Game of Thrones: Blood of My Blood   Show Only 
May 29, 2016 6:54 PM - Season 6, Episode 6 - Subscribe

An old foe comes back into the picture. Gilly meets Sam’s family. Arya faces a difficult choice. Jaime faces off against the High Sparrow. SHOW ONLY THREAD.
posted by Brandon Blatcher (136 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
When Arya knocked the cup away and went back for needle I was waiting for her to break out into song. "WHO AM I? WHO AM IIIIIII? I'M JEAN VALJEAN!"
posted by Justinian at 7:03 PM on May 29, 2016 [8 favorites]


Did Edmure Tully get recast? He looked different.
posted by Justinian at 7:04 PM on May 29, 2016


Nope. Same actor. Tobias Menzies.
posted by zarq at 7:05 PM on May 29, 2016 [2 favorites]


TOMMEN YOU IDIOT
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:10 PM on May 29, 2016 [16 favorites]


Dear Daenerys,
It's great that you've realized that your strengths lie in conquering and now you're going to focus on taking the Seven Kingdoms. But once you've taken them, somebody has to rule them, you know?

Oh Jaime, my sweet summer child, you never had a chance against the High Sparrow. You've never had a chance since you've fallen under Cersei's thrall and it's quite possible you'll never have a chance at all. Your page in the Book of great knights will remain blank.

Ok Arya, the school year is over, time to return home from boarding school.

Overall a quieter episode, but welcomed after the quickly moving events of last episode. It wasn't a great episode and felt oddly paced and directed at times, particularly the last shot of the dragon's mouth. But it's putting pieces on the board for later episodes, with a battle in Riverrun, Cersei's trial, probably a battle for Winterfell and confrontation over who rules Westeros before dealing with the White Walkers.

The saving of Bran was expected and carried little weight. I barely remember Benjen from season 1, so his reappearance means little, other than information that the Children can prevent someone turning to Wight.

Good to see that Sam isn't suddenly some brave warrior, but he's strong in his on way. He and Gilly make for a sweet couple and are one of the few consistently bright lights in the series. I wonder how long it'll be until one of them is dead.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:12 PM on May 29, 2016 [2 favorites]


I think Tommen's decision was a pretty reasonable one. He saved Margaery the walk of shame and if the Tyrell troops actually attacked the Sparrows, there probably would have been a civil war or at least, a riot in King's Landing. It is, of course, a decision that hinges entirely on the rest of his family being as reasonable, however.
posted by armadillo1224 at 7:13 PM on May 29, 2016


The Dothraki are going to get really cold in Westeros.
posted by drezdn at 7:14 PM on May 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


I think Tommen's decision was a pretty reasonable one.

It was an understandable for a boy king who's clealry in over his head. Had he stepped in earlier and had the Sparrow killed, that would have been reasonable. But he doesn't have inner strength to do and he has no good advisors. Tywin wouldn't have let that shit hapen at all, but he died on the toilet after fucking his son's lover and trying to hold a kill said son, so it's not like he didn't have issues. But out of his 99 problems, a Sparrow wouldn't have been one.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:20 PM on May 29, 2016 [2 favorites]


Benjen Stark! EEEEEEEEE!
posted by A Bad Catholic at 7:30 PM on May 29, 2016 [5 favorites]


Who was the shackled man brought in at the end of the Frey scene?
posted by gubo at 7:35 PM on May 29, 2016


Who was the shackled man brought in at the end of the Frey scene?

Edmure Tulley, last seen being led off to the marital bed alongside his wife mere moments before the Red Wedding got Red.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:44 PM on May 29, 2016 [2 favorites]


I was disappointed that we still haven't seen the Blackfish and just got a boatload of exposition about his feats.

That said, I really liked the glimpse of Sam's home--it was far more beautiful than I would have expected, and it's nice that his mom and sister are so lovely, if spineless. And as soon as Mean Dad Tarley mentioned the Valyerian steel sword, I knew Sam was going to steal it. Go, Sam!
posted by TwoStride at 7:45 PM on May 29, 2016


Also, we haven't seen Ramsey for about two episodes, after learning he has Rickon Stark. That can't be good.

We did get Walder Frey though, he was just as 'lovely' to see. But he did confirm that Baelish was telling Sansa the truth about the Blackfish retaking Riverrun. Sounds like that piece of information was in his Plan B (or C) if Sansa didn't want his help via the Knights of the Vale.

I can't tell if he seriously miscalculated with Sansa or not and not sure it matters that much to his plans. The Vale can still lend a hand in the battle for Winterfell and/or he could spin it to the Cersei they had a hand in taking back the North or securing it for her. Well before he stabs her in the back.

But Cersei will be busy with her trial, which she's convinced won't be problem, because she has the Mountain. What does the High Sparrow get from Cersei convicting her though? Just that she's out of the way and he has total influence on Tommen? If so, then he's smart enough to know that the Mountain can't be beat in single combat, so he'd have to pull some other trick to prevent the fight. Turn Qyburn to his side so he can poison the Mountain.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:47 PM on May 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


High Sparrow choses his champion. Tommen
posted by moonlily at 7:52 PM on May 29, 2016 [23 favorites]


Benjen!

I wonder what game Margaery is playing. Because I don't believe for a moment that she has seen the "light."
posted by sparklemotion at 7:54 PM on May 29, 2016 [12 favorites]


It was nice to see Uncle Exposition... I mean Benjen back and moving the plot forward.

I was kind of giddy that the holy roller showdown didn't end in bloodshed or the army scheme working. I'm not on the High Sparrow's team but watching Jamie and Mace looking like lame ducks was just hilarious.
posted by toomanycurls at 8:02 PM on May 29, 2016 [3 favorites]


High Sparrow choses his champion. Tommen

Nice idea! It allows him to act "heroically" for once and save Cersei, will putting the Iron Throne in play for the Sparrow to assume, since Tommen has no heir. The Sparrow could probably talk Tommen into doing that. Cersei would go nuts, but she would not sacrifice herself to prevent Tommen's death.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:09 PM on May 29, 2016


Cersei would go nuts, but she would not sacrifice herself to prevent Tommen's death.

She would, but Franken-Mountain wouldn't let her.
posted by FallowKing at 8:42 PM on May 29, 2016


So... this episode feels like it was half an hour too short.

The highlights were Tommen being born-again and Denarys getting her dragon back.
Arys's last six episodes should have been combined into one, there wasn't enough to justify going back to her so many times.

I do not remember who uncle Benjie is or the person in shackles. There's so many people I'm like a goldfish. If they disappear for a few episodes they stop existing.
posted by FallowKing at 8:48 PM on May 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


The guy in shackles is Edmure Tully, nephew of the Blackfish. As Frey said, it was Edmure who was married at the Red Wedding, and was taken captive after the slaughter. He's been held held captive by the Freys ever since, and Lord Frey seems to intend to use him as a bargaining chip to get Riverrun back. Edmure may look different because last we saw him he was in his noble finery on his wedding day, whereas now he's presumably been rotting in a cell somewhere for months.
posted by Sangermaine at 8:59 PM on May 29, 2016


Tommen as champion against the Mountain? As hilarious as that would be for about a second and a half, just no.

Totally gonna be Ser Pounce.
posted by Justinian at 9:00 PM on May 29, 2016 [3 favorites]


I see from the comments that this is not the episode where Gendry chooses to make his reappearance.
posted by turbid dahlia at 9:03 PM on May 29, 2016 [4 favorites]


Er, what did Dany do to get her dragon back again? Was he hiding just over that one ridge and Dany rode over and jumped on him?

Also, did they say that you make a person into white walker by stabbing them with dragonglass, and you keep a person from turning into one with the dragonglass? That's some versatile stuff.
posted by skewed at 9:04 PM on May 29, 2016 [3 favorites]


Er, what did Dany do to get her dragon back again? Was he hiding just over that one ridge and Dany rode over and jumped on him?

In the Inside the Episode bit at the end the showrunners say Dany sensed Drogon was near due to her connection to the dragons. That works both ways and Drogon, who been flying around out in the wilderness, probably sensed that she was near too.

As to why he came back and listens to her now, I'm guessing before she was too unsure of herself and lacked the will to command him, but now that she's seemed to have found her inner strength and purpose she can control him as her ancestor Aegon the Conqueror did.
posted by Sangermaine at 9:10 PM on May 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


Also, did they say that you make a person into white walker by stabbing them with dragonglass, and you keep a person from turning into one with the dragonglass? That's some versatile stuff.

I think its more that the magic of the Children is versatile and the obsidian is just the vehicle. Like if I stabbed somebody in the heart with dragonglass they'd just die rather than turn into a White Walker, unfortunately.
posted by Justinian at 9:37 PM on May 29, 2016 [5 favorites]


Wouldn't the presence of dragonglass in ancient Westeros mean the presence of dragons there? I thought dragons were native to Essos and only came over with the Targaryen conquest. Westeros doesn't seem to have any active volcanoes either, unlike Essos.
posted by Sangermaine at 10:29 PM on May 29, 2016


Fucking hell Tommen. See, this is why brothers and sisters shouldn't have kids: they all turn out stupid as shit.
posted by nushustu at 10:35 PM on May 29, 2016 [15 favorites]


I think the many scenes was to show that Waif Always Wins, and thus set up the conflict of Waif coming to assassinate Arya.
posted by corb at 11:34 PM on May 29, 2016


Still, half a season just for that set-up seems kind of a waste!
posted by curious nu at 11:39 PM on May 29, 2016 [3 favorites]


The Waif fucking scares me.
posted by KathrynT at 12:17 AM on May 30, 2016 [5 favorites]


Wouldn't the presence of dragonglass in ancient Westeros mean the presence of dragons there?

I think dragonglass is what they call obsidian, not necessarily something that only comes from dragons.
posted by Justinian at 2:54 AM on May 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


So Dany needs 1000 ships, which is exactly the number that King Kraken intends to build, so there's some good synergy there, and it will take only five years for the Drowned Men or whoever to build them all since they live on a rocky outcrop that doesn't have any trees, so there's plenty of lumberjacking stuff to look forward to in the next couple of seasons I suppose.
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:26 AM on May 30, 2016 [17 favorites]


Game of Minecraft
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:35 AM on May 30, 2016 [13 favorites]


i get they're setting up daenerys' invasion but jesus christ how many episodes are going to end with a Dramatic Dany Scene before she actually invades something

the olenna/mace interactions continue to own
posted by edeezy at 3:45 AM on May 30, 2016 [8 favorites]


If Tommen is killed, who inherits the crown?
posted by about_time at 4:23 AM on May 30, 2016


There are articles about that. Contains book knowledge. MeMail, or I think it's in last week's books-in thread.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 4:29 AM on May 30, 2016


I'm still super-bothered by the 1,000 ships thing and it keeps throwing me out of the narrative. The modern US Navy has 430. Where are you going to get the material to build 1,000 and who is going to crew them? And nobody's holding off on their war for the endless years the building would take. The Iron Islands are small and poor! They do not even have vast Viking forests to cut down!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 4:49 AM on May 30, 2016 [12 favorites]


Also it just fills me with relief that Dany has access to conditioner again. Whenever her life is going to shit they turn her hair into a dire haystack that makes me itch to look at. But khaleesis get conditioner. Thank (the Seven) God(s).
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 4:58 AM on May 30, 2016 [23 favorites]


1,000 ships would suggest crews/troops of around 500,000 men. That seems... big. It would certainly make it the largest fleet ever assembled in our timeline.

I think the answer is that it sounds more impressive than "100 ships". Which would in and of itself take something like the Iron Islands years to build. But, hey, a wizard did it.
posted by Justinian at 4:58 AM on May 30, 2016 [3 favorites]


I'm sure you're right, although there's something to be said for proclaiming, "We shall build thirty-five ships and be the largest navy the world has ever seen!" in a show that likes to lean on the realism of the shittiness of medieval life.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:01 AM on May 30, 2016 [10 favorites]


*cackles*

the 1,000 ships makes me think helen of troy allusion. also A THOUSAND!!!!! just has a ring to it.

also pondering if there will be a flash forward or some kind of ship-building wizardry
posted by dire at 6:28 AM on May 30, 2016 [2 favorites]


1000 is a poor translation from the Dothraki. Everyone knows they use binary. Hence it's 8 ships in the common tongue.
posted by about_time at 6:36 AM on May 30, 2016 [39 favorites]


Now that we have Yara sailing out on the seas, we won't spend much time in the iron islands. If fact, working as transportation carriers might enable her to gain a lot of wealth.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:39 AM on May 30, 2016


Also wiling to bet that Jagen was also testing The Waif, who was made things personal with Arya. If the Waif is killed, the Red God will be appeased and Mr. Sexy Hair will let Arya go. After all, it was a helluva coincidence that put Jaqen in Arya Starks path, especially when she didn't tell him her real name, but he knew it anyway. And sending her to kill someone at a play about her family? That would either prove she was Faceless or make her realize who she really was. Either would be fine, especially if it exposes someone else as not worthy.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:02 AM on May 30, 2016 [17 favorites]


Also it just fills me with relief that Dany has access to conditioner again.

Fire is the best conditioner. You should try it!
posted by adept256 at 7:03 AM on May 30, 2016 [2 favorites]


A couple of things:

Was Bran in Greenseer/Warg mode the entire time they were running away? Does the flashback/past-time visions he was having indicate a rapid three-eyed-Raven download, or him flailing around with his new powers? And why the focus on King Aerys and his wildfyre?

Now that the show is moving away from the books (and I've never read the books), it feels like there's less movement with the major characters. Maybe we're just in the mid-game shuffling right now, but the first few seasons felt like there was more intentionality as we jumped from area to area, scattering characters but also connecting actions. Now everyone's mostly stuck and holed up in different areas: King's Landing, The Wall, etc. We get a lot of off-camera exposition and quick actions, but everything seems disjointed and out of sync. It's hard to get a feeling on how actions in one place are impacting another - everyone is just moping around waiting.
posted by jazon at 8:25 AM on May 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


I think its more that the magic of the Children is versatile and the obsidian is just the vehicle. Like if I stabbed somebody in the heart with dragonglass they'd just die rather than turn into a White Walker, unfortunately.

You just lack confidence.
posted by skewed at 8:34 AM on May 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


I think the upload was trying to tell Bran that they needed lots o'fire to beat the White Walkers... Oh, and there's some in Kings Landing.
posted by drezdn at 8:50 AM on May 30, 2016 [5 favorites]


Also, did they say that you make a person into white walker by stabbing them with dragonglass, and you keep a person from turning into one with the dragonglass? That's some versatile stuff.

Also, stabbing a white walker with dragonglass kills them, correct? That's how Sam did it. Which is something that bothered me terribly about that White Walker attack scene last week. Why don't the Children have obsidian-tipped arrows or whatever? They must know it's mortal to these creatures that they themselves created.
posted by AdamCSnider at 8:51 AM on May 30, 2016 [4 favorites]


Also Yara and Euron were both talking about building a fleet of 1,000 ships, so I think that's just a new political promise that everyone knows isn't literally true. It just translates to "a lot of ships which will enable us to rule" but saying 1,000 makes everyone feel really really good.

There's still the question of how any ships are built on Pyke, but hell, the show has three dragons in it and dead coming back to life, so I'mma let the ship question slide for now.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:02 AM on May 30, 2016 [4 favorites]


Also Yara and Euron were both talking about building a fleet of 1,000 ships, so I think that's just a new political promise that everyone knows isn't literally true.

We're going to build a fleet of 1,000 ships and Westeros is going to pay for it!
posted by skewed at 9:05 AM on May 30, 2016 [23 favorites]


Also, stabbing a white walker with dragonglass kills them, correct? That's how Sam did it. Which is something that bothered me terribly about that White Walker attack scene last week. Why don't the Children have obsidian-tipped arrows or whatever? They must know it's mortal to these creatures that they themselves created.

I think they had a rack of them 'cause Meera did grab a spear with a dragon glass tip and kill one. So there's just a question of why the children didn't grab said spears when they went outside. And I got no answers for that other than tv writing. Because the general gist of "walkers show up with their army and kill everyone" is totally believable and works, but it's the details that always divert my attention. I think that there's a general geek trait of picking up those details and getting pulled outta the story, whereas the general audience just goes with the gist. 'Cause no way the Walker and Wights weren't going to kill pretty much everyone via sheer numbers.

Aslo, was it just me or was Meera very caring with Bran, as if she liked him?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:08 AM on May 30, 2016 [3 favorites]


meera may like him, though I don't know why as they've barely talked this season. I think it's more that if Bran dies, Meera's brother's death was in vain. And also evil wins and game over.
posted by about_time at 9:26 AM on May 30, 2016 [2 favorites]


Meera's been getting her flirt on with Bran since she first showed up, and Bran follows her with longing glances, that make his paralysis more poignant since he can only follow her with his eyes.

A great deal of the tension between them comes from the fact that they're both devoted to the anti-White Walker cause and that Bran's messy future -- and Meera's commitment to helping him become whatever he's becoming -- probably means they can't ever be together, so all the "I WANT YOU I LOVE YOU" has to stay pretty sublimated.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:12 AM on May 30, 2016 [2 favorites]


I think the upload was trying to tell Bran that they needed lots o'fire to beat the White Walkers... Oh, and there's some in Kings Landing.

The flashback sequence fits in kind of well with the theory (that I don't really believe) that it was Bran that drove the mad king mad by exploring the past without a license. Like, what if Aerys was actually seeing the zombie horde when he started shouting to "burn them all!"?

Aslo, was it just me or was Meera very caring with Bran, as if she liked him?

I think it's more believable that Meera just watched everybody she knows (except Bran) die, on the heels of her not being able to protect her brother.

TBH, if anyone was looking at Bran in a "like him like him" kind of way, that was definitely Jojen.
posted by sparklemotion at 10:33 AM on May 30, 2016 [6 favorites]


The Three Eyed Raven said Bran would never walk again, but that he would fly. With Daenerys coming to Westeros, intent on conquering, yet having little control of the dragons, Bran may wind up subverting her. "No, sorry, we need these dragons to deal with a bigger threat. No, you can't have them back, because you're a bit mad and want to kill everyone, not just the Lannisters. You can visit them every other month though"
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:42 AM on May 30, 2016 [4 favorites]


I've said it before and I'll say it again: If Bran doesn't warg into a dragon at some point before the end of the series then none of this bullshit will have been worth it.
posted by Sokka shot first at 11:56 AM on May 30, 2016 [20 favorites]


Was it just me or does Uncle Benjen look a bit White Walkerish what with the pallid complexion and decaying face? Also, he's got a hell of a grip/flexibility/strength to be able to lean down from atop a horse and deadlift Bran off a low litter.

I hated the end scene, Dany gets her dragon back and yells at the khalissar who are already following her. It was the sort of speech one would make if they heard rumblings of doubt from the followers, not a rallying of the faithful. Also, given that every horse I've ever ridden has shied away from things as innocuous as a potato chip bag tumbling across the trail, that the khallisar horses didn't completely lose their shit and stampede pell mell from Drogon doing a low (and improbably slow) pass overhead bugged.

The episode would have been so much more powerful if it ended with Arya blowing out the candle.
posted by jamaro at 12:59 PM on May 30, 2016 [5 favorites]


Yeah, I thought that Uncle Benjen definitely looked more than a touch zombie-ish. He and Jon Snow can have a "returned from the dead: who wore it better?" competition now!
posted by TwoStride at 1:57 PM on May 30, 2016 [5 favorites]


Returned from the dead is the new black

Considering that Jon has a much healthier complexion even though he was dead for, what, a couple of days? Benjen must have had more time to decompose.

Anyway, a strange coincidence to have two resurrectees in one family (...or IS IT?). At least it should make for some interesting dinnertable conversations at House Stark.
posted by sively at 2:12 PM on May 30, 2016 [3 favorites]


At least it should make for some interesting dinnertable conversations at House Stark.

Or one-upmanship. We all know somebody who always has to outdo you.

"My broken leg is on the mend, I can put a little pressure on it now."
"I WAS RESURRECTED FROM BEING DEAD BY A MAGICAL KNIFE STABBED INTO MY HEART."
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:01 PM on May 30, 2016 [5 favorites]


Was it just me or does Uncle Benjen look a bit White Walkerish what with the pallid complexion and decaying face?

They explained it IN THE EPISODE!! What are you watching ?
posted by Pendragon at 3:24 PM on May 30, 2016 [4 favorites]


They explained it IN THE EPISODE!! What are you watching ?

The same one as you, only not on the channel that compels one to act like a jerk, apparently. My point is Benjen appears to be less a resurrected human and more an arrested WW which makes his return a more interesting unknown quantity.
posted by jamaro at 3:54 PM on May 30, 2016 [8 favorites]


Ok, Benjen was stabbed with an ice sword and left for dead, to "turn" as he said. The Children saved him by putting a dragon glass shard in his heart, the same method that turned the White Walkers. So yeah, he's not quite human anymore and sort of White Walker-ish. Curious to know why Benjen didn't turn into a White Walker, despite being saved by the same method.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:13 PM on May 30, 2016 [2 favorites]


Also, the Dothraki horses were calm because their riders spoke to them about the Drogon, so they were cool with all that. Plus they're Dothraki, so they don't scare easily. It's the Westeros breeds are that are skittish as hell.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:22 PM on May 30, 2016


I thought dragonglass was minerals melted with a dragon's fire breath?
posted by Marky at 4:27 PM on May 30, 2016


So Benjen relies on a arc reactor to keep the dragon glass from entering his heart and killing him. Hmmm this story sounds familiar.
posted by humanfont at 4:51 PM on May 30, 2016 [13 favorites]


I thought dragonglass was minerals melted with a dragon's fire breath?

Nah, it's just volcanic glass, according to the Game of Thrones Wiki.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:57 PM on May 30, 2016


What if the White Walkers are fully sentient, and just pissed at the Children of the Forest and the men they eventually made their peace with? What if the only thing that the Children "prevented" was the control of the Walkers, not anything else?
posted by corb at 5:10 PM on May 30, 2016 [2 favorites]


So Benjen relies on a arc reactor to keep the dragon glass from entering his heart and killing him. Hmmm this story sounds familiar.

Starks gotta Stark.
posted by fuse theorem at 6:38 PM on May 30, 2016 [43 favorites]


WHAT. That's it?
A lot of things happened, but nothing moved.
Frustrating episode.
posted by SLC Mom at 7:44 PM on May 30, 2016 [2 favorites]


Honestly, no follow up episode to The Door was going to be able to live up to it. But this is a really solid chess-piece-moving episode. You need these ones to get to the next ones. For me, the big movements of last week were replaced by the smaller, interesting details. The return of Benjin wasn't world-changing, but it's pretty remarkable in its way - holding a character off the board for five seasons is pretty wonderful. And it starts to change the kinds of stories the show can tell. The return of the Freys. Another mention of the Blackfish and Riverrun. Pieces are moving. Arya has needle back. Things are happening.

And I can't wait for next week.
posted by crossoverman at 11:15 PM on May 30, 2016 [3 favorites]


The same one as you, only not on the channel that compels one to act like a jerk, apparently.

Yeah, sorry about that.
posted by Pendragon at 11:44 PM on May 30, 2016 [3 favorites]


I liked this episode. It didn't spend any time with the Northern Stark Kids, which meant more time for everyone else. We got to meet Sam's family finally. Even if "hey, let's just run off with this sword" seems like a terrible idea, it was an interesting interlude. And no Ramsay Bolton, which is always nice, though I assume it's because there's even more flayin' next week. Arya is finally beginning to do something that doesn't involve hanging around with a boring murder cult. Events in King's Landing are finally moving. I hate "character still locked in a dungeon" plots, so it's nice to see Margaery winkle herself out.

I liked the play and its time spent with characters who aren't nobility of one sort or another.

One of my favorite episodes this season- the show can be really good even when there aren't any Khal-B-Ques or Big Plot Reveals (as much as I like both).
posted by BungaDunga at 11:52 PM on May 30, 2016


But this is a really solid chess-piece-moving episode. You need these ones to get to the next ones.

I see this thought a lot in online TV show criticism, and I've discovered I don't like it. A good show - that is, a thoughtfully written and carefully paced show - shouldn't have to divide its episodes into two categories, the episodes that accomplish something important to the plot and other episodes that simply exist to set up those later important plot moments. It should be a more organic viewing experience than that.

So did anyone else laugh at the actor/director of the play-within-a-play when he went on his little rant about folks who dare to criticize his writing?
posted by mediareport at 12:17 AM on May 31, 2016 [4 favorites]


"For I am David Benioff Weiss, one of the most competent writers of this time!"

Am I the only one who wanted Jaime to yell "And this is why we had a separation of church and state" when the High Sparrow looked so smugly happy over the assembled crowd? Maybe we'll get it when there's actually a battle between the Faith Militant and the newly arrived forces. And the gold cloaks and whoever else happens to join in. (Unless everyone is going up for the (black) fish fry?)
posted by filthy light thief at 4:10 AM on May 31, 2016


I feel like the pacing of this episode, being like a season-beginning episode, reinforces my conviction that this season we are getting two seasons in order to catch up with D&D's original plans after they treaded water last year while waiting for GRRM to actually release a book.
posted by DoctorFedora at 4:12 AM on May 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


I see this thought a lot in online TV show criticism, and I've discovered I don't like it.

This structure is partially to do with the fact the series is adapting books and so its narrative is more novel-like. You might say every chapter of a book moves the narrative - but not every chapter of a book needs to be angst/drama/epic change.

I get it as a criticism of a TV series, a little bit. You could make a show where every episode is big and dramatic, but those are mostly called soap operas for a reason. I loved "The Door" but if you had that kind of epic narrative turn every week, it would get tiresome. (I think the show "Heroes" is a good example here - it burned through so much narrative in its first few episodes, made every ending big, it couldn't sustain itself.) You need to spend some downtime on a series. Not every episode of Buffy can be "Hush". Not every episode of Doctor Who can be "Blink".

The episode was entertaining to me. Much more entertaining that the first episode of the season, which felt even more like rote table setting. This felt like a more deliberate advancement of plot. Yes, sure, it would be great if there were lyrical character moments every week or beautiful narrative turns - but the fact the show is juggling dozens of characters and multiple story arcs means it can't afford to be epic every episode. I certainly wouldn't want it to be.
posted by crossoverman at 4:14 AM on May 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


And Sam missed his chance to really stick it to his dad by putting something up there in place of Heartsbane, like a branch or a fire poker. I'm not sure if his dad would notice right away, perhaps only upon showing it off to some other high lord and talking about how it's always been in the family, until his good-for-nothing first son went and got seduced* by a wildling whore, only to be questioned by the high lord and everyone in attendance laughs politely behind their hands, or openly guffaws if they're drunk, or if he would come out to break his fast and stare up at it lovingly, only for his eyes to bulge and cheeks to turn bright red and shout "SAMWELL, I WILL HUNT YOU TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH!" Which would lead to the father and son hunting trip finally facing something that fought back (white walkers and wildlings). In short: this show is so ripe for the comedic writings of David Benioff Weiss, competent playwrite and fan of the comedy fart.

*How is it that his no-good son is both too fat to be a viable heir, yet also needs to be "seduced" to get knocked up? Apparently he doesn't have faith that his son would mention a family fortune to woo a lady or something, it has to be the woman's role to trick him.
posted by filthy light thief at 4:29 AM on May 31, 2016 [2 favorites]


I think the word seduced is carefully chosen. It shows complete contempt for both of them, the obvious insults to Gilly but also the continued assertion that Sam is weak and lacking in masculine qualities, that he is always in the passive role.

I liked the introduction of Randal Tarly at this point in the show because early in a fantasy series you expect "great warriors" to be great people, that's the trope. But at this point we've been thoroughly educated that "great warrior" just means good at violence and probably specifically a not very good person. So he's exactly the small tyrant we think he is and he cows Sam right back into being who he was before he went to the wall. There's a sad reality to that I appreciated.
posted by French Fry at 7:19 AM on May 31, 2016 [13 favorites]


Mace Tyrell knows the secret formula for KFC.
posted by srboisvert at 8:23 AM on May 31, 2016 [3 favorites]


I also think it's more evidence that Ned Stark, as a caring father, really and truly was too good and perfect for this world.

Look at the other "noble" fathers that we've seen on the show -- Tywin, Walder, Roose, Balon: they are all terrible men who have done true damage to their children.

Mace Tyrell and Oberyn Martell are exceptions there, but Mace is generally seen as a fool and not respected. And we don't see how Oberyn interacted with his children (and you could argue that he too suffered from a fatal case of good and perfect disease).

I also like Randal Tarly as set dressing for Sam's character development. A lesser show might have had Sam somehow being capable of drawing from the inner strength that he developed at the Night's Watch to stand up to his father and brother directly. But that wouldn't have rung true for the Sam we know, or really for anyone who grew up in that kind of abusive environment. Another lesser show might have had Sam just leave Gilly there as planned and "treated" us to episodes and episodes of him feeling guilty and moping in the future. I appreciate the direction that this show is going in. I'm looking forward to seeing the Citadel!
posted by sparklemotion at 8:25 AM on May 31, 2016 [2 favorites]


So did anyone else laugh at the actor/director of the play-within-a-play when he went on his little rant about folks who dare to criticize his writing?

It would have been so much better if he had mentioned how really really long it took for him to write his plays. I'd probably have cackled. And then cried.
posted by srboisvert at 8:27 AM on May 31, 2016 [10 favorites]


Between that piece and GRRM releasing new chapters that totally contradict what the show has been doing, does anyone else feel like the show runners and GRRM are starting to actually dislike each other?
posted by corb at 9:14 AM on May 31, 2016 [2 favorites]


A good show - that is, a thoughtfully written and carefully paced show - shouldn't have to divide its episodes into two categories, the episodes that accomplish something important to the plot and other episodes that simply exist to set up those later important plot moments.

This particular episode was probably designed to be one where nothing much happens per se, at least nothing that couldn't be easily summed up in the "Previously on Game of Thrones" bit that appears before every episode. Because it's a holiday weekend in America and a large portion of the audience might miss or skip the episode.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:37 AM on May 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


Between that piece and GRRM releasing new chapters that totally contradict what the show has been doing, does anyone else feel like the show runners and GRRM are starting to actually dislike each other?

I think he just loves being clever and a contrarian. He has repeatedly over the last decades chaffed horribly when people have predicted future events in the series and even gone as far as saying he has changed things in later books specifically to contradict/tweak predictions by his fan base. I feel like the show will be 100% true to the original plan for the story but he will later change that plan because GRRMs gonna GRRM.
posted by French Fry at 10:01 AM on May 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


I feel like the show will be 100% true to the original plan for the story but he will later change that plan because GRRMs gonna GRRM.

Or also because it will be way more fun (and potentially lucrative) to fuel years if not decades of fannish arguments about book vs show and their different choices for the winners of the Game...
posted by TwoStride at 10:06 AM on May 31, 2016


Chekhov's Valerian sword...
posted by rdr at 10:29 AM on May 31, 2016 [4 favorites]


So wait: why is Jamie being sent to lead the Lannister army to the Riverlands?

I mean, I get why the show is doing it -- clearly it's building towards some sort of episode-8-ish confluence at Riverrun, given that we now have Brienne and the Freys and Jamie heading there.

But I don't quite see what the Lannisters' motivation is for doing so: shouldn't all their attention be on their tenuous grasp of King's Landing?
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 11:28 AM on May 31, 2016


The High Sparrow probably wants Jaimie and Cersei separated, so he convinced Tommen to send him away. Margaery might be part of that idea also.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:34 AM on May 31, 2016 [3 favorites]


The Lannisters have to pay attention to the Riverlands, because they can't afford to have the war flare up against them and have other people in open rebellion again. Jaime is one of the best warleaders they have.
posted by corb at 11:58 AM on May 31, 2016


Not to mention how close Riverrun is to Casterly Rock. The Lannister's can't have someone motivated to bring them down building an army that close.

Which reminds me: What do we think about Walder Frey's decision to keep Edmure Tully as a prisoner? It seems like it might have been smarter to release him as a gesture of good will after the slaughter of the Red Wedding. Or, if he was going to hold him, at least be nice about it (think Sansa's captivity in King's Landing).
posted by sparklemotion at 12:40 PM on May 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


I think that scene with Walder was meant to show that he's of diminishing sanity. "I can hear them in my sleep" etc.
posted by French Fry at 12:51 PM on May 31, 2016 [2 favorites]


It seems like it might have been smarter to release him as a gesture of good will after the slaughter of the Red Wedding

I don't think releasing a putz like Edmure would have done much at all to appease either Blackfish or most Northerners. I think its fair to say Blackfish was a lot fonder of Catelyn than of Edmure. Plus, you know, the whole murdering everyone.
posted by Justinian at 1:35 PM on May 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


I doubt that Walder Frey is capable of gestures of good will. He seems like a man would break out in hives if he paid somebody a compliment.
posted by Uncle Ira at 2:25 PM on May 31, 2016 [3 favorites]


Surely Frey will try to use Edmure as a bargaining chip, threatening to kill him unless Blackfish surrenders? A bit like Cat with her hostage at the Red Wedding, only that didn't work because Frey brides are too disposable. Are Tully nephews?

I hardly remember anything about Blackfish from the early seasons, he was one of the numerous grizzled old war-guys I kept mixing up (along with Barristan and Jorah and Roose Bolton and Davos, and who else...). However, hostage negotiations between a bunch of long-absent, non-central characters doesn't exactly sound like fascinating TV, so surely some kind of twist should take place.

And Brienne and Jaime will be on opposing sides if there'll be a battle. Will they end up fighting each other, Brienne wielding the sword Jaime gave her?
posted by sively at 3:11 PM on May 31, 2016


Mace Tyrell knows the secret formula for KFC.

I agree, this show does need Norm Macdonald in it!
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:15 PM on May 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


I hardly remember anything about Blackfish from the early seasons, he was one of the numerous grizzled old war-guys I kept mixing up

I thought Edmure was the blackfish, which is pretty clearly not the case
posted by vibratory manner of working at 3:22 PM on May 31, 2016


Surely Frey will try to use Edmure as a bargaining chip, threatening to kill him unless Blackfish surrenders? A bit like Cat with her hostage at the Red Wedding, only that didn't work because Frey brides are too disposable. Are Tully nephews?

Probably the last thing you want to do if you have a valuable hostage is take him out of the dungeon for a man who's defeated your forces to see. There's only 2 reasons for the Blackfish to trust anything Frey says and both of those were slaughtered at some wedding.

I also don't see much reason or way the Blackfish could lend troops to the Starks, especially if the Jaimie shows up with more forces. He may have taken Riverrun back (Baelish wasn't laying!), but he'll have to keep it and can't spare much.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:05 PM on May 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


Jaime is one of the best warleaders they have.

Based on his humiliating defeat and capture the one time he led an army?
posted by srboisvert at 6:24 PM on May 31, 2016 [2 favorites]


It's pretty easy. Edmure is the guy who kept shooting the viking-funeral arrows at the ship and missing. Blackfish is the guy who walked up, grabbed the bow, hit the mark in one shot, and glared at Edmure in disgust as he jammed the bow back into his useless hands.
posted by Justinian at 8:47 PM on May 31, 2016 [8 favorites]


Based on his humiliating defeat and capture the one time he led an army?

Pretty sure Jaimie was doing a good job of defeating forces at RiverRun. That Robb had to sacrifice 2,000 men to draw Jaimie out and then lost another 20 to him personally indicates Jaimie was no slouch as a battlefield commander.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:05 PM on May 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


As to why he came back and listens to her now, I'm guessing before she was too unsure of herself and lacked the will o command him, but now that she's seemed to have found her inner strength and purpose she can control him as her ancestor Aegon the Conqueror did.

I think Daenerys is controlling her dragons in much the same way as Aegon did, but it's not through inner strength or self confidence. I think it's through blood magic.

The southern priestess we saw last week claims that Dany is connected to the Lord of Light. We've seen that this deity is able to perform miracles in Westeros, but these miracles usually require a human sacrifice- often via immolation.

Blood and fire. The words of House Targeryan.

The first time Dany formed a connection with her dragons was when she placed herself and their eggs on Khal Drogo's funeral pyre: a burnt offering of King's blood.

The young dragons are obedient to her for a while after that, until they are captured and hidden from her. Dany has them immolate their captor. When Dany frees the Unsullied, the dragons burn the Masters.

When Dany takes Mereen, the dragons aren't involved in burning anyone, and they grow restless. Drogon is a self starter and finds some people and sheep to burn on his own, but it's not the same. Dany locks up the other two dragons in order to prevent more people from being burned to death, and she loses control.

But now? Dany just bathed in the flames that immolated a dozen Khals. Drogon is obedient to the point of roaring on cue to punctuate Dany's motivational speech. The only question now is whether Daenerys has figured out the connection for herself. There's a reason her instincts make her a better conquer than a ruler. It's what The Mad King seemed to realize after the Targeryans grew stagnant and their dragons were born smaller and smaller. There's only one way for a Targeryan monarch to maintain power and control their dragons.

Burn them all.
posted by Uncle Ira at 9:02 AM on June 1, 2016 [56 favorites]


Wow. That is a really clever theory, I'd just handwaved it away as controlling the dragons via narrativium. So, expanding on that... Tyrion figures it out and can control them, and Bran's download from the splinternet would include a bunch of knowledge from the Children of the Forest, who we've already seen practice some form of sacrificial/blood magic.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:44 AM on June 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


Tyrion seems more interested in reasoning with the dragons as intelligent creatures rather than controlling them, which will probably work out okay as long as his interests are aligned with Dany's.
posted by Uncle Ira at 9:52 AM on June 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


Tyrion seems more interested in reasoning with the dragons as intelligent creatures rather than controlling them, which will probably work out okay as long as his interests are aligned with Dany's.

How long Tyrion will be ok with a Dothraki horde raping, pillaging and taking slaves all over Westeros? Because Dany seems ok with that happening in order to get "what's hers". To say that's worrisome is putting it mildly.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:01 AM on June 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'd be willing to bet that Daenaerys will put the kibosh on any rape PDQ. Pillaging, ehhhh... but rape? She's not going to stand for it. Didn't she already come down hard on rapists circa S2 or S3?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:03 AM on June 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


Which is a potentially huge problem they seem to be glossing over with this Khalisar, Drogo had to publicly fight and kill a lieutenant (and ultimately die from the wound) to make a point about not raping everyone. Not to mention the slaves. It seems like a pretty core element of the existing risk/reward calculation of the dothraki blood-rider life. It's not on it's face a very good life, the 'benefit' is that you get to do more or less whatever the hell you want to the people you oppress. Taking away both slaves and sexual violence conquest seems like a big deal to people who would have lived in that society their whole life. "All I ask is that you do more than any dothraki in history and be rewarded less"
posted by French Fry at 10:09 AM on June 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


As long as Daenerys is in charge, any Dothraki who breaks her "no raping" rule will end up as fuel for her fire.
posted by Uncle Ira at 10:30 AM on June 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


A thought occurs: back in like S1, Joffrey talked about the Crown creating its own standing army. Assuming Daenaerys does what she wants to do, the Dothraki could be an implementation of that strategy.

That said, she hasn't really thought through this very much. An army of however many tens of thousands is all very well and good, but it's not like the Dothraki could survive in Westeros for very long without completely changing their entire way of life from top to bottom. She's viewing them merely as a tool without any regard for what happens after she (probably) wins. GURM is probably making some point there.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:30 AM on June 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


Three things, the intersection of which seems likely to determine how this Dany stuff plays out:

a) Dany is, frankly, getting a little scary. She *could* still be a hero, but she doesn't look like an unambiguous one anymore.

and

b) The Dothraki's loyalty to her seems unlikely to be undying or unconditional. Dany may wind up having to compromise what principles she has left to keep them on her side.

but

c) Dany has dragons.
posted by breakin' the law at 10:48 AM on June 1, 2016 [4 favorites]


c) Dany has dragons.

Dany has *a* dragon. Presumably Tyrion is making friend with the other two while Bran has the ability to warg into animals and he's very powerful. Things could very interesting with the dragons not all united under her.

As to the Dothraki army, there's no way Dany could stop all raping and slaving in an army who's entire lifestyle has included it. What will she offer them, castles and titles? Those are meaningless to Dothraki society. And what do the Dothraki do once Westeros is conquered and there are no more slaves to take?

Who knows how this could all go, but I hope this is part of the larger plot and not the writers forgetting to plan for the future.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:15 PM on June 1, 2016




Very nice theory, Uncle Ira.
posted by about_time at 5:24 PM on June 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


How 5 crucial Game of Thrones scenes [from this week & last week] came together
"The last two episodes of Game of Thrones, "The Door" and "Blood of My Blood," benefited from having a director at the helm who had both experience with the theater and the wonkier side of time travel — Jack Bender. While new to the Thrones team, Bender's used to working on TV shows with rich mythologies and obsessive fan bases, thanks in large part to his time on Lost. "
The scenes discussed are the attack on the cave, Bran's visions, the play in Braavos, the kingsmoot, and Dany's dragonback speech.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:03 PM on June 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


From that link: "The much-ballyhooed male nudity was included in the script, and he didn't have to do any special "penis casting" to find the right one, he said."
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:25 AM on June 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


> The Waif fucking scares me.

The Waif bores me senseless. I know it's too much to hope for that she will disappear from the plot due to Arya's exit from The Cult Of A Thousand Faces, but A Girl can dream.
posted by desuetude at 12:16 AM on June 3, 2016


My latest theory is that she'll try to make Arya suffer while killing her, forcing Mr Sexy Hair to show up and kill her, then set Arya free.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:17 AM on June 3, 2016 [4 favorites]


At this point I'm barely daring to hang onto a sliver of hope that there will be some kind of rhyme or reason behind the Waif, her hatred of Arya, and why that didn't get nipped in the bud by the Faceless Men. If we are never told why exactly she bears such a grudge, other than some version of 'she's a jealous/envious/crazy/evil bitch', I'm going to roll my eyes at the showrunners so hard they'll hear it.
posted by sively at 5:47 AM on June 3, 2016 [2 favorites]


The Waif bores me senseless. I know it's too much to hope for that she will disappear from the plot due to Arya's exit from The Cult Of A Thousand Faces, but A Girl can dream.

The last Arya scene was *literally* a set up for an attack in the dark from the Waif, so expect her again soon enough. There are four episodes left, and my prediction is the Waif will be dead, and perhaps Arya even on her way back to Westeros by the last one.
posted by dis_integration at 5:52 AM on June 3, 2016 [1 favorite]


The Waif is jealous because Arya showed up with that special coin, one the Waif feels she didn't earn, it was explicitly said. I'm guessing the Waif was never shown such favoritism and "came up through the ranks," whatever that means in Faceless Men training. So she's angry that Arya got special treatment, hence the constant put downs and beatings. Plus Arya stole a face and got a second chance? Girlfriend is positively enraged.

Remember when Waif started playing the game of faces with a confused Arya? Jaqen specifically said Arya wasn't ready for that, Waif no doubt knew she wasn't, but she wanted to make a point about Arya. Jaqen hasn't stopped Waif probably because he sees it as a test of her and Arya and that suits his purposes just fine.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:59 AM on June 3, 2016 [1 favorite]


Fun game! Whenever the Waif has a scene with Arya, ask your show-watching partner, "why is Lena Dunham being so mean?". And then spend the rest of the scene imagining Dunham's character from Girls placed into the Game of Thrones universe.
posted by redsparkler at 8:34 AM on June 3, 2016 [3 favorites]


The Waif is jealous because Arya showed up with that special coin, one the Waif feels she didn't earn, it was explicitly said.

Huh. I must have been at the fridge.

Still, I don't understand how that's compatible with the whole FM shtick of erasing your personality, needs, wants etc. I'd expect the Waif to be even more advanced in the killing zen than Arya, being a TA of sorts.

At this point their whole dynamic requires filling in a lot of blanks with "I'm sure Jaqen has a good reason for it", and thinking up motivations like "perhaps the Waif's risen from the ranks", or "she wanted to make a point". An exercise in optimism: if you suspend your disbelief a little longer it will all make perfect sense. I hope it will, but I wouldn't bet on it.

Also, the jealous older student being a relentless meanie is such a tired trope.
posted by sively at 9:10 AM on June 3, 2016 [4 favorites]


I also thought that they were archetypes not actual people.

Remember when "A man" killed himself? He died, his face was magic faces all the way down and then there was a new "A man" right behind him.

Jaqen also appears as the waif at one point, removing her face for his own.

So them having actual personal agendas doesn't fit with my understanding of things up to this point. I thought their relationship of "antagonist/rival" and "counselor/mentor" were deliberate teaching tools the the faceless men (plural) adopted to teach Arya. It wasn't until this scene that there was any contradiction to that notion. If they are just two people with weird agenda's then who's the dead guy and why pretend to be each other?
posted by French Fry at 9:26 AM on June 3, 2016 [7 favorites]


Huh. I must have been at the fridge.

What did you get?!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:55 AM on June 3, 2016


Like, seriously. That the Waif is capable of expressing the sentence "You promised me" within the confines of the faith (as opposed to speaking it as one of the faces to an outsider) is pretty much proof that she's not really part of the faith.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:05 AM on June 3, 2016 [3 favorites]


Yes. If she had said "A Man promised the Waif" I would have been more cool with it. Like they are the original faceless men (however many of them there are) and they just live in these roles in new bodies throughout generations.

But if it's just kung fu lena dunham and sexy hair jesus, I'm way less interested.
posted by French Fry at 10:41 AM on June 3, 2016 [2 favorites]


Why This Week's Episode is Daenerys’ Villain Origin Story - from Cracked's Winter is Taking Forever.

There aren't all that many ways in which the interests of Dany and the White Walkers (to the extent that we understand them) are not aligned.

We've been assuming that the dragons would pose a threat to the White Walkers -- but what if they are somehow the tools that they need to create the Super Wights that aren't damaged by fire?
posted by sparklemotion at 1:28 PM on June 3, 2016 [2 favorites]


I want Arya to say "Not A Girl. A Woman" before she gets stabby.
posted by srboisvert at 5:47 PM on June 3, 2016 [6 favorites]




Hey, who are the old gods and the new gods? Are the Children the Old Gods, and the Red God the new?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:52 AM on June 4, 2016


The old gods are the pagan gods whose worship was mostly superceded by the worship of The Seven, though much of the North still worships them. The Seven are the new gods (Father, Mother, Stranger, etc), who are worshipped in septs and served by septons and septas; their faith is the dominant one in Westeros. R'hllor the Red God is something new, whose worship seems to come from Essos.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:22 PM on June 4, 2016


Ok, this is what I got history and religion wise after some research:

Westeros was originally inhabited by the Children of the Forest and Giants. About 12k years before the events in season 1, the First Men arrived. They came over via a land bridge from Essos. They fought with the Children of the Forest, who destroyed said land bridge. Eventually the two races came to a peace and the First Men came to worship as the Children did, the Old Gods, nameless spirits who were in rocks and trees. The worship centers were around the those Weirwood trees with faces carved in them. There were no official churches or anything, just the Weirwood trees were people might gather. The Starks worship the Old Gods, though Catelyn, who came from the Riverlands, was born into the Faith of the Seven (more on them in a moment)

At some point in the war between the First Men and the Children was when the latter created the White Walkers. It's not known how the White Walkers were used again the First Men or what happened to them when the Children and Men made peace, which lasted about 9K years ago and lasted for a 1,000 years until the White Walkers attacked both races. They were beat back, the Wall built and things were ok, though the Children began dwindling in numbers. Not much is said

6K years ago, the Andals migrated from Essos over the Narrow Sea and invaded Westeros, conquering the First Men pretty much everywhere except in the North. Hence the North being so proud and going on at times about they still have the blood of the First Men in them. Well, everyone in Westeros does to some extent, it's just the Northerners have it more and the Wildings are probably almost pure blood First Men.

The Andals brought the Faith of the Seven or the New Gods (or just the Faith). This religion has seven aspects to its one god: three male aspects, three female aspects, and a seventh aspect, the stranger, which represents the unknown and/or death. Most of the Southern Westeros, like the Lannisters and Tullys worship these New Gods.

Then there's the Lord of Light, aka R’hllor, whom Melissandre serves. Unlike the Old and New gods, the Lord of Light thinks all other religions are false and/or demons and must be converted or killed. Though it's not clear to me if the High Sparrow and his ilk would be so accepting of the Old Gods. But it doesn't matter, as that religion is practiced far away in the North.

There's many other religions, like the Dothraki's Great Stallion and the Many Faced God of the Faceless Men, along with the Drowned God of the Iron Islands. But for the purposes of the show, the New and Old Gods, along with the Lord of Light are the three big players.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:56 PM on June 4, 2016 [3 favorites]


I perceive both GRRM's interest in and use of god-and-myth stuff as reflective of and a shout out to Zelazny, with whom he had an important relationship IIRC who also wrote an SF novel entitled "Lord of Light." Knowing this strongly affects my ability to react with equanimity to actions undertaken in the context of that faith.
posted by mwhybark at 10:28 PM on June 4, 2016 [2 favorites]


If the old gods are old Paganism, the new gods are Christianity, the Lord of Light is... Islam? I guess? It is a muscular new religion from the east...
posted by BungaDunga at 3:45 PM on June 5, 2016


Eh, they don't quite map to real life religions. After all, the Faith of the Seven came from the east also. EVERYTHING came from the east in Game of Thrones. Except the White Walkers.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:23 PM on June 5, 2016


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