Game of Thrones: Oathbreaker   Books Included 
May 8, 2016 7:32 PM - Season 6, Episode 3 - Subscribe

Daenerys goes backward. Bran visits a tower. Cersei and Jaime try to make small talk. Tommen talks to the High Sparrow. Varys gets a new little bird. No One fights back. A long lost friend rears his head.
posted by gatorae (346 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
i hope daenerys gets a dragon to bbq and devour the high septon
posted by poffin boffin at 7:33 PM on May 8, 2016 [6 favorites]


ITS HAPPENING
posted by The Whelk at 7:33 PM on May 8, 2016 [4 favorites]


THE TOWER

TAKE US BACK, GIANT 30 YEAR OLD BRAN
posted by poffin boffin at 7:36 PM on May 8, 2016 [24 favorites]


Not this week!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:36 PM on May 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


TREE MAGIC MAKES YOU TALL

Just go with it

Also being hidden in the wild makes you roughly 28

Just go with it
posted by The Whelk at 7:37 PM on May 8, 2016 [3 favorites]


It's too dangerous to see too much of the past at once! Patience! Otherwise why would you watch next week?!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:37 PM on May 8, 2016 [11 favorites]


I would have lost it if Jon had said "Edd, fetch me my block."
posted by drezdn at 7:38 PM on May 8, 2016 [4 favorites]


i'm sad arya didn't get to give waify thing a proper cage match beat down
posted by poffin boffin at 7:38 PM on May 8, 2016 [4 favorites]


I swear by the old gods and the new, if Ramsay hurts Osha I will lose my shit. I don't really care about Rickon since I feel like his demise has been pretty much guaranteed all along. I mean, I get why there wouldn't be a POV chapter of a 5 year old, but come on, he is a vestigial Stark.

I'm aggravated that they are splitting the Tower of Joy scene, but I get it. For the Show Only n00bz you have to pique their interest a bit before dropping something like that since they have no clue what is happening.
posted by gatorae at 7:39 PM on May 8, 2016 [9 favorites]


I really wish they would have just stuck with the clever cut from Varys to Qyburn talking to the "birds" without explaining they were the birds.
posted by drezdn at 7:42 PM on May 8, 2016 [11 favorites]


ok who is this new umber if smalljon was killed with robb?

wait was smalljon killed with robb on the show

where is greatjon
posted by poffin boffin at 7:43 PM on May 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


So when Osha and Rickon are presented to Ramsay, was I the only one hoping that this would finally be when the Great Northern Conspiracy struck?
posted by culfinglin at 7:45 PM on May 8, 2016 [4 favorites]


nerdgasm


“The finest knight I ever saw was Ser Arthur Dayne, who fought with a blade called Dawn, forged from the heart of a fallen star. They called him the Sword of the Morning, and he would have killed me but for Howland Reed.” Father had gotten sad then, and he would say no more.


y u haz 2 dawns dayney one not good enuff for you?
posted by lalochezia at 7:46 PM on May 8, 2016 [6 favorites]


The middlest Umber.
posted by drezdn at 7:46 PM on May 8, 2016 [5 favorites]


I did like that it is an open secret that Ser Robert = Gregor Clegane. I didn't remember that being acknowledged in the books, even though it couldn't be more obvious when a creepy dead-eyed Gregor Clegan-shaped Knightsguard materialized a week after Gregor Clegane died.
posted by gatorae at 7:47 PM on May 8, 2016 [8 favorites]


I think some of the choices they make either because they don't want to pay for the effects, or don't think they would translate to the screen are frustrating. For example, in the books, it seems really important that Arya beats the test by warging a cat. No such luck tonight.
posted by drezdn at 7:49 PM on May 8, 2016 [4 favorites]


#whydidwehavetobringshaggydogintothis?
posted by Navelgazer at 8:01 PM on May 8, 2016 [18 favorites]


They seem to have ditched warging entirely, I was really pulling for Ghost to be involved in the Jon Resurrection. Though to be fair, it's a tough thing to bring across visually.

Book theory-confirmation wise, this whole episode was like the TV equivalent of that tantric sex thing when you allow yourself to go right up to the edge of climax but then choke it off.
posted by Diablevert at 8:04 PM on May 8, 2016 [7 favorites]


ok who is this new umber if smalljon was killed with robb?

wait was smalljon killed with robb on the show

where is greatjon


That was the Smalljohn. The Greatjohn was the old man killed during the Red Wedding. It's his son who approaches Ramsay in this episode.
posted by Sangermaine at 8:04 PM on May 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


The ending with Jon felt like a dumb TV ending that was filmed to look like a dramatic mic drop but actually made no sense. Where the hell are you going? You just gave away your nice warm Lord Commander coat, so naturally you decide to walk off all by yourself into the cold? Do you expect Daavos and Melisandre to follow you because you know this is TV/a book and it just makes narrative sense for that to happen? Is Melisandre bringing you a new Undead Prince That was Promised coat?
posted by gatorae at 8:06 PM on May 8, 2016 [12 favorites]


The girl questioning Arya asked her if she hadn't left someone off of her death list. What did she mean by that? Was it that Arya had to "kill" herself to move forward?
posted by Sangermaine at 8:06 PM on May 8, 2016


That was the Smalljohn. The Greatjohn was the old man killed during the Red Wedding. It's his son who approaches Ramsay in this episode.

There is no Northern Conspiracy.
posted by clockzero at 8:06 PM on May 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


This Umber thing I feel like is a double-cross. Maybe. The Umbers could be still loyal, and that could be the head of some random other direwolf. They could be leading Ramsay's army out to die.

Only problem with that theory is, I'm not sure why Rickon would have suddenly decided to act on his own to take Ramsay down. But maybe he did it with the thought that Sansa would be there to back him up.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:10 PM on May 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


The middlest Umber.

And I'm your middlest Umber, Travis Umberroy!
posted by Navelgazer at 8:13 PM on May 8, 2016 [13 favorites]


The girl questioning Arya asked her if she hadn't left someone off of her death list. What did she mean by that? Was it that Arya had to "kill" herself to move forward?

I believe The Waif was asking whether The Waif was now on Arya's list. A Girl has no such list, however, so the answer was only whether The Waif had a name to suggest.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:15 PM on May 8, 2016 [8 favorites]


The Waif is going on A Girl's second list: the list of People Who Have Annoyed The Everliving Fuck Out Of A Girl.
posted by culfinglin at 8:30 PM on May 8, 2016 [41 favorites]


Why did Bloodraven say that he'd been watching the world from a distance for a thousand years? Isn't he only one or two hundred years old, at this point?
posted by clockzero at 8:32 PM on May 8, 2016 [3 favorites]


You know your show is pretty big when the end credits start with "GUEST STARRING: Max von Sydow. Diana Rigg."
posted by Justinian at 8:33 PM on May 8, 2016 [16 favorites]


Why did Bloodraven say that he'd been watching the world from a distance for a thousand years? Isn't he only one or two hundred years old, at this point?

You kind of lose track of time when you're stuck melded with a tree in a cave a million miles from anywhere.
posted by Sangermaine at 8:36 PM on May 8, 2016 [3 favorites]


Or, like Bran's doing now, he's gone back before he was born and has seen thousand's of years of the world's history.
posted by LionIndex at 8:38 PM on May 8, 2016 [3 favorites]


Maybe Bloodraven's not going to get a backstory for the show, so they just went with 1000 years because it sounds spooky.
posted by skewed at 8:38 PM on May 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


He means 1000 in Bran years.
posted by gatorae at 8:47 PM on May 8, 2016 [17 favorites]


It would be funny if he actually did count differently, because Aegon the Unworthy disastrously attempted to introduce a new system of reckoning time, and Max von Sydow didn't know that everyone used the usual way now because he hasn't seen anyone in, like, a thousand years
posted by clockzero at 9:01 PM on May 8, 2016 [5 favorites]


The Bran Years: GoT vs. The Wonder Years
posted by clockzero at 9:02 PM on May 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


I hope Cleganebowl happens and the Hound atones by slaying Mountainstein and then the Faith leads a peasant revolt to overthrow the entire Westerosi aristocracy, except Dorne and the North, which each go their separate ways.
posted by Apocryphon at 9:28 PM on May 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


Could this be a fake Rickon? All the dire wolf head proves is that the Umbers had Rickon, not that the kid in the room was him. This could be a way for the Umbers to get inside the Bolton operation and take it down to elevate the real Rickon.
posted by jimw at 9:34 PM on May 8, 2016


Kind of a nothing episode. The Tower of Joy setup felt weirdly small, like it was all shot in someone's yard with a bunch of neighborhood kids in renn faire gear. But I liked the implication that Bran overstaying his welcome in the past could strand him there as a kind of ghost, perhaps able to interact with people to a limited degree but otherwise a helpless spectator. Otherwise...I just want Ramsay killed off because he's such a one-note character, I was willing to accept that Rickon just fell on his head and died in the woods or something and I can't imagine I'm expected to care about him now, Jon quit the Night's Watch because he was pouting or something, and poor Tyrion can't get a decent conversation going. Good grief.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:37 PM on May 8, 2016 [6 favorites]


Could this be a fake Rickon? All the dire wolf head proves is that the Umbers had Rickon, not that the kid in the room was him. This could be a way for the Umbers to get inside the Bolton operation and take it down to elevate the real Rickon.
I thought they might go that route but I'm aalllmost positive that was the same actor. You'd think if they were going to have a fake Rickon he wouldn't look like he was 19 years old.
posted by deathpanels at 9:37 PM on May 8, 2016 [3 favorites]


The ending with Jon felt like a dumb TV ending that was filmed to look like a dramatic mic drop but actually made no sense. Where the hell are you going? You just gave away your nice warm Lord Commander coat, so naturally you decide to walk off all by yourself into the cold? Do you expect Daavos and Melisandre to follow you because you know this is TV/a book and it just makes narrative sense for that to happen? Is Melisandre bringing you a new Undead Prince That was Promised coat?
Yeah, not to mention, isn't there a pretty clearly established election system for choosing the Lord Commander, a position apparently served for life? Seems weird that he could just hand it over to whoever he wanted.

That scene just missed a beat somewhere. I guess he was bummed because he had to kill Olly? His motivation was a bit unclear. I'm not sure he cares about Milly or Daavos following him, though.
posted by deathpanels at 9:45 PM on May 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


Yeah, it looked like the same kid to me also. Couldn't confirm without going on a bunch of spoiler websites.

Also, I am going to be super-annoyed if Sansa shows up and Jon's not even there.
posted by Diablevert at 9:45 PM on May 8, 2016


She'll ride up two minutes after he left, I've been getting my eye rolling exercises ready.
posted by nom de poop at 9:47 PM on May 8, 2016 [15 favorites]


Why did Bloodraven say that he'd been watching the world from a distance for a thousand years?

Well, he's been watching the Earth at least since the 1930s, and I think the intro implies orbital satellites above Planetos.

(yes yes that's not MvS pfft pshaw)
posted by mwhybark at 10:11 PM on May 8, 2016


Welp. That was a tease, all around.

At the very least, Tyrion didn't make any dick jokes this episode! Thank goodness, I thought they were going to make it his shtick. Passed it on to Tormund this week, I guess.

And Jon decides to stay LC just long enough to hang everyone, and then decides his oath no longer holds. I was honestly hoping Thorne or Olly would point out to him that he wasn't the fucking LC anymore in terms of the oath, and everyone would take a step back and go "whoa. Dude has a point." And I'm still mystified on Thorne's stand - "you let the wildlings through the Wall, so I tried to kill ya! I didn't try before you did that - you know, when you were trapped on the other side of the Wall with them - I waited until you did it, and then I decided it was time to stab ya! After you did the thing that I think is so bad, and that can't be undone! That's the time for the killing!"

This Umber thing I feel like is a double-cross. Maybe. The Umbers could be still loyal, and that could be the head of some random other direwolf. They could be leading Ramsay's army out to die.

I like the idea, but it feels too subtle for the show to pull that off right now. I expect the Manderlys will show up somewhere, hopefully on Sansa's side, and that will be as deep as this gets. If that is truly Rickon, the direwolf head does not presage a great outcome for him. But I suspect we'll see Theon skulk back into Winterfell, hide in the crypts, and do something kinda heroic that might help Rickon out.

Did enjoy the Davos/Jon manhug, though. And Davos gave some sage advice to the newly risen.
posted by nubs at 10:11 PM on May 8, 2016 [3 favorites]


It's the same kid (I checked on imdb).

A lot of fan theory sites/vlogs have talked about Jon being able to leave the Night's Watch post resurrection because he died, fulfilling the term of the vow he took. I thought it was cool they had him do it but it was a bit lacking in the way it was acted out.
posted by toomanycurls at 10:12 PM on May 8, 2016 [5 favorites]


That was the Smalljohn. The Greatjohn was the old man killed during the Red Wedding. It's his son who approaches Ramsay in this episode.

Actually, the Greatjon wasn't at the Red Wedding.
posted by homunculus at 10:15 PM on May 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


So... "Oathbreaker." Just refers to Jon Snow? Seems kinda light for a title, especially since it's debatable whether he's breaking his oath.

I guess Sam kinda breaks his word to Gilly, but ...eh.

Danaerys broke the law by not going to the Temple immediately after her khal died; I guess from a dothraki perspective she broke an oath (and now is going to be held to account for it).

? Anything else? I was hoping for something interesting to do with Brienne, but oh well.
posted by torticat at 10:16 PM on May 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


This Umber thing I feel like is a double-cross. Maybe. The Umbers could be still loyal, and that could be the head of some random other direwolf. They could be leading Ramsay's army out to die.

The Umbers could be simultaneously plotting to overthrow the Boltons, and treating Rickon and Osha like pawns. Remember, in this setting, there's no love lost between any group.
posted by Apocryphon at 10:16 PM on May 8, 2016 [4 favorites]


Between the foreshadowing of #CLEGANEBOWL and the Risen Jon finding an out for his NW oath and the field trip to the Tower of Joy and hey, memba Rickon? I feel like the show unbound from the books feels like it was written by a frustrated ASOIAF fan and idk if I like it.
posted by prize bull octorok at 10:18 PM on May 8, 2016 [11 favorites]


So I'm watching the Umber/Ramsay scene again, and it's interesting that Umber refuses to take any vows or bend the knee to Ramsay, immediately on the heels of Ramsay and Karstark talking about how loyal the Umbers are to the Starks. $5 says that Umber's going to make a point of saying 'I never swore you any oaths' right after shanking Ramsay.
posted by culfinglin at 10:19 PM on May 8, 2016 [18 favorites]


I feel like the show unbound from the books feels like it was written by a frustrated ASOIAF fan and idk if I like it.

I still waiting for Aegon to show up and unleash a random invasion out of nowhere.
posted by Apocryphon at 10:20 PM on May 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


Maybe Bloodraven's not going to get a backstory for the show, so they just went with 1000 years because it sounds spooky.

If so, that will be very disappointing. Right now he's the most intriguing character on the show, and Sydow is a brilliant actor. I hope they don't waste it.

Every time they show Max von Sydow sitting there surrounded by roots, I'm always amused by how clean and well groomed he is compared to the first time we saw the character. There are so many disheveled people on this show and they decide to clean up the tree hermit? It's actually kind of distracting.
posted by homunculus at 10:36 PM on May 8, 2016 [4 favorites]


I just have to imagine Jon skulking back in and saying "no, no, watch is still ended, but can I have a horse? And, uh, some food maybe? And my direwolf?"
posted by KathrynT at 10:42 PM on May 8, 2016 [15 favorites]


Also, those screams from the Tower of Joy?, that was 100% Lyanna giving birth, right?
posted by KathrynT at 10:51 PM on May 8, 2016 [7 favorites]


i bet she was watching the LOST finale
posted by poffin boffin at 10:52 PM on May 8, 2016 [34 favorites]


It would be funny if he actually did count differently, because Aegon the Unworthy disastrously attempted to introduce a new system of reckoning time, and Max von Sydow didn't know that everyone used the usual way now because he hasn't seen anyone in, like, a thousand years

Allow me to blow your mind: given the variable seasons, what exactly is a "year" on Planetos?
posted by The Tensor at 10:54 PM on May 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


Lunar cycles would be my guess. That way they can coherently refer to a winter that lasted 30 years, &c.
posted by obliterati at 10:58 PM on May 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


So... "Oathbreaker." Just refers to Jon Snow?
Oaths broken include: the Umbers to the Starks
Ned Stark to his vows of knighthood- also this scene explains perfectly, more than killing Dayne, why he had to leave Ashara and what might break her heart utterly. If he loved Ashara, she knew him, and she knew he couldn't take her brother down honorably.

Other worst bit: it looks like Dayne was leaving Ned alive deliberately, and knew he would be doing so from the beginning - "I wish you luck in the wars to come". So Dayne spared Ned for both sisters, and Ned killed him to preserve the fiction of his honor. We learned so much in that scene.
posted by corb at 11:09 PM on May 8, 2016 [17 favorites]


Apparently the other Kingsguard was Oswell Whent.
posted by homunculus at 11:21 PM on May 8, 2016


So are we really gonna have Max von Sydow stretch out an entire season's worth of flashbacks to spring the big R+L=J reveal on us

Like, is that really where all this is gonna end up

Do the showrunners know we have internet
posted by prize bull octorok at 11:26 PM on May 8, 2016 [10 favorites]


I think so, given that folks in the Show only thread are like "ugh this is so irrelevant." I think they're not only going to have to show Lyanna as Jon's mother but also flashback to why it matters.
posted by corb at 11:29 PM on May 8, 2016 [3 favorites]


We learned so much in that scene.

hahaha you did! My husband and I were pretty much going "okay yay that's Howland and that's the morning dawn star guy and that's the ToJ and... yay... um, do you remember what's happening here?"

I mean of course we understood the R+L=J stuff going down; we just couldn't remember all the knightly details to do with the Targaryens and the rebellion. I cannot even imagine what non-book-readers would have made of that scene (about to head over to the other thread to find out).

So corb, I think you've read the books more recently than I have. Remind me why it was dishonorable for Ned to have killed Dayne (or fought him to the death alongside Reed)? If he thought he was rescuing his kidnapped sister?

Also, is Ashara a character on the show?
posted by torticat at 11:34 PM on May 8, 2016


is Ashara a character on the show?

She's never been mentioned, afaik, and I doubt they'd introduce her at this point.
posted by homunculus at 11:39 PM on May 8, 2016


Oaths broken include: the Umbers to the Starks

True, that's a big one. I'm with showbiz_liz though, hoping that was some major misdirection.

Maybe all the oathbreaking in the episode was only on the surface, with more important stuff going on underneath. Jon, Sam, Umber, Dany, Ned (?). Hmmm.
posted by torticat at 11:41 PM on May 8, 2016


What was the powder that a girl was mixing amongst all the cuts with her talking and fighting the waif and so on?

Also, what did a girl learn through all that? I feel like I'm missing something obvious. But I can't tell if she learned to lie convincingly or to tell the truth or what. What was the key to her finally defeating the waif?
posted by torticat at 12:06 AM on May 9, 2016


Remind me why it was dishonorable for Ned to have killed Dayne (or fought him to the death alongside Reed)? If he thought he was rescuing his kidnapped sister?

I can't remember from the books, but I think it's due to the fact that Dayne is meant to be the best swordsman ever, basically unbeatable, so the only way Ned could have killed him is by, for example, stabbing him in the back.
posted by tracicle at 12:41 AM on May 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


The ungrateful undead.

We brought you back to life, we can just easily shoot you in the back as you ride off for sunnier climes. Come back here and do your bloody job.
posted by vbfg at 2:23 AM on May 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


I don't think there was any "this was a dishonorable way to win" angle to the fight with Dayne. It wasn't a duel, and the context was a rebellion, right after the Trident and the sack of King's Landing. Ned probably showed more honor than was normal by chatting first and not bringing archers, poison, wildfire, zombies, pikemen, etc. Knightly honor is not really much of thing in the show or books.

I could see Ned letting people believe what they want to believe, but I doubt he'd tell the story as if he defeated Dayne in single combat (as Bran implies). At any rate, the fact remains that Ned Stark and (1d2+4) nobodies defeated the best swordsman of the age and (1d2) other ultra-badasses, without any asterisks. I'm sure would be enough to make Jaime fascinated to find out how good Ned really is, because Jaime knew there's no way Ned could defeat Arthur Dayne in single combat, yet the Tower of Joy was not a fact that could be ignored, nor Ned was not the clever win-by-cheating type.

So I don't know what the show was going for. It would have been a different thing if Arthur Dayne slipped on some blood and landed near Howland Reed who was alive enough to stab him in the face or something. "Reality is weirder/messier than u think, and the people left standing aren't always the best ones," would be okay cuz that's what ASoIaF is all about. "Ned lied about defeating Arthur Dayne in single combat, deal with that knowledge, Bran!!!" is pretty dumb.
posted by nom de poop at 3:24 AM on May 9, 2016 [8 favorites]


Actually, the Greatjon wasn't at the Red Wedding.

In the books he was, and is currently held hostage by the Freys, while the SmallJon was killed. The remaining House Umber is divided between loyalties to Stannis (still alive in the books) and Bolton.
posted by LionIndex at 3:41 AM on May 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


Tangentially, did they do the Gilly baby swap on the show? Or is that creepy, slient, imp of a child heading south with Sam a product of Craster's sickening household?

Because we then have a promised-to-the Others-abomination heading to the warm beating heart of Westeros. Could be interesting.
posted by arha at 4:14 AM on May 9, 2016 [3 favorites]


Ned never claimed to have slain Dayne in single combat, and I don't expect he would ever have planned a sneak attack. The Bran memory is short, and simply says:

The finest knight I ever saw was Ser Arthur Dayne, who fought with a blade called Dawn, forged from the heart of a fallen star. They called him the Sword of the Morning, and he would have killed me but for Howland Reed.
posted by coriolisdave at 4:53 AM on May 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


There was no baby swap on the show. That's Craster's kid.
posted by ocherdraco at 5:08 AM on May 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


Ned never claimed to have slain Dayne in single combat,

I think nom de poop is talking about what happened on the show. Show-only peeps wouldn't have that bit of memory of Ned's account; they have only Bran on the show saying he knew his father defeated Dayne, and learning exactly how during that flashback.
posted by torticat at 5:10 AM on May 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


I liked the episode (except for shaggydog), but I wasn't exactly whelmed by the Tower of Joy fight. Maybe the Mountain vs the Viper spoiled me, but honestly, this comic version of the fight was more of what I was hoping for, and doesn't cut out half of the dialogue. The editing of the dialogue really cuts into the feeling that there are rules being followed, and that there is a very formal finality to the words, as if the recitation is ritualistic in the repetition. That there was no repetition, and strangely fewer numbers on both sides was an odd choice.
posted by Ghidorah at 5:53 AM on May 9, 2016 [6 favorites]


Ned Stark to his vows of knighthood

Ned Stark was many things, but he was never a knight. Knighthood is rare in the North, as it involves the Seven. And even if he were, what vows would have been broken, exactly? Not to let another man stab an opponent in the back during a fight to the death?

I feel like they were trying to show us some amazing thing there, about the honourable Ned and the truth of the fight, when the fact is by this point in the show/story we've seen so many horrific battles and betrayals and bloody knifework, the thought that Ser Dayne was stabbed from behind at the end of a full on brawl is more of a "yeah, that happens" compared to "omg!"

I love the ToJ scene in the books, but last night made me realize that it isn't about the fight, but about the words exchanged and the question posed about why members of the Kingsguard sat out the war that killed the king and pretty much his whole family.
posted by nubs at 6:10 AM on May 9, 2016 [8 favorites]


1. i like the hugging. more hugging plz

2. shame there didn't seem to be warging involved and it might have been due to boring red magic afterall

3. Hannah Murray is ace but Oldtown exposition boooring

4. young Ned - a distinct meh. I appreciate that even the most expensive CGI can't realistically replicate this but "Squishy Legolas" isn't even trying. Also maybe D&D can't tell the difference between a thick Hull accent and a standard Sheffield burr but the change there is really distracting.

5. would be interested to hear from people who can judge these things whether the fighting was up to scratch?

6. Oh OK Max, we'll tune in next week to find out more shall we?

7. Dosh khaleen should have been much more impressive, QUELLE SURPRISE that a female powerbase gets "glossed over". It's refreshing to NOT have to see her stripped AGAIN though, good on Emilia Clarke for laying down the law on that.

8. I enjoy Varys varysing but this was all a little TOO Mycroft. Tyrion seems bored with tyrioning.

9. Anton Lesser makes every scene he's in more intelligent and delightful in spite of the first-draft script and panto Dickensian urchinry.

10. Queen of Thorns woooo! imagine half an hour of the conversation BEFORE this scene opened.

11. Was the whole Sparrow scene their idea of a nod to US Mother's Day?

12. WAY too much waif-sparring, WAY too much of the lingering shots of Arya suffering. I HATE how much D&D get off on this shit.

13. NICE Hound coat-dragging though. Sod Cleganebowl let's have some Gravedigger/SeptonSwearengen road-to-redemption....

14. Rickon is just an excuse to indulge in more lovingly shot sadism. Osha can look after herself (pleaseplease). Does getting rid of Another direwolf confirm the show has no interest in ever exploring the warging stuff?

15. I liked the final scene surprising amounts. Having to swing a sword to hang people allowed for distinct echoes of Ned's lessons about what a lord has to do himself. Nevermind the micdropping/cloakwasting aspect, I think being traumatised and fed up and walking away from henchpersons' demands and expectations is not the least interesting way this could have ended up.
posted by runincircles at 6:16 AM on May 9, 2016 [9 favorites]


I think the final "name" Arya had to "kill" was definitely supposed to be "herself". And omg definitely labour scream from the tower! (being the only GoTer in my friend group, it's ace to have these forums to come and geek out and have feels and see clever people picking stuff apart / putting stuff together that would never otherwise occur to me!)
posted by runincircles at 6:23 AM on May 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


I thought the point of the ToJ scene was that the past was not courtly and knightly and dignified. That Bran's childhood interpretation was overly simple and fairy tale, and the reality was much messier. I feel like it's designed to lead a non-book audience "SEE THE PAST CAN BE DIFFERENT THAN WE SAID... YOU WITH US SO FAR?"

I thought the actual fighting was pretty good but as we knew the outcome that sort of pulled the punch, star-wars-prequel style, we know obi-wan is gonna live.
posted by French Fry at 6:35 AM on May 9, 2016 [3 favorites]


I thought the actual fighting was pretty good but as we knew the outcome that sort of pulled the punch, star-wars-prequel style, we know obi-wan is gonna live.

Also, turning Ser Arthur Dayne into General Grievous was probably unnecessary.
posted by Navelgazer at 6:39 AM on May 9, 2016 [16 favorites]


Jeez, the crowd in here is hard to please. I thought the episode was GREAT. In fact I feel that this episode was a return to form. Season 5 was really uneven, but this was fast, exciting and not a second dragged. TOWER OF JOY! Arya becomes Nobody! Holy shit, there's Rickon! *Pours out a 40 for Shaggydog*

I fangirled through the entire thing, and I'm not sorry.
posted by suburbanbeatnik at 6:39 AM on May 9, 2016 [18 favorites]


Oh, I loved it too, suburbanbeatnik. I think most people did. Geeks just like nitpicking things do death, especially things they love. The "books included" thread seems as good a place for that as any.
posted by Navelgazer at 6:43 AM on May 9, 2016


So corb, I think you've read the books more recently than I have. Remind me why it was dishonorable for Ned to have killed Dayne (or fought him to the death alongside Reed)? If he thought he was rescuing his kidnapped sister?

Okay, so there's a lot to this, and a lot of it is about who Ned is and who Ned has become. I think, after a night to sleep on it, we may actually be seeing the seeds of the Ned who walks to the block rather than accept a king who isn't actually Robert's son. I think one of the reasons that Ned doesn't talk about this much isn't just what happens to his sister, but also that he is deeply ashamed. It's more about the stab in the back - a thing that Ned didn't create, might not have explicitly asked for - but certainly took advantage of, to gain back his sister.

Remember also that Ashara Dayne killed herself* after Ned returns with Dayne's sword. It's doubtful it was just because of Ned, but we also know that she "looked to Stark" after a man "dishonored her" at Harrenhal. Barristan Selmy believes she had a stillborn daughter.

Fan speculation, that I back, is that Aerys may have been the one to dishonor her - she was one of Elia's companions and thus in the heart of court, and it seems really unlike either of the Starks to impregnate a noble girl when they could have just married her. More fan speculation that I'm not sure how I feel about, is that Ned knew about it, and was planning to rescue her from the shame of it by marrying her. Instead he shows up to announce that he's already married, and btw, he killed her brother - a brother that likely spared Ned's life and didn't kill him quickly because he knew how much Ashara was looking to Ned for hope.

That's enough for a suicide, maybe. A suicide that would wrench Ned's heart and set him on a very different course.

*There's speculation otherwise, but this is What Is Known.
posted by corb at 6:46 AM on May 9, 2016 [6 favorites]


But corb: for the show, if there's no Dawn (which I guess is debatable) isn't there also no Ashara Dayne storyline?
posted by Navelgazer at 7:43 AM on May 9, 2016


Marks for the Vaes Dothrak: not ones to keep a woman naked for long.
Marks against: dosh khaleen apparently have no role in deciding things, including what is done to the widow of khals. I wonder if someone will update the GoT wiki to reflect this. Unless they don't get to interpret omens and foretell the future of a would-be member of the dosh khaleen.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:56 AM on May 9, 2016


I've been trying to figure out how Arya is going to tie back into the main story, and at this point I'm pretty sure she's going to be sent to kill Jon.

I know that the "no one" thing is general Faceless Man Schtick and not unique to Arya. But in her case, stripping her identity away means you end up with someone who A. is known to the Starks and trusted by them, and so can get close to them, but who B. no longer has any attachment to them, and oh btw C. is a trained assassin.

We don't know (unless it's the Citadel?) who the Faceless Men actually work for or with, but I'm not sure it matters since they seem to accept contracts/murder requests from whoever fulfills their requirements. So someone out there (maesters? Lannisters? Varys? The Drowned God? Gendry?) has found out that she's there and realizes what an opportunity this gives them.

It would all be null and void if Arya was still faking her no-oneness but the fact that that water didn't kill her seems to mean she passed some sort of test and isn't bullshitting anymore.

Reasonably GRRMy - have Arya kill Jon. But even more GRRMy - send Arya after him, have her have a change of heart and remember who she is at the last moment, but while that's going on inside her head, Jon kills her in self defense. Extra GRRMy- Arya was Jon's favorite, and Arya was the only full Stark to be kind to Jon.

There's no foreshadowing for any of this so it's officially Tin Foilsville, but given what's going on with her and the series' fondness for soul-kicking irony, I will put five bucks on things going down this way.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 7:58 AM on May 9, 2016 [5 favorites]


I'm still hoping beyond hoping that Rickon/Osha in Winterfell is a feint to take advantage of Roose Bolton's death. Why would the Umber's wait this long, unless it's a big coinkydink that Greatjon just HAPPENS to die around the same time as Roose? Maybe they have a plan to take advantage of Ramsay's sadism and greed that they know Roose Bolton would never have fallen for?

And that wolf's head could be anybody. ANYBODY BUT SHAGGYDOG.
posted by permiechickie at 7:59 AM on May 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


Osha can look after herself (pleaseplease)

Ah no I just realized. Theon "went home" last week. He's gonna jump out of the Winterfell crypts or some goddamn thing and save the day, so the show gets to rob yet another woman of agency while making the story about Theon and his stupid redemption. He's going to sacrifice himself to save Rickon, no doubt.
posted by torticat at 8:04 AM on May 9, 2016 [3 favorites]


And that wolf's head could be anybody. ANYBODY BUT SHAGGYDOG.

Don't worry; I'm sure that wolf was just two boys from a nearby farm.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:14 AM on May 9, 2016 [28 favorites]


You know, the more I think about it, the more I think the Starks are going to scheme and fight and maneuver and totally sew up the Seven Kingdoms in a season or two... juuuust in time for Dany to come flying over the water and totally burninate them all, so that it will all have been for nothing. If it ends like that I will be so happy, but I am a monster who thought Walter White didn't suffer enough, so
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:15 AM on May 9, 2016 [5 favorites]


[Couple comments removed. Please don't talk about previews/next-time stuff, keep it to the actual content of the episode proper.]
posted by cortex at 8:15 AM on May 9, 2016


With regards to Arya eventually getting back to Westeros - could be that A Girl is sent on a Faceless assassination mission but happens to meet someone from her family along the way, and then drops her Facelessness to reunite with them, but there are consequences to becoming Arya again?

I hate the thought of her being sent to kill Jon, I just don't want that to happen. But it would be GRRM-y.
posted by mbd1mbd1 at 8:20 AM on May 9, 2016


WAY too much waif-sparring, WAY too much of the lingering shots of Arya suffering. I HATE how much D&D get off on this shit.

ugh seriously, i'm surprised they haven't written a full on rape scene for her yet; after all, she's 19 irl.
posted by poffin boffin at 8:24 AM on May 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


This post from the show-only thread is so deliciously close:

I'd like to throw out a prediction:

The fight scene with Ser Arthur Dayne has given us a glimpse of a less-than-honorable past Ned Stark.

We know that Robert's Rebellion (which leads to the death of the Mad King and most of his family, and Robert Baratheon becoming king) started when Rhaegar Targaryen (son of the king) "kidnapped" Lyanna Stark (Ned's sister) who was betrothed to Robert.

We also know Lyanna doesn't make it out of the rebellion alive.

Theory:

The tiny bit we've seen of her (in Bran's earlier flashback) is of a competent, strong young woman who can take care of herself. We have no indication that she had any interest in Robert Baratheon. What if in fact she wasn't kidnapped? What if she legitimately loved Rhaegar, and said "fuck this betrothal bullshit", and went off to be with him?

It's pretty obvious we're to assume that Lyanna is in the tower that Ned was heading into. What if the reason she doesn't make it out alive, and the reason Ned never talks of her to his own children, is that it's Ned who kills her when he finds this out?

posted by showbiz_liz at 8:34 AM on May 9, 2016 [16 favorites]


A thing that I thought of this morning that doesn't really matter much, but interests me as an adaptation choice/oversight:

Book Jaime has been gone from King's Landing for a long time, and is still getting a lot of milage out of his killer reputation; he can't fight like he used to, but nobody knows that because nobody wants to test him.

BUT! Show Jaime's hanging in King's Landing, and has been for a while. So FrankenGregor stepping in for Cersei's trial by combat outs Jaime for not being able to fight anymore.
posted by the phlegmatic king at 8:49 AM on May 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


After so many years of anticipation, I experienced slight disappointment that the ToJ dialogue was cut down a little; that passage from the first book remains my favorite from the entire work so far. The language is so evocative and dramatic, and I wish the translation to TV was a little more faithful, but a few seasons of adaptive disappointment now merely cause a shrug. (The phrase "your sister" can still send me into an apoplexy, however.)

Apart from that, I am a little impressed they kept Rickon's actor, after replacing both Tommen and Myrcella in previous seasons. I am not at all convinced that's Shaggydog we were presented with – jet fuel can't shrink a dire wolf's head! – and I suspect instead that Smalljon is spearheading a show!GNC. Osha can replace the spearwives, provided she gets some freedom of the castle. We may still get a "North remembers/Mummer's farce" line, or so I'll hold out faith for.

"My watch has ended" I take as confirmation of the theory that his death and resurrection have freed Jon from his oath to the Watch, allowing him to pursue other positions.
posted by The Nutmeg of Consolation at 9:02 AM on May 9, 2016 [6 favorites]


Given the generally fanservicey mood of this current season, I'm like 99% sure the Umber thing is our GNC.

I gotta say, despite my complaining, it was really fucken cool seeing the Tower of Joy for reals. I've long forgotten how it was described in the books, but its name and significance conjures up an impression of kind of a grand, Disneyesque medieval fantasy tower. I really dug seeing the lonely outpost it actually was.
posted by prize bull octorok at 9:10 AM on May 9, 2016 [5 favorites]


Honestly, I felt like I would have if two hours into Titanic Cameron switched to VHS and showed us footage of a toy speedboat puttering around in a bathtub, and then he dropped a brick on the boat.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:26 AM on May 9, 2016


Yeah, I was picturing some moodily-lit sinister fantasy spire of ridiculous heights and instead we get this ancient peninsular war leftover in the middle of nowhere.
posted by poffin boffin at 9:33 AM on May 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


Isn't that...kind of close to how it's actually described in the books? The Tower is supposed to be in this incredibly remote location in the mountainous regions of Dorne, aka Spain, that was leftover from the various failed attempts by the Targs to conquer it? So....single Reconquista-era turret somewhere in the Basque regions would about fit the bill, no? As close as you can get in our reality?
posted by Diablevert at 9:42 AM on May 9, 2016 [11 favorites]


I loved that it was smaller and more rugged and simple and functional than it's name or legend suggest. I mean ultimately it's a watch-post tower on the remote boarder of Dorne. I like the Branbacks being used to show the past as less than imagined.

Also RE: Dawn the Sword .. He had a great sword in front of him at the beginning that he stuck in the ground, but seeing he was outnumbered drew two long-swords instead. (short-swords would have made more sense, but giants, smokebaby, zombies etc)
posted by French Fry at 9:43 AM on May 9, 2016 [3 favorites]


I don't know much about swordfighting but I thought he looked pretty ridiculous dual-wielding two swords that were very clearly intended to be two-handed swords. It was like watching a guy trying to play two electric guitars at once - you'd think it would be twice as awesome but really it was just kind of stupid.
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:45 AM on May 9, 2016 [14 favorites]


Yeah, he didn't level his Dexterity up enough to powerstance them
posted by prize bull octorok at 9:48 AM on May 9, 2016 [5 favorites]


Isn't that...kind of close to how it's actually described in the books?

yes, and that's why it's GR8
posted by poffin boffin at 9:53 AM on May 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


Dormant Gorilla: I know that the "no one" thing is general Faceless Man Schtick and not unique to Arya. But in her case, stripping her identity away means you end up with someone who A. is known to the Starks and trusted by them, and so can get close to them, but who B. no longer has any attachment to them, and oh btw C. is a trained assassin.

On this - the faceless men don't need to be known to slip in unseen and kill someone - that's their whole thing. In fact, relying on her being known to get close to Jon almost under-sells the skill of the faceless men.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:02 AM on May 9, 2016 [6 favorites]


Arthur Dayne & the Joyboys is gonna be the name of my dual guitar wielding prog metal band btw
posted by prize bull octorok at 10:03 AM on May 9, 2016 [14 favorites]


BTW I greatly enjoy the AV Club's moniker of "Fireworks Factory of Joy" for the tease of that flashback scene.
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:05 AM on May 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


Oh, also may I take a moment to complain that, jesus, that hanging scene was unnecessarily brutal. And I don't mean that in the sense of "they showed too much and it was gratuitous" - I mean, within the universe of the show, a drop that short would result in a much more painful death than necessary, which I wouldn't think Jon Snow would favor over beheading.
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:10 AM on May 9, 2016 [5 favorites]


I could see Ned letting people believe what they want to believe, but I doubt he'd tell the story as if he defeated Dayne in single combat (as Bran implies).

Yeah, when Bran said he'd heard the story a thousand times, I assumed he meant from other people, not his father. People around him probably told the popular version of the story all the time, but I doubt Ned ever talked about it.
posted by homunculus at 10:17 AM on May 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


I mean, within the universe of the show, a drop that short would result in a much more painful death than necessary

Yeah, I was a little creeped out by my thought, "Oh come on, that's not how you hang somebody."
posted by Rock Steady at 10:23 AM on May 9, 2016 [10 favorites]


I can really see "A Girl" being sent to kill someone she likes/loves or at the very least someone WE like love. Like Tyrion.
posted by French Fry at 10:30 AM on May 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


"I'm still hoping beyond hoping that Rickon/Osha in Winterfell is a feint to take advantage of Roose Bolton's death."

This will really bother me if it turns out to be the case. Ramsey is renowned for his psychopathic cruelty. (Okay, I don't personally know any Northerners, but at this point it's hard to believe that his reputation hasn't spread far and wide.) It would be spectacularly foolish to willingly put yourself in his hands for even a minute. And while you could argue that he could be expected to not kill Rickon (though he could certainly torture him) because Rickon was more useful as a hostage, you couldn't say the same about Osha.

"Yeah, I was a little creeped out by my thought, 'Oh come on, that's not how you hang somebody.'"

Seems like a lot of people think that hanging is strangulation. Which it can be in some cases, but not typically for official executions. Especially if go to the trouble of a gallows and a dropping mechanism -- the neck snap is the point of the drop.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 10:45 AM on May 9, 2016 [3 favorites]


I'm pretty sure Ramsay is not long for this world. He was insulated from the consequences of his actions when daddy was in charge, but the show has made it quite plain what inevitably happens to mad rulers.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 10:49 AM on May 9, 2016 [6 favorites]


Why would the Umber's wait this long, unless it's a big coinkydink that Greatjon just HAPPENS to die around the same time as Roose?

That's basically what Smalljohn was saying, as I understood it. I really hope you guys are right about this being part of the GNC. My first impression of the wolf head was that it simply wasn't big enough to be Shaggy, but maybe I wasn't seeing it right. Right now I'm very worried about Osha.
posted by homunculus at 11:08 AM on May 9, 2016


at this point it's hard to believe that his reputation hasn't spread far and wide

I don't know if that's true. Certainly the Northerners using Rickon & Osha to infiltrate Winterfell would not stretch credulity more than Littlefinger's dropping Sansa off there to marry Ramsey. I agree it's strange that Ramsey's character isn't well-known, but apparently it's not.
posted by torticat at 11:09 AM on May 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


can really see "A Girl" being sent to kill someone she likes/loves or at the very least someone WE like love. Like Tyrion.

Remember the ship over, with the sailors telling Arya their names? I don't think A Girl /can/ be sent to kill someone she has met and knows the name of. Which limits the possibilities to:

High Septon
Dany
Petyr Baelish
Melisandre
Olenna Tyrell
Margaery Tyrell.

For dramatic purposes, it must be someone we care about, so my bet is actually Dany.
posted by corb at 11:20 AM on May 9, 2016 [4 favorites]


How would news spread? His Maester isn't sending raven's about what a monster he is, the roads aren't safe for normal people and there isn't any manner of media in this world. It seems like littlerfinger didn't understand the depth of his evil and he's a professional information broker.
posted by French Fry at 11:23 AM on May 9, 2016


There was a Karstark in the room - he's maybe been talking to other Karstarks, at least. Also, the murder of Walda and the baby was quite a bit more public. I wouldn't be surprised it people are talking and sending ravens.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:28 AM on May 9, 2016


everyone in westeros needs to start reading the books included threads because going by the show only ones they're starting to look dumb
posted by poffin boffin at 11:31 AM on May 9, 2016 [6 favorites]


'm still hoping beyond hoping that Rickon/Osha in Winterfell is a feint to take advantage of Roose Bolton's death. Why would the Umber's wait this long, unless it's a big coinkydink that Greatjon just HAPPENS to die around the same time as Roose? Maybe they have a plan to take advantage of Ramsay's sadism and greed that they know Roose Bolton would never have fallen for?

I like this idea, my problem with it is that it apparently involves putting Rickon within easy reach of Ramsay, who has proven himself a mad dog. Lord Umber certainly knew Ramsay had killed pops, for example, and also had knowledge of less savory aspects of Lord Karstark. What if Ramsay decides to just shank Rickon right there and then? I mean, I feel like Roose's comment last week about how if you act like a mad dog, eventually they treat you like one by taking you out back and killing you, is some foreshadowing of Ramsay being killed through a conspiracy/misdirection. But I don't like a conspiracy that involves putting the key piece right in front of the sadistic psychopath. Plus, apparently this season will involve something called the Battle of the Bastards, so I expect that any betrayal of Ramsay is going to happen in the midst of that. But that could be pretty unsatisfying, as it would mean Ramsay gets put down at the hands of erstwhile allies we just met this season.

As far as who knows what about Ramsay, maybe that is where I'm letting too much book stuff slop in? Ramsay Snow/Bolton is a pretty known quantity as a sadistic raping torturing bastard throughout the North by the end of the second book, by which time he's married Lady Hornwood and consummated the marriage against her will, then left her to die of starvation in a locked room while he and the first Reek go out to...well, the less said about how he and Reek are found the better, I think.

I mean, within the universe of the show, a drop that short would result in a much more painful death than necessary, which I wouldn't think Jon Snow would favor over beheading.

I had a moment when I thought Snow would let them dangle briefly before cutting the nooses off and giving them their lives back, in some sort of grand gesture of the New World Order he is trying to build of the living against the dead.

I loved that it was smaller and more rugged and simple and functional than it's name or legend suggest. I mean ultimately it's a watch-post tower on the remote boarder of Dorne.

It was always a small tower, I thought. The name and the story around it have made it into something larger, but:

"Ned had pulled the tower down afterward, and used its bloody stones to build eight cairns upon the ridge. It was said that Rhaegar had named that place the tower of joy, but for Ned it was a bitter memory. They had been seven against three, yet only two had lived to ride away;"

makes me see it as a small place, if Ned could tear it down.
posted by nubs at 11:33 AM on May 9, 2016 [6 favorites]


On this - the faceless men don't need to be known to slip in unseen and kill someone - that's their whole thing. In fact, relying on her being known to get close to Jon almost under-sells the skill of the faceless men.

Very true. But it could also set up a twisty something like:

"A girl is being sent on a mission to Westeros."
- "A girl will go. What face will a girl use?"
"Yours."

CUT TO BLACK
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 11:38 AM on May 9, 2016 [4 favorites]


"There was a Karstark in the room - he's maybe been talking to other Karstarks, at least. Also, the murder of Walda and the baby was quite a bit more public. I wouldn't be surprised it people are talking and sending ravens."

Yeah, plus this sort of thing isn't new for him. He does stuff like having his dogs hunt and kill people for sport. There's still a lot of activity, all the people who work at Winterfell and all the people who support the armed men -- there has to be travel and trade and so the word about Ramsey has to have spread at least in the North.

As for Littlefinger and Sansa, I think he knew exactly who and what Ramsey was. It's the sort of thing that Littlefinger would know. But he explained to Sansa why he thought she would be safe. He was right, for a while, with regard to how Ramsey would treat her, until he wasn't. And he expected Sansa to be able to manipulate Ramsey. In that regard, I think he was led astray by how he felt about Cat and how he projected that onto Sansa -- he assumes that his idealized version of Sansa, an amalgam of Catelyn and himself, would be able to beguile and control Ramsey. In this, he was very badly wrong. But it wasn't because he was unaware of Ramsey's reputation.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 11:38 AM on May 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


I don't think A Girl /can/ be sent to kill someone she has met and knows the name of.

Ohh, that's completely true. So unless someone is going to somehow override their rules, she can't be sent to kill Jon. Not sure if I'm relieved or disappointed.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 11:40 AM on May 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


"Jon Snow says this is a war of the living against the dead. But he's been dead once. And once he came back, his first order of business? Killing four other people. Whose side is he on?

Jon Snow. His vow was to serve until death. But he came back from death and still claimed the privilege of belonging to the Night's Watch long enough to kill other men. Then he walked away, saying his oaths no longer apply?

Jon Snow.
Wrong for the Watch.
Wrong for Westeros."

paid for by the committee to aid the Night's King
posted by nubs at 11:44 AM on May 9, 2016 [38 favorites]


Ohh, that's completely true. So unless someone is going to somehow override their rules, she can't be sent to kill Jon. Not sure if I'm relieved or disappointed.

Faceless Men can be hired, right? Who do we know right now who's tossing boatloads of money at someone else's destruction? Suppose Arya gets sent to take out Daenerys on behalf of the slaving cities!
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:53 AM on May 9, 2016 [3 favorites]


Liked the episode overall, with the most dislikable moments for me being the fart joke and, as noted by runincircles, more footage of Arya getting the crap beat out of her.

D&D and GRRM should thank their lucky stars for Jonathan Pryce. I find BookSparrow as Martin has written him to be utterly wooden and one dimensional -- he strikes me as the Fanatical Religious Leader straight out of central casting. More boring than Boring Invincible Ramsay.

By contrast, Pryce is bringing all kinds of charisma, gravitas, nuance, and depth to ShowSparrow. I really can't tell if he's a true believer or if he's an ambitious conman using faith as his path to power...or both. And I'd be wary of having a 1:1 conversation with him -- I feel like he could argue circles around me, and I'd end up joining his movement.

They had better not get too cute with drawing out the ToJ episode.
posted by lord_wolf at 12:04 PM on May 9, 2016 [12 favorites]


I don't know much about swordfighting but I thought he looked pretty ridiculous dual-wielding two swords that were very clearly intended to be two-handed swords. It was like watching a guy trying to play two electric guitars at once - you'd think it would be twice as awesome but really it was just kind of stupid.

Yeah, I thought it looked silly and felt gimmicky. The swords were comically large for dual wielding. I just found it distracting.

But the location was absolutely perfect!
posted by homunculus at 12:05 PM on May 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


Maybe Bloodraven's not going to get a backstory for the show

The more I think about it, the more likely that seems. It would have been easy in an earlier season for the writers to have had Maester Aemon tell John and/or Sam the story of his uncle Brynden, who was called Bloodraven and generally believed to be a sorcerer, and who came with him to the wall and eventually became Commander before he finally disappeared on a ranging. That way in this season if Sydow told Bran who he was, the audience could have made the connection and become more invested in the character. The fact that they didn't bother leads me to suspect that they're just not going to bother his backstory. I hope I'm wrong, because that would be a terrible waste of a fascinating character.
posted by homunculus at 12:06 PM on May 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


You know, now that I think about it, didn't Umber kind of toss Ramsey a hand grenade here? With the caveat that we're definitely at a stage where naked displays of force trump whatever the supposed "rules and customs" of Westeros are supposed to be...

There must always be a Stark in Winterfell. Sansa can't rule in her own right. You want to rule the North, you take her, you knock her up, you get your heir --- that's really the piece you're playing for. That is the keystone that shores up the whole mechanism, that allows your house to stay in power long-term without putting down rebellions every other year: An heir of the royal blood of the kings of the North...and yours. A son who can graft your house onto the royal rosebush.

Rickon already is that. The only reason Sansa becomes as potent a chess piece as she is is because her brothers are supposed to have died without issue. Possessing Rickon gets you....8 or 10 years of regency. Then he rules in his own right. If you kill him, you face rebellion immediately. Likely you face rebellion anyway, as other houses plot to seize the boy. If you successfully control him, then you become the eminence grise, the Stark's most powerful ally. But you don't rule in the open and pass the kingdom on to your own heirs.

Now, that could change with time. But this is Ramsay we're talking about here. Any plan that involves keeping a lid on things and cunningly manipulating his pawns for half a decade or more is not his plan. But it just occurs to me that I don't know exactly how useful Rickon is for Ramsay's purposes. Let people know you have him actually undermines the Bolton's position, because a Stark will always be the true king; only in the death of the House is enough to get the other Northern lords to begrudgingly support the Boltons in the books. Killing him is worse, if it becomes known. There's nothing Ramsey can do with Rickon that won't blow up in his face.
posted by Diablevert at 12:18 PM on May 9, 2016 [9 favorites]


They seem to have ditched warging entirely, I was really pulling for Ghost to be involved in the Jon Resurrection.

I think he was, but just as a nod to readers. There was no reason for him to be present otherwise.

I don't know much about swordfighting but I thought he looked pretty ridiculous dual-wielding two swords that were very clearly intended to be two-handed swords

Dual wielding one handed weapons is pretty ridiculous. A shield is a much better use of your non-dominant hand. But, TV...
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 12:20 PM on May 9, 2016


WAY too much waif-sparring, WAY too much of the lingering shots of Arya suffering. I HATE how much D&D get off on this shit.

I was actually relieved that they went through her training as quickly as they did, because I was expecting 2 or 3 episodes of Arya being beaten with a stick.

For example, in the books, it seems really important that Arya beats the test by warging a cat.

I was a bit sad that they didn't use her blindness to introduce Arya's warging. Her bond with Nymeria could have been a great impetus for having Arya regain her identity after surrendering it to the Faceless Men. And wolf dreams are cool.

They seem to have ditched warging entirely

Agreed.
posted by homunculus at 12:28 PM on May 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


. But it just occurs to me that I don't know exactly how useful Rickon is for Ramsay's purposes. Let people know you have him actually undermines the Bolton's position, because a Stark will always be the true king; only in the death of the House is enough to get the other Northern lords to begrudgingly support the Boltons in the books. Killing him is worse, if it becomes known. There's nothing Ramsey can do with Rickon that won't blow up in his face.

Rickon is presumed dead pretty much everywhere - that is the story that Theon told and the North believed. The truth became known only to Ramsay and Sansa because Theon told them, and now the Umbers and the Karstarks. From where I'm sitting, the Karstarks seem pretty deep in Ramsay's camp, and the Umbers are questionable. If I'm Ramsay at this point, I kill Rickon outright and feed the dogs, because the less time he is alive, the less chance there is of word getting out. If Umber moves to prevent me from killing Rickon, I kill him too and make sure that House Umber meets an end. And the quick kill when a threat appears is Ramsay's MO, as we saw last week; he doesn't have the patience for the long game. But I suspect for DRAMA and Theon's redemption arc, Rickon and Osha are in for some suffering.
posted by nubs at 12:29 PM on May 9, 2016


They had better not get too cute with drawing out the ToJ episode.

It's like a show within a show! Bran wants to binge on Weirflix, but Bloodraven's like no, we're going to pace ourselves.

And he warged into Hodor last season, right? So warging is still a thing, just...not as much of a thing?
posted by prize bull octorok at 12:34 PM on May 9, 2016 [6 favorites]


Ohh, that's completely true. So unless someone is going to somehow override their rules, she can't be sent to kill Jon. Not sure if I'm relieved or disappointed.

Wait I just had an /idea/.

So the point is she has to know their name, right? But what if Jon is not and has never been Jon Snow? What if his name has always been... Aegon Targaryen?
posted by corb at 12:35 PM on May 9, 2016 [10 favorites]


I agree with that; the smart play would probably be to kill him immediately before anyone knows you have him. But if even the rumor of him being alive gets out, then I feel like there's no good play there for the Boltons. A live Rickon is a crack in the foundation of Bolton rule. Of course, that's a Littlefinger thing to see, not a Ramsey one. There would be an amusing dark irony to Theon destroying his grip on Winterfell by "killing" Rickon, to be followed by Ramsey losing his by revealing that Rickon's alive.
posted by Diablevert at 12:38 PM on May 9, 2016


There's nothing Ramsey can do with Rickon that won't blow up in his face.

is ramsey

considers stradgety. what can i dooz

"i think a little torture and flaying so i can have another puppet sounds good - what about you, terrified fawning henchmen"

"sounds good boss"
posted by lalochezia at 12:39 PM on May 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


There's nothing Ramsey can do with Rickon that won't blow up in his face.

I don't see anything interesting he can do with him whatsoever, really. It seems like he'd just kill him, since everyone thought he was dead anyway, and Rickon being alive cannot help Ramsay whatsoever (Ramsay has no female relatives for Rickon to marry, for example). He can use Rickon to try to get Sansa back, I guess, or rule through him as his ward. Perhaps Ramsay is only happy that the Umbers brought Rickon to him because it signals their fealty.

So the point is she has to know their name, right? But what if Jon is not and has never been Jon Snow? What if his name has always been... Aegon Targaryen?

[mead spit-take]
posted by clockzero at 12:39 PM on May 9, 2016 [3 favorites]


And he warged into Hodor last season, right? So warging is still a thing, just...not as much of a thing?

I rewatched last week ahead of this week's episode, and with the Very Special Hodor flashback, there's a comment about how if he learned to fight, he would be unstoppable..which I took as a tip towards there being some future warging into Hodor in the future. But the show seems to have backed off warging across most everyone, so I expect we will only see Bran warg, as he is now the designated sorcerer who knows everything.

So the point is she has to know their name, right? But what if Jon is not and has never been Jon Snow? What if his name has always been... Aegon Targaryen?

But if that is not the name the person is commonly called or known by - to anyone, including themselves - who would take out the hit? And how would they describe how to find the person without including the name they are most commonly known by?
posted by nubs at 12:41 PM on May 9, 2016


It will be interesting to see if Ramsay puts two and two together and realizes that Rickon showing up probably means Bran is out there somewhere.
posted by Rock Steady at 12:44 PM on May 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


Oh, and while I'm thinking about Arya - it was interesting during the questions from the Waif that Arya was smacked for "She has one sister and four brothers", correcting it to "three brothers and one half-brother". But if Jon is the TarStark, he is a cousin, not a half-sib.

So the Faceless Men can detect lies, but only what the teller perceives as a lie. Small point, but there it is.
posted by nubs at 12:47 PM on May 9, 2016 [3 favorites]


Okay, so this may sound cracked, but what if they are planning to put Jon in Young Griff's position?
posted by corb at 12:48 PM on May 9, 2016


It will be interesting to see if Ramsay puts two and two together and realizes that Rickon showing up probably means Bran is out there somewhere.

Well, he knows Theon didn't kill them. So the only brief reason for keeping Rickon alive is likely to find out where Bran might be. Of course, the last guy he sent north to deal with Stark problems ran into some issues of his own.
posted by nubs at 12:50 PM on May 9, 2016


fanfare.weirwood.net

U guyz! Just watched last ep of Tower of Joy OMFGBBQ MY BROTHER JON IS AEGON TARGARYAN WHAAAAAT DID NOT SEE THAT COMING
posted by Brandog_Stark at 12:46 PM

fuckin spoilers dude
posted by Walder38817 at 12:48 PM

Huh, you don't say! Jaqen, check your WeMail.
posted by HRHQueenCersei at 12:50 PM

posted by prize bull octorok at 12:51 PM on May 9, 2016 [12 favorites]


Also the names=safe thing has never been in the show. Also it's a superstition of sailors in the books not a fact we ever see confirmed. Seems inconvenient in practice especially when it comes to killing famous people.
posted by French Fry at 12:54 PM on May 9, 2016


So the Faceless Men can detect lies, but only what the teller perceives as a lie. Small point, but there it is.

That, or the Faceless Men can't detect shit but can buy a book listing the Westerosi nobility and acknowledged bastards.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:56 PM on May 9, 2016 [3 favorites]


Also it's a superstition of sailors in the books not a fact we ever see confirmed.

From The Ugly Little Girl, ADWD:

"The priests used the language of Braavos, though once for several minutes three spoke heatedly in High Valyrian. The girl understood the words, mostly, but they spoke in soft voices, and she could not always hear. "I know this man," she did hear a priest with the face of a plague victim say. "I know this man," the fat fellow echoed, as she was pouring for him. But the handsome man said, "I will give this man the gift, I know him not." Later the squinter said the same thing, of someone else. "
posted by nubs at 12:57 PM on May 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


It's certainly not magically binding or anything, based on how Jaqen operated in Harrenhal.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:57 PM on May 9, 2016


I suspect it is a rule applied when they are given a commission, and not something they necessarily follow while out on the mission. They certainly seem to come to know their targets, as shown by Arya taking down the insurance merchant.
posted by nubs at 12:59 PM on May 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


I'm not a book reader, but I don't care about spoilers at this point. I understand what the Tower of Joy is because of the R + L = J theory, which seems to be embraced as true in a lot of places (the AV Club review, for one), even though the answer is yet to be revealed. But I'm wondering if book readers can tell me how much of this theory is supported just by the show? Did Ned talk about the Tower in season one? Has there been any hints at R + L = J in the TV show? From what I gather, a lot of the clues in the books are very subtle hints. But without rewatching the show, I wonder if the series supports it or whether this is all just going to be revealed by season six flashbacks?
posted by crossoverman at 1:37 PM on May 9, 2016


Can we acknowledge Olly here? Where is this in the Escalation of Violence that is this TV show? Is watching a teenage boy hang to death more exciting than off-screen mama+baby dog feeding? It's definitely not as fun as an adult beheading, but then it is more prurient and shocking what with his delicate boyish face turning blue while his legs twitched and danced.
posted by Nelson at 1:53 PM on May 9, 2016


The main references on the show (and the book) are a scene from the premiere with Ned and Robert in the crypts at Winterfell, where they do a little story dump on who Lyanna is and Robert's love for her/obsession with her. Robert actually refers to Lyanna several times during his run on the show.

That story dump scene was then called back, at length and specifically, with Littlefinger and Sansa last season, where Sansa gives the Stark version of the events and Littlefinger drops some heavy hints that there's more to it than that. We also --- I think in that same episode --- get some story dump from Barristan Selmy to Dany about what her brother Rheagar was like, a picture of the man that's hard to reconcile with the evil rapist bastard version.

Oh, and there's also some stuff in season one where Ned is pretty shifty when asked by others abou Jon's parentage.

That's about it I think, for the show? If you're aware of the theory, is pretty clangingly obvious what they're hinting at, but if I'd guess that pure show watchers could breeze by without really retaining the details. This is a show with a lot of exposition, and where all you're getting is verbal references I can see it getting filed away and forgotten.
posted by Diablevert at 1:54 PM on May 9, 2016 [3 favorites]


I don't see anything interesting he can do with him whatsoever, really. It seems like he'd just kill him, since everyone thought he was dead anyway, and Rickon being alive cannot help Ramsay whatsoever (Ramsay has no female relatives for Rickon to marry, for example). He can use Rickon to try to get Sansa back, I guess, or rule through him as his ward.

I want to preface this by saying the show has consistently done the most predictable, most gruesome, and least interesting thing with Ramsay every time it takes him down a road not charted by the books -- but. Was the Ramsay/Reek I story from the books a show thing? I don't recall now. But in the books, the original Reek was some kind of sleazy vagabond who taught Ramsay how to be Ramsay. If Ramsay is now stuck with Rickon -- and he may just be, since the Umbers have no love for the Boltons and will definitely let everybody know if Ramsay kills him -- some disturbing "tutelage" of Rickon may be the next order of business. A semi-feral Rickon who becomes devoted to his teacher could be an interesting development, one that possibly mirrors whatever dynamic emerges between Tommen and the High Sparrow...especially in that both situations could end up with the young patriarch turned against his own family.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 1:55 PM on May 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


I don't think the ToJ was ever mentioned on the show, and the biggest hint seemed to come last season when Sansa and Littlefinger visited the crypts and the tale of the Tourney at Harrenhall was told. There might have been other show hints that I don't recall.
posted by nubs at 1:55 PM on May 9, 2016


crossoverman: The hints in the book aren't particularly subtle, but because the Tower is a memory that Ned kept returning to, and D&D are really hesitant about flashbacks (we didn't see a single one until the S5 premier) we didn't get to see that, and he definitely doesn't talk to anyone else about it (including Cat.)
posted by Navelgazer at 2:03 PM on May 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


Also, I was kind of surprised at Hodor not playing a role in the Tower of Joy flashback, given the lengths they went to to include him in the previous flashback. I was sure they were going to replace Howland Reed with him.
posted by Rock Steady at 2:16 PM on May 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


Also also, I'm going to need a detailed, turn-by-turn 5e breakdown of the Tower of Joy fight, Nutmeg.
posted by Rock Steady at 2:20 PM on May 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


Okay, so this may sound cracked, but what if they are planning to put Jon in Young Griff's position?

They're economizing characters in the show already (Sansa/Jayne Poole, Jorah/JonCon, etc) and it's still a sprawling cast, so I would not be surprised. That said, I suspect what they're doing with Jon is moving him into a spot that Stannis will occupy in the books (based purely on the fact that Book Stannis seems much more prepared than Show Stannis.)

But I'm wondering if book readers can tell me how much of this theory is supported just by the show? Did Ned talk about the Tower in season one?

He did not. There's not much at all about Lyanna until this season, save Robert's recollections and her statue in the crypt of Winterfell. (Oh, and Jojen's story a couple seasons ago.) What's important is that Robert's view was established and nothing contradicted Ned's Tower of Joy reflection in the first book.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 2:20 PM on May 9, 2016


A semi-feral Rickon who becomes devoted to his teacher could be an interesting development, one that possibly mirrors whatever dynamic emerges between Tommen and the High Sparrow...especially in that both situations could end up with the young patriarch turned against his own family.

It is sort of hard to watch this show sometimes without imagining that the producers frequently sit down and say "How can we make this grosser than what has come before?"
posted by clockzero at 2:23 PM on May 9, 2016 [6 favorites]


So the Faceless Men can detect lies, but only what the teller perceives as a lie. Small point, but there it is.

But that's not a small point. Someone who can detect a falsehood even when the subject doesn't know its a falsehood is essentially a font of godlike knowledge. They would be able to know everything there is to know about the universe so long as they can formulate the proper questions. You could play twenty questions (or twenty thousand, or twenty millions questions) to learn how to invent anything that is possible to invent, to expand the limits of human knowledge to unimaginable lengths, and so on.

Ok, sure, in Westeros you'd probably use it to make some money and murder your enemies but the point remains.

The askee doesn't even have to understand the question. If you could teach Hodor to say "yes" instead of "Hodor" you could still learn so much just by detecting if his "yes" is true or false to whatever question you ask him.
posted by Justinian at 2:49 PM on May 9, 2016 [7 favorites]


God, I hope they don't do anything even vaguely related to Young Griff. What a misstep by Martin. STOP INTRODUCING NEW MAJOR CHARACTERS. YOUR SERIES IS SUPPOSED TO BE VIRTUALLY FINSHED BY NOW. JUST STOP.
posted by Justinian at 2:51 PM on May 9, 2016 [3 favorites]


Count me in as being pretty damn impressed with this episode. Seems obvious that they're going to keep RLJ until episode 9 (that's usually when they drop HUGE THINGS) when it'll be Plot Important.

I think Ramsay is just cunning enough to realize he can't overtly mistreat Rickon.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:00 PM on May 9, 2016


But maybe young Griff is the key to the whole thing! A lost prince, hidden so well he managed to stay out of the story until it is past the halfway point!
posted by nubs at 3:02 PM on May 9, 2016 [3 favorites]


Oh also, I really really liked the editing in the Ninjarya montage scene. It was wonderful.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:05 PM on May 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


Can any of you give me one reason why Ramsay can't just walk Rickon down to the kennels right now and be like "whaddaya know ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ poisoned by his enemies" if any of the -jons or Karstarks ask him about it? Or why that wouldn't be the only smart thing for him to do with Rickon?
posted by prize bull octorok at 3:08 PM on May 9, 2016


Given GRRM's original draft had Tyrion in love with Arya, I am okay with new characters and plot lines.
posted by corb at 3:09 PM on May 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


If he's smart enough to realize it, Rickon becomes an excellent pawn for gaining loyalty.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:10 PM on May 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


showbiz_liz: This Umber thing I feel like is a double-cross. Maybe. The Umbers could be still loyal, and that could be the head of some random other direwolf. They could be leading Ramsay's army out to die.

I want to believe it's the GNS kicking off, but.. direwolves are basically extinct south of the wall. And I don't see the Umbers wombling over the fence to nab a Direwolf of Misdirection.
posted by coriolisdave at 3:15 PM on May 9, 2016


that thing looked like a possum's head covered in shoe polish tho
posted by prize bull octorok at 3:24 PM on May 9, 2016 [9 favorites]


What the shit kind of possums do you HAVE over there? I thought we had all the DeathCritters?
posted by coriolisdave at 3:31 PM on May 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


oh wow the show-only thread is all kinds of hilarious
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:33 PM on May 9, 2016 [4 favorites]


This kind.
posted by Justinian at 3:34 PM on May 9, 2016


Yeah. They don't understand why the ToJ scene was there. They thought it was pointless. People, it's possibly the most important scene yet depicted in the show! Pay attention! It's so important! Oh well.
posted by Justinian at 3:35 PM on May 9, 2016 [4 favorites]


5. would be interested to hear from people who can judge these things whether the fighting was up to scratch?

Dunno if I'd call myself an expert, but I fenced and taught sabre for a while there. My thoughts:

-Fighting more than one person, where they politely wait and only attack one at a time, is… unlikely, but okay, it's TV. It does make it hard to follow the action, though. And it makes Howland Reed's stabbing much more plausible.

-Choice of weapons: gaaah, whoever picked hand-and-a-half swords for this? Dual-wielding is indeed a thing, but you see it with much shorter blades, generally; or with one long blade like a rapier and one short like a main gauche. Trying to keep each blade separate and not striking the other one by accident takes an incredible amount of practice. (Not to mention shoulder mobility, and holy crap, the traps and deltoids this guy must have had to pull it off. Now, this IS the Sword of the Morning, best swordsman ever, so okay.) If you want to try this for yourself, grab two baseball bats, one in each hand; go outside to the nearest telephone pole or streetlamp; and start hitting the pole with both bats at the same time. As you'll discover, it's less-than-graceful.

Doing this with such long blades? Well, I give you George Silver on the subject:
"The short sword, and sword and dagger, are perfect good weapons, and especially in service of the prince. What a brave weapon is a short sharp light sword, to carry, to draw, to be nimble withal, to strike, to cut, to thrust both strong and quick. And what a good defence is a strong single hilt, when men are clustering and hurling together, especially where variety of weapons are, in their motions to defend the hand, head, face, and bodies, from blows, that shall be given sometimes with swords, sometimes with two handed swords, battle axes, halberds, or black bills, and sometimes men shall be so near together, they shall have no space, scarce to use the blades of their swords below their waist, then their hilts (their hands being aloft) defend from the blows their hands, arms, heads, faces and bodies. Then they lay on, having the use of blows and grips, by force of their arms with their hilts, strong blows, at the head, face, arms, bodies, and shoulders, and many times hurling together, scope is given to turn down their points, with violent thrusts at the faces and bodies, by reason of the shortness of their blades, to the mighty annoyance, discomfort, and great destruction of their enemies." —George Silver, Paradoxes of Defence, 1599
A two-handed sword, according to Silver, is better against a sword and dagger… but not good in a group. Which could be why Dayne seems to put down his two-handed sword, then draws two hand-and-a-half swords. But that would mean he's carrying around three swords on his person, which doesn't make much sense. I'll have to watch that scene again.
posted by culfinglin at 3:35 PM on May 9, 2016 [13 favorites]


On the contrary, the TV show is doing a shitty job of story telling if TV-only people don't understand what the point of the whole Tower of Joy scene was about. Or at least, are interested enough to pay attention so that they remember it 3 episodes later when the other shoe drops. Right now it just looks like a silly swirling-dervish sword fight.
posted by Nelson at 3:37 PM on May 9, 2016 [4 favorites]


Couldn't it just be the head of a particularly large regular wolf
posted by Apocryphon at 3:37 PM on May 9, 2016


Yeah. They don't understand why the ToJ scene was there. They thought it was pointless. People, it's possibly the most important scene yet depicted in the show! Pay attention! It's so important! Oh well.

To be fair, if you don't know that Lyanna is in the Tower, and that this is where she dies (likely in childbirth), the point of it becomes hard to see - it's just a bunch of dudes whacking away at each other (D&D nitpick - with no one going for a flanking bonus until the end).

So, yeah, I can see that for show only folks it looks like a pointless scene.
posted by nubs at 3:49 PM on May 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


On the contrary, the TV show is doing a shitty job of story telling if TV-only people don't understand what the point of the whole Tower of Joy scene was about.

It hasn't concluded yet. It's fine if they don't understand right now.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 3:51 PM on May 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


*POUNDS FIST ON TABLE* MAKE THEM READ
posted by poffin boffin at 3:54 PM on May 9, 2016 [7 favorites]


Was anyone else disappointed that Howlan Reed was not a small clever guy with a spear? He was just yet another random mook with a longsword (and no damned shield FFS).
posted by coriolisdave at 3:55 PM on May 9, 2016 [17 favorites]


On the contrary, the TV show is doing a shitty job of story telling if TV-only people don't understand what the point of the whole Tower of Joy scene was about.

It's longform TV, not episodic. Setups happen that pay off much later.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:56 PM on May 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


Uh, the show-only people seem to be doing fine from what I can tell. They've honed in on the woman's scream at the end.
posted by Diablevert at 4:00 PM on May 9, 2016 [4 favorites]


God, I hope they don't do anything even vaguely related to Young Griff. What a misstep by Martin. STOP INTRODUCING NEW MAJOR CHARACTERS. YOUR SERIES IS SUPPOSED TO BE VIRTUALLY FINSHED BY NOW. JUST STOP.

Honestly, if it takes another six seasons of the show in order to have GRRM be done with the books, then whatever. Have entire seasons composed of side-stories of characters from the books that the show neglected to depict, or of flashbacks from Robert's Rebellion. You know GoT is going to have spin-offs anyway, you might as well incorporate those stories directly into the main show, by having the main plotlines take a hiatus while GRRM grinds out the last two books. Season 10 can be Dunk and Egg.

The only downside is that you'll have to recast several of the younger characters, but by 2022 CGI will have advanced enough to render all of the Stark kids easily.
posted by Apocryphon at 4:02 PM on May 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


Was anyone else disappointed that Howlan Reed was not a small clever guy with a spear?

I was disappointed he wasn't a wizard. The fandom is deep in the weeds with Howland.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 4:19 PM on May 9, 2016 [12 favorites]


Given GRRM's original draft had Tyrion in love with Arya

WTF.
posted by homunculus at 4:33 PM on May 9, 2016 [5 favorites]


Maybe Howland becoming the High Septon is him atoning for what happened at the ToJ.
posted by nubs at 4:33 PM on May 9, 2016


On the contrary, the TV show is doing a shitty job of story telling if TV-only people don't understand what the point of the whole Tower of Joy scene

I know plenty of book readers who never assigned any importance to the Tower of Joy scene.
posted by nubs at 4:36 PM on May 9, 2016


Was anyone else disappointed that Howlan Reed was not a small clever guy with a spear? He was just yet another random mook with a longsword (and no damned shield FFS).

I was hoping for a trident, frankly.
posted by clockzero at 4:54 PM on May 9, 2016 [6 favorites]


I don't think I'm up for a full D&D D&D recap this week: I caught myself wondering if Varys used Intimidation or Persuasion on that Harpy sympathizer while watching the episode. That's what I'll take as A Sign. But there's a request for the ToJ fight recapped, so I'll do my best.

So on one side we have Ser Arthur Dayne and Ser Oswell Whent, both high-level Fighters in half-plate. See Arthur may very well have taken the Battle Master martial archetype, as evidenced by the many fancy maneuvers he performs, while Ser Oswell probably took the Champion archetype for more frequent crits. On the other side are Ned, Howland, three unidentified Northerners and one Dornishman (?) marked by a turban. They're wearing leather or studded leather armor, and three of them bear shields. One of the Northerners can be seen to be wearing a chain shirt, but I saw no evidence of any heavier armor among the rest. All are also Fighters, though Howland may very well have levels in Thief too, as we'll see.

Ser Arthur rather (in)famously is dual-wielding hand-and-a-half "bastard" swords in this encounter, which is in direct contradiction of the RAW: the PHB specifies that both weapons be in the "light" melee category (p.195). So like other commenters have stated above, it'd work with smaller weapons, but is ridiculous with the larger swords he uses. In any event, it's certain he took the Two-Weapon Fighting style early in his career.

There is no surprise round: a brief conversation precedes the combat. (What Intimidation or Persuasion checks may have been made are left as an exercise for the reader.) The initiative roll is won by the Northerners, but they fail to use it to good effect. Howland is first to go down with a slash across the abdomen, his leather armor failing to protect him. He may very well have dropped to zero, as he's out for most of the rest of the encounter. Ser Oswell runs through another Northerner soon after, critting obviously. After another few flurries with no damaging hits landed, Ned lands a crit on Ser Oswell, running his sword through his opponent's unarmored neck.

Now we have a four-on-one situation, but Ser Arthur defends against their attacks with liberal use of the parry maneuver. Another Northerner goes down with a slashed throat, and the third Northerner also has his throat cut with a wicked cross-cut using both swords. (Note that Ser Arthur's off-hand weapon is used mainly for parrying: this was the only real offensive use he put it to during the encounter.) The Dornishman, lastly, is dispatched with Dawn through the body, leaving only Ser Arthur and Ned standing. Ser Arthur uses a disarming attack to whirl Ned's sword from his hand, and is poised to finish him. At this point Howland Reed totters up – having succeeded on his death saves he stabilizes at 1 hp – and stabs a dagger through the back of Ser Arthur's neck. This leads me to believe that Howland level-dipped into Thief for the sneak attack ability. Ned now takes up Dawn and delivers a coup de grâce to the Sword of the Morning. Combat ends, and XP and treasure are doled out to the survivors.

Of the six fatalities in this encounter, four are due to strikes at unprotected throats. This is why the gorget was invented.
posted by The Nutmeg of Consolation at 5:13 PM on May 9, 2016 [15 favorites]


If Reed only level-dipped into thief, what's his main class? Ranger? Fighter? I'm guessing Ranger, being one of those bog-types.
posted by Justinian at 5:44 PM on May 9, 2016


Was the Ramsay/Reek I story from the books a show thing? I don't recall now. But in the books, the original Reek was some kind of sleazy vagabond who taught Ramsay how to be Ramsay.

Huh. I always figured the original Reek was Ramsay in disguise.
posted by LionIndex at 5:56 PM on May 9, 2016


Now that you mention it, Howland may main as a Rogue. He's definitely wearing lighter armor, doesn't seem to be all that good at straight combat, and goes down to a mere slash across the belly (fewer hp). Then he sneaks up on Ser Arthur and uses a classic backstab maneuver (kickin' it AD&D style). For giggles let's give him the Arcane Trickster archetype, and its attendant spell casting ability; that should please the "you're a Wizard, Howland!" crowd.
posted by The Nutmeg of Consolation at 5:57 PM on May 9, 2016 [5 favorites]


Now I want to roll up character sheets for all these people.
posted by The Nutmeg of Consolation at 5:58 PM on May 9, 2016 [7 favorites]


Why weren't Ned/etc wearing proper armor anyway? That leather ain't gonna stop shit.
posted by coriolisdave at 6:01 PM on May 9, 2016


You know GoT is going to have spin-offs

Suggested spin-off series:

Robert's Rebellion: Lyanna, Lies, and Regime Change
Aegon's Conquest: Forging the Iron Throne
Dunk and Egg: Good Men of the Realm
The Dance of Dragons: Because We Want to See Dragons Fight Each Other
Gendry's Boat: A Nautical Tour of Westeros
SerNotAppearing: The Book Characters who Didn't Make the Cut
The Targaryen Dynasty: Keeping it in the Family

posted by nubs at 6:07 PM on May 9, 2016 [8 favorites]


Huh. I always figured the original Reek was Ramsay in disguise.

There was an original Reek. Ramsay took his place when one of their 'hunting' trips went wrong. He then infiltrated Winterfell when Theon controlled it.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:25 PM on May 9, 2016 [5 favorites]


what if Jon is not and has never been Jon Snow? What if his name has always been... Aegon Targaryen?

What if he warged into a dragon? Maybe that's always been the key to the Targaryen control of dragons, and Dany needs to figure it out.

having Arya regain her identity after surrendering it to the Faceless Men

It's not clear at this point whether the FMs truly cultivate a zen-like detachment from identity, or if they simply train themselves to be such good liars that it's the same effect. There's some hints in the books that Arya's taught to tell lies with perfect conviction, so it's not actually clear, I think, that they're requiring her to shed her identity or her list... just to get good enough at lying to fool the greatest liars of all, the Faceless Men.
posted by fatbird at 6:31 PM on May 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


What if he warged into a dragon? Maybe that's always been the key to the Targaryen control of dragons, and Dany needs to figure it out.

That's half the reason for Tyrion = Secret Targaryen.

Personally, I'm fond of the "how do you saddle a dragon" theory, which makes Tyrion's plans for Brandon (and himself) to ride ahorse an early hint.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:39 PM on May 9, 2016 [5 favorites]


Why weren't Ned/etc wearing proper armor anyway? That leather ain't gonna stop shit.

You mean plate like the Kingsguard or that dude Bronn killed in the Aerie? You have to train for a long time to fight well in heavy armor AFAIK and since none of those guys were knights they probably didn't have the training. Also then they'd need big heavy shields and, hey, it looked hot as hell around there. I'm surprised those Kingsguard guys weren't broiling in their own armor.
posted by Justinian at 6:40 PM on May 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


If Reed only level-dipped into thief, what's his main class? Ranger? Fighter? I'm guessing Ranger, being one of those bog-types.

He should have a lizard-lion as a companion animal. Or a giant dire frog.
posted by homunculus at 6:40 PM on May 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


You have to train for a long time to fight well in heavy armor AFAIK

Nope! It probably takes an afternoon to get the hang of it, but plate is really well distributed. It's not like carrying a 50 lb. pack.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:45 PM on May 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


I caught myself wondering if Varys used Intimidation or Persuasion on that Harpy sympathizer while watching the episode.

He used them in alternating succession, I think.
posted by clockzero at 6:50 PM on May 9, 2016


I'm tired of how all-powerful Ramsay seems. They wanted to have more torture porn and another psychopathic villain after Joffrey but Joffrey was fun because he was vulnerable and often humiliated and had people who sometimes slapped and scolded him, which was really satisfying. Also, there was a good reason for the power he had over people--he was king. Ramsay always wins, despite the fact that his plans are often completely illogical and there is no particular reason for anyone to be loyal to him.

I still am entirely perplexed by what the point was for Sansa's whole storyline last season. It was never explained. How did her marriage help anyone's strategic position besides Ramsay's? They acted like it was some sort of assertion of agency for her but then she just ended up getting raped for three episodes and eventually rescued. It was such a dead end. Why didn't Littlefinger just marry her himself? And why do so many people turn over extremely valuable hostages to a torture-happy bastard psychopath who just killed his whole family?
posted by armadillo1224 at 7:04 PM on May 9, 2016 [16 favorites]


As a Spaniard, I loved to see the Castillo de Zafra, a real-life frontier outpost, as the Tower of Joy.
posted by kandinski at 7:09 PM on May 9, 2016 [13 favorites]


since none of those guys were knights they probably didn't have the training.
Well, Ned wasn't a knight because Northerner, but the Knight of the Laughing Tree (which may have been Howland) and various stories of tournaments show Northern not-Knights going toe-to-toe with Kniggits.

But I'd have settled for a bit of decent chainmail. Anything other than leather.
posted by coriolisdave at 7:28 PM on May 9, 2016


runincircles/ whether the fighting was up to scratch?

I've maintained before that the combat scenes have always been competent, at least, it's the battles that are a huge letdown.

It looked like decent modern stage swordplay. That can't have been anything like real battle gear they were in. A swords only a handful of pounds and the brigantine's the usurpers are wearing are probably 35lbs, the half plate maybe 40-50, but that's a lot of gear to truck around while fighting. The prop stuff is a fraction of that and they'd be able to take a lot of breaks but fighting like that for reals, it's exhaustion that kills most, not skill.

Dayne is depicted as not only masterfully skilled, but has great endurance in addition to strength and speed. Dual wielding bastard/hand and a half- swords is a little silly. That's a lot of weight to be swinging around, much less stop.

Where was Ice at this time? I had assumed that Ned had inherited it by then?
posted by porpoise at 7:33 PM on May 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


Seems like a lot of people think that hanging is strangulation. Which it can be in some cases, but not typically for official executions. Especially if go to the trouble of a gallows and a dropping mechanism -- the neck snap is the point of the drop.

In our reality, death by hanging was not always via the long drop/neck break. It did, in fact, used to be a short drop/strangulation mode of execution. The long drop was not used until the mid-late 19th century. So presumably, if Westeros = Medieval Europe...
posted by Saxon Kane at 7:52 PM on May 9, 2016 [4 favorites]


Ramsay always wins, despite the fact that his plans are often completely illogical and there is no particular reason for anyone to be loyal to him.

Until now, most of Ramsay's successes have been arranged for him, with him being aware of this and milking it. The marriage to Sansa was the culmination of Roose's plan to seize the north from the Starks; Ramsay was a convenient pawn. Wiping out Stannis' army was a windfall from the Red God, who seemed to lead Stannis wrong at every turn. Blind Arya could have wiped out Stannis' small, cold, hungry, pitiful army outside Winterfell. About all Ramsay's done right so far is stab Roose at an opportune time--and opportunism is the one skill Ramsay seems to have in abundance. He's shown no cunning or planning and he's probably just about to get Tywinned on his throne.

In fact, I feel like Ramsay is being set up in a way that's a bit too pat. He's not as good as Joffrey because when he's fed to his own dogs it's not going to feel as satisfying as Joffrey foaming up at his own wedding.
posted by fatbird at 7:54 PM on May 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


coriolisdave/ Ned/etc wearing proper armor anyway? That leather ain't gonna stop shit."

Those were stunt props - not hero props, and so look flimsy as heck - Ned's armour at least was certainly intended to be brigandine which is a decent tradeoff between weight, flexibility, and protection. At least two of the Northmen/usurpers have visible chain, I suspect that the other brigandine and half-plate wearers have the chain sewn between quilted layers. Otherwise, that's crazy-town armouring - but then they don't have gorgets ffs, as The Nutmeg of Consolation points out.

The half plate the whosits are wearing are probably aluminum, or even metallic paint on plastic. The bastard swords had a lot of wobble in a few scenes.

But yeah, Reed definitely look like he's wearing much lighter armor, probably supposed to be aboiled leather cuirass and a leather jacket? I can't tell.
posted by porpoise at 8:01 PM on May 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


Where was Ice at this time? I had assumed that Ned had inherited it by then?
Seems to be unclear - I can't locate any real detail on it, but my assumption is that Ice was kept by Aeris @ Kings Landing after he flambe'd Rickard Stark.

Ned was in the Vale at the time, and fled north to get his shit together before coming south. So presumably, the earliest opportunity Ned would have to retrieve Ice would have been when he popped into KL to say g'day to J-rod Kingstabber.

Seeing he then high-tailed it to save his sister it probably didn't give him time to develop the strength/etc needed to properly wield that huge sucker.
posted by coriolisdave at 8:04 PM on May 9, 2016 [3 favorites]


Gendry's Boat: A Nautical Tour of Westeros

I feel like I've said it before, but I would watch this show.
posted by thivaia at 8:18 PM on May 9, 2016


I wonder how many people disparage watching foreign furrin' films because "they would have to read the subtitles" are perfectly fine with reading subtitles on GoT?

"Brown eyes" was mentioned twice; Jon not being a walker, Varys' ultimatum. (and another reference to eyes, re: Arya's "no-one.")

Yes! Definitely more hugs plz on this show!

But, yeah, that was designed to be a slow hanging. For reason? Does Jon know that Olly shafted Ygritte and gave Jon a fookin'A! bro! after doing so?

But, but - "Wear it, burn it? My watch has ended." - I think this might be the beginning of the dissolution of the Night's Watch and something more humanistic and inclusive forms to ... conflict? ... resist? ... the white walkers.
posted by porpoise at 8:32 PM on May 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


Where was Ice at this time?

I was sort of hopping for at least a nod to the whole "magic sword" thing. For the most part, they've pretty much let that fall by the wayside, which is unfortunate because you'll never have a more dedicated fanbase for a sword and sorcery show than people who want to know what plus level Ice is, and if it's got any special abilities. Having Ice against Dawn would have been pretty fantastic.

Also, isn't Valerian steel supposed to be all light and such? Easier to wield a giant sword when it isn't super heavy?
posted by Ghidorah at 8:38 PM on May 9, 2016


Yup. But Dawn is Valyrian steel, the dual-wielded whatevers probably weren't.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:43 PM on May 9, 2016


"The bastard swords had a lot of wobble in a few scenes."

Oh man, I thought I was just being picky. Those swords wobbled more than a crying kid's lower lip.

I thought Dawn wasn't Valyrian steel, but forged from a meteorite?
posted by culfinglin at 9:19 PM on May 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


Yup. But Dawn is Valyrian steel, the dual-wielded whatevers probably weren't.

Dawn was forged from the metal of a meteorite, and it was said to look nothing like Valyrian steel yet was also supremely tough, light, strong, etc.
posted by clockzero at 9:20 PM on May 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


I thought Dawn wasn't Valyrian steel, but forged from a meteorite?

Indeed.
posted by homunculus at 9:21 PM on May 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


Okay, so I've watched it again, and Dayne only has two swords (Dawn and another), but is wearing one scabbard and sword belt. Gaaah. This is going to bother me SO much. At least Dawn is not Valyrian steel and I'm not losing my mind. ;)

Also, Dayne's using the off-hand sword like an overgrown main gauche: to parry. Although the best parrying Dayne does is Parry Nine: retreating when it's him against Ned and two other guys. Also cool: Dayne's brief salute to Ned once it's just the two of them, where he brings the off-hand sword ever so briefly up to his face, then down.
posted by culfinglin at 9:37 PM on May 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


Also, Dayne's using the off-hand sword like an overgrown main gauche: to parry.

The only time he attacks with it is when he does that two-bladed throat slash, which makes me wonder if everyone was just too intimidated to tell him that he only needs a good dagger for that hand?

Although the best parrying Dayne does is Parry Nine: retreating when it's him against Ned and two other guys.

He must've started with foil.

Also cool: Dayne's brief salute to Ned once it's just the two of them, where he brings the off-hand sword ever so briefly up to his face, then down.

Yep, he's a fencer
posted by clockzero at 9:47 PM on May 9, 2016 [3 favorites]


Yep, he's a fencer

Or the choreographer is.
posted by porpoise at 9:50 PM on May 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


He must've started with foil.

You're making me spit my wine, damnit.
posted by culfinglin at 9:53 PM on May 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


I looked him up, and Luke Roberts, who plays Ser Arthur Dayne, has some martial arts training. Not a fencer, though.
posted by culfinglin at 9:59 PM on May 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I just thought the character had the mien of a fencer, albeit one who lives in a world where the main gauche has apparently not yet been invented
posted by clockzero at 10:33 PM on May 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


Oh bloody hell, my stupid memory
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:43 PM on May 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


I still am entirely perplexed by what the point was for Sansa's whole storyline last season. It was never explained. How did her marriage help anyone's strategic position besides Ramsay's? They acted like it was some sort of assertion of agency for her but then she just ended up getting raped for three episodes and eventually rescued. It was such a dead end. Why didn't Littlefinger just marry her himself? And why do so many people turn over extremely valuable hostages to a torture-happy bastard psychopath who just killed his whole family?

This is the biggest problem I have with the show-specific plots. I think when the show goes off-book, it really shows how D&D are just not the storytellers that GRRM is. OK, don't laugh. I know we're all mad at him for the last two books, but still. D&D are better at keeping the plot moving, but to what end? Lots of stuff happens, but the action does not have the complexity or resonance that GRRM can muster. Because GRRM's strength is in weaving all these complex plots and characters' motivations together in a way that, when it works, is super-satisfying.

Let's take the example of Sansa being married off to Ramsey vs. Fake Arya. In the books, it's terrible but it makes a certain amount of narrative sense. For one thing, you understand why the two parties who brokered the deal (Roose and the Lannisters) do this. The Lannisters want to keep Roose and the North close after the Red Wedding, so they offer a "Stark girl." Roose wants legitimacy to rule the North, so he agrees to have Ramsey marry her. There are hints that they know she's not really Arya, but it doesn't matter. But as several people in this thread have pointed out, Littlefinger had no good reason to marry off Sansa. Actually, it puts him in a really bad position on several levels: 1. he's lost control of the only known legitimate Stark 2. It puts him in an awkward position with the Lannisters, who still control the Iron Throne and will surely hear about Sansa and his role and start asking questions, 3. It takes him out of the Vale which seems foolish since he was barely holding onto it.

This happens over and over again. Say what you will about GRRM, but he does a really good job of putting together characters with strong, sometimes overlapping, sometimes opposing motivations, and having the action come from those motivations, which is just more narratively satisfying.

Don't get me wrong, I still enjoy the show, mainly because the acting is great and D&D do somewhat make up for the lame storytelling by being super fan-servicey at the moment, which is satisfying on a certain level. But I'd rather have GRRM's character-driven plot messes than D&D's fanfic.
posted by lunasol at 10:44 PM on May 9, 2016 [24 favorites]


> I still am entirely perplexed by what the point was for Sansa's whole storyline last season. It was never explained.

As I understand it, the explanation is pretty mundane: the point was to keep the Ramsay/Jeyne Poole subplot on the show. On the one hand the showrunners didn't think Sansa's Vale arc would work on the show, and on the other hand they loved the Ramsay/Jeyne Poole storyline in the book and intended to keep it, so they merged them and put Sansa in Jeyne's place. They said as much themselves. The disturbing thing was that they seemed completely oblivious to why their version was so fucked up.
posted by homunculus at 10:48 PM on May 9, 2016 [5 favorites]


2. It puts him in an awkward position with the Lannisters, who still control the Iron Throne and will surely hear about Sansa and his role and start asking questions

Actually, that part was part of his plan: after he took Sansa to Winterfell, he teleported to King's Landing and told Cersei that Ramsey had married Sansa, thereby using the information to convince her to allow him to use the Knights of the Vale to overthrow the Boltons and make him Warden of the North.

It's an uncharacteristically reckless plan for Littlefinger, imo. I think the writers were making it up as they went along after deciding to marry Sansa to Ramsey.
posted by homunculus at 11:04 PM on May 9, 2016 [3 favorites]


Ah, thanks, I totally forgot about that, probably because the show-only plot points are basically like sand running through my fingers. Very little is interesting enough to bother remembering!

But again, this is just not very well-thought-out. Like you say, it's uncharacteristically reckless and totally does not fit in with Petyr's character. He's smart enough to realize that 1. he's better off with Sansa in his sight and 2. if Cersei were to find out that he had Sansa and married her off, he would be completely fucked (this was before she was jailed).
posted by lunasol at 11:12 PM on May 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


I thought Dawn wasn't Valyrian steel, but forged from a meteorite?

D'oh. I think I just lost points off my nerd card. Damn. So what's stronger then, Valyrian steel or meteorite sword? And why didn't the show give us the magic sword showdown we so richly deserve for sticking through the lean years (season five, if you will)?
posted by Ghidorah at 11:29 PM on May 9, 2016




This far down and no mention of Tyrion wanting to play "I never..."
posted by OHenryPacey at 12:19 AM on May 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


Is anyone else miffed about the Dosh khaleen? I mean, leave it to male writers to get crone island all wrong. It's shouldn't be all clothes-rending and creepy proclamations, they should have been "hey are the mens gone? cool, here's some fuzzy slippers and a margarita"
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 12:33 AM on May 10, 2016 [26 favorites]


Thank you culflingen and porpoise! All this awesome sword knowledge is giving me the happies.
posted by runincircles at 2:12 AM on May 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


Poor GRRM. I wonder how its going to feel when his super secret plot reveal about Jon which he has no doubt been looking forward to for twenty years now gets scooped on the TV. Maybe he'll ragequit.

Or perhaps he'll find some way to move forward.
posted by Justinian at 2:42 AM on May 10, 2016 [5 favorites]


This is the biggest problem I have with the show-specific plots. I think when the show goes off-book, it really shows how D&D are just not the storytellers that GRRM is. OK, don't laugh. I know we're all mad at him for the last two books, but still. D&D are better at keeping the plot moving, but to what end?

The, I think. End, that is. The show is committed to bringing this sprawling story to a conclusion in ~2 seasons or so. We're going to lose nuance if they do that. Which I'm fine with, to be honest, because GRRM's entire output over the past decade, and the bulk of the word-count of the series as a whole, seems to amount to meaningless, red-herring-laying, world-building wheel spinning. He's taken the characters we care about and largely kept them running on a treadmill for two books in order to set two giant other plots in motion --- the Pretender campaign, Dorne conspiracy --- which are likely going to have little impact on the overall structure of the rest of the story.

I mean, I could be wrong, maybe somehow the Sand Snakes'll end up on the Iron Throne in the books, but if all that basically happens is that Dorne rebels against the Lannisters and helps bring them down before Dany can get there then it's basically a sub-plot that we really, really didn't need to spend this much time on. Dorne in the show has been terrible, but I can live with a hatchet job if it's being done to sever an atrophied limb.

The show definitely has faults, story-telling wise. But I think a lot of book people take as a lack of ability decisions and concisions that are simply an absolute necessity of telling this story with live actors. Giving Sansa the Jeyne Poole plot didn't work. But Sansa's book plot was never going to work, because Sansa has no book plot, post-moon door. In terms of actual stuff that happens to her, it's about three minutes of screen time with her chatting to Littlefinger.
posted by Diablevert at 3:29 AM on May 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


I was very sad to see that the Dosh Khaleen weren't more or less living in The Red Tent.
posted by tofu_crouton at 6:16 AM on May 10, 2016 [4 favorites]


This far down and no mention of Tyrion wanting to play "I never..."

I thought that whole scene of Tyrion trying to make smalltalk with Grey Worm and Missandei was hilarious. A little wink to the viewer at how joyless and grim their lives are. I mean sure, they were slaves, so they've got reason to have little experience at being happy and carefree. But here they are sitting in Meereen doing literally nothing, apparently incapable of even inventing their own dialog. It felt like the show acknowledging that parts of the story and characters are a bit thin at the edges.
posted by Nelson at 6:27 AM on May 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


I caught myself wondering if Varys used Intimidation or Persuasion on that Harpy sympathizer while watching the episode.

It reminded me of nothing so much as watching the persuasion minigame in Oblivion.
posted by Navelgazer at 6:45 AM on May 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


tofu_crouton, YES. I know. What a missed opportunity. It would have been +1000x more interesting to see Dany end up in a situation she actually likes - a bunch of cool ladies, doing their own thing while the patriarchy thinks they're being oppressed. Dothraki Lillith fair. Would have actually added some stakes to see if she'll want to go back to failing at being a ruler. Instead she just loses all agency for awhile. Great.
posted by permiechickie at 7:56 AM on May 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


Poor GRRM. I wonder how its going to feel when his super secret plot reveal about Jon which he has no doubt been looking forward to for twenty years now gets scooped on the TV. Maybe he'll ragequit.

Or perhaps he'll find some way to move forward.


As I've watched this season, I keep thinking how I look forward to the book adaptation of this show! They have a lot to work with here.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:07 AM on May 10, 2016


Yeah, the dosh khaleen were a little disappointing - "you did wrong, now the men will decide what to do with you" instead of "you are home now".

The women of the dosh khaleen are supposed to be seers and interpreters of omens, so I'm hoping that they will be the ones to interpret the sudden appearance of a dragon as meaning the khals need to fall in line.
posted by nubs at 8:11 AM on May 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


One thing GRRM was able to do in the books was have at least one storyline really moving even if other storylines were on a treadmill. With as few shows as are in each season, last night's episode was a lot of theoretically powerful people doing nothing.
Cersei -- sitting in a room
Dany -- standing in a hut
Tyrion -- twiddling his fingers
Jon -- striding toward nowhere
Tommen -- the actual King on the Iron throne, the person who has what everyone else wants -- getting schooled by a dude who should have had a knife in his chest by now

Varys was doing GoT things, and Ramsey was doing GoT things but with all of the potential action, intrigue and actual plot that has to happen before they wrap this thing up, they'd better start putting some actual content in the episodes.
posted by OHenryPacey at 8:41 AM on May 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


What you missed on 6x03 of Game of Thrones

I'm so confused by the "please do not repost" at the bottom of those recaps. Like, do u even kno how to tumblr?

Maybe he'll ragequit

He already did. I'm 99% convinced he inked the deal for the show so he could stop even pretending to write the last two books.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:13 AM on May 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm so confused by the "please do not repost" at the bottom of those recaps. Like, do u even kno how to tumblr?

She means "don't take individual images out of this post and create new posts with them which are unlinked to this account," not "don't reblog this post."
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:14 AM on May 10, 2016


Ah. That wasn't clear.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:20 AM on May 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


O hey so, re: GRRM - he has a huge previous body of work in sci-fi and other speculative fiction, and I think it's kind of a shame that the popularity of Game of Thrones doesn't seem to have led to a broader rediscovery of his older work.

Does anybody have any favorite things by him unrelated to Game of Thrones? I really, really love the novella A Song for Lya, one of the best SF treatments of the question of religious faith. I also enjoyed his novel Fevre Dream which is about vampires in New Orleans, or, basically, "what if Anne Rice didn't suck so hard"
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:20 AM on May 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


Palatine cutting down the Jedi Masters sent to arrest him in Revenge of the Sith was better than the Tower of Joy fight in this episode. That's how mediocre the fight scenes on this who have become.
posted by Apocryphon at 9:36 AM on May 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


Does anybody have any favorite things by him unrelated to Game of Thrones?

I really like two of his scifi short stories, With Morning Comes Mistfall and Sandkings. I also remember liking Beauty and the Beast (which he wrote 14 episodes for) when it was on tv when I was a kid but I haven't rewatched it to see if it holds up for me as an adult.

Yeah, not to mention, isn't there a pretty clearly established election system for choosing the Lord Commander, a position apparently served for life? Seems weird that he could just hand it over to whoever he wanted.

There's a definite sense that Mormont was grooming Jon for command (I think they mention this in the books when Mormont makes Jon his glorified valet instead of ranger, that's the likely reason) - I think in ordinary circumstances where the current Lord Commander isn't unexpectedly murdered, they can probably make it pretty clear who they'd like their successor to be, which I'd imagine makes the actual voting just a formality in most cases. Arguably, Mormont's implied "endorsement" is a major factor in Jon getting the job in the first place.

As for the position being for life, well, so is being a member of the Night's Watch. Jon died, ergo, the position is open. At least that seems to be Jon's view, along with a healthy dose of "fuck this noise".
posted by mstokes650 at 9:41 AM on May 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


Yup, Mormont was explicitly grooming him, and explained when Snow got all emo about being named a Steward instead of a Ranger.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:44 AM on May 10, 2016


Does anybody have any favorite things by him unrelated to Game of Thrones?

I really liked Tuf Voyaging, but haven't read anything else yet. Preston Jacobs Over on YouTube has read everything and is going through them all (he also has some interesting ASOIAF theories due to his belief that it is part of George's "Thousand World" SciFi universe.)
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 9:54 AM on May 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


GRRM was (I believe) the showrunner for the first season of the 1980s Twilight Zone TV series, which despite some painfully dated SFX is one of my favorite things. (But stop watching after the first season.) I like his novel Fevre Dream a lot, though I would warn that it includes elements that are akin to...well...all the stuff that squicks people out about GoT. And I've never read the story it's based on, but I got the comics adaptation of his "In the House of the Worm" in a Comixology bundle, and I really dug that.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 10:04 AM on May 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


Does anybody have any favorite things by him unrelated to Game of Thrones?

I enjoyed going through Dreamsongs: A RRetrospective, which is a two volume collection of stories, novellas, television screenplays, etc. It was a nice way to get a sampling of his work across a lot of genres and timeframes, and it includes some of his notable pieces such as Sandkings and The Ice Dragon, and if I ran into something that wasn't working for me, I just moved along.
posted by nubs at 10:57 AM on May 10, 2016 [1 favorite]




Does anybody have any favorite things by him unrelated to Game of Thrones?

Sandkings, for sure. Fevre Dream. I loved the book Nightflyers, but the movie is terrible. Armageddon Rag.

Wild Cards is fun.

IIRC Sandkings was published in short story form in the inaugural issue of Omni and won a Hugo.
posted by mwhybark at 11:53 AM on May 10, 2016 [1 favorite]




"I blame their tender bird-like twig necks which I am going to break unless I get access to some goddamn education"
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:05 PM on May 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


I don't think he was telling Dolorous Edd that he was the new Lord Commander. He was just telling Edd that he had charge of Castle Black (the Lord Commander would presumably give someone charge of the castle anytime they were leaving the premises).
posted by Rock Steady at 12:31 PM on May 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


Yeah. Picard saying "You have the bridge, Number One," isn't the same as "Congratulations! Field promotion. Picard out."
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:50 PM on May 10, 2016 [7 favorites]


I mean, given what Riker does to the place when Picard is on shore leave, it might as well be a field promotion to Admiral.
posted by Rock Steady at 1:07 PM on May 10, 2016 [7 favorites]


Oh god those Chrys Reviews are a RICH source of potential t-shirts: I would totally buy "socrates can eat my entire ass" and "but but I'm polarizing!"
posted by runincircles at 1:51 PM on May 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


I don't think he was telling Dolorous Edd that he was the new Lord Commander. He was just telling Edd that he had charge of Castle Black (the Lord Commander would presumably give someone charge of the castle anytime they were leaving the premises).

First off, if he was planning to come back he'd probably not have told Edd it was cool to burn the Lord Commander's cloak if he felt like it.

Second and more importantly, what he says when he's walking away, the very last line of the episode, is "My watch is ended." That's a very clear callback to the call-and-response they do at Night's Watch funerals; "And now his watch is ended." Which in turn is a reference to the oath all brothers of the Night's Watch swear: "Night gathers, and now my watch begins. It shall not end until my death."

Jon Snow died, and so as far as Jon Snow is concerned, his watch is done and he is done with the Night's Watch. He's not coming back.
posted by mstokes650 at 2:20 PM on May 10, 2016 [5 favorites]


Does anybody have any favorite things by him unrelated to Game of Thrones?

Sandkings, Fevre Dream, and Dying of the Light are the traditional answers, and I see others have mentioned at least the first two.
posted by Justinian at 2:55 PM on May 10, 2016


Gah! I've had Dying of the Light on the tip of my tongue all afternoon. Don't know why I couldn't remember the title.
posted by nubs at 3:22 PM on May 10, 2016


I mean, given what Riker does to the place when Picard is on shore leave, it might as well be a field promotion to Admiral.

If Jon is just going on leave, I hope Edd gave him a wilding fertility statue to bring along.
posted by drezdn at 4:59 PM on May 10, 2016 [7 favorites]


Does anybody have any favorite things by him unrelated to Game of Thrones?

Yeah, Sandkings and Fevre Dream are good, as everyone said. Someone mentioned Tuf Voyaging, which I thought was OK - it's more of a YA level (about the same as Tales of Dunk and Egg).
posted by Pink Frost at 5:39 PM on May 10, 2016


Re: Jon. I know he can argue that his watch ended with his death, but that always seemed problematic to me - like, he's always seen the Night's Watch as a moral force, and seen himself as having a duty. Sure, in a strict reading of his vows, his watch is over. But I don't see Jon taking the literal view rather than obeying the spirit of the laws, and abandoning his friends. He could negotiate between Davos/Mel, the Watch and the wildlings; without him there what's going to happen? The wildlings take over?

Of course it could be that he's come back changed, and this is part of how the show demonstrates it...
posted by Pink Frost at 5:44 PM on May 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


I think he said it to Davos. I am paraphrasing, but in essence he said #I did the right thing and they killed me for it#...so what more does he have to offer the watch than his life, which he has already given?
posted by OHenryPacey at 5:52 PM on May 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


I definitely don't think Jon would allow some legal trick to excuse him from his duty previously, but things have changed. I can't think of anything that would shake my faith in an organization than having its members conspire to kill me because they interpreted my undying loyalty as traitorous incompetence.
posted by skewed at 6:15 PM on May 10, 2016 [7 favorites]


Does anybody have any favorite things

My favorite song about nubs is Nub.
posted by homunculus at 6:53 PM on May 10, 2016


I can't think of anything that would shake my faith in an organization than having its members conspire to kill me because they interpreted my undying loyalty as traitorous incompetence.

There is that, yes, I suppose :). Still, he'd executed the ringleaders and presumably most of the remaining population of Castle Black (wildling or Watch) is with him now.
posted by Pink Frost at 6:56 PM on May 10, 2016


Arya becoming a ninja is hella boring and I hope that is done.

Theon is no doubt on his way to mess things up for his sister.

I wonder what kind of job Osha has been doing raising Rickon.
I think that this is all the pie we are going to get.

Margery is still in jail, mainly not getting pregnant, which is a huge problem for everyone in Kings Landing, including Cersei.

I see Clegane-bowl coming down the line.....

I visualize the show runners wielding a giant sword and hacking GRRMs huge plot knots into pieces. Rah! Now Rickon's at Winterfell!

Daenerys: outcomes that would be unsatisfactory: her being rescued by Drogon. Her being rescued by Joraario. She needs to get something out of this or at least -learn- something from it.

I find it hard to believe that Cersei let Tommen go speak to the High Sparrow without adult supervision.
posted by bq at 7:33 PM on May 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


I think that Jon is okay with following the letter of the law because, as said above, he tried to do the right thing and people got stabby. Sure, they hung the four people, but I think there were a good deal more that did the stabbing, though maybe I'm mistaken. Either way, he died for his brothers, at the hands of his brothers, and he's hand quite enough of that.

The cloak thing, I mean, maybe he's going to be doing the "I'm filled with natural warmth from the lord o light" thing that Melissandre has, but they really could have done a better job of showing that. As it is, he just looks kind of silly for storming off into the oncoming winter without a coat.
posted by Ghidorah at 7:43 PM on May 10, 2016


My favorite song about nubs is Nub .

I'm...thinking about a name change.
posted by nubs at 8:10 PM on May 10, 2016


I think we have to remember Jon died and came back. He's undoubtedly missing something. Why /not/ his Sense Of Honor?
posted by corb at 8:28 PM on May 10, 2016


Might be; I suspect, however, that having died and experienced nothing but oblivion, Jon doesn't have much stomach for carrying out executions anymore. He showed his father/nuncle's sense of honor in listening to their last words and being the one to swing the sword of the men he sentenced to death, but I don't think he's going to have much stomach for carrying out those kinds of actions anymore. Battle will likely be a different story.
posted by nubs at 9:13 PM on May 10, 2016


How long was Jon dead for anyway?
posted by Justinian at 11:30 PM on May 10, 2016


There is no time in death. But you knew that.
posted by mwhybark at 12:37 AM on May 11, 2016


Just thought of something: if Jon is leaving the Watch, is he taking Longclaw with him? Because that feels like a bit of a spit in the face to Jeor Mormont if he is.
posted by Navelgazer at 6:25 AM on May 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


Because the hero must have a magic sword, and the show doesn't have time for your ethical dilemmas.
posted by nubs at 7:04 AM on May 11, 2016 [3 favorites]


Is anyone else miffed about the Dosh khaleen? I mean, leave it to male writers to get crone island all wrong.

I think it's very intentionally NOT a crone island situation - for all that the Dosh Khaleen have, collectively, more power than any of them had as individual khaleesi, I don't think we're meant to see the Dothraki as some kind of stealth matriarchy. It's still a violent overtly patriarchal culture - the baddest, most macho members of it, the ones who fight and kill their way to leadership, get the honor of NOT having their property (wives) passed around after their death. The existence of the Dosh Khaleen is about honoring the dead khals, not a sign that the Dothraki actually give a shit about the widows. Better than being burned alive on your husband's funeral pyre, but maybe not by much.

And for all that the Dothraki may fear the Dosh Khaleen's powers of prophecy, fear is not respect, they're left to run a city in a culture that doesn't even like cities and has as little to do with them as possible, and the Dosh Khaleen apparently have even less authority than previously thought, if Dany's fate is to be decided by the khals, not the Dosh Khaleen, which seems to be the case.

On top of that, by many accounts it can often be other women who are strongly invested in maintaining the patriarchal status quo, especially if they've managed to carve out some small amount of power within the patriarchy. The older khaleen who did most of the speaking flat out told Dany, "You're young and beautiful and naive and you thought you'd change the world - and therefore you're a fool, you'll soon learn better." This seems a clear statement that the Dosh Khaleen are invested in the status quo of the patriarchal Dothraki culture.

IOW, while Dany is clearly there to get some prophesizin' and omens of the future, I think the story's also confirming that Dany's first instinct way back after the death of Khal Drogo was right - becoming a Dosh Khaleen is being cast aside, put in an out-of-the-way box, and whatever power they may have is entirely inadequate for her goals. I can see her using whatever magical power she gains or learns from the Dosh Khaleen to convince/terrify the Dothraki to unite under her leadership, but that would be more "Dany breakin' the rules", not so much "Dany using the power of the secret female Dothraki rulers." Time and again we're shown that women have a very limited number of routes to power, and that their power is limited even via those routes, and I think the Dosh Khaleen is more of the same, another example of the limits and constraints put on women's power and authority.
posted by soundguy99 at 7:38 AM on May 11, 2016 [13 favorites]


I can see her using whatever magical power she gains or learns from the Dosh Khaleen to convince/terrify the Dothraki to unite under her leadership, but that would be more "Dany breakin' the rules", not so much "Dany using the power of the secret female Dothraki rulers."

Daenerys Stormborn, The Unburnt, Mother of Dragons, The Silver Queen, Breaker of Chains.

I've always taken Breaker of Chains to mean more than her role as someone who frees slaves, but as someone who breaks the chains of convention and tradition as well. She has come not just to conquer, but to remake. So her fucking over the power structure of the Dosh Khaleen and the Dothraki seems to me to be in keeping with her arc thus far. I don't expect her to learn any magic from the "crones", just to bend them to her purpose.
posted by nubs at 8:11 AM on May 11, 2016 [5 favorites]


I actually sorta like the Dosh Kaleen as minor and outcast because it means Dany was right about something. That this was not the place she should have gone as others begged her to do after Drogo's death. That this was an example and proof of her good instincts.

Now the narrative that puts her there anyway? well fuck that, that's annoying.
posted by French Fry at 9:57 AM on May 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


$5 says Drogon's gonna show up and dry-hump their big dumb horse statue and Dany's gonna make some crack about stallions who mount the world

Dany's gonna be fine
posted by prize bull octorok at 10:01 AM on May 11, 2016 [4 favorites]


I'm kinda hoping for Drogon and his two sibs reuniting in the skies over Vaes Dothrak, eating a bunch of horses, roasting a few idiots, and then mating with the horse statue.
posted by nubs at 10:08 AM on May 11, 2016


That big dumb horse statue is really incongruous with Dothraki technology; they don't seem the type to foster skilled mason workers. I wonder who they got to build it for them?
posted by porpoise at 10:22 AM on May 11, 2016 [3 favorites]


Surely the Dothraki are her new army, ready to sweep across the grass seas and avenge her against the sons of the harpy. what else can be the end game of all of this mucking about in the lands that are not westeros?
we haven't seen it yet, but don't the Greyjoys have some sort of Dragon-calling Horn? surely they will be the catalyst to get Dany and the Dragons moving back toward winterland.
posted by OHenryPacey at 10:24 AM on May 11, 2016 [2 favorites]


That big dumb horse statue is really incongruous with Dothraki technology; they don't seem the type to foster skilled mason workers. I wonder who they got to build it for them?

Vaes Dothrak is where the Dothraki hordes bring all their looted treasures and goods from the cities they sack, or the tribute from the cities that pay tribute to avoid being sacked. They also bring slaves, so it wouldn't surprise me that some former masons made slaves were set to carve it.

In A World of Ice and Fire, the history of the Dothraki reveals that the grassland of the Dothraki Sea used to be home to a different empire, one that the Dothraki overthrew and sacked. So it could be that Vaes Dothraki was established on the remains of one of those cities, and the big dumb horse statue was left there. I'll dip into that when I get back home.
posted by nubs at 10:37 AM on May 11, 2016 [5 favorites]


In the books, the Dothraki take the statues/etc of gods of people they conquer, and bring said statues back to Vaes Dothrak. Which doesn't really explain the giant horses, probably explained by "looks cool on TV and is a useful visual reminder of where we are."
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:53 PM on May 11, 2016 [2 favorites]


yeah I wanted to see their awesome collection of weird trophy idols, not their copy of "Bronco Buster"
posted by prize bull octorok at 2:00 PM on May 11, 2016


I feel like the Dothraki would really appreciate Blucifer.
posted by Rock Steady at 2:08 PM on May 11, 2016 [4 favorites]


Oh right, duh. Slaves, obvsly. Kinda forgot about that.
posted by porpoise at 5:20 PM on May 11, 2016


I feel like the Dothraki would really appreciate Blucifer.

This could lend credence to the theory that Essos is Earth in the future.
posted by drezdn at 5:21 PM on May 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


The Dothraki don't worship horses, per se, so I'm assuming the statue is a spoil of war from some culture that did and the Dothraki thought it was the best garden gnome yet.

Regarding fighting in plate (mentioned above) I've been trying to find an old film of some guys from a NYC museum who literally put on authentic plate armor and filmed themselves doing somersaults and the like. (That's how old it is.)

My google-fu failed me, but I did come up with this one about how you fight in plate that may give some idea about how flexible it was (and how much medieval combat resembled MMA)
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 5:52 PM on May 11, 2016


Ok, so the Dothraki overthrew the Kingdom of Sarnor, basically an empire of multiple city-states that had multiple kings inside of it. At its height, Sarnor controlled land from basically the forest of Qohor to the inland lakes you see above and slightly to the left of the text for "Dothraki Sea" on this map. During the Century of Blood that followed the Doom of Valyria, the Dothraki united under one khal, and pretty much destroyed every city of Sarnor - who couldn't be bothered to unite until it was too late, leaving behind ruins. Saath is the one remaining city of Sarnor.

Vaes Dothrak does not appear to be part of any ruins of Sarnor, but just the one Dothraki "city", where the Dosh Khaleen and slaves of the Dothraki live. It also has two markets - the Western Market and the Eastern Market, where traders from either end of the continent come to trade, so there is an important aspect to Vaes Dothrak in terms of it being a bit of a crossroads for Essos.

I have no idea what is up with the big dumb horse statue, except that from a distance, the horses are supposed to frame the Mother of Mountains.

Anyways, a couple of interesting takeaways for me:

-Sarnor was a bunch of infighting petty kingdoms that couldn't unite in the face of an existential threat. Hmmm. HMMMMM.
-When the Dothraki unite under one khal, they can really fuck shit up.
posted by nubs at 6:10 PM on May 11, 2016 [5 favorites]


Alt Shift X
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:41 PM on May 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


That video makes a good point about Varys and how the show may be making him less of a morally grey character.
posted by nubs at 7:14 PM on May 11, 2016


I think it's very intentionally NOT a crone island situation

I'm gonna assume here that you knew I was making a joke, but you just felt like discussing the dosh khaleen, and not that you actually thought I needed to have explained what, by many accounts, women are often like.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 8:56 PM on May 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


So I have this fear:

Given that: (A) Rickon is in the clutches of Ramsay, who (B) has now lost all three of the people who meant anything at all to him, and that (C) Books-Rickon has strong propensities for uncontrolled anger, fear-based rage, and violent lashing out--

I'm worried that Ramsay and Rickon are going to bond in some disgusting way, and that Ramsay is going to start mentoring him in the oh-god-no-fucking-ICK-ly arts.

Which would be absolutely The Goddamn Worst.

But that's not going to happen, right? Because (1)The show hasn't really foregrounded that aspect of Rickon's personality; (2) Osha's been such a good influence that no one, including D&D and GRRM, would find this turn of events remotely plausible; and (3) ICK.

So in conclusion: nope, couldn't possibly happen. Nope, nope, nope. I hope.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 10:19 PM on May 11, 2016 [3 favorites]


I'm gonna assume here that you knew I was making a joke

I did not, and I apologize.
posted by soundguy99 at 5:21 AM on May 12, 2016 [2 favorites]


Vaes Dothrak does not appear to be part of any ruins of Sarnor

it's the denver airport
posted by poffin boffin at 9:02 AM on May 12, 2016 [9 favorites]


But that's not going to happen, right? Because (1)The show hasn't really foregrounded that aspect of Rickon's personality; (2) Osha's been such a good influence that no one, including D&D and GRRM, would find this turn of events remotely plausible; and (3) ICK.

This would work sort of okay if Rickon acquires the ruthlessness but not the sadism and is all like "Ramsay, you've taught me so much" and kicks him into the dog-mauling pit and goes on to become the unschooled, semiferal Lord of Winterfell all Old North-style

And he could be all "hell yeah bring the Wildlings down here"

I had gotten to thinking Rickon had pulled a Chuck Cunningham so it's nice that he's back and we're able to theorize about him!
posted by prize bull octorok at 9:16 AM on May 12, 2016 [2 favorites]


Navelgazer: Just thought of something: if Jon is leaving the Watch, is he taking Longclaw with him? Because that feels like a bit of a spit in the face to Jeor Mormont if he is.

nubs: Because the hero must have a magic sword, and the show doesn't have time for your ethical dilemmas.

What would Jeor Mormont care now? He's dead ... though is son is alive .... hmm. Where is Jon going again? And without a coat? TO THE DESERT LANDS! Before Greyscale takes over!
posted by filthy light thief at 9:24 AM on May 12, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm worried that Ramsay and Rickon are going to bond in some disgusting way, and that Ramsay is going to start mentoring him in the oh-god-no-fucking-ICK-ly arts.

So Ramsay would do for Rickon what the original Reek did for Ramsay in the books? Interesting idea. But since Rickon's very existence is a threat to Ramsay, I can't see Ramsay investing in Rickon when he surely plans to kill him sooner or later.

no one, including D&D and GRRM, would find this turn of events remotely plausible

I don't see how that would stop them.
posted by homunculus at 9:52 AM on May 12, 2016


Just thought of something: if Jon is leaving the Watch, is he taking Longclaw with him? Because that feels like a bit of a spit in the face to Jeor Mormont if he is.

It also feels like a giant 'fuck you' to Edd and the rest of the Watch since Jon knows that Valyrian steel is the only thing which can kill a White Walker other than dragonglass, and they lost all the dragonglass daggers at Hardhome. If Edd is taking over, he needs that blade more than Jon does.
posted by homunculus at 9:58 AM on May 12, 2016 [1 favorite]


It would be a pretty amazing fuck-you to fantasy tropes if Jon just wanders off to kill himself. "I should be dead," or "I feel like part of me is missing" (Beric Dondarrion intimated that less and less of you comes back each time).
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:00 AM on May 12, 2016 [3 favorites]


If Edd is taking over, he needs that blade more than Jon does.

I forgot about all that, given that we haven't actually seen or heard of the threat from the north.

Maybe the white walkers just wanted a port city, so they could increase their trade with more open-minded people. "Those dicks in the north are so set against ice zombies as people, maybe the Dornishmen would be interested in animal pelts and artisanal snow cones."
posted by filthy light thief at 10:15 AM on May 12, 2016 [9 favorites]


It would be a pretty amazing fuck-you to fantasy tropes if Jon just wanders off to kill himself. "I should be dead," or "I feel like part of me is missing" (Beric Dondarrion intimated that less and less of you comes back each time).

My actual thought of fuck-you to fantasy tropes, is that they're going to have Jon identified as the Hidden Prince, people all over find out he's the Hidden Prince - and he just gives zero fucks and refuses to play the game and wants to just go off and get married and have babies or something.
posted by corb at 10:23 AM on May 12, 2016 [3 favorites]


JON: Leave me alone, I want to go off and have babies.

AUDIENCE: Ooh, he's Refusing the Call!

JON: No. This isn't a trope. I'm not going to change my mind. I'm done with all that ice zombie shit.

AUDIENCE: He's Refusing it so hard! It's gonna be SO GREAT when he finds out he's a secret Targaryen and becomes a dragon rider!

JON: THE HELL AM I GETTING ON A DRAGON

AUDIENCE: Delicious irony!

JON: [stabs self with Longclaw]
posted by prize bull octorok at 10:30 AM on May 12, 2016 [17 favorites]


I keep thinking about R+L=J in the context of Maester Aemon. You know, Aemon Targaryen, the other last-Targaryen-alive, chilling out at The Wall with the other Night's Watch people? If R+L=J is true he'd be Jon's great-great-great-uncle or something. Living together for a year, friends and confidants. Aemon wasn't dumb, wouldn't he know that Rhaegar had a secret love child that he set up in a tower who was rescued by Ned Stark at just about the time Jon Snow appeared?

I also keep puzzling over the show-runners decision to have Aemon die at The Wall last season instead of making the miserable sea voyage to Oldtown with Sam and dying there, like in the books. Admittedly the book escapade is Yet Another Pointless Diversion, maybe they just edited it for brevity / dramatic effect. But they went through the trouble to show the sea voyage, so why not have Aemon there?

(Here's a Reddit discussion about the Aemon question. And some hints from an episode last season. Aemon's speech "Kill the boy and let the man be born" could be portentious, although it took Alliser Thorne to do the killing.)
posted by Nelson at 11:43 AM on May 12, 2016 [1 favorite]


i mean it IS entirely possible that they thought with the broadcast series timeframe he might not be alive by the time they got around to the boat part of the plot. he's 93, after all
posted by poffin boffin at 12:01 PM on May 12, 2016 [1 favorite]


I did not, and I apologize.

no worries! I wasn't insulted or anything, it was just too funny not to comment on, y'know?
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 12:02 PM on May 12, 2016


It would be a pretty amazing fuck-you to fantasy tropes if Jon just wanders off to kill himself. "I should be dead," or "I feel like part of me is missing" (Beric Dondarrion intimated that less and less of you comes back each time).

I do think that while Jon has a big role to play in ending the threat of the Others, it would not at all surprise me to see him sacrifice himself as part of that role. But I suspect, in addition to whatever is missing from Jon as a result of this resurrection, there's a whole lot of dissonance over "I did the right thing and some fuckers stabbed me" and "there was nothing" which is causing the emo at the moment.

My actual thought of fuck-you to fantasy tropes, is that they're going to have Jon identified as the Hidden Prince, people all over find out he's the Hidden Prince - and he just gives zero fucks and refuses to play the game

My wish has always been to have the audience know, but the news never gets out in the story. So Branch figures it out, but can't let anybody know, and we all watch the Hidden Prince stay Hidden, even from himself. But a big part of that is hoping for an ending that doesn't involve the Hidden Prince/King being revealed and then everything being right with the world...so maybe the ending is Jon refusing the Throne at the end, because he knows how fucked up it is to be the person in charge and be hated, even when doing the right thing, and maybe he brings forward the tradition of the Night's Watch choosing their own commander - except it isn't a life sentence, just for a period of time?

Aemon's speech "Kill the boy and let the man be born" could be portentious

I always figured if Aemon had been around at this point, he would have gone to Jon and said "I didn't mean literally, you lackwit."
posted by nubs at 1:25 PM on May 12, 2016 [6 favorites]


since Jon knows that Valyrian steel is the only thing which can kill a White Walker other than dragonglass,

Not sure if they're keeping this distinction from the books, but dragon glass is effective against Wights (zombies) but not White Walkers (Others.) We haven't seen Valyrian Steel vs. White Walkers in the books yet, but the show result was hinted at.

I thought he gave Longclaw to Edd, but I need to rewatch. If he didn't it was a super shitty move.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 5:38 PM on May 12, 2016


Didn't Sam the Slayer use dragon glass on a White Walker?
posted by nubs at 5:46 AM on May 13, 2016


No, the weights are highly flammable, and as nubs notes, the Others can be downed by dragon glass or "dragonsteel" in the books. Until Jon took out the Walker at Hardhome, dragonsteel and Valyrian steel being the same thing was just speculation.
posted by LionIndex at 6:15 AM on May 13, 2016


Just watched it again. He clearly leaves the scene with Longclaw still on his belt.
posted by fatbird at 6:36 AM on May 13, 2016 [2 favorites]


Sam totally kills a "white walker" not a "wight" so any subtle difference between dragon glass and V-steel is gone in the show.
posted by French Fry at 8:35 AM on May 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


D'oh! I got it backwards. As many times as I've read these things you'd think I could keep it straight.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 8:39 AM on May 13, 2016


Going back a ways, but here are some bits from A Game of Thrones on Jon, Longclaw, and Mormont that might be some interesting touches on where we are now:

Jon VII:
“This is Valyrian steel, my lord,” he said wonderingly. His father had let him handle Ice often enough; he knew the look, the feel.
“It is,” the Old Bear told him. “It was my father’s sword, and his father’s before him. The Mormonts have carried it for five centuries. I wielded it in my day and passed it on to my son when I took the black.”
He is giving me his son’s sword. Jon could scarcely believe it. The blade was exquisitely balanced. The edges glimmered faintly as they kissed the light. “Your son-”
“My son brought dishonor to House Mormont, but at least he had the grace to leave the sword behind when he fled. My sister returned it to my keeping, but the very sight of it reminded me of Jorah’s shame, so I put it aside and thought no more of it until we found it in the ashes of my bedchamber. The original pommel was a bear’s head, silver, yet so worn its features were all but indistinguishable. For you, I thought a white wolf more apt. One of our builders is a fair stonecarver.”
...
“A sword’s small payment for a life,” Mormont concluded. “Take it, I’ll hear no more of it, is that understood?”
“Yes, my lord.” The soft leather gave beneath Jon’s fingers, as if the sword were molding itself to his grip already. He knew he should be honored, and he was, and yet...
He is not my father. The thought leapt unbidden to Jon’s mind. Lord Eddard Stark is my father. I will not forget him, no matter how many swords they give me. Yet he could scarcely tell Lord Mormont that it was another man’s sword he dreamt of...
“I want no courtesies either,” Mormont said, “so thank me no thanks. Honor the steel with deeds, not words.”
Jon nodded. “Does it have a name, my lord?”
“It did, once. Longclaw, it was called.”
From Jon VIII:
When Jon did not appear to fetch the Old Bear’s breakfast from the kitchen, they’d look in his cell and find Longclaw on the bed. It had been hard to abandon it, but Jon was not so lost to honor as to take it with him. Even Jorah Mormont had not done that, when he fled in disgrace. Doubtless Lord Mormont would find someone more worthy of the blade. Jon felt bad when he thought of the old man. He knew his desertion would be salt in the still-raw wound of his son’s disgrace. That seemed a poor way to repay him for his trust, but it couldn’t be helped. No matter what he did, Jon felt as though he were betraying someone.
...
The Old Bear snorted. “Do you think they chose me Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch because I’m dumb as a stump, Snow? Aemon told me you’d go. I told him you’d be back. I know my men... and my boys too. Honor set you on the kingsroad... and honor brought you back.”
“My friends brought me back,” Jon said.
“Did I say it was your honor?” Mormont inspected his plate.
...
“All I know is that the blood of the First Men flows in the veins of the Starks. The First Men built the Wall, and it’s said they remember things otherwise forgotten. And that beast of yours... he led us to the wights, warned you of the dead man on the steps. Ser Jaremy would doubtless call that happenstance, yet Ser Jaremy is dead and I’m not.” Lord Mormont stabbed a chunk of ham with the point of his dagger. “I think you were meant to be here, and I want you and that wolf of yours with us when we go beyond the Wall.”
...
“By custom, the Lord Commander’s steward is his squire as well... but I do not care to wake every dawn wondering if you’ve run off again. So I will have an answer from you, Lord Snow, and I will have it now. Are you a brother of the Night’s Watch... or only a bastard boy who wants to play at war?”
Jon Snow straightened himself and took a long deep breath. Forgive me, Father. Robb, Arya, Bran... forgive me, I cannot help you. He has the truth of it. This is my place. “I am... yours, my lord. Your man. I swear it. I will not run again.”
The Old Bear snorted. “Good. Now go put on your sword.”
posted by nubs at 8:47 AM on May 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


And Sam the Slayer earns his name with his dragonglass dagger:
And then he was stumbling forward, falling more than running, really, closing his eyes and shoving the dagger blindly out before him with both hands. He heard a crack, like the sound ice makes when it breaks beneath a man's foot, and then a screech so shrill and sharp that he went staggering backward with his hands over his muffled ears, and fell hard on his arse.
When he opened his eyes the Other's armor was running down its legs in rivulets as pale blue blood hissed and steamed around the black dragonglass dagger in its throat. It reached down with two bone-white hands to pull out the knife, but where its fingers touched the obsidian they smoked.
Sam rolled onto his side, eyes wide as the Other shrank and puddled, dissolving away. In twenty heartbeats its flesh was gone, swirling away in a fine white mist. Beneath were bones like milkglass, pale and shiny, and they were melting too. Finally only the dragonglass dagger remained, wreathed in steam as if it were alive and sweating. Grenn bent to scoop it up and flung it down again at once. "Mother, that's cold."
(the slaying from S3)
posted by nubs at 8:50 AM on May 13, 2016 [3 favorites]


Yeah, then he tries it on a wight (Small Paul IIRC) and it doesn't work.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 9:10 AM on May 13, 2016


Which is an important thing to know - dragonglass and dragonsteel for the White Walkers, fire for the wights. Have we seen fire used on the White Walkers yet? Because you know what really produces fire - Dragons.
posted by nubs at 9:14 AM on May 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


We haven't seen Fire vs. Others yet, but the name dragonglass may be telling.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 10:12 AM on May 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


Although given the Other's apparent ability to create extreme cold and wind it's possible normal fire (non-dragon fire) may be ineffective. Trying to wave a torch at um.
posted by French Fry at 11:00 AM on May 13, 2016


It's an open question in the books whether they create the cold or follow it. (I don't recall the show addressing it.) I'm of a split mind whether something as simple as fire would be effective against the cold elementals.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:10 AM on May 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


It's seemed obvious to me that creating/following is a simplistic reduction; there's a symbiotic relationship. As it gets colder there are more of the Walkers which makes it colder lather rinse repeat.

I think, also, that the Stark motto isn't about actual winter as in it's snowing soon let's start storing grain, it's metaphorical; winter is when the Walkers come.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:15 AM on May 13, 2016


wait what is the diffo between wights and white walkers again? one is reanimated ice zombies and the other is, idk, cold bad guys who eat babies? and they have a king? dont make me go to the wiki
posted by poffin boffin at 11:23 AM on May 13, 2016


go to the wiki

you din't want to achieve anything today did you
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:25 AM on May 13, 2016 [2 favorites]


excuse me but uncharted
posted by poffin boffin at 11:27 AM on May 13, 2016


it gets really confusing when they interbreed and you get wight walkers
posted by prize bull octorok at 11:27 AM on May 13, 2016 [8 favorites]


White Walkers are called The Others in the books. They're the Cohen the Barbarian-looking guys. Wights are their undead zombie army.

Why they decided to change the name from Others to White Walkers when it was inevitably going to cause confusion with Wights is a mystery.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:28 AM on May 13, 2016


please somebody make the graphic novel of the adventures of Cohen the Barbarian!
posted by kokaku at 11:32 AM on May 13, 2016 [1 favorite]




Cohen
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:41 AM on May 13, 2016




I fought. I lost. Now I rest.

Works as both a comment on Thorne, and on going to the wiki.
posted by nubs at 12:22 PM on May 13, 2016 [2 favorites]


Although given the Other's apparent ability to create extreme cold and wind it's possible normal fire (non-dragon fire) may be ineffective. Trying to wave a torch at um.

Yeah, at Hardhome the presence of the Walker made normal fire go out.
posted by homunculus at 12:29 PM on May 13, 2016 [2 favorites]


Oh yeah, I had forgotten that scene. Cool. So would the dragons, in turn, be able to resist the level of cold the Others create? And do the Others have some special weapon that might work against dragons, if dragon fire burns Others?

I'm kinda excited for a Dragons vs. Others throwdown. GET HYPE!
posted by nubs at 12:37 PM on May 13, 2016 [2 favorites]


It just occurred to be that it would be a pretty amazing fuck-you to fantasy tropes if GRRM never has the Dragons and Walkers actually meet.
posted by homunculus at 2:24 PM on May 13, 2016 [6 favorites]


Gurm may do that. There's no way the show isn't going to have three people (Dany + Tyrion? + TBD) a-dragonback, screaming dracarys at the Walkers.

Course they're fucked if a dragon goes down and King Come At Me Bro does his trick. Undead dragon zombie thing...
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:33 PM on May 13, 2016 [3 favorites]


A friend has a great theory that Reincarnated Jon will be able to control the White Walkers now, and that the ultimate faceoff will be Jon's ice zombie army vs Dany's Dragons. I doubt it's true but it would be hilarious.
posted by showbiz_liz at 3:25 PM on May 13, 2016 [4 favorites]


That would be a chilly family reunion.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:33 PM on May 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


Course they're fucked if a dragon goes down and King Come At Me Bro does his trick. Undead dragon zombie thing...

I feel 100% sure that this will happen before the show is over.
posted by clockzero at 12:11 PM on May 14, 2016 [4 favorites]


I really hope that when the White Walkers do show up this season, it's with no buildup. Please don't even include them in the "previously on GOT."
posted by drezdn at 6:49 AM on May 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


A Western Martial Arts dude breaks down the ToJ fight.

tl;dr, he liked it, mostly
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:39 PM on May 16, 2016 [2 favorites]




I like that you can see both sets of horses just hanging out in the background of that fight scene
posted by vibratory manner of working at 12:39 AM on May 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm catching up on this now after missing two weeks, but this season is getting progressively more disappointing. The show plots are really, distinctly not good. Not that the book plots have been great either.
posted by codacorolla at 1:46 PM on May 17, 2016


I came across something that made me think of dual-wielding Dornishmen (since they use scimitars): The Swords of Night and Day. It might have been interesting to turn Dawn into a set, although some book purists would have been livid.

Raven Armoury also makes a Moorcock-approved Stormbringer and a nifty axe named Snaga.
posted by homunculus at 11:37 AM on May 26, 2016


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