites]


Didn't see a coup coming at all, but makes sense in retrospect. Considering that most of the guards did nothing, it's clear Dorne is ready for a change.

Make Dorne great again!

Since the only Dornish character who displayed any intelligence is gone, it would be hilarious if the Sand Snakes find themselves unable to muster an army because the Dornish economy is quickly collapsing under their poor leadership.
posted by homunculus at 8:09 PM on April 24, 2016 [7 favorites]


CHOKERS ARE BACK
posted by roger ackroyd at 8:14 PM on April 24, 2016 [4 favorites]


If anything, this episode was worth it for the return of "it is known".
posted by dis_integration at 8:16 PM on April 24, 2016 [11 favorites]


Nothing about Dorne works for me and I attribute some of that to the ridiculous sand snakes, but mostly the entire Dorne plot is resting on a house of cards--revenge for Elia and Oberyn.

Elia I get. But Oberyn? He chose to fight. Just because he wouldn't have done so if Elia hasn't been killed, doesn't mean King's Landing needs to answer for every consequence of her death, however remote. And look, there has to be some limit on revenge pacts. Like if your guy messes up, that's it. You gave it a shot and it didn't happen, now move on with your lives. Damn.
posted by mama casserole at 8:17 PM on April 24, 2016 [5 favorites]


About Melisandre: I thought that not-so-subtle necklace glow and her sudden superannuation meant that she was giving up her life for Jon. She looked at herself in the mirror naked, perhaps, to say goodbye to herself, her life, her youth and beauty (though I did ask my girlfriend "Why does she always have to be naked to do her magic?"). This parallels the sacrifice of Nissa Nissa to forge Lightbringer, but that could be tendentious reading.

Maybe Melisandre is actually super old and will just keep doing some kind of Scooby-Doo disguise thing, I guess, but there's really nowhere for her character to go. She made a terrible mistake in supporting Stannis, and now the only other person who she felt any divine frisson with is apparently dead. Remember how she said she couldn't make another shadow demon baby with Stannis because it would take too much of his life force, basically? It seems like maybe she just gave up all of her own. I didn't think she was just undressing and going to bed for the night (especially because it was the middle of the day when she did that, remember?).
posted by clockzero at 8:19 PM on April 24, 2016 [6 favorites]


And look, there has to be some limit on revenge pacts.

In a rational world, sure. But that world doesn't exist and Elia seems to be pushing all sorts of emotional buttons in Dorne.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:23 PM on April 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


Yeah I get that, but it just means the Dorne plot doesn't resonate with me at all. I would rather they were just power hungry crazy people and owned it, without trying to tie it to a rationale that doesn't make any sense.
posted by mama casserole at 8:27 PM on April 24, 2016


I'm not sure we're supposed to view their rationale as making sense. Their family has been set up as a bunch of hot-heads who hit first and think later. Doran was the freak for being cold and calculating like the northern families.

It was definitely an "oh shit" move, but I don't think it's supposed to be a smart or sensible move. Although it's kind of dumb that the Dornish people in general would go along with this, since it's all but openly declaring war on the Iron Throne. Surely a lot of people there, however fierce, can see why that's a bad idea for their country.
posted by Sangermaine at 8:48 PM on April 24, 2016


Also, how is it that this show has a zillion dollar budget per episode, but Lena Headey's wig is so terrible?
posted by TwoStride at 8:56 PM on April 24, 2016 [8 favorites]


- The Dornish thing makes sense in the context of the show's overarching theme of institutions and families breaking down because of inherent flaws (in some cases, multigenerational chickens coming home to roost, as it were); just as Oberyn Martell died because he saw an opening that he thought he could exploit to get revenge, so his brother died because Oberyn's widow thinks that she has the same. The fact that she is probably overreaching badly doesn't stop her, any more than the Lannisters' overreaching stopped them, or will stop them in what looks like an inevitable fight with the crazy fundamentalists.

- I really don't know what to make of Melisandre's transformation; I don't know if she's simply lost her mojo, burnt it all up to resurrect Jon, or what. I do like that the cronification acts in a way as a sort of "fuck you" to all the "woo hoo, Melly's dropping trou!" anticipation from people who saw the trailer. It may--may--be a sort of sideways acknowledgement by D&D of some of the criticism of the fanservice nudity that has been in the show from the start.

- Speaking of maybe acknowledging criticism, how about the aversion of what seemed like an inevitable rape scene in the khalasar? Although they're just going to drag Dany off to the Wise Old Widows...

- So there's a big hint that maybe Arya will end up as Kid Daredevil after all, but not instantly.

- Also happy that Theon and Sansa are teaming up with Brienne and Pod; I'm guessing that they're going to be the embryonic court of the House of Nu-Stark.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:00 PM on April 24, 2016 [4 favorites]


Also, how is it that this show has a zillion dollar budget per episode, but Lena Headey's wig is so terrible?

Everything about the production was pretty bad, I think. It looked like an episode of Hercules at times.
posted by codacorolla at 9:05 PM on April 24, 2016 [2 favorites]


not enough maori extras
posted by poffin boffin at 9:11 PM on April 24, 2016 [4 favorites]


Also happy that Theon and Sansa are teaming up with Brienne and Pod; I'm guessing that they're going to be the embryonic court of the House of Nu-Stark.

Let's not fool ourselves. They'll all have their throats cut by the end of the season.
posted by dis_integration at 9:15 PM on April 24, 2016 [7 favorites]


YES BRIENNE!

What happened in that scene was Sansa gaining the general and first recruits of her army to SMITE EVERYONE.

Given the show's history of sexual violence, I'm realllllllllllly worried about Arya.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:29 PM on April 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


Oh and poor Hotah. Poor Areo Hotah.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:31 PM on April 24, 2016 [4 favorites]


Everything about the production was pretty bad, I think. It looked like an episode of Hercules at times.

Man, either you haven't seen Hercules in years or I haven't, 'cause I don't see this at all! Did you guys see those beautiful winter scenes with Sansa and Theon? I almost paused it just to look at the icy stream.

I thought about half of the episode worked wonderfully and a bit less than half was checking off the necessary checkboxes wot must be checked. But, eh, the first episode is usually a checkbox fest.

So Jon is really realy dead guys. Case closed. Really. He's dead. We can move on... trust me!
posted by Justinian at 9:42 PM on April 24, 2016 [6 favorites]


He's dead. We can move on... trust me!

If GRRM were really heartless, Jon Snow would lay there the entire season. Not decomposing, just... lingering, driving us all mad, asking when he's finally going to fucking stand up....
posted by fatbird at 9:55 PM on April 24, 2016 [6 favorites]


'If'?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:59 PM on April 24, 2016 [4 favorites]


My only real problem with the episode was that they only killed off half the Dornish characters instead of all of them. Oh, and please for the love of god get Daenerys back to Westeros or something at some point.

I'm so happy the show is past the books so I can say that without it being a spoiler that Daenerys is back with the frikkin' Dothraki. TWENTY DAMN YEARS AND ITS THE DOTHRAKI AGAIN PEOPLE. HELP.
posted by Justinian at 10:00 PM on April 24, 2016 [5 favorites]


TWENTY DAMN YEARS AND ITS THE DOTHRAKI AGAIN PEOPLE. HELP.

I have a theory that someone could write a really really good fantasy novel series by just making a comprehensive list of everything GRRM does that alienates his fans and then doing the opposite.
posted by Jacqueline at 10:07 PM on April 24, 2016 [6 favorites]


The best thing about Pod is that he's a really cheerful diplomat who knows every banner, oath, and bit of court ritual and custom out there.
posted by The Whelk at 10:09 PM on April 24, 2016 [19 favorites]


He's like a more-effective C3PO.
posted by KathrynT at 10:23 PM on April 24, 2016 [56 favorites]


Well Jon's standing up one way or the other.....unless they burn the body.
posted by bq at 10:28 PM on April 24, 2016 [2 favorites]


I was looking for Bran in this episode...
posted by Carmine Red at 10:34 PM on April 24, 2016


Raise your hand if you half expected Bran the magical tree to pull Sansa into his netherworld when she kept backing into the roots like that.
posted by The Whelk at 10:44 PM on April 24, 2016 [15 favorites]


So... y'alls are saying that Pod is GRRM's Marysue? He's the awesome Pod with the awesome Penis and Sexing Powers all the while pretending bashfullness? Helping a bullied woman understand and accept herself. And now he knows everything.
posted by porpoise at 10:51 PM on April 24, 2016 [2 favorites]


GRRM has said that his author insert is Samwell Tarley.

Podrick Payne might be D&D's self-insert, though.
posted by Jacqueline at 11:00 PM on April 24, 2016 [2 favorites]


"You want boobs? We'll give you boobs!"
and
I do like that the cronification acts in a way as a sort of "fuck you" to all the "woo hoo, Melly's dropping trou!" anticipation from people who saw the trailer.

I don't know, I really dislike this way of looking at it. She didn't turn into a giant hairy spider, she turned into an old woman. If the transformation was intended to provoke an "ewwwwww GROSS" response, that's as disgusting as showing a young woman's breasts for titillation.
posted by torticat at 11:35 PM on April 24, 2016 [26 favorites]


Dr. Bashir and his son fall prey to the syndrome of "We have too many characters, so let's kill the ones that don't test well in middle America."

In this corner, some women without nudity clauses in their contracts. In the other corner, clearly some foreigners. Which ones will it be???
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:36 PM on April 24, 2016 [8 favorites]


I actually saw the transformation as more of a memento mori - these breasts, too, will fade and ultimately become dust, what matters is the woman beneath them, and she is tiiiiiiired and kind of heartbroken.
posted by corb at 12:36 AM on April 25, 2016 [12 favorites]


Where did Bolton's hounds go?

They weren't part of the plot anymore so the CGI guys didn't bother rendering them.

Did you guys see those beautiful winter scenes with Sansa and Theon?

I was distracted by the terrible computer dogs and computer horses.
posted by edeezy at 2:15 AM on April 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


And so ends Dr. Bashir's time in his elaborate holonovel. Back to the infirmary to treat Morn's chronic hemorrhoids.
posted by rocketman at 6:43 AM on April 25, 2016 [23 favorites]


Odd that so many seem to want the Dorne plotline gone now. I think it just got interesting. Ellaria and Cersei are similar in that they're using the excuse of family to take control and drive their kingdoms (and people) in particular directions. Include Daenarys in the mix and you have three women at seats of power that are acting for different but similar and selfish reasons.

Ultimately, we the audience know that these wars are petty in the face of looming thread of the White Walkers. But I still think Ellaria has the stronger moral claim and have no problem seeing Cesei and the Lannisters get some of the pain they've dealt out. Yet Cersei has already buried two of her children and done that awesome walk. Does that balance the scales? Can anything?

What a great episode! A solid return with a few twists thrown in, along with some fantastic humor and genuine tension.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:17 AM on April 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


The Sand Snakes (as they currently exist) feel like they're imported from a worse fantasy universe. Like a particularly bad D&D campaign. Apart from that, we haven't seen anything of Dorne outside the palace walls (or like three sets - two courtyards and a ship cabin). The really interesting aspect of Dorne, for me, is that it's the logical safe haven in a world of permanent winter. I'd be more interested in snakey scheming if it had stakes in humanity's best, last stronghold against Ice Demons. But it's just a bunch of poorly rendered characters with no backgrounding. It's free floating and amorphous, and the content that's there isn't particularly interesting.
posted by codacorolla at 7:25 AM on April 25, 2016 [9 favorites]


The really interesting aspect of Dorne, for me, is that it's the logical safe haven in a world of permanent winter. I'd be more interested in snakey scheming if it had stakes in humanity's best, last stronghold against Ice Demons

But that's the thing, very few people know about White Walkers, so they're involved in their own affairs. Elleria taking Dorne to war ups the stakes for the audience (or at least me) because know its a possibly safe place.

Would Essos be safe? Possibly, but don't it. The White Walkers seem as though they're ready to not only come visit but stay.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:32 AM on April 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


What Is Your ‘Game of Thrones’ Management Style? - "Welcome to the Westeros Street Journal"
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:12 AM on April 25, 2016


I am annoyed about Alexander Siddig being completely underused. I was hoping that the do-nothingness of his character in Season 5 was set up for some awesome scheming type stuff in Season 6. It would have been nice to show another character whose physical limitations camouflage his true strengths, but I guess the show doesn't need two Tyrions.

That being said, I think this is a good step forward for the Dorne plot. Going forward climate changethe long winter will force the rest of Westeros to look for aid from the south. If Doran had lived, he would have come up with some arrangement that helped the Lannister/Tyrell regime avoid the starvation of its people, while also being able to deflect whatever vengeful/babyish tantrums Cersei chose to throw over Myrcella's death. The adulting would have made a nice change to the way diplomacy usually happens in this world, but probably wouldn't have made for great TV.

Now, you've got Ellaria in a position of power that she probably doesn't even recognize the scope of. Even if she's qualified to rule Dorne, her take on international relations could use some work. And while she'd probably be happy with some kind of surgical strike to hurt/eliminate the Lannisters, I don't think she's going to be able to mount a defense against the entire might of a frightened Westeros being driven by vengeful Lannisters.

As for the rest of the checkins of note:
  • Yay for Pod and Brienne finally teaming up with Sansa!
  • I'm not convinced that Jon Snow is dead and gone yet.
  • I enjoyed the "what is best in life" lampshading from Nu!Khal and his posse (did we get to see any humour amongst the Dothraki before?)
  • Tyrion and Varys the economic advisor superduo?
  • Not gonna lie, Arya's storyline is setting up to be the boring one this season. I mean, there could be twists, but if it's just about her learning to fight while blind and earning her second chance (after so much of Season 5 was her earning her first chance), I'd rather hang out with Sam and Ginny in Oldtown.

posted by sparklemotion at 8:50 AM on April 25, 2016 [5 favorites]


I enjoyed the "what is best in life " lampshading from Nu!Khal and his posse

You could just see it in his face: guys. guys c'mon. c'mon, seriously.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:03 AM on April 25, 2016 [15 favorites]


Khal Drogo wouldn't have put up with that kind of BS.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 9:10 AM on April 25, 2016 [9 favorites]


I loved it. FINE YOU ASSHOLES TOP FIVE.
posted by corb at 9:48 AM on April 25, 2016 [20 favorites]


I enjoyed the "what is best in life " lampshading from Nu!Khal and his posse (did we get to see any humour amongst the Dothraki before?)

I thought it was pretty stupid humor, and also, not in fitting with previous remarks about the Dothraki. They're supposed to be pretty blase about nudity, making sexytimes under the open sky in the grass sea, etc., in front of everyone. Also why do they just take her word for it that she's Drogo's wife? The whole thing was a stupid way to add an unnecessary delay in the Danerys plotline. Maybe it will pay off but it seems like they would've done better to keep her in Mireen to start dealing with the rebellion.
posted by dis_integration at 9:54 AM on April 25, 2016


I thought it was pretty stupid humor, and also, not in fitting with previous remarks about the Dothraki. They're supposed to be pretty blase about nudity, making sexytimes under the open sky in the grass sea, etc., in front of everyone.

Yeah -- that's why it wasn't such a big deal to the other guys. Nu!Khal was probably the kind of kid who likes the unwrapping of the presents more than the playing with them.

Also why do they just take her word for it that she's Drogo's wife?

They probably knew that Drogo married a white haired feisty lady. And they were probably caught off guard by her whole "Dothraki is my dead husband's mother tongue" deal. It also seemed like her [insert synonym for "mouthiness" that isn't super gendered but also conveys the extent to which Dany tries to use loud talking and the full recitation of her name to get her way] impressed Nu!Khal to the point where he didn't mind having a convenient excuse to not have to rape her.

Maybe it will pay off but it seems like they would've done better to keep her in Mireen to start dealing with the rebellion.

I'm betting that she doesn't make it back to Meereen to deal with the rebellion. Which may be for the best -- she's not great at ruling.

TBH, the Dothraki were kind of this overly super-serious rage-boner-popping caricature before. If they are going to continue to be part of the plot, it's nice to see another side of them (even if Nu!Khal's face is too small for his head).
posted by sparklemotion at 10:15 AM on April 25, 2016 [3 favorites]


Also why do they just take her word for it that she's Drogo's wife?

A more interesting question is why wouldn't they take her word that she was Drogo's wife?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:42 AM on April 25, 2016 [4 favorites]


Okay, the scene with Brienne and Sansa and the oath swearing *almost* makes up for the horrible cheapness that was Brienne walking off JUST AS THE CANDLE APPEARS IN THE WINDOW last season.

But at this point, I want to see Sansa take everything she's been learning from everyone and turn herself into a ragingly awesome political badass and retake the north.
posted by rmd1023 at 10:48 AM on April 25, 2016 [4 favorites]


A more interesting question is why wouldn't they take her word that she was Drogo's wife?

Because she's just some woman they found and enslaved? In the first season the Dothraki didn't bother to bring the slave women back to the Khal before they got started with the raping. So maybe they thought: this yellow haired one is special, let's give her to the Khal so he likes us more. Ok, plausible. But it seems like the Khal's ladies had the more likely outcome in mind: the strange foreign lady is probably dangerous, cut off her head. Maybe if someone had said: I recognize her! She was Khal Drogo's wife! But that would've been a doozy too, since someone who knew her would probably know that she let a witch kill Drogo, and then, again: she's a witch! cut off her head.
posted by dis_integration at 10:53 AM on April 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


Sansa builds an army. It's not quite big enough to take the North, and not quite big enough to stand against the Lannisters.

She offers Roose Bolton a truce so they can crush the Lannisters. The price: Ramsay Bolton's head.

Then she has Brienne take Roose's later, because obvs.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:55 AM on April 25, 2016 [14 favorites]


The solution of taking her to Vaes Dothrak solves all problems. They're not in trouble if she's actually Khal Drogo's widow, and if she is, the ladies of Vaes Dothrak will presumably punish her for her effrontery.
posted by corb at 11:00 AM on April 25, 2016 [3 favorites]


In the first season the Dothraki didn't bother to bring the slave women back to the Khal before they got started with the raping.

The first season also made clear that Dothraki are all not the same. Drogo has one wife. This Khal has several. Someone else in season 1 (Jorah?) also explained that Khal's rule differently. Some treat Khaleesi as a near equal, others share her with is top riders.

This particular Khal seems more of the honorable and intelligent side, so there's no reason for him not believe Daenerys. He knew of Drogo and probably his white haired Khaleesi. I also inferred that he preferred to see the female slaves first, in order to claim them for his own or whatever, hence Dany not being harmed, but the riders talking asking if they could sleep with her.

So with a bit, her own intelligence and strength of will, Danny was able to get herself into the position of not being harmed.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:05 AM on April 25, 2016 [7 favorites]


I suspect (and hope) that the writers didn't have Daenerys recognized because they wanted to illustrate that she's much stronger now, mentally and emotionally, while obviously intelligent.

By not being recognized, she gets to go toe to toe with Khal, displaying her toughness. If someone just recognized her, then there's little reason for her to be noticed or spoken to. They would have just put her in a nice tent or something and then taken her to Vaes Dothrak with little talk.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:11 AM on April 25, 2016 [3 favorites]


This particular Khal seems more of the honorable and intelligent side

Older, wiser, also more of a prick -- his attempted dressing down of Dany was really ugly. (But he may have been saying all that stuff to impress his badassery upon his younger, bolder men. Any khal who's been around a while would be conscious of keeping his rep up around dudes who might decide it's worth it to take a shot at him one day.) Khal Drogo seems like more of a rock star.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 11:42 AM on April 25, 2016 [5 favorites]


But he may have been saying all that stuff to impress his badassery upon his younger, bolder men.

Yep. He went from talking about her like an object (when he thought she couldn't understand), to being actually insulting/threatening when she dared talk back to him, to at least reasonably respectful when she played the Drogo's wife card.

I'll admit that I kind of enjoyed the "You are nobody. Millionth of your name" line, because seriously, Dany, impressive titles don't mean anything. And yeah, this is a world where a person who is in power cannot let lesser people mouth off at him. Another Khal (or a non-Tommen Lannister, or a Bolton) would have cut off her head just for the "Don't touch me" part. The Starks (including Jon Snow) have been forced to do similar. Dany's done similar and kind of enjoyed it.

I don't know how honorable and intelligent Moro actually is, but like her or no, he probably would have raped/killed her for her impudence if he didn't have reason to believe she was a Khal's widow. Now, as Corb says, sending her to Vaes Dothrak solves all the problems, even if he thinks she might be lying now.
posted by sparklemotion at 12:02 PM on April 25, 2016 [7 favorites]


Interesting bit from a friend who saw it on the web: Before it was the War of the Five Kings. Now it's the battle of the Five Queens, sort of (Elleria, Cersei, Sansa, Danaerys and Maergery).
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:46 PM on April 25, 2016 [9 favorites]


valar morghulis indeed
posted by poffin boffin at 12:52 PM on April 25, 2016 [5 favorites]


Prediction: The season is all about the female characters taking charge. Of everything.

* Cersei rules King's Landing. With Margaery's help. It's a tenuous relationship, but they even frighten Jamie with their ruthlessness.
* Arya becomes Hit Girl.
* Sansa and Jon Snow defeat the Boltons (but the White Walkers breach the Wall).
* Daenerys is taken to Vaes Dothrak and takes over the dosh khaleen because dragons. And then the dosh khaleen goes from "group of religious background influencers" to the outright rulers of the Dothraki.

Every male character -- save Tyrion -- ends the season going, "What the FUCK just happened?"
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:02 PM on April 25, 2016 [13 favorites]


Arya Becomes A Ninja looks to be the Most Boring Storyline.
posted by bq at 1:07 PM on April 25, 2016 [4 favorites]


Arya Becomes A Ninja looks to be the Most Boring Storyline.

Yeah, I don't think that's the storyline. Mr. Sexyhair probably wants her to be spy, while SeniorMeanGirl just wants to torment Arya because she doesn't believe Arya has what it takes to be Faceless Man and she may be right.

Arya is a lot like Sansa was, untrained, selfish and bratty. But she has the will and natural skills to be killer, so most of the audience has been fine with her acting out, if it means she gets to dispatch her enemies.

But is she too far gone at this point, in her question for vengence? Can Arya really can put others desires before her own. As an audience member, do I even want her to?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:26 PM on April 25, 2016


Arya is a lot like Sansa was, untrained, selfish and bratty

Arya's been described a couple times here as "selfish" (or maybe both times by you BB, here and in the other thread!). How is she selfish? I can see that she hasn't shed enough of herself to give up all her own ambitions, but does that make her selfish? I'd say it's just human. Giving up all of yourself is inhuman, as are the faceless people.
posted by torticat at 1:31 PM on April 25, 2016 [6 favorites]


She's using the Faceless Men for her own purposes, despite this being obliquely pointed out repeatedly. Which is Mr. Sexyhair's faul tat this point, 'cause Arya is extremely obtuse in her single-mindness and probably needs to be explicitly told what and what not to do in order for it to sink in.

That her selfishness is very human and understandable doesn't mean it isn't wrong.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:46 PM on April 25, 2016 [3 favorites]


Arya becomes Hit Girl Daredevil.

FTFY
posted by Jacqueline at 1:46 PM on April 25, 2016 [3 favorites]


How is she selfish?

Even though she was a brat after mine-own-heart in season 1, I have to admit that Arya showed zero willingness to consider the wants and needs of the rest of her family at Winterfell (chatting during the reception of the king and queen), on the road (sneaking off with the butcher's boy), or at King's Landing (I won't learn dancing or embroidery or attempt to make a good match for myself because "that's not me"). Now, she was a child. And rebelling against the way that Westeros treats women is the only reasonable choice TBH, so maybe she can't be blamed for that stuff.

In season two (? when was all that harrenhal stuff?), she demanded that Jaqen kill Tywin (or someone? it's muddled), even though it would have meant his own death.

She put The Hound in harms way by attacking people on her "list" without warning. I mean, they were both using each other as means to an end, but he didn't mean harm to her.

I can see that she hasn't shed enough of herself to give up all her own ambitions, but does that make her selfish?

She wanted to use the power of the Faceless Men to help her get her revenge, and she did, after constantly demanding that they rush her training.

But, I don't think that this selfishness makes her a villain. She was a child (they are selfish), she had her entire family ripped from her. She has no one but herself, so she looks out for herself. The lying to the Faceless Men may have crossed a line, but it seems like she's getting at least some comeuppance for that.
posted by sparklemotion at 1:57 PM on April 25, 2016 [3 favorites]


Basically, how far should one go for vengeance? Arya, Ellaria, Daenerys and Cersei all seem to think "however far *I* want," which creates its own problems. It'll be interesting to see if Sansa goes the same way.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:09 PM on April 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


Arya, Ellaria, Daenerys and Cersei all seem to think "however far *I* want," which creates its own problems.

I disagree. Daenerys has shown mercy and restrain (though not always). I would argue she's more interested in justice than vengeance.
posted by rocketman at 2:19 PM on April 25, 2016 [3 favorites]


That almost makes it worse. For Daenerys, justice is what she thinks is right, and she'll go to whatever means are necessary to get it. She tempered a little with the whole slave-pits/marrying the merchant thing, and we'll see how much of that sticks through Dothraki Adventure 2: Wildfire Boogaloo.

I mean, yes, she is the rightful heir to the Iron Throne, but that's only because Aegon Targaryen stole the sovereignty of the 7 Kingdoms 300 years in the past. Why does she deserve to rule Westeros?
posted by sparklemotion at 2:39 PM on April 25, 2016 [5 favorites]


well when it comes to dynastic monarcharies like this the answer to "who has the right to rule X" is "Who brutally murdered everyone who said they don't"
posted by The Whelk at 2:40 PM on April 25, 2016 [12 favorites]


I disagree. Daenerys has shown mercy and restrain (though not always). I would argue she's more interested in justice than vengeance.

She might tell herself that, but it's pretty clear that she wants to conquer a land she hasn't been to since she was a child, because she believes it is hers by birthright. Throw in the fact that she's willing to wage war and kill many people who would just be protecting their homeland from a foreign invasion and don't even known her or her family and the rationales start to fall apart.

Remember, she sneered at all the names on "the wheel", Bolton, Lannister and Stark. We know the Starks are pretty good and have peacefully ruled the north for a long time. But Dany doesn't know that or doesn't care. I can't decide which is worse. She simply wants what's "hers," never mind the local people, be they good or bad.

Sure, she'll probably want to rule peacefully, but that's only after everyone has bent the knee to her. That could get pretty problematic if some guy who use to be named Snow decides he and his family should be equals, not servants.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:41 PM on April 25, 2016 [7 favorites]


well when it comes to dynastic monarcharies like this the answer to "who has the right to rule X" is "Who brutally murdered everyone who said they don't"

Exactly! I have this theory that Cersei might be willing to sacrifice Tommen now, since the fates have decreed she can't save him. Rather than dying by poison as her other two children have (what's up with THAT), might it not better for him (and her) if he goes out in some grand battle, so the Lannister family name shines? Yeah, yeah Tommen's name is Baratheon, but he's 100% Lannister and she doesn't give a shit who knows that now.

But if he's dead, wont' that mean she's no longer Queen Regent or Queen mother and anyone really? Well, that all depends on how big her army is when he dies.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:47 PM on April 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


As much as I like the Starks, let's not forget that they supported a king who wanted Dany dead. True that's kind of par for the course with this kind of things, but I can't hold it against her if she takes it rather personally that these families supported a king who wanted her dead.
posted by miss-lapin at 2:50 PM on April 25, 2016 [3 favorites]


As much as I like the Starks, let's not forget that they supported a king who wanted Dany dead.

Ned Stark specifically did not support King Robert killing her. If fact, he resigned as The Hand in front of Robert and the small council because he thought it was wrong and refused to have any sort of part in it.

Varys was on the small council at that time, imagine that. He could vouch for the Starks, if it came to that.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:09 PM on April 25, 2016 [5 favorites]


Yes but she wouldn't know the finer points. All she knows is these are the houses that supported a king who wanted her death. Varys has only entered her life relatively recently and most likely hasn't had time to let her know about this. So I'll put this on the "she doesn't know" category.

I find her inherent belief that she would make an awesome ruler more troubling considering that she doesn't have the best track record so far and her lack of knowledge about the Westeros. Even if she could effectively rule Mereen, that doesn't mean she could do so in Westeros. Very different people, view points, etc. The most problematic issue is if Dany becomes Queen of Westeros, who will take the throne when she dies? We know she can't have children so this creates a serious problem in terms of what happens when she dies.

An effective ruler wouldn't want to throw the realm into another civil war upon her death.
posted by miss-lapin at 3:24 PM on April 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


As much as I like the Starks, let's not forget that they supported a king who wanted Dany dead.

I forget sometimes that the truth about Robert's Rebellion is somewhere in the middle of what we heard from Robert Baratheon (and, to a lesser extent, Ned Stark) and what Viserys told Dany for bedtime stories.

I mean, I can guarantee that Dany never heard the "burn them all" story, but at the same time I'm not sure that Robert ever heard (or was willing to believe) a story about Lyanna Stark that didn't fit his "kidnapped-and-raped" narrative.

But at the same time, when Dany learned that Jorah had been spying for the Baratheons, she completely ignored all of his service to her after the assassination attempt (which, he saved her from, BTW) and banished him, even though he was a pretty good advisor. I mean, it's better than killing him, but it was kind of dumb, and wrapped up in her somewhat naive idea of "justice."
posted by sparklemotion at 3:56 PM on April 25, 2016 [4 favorites]


Yeah that was an emotion driven decision that was particularly dumb. If anything she should have seen it as "He came as a spy, but then was so won over by her that he came to be a genuine supporter." I mean that's pretty impressive (if you ignore that he's now basically a stalker.)
posted by miss-lapin at 4:00 PM on April 25, 2016 [4 favorites]


(if you ignore that he's now basically a stalker.)

Actually! That reminds me of something.

With all of the Ser Friendzone memes and stuff of the previous seasons, has Jorah ever really come out and admitted his romantic love for Dany to anyone before? I mean, it was always obvious, but it was super creepy when he was playing that off as "I love her only as a subject should love and respect his queen" nonsense.

So Jorah flat out telling Daario that he loves-loves her is an improvement, I guess.
posted by sparklemotion at 4:13 PM on April 25, 2016 [3 favorites]


Why does she deserve to rule Westeros?

One of the points of the show and source material is that she doesn't. Neither do the Lannisters, the Greyjoys, the Tyrells, the Boltons, the Royces, the Targaryens, the Tullys, the Martells, the Starks, or any of the other bajillion houses. Some of them would do a better job than others, and some of them would even do a good job... for a while. But none of them deserve to rule and the smallfolk get trampled no matter which of them does.

a story about Lyanna Stark that didn't fit his "kidnapped-and-raped" narrative.

O_o sideeye
posted by Justinian at 4:18 PM on April 25, 2016


They really stabbed that guy in the head, no doubt.

I kind of liked the Three Dothraki, it was a fun little Conan reference.

I am really worried about Ghost. How many direwolves are left? Ideally I'd like it to end with just the direwolves and the dragons in charge and the whole hideous human race wiped out. And in the show!
posted by turbid dahlia at 4:29 PM on April 25, 2016 [4 favorites]


I think there are still a bunch of direwolves north of the Wall. South of it... not so much. We know Ghost, Nymeria, and probably Shaggydog are still around. And Summer is still kickin' it, but he's north of the Wall last we saw.
posted by Justinian at 4:32 PM on April 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


I have been waiting and waiting for Nymeria to return! I even had a dim hope that she was going to be the one to bail out Sansa (I know she was Arya's, but still, maybe Nymeria misses Starks, too) instead of Brienne...
posted by TwoStride at 4:40 PM on April 25, 2016 [3 favorites]


I think it's super cute that Sophie Turner adopted the dog who played Lady in the first season, before they had to be CGId for size reasons.
posted by Justinian at 4:47 PM on April 25, 2016 [7 favorites]


Oh, yeah. Carice van Houten is stunningly gorgeous, of course, and for the most part her disrobing is very welcome, but at the same time this boob-shoehorning (boobhorning?) better be serving a larger purpose. I suspect that removing the Youth-Choker has killed her, but is it simply because she is super-depressed, or is she giving up her magical energies to save Jon?

The music that was playing while she got super-old was really good, though.
posted by turbid dahlia at 4:48 PM on April 25, 2016 [3 favorites]


"She might tell herself that, but it's pretty clear that she wants to conquer a land she hasn't been to since she was a child, because she believes it is hers by birthright."

Also, to be fair, because they're going to kill her if she doesn't. Historically in the War of the Roses, plenty of people who would really prefer not to be involved in maneuvering for the throne end up involved anyway because the alternative is being slaughtered because of who their relatives are. In that way, Cersei is the clearest-eyed from the start, because she realizes that once she's in it, if she's not at the top of the heap, there's no protection for her or her family. And Ned Stark's tragic flaw, in a way, is his willingness to stand on principle even though it means his family gets screwed. He'd like justice to matter more than power, but when power means "I kill everyone in your family," justice just doesn't.

(Which is also why weddings figure so heavily in the storyline -- the only way to reconcile families and avoid murderfests is to join the families together. Sometimes.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 4:58 PM on April 25, 2016 [5 favorites]


families...avoid murderfests...

top kek
posted by turbid dahlia at 5:01 PM on April 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


Also, I had a weird conflation last night where "REDRUM" was graffiti'd on the wall in Dorne because we'd watched the last episode of 11.22.63 yesterday as well.
posted by turbid dahlia at 5:02 PM on April 25, 2016


Oh man I was just pondering all this in the context of the War of the Roses. I'm just not sure if Sansa Stark is Anne Neville or what.
posted by corb at 5:07 PM on April 25, 2016


ALL NOTE THIS IS THE SHOW ONLY THREAD
posted by bq at 5:13 PM on April 25, 2016


One more thing (sorry...I'm excited the show is back so I can rant and complain about it): it was a known-known that Brienne would kick ass when she arrived to rescue Sansa and Reek, because she is an acknowledged highly-capable warrior. So it felt a little stinky and false when she was knocked from her horse by a noob and was flailing around in the dirt for ages. I also feel like she would have been wearing her helmet, riding into combat like that. And what happened to the bloodhounds? That whole scene was clumsy.

Like, attention to detail on this show goes so deep that wholly-new textured fabrics are being woven for bit-characters to wear, but then a whole bunch of dogs just vanishes. It's odd.
posted by turbid dahlia at 5:14 PM on April 25, 2016 [10 favorites]


before they had to be CGId for size reasons

Oh, this: we've been rewatching the series the past few weeks, and the obviously-pasted-in direwolves are the effect which consistently works the least well for me.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 6:13 PM on April 25, 2016


So it felt a little stinky and false when she was knocked from her horse by a noob and was flailing around in the dirt for ages. I also feel like she would have been wearing her helmet, riding into combat like that. And what happened to the bloodhounds? That whole scene was clumsy.

1. There's no reason to think the guy who knocked her down was a noob. Ramsey described them to Roose as his best men.
2. She hasn't worn her helmet since season 2. She wasn't wearing it while hunting for Stannis last season, so there's not reason to think she'd have it on now.
3. The bloodhounds were teleported away by the Lord of Light.
4. #3 isn't true. I think it's the director's style to take shortcuts like this, deeming some info just isn't necessary at some points.
5. Also, the Lord of Light doesn't do teleportation.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:19 PM on April 25, 2016 [4 favorites]


With one, no two, no THREE strokes, the Sand Snakes have redeemed themselves from last season.

Yeah, I'm leaning towards this too: having them actually do something feels like a significant course-correction from last season's endless Dorne wheel-spinning.

I felt also that showing Doran walking added to the surprise effect of their attack; that was a fake-out to the viewers that oh, maybe this character that's been basically chairbound so far has recovered some of his vitality -- no, wait, he's dead.

I don't quite get how the killing of Trystane worked, logistically speaking: wasn't he on the ship with Jamie and Myrcella? The ship which departed leaving the Sand Snakes behind? It looked like it took place in his cabin; but if it happened en-route how did they get on and off board without being noticed?
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 6:31 PM on April 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


Ramsey described them to Roose as his best men.

Oh, sure. But he's not going to tell his old man that he sent out a bunch of rejects and halfwits to capture them, is he? And then Pod kills one? Pshaw. Still, I do buy the bloodhound-teleportation theory.

As for the helmet, I just think it would have been better for dramatic reasons, because at least the audience, for like two seconds, would be "Who's this now?" And then it would be a nice surprise.
posted by turbid dahlia at 6:52 PM on April 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


wasn't he on the ship with Jamie and Myrcella?

Yes, he got on that ship at the docks. It's certainly possible that the Sand Snakes quickly followed in another ship, because Ellaria had plans. Putting them on the ship with Trystane would have looked suspicious, especially with Doran there.

As for the helmet, I just think it would have been better for dramatic reasons, because at least the audience, for like two seconds, would be "Who's this now?" And then it would be a nice surprise.

Nah, that angry face that Brienne makes is just too awesome to cover up.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:57 PM on April 25, 2016 [3 favorites]


My bet is that Melissandre taking off the necklace just temporarily disables the spell, she'll be back to hot young melissandre next episode. And any previous screen cap of her taking off her necklace to bathe or whatever is just to be ignored.
posted by skewed at 7:39 PM on April 25, 2016


Despite however you'd like to post-hoc rationalize that fight scene, it was poorly shot and clunky. This is, unfortunately, the case with about 50% of all fight scenes in this show. I have a feeling they farm that work out to a jobber to stay on schedule, and put real talent on stuff like Hardhome which has to sell HBO subscriptions. The end effect is that characters who do a lot of fighting, like Brienne, seem pretty weak and worthless because of absolutely dogshit fight choreography and direction.
posted by codacorolla at 7:42 PM on April 25, 2016 [6 favorites]


I'd also put John Snow into the same category, e.g. his fucking ridiculous Craster's Keep battle with "tha' fookin' legend of Gin Alley." For what's at its heart a martial arts show (European martial arts, at any rate), this show has terrible, terrible fights a majority of the time.
posted by codacorolla at 7:46 PM on April 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


The bloodhounds disappeared because they fell into a plot hole.
posted by Jacqueline at 7:54 PM on April 25, 2016 [13 favorites]


It must be the same plot hole they spawned out of, to be one moment miles away on the other side of a freezing river, and the next barking directly into Sansa's ear, to the shock and surprise of their quarry. Presumably they are bloodhounds of Tindalos and emerged from the corner of a shitty jump-cut.
posted by turbid dahlia at 8:06 PM on April 25, 2016 [4 favorites]


The end effect is that characters who do a lot of fighting, like Brienne, seem pretty weak and worthless because of absolutely dogshit fight choreography and direction.

I thought the Brienne-Hound fight scene was amongst the best they've done, though. The fight scenes have always been hit or miss.
posted by Justinian at 8:23 PM on April 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


Yeah that was a good fight.
posted by turbid dahlia at 8:28 PM on April 25, 2016


I was surprised when Ramsey's men showed up because yeah it didn't seem very long since they had to cross the river so there must have been a crossing nearby so Theon is terrible.

And then his plan to sacrifice himself so she can get away was just the worst.

Next I was wondering why the dogs would run off if just moments earlier Theon had implied they ripped people apart. Those kinds of dogs don't run away when a fight starts. But they were hounds and I don't know my breeds.

So Sansa, you were probably going to die if you somehow got away on your own anyways but at least you'll live a little longer without Theon making terrible choices for you. But I did want her to be like the rightful Queen of the North that she is and be totally bad ass in the cold and snow, but nope she was Sansa.

(The Brienne on the ground scene I thought was realistic because they didn't draw out the length of time it took him to get to her like they usually do in the movies. So yeah she laid on the ground writhing for a bit but it was shorter than most movies/tv would do it. But that's just my opinion.)
posted by LizBoBiz at 8:29 PM on April 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


That said (about the fights), I think codacorolla and I must watch different shows because to me GoT is nothing like a (European) martial-arts show. The fight scenes are almost completely ancillary with a few big exceptions (primarily Hardhome, the Blackwater, the Wall, and smaller scale Oberyn-Mountain). As far as I'm concerned they could hold up a sign saying "a fight happened". That's not why I watch. Fights are what's there in between the important dialogue.

I've encountered two types of Thrones watchers. Those who thought Tyrion's monologue to Jaime about Orson and his proclivity for bug-smashing was terrible and a waste of valuable episode time and those who thought it was riveting and beautiful. I'm one of the latter.

(Yes, yes, I know some of you no doubt thought it was fine but neither great nor terrible. It is in the nature of a metaphor.)
posted by Justinian at 8:31 PM on April 25, 2016 [7 favorites]


I thought that insipid bug dialogue was some of the worst stuff in the series so far, so you're at least right there.
posted by codacorolla at 8:40 PM on April 25, 2016


Huh, I didn't realize my example would be so on point. But I will refrain from showing the 37 minute powerpoint presentation illustrating exactly why it was good.
posted by Justinian at 8:43 PM on April 25, 2016 [11 favorites]


> "...battle of the Five Queens" - Brandon Blatcher

Coincided with my recently going through SM Stirling's Emberverse series (until I couldn't stomach it anymore; the first couple of books are interesting, but deprecate into bad wish-fulfillment YA fiction very rapidly) but the grand opus/history nerdery was emphasizing that - in historical Master/Vassal mandatory service/levy systems - women end up being in real power after major political failures (such as war - so many males dead) or just through general attrition by coincidence until their kids come of age.

The "Battle of the Five Queens" may be the most human ethnographically authentic thing in the whole books/show.

I wonder if the TV show writers - or - GRRM had this aforethought?
posted by porpoise at 8:44 PM on April 25, 2016 [4 favorites]


But I will refrain from showing the 37 minute powerpoint presentation illustrating exactly why it was good.

I want to see it
posted by Jacqueline at 9:10 PM on April 25, 2016 [7 favorites]


That's not why I watch. Fights are what's there in between the important dialogue.

With you there, Justinian. Do not care about the hand-to-hand combat (though I'm partial to the fights that involve Jaime or Brienne). Also I liked the bugs.

Re: why Ramsey's men caught up so fast--they were in barking distance when Theon and Sansa got in the river. And they were on horseback. I just assumed they also swam across and picked up the trail on the other side. (I was thinking, duh, S&T, if you're going to cross a river to throw dogs off the scent, you have to go downriver far enough the hounds will give up before they find where you came out. Not really an option in a river of ice floes.)
posted by torticat at 9:12 PM on April 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


The fight scenes have always been hit or miss.

I'm pretty sure they have only one really good fight choreographer who they just shuttle around from shooting location to shooting location, and the other locations just have to sort of muddle through without. Spent most of last season in Iceland, but appears to be somewhere else now.
posted by mstokes650 at 9:19 PM on April 25, 2016


That her selfishness is very human and understandable doesn't mean it isn't wrong.

No, no, and I wasn't questioning it in defense of Arya. I find her kind of annoying tbh. But I guess I'd call all of what you and sparklemotion described something like wilfulness, not selfishness. She has her own agenda and she's ruthless in carrying it out. I don't see that her actions are particularly self-serving; it's more like she sees herself as an angel of vengeance. That is, I don't think her list is about avenging herself, but avenging injustices done to the people she'd loved.

To some of the specific examples cited--all the ones at Kings Landing I totally chalk up to youth; also back then I was cheering every time she bucked the dumb conventions. And Sansa was SOO stupid back then with her swooning over her prince, everything Arya did was a welcome counterpoint.

Now on her mission of vengeance--yeah, she uses people. But she has no real reason to be loyal to them. The Hound? Eh. The Faceless Men? Yeah, she uses them to get an education but her motive's pretty clear throughout, and I wouldn't call it selfish so much as...expedient? And what does she owe them anyway, really?

she demanded that Jaqen kill Tywin (or someone? it's muddled), even though it would have meant his own death.

This I don't remember. I thought what she did was to extort Jaqen by naming his name (as the third person he must kill) and then agreeing to retract only if he helped her escape.

I think of Arya at this point as kind of amoral. Selfishness I think of as immoral, I guess that's why it seemed a bit off to me. It doesn't feel to me like she's operating on that plane.
posted by torticat at 9:58 PM on April 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


Count me as another that thinks the fight scenes are often kind of lacking. Brienne should look like a superhero.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:00 PM on April 25, 2016


Brienne should look like a superhero.

She pretty much is a superhero already - looks don't matter. Any male knight who've accomplished what Brienne had would instantly be legendary. In a good way.
posted by porpoise at 10:16 PM on April 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


I suspect that the hounds vanished because it's viewer ethics that are a bit clumsy - it's fine to watch people and horses be killed because they're caught up in power structures beyond their control, but seeing dogs be killed for the same reason is much more of a wildcard. Maybe the editors felt it risked crossing wires between enjoying baddies getting killed and grieving for goodies getting killed, right when they want us untroubled so we can be fully into the union of Brienna and Sansa?

But one of the MOs of the story has been not flinching from acknowledging consequences of using power, and how fear of those consequences is the very engine driving people to seek and use power in exactly those ways.
I think vanishing the dogs and hoping viewers forget them is the kind of professional TV decision I'd expect from a scriptwriter more than from GRRM.
posted by -harlequin- at 10:51 PM on April 25, 2016


(I similarly suspect there will be a broad unwitting slide into more scriptwriter habits and tropes now that the story is coming almost entirely from scriptwriters instead of being adapted from books. What grabbed me about GoT was that it didn't rest on the storytelling methods and formulas that US scriptwriters seem locked into. GoT seemed systems-driven by the momentum of the status quo with the characters reacting, which is closer to how the real world looks to me, and was a breath of fresh air for TV. Hollywood by contrast does character-driven stories where the wider situation is just an excuse for generating the desired character motivations and conflicts and actions, because it's about people. I have no faith that scriptwriters can transcend their profession. I suspect they will treat the characters as characters, which to me is not GoT.)
posted by -harlequin- at 11:04 PM on April 25, 2016 [20 favorites]


I was thinking, duh, S&T, if you're going to cross a river to throw dogs off the scent, you have to go downriver far enough the hounds will give up before they find where you came out. Not really an option in a river of ice floes.

My thoughts, too. You don't simply cross a stream to throw off tracking dogs, because the people with them will see your tracks just across the river.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:05 AM on April 26, 2016


But one of the MOs of the story has been not flinching from acknowledging consequences of using power, and how fear of those consequences is the very engine driving people to seek and use power in exactly those ways.
I think vanishing the dogs and hoping viewers forget them is the kind of professional TV decision I'd expect from a scriptwriter more than from GRRM.


Thanks for articulating this, it's what I was trying to say before. GoT sometimes takes really odd turns with its direction (Sansa's wedding night, Brienne killing Stannis) where they seem to be paying too much attention to what the audience might think (or what they think it'll think).
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:16 AM on April 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


When did this show become camp? Sometime about Season 4? I liked the old show, the high fantasy that took itself too seriously. The Sand Snakes, the Dothraki harem, such high camp. And then Tyrion/Varys being low camp, and Jorah/Daario being boring camp. Also agree with codacorolla that some of the production looked like Hercules.

Other parts were great though. I loved Sansa's taking the oath from Brienne, with Podrick's help for the litany. She's finally going to become a woman, a queen, and have some agency of her own. She's got steel in her and now she's got steel working for her.

But really I just want a show about Arya all the time.
posted by Nelson at 7:35 AM on April 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


My thoughts, too. You don't simply cross a stream to throw off tracking dogs, because the people with them will see your tracks just across the river.

Well, even before Ramsay turned him into...whatever he is now...Theon was never exactly the most competent person. This, plus his genius "I'll turn myself in and they'll just miss you hiding under this tree" plan, makes me wonder if his incompetence is set to reassert itself now that he is a free man again.

I kind of hope Theon/Reek and Sansa - especially the former - mostly just shut up and listen to Brienne and Pod.
posted by breakin' the law at 7:40 AM on April 26, 2016 [2 favorites]


When did this show become camp? Sometime about Season 4? I liked the old show, the high fantasy that took itself too seriously.

I don't know that I'd quite call it camp, but I think it's pretty clear that the show peaked sometime around Seasons 2-3, and I'd be very surprised at this point if it ever reached those highs again. Part of that is plot movement - things were just more interesting when Joffrey was terrorizing the Red Keep and the North was rebelling - and part of that is one of the great pleasures of the show (to me, anyhow) is discovering this whole fucking world, with all sorts of intricate detail, and by now it seems like most of the big places have been pretty much covered.

I still think it's the most entertaining thing on television, so I'll still watch, but it's more of a good show than a great one now.
posted by breakin' the law at 7:50 AM on April 26, 2016


With the War of the Five Kings won, things got a bit tedious for everyone, characters and audience. It hasn't been pretty, watching Daenerys repeatedly fuck up as she pretends to know what's right for everyone. Plus there hasn't been a sexy villain since Tywin, someone smart and cunning who kinda hated, but kinda liked (or at least admired). Roose Bolton has that potential, but they haven't done much with him. Ramsay is just a pyschopath and that gets old quickly. Throne is just idiotic. Cersei comes close, but she's so short sighted you begin to roll your eyes and wish Tyrion was there for her to trade quips with.

Well, even before Ramsay turned him into...whatever he is now...Theon was never exactly the most competent person.

I wonder how Brienne will feel about Theon being around. He's betrayed her family, so that's not going to sit well with her. Possibly she might insist he leave, which might make the most sense for everyone.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:02 AM on April 26, 2016 [2 favorites]


Plus there hasn't been a sexy villain since Tywin, someone smart and cunning who kinda hated, but kinda liked (or at least admired).

Charles Dance brought sooooooo much to that role, and by extension, the show. His absence is felt.

The cat-and-mouse between Arya and Tywin at Harrenhal is some of my favorite stuff of the show. Both of them totally ruthless, totally focused on what they want to the exclusion of all else. Both of them seeing that in the other, and respecting it. I haven't completely ruled out the interpretation that Tywin truly does know that he has the Stark girl in hand, but is playing his cards right against his chest.

Only two characters could possibly take up that mantle at this point: the High Sparrow and Cersei. Lord knows Jonathan Pryce can certainly invest a character with that cold-blooded cunning and malice and charm, and Lena Headey also has the chops to pull it off, but I strongly doubt the scriptwriters will give either of them the material to get it done.
posted by rocketman at 8:13 AM on April 26, 2016 [5 favorites]


God, fucking Ramsay. When he went into his whole I'm-gonna-inflict-pain-on-whoever-did-this spiel with Miranda, I literally said out loud "OK, but don't show it to us." I also was afraid, at least for a second or two, that he was gonna start fondling her corpse or something. That guy is the actual, literal, worst.

That said, here are the three storylines I'm most looking forward to this season:

1. Sparrows v. Lannisters in KL. They haven't done a whole lot with this so far, and I'm afraid it will get the short shrift, but it has lots of potential. The High Sparrow is one of the more interesting newer characters. The whole idea of the Lannisters fighting with a popular group of religious fundamentalists in the capital city could go in any number of directions (covert warfare? mass rebellion? guerilla fighting in the streets?), and it has the classic GoT no-real-good-guys theme.

2. Whatever the hell Varys and Tyrion do in Meereen. Those two are always fun, and I think they'll be more formidable opponents for the Sons of the Harpy than Dany's crew. Also, the air of mystery around the who or what may or may not be pulling the strings with the Harpies is intriguing.

3. On The Road with Sansa, Brienne and Pod. I know not every viewer has liked the leisurely buddies-on-the-road plotlines, but I usually do. At their best, the provide a glimpse into the more ordinary, workaday parts of Westeros. I do, however, fear that this may just be an abbreviated trip to the Wall, and so where it ends up could hinge pretty prominently on what happens up there.
posted by breakin' the law at 8:23 AM on April 26, 2016 [3 favorites]


I just have the hardest time believing, based on literally every time he's been on screen, that Aliser Thorne didn't get fragged on his first ranging.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:24 AM on April 26, 2016 [9 favorites]


2. Whatever the hell Varys and Tyrion do in Meereen. Those two are always fun, and I think they'll be more formidable opponents for the Sons of the Harpy than Dany's crew. Also, the air of mystery around the who or what may or may not be pulling the strings with the Harpies is intriguing.

GOD HELL YES. Tyrion and Varys are just desperately awesome doing nearly anything together (though it's nearly always just trading bon mots while Tyrion gets wasted). Yet I have a nagging suspicion that Varys is pulling the strings of the Harpies, and it will prompt a reckoning between the two.
posted by rocketman at 8:28 AM on April 26, 2016 [3 favorites]


Yet I have a nagging suspicion that Varys is pulling the strings of the Harpies, and it will prompt a reckoning between the two.

No. That's just not... no. It's not possible.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:35 AM on April 26, 2016


No. That's just not... no. It's not possible.

Search your feelings, you know it to be true.
posted by rocketman at 8:36 AM on April 26, 2016 [2 favorites]


There's a lot of evidence against and none for.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:40 AM on April 26, 2016


I don't have any evidence except a tickling spider-sense when Tyrion asked him about who was leading the movement, and Varys gave his best "I got nothin'" gesture and said all his birds had been dispatched in search of answers.

When Varys claims not to know something, it's often a safe bet that he does know it. As an audience, we have learned to trust him because he helped Tyrion escape King's Landing. Yet his intention was never to join him - it was only when Tyrion forced his hand by murdering Tywin that he settled onto the ship.

The only character more opaque (possibly) and duplicitous than Varys is Baelish. Varys plots for Robert Baratheon and plots against Robert Baratheon. Varys plots for Daenarys and plots against Daenarys (he was the one who put the poison plot into motion, and save for Jorah's change of heart (Jorah, who was working for Varys at the time), it would have been successful).

It's entirely possible that Varys speaks the truth when he says that he believes Daenarys is the only one who can rightfully sit on the Iron Throne. But he clearly sees that she's mired down in Meereen, and would not a little fomented rebellion give her the nudge she needs to get the hell out of there and across the Narrow Sea?

Actually, reflecting what I wrote above, we do know what Baelish wants: he wants to rule. He wants power, and all his moves are in pursuit of such.

What does Varys want? He claims to serve the realm, but the realm is fickle.
posted by rocketman at 8:56 AM on April 26, 2016 [4 favorites]


I haven't completely ruled out the interpretation that Tywin truly does know that he has the Stark girl in hand, but is playing his cards right against his chest.

There's no way in the world that a man as smart as Tywin doesn't figure out that's Arya or at least suspect and begin questioning her. Plot wise, those scenes don't make a lick of sense, because Tywin would have figure it out or Arya would have killed him.

But I don't care, those scenes were magnetic and left me wanting a helluva lot more. Imagine if Cersei displayed even half of what Arya had in those scenes. Her entire relationship with Tywin would have been different. Hell, those scenes are the warmest we ever seen Tywin to anyone.

When he's served mutton and refuses to eat it, proclaiming "I don't like mutton," he sounds incredibly human and normal, like an old grandfather complaining. Then he has commands Arya to eat noting her small size and that it's probably due to malnutrition. He doesn't sound happy about people starving at all and there's a hint that he wish he could do something about it. And he's so indulgent with Arya! He totally respects her intelligence and willingness to adhere to certain principles (refusing to speak like a commoner). Just really great stuff.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:34 AM on April 26, 2016 [3 favorites]


What does Varys want? He claims to serve the realm, but the realm is fickle.

There was a scene last season, when Oberyn asks Varys what he wants, and Varys looks knowingly at the Iron Throne.

I think the thing with Varys setting up the poisoning of Danerys is pretty bizarre, especially since early on, in the "Chasing Cats" scene where Arya overhears Varys talking with that ... dude who had custody or whatever of the Targaryen kids, it sounds like they are both are still loyal to the Targaryen claims on the throne and are in cahoots with the scheme to put Daenerys on the iron throne.

But if "the Realm" is really what Varys cares about, maybe he's seen how bad Daenerys is at ruling and has decided to cut her ambitions short. But if he wants to do away with her why bring Tyrion around; and anyway, the first thing you'd do is just kill those dragons. WIthout them Daenerys is toothless. And if you're concerned about the realm and you're not backing Daenerys, who are you backing? Baelish? Does Varys think he'll rule the 7 kingdoms himself? A eunuch who can't produce any heirs won't exactly lend any stability to the line of succession.
posted by dis_integration at 10:33 AM on April 26, 2016


There's no way in the world that a man as smart as Tywin doesn't figure out that's Arya or at least suspect and begin questioning her.

I don't think the jump to Arya would be that plausible, since presumably Tywin had never met her, and he has no reason to assume she's made it all the way to Harrenhall. But he does question her a lot and comes off as pretty sure that whoever she is, she isn't the daughter of a stonemason, but likely a noble of some sort. But there are lots of those, and I get the sense that he was too concerned with the ongoing war to worry too much about his cup bearer's origins. If Arya hadn't escaped when she did, maybe she would've been found out. That subplot all hashed out plausibly to me.
posted by dis_integration at 10:37 AM on April 26, 2016 [2 favorites]


Does Varys think he'll rule the 7 kingdoms himself? A eunuch who can't produce any heirs won't exactly lend any stability to the line of succession.

Well, it's based on a lot of book stuff, but there is this rather silly theory that suggests he has... deeper motives.
posted by Rock Steady at 10:44 AM on April 26, 2016 [4 favorites]


I have always given a side-eye to Varys' claim that he serves "the realm." As far as I can recall, he's never said what "the realm" is.

Weird book theories aside, why would the true loyalties of a slave boy from Lys lie with the Iron Throne? I hope GRRM&D&D have a good answer to that.
posted by sparklemotion at 11:50 AM on April 26, 2016 [4 favorites]


I don't think Varys is behind the harpies, but one possibility that makes sense within that framework is that he wants Daeny to stop playing colonial queen and get her ass to Westeros (don't we all). Funding insurgency efforts that make ruling tedious while not posing a real threat to the woman herself would be a way to do that. It seems far too risky for a Varys plot, however. What if they get lucky and kill the Targ claimant to the throne?

As for his general motives throughout the story, I suspect that he's being controlled by one of the greater powers of the universe that we've only caught glimpses of so far. R'Hllor, or maybe the Great Other. Daeny would be his path to sparking some sort of apocalyptic confrontation. He could see her as either a savior, or as a powerful pawn that is able to get him what he wants.

Or it could be that Varys is just a really smart person who's tired of being ruled by petulant, frequently insane assholes. He could be the impetus for Westeros to start slowly slouching its way to a modern republic / nation with semi-democratic rule. He has no ambition to the throne, and likely doesn't even want Daeny to take the seat, but instead wants to destroy the idea of monarchy entirely. For a landless, servant, former slave eunuch who's good at playing politics, he has to realize that he can only operate behind the scenes of a monarchy, but could take real political power within the bounds of a (even primitive) democracy.
posted by codacorolla at 3:18 PM on April 26, 2016 [3 favorites]


Varys running the harpies doesn't make much sense, it doesn't serve any purpose that I can see. Maybe as a trial run for Daenerys encountering problems with ruling? He sees she has problems, so brings Tyrion to advise and give them both experience in working together? Then why burn the fleet, ensuring her army can't get to Westeros? Doesn't add up.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:30 PM on April 26, 2016


Two easily conceivable reasons: the harpies are out of control, or they didn't burn the ships. We only know that the ships have been burnt, and nothing else at this point.
posted by codacorolla at 5:22 PM on April 26, 2016


The dragons burnt the ships. You know how teenagers can be.
posted by dis_integration at 5:40 PM on April 26, 2016 [2 favorites]


the harpies are out of control

What's the point in creating the harpies? If not for them, things would be under control and Daenerys turn her eyes towards Westeros, which sounds more in line with Varys stated and implied goals of putting D on the throne.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:53 PM on April 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


On the subject of the hounds. I went back and rewatched that scene and noticed that you can see them in the background of shots for almost the whole fight just being cute puppies on leashes.

The last time you see them is just before Theon kills the last Bolton man. At which point I assume the houndmaster was just like "come on, good boys, let's got for a walk."
posted by 256 at 6:27 AM on April 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


You know how teenagers can be.

Fuck you mom, I'll smoke pot where I want!!!
posted by rocketman at 8:33 AM on April 28, 2016


Interesting further tidbit after watching the battle yet again with an obsessive eye. We clearly see six Bolton men in the search party: four on horseback and two houndmasters. The two houndmasters are the only ones wearing shields on their back.

In the melee, we only see five men killed. The four hoursemen followed by one of the two houndmasters. So, it's quite plausible that the remaining houndmaster fled with the dogs, perhaps to pass on word of Sansa's new friends to the Boltons.

Of course, if that's what the writers are planning, it's a little odd that they didn't actually show the sixth man escaping. So maybe it was just lazy fight choreography combined with not wanting to show Brienne butchering puppies.
posted by 256 at 12:08 PM on April 28, 2016 [2 favorites]


"It's a bloody woman!" *dies*
Love it.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 4:41 AM on April 29, 2016


Also the Three Dothraki Stooges kind of took me out of that scene. Was it suppose to be some weird joke on the famous Conan "what is best in life" line?

It felt like a cross between that and "What have the Romans ever done for us? OK, apart from viaducts, sanitation, roads..."
posted by EndsOfInvention at 4:55 AM on April 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


Having enjoyed this episode, I'm pretty excited for tonight's new chapter!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:23 PM on May 1, 2016




And this week's episode settled it. We are clearly told that six men were killed. So I guess the puppies-murdered-off-camera theory is confirmed.

Brienne Puppyslayer.
posted by 256 at 12:26 PM on May 5, 2016


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