Game of Thrones: The Broken Man   Books Included 
June 5, 2016 6:53 PM - Season 6, Episode 7 - Subscribe

The High Sparrow considers another target; Jaime confronts a hero; Arya makes a plan; memories are awakened in the North.

Ian McShane! The Hound! Wun Wun! Bronn! The Blackfish! Bear Island!
posted by gatorae (373 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
Get hype.
posted by leotrotsky at 6:55 PM on June 5, 2016 [16 favorites]


So I guess we're actually watching a game show called "stab the Stark".
posted by lydhre at 6:56 PM on June 5, 2016 [6 favorites]


GET HYPE
posted by chimaera at 6:56 PM on June 5, 2016 [12 favorites]


Holy crap that was a lot of stabs, Arya. Maybe you shouldn't stand out in the open as if you don't have Faceless Men after you?!?!?!
posted by gatorae at 6:56 PM on June 5, 2016 [4 favorites]


Hype received.
posted by Justinian at 6:56 PM on June 5, 2016 [3 favorites]


Are we in agreement that Sansa wrote to Littlefinger and accepted his offer of aid at Winterfell?
posted by Justinian at 6:57 PM on June 5, 2016 [20 favorites]


Arya standing on the bridge was so mindblowingly stupid that it can only have been a plan to draw out The Waif, because otherwise WTF.
posted by gatorae at 6:57 PM on June 5, 2016 [8 favorites]


Lost power half way through.. Bothering me more than it should. So bothered.
posted by French Fry at 7:00 PM on June 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


If Arya dies, we riot.
posted by Jacqueline at 7:03 PM on June 5, 2016 [17 favorites]


how am i supposed to wait a week to see arya magically healed and peeling the face off of that smug little shitstain
posted by poffin boffin at 7:04 PM on June 5, 2016 [17 favorites]


Yeah I'm assuming that Sansa's letter was to Littlefinger telling him to bring his army too.
posted by Jacqueline at 7:04 PM on June 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


So the books may end up in the same place, but this middle part is way out there at this point.
posted by drezdn at 7:05 PM on June 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm guessing this isn't the end of Arya's story.
posted by zarq at 7:05 PM on June 5, 2016


Also I am excite that the Hound is back because I'm hoping this means CleganeBowl 2016 is happening. GET HYPE.
posted by Jacqueline at 7:05 PM on June 5, 2016


also why is it ok for hbo to pretend that the show is an hour long when in reality it is 48 minutes long with 12 minutes of previews for other shows that i will on principle never ever fucking watch
posted by poffin boffin at 7:06 PM on June 5, 2016 [17 favorites]


It's a Walking Tall remake starring the Hound.
posted by drezdn at 7:06 PM on June 5, 2016 [3 favorites]


Ian McShane's appearance may have been the most underwhelming thing on the entire series.
posted by gatorae at 7:07 PM on June 5, 2016 [8 favorites]


I am surprised and confused by the Brotherhood Without Banners getting on board the senseless murder train because weren't they originally about protecting the smallfolk against the lords' marauding armies???
posted by Jacqueline at 7:07 PM on June 5, 2016 [11 favorites]


yes and like all other roving gangs of armed men ever in the history of human conflict it's much simpler and more enjoyable for them to rob and rape and murder rather than serve and protect.
posted by poffin boffin at 7:09 PM on June 5, 2016 [11 favorites]


She got stabbed like 50 more times than Areo or Roose so she is definitely going to live.
posted by drezdn at 7:09 PM on June 5, 2016 [10 favorites]


I am surprised and confused by the Brotherhood Without Banners getting on board the senseless murder train because weren't they originally about protecting the smallfolk against the lords' marauding armies???

Kinda sounds like they're all full of righteous vengeance, eh?

GET HYPE
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:10 PM on June 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


I liked that they went ahead and made Yara Greyjoy explicitly lesbian. It made the gratuitous boobies in this episode slightly less pointless.
posted by Jacqueline at 7:10 PM on June 5, 2016 [24 favorites]


The Brotherhood certainly resorted to banditry in the books as well as the show. But I don't remember well enough to speak to the murderin' bit.
posted by Justinian at 7:11 PM on June 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


But shouldn't they be hanging Freys?
posted by drezdn at 7:11 PM on June 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


Although I suppose that's implied. It's not like bandits are like "oh okay then" if you refuse to hand over your goods.
posted by Justinian at 7:11 PM on June 5, 2016


Arya must have bought an idiot ball in the market (or stuck juice flagens up her shirt to fake her death).
posted by drezdn at 7:14 PM on June 5, 2016


i wonder if she will go to the actress lady and get help (and a clever disguise) from her

it seems a little too pat but whatevs

odds are that theon recognizes her instead
posted by poffin boffin at 7:16 PM on June 5, 2016 [9 favorites]


The head of Bear Island was the most amazing and heartbreaking thing. I've been wanting to see Bear Island for SO LONG, and I was not disappointed.
posted by gatorae at 7:16 PM on June 5, 2016 [13 favorites]


I'm betting Arya finds the kind actress, gets some TLC, and travels back to Westeros with them after stabbing the Waif in the face a couple times.

Sansa is my number one gal, though she's about to trade short term gain for long term danger, but Yara is also up there. She should start traveling the motivational speech circuit. Also, baby Mormont is badass and her 62 men are... more than I was expecting when that scene started.

Any episode with no Daenerys is a good episode. I am so over her conquering shtick. Team Stark FTW.
posted by lydhre at 7:17 PM on June 5, 2016 [4 favorites]


Sansa is my number one gal, though she's about to trade short term gain for long term danger

That's kinda true but at least there is a long term with the assistance. Jon is about to honorably and nobly get his ass kicked without Sansa's plotting.
posted by Justinian at 7:18 PM on June 5, 2016 [7 favorites]


Wouldn't it make more sense for Jon to take his army to Castle Black and make Ramsey come to him?
posted by drezdn at 7:21 PM on June 5, 2016


Theon/Yara aren't in Braavos are they? /consults map. That seems like a massive detour to Meereen.
posted by gatorae at 7:24 PM on June 5, 2016


Black tear tattoos are a Volantis thing. On the plus side... would put them close to Mereen.
posted by drezdn at 7:26 PM on June 5, 2016


I'd need to rewatch the scene to check out the fashion and hairstyles but stopping in Dorne on the way would make sense. And Dorne would be warm and have a good party scene.
posted by Jacqueline at 7:27 PM on June 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


wow this was underwhelming

i mean

no quiet isle, no broken man speech, meribald=deadz
no robbs crown on the lead frey

also: yara, not sure this is best ptsd counseling technique (they should be in volantis with that bridge)

but good to see marge still is playing all the angles
and bronn's "don't you fucking say it" was priceless
dug lyanna's steel
did like ian mcshane doing what he did with script he was given

but basically a C grade for this episode - especailly the writing. so much good material in the books. thrown away. FUCK YOU SCREENWRITERS no wonder GRRM is looking sheepish - you gave away the store to some hacks.
posted by lalochezia at 7:29 PM on June 5, 2016 [3 favorites]


If GRRM looks sheepish I think its because he has come to the realization that he will never finish his own magnus opus!
posted by Justinian at 7:34 PM on June 5, 2016 [6 favorites]


One thing that worries me is that, in general I liked GoT the books because they tended to subvert cliches. The specific scenario that happened with The Hound tonight was the middle part of so many movies in the 70s and 80s or so.
posted by drezdn at 7:37 PM on June 5, 2016 [10 favorites]


gatorae: "The head of Bear Island was the most amazing and heartbreaking thing. I've been wanting to see Bear Island for SO LONG, and I was not disappointed."

I just want Lyanna Mormont on the Iron Throne now. End of story. You're welcome, GRRM.
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:41 PM on June 5, 2016 [17 favorites]


One thing that keeps bugging me this season as a book fan is that it should be fall at the very least.
posted by drezdn at 7:42 PM on June 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


i'd rather have 10,000 more trite character growth cliches than any more "hmm how do i show that this female character is in danger OH LOL I KNOW RAPE" scenes
posted by poffin boffin at 7:44 PM on June 5, 2016 [8 favorites]


I figure the Iron Islands must have 6 or 700 of those ships ready by now, don't you guys think?
posted by Justinian at 7:45 PM on June 5, 2016 [3 favorites]


Pretty sure Theon and Yara are in Volantis. Check out the bridge that's shown when they arrive.
posted by danapiper at 7:48 PM on June 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


Wouldn't it make more sense for Jon to take his army to Castle Black and make Ramsey come to him?

No, Castle Black is repeatedly described as incredibly vulnerable from the south. Maybe they could have WunWun throw up a wall real quick, but the place was built with the idea that it would only ever be attacked from the north.
posted by LionIndex at 7:52 PM on June 5, 2016 [3 favorites]


Yara and Theon are definitely in VOlantis, and hoorah, as predicted, they are sailing for Meereen! (How Yara failed to inform Theon of this before they sailed around the horn of Dorne is beyond me, but whatevs, drama.)

It's particularly perverse to hire Ian McShane to play Septon Maribald, mostly known for a single long monologue about Broken Men, for an episode titled "The Broken Man," and not provide that monologue. I liked McShane, but Rory McCann fucking crushed it tonight.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:53 PM on June 5, 2016 [10 favorites]


So is that Gendry getting rear naked choked around 0:26 in the promo for next week's episode or do I suck at faces?
posted by Jacqueline at 7:57 PM on June 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


Pretty sure it's Pod.
posted by drezdn at 7:59 PM on June 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


That's Pod the Rod.
posted by leotrotsky at 8:00 PM on June 5, 2016


Ah, thank you. I suck at faces. So Genry's still out there rowing somewhere...
posted by Jacqueline at 8:01 PM on June 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


Lyanna Mormont was by far the best thing in an episode that started out incredibly promising and then mostly just didn't deliver. When they had the books to adapt, a season of this show tended to feel like fifteen episodes' worth of material crammed into ten. This season does...not feel like that. There was a lot I liked, but I felt like the whole episode could have been boiled down to about twenty minutes without losing anything real important.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:03 PM on June 5, 2016 [10 favorites]


I totally thot it was Gendry too.
posted by danapiper at 8:04 PM on June 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


Those painfully earnest white boys all look same.
posted by Jacqueline at 8:05 PM on June 5, 2016 [11 favorites]


As great as Lady Mormont was, it was kind of a one-note performance from a still-child (though gifted!) young actor. Rory McCann takes my Performer of the Week Award™ in a walk.This is what something like penitence looks like from The Hound - still cynical, still not buying into The Gods, still violent in his tendencies, but regretful, and hopeful that there's another way.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:10 PM on June 5, 2016 [3 favorites]


Even the Blackfish agrees that Edmure has been offscreen for so long that it's hard to care about him.
posted by gatorae at 8:10 PM on June 5, 2016 [28 favorites]


There are three characters on this show who have been castrated and soon they'll all be in the same location. This probably means nothing but it's kind of notable, right?
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:12 PM on June 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


Between Blackfish and Yara it was a great night for Queer Westerosi. I wish Loras hadn't been so ruined as a character.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:13 PM on June 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


So Clegane Bowl I is the season closer? Last scene of the pen-ultimate episode? A cruel, cruel tease that they set up and only show next year?
posted by codacorolla at 8:14 PM on June 5, 2016


One thing that keeps bugging me this season as a book fan is that it should be fall at the very least.

I didn't notice this myself but someone on Reddit mentioned the leaves having fallen from the trees at Riverrun. So I guess it depends on how far south you are?
posted by Jacqueline at 8:15 PM on June 5, 2016


in the same vein that brought you "The Broken Man" .......they are going to call the last episode "Clegane Bowl" and this will be the last shot
posted by lalochezia at 8:16 PM on June 5, 2016 [8 favorites]


Also, the fan theory that it's actually Joffrey's head sewn onto the MTN's body is getting more and more appealing, since Sandor was Joffrey's knight protector, and the source of his sobriquet.
posted by codacorolla at 8:17 PM on June 5, 2016 [3 favorites]


I wondered briefly if the person who got stabbed wasn't Arya but was Jaqen H'ghar posing as Arya to see if the Waif followed his instructions about not letting her suffer. But dunno if the face-swapping thing can handle large body size differences, though.
posted by Jacqueline at 8:19 PM on June 5, 2016 [6 favorites]


I kind of wonder if the Tully army will get Sansa's message and offer to take the black, giving them an excuse to head north en masse.
posted by drezdn at 8:19 PM on June 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


(IIRC, some of them were made to take the black in the book)
posted by drezdn at 8:20 PM on June 5, 2016


I think Sansa's message is going to Littlefinger but that would indeed be a clever way to get the Tully army to the north.
posted by Jacqueline at 8:21 PM on June 5, 2016


That's a hell of a thing to agree to - you can never get married and quitting = death!
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:23 PM on June 5, 2016


Talk Sex with Sue Johanson the High Sparrow is a really terrible show.
posted by gatorae at 8:23 PM on June 5, 2016 [17 favorites]


The waif is Arya's Tyler Durden.
posted by humanfont at 8:26 PM on June 5, 2016 [26 favorites]


That's a hell of a thing to agree to - you can never get married and quitting = death!

If the alternative is waiting to either slowly starve or have the Lannister army slaughter you?

Plus are you actually committed before you take the oath? I don't think so. Isn't that why they had some of the "recruits" for the Night's Watch chained up -- so they couldn't run away before joining -- when that dude was taking Arya and Gendry north several seasons ago?
posted by Jacqueline at 8:27 PM on June 5, 2016


That's a hell of a thing to agree to - you can never get married and quitting = death!

Beats just plain death, though I think by the end of the series, there will be no night's watch, either for lack of need, or because it just gets wiped out.
posted by drezdn at 8:28 PM on June 5, 2016


Ugh, the writing has been so bad, I much prefer how GRRM didn't write it.
posted by skewed at 8:29 PM on June 5, 2016 [12 favorites]


I also am assuming that Arya will be saved by the acting troupe and join them - they would definitely recognize her and try to help her if they saw her.

I had a brief theory that the stabbed Arya was actually the Waif disguised as Arya but it doesn't hold up to a moment of scrutiny, so I'm not sure why I'm even mentioning it.

Two more bullet points in the "Cat's coming back" list (specific mention of Cat's slit throat, appearance of Brotherhood Without Banners)! That $10 is MINE.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:41 PM on June 5, 2016 [4 favorites]


Does feel a bit like the producers are taking out their own pacifist/some-kinda-gods-exist hopes on the show. And then retreating back to GRRM's politics and violence.
posted by lauranesson at 8:42 PM on June 5, 2016


Heh, Tumblr is already shipping Dany/Yara.
posted by Jacqueline at 8:43 PM on June 5, 2016 [6 favorites]


Ugh, the writing has been so bad, I much prefer how GRRM didn't write it.

I'm starting to realize that I'm watching the show on a macro/micro level. The macro level (like the huge plot beats) are pretty satisfying, because it's a relief to finally KNOW what's happening with these stories. The micro level (what has to be done to get to those beats) is often very, very bad. It leads to conflicted viewing, but I actually thought this episode did both fairly well.
posted by codacorolla at 8:43 PM on June 5, 2016 [3 favorites]


Oh and they're calling her Yara Gayjoy, LOL.
posted by Jacqueline at 8:44 PM on June 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


Things I expected to happen that did not:

1. The broken men speech
2. Sansa arranging a marriage between Rickon Stark and Lyanna Mormont
3. After Yara walked away, Theon taking another drink of ale

The show is never going to have the depth and writing of the books. I'm ok with that, mostly. They've got two-ish seasons to cover what would almost certainly be 1,600 pages of material, if GRRM were ever to finish writing. At this point I'll be satisfied with finding out who lives, who dies, who tells the story.

The Brotherhood Without Banners certainly has gotten more ruthless since the last time the show visited them. Almost like, metaphorically speaking, their hearts were made out of some sort of particularly hard material?

GET HYPE
posted by Parasite Unseen at 8:45 PM on June 5, 2016 [10 favorites]


So - the High Sparrow is an idiot if he doesn't at least suspect that Margaery is faking. I mean, maybe he doesn't care if she's faking so long as she keeps playing along, but she sure doesn't plan to, so I hope he is shown to have some sort of plan in place for that.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:46 PM on June 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm definitely on the side of "That was the BWB under the Seven-hating Leadership of Lady Stoneheart" (who also has reason to hatehatehate the Hound.)

But I just had a friend theorize that it was actually the Bloody Mummers who slaughtered the sparrows at the camp, and since Sandor didn't see it, he's marching off with vengeance towards the wrong people.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:48 PM on June 5, 2016 [6 favorites]


Can we just talk about how Olenna pwnt Cersei like 150 times in 45 seconds flat, because dang
posted by trunk muffins at 8:51 PM on June 5, 2016 [34 favorites]


Oh THIS is where all the get hype is. I accidentally posted in the Show Only thread and was all like, really? No hype being gotten up in here?
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 8:53 PM on June 5, 2016 [3 favorites]


There's almost TOO MUCH good stuff for them to end the season on. Bastard Bowl, Clegane Bowl, Stoneheart, Jamie getting comeuppance, Daeny marching back to Mereen and giving a taste of her full power, Kings Landing exploding in violence (and perhaps literal wildfire), Flashbacks to TOJ / Robert's Rebellion, Arya exacting revenge on the Waif and mummering her way to Westeros... I'm trained to expect like 1 good thing a finale, but that's a lot of good things.
posted by codacorolla at 8:53 PM on June 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


So - the High Sparrow is an idiot if he doesn't at least suspect that Margaery is faking. I mean, maybe he doesn't care if she's faking so long as she keeps playing along, but she sure doesn't plan to, so I hope he is shown to have some sort of plan in place for that.

The Septa at least seemed to have noticed the Rose Note being passed, so we should expect something.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:53 PM on June 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


Oh THIS is where all the get hype is. I accidentally posted in the Show Only thread and was all like, really? No hype being gotten up in here?


Yeah the show only people haven't spent years and years theorizing about the Hound still being alive like we have. The payoff of that scene was much, much sweeter for book readers.
posted by Jacqueline at 8:55 PM on June 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


My husband: "why are you cackling?"
posted by Night_owl at 8:57 PM on June 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


Also, the show-only husband I picked some years ago turned to me the other day and made me pull headphones out and said, "Lady Stoneheart?!?" So I would recommend highly this experience: if you've got a normally nerdy, book-readey person in your life who has only seen this show and who decides to buy in late? They will bite real hard, Silmarillion-style, and you get to be the best guide ever. Dude has studied up so hard this last couple of weeks that I feel like I got hints even the book-readers don't.
posted by lauranesson at 8:58 PM on June 5, 2016 [4 favorites]


Also, you get a lotta points for keeping really deep secrets for years and years, i'm just saying
posted by lauranesson at 8:59 PM on June 5, 2016


I was pretty hyped, that was so cliched, now I'm less hyped.
posted by homunculus at 9:09 PM on June 5, 2016 [1 favorite]




Lyanna Mormont was definitely my favorite character tonight. It wasn't the greatest performance, but fuck it, there's a leader I'd swear fealty to. I hope she survives the series.

Natalie Dormer gave my favorite performance tonight. Margaery is really shining this season, even though the storyline she's in is bogging down, imo.
posted by homunculus at 9:32 PM on June 5, 2016 [8 favorites]


Interesting to note from this article, that McShane's character was "Brother Ray", not Septon Meribald.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 9:35 PM on June 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


Maybe there will be some faith militant v. Brotherhood / Seven v. R'hllor religious war break out, only for the white walkers to swoop down while everyone is distracted. The Wall v. Winterfell v. the Vale v. Lannisters v. Riverrun is cool but we've already seen this sort of political war over lords fighting about who rules; a religious war is something the small folk would actually care about, at least potentially.
posted by gatorae at 9:41 PM on June 5, 2016


Navelgazer: Between Blackfish and Yara it was a great night for Queer Westerosi.

Wait, has it been explicitly stated in the book/show that the Blackfish is a homosexual? Did I miss that?
posted by bluecore at 9:46 PM on June 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


Navelgazer: I'm definitely on the side of "That was the BWB under the Seven-hating Leadership of Lady Stoneheart" (who also has reason to hatehatehate the Hound.)

But does LSH hate the Seven? Because Catelyn didn't, remember that she had a septa at Winterfell to teach the girls, and when Bran was near death she spent hours making a seven-pointed-star prayer wheel for him. She has plenty of reason to hate Freys and Lannisters and the Hound (and Brienne, sure) but they have no more connection to the Seven than any other houses, right?

Does she hate the Seven just because they didn't save her and her children, and because she owes her (un)life to R'hllor? Or was there something else about LSH hating the Seven that I missed?
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 9:50 PM on June 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


Here's the Broken Man speech from the books.

Agreed that Lyanna Mormont was the best part of the show. I forget, is that how it goes in the books? I loved that she had such integrity and smarts. She's not compromising, she's not compromised, she's not working the angles. She's just doing the sensible thing.

Also impressed with the castle designs for the Blackfish and the others we saw this week. That was a lot of production expense for an establishing shot.

Frustrated as hell at the Arya plot, the worst kind of tease. I mean of course she's not dead. But why show the one scene without the payout? "Tune in next week..." I guess, but blah.

I liked that they went ahead and made Yara Greyjoy explicitly lesbian.

Huh, I didn't read it that way. I took it as just that she was a lusty pillaging viking, and if that meant a'whoring today she was going to go a'whoring. No doubt with a whale-baculum and a harness. I could see her equally accepting a man-whore, again probably with the baculum, but the lady was what caught her eye that evening because of her fine ass. So she's queer enough. But what the fuck do I know? I liked that she was awesome and finally drank some sense into Theon.
posted by Nelson at 9:53 PM on June 5, 2016 [14 favorites]


Nitpick: when Wun Wun came on, I was anxious to see Sansa's reaction to seeing a giant for the first time, but nope. Was there not enough time for a 3 second close-up on Sansa's face when she saw a fucking giant for the first time? Would it have taken away 3 essential seconds of Volantine titty time? I was disappointed that we didn't get to see the conversation where Jon explained to Brienne and Sansa that the White Walkers were real in the last episode, but they would have had to shoot that separately. This would have been easy.
posted by homunculus at 9:59 PM on June 5, 2016 [10 favorites]


Wait, has it been explicitly stated in the book/show that the Blackfish is a homosexual? Did I miss that?

IIRC, it's just a fan theory, but it *is* pretty weird for a noble man his age to have never been married.
posted by Jacqueline at 10:02 PM on June 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


bluecore: Wait, has it been explicitly stated in the book/show that the Blackfish is a homosexual? Did I miss that?

I don't know if it's been made explicitly explicit, but it's nearly as explicit as Ser Loras is in the books. From A Game of Thrones, the scene where Catelyn is talking to Hoster Tully on his deathbed:
Her father glanced out over the rivers. "Blackfish," he said. "Has he wed yet? Taken some . . . girl to wife?"

Even on his deathbed, Catelyn thought sadly. "He has not wed. You know that, Father. Nor will he ever."

"I told him . . . commanded him. Marry! I was his lord. He knows. My right, to make his match. A good match. A Redwyne. Old House. Sweet girl, pretty . . . freckles . . . Bethany, yes. Poor child. Still waiting. Yes. Still . . . "

"Bethany Redwyne wed Lord Rowan years ago," Catelyn reminded him. "She has three children by him."
The passage goes on, but the gist from here and elsewhere is, Hoster tried to arrange marriages for him repeatedly and Brynden repeatedly refused (which led to him being though of as the black sheep of the family, a title that he co-opted as Blackfish). Obviously that doesn't make him unquestionably gay, there could be any number of other reasons why he might never choose to marry, but the prevailing fan theory is that he is gay.

(I'm totally fine with that but as a middle-aged unmarried cis guy I feel like it's also quite possible he just likes his space and hasn't met anyone yet that he likes enough to share it with yet.)
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 10:09 PM on June 5, 2016 [10 favorites]


Lady Mormont: so, so wonderful. More badass at ten than Tommen could ever hope to be at 80. And Ser Davos makes his saving throw for avuncular charm.

Ian McShane as Brother Ray/Septon Meribald: WHY OH WHY is he only in this for ONE episode, yet I have to suffer through whole seasons of Ramsay?! Cocksucker.
posted by culfinglin at 10:14 PM on June 5, 2016 [16 favorites]


I am surprised and confused by the Brotherhood Without Banners getting on board the senseless murder train because weren't they originally about protecting the smallfolk against the lords' marauding armies???

The Brotherhood certainly resorted to banditry in the books as well as the show. But I don't remember well enough to speak to the murderin' bit.


Yeah, in the books the BWB didn't massacre smallfolk, even when they'd become more ruthless by AFFC. And they didn't harm Septon Meribald, they actually let him go his way after they found Brienne. The guys in this episode were acting like the Bloody Mummers, so I'm guessing the show is combining them.
posted by homunculus at 10:23 PM on June 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm going to say Bloody Mummers, yeah.
posted by culfinglin at 10:24 PM on June 5, 2016


And Ser Davos makes his saving throw for avuncular charm.

What I loved about his scenes here (as well as earlier ones, with Stannis at the Iron Bank in particular) is how they build on his past. He explicitly points this out in the Mormont negotiations - he's not a lord by birth. He's spent his life dealing with people from outside the formal hierarchy of feudal ties. Sansa and Jon are both still mentally within that hierarchy but are now trapped outside it, forced to convince others to follow them with something more than blood and birth. And you can see them stumbling with it. Neither of them, even Jon (who does this with the wildlings a bit) are really comfortable in that world. Davos is. He's spent his life unable to leverage his social stature (because he didn't have one) and is used to working within that framework.

But you are right, he is also the odd uncle everyone (on show and off) deep down wish we had.
posted by AdamCSnider at 10:27 PM on June 5, 2016 [4 favorites]


My immediate comment on the opening Clegane reveal was more "ugh, no more subtlety than that?" Granted, in a visual medium they can't keep us from realizing who that character is, but I'd sort of hoped for a bit more weight to that reveal. Then again, ~600 pages of script vs. 1600 pages of book. Blah.

I was hoping the show would continue its trend of getting the adaptation mostly right (horrific misogyny aside) in the post-book era but I am not really enjoying what they're doing here. I'm watching more to find out what happens than because I particularly enjoy the show. Sigh. Suspect I'll cancel HBO Now at the end of this season. Not even sure if I'll stick with it next season, although I really do want to know what happens.
posted by Alterscape at 10:30 PM on June 5, 2016


Davos is also the one with the most experience talking to smart little girls. RIP Shireen. :(
posted by Jacqueline at 10:30 PM on June 5, 2016 [31 favorites]


But does LSH hate the Seven?

Probably just speculation on my part, because LSH has little to stand for but hate and the Faith of the Seven is the faith of everyone who has wronged her.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:52 PM on June 5, 2016


I'm still surprised that Riverrun really is in the hands of the Blackfish, and not Littlefinger lying to Sansa.
posted by Apocryphon at 11:35 PM on June 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


Yara: I'm gonna go fuck the tits off this one.

Me: I VOLUNTEER AS TRIBUTE
posted by KathrynT at 11:55 PM on June 5, 2016 [25 favorites]


Pretty sure Theon and Yara are in Volantis.

When Arya approached the sailor to buy passage to Westeros he was talking about how the iron fleet was in Slaver's Bay.
posted by roolya_boolya at 11:56 PM on June 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


There is only one thing for Arya to say to Death.
posted by The Hamms Bear at 12:08 AM on June 6, 2016 [12 favorites]


Arya did get stabbed quite a lot though. Obviously she isn't going to die, so maybe the writers should take Jamie's advice about not making threats they aren't prepared to go through with.
posted by Pyry at 1:46 AM on June 6, 2016 [8 favorites]


The political battles in King's Landing are some of the best material on the show. Two Tyrells in full force (and this is something that the show does better than the books, imo, because we see Margarey's point of view in the show).

Interesting to compare with the last episode, too: Jaime tells Cersei that the two of them are the only ones who matter in the world; in this episode Cersei basically tells Olenna that only her son matters. A deliberate contrast?

I was surprised that Meribald/Ray was killed. Was expecting Brienne or someone to show up and meet Clegane, as in the books. I guess this way they're giving him an explicit motivation to leave, though I don't see how wanting revenge on the BWB leads him to King's Landing.

Arya's sequence was weird - we last see her blowing out a candle with the Waif coming for her, then all of a sudden she's in the city? Confused me. By the end of it I was almost thinking it would be a dream sequence. And like obviously she won't die so there's no drama.

Yara and the Iron Islanders having sex with slaves might not put them in Dany's good books if she ever finds out.

As Jacqueline said, Davos being the one to talk to Lyanna Mormont was appropriate given the time he spent talking with Shireen. A nice touch.
posted by Pink Frost at 2:44 AM on June 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


A more general point: does anyone feel like the show is running out of time and still has a lot to get through?

We've only got 3 episodes in this season, 7 in the next, and then maybe 7 in the 8th season, which hasn't been ordered yet?

I feel like we haven't actually advanced terribly far in this season - Dany's still not back at Meereen, let alone heading for Westeros. The Iron Islanders aren't at Meereen either. We're still waiting on Cleganebowl, the ToJ reveal, the Starks retaking Winterfell, etc. And that's just the things that we could predict would be coming based on the earlier seasons/books. The show has to actually finish the story in a satisfying way, and I'm starting to feel like the ending will be really rushed.
posted by Pink Frost at 2:52 AM on June 6, 2016 [4 favorites]


When Arya approached the sailor to buy passage to Westeros he was talking about how the iron fleet was in Slaver's Bay

But there are eventually going to be two Iron Fleets, Euron's and Yara's. So maybe those boats got built real fast...
posted by danapiper at 3:17 AM on June 6, 2016


Love ya' Davos, but camping in the spot where 20 good men successfully ambushed you seems like a bad idea.
posted by drezdn at 3:34 AM on June 6, 2016 [5 favorites]


The only thing about Arya's scene that made sense was that she was wearing a nice dress, because it makes NO sense that Arya would be wearing a dress unless she was up to some secret triple cross plan. She can't just stab the faceless girl or all the faceless would come after her, she probably can't just fake her death in the water, it's gotta be sneakier than that.

Or the show writers are just slugs.
posted by sammyo at 4:35 AM on June 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


The only thing about Arya's scene that made sense was that she was wearing a nice dress, because it makes NO sense that Arya would be wearing a dress unless she was up to some secret triple cross plan. She can't just stab the faceless girl or all the faceless would come after her, she probably can't just fake her death in the water, it's gotta be sneakier than that.

Yeah I'm totally baffled by the whole thing. The set up in the previous episode showed her armed with Needle and completely, totaly, WARY and not at all lacking vigilance. So she got her passage booked on a ship and she just gives up on the home stretch when you're obviously MOST in danger? A Girl who survived the whole of Westeros trying to kill her and then trained with magic ninja assassins doesn't make a hooplehead mistake like that. It was almost as frustrating as Kung-Fu, A Blind Girl edition. If there hadn't been the story line with the actors, this whole Arya goes to Braavos thing would be for shit so far.
posted by dis_integration at 6:28 AM on June 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


I suppose that whatever we saw was a fake-out, and it's all part of some plan. Most likely relating to the troop of mummers she's been interacting with over the past two episodes, since they've gone through great lengths to show stage tricks as part of that act.

Even if that IS the case, however, it's still a really bad plan, and it assumes that the Waif will kill Arya in exactly that fashion. What if she had tried to poison her? Or gone for the throat? Or dropped an anvil on her?

If Arya did some face-switching shenanigans, then how in the hell did a novice figure that out?

If Arya actually DID get caught unawares, then that's some really, really bad writing. Apart from how out of character that is, getting gut slashed and then thrown in a toxic canal is a slow but sure death sentence.

I think I like option 1 out of all of those the best, but none are good options. The Bravos storyline (apart from the play) has been a pretty big hash this year.
posted by codacorolla at 6:35 AM on June 6, 2016 [10 favorites]


Arya and the Geryjoys are in the same place; as the man Arya booked passage from was talking about they Iron Islanders being in town pre-money toss scene.
posted by French Fry at 6:46 AM on June 6, 2016


Maybe Arya will be Lady Stone Heart .
posted by tilde at 6:50 AM on June 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


All of these Arya options are plausible, but there's another I'm wondering about. Main Faceless Guy very explicitly told the Waif 'don't let her suffer,' and she totally disobeyed that instruction. So even though he marked her for death, I wonder if he might save her, if only temporarily, because she wasn't dispatched in the correct manner.
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:08 AM on June 6, 2016 [4 favorites]


Just realized that Brienne is heading toward the Riverlands and Jaime is already there. Should be pretty good.

My first thought about Arya was that since it didn't make sense for her character to be so open to attack, that she was laying some sort of trap. But no trap involves letting yourself get stabbed 3-4 times in the stomach. My eyes will be rolling very hard if this was a "plan" of any sort on her part, because it depended on the Wait not killing her outright which it seems she should have been able to easily.
posted by skewed at 7:13 AM on June 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


I was thinking about something this morning, which this person pointed out in the other thread also - gosh, there are a lot of resurrected people on this show now.

Who've we got? Off the top of my head:

Via Red Priest magic:
Jon
Beric Dondarrion (and/or Cat? I want to believe!)

Via other types of magic:
The Mountain
Drogo (now dead so maybe irrelevant)
Benjen

Possibly merely recovered from near-death:
The Hound
Euron

There are plenty of other people who have metaphorically died and been reborn (Dany, Theon, plenty of others I’m sure), but even without them, it’s a long list.

So, my out-of-left-field theory is that seven of these resurrected people might represent, and perhaps channel, the Seven Gods. (Only death can pay for life, but that which is dead rises again, ya dig?) But it's hard to see how to make it fit, when few to none of the resurrected people are female and 3 of the gods are (though I guess it might not matter?)

The gods:

Father – judgment, justice - Beric or Cat?
Mother – nurturing, mercy - Jon?
Warrior – courage, strength - Euron?
Maiden – innocence, chastity
Smith – labor, craftsmanship - The Hound?
Crone – wisdom, guidance - Benjen?
Stranger – death, the unknown - The Mountain?

I'm not at all sold on this, because none of it is exactly a perfect fit and I can't imagine who could slot into the 'Maiden' role, dead or alive. (Unless Shireen makes a surprise comeback I guess.) And if Cleganebowl happens then at least one of these people looks like becoming re-dead.

But, it has to mean SOMETHING that as the army of the dead slowly (slowly) descends on Westeros, we're racking up the undead count down south as well! Are there any persuasive theories about this?
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:48 AM on June 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


I think Yara is going to be the shows Victarion, and I agree that they are combining the Bloody Mummers with the Brotherhood. I also think they're going for that "if one known character will be there, why not two?" To get Brienne and the Hound together.
posted by corb at 8:02 AM on June 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


I think Yara is going to be the shows Victarion

Aw man, I hope it's Theon and not Yara. Yara rules.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:04 AM on June 6, 2016


Dany would fit in the maiden role. Reborn through fire etc.

But I doubt GRRM was planning along those lines as he over and over again paints the new gods as a magic-less bureaucracy with lots of Catholicism parallels. He writes them as an entirely structural religion, founded on the backs of weirder more pagan forerunners. They're a pretty blatant mimic of the medieval catholic church and Martin clearly thinks poorly of them. High sparrow being a martin luther/st francis mash up.
posted by French Fry at 8:05 AM on June 6, 2016


Dany would fit in the maiden role. Reborn through fire etc.

But her main character traits don't really fit with the 'innocence and chastity' thing at all - though I suppose not being able to bear children might make it sorta fit? Looking over that list, I'd say she was more 'Father' or 'Mother'.

Lol maybe she's the Mother and Jon is the Maiden
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:07 AM on June 6, 2016


A stark as the median makes sense, they are pretty doggedly innocent to the point of naivety.
posted by French Fry at 8:09 AM on June 6, 2016


When the Waif ambushed Arya, it seemed she violated her agreement not to let the latter suffer, willfully so. I wonder if there will be repercussions for that, if so.
posted by clockzero at 8:20 AM on June 6, 2016 [5 favorites]


When the Waif ambushed Arya, it seemed she violated her agreement not to let the latter suffer, willfully so. I wonder if there will be repercussions for that, if so.

Yeah - I was speculating that maybe Faceless Dude would be the one to save Arya because she wasn't assassinated 'correctly.' (Because I am still hoping that it wasn't all just a very very dumb plan.)
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:27 AM on June 6, 2016


The only version of this that approaches making sense to me is that if it wasn't Arya we saw, but Jaqen or some other faceless dude, and it was done to test the Waif, which she failed. But, didn't they go out of their way to say that they can only assume the faces of those they kill in the temple?
posted by skewed at 8:31 AM on June 6, 2016


I am probably one of the biggest "show > books" people who's read all the books, but even so I am deeply profoundly disappointed in the lack of a broken man speech.

Ian McShane + the episode title feels like trolling to not include even a little of it.

I mean that speech is perhaps the best bit of writing in the series. It's also the heart of the "point" of what the story is getting at about the war of the 5 kings. That war is not a noble endeavor that even heroes are monsters in the theater of war. That an army, no matter who leads it, is an evil thing that sows misery. That the weak and poor suffer terribly in war no matter how necessary and valuable the purpose of war is.

I am holding out a fools hope that The Hound or Bronn will get that speech before the season is over.
posted by French Fry at 8:35 AM on June 6, 2016 [10 favorites]


Say, it occurs to me that Yara could give Theon some pointers on how to carouse with bar wenches without a dick.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:46 AM on June 6, 2016 [19 favorites]


Wait does Theon still have balls but no penis? If so, being in a whorehouse must be truly torturous for him. He just needs go make bffs with Grey Worm and Varys, y'all.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 8:51 AM on June 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


Hey, even without balls, a sensation's a sensation. And dude still has a prostate!
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:56 AM on June 6, 2016 [6 favorites]


I am get hype for a very special episode where Grey Worm and Varys sit down with Theon and have a real frank eye-opening talk about stuff like prostate stimulation and non-PIV sex
posted by prize bull octorok at 9:00 AM on June 6, 2016 [31 favorites]


I, too, have spent way too much time thinking about ways Theon could still have sex since last night, and was reminded of this article about "nullos" (men who have their penises removed as a sex kink).
posted by Jacqueline at 9:08 AM on June 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


So, what if Arya dies and gets found by Thoros of Myr, or at this point, any worshipper of R'hllor apparently, and gets resurrected? What if she's Lady Stoneheart?
posted by Apocryphon at 9:48 AM on June 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


showbiz_liz, Unicorn on the cob, prize bull octorok, Jacqueline: This is also alluded to in Stephenson's book "Quicksilver" in an early, lovely sequence between Jack Shaftoe and Eliza.

If that gets you interested in reading Stephenson, please do try "The Diamond Age".
posted by amtho at 9:55 AM on June 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


so just curious, what outcome are we rooting for in the CleganeBowl?

I mean obvs we want the Hound to kick his undead jerk brother's ass, but I am v tired of seeing the High Sparrow looking all smug about winning at life
posted by prize bull octorok at 9:59 AM on June 6, 2016 [4 favorites]


A win for the Hound is a win for a religious fanatic quickly seizing the realm. A win for the mountain is a win for baby-murdering Cersei, creepy ass Qyburn and a literal monster.
posted by French Fry at 10:13 AM on June 6, 2016 [4 favorites]


My guess is Cersei loses so she lights the dragonfire stored under the Sept.
posted by drezdn at 10:14 AM on June 6, 2016 [6 favorites]


so just curious, what outcome are we rooting for in the CleganeBowl?


I'd like to just see the Hound turn around and slice the High Sparrow in two, and saying afterwards "That's for making me do this, asshole."

Then he and the Mountain leave and build a house in the woods far away from everybody.
posted by General Malaise at 10:24 AM on June 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


I really loved this episode. I grew up in the 70s so an hour-long show (Rockford Files!) where not all that much happens and it's just talking and character development is my sweet spot. For me the exposition and stuff makes me really appreciate the payoff. If it's just action I can't really dig it (I fell asleep in the theater during the speedboat chase in Face-Off). I also thought the writing was great - it's been so long since I read the last book (GRRM's fault) that I barely remember those versions of events and am just going with the show as canon.

R.e. the broken man speech, I thought the whole interlude with the Hound and the traveling converts' group was a nice way to "show don't tell" that the weak and poor suffer terribly in war no matter how necessary and valuable the purpose of war is. Although I did wonder how he heard a scream then got there to find everyone dead and the killers gone ... maybe they could have established the distances involved a bit more. I guessed he was maybe close to a mile away?

R.e. Arya I hadn't even thought about the idea that it was a trick on her part, but it does sort of make sense. She was pretty public with the plan to sail in the morning. But yeah ... how do you make sure someone stabs you in the stomach stage-blood bag? I should re-watch that scene for details. Someone up-thread mentioned her getting tossed into the canal, but I thought it was pretty clear she jumped and rolled in deliberately. She got stabbed for like 1.5 seconds then got away and flung herself in to escape, which seemed pretty believable.
posted by freecellwizard at 10:37 AM on June 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


Although I did wonder how he heard a scream then got there to find everyone dead and the killers gone ... maybe they could have established the distances involved a bit more. I guessed he was maybe close to a mile away?

1. the BwoB came in and killed everybody except for one woman who was away
2. woman comes back to find BwoB finishing up, they attack her, she screams, Sandor hears her
3. I don't know why step 1 apparently didn't result in any screaming
4. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
posted by prize bull octorok at 10:41 AM on June 6, 2016


Why does everyone hate the High Sparrow? There's a case to be made he's the most decent and moral man in Westeros. He's not murdering people, he's not making deals with dangerous barbarians from the frozen north, he's not starting wars, he's not friends with ice zombies, he's not fucking his sister, he's not murdering children, he's not raising deadly uncontrollable dragons, he's not playing with wildfire. He seems genuinely committed to his religious service. Sure he's making his play for power too, but in a gentle way, to a noble goal.

I confess I may be partially charmed by Jonathan Pryce's acting skill. IIRC the High Sparrow of the books is much less likable.
posted by Nelson at 10:59 AM on June 6, 2016 [4 favorites]


he's a homophobic bigot using his religious power to punish gays and women for having sex.
posted by poffin boffin at 11:00 AM on June 6, 2016 [63 favorites]


so just curious, what outcome are we rooting for in the CleganeBowl?

I don't know about "rooting for" but I'm fully expecting The Mountain to attempt to take out the High Sparrow, for Tommen to stand in his way, and for TOmmen to get killed in the process, leaving no heir because Margaery's current plot has that whole Lysistrata thing going on.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:01 AM on June 6, 2016


I don't think Arya is tricking anyone. Her wobbling down the street holding her guts is completely unnecessary if she's not actually injured. Pretending to be dead in the river would have served her far better, in that case.

I think she let her guard down because she was feeling the high from being able to boss those men around with money, actually. She felt powerful and strong and almost home free and just wasn't paying attention. She was probably planning on being hypervigilant all night with Needle and whoops, in daylight in the middle of the street is where she gets shanked.

The Waif certainly fucked up by gleefully stabbing Arya in the stomach rather than going for a killing blow.
posted by lydhre at 11:02 AM on June 6, 2016 [8 favorites]


he's a homophobic bigot using his religious power to punish gays and women for having sex.

Fair enough, I'm not going to defend that! But that's by our standards of modern morality, which every single person in Game of Thrones fails by (except maybe the Starks). In the context of Westeros is that really so bad? He doesn't hate all women, he's got women running his organization. He does seem to hate sex though, and the gays.

Truthfully the only thing that really matters is who is going to be competent to stop the ice zombies. So we need to be betting on the wildfire and the dragons and maybe the maesters. The Seven sure aren't gonna be any help.
posted by Nelson at 11:04 AM on June 6, 2016


Yeah, uh, even ignoring all the torturing the High Sparrow is bare minimum a homophobic misogynist piece of shit. Which is why Jamie calls him right out for not going after powerful men like him.
posted by lydhre at 11:04 AM on June 6, 2016 [7 favorites]


i mean that's just the barest first of all, the rest of it is religious fanaticism and the widespread horrors it is always, always responsible for.
posted by poffin boffin at 11:04 AM on June 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


THS's little talk about how Margaery needs to boink his pet king reminded me that he's actually a creepy weirdo who thinks the Walk of Shame is a legit form of punishment
posted by prize bull octorok at 11:04 AM on June 6, 2016 [24 favorites]


so just curious, what outcome are we rooting for in the CleganeBowl?

Shortly after 9/11, a person I'm no longer friends with was asked who they were rooting for in a football game between RivalSchoolWeDon'tLike vs. AnotherRivalSchoolWeDon'tLike. His response was "Al Qaeda." Ew, right? But, your question nevertheless makes me think of that. Who do we root for in CleganBowl? I don't care for either option, so I guess I'm rooting for Daenerys to swoop in and cause a bunch of completely unforseen chaos.
posted by gatorae at 11:05 AM on June 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


I don't know about "rooting for" but I'm fully expecting The Mountain to attempt to take out the High Sparrow, for Tommen to stand in his way, and for TOmmen to get killed in the process, leaving no heir because Margaery's current plot has that whole Lysistrata thing going on.

If Tommen dies, would Margaery become Queen? If Tommen and Margaery die, would Cersei?
posted by zarq at 11:06 AM on June 6, 2016


yeah, she'd love that, but no, there would be a massive hilariously gruesome civil war.
posted by poffin boffin at 11:07 AM on June 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


if she was still alive then margaery would surely get pregnant by any means necessary and claim it was tommen's all along, and in order to maintain some sort of control over the situation cersei would have to go along with it.

i wonder if cersei could be ruthless enough to insist that jamie do the job so the kid would look like tommen.
posted by poffin boffin at 11:10 AM on June 6, 2016 [5 favorites]


All of these Arya options are plausible, but there's another I'm wondering about. Main Faceless Guy very explicitly told the Waif 'don't let her suffer,' and she totally disobeyed that instruction. So even though he marked her for death, I wonder if he might save her, if only temporarily, because she wasn't dispatched in the correct manner.

That occurred to me too. The Waif is already an utter failure as a dispassionate, selfless assassin, maybe this will be the last straw. And it may be that the Waif's death would balance the scales, paying for Arya's life, sort of like when one of the FM took poison to pay Arya's debt after she poached Meryn Trant. "Only death can pay for life."
posted by homunculus at 11:11 AM on June 6, 2016


My theory is that the Mountain loses the duel and Cersei obviously refuses to submit to the punishment (and I'm actually unclear on whether the punishment for her at this point is imprisonment, death, exile, or whatever). Violence ensues in the city, Tommen steps in to protect his mother and dies at the hand of the rioting Sparrows. Cersei manages to be responsible for the death of her last surviving son.

In the disorder that follows Margs tries to claim she is with child as per the conversation with the HS but it'll probably not fly and now that Olenna is gone, well, clever Margery might have a problem.
posted by lydhre at 11:11 AM on June 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


A win for the Hound is a win for a religious fanatic quickly seizing the realm. A win for the mountain is a win for baby-murdering Cersei, creepy ass Qyburn and a literal monster.

BABY MURDERER/LITERAL MONSTER 2016 - #NeverSparrow
posted by invitapriore at 11:12 AM on June 6, 2016 [5 favorites]


In the context of Westeros is that really so bad? He doesn't hate all women, he's got women running his organization. He does seem to hate sex though, and the gays.

He doesn't have women running his organization though. How much power do the septas really seem to have?
posted by corb at 11:27 AM on June 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


I think Arya will meet a priest or priestess of R'hllor. Melisandre said they would meet again, right after predicting her FM powers.
posted by tempestuoso at 11:33 AM on June 6, 2016


Jon was bad enough, if we get the LSH reveal this season and Arya comes back from the dead I am going to be powerful tired of seeing red priests throwing phoenix downs everywhere
posted by prize bull octorok at 11:35 AM on June 6, 2016 [6 favorites]


Aside from closing down whorehouses, are the Faith going after anyone other than the nobility? Because if they're leaving the Smallfolk untouched, then regardless what pretext they're using for persecuting the aristocrats, the Sparrows are still acting in the interests of the peasant class by curbing the noble houses and their profligate wars and excesses. Not to mention, by weakening the nobility and uniting the realm under an egalitarian religion, they are unintentionally preparing Westeros to weather the coming storm, whether White Walker or Targaryen.

We need commentary from the books to weigh in on the nature of their takeover.
posted by Apocryphon at 11:35 AM on June 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


he's a homophobic bigot using his religious power to punish gays and women for having sex.

Given this episode, if anything I thought it was creepy that he was going the "women need to submit to their husbands in the marriage bed" route, and coupling that to the need for an heir for the throne. So it's like, mandating women to have sex.
posted by Apocryphon at 11:37 AM on June 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


Political implications aside, I thought the whole point of CleganeBowl is that we're going to see Sandor wreak vengeance upon his abusive brother and complete his redemption arc. Why aren't we rooting for him to accomplish that?
posted by Apocryphon at 11:41 AM on June 6, 2016


Because if they're leaving the Smallfolk untouched, then regardless what pretext they're using for persecuting the aristocrats, the Sparrows are still acting in the interests of the peasant class by curbing the noble houses and their profligate wars and excesses.

Perhaps the Sparrows aren't harming the smallfolk yet, but what happens when/if they run out of nobility to humiliate? The smallfolk will suddenly find their own sex lives policed heavily. I imagine it would rapidly turn into the bloody excesses of the French Revolution, only instead of a Reign of Terror it would be a Reign of Piousness.

I thought it was creepy that he was going the "women need to submit to their husbands in the marriage bed" route, and coupling that to the need for an heir for the throne. So it's like, mandating women had to have sex.

Yeah, I'm also currently 2/3 of the way through The Handmaid's Tale so that little exchange with Margarey made my skin crawl even more.
posted by dnash at 11:42 AM on June 6, 2016 [4 favorites]


In the context of Westeros is that really so bad?

i don't really tend to care about context when someone is homophobic and misogynist, in fiction or irl, because for me personally there is no context that excuses it. i mean, "oh it's just part of his religion and he's really devout" doesn't fly with me irl either.
posted by poffin boffin at 11:45 AM on June 6, 2016 [8 favorites]


I just feel that the worldbuilding is incomplete to weigh in on what a true Sparrow-controlled Westeros will look like. Perhaps they'd get burnt out in their attempt to dominate the nobility. Perhaps they and the nobility would wipe each other out. Perhaps the smallfolk will be able to turn upon them after they neutralize the great houses. The show basically depicts them as "ISIS, except shaved", which doesn't lend itself to much subtlety or complexity.
posted by Apocryphon at 11:47 AM on June 6, 2016


is there any historical stuff about the last time the sparrows were a Big Deal? don't make me go to the wiki
posted by poffin boffin at 11:50 AM on June 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


They're not going after the smallfolk because the smallfolk are their ace in the hole. The only reason the nobility hasn't squashed the Faith is out of fear of uprisings and civil strife.

If the Faith takes complete control of the crown and its army, well, all bets are off. Whatever keeps them in power is whatever they'll do, smallfolk or no.
posted by lydhre at 11:52 AM on June 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


Another dimension to the creepy High Sparrow-Margaery conversation is that it shows that he's vested in the perpetuation of the Faith's hold over the Crown. A rather cynical move for greater temporal authority, cloaked in spiritual rationalization. It sort of calls into the question whether his piety is for the sake of power, or is he powerful because of his piety. And does it matter in the end? No, but I hope before the White Walkers/dragons/Jaime kills the Sparrows they take as many aristos with them on behalf of the smallfolk.
posted by Apocryphon at 11:59 AM on June 6, 2016


I do think it was more explicit in the books that the Sparrow and the newly empowered Faith of the Seven was Beloved by the small folk. Likewise the books really do dwell more on the intense suffering the serfdom suffer at the hand of the noble house we've been rooting for/against. Like we see the faith militant out in the countryside protecting people from the many roaming bands of Lannisters/Freys/Starks/Boltons/Umbers etc etc troops raping and killing them. In the show they haven't had any time for that.

I don't actually know if in the show they mean for us to understand that acting against the High Sparrow would result in an intimidate popular revolt? Is it ambiguous on purpose or just due to the sake of time?
posted by French Fry at 12:07 PM on June 6, 2016 [4 favorites]


I thought it was creepy that he was going the "women need to submit to their husbands in the marriage bed" route, and coupling that to the need for an heir for the throne. So it's like, mandating women had to have sex.

Yeah, and it was even worse than just that -- he also pointedly mentioned that enthusiasm isn't required on the woman's part for sex to occur, just patience. Ugh.
posted by clockzero at 12:07 PM on June 6, 2016 [7 favorites]


The High Sparrow is also The Worst because people (ok, let's be real, men) who use piety as a cover for their gross power boners are The Literal Worst, in life and in fiction. I join invitapriore in declaring:

BABY MURDERER/LITERAL MONSTER 2016 - #NeverSparrow
posted by dame at 12:08 PM on June 6, 2016 [9 favorites]


is there any historical stuff about the last time the sparrows were a Big Deal? don't make me go to the wiki

The Faith Militant's last hurrah was during the uprising against the Targaryens from 41 - 48 AC (After the Conquest) which was put down by Maegor the Cruel. The next king, Jaehaerys the Conciliator, negotiated a deal wherein the FM disarmed in exchange for the Throne's promise to protect the faith. That deal stood until Cersei and Tommen rearmed them.

I really want a R'hllorite to resurrect Tywin so we can see the look on his face when he learns just how badly his children fucked up his precious family legacy.
posted by homunculus at 12:08 PM on June 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


Is it ambiguous on purpose or just due to the sake of time?

I can never tell anymore.
posted by homunculus at 12:10 PM on June 6, 2016


I think it's just D&D missing the point, as usual.
posted by Apocryphon at 12:12 PM on June 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


IIRC, the faith isn't specifically homophobic in the books. That's an invention of the TV show.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 12:17 PM on June 6, 2016 [4 favorites]


Yeah, you're right - Loras isn't at KL in the books, he's off trying to fight the Iron Islanders, so there's no scenes with him being imprisoned by the Faith. Given that Westeros in general seems fairly homophobic, I'd imagine that the book Sparrow would be too, but it's not actually stated.
posted by Pink Frost at 12:22 PM on June 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


To me the sex/gay stuff with the Sparrow is horrifying, but the thing that rarely gets mentioned is this:

Sure he's making his play for power too, but in a gentle way, to a noble goal.

(Not to pile on you specifically, just as an example.) Leaving my dispute with the word "gentle" out of it (there's nothing gentle about torture), I feel like the series has been quite explicit in framing the Sparrow as someone whose nobility is a mask.

It may have been genuine at one point, but his power has corrupted him. I'm sure if you tortured him he would insist with his dying breath that he is doing all of this for the people and the gods, but he's been just as entranced and corrupted by power as the rest of them. He's simply found a way to do it that looks like humility and service. He has no need for the outward shows of wealth and power, indeed doesn't even need wealth itself, because the true exercise of power is what really matters. Plus as long as he's barefoot in tattered robes and keeping a beatific smile on his face as he tortures and humiliates people, he can maintain the self-illusion that he is a good man in service to the gods.

The brilliant stroke with this character is that you sympathize with his goals, and it's tempting to believe that he really only cares about them, but the core message of the series is that power and the lust for power are corrupting and destructive forces, full stop. Everyone who has pursued power in this show has either been killed or hurt or become a monster.

Monarchies have been overthrown by fundamentalist theocracies in the past, and the end result is that everything stays pretty much just as horrible, but now they make everyone miserable with less style. The Sparrow is basically Cersei with more tact, less self-honesty about who he really is, and shitty fashion sense.
posted by middleclasstool at 12:32 PM on June 6, 2016 [25 favorites]


I mean, I don't think it's particularly subtle in the show either. You can be a "believer" and a power-hungry fuckface all at once. The HS's quest for power is about power. There's nothing gentle or noble about it, just outwardly religious motivations. Again, he's only targeting sinners who advance his political ambitions whether as pawns or hostages or leverage with the common folk.
posted by lydhre at 12:40 PM on June 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


One thing I find fascinating from a book v show perspective is that the High Sparrow and Margery are primarily seen in Cersei POV chapters. In the books Cersei is going pretty mad by this point and has extreme views of Margery and the High Sparrow. Through her paranoia she sees Margery as the ultimate conniver, undermining her and her family, which is not how anyone else sees her. She sees the High sparrow as schemer out for power that doesn't belong to him.

As Cersei is going crazy and has been wrong about so much in the books at this point I distrusted her point of view and her accusation of Margery's infidelity and her railing about the High Sparrow who accuses her about things she has in fact done.

But the show is kind of taking Cersei's POV at face value. Which is interesting.
posted by French Fry at 12:44 PM on June 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


I wondered briefly if the person who got stabbed wasn't Arya but was Jaqen H'ghar posing as Arya

Clues:

- We see Arya strolling around Braavos with her hands clasped behind her back. We've never seen Arya walk like that before. That is, however, how Jaqen comports himself.
- Arya is wearing a Westerosi hairdo. That isn't Arya's style. It is, however, a hairstyle that someone posing as Arya might choose.
- Most tellingly, we see Arya throwing a stone into the river with her right hand. Arya is left-handed.
posted by painquale at 12:44 PM on June 6, 2016 [72 favorites]


Did anyone else get a Loras & Renly vibe from Margaery's "Shall we pray?" to the septa after her grandmother left the room?

There's no way the septa failed to notice the note passing. I was watching with the captions on, and in addition to the not-particulary-well-disguised gesture, the captions noted that "paper crinkles" when Margaery pressed the note into QoT's palm. I wonder if a secret relationship with the septa is part of the con....

Speaking of QoT, damn, Diana Rigg and Lena Headey act with microexpressions like bosses. I love watching the play of thoughts they display with small movements of their eyes and mouths before and after they deliver a line or hear one from another character.
posted by lord_wolf at 12:45 PM on June 6, 2016 [4 favorites]


I really want a R'hllorite to resurrect Tywin so we can see the look on his face when he learns just how badly his children fucked up his precious family legacy.

What would probably disgust Tywin the most is that among his children, the best hope for House Lannister lies with Tyrion. He alone will have the favor of the Dragon Queen once everything has been burninated.

Re: Arya, another possible tell that it was not her is that she did not have Needle at all it looked like.
posted by tempestuoso at 12:48 PM on June 6, 2016 [5 favorites]


I thought for sure we'd established that they can only use the faces of the dead, but in case that's not true, I'll throw out that my initial reaction: Maybe it was the Waif walking around pretending to be Arya to draw her out, and Arya stabbed her, then showed the Waif her own face, as in, "You pretend to me be, I'll be you. You are who stabbed you."
posted by General Malaise at 12:54 PM on June 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


the captions noted that "paper crinkles" when Margaery pressed the note into QoT's palm.

I think that was only because it was important for the audience to know it happened. I don't think the Scowling Septa is supposed to have noticed.
posted by dnash at 12:56 PM on June 6, 2016 [4 favorites]


Clues:

- We see Arya strolling around Braavos with her hands clasped behind her back. We've never seen Arya walk like that before. That is, however, how Jaqen comports himself.
- Arya is wearing a Westerosi hairdo. That isn't Arya's style. It is, however, a hairstyle that someone posing as Arya might choose.
- Most tellingly, we see Arya throwing a stone into the river with her right hand. Arya is left-handed.


Ooo. Hmm. The first two things could be explained as Arya trying to reclaim her identity as Someone, but the left-handed thing would seem to be pretty significant.

But then, would that mean Jaqen's plan was essentially "possibly get myself killed in order to test the Waif"? Or, I guess he might have access to healing stuff that Arya doesn't necessarily. But then, why all the stumbling around looking at peoples' faces?
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:00 PM on June 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


Or the show runners forgot that Arya is left-handed.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 1:10 PM on June 6, 2016 [14 favorites]


can only use the faces of the dead, but in case that's not true,

"A man" the one who dies from drinking the poison is wearing Arya's face in the pulling many magic faces off scene as he lay there dead.

So who knows?
posted by French Fry at 1:14 PM on June 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


I thought for sure we'd established that they can only use the faces of the dead

Just before Arya was blinded, she started peeling a bunch of faces off of a body, and the final one was Arya's face.

Or the show runners forgot that Arya is left-handed.

It would have had to be Maisie Williams who forgot, not the show runners. I kinda doubt that she would. (Then again, she's right-handed in real life, so it could have been a temporary slip.)
posted by painquale at 1:16 PM on June 6, 2016 [4 favorites]


if they pull one more damn mask off I may as well just watch Scooby Doo instead
posted by prize bull octorok at 1:17 PM on June 6, 2016 [13 favorites]


In re: the left-handed thing, maybe we shouldn't overthink it...here's Williams in a 2011 interview:
"I'm right-handed, and when Mom was reading the first book, she told me about Arya being left-handed," she says. "From then on, I was like, 'Alright, I'm going to try to do everything left-handed.' When I was practicing out in the garden and things I would do left-handed just to feel that rhythm. Unfortunately, when it came to filming, sometimes I have to do things right-handed because of the camera angle and things like that. So some people are a bit annoyed that Arya hasn't done everything left-handed. I wanted to. I really did. But sometimes it was just too tricky and we couldn't do it."

She consoles herself by noting that a Braavosi "water dancer" would probably be ambidextrous. "I'm sure Syrio would teach Arya to use both hands as well," she says.
posted by General Malaise at 1:18 PM on June 6, 2016 [7 favorites]


I started googling around about this, and it was also pointed out that:

-Arya was not carrying Needle, which she absolutely should have been.
-The Faceless have already shown that they CAN copy Arya's face (I'd totally forgotten this).

Also, I went and skimmed the wiki:

Killing for personal gain or out of anger or hate are forbidden to Faceless Men [...] they only assassinate targets they have been hired to kill and may not choose who is worthy of the 'gift' by themselves.
But then, it also says: [in the books] they have philosophical and religious motivations that will lead them to rejecting commissions that clash with those motivations.

How about this:

Maybe Arya was never actually supposed to kill the actress at all.
Maybe it was a test, to see if she had the moral fortitude to refuse a commission she thought was wrong, even if it would mean risking her life. Sending the Waif after Arya was also a test, to see if she could overcome her personal feelings and give [Arya/'Arya'] a clean death as instructed.

If both of those things are true, then Arya passed and the Waif failed, regardless of whether it was actually Arya or Jaqen (or some other random Faceless) on the bridge.
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:18 PM on June 6, 2016 [19 favorites]


The Faceless Men are more internally compromised by defectors than the Impossible Mission Force.
posted by Apocryphon at 1:19 PM on June 6, 2016 [9 favorites]


I could be wrong, but I always figured the need to take a face from the walls was something only the newbs needed to do. A true FM could assume new faces at will. For instance, where would Jaqen have gotten his new face when he said farewell to Arya in Westeros?
posted by tempestuoso at 1:20 PM on June 6, 2016 [5 favorites]


It's funny, every week I watch the episode with enthusiasm, sometimes some cheering, and sometimes some screaming in dismay. I usually enjoy it and am excited to see what happens next.

Then I immediately come here and read the comments. Lots of the things that occur in the show really don't stand up to scrutiny. It's fun seeing people doing a close read of events and coming up with plausible theories. I usually enjoy this part too.

In short, yay MeFites and GoT for providing me with so much entertainment.
posted by chatongriffes at 1:26 PM on June 6, 2016 [12 favorites]


It's funny, every week I watch the episode with enthusiasm, sometimes some cheering, and sometimes some screaming in dismay. I usually enjoy it and am excited to see what happens next.

You know, I pretty much loved this episode, despite quibbles.
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:34 PM on June 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


Lots of the things that occur in the show really don't stand up to scrutiny. It's fun seeing people doing a close read of events and coming up with plausible theories. I usually enjoy this part too.

My friends and I have spent a good part of today trying to come up with a plausible reason that Sansa would have a Stark seal on her person, since she almost certainly didn't have that during her impromptu escape.
posted by Navelgazer at 1:41 PM on June 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


I feel like the series has been quite explicit in framing the Sparrow as someone whose nobility is a mask.

To my mind, I think the show and the incredible Pryce have been very deliberate in keeping the Sparrow's true feelings ambiguous. Most of his actions can be read more than one way. What is fascinating to me is how many watchers of the show have quite firm opinions on him, which seem mostly to be based on their feelings about religion in general. If even while being tortured to death he still insisted on the purity of his motives, how could one possibly know that his convictions weren't true, weren't pure? Unless starting from the position that no religious convictions can be, that all such professions merely disguise base longings and vanities? The Sparrow riles people, which makes him an interesting character.

P.S. Y'all have almost got me convinced that there's some clever plan involved in the Arya plot. I hope so, because right now it feels like there's no where for it to go that would both surprise and satisfy me.
posted by Diablevert at 1:42 PM on June 6, 2016 [7 favorites]


you saw the cloaks Sansa made a few episodes ago, I'm sure she could bust out a Stark signet in like five minutes flat

P.S. Y'all have almost got me convinced that there's some clever plan involved in the Arya plot. I hope so, because right now it feels like there's no where for it to go that would both surprise and satisfy me.

I'm 100% convinced there's Something Going On there, but I haven't yet theorized an explanation that isn't at least moderately stupid
posted by prize bull octorok at 1:44 PM on June 6, 2016 [9 favorites]


I was totally on board this theory
I wondered briefly if the person who got stabbed wasn't Arya but was Jaqen H'ghar posing as Arya

Clues:

- We see Arya strolling around Braavos with her hands clasped behind her back. We've never seen Arya walk like that before. That is, however, how Jaqen comports himself.
- Arya is wearing a Westerosi hairdo. That isn't Arya's style. It is, however, a hairstyle that someone posing as Arya might choose.
- Most tellingly, we see Arya throwing a stone into the river with her right hand. Arya is left-handed.

-Arya was not carrying Needle, which she absolutely should have been.

But I think they can be explained away
1. Strolling around with hands clasped behind her back - this has the poorest explanation. I think it's simply the writer's being lazy and needing Arya to meetup with the troupe/Theon/Jaqen
2. Westerosi hairdo - something I did not at all notice, but perhaps she thought this would ease finding passage to Westeros
3. Arya throwing right handed - I'm left handed but throw right handed. Also, someone else linked to an interview stating filming angles can neccesitate using her right hand
4. Lack of Needle - Arya told the captain they would be leaving tomorrow at Dawn, so why wouldn't she keep her most precious object safely hidden during a daytime errand
posted by 6ATR at 1:57 PM on June 6, 2016


why wouldn't she keep her most precious object safely hidden during a daytime errand

Because a squad of magical ninja assassins wants to kill her. Also, when last we saw her, she had Needle and was sitting in the dark.

It is as though whoever is posing as Arya was doing everything they could think of that someone looking for Arya might do, just to make it easy to find her.

Also, another hint is that she made a LOT of money very quickly. You could argue that maybe her skills as a thief have improved, but the circumstantial evidence keeps adding up.
posted by tempestuoso at 2:02 PM on June 6, 2016 [9 favorites]


What is fascinating to me is how many watchers of the show have quite firm opinions on him, which seem mostly to be based on their feelings about religion in general.

Well, FWIW I attend a church semi-regularly, though I am critical of religion.

If even while being tortured to death he still insisted on the purity of his motives, how could one possibly know that his convictions weren't true, weren't pure?

To me this is a "by their fruits you shall know them" kind of thing? If unlawful imprisonment and psychological torture with the intent of brainwashing and raising up your own army with an "anything goes in the name of the cause" ethos doesn't point to impure convictions, I'm not sure what would.
posted by middleclasstool at 2:02 PM on June 6, 2016 [5 favorites]


When I first saw Arya I said "oh she's found time to clean herself up". She was always bruised and cut in the previous episodes. Here she looks really well recovered. How many days has supposedly past?
The other thing about Arya was that she was just not acting like.. Arya. Very oddly cocky/confident with the ship owner, when there's been no evidence where her confidence has come from. When we last saw her she was clutching at Needle, shivering in the dark, basically freaking out that her days were numbered until she faced the waif. What happened to the paranoia?
And that amazing spin she did off the bridge! I have never seen her so agile or coordinated. Her fighting style has potential but it's all brute, no finesse like that spin.
There was just something all a bit... off about Arya's behaviour and mannerism. I could easily see that performance as Maisie Williams playing J'aqen playing her.
posted by like_neon at 2:13 PM on June 6, 2016 [11 favorites]


Also, another hint is that she made a LOT of money very quickly.

Yeah, where would she have come upon two bags of money? The only possession she hid when she started with the FM's was Needle, if I recall correctly. She did manage to toss the rest in the bay.

I'm definitely now leaning toward this being some kind of ruse she hatched with the aid of the players.
posted by dnash at 2:18 PM on June 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


When I first saw Arya I said "oh she's found time to clean herself up". She was always bruised and cut in the previous episodes. Here she looks really well recovered. How many days has supposedly past?

Here's the last times we saw her in the previous ep:

"Careful of that one."

Retrieving Needle.

Hunkering down in some kind of tunnel or something.

Then we don't see her again until she strolls up to the captain.

She doesn't look terribly cut-up in these stills, but she doesn't look especially cocky about her chances, either...
posted by showbiz_liz at 2:22 PM on June 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


> It's particularly perverse to hire Ian McShane to play Septon Maribald, mostly known for a single long monologue about Broken Men, for an episode titled "The Broken Man," and not provide that monologue.

> Ian McShane + the episode title feels like trolling to not include even a little of it.


Yeah, it was ridiculous to waste Ian McShane in such a minor role with cliched dialogue when they could have had him do the Broken Man speech, even if in abbreviated form, regardless of whether he was playing Meribald or Ray.

This episode was written by Brian Cogman, who also wrote and defended the episode in which Sansa was raped on her wedding night, and who came up with the idea to include Dorne on the show by having Jaime and Bronn go there. He's made some bad writing decisions before, and he seems oblivious to that fact. He also came under a lot of criticism from book readers for those decisions, so maybe there was an element of trolling. Still, I think it's more likely just writer's hubris: he figures his writing is just fine and he doesn't need to quote passages from the books, thank you very much. Unfortunately for us, he blew a unique opportunity to have one of today's best actors deliver the best passage from the book. That's a shame.
posted by homunculus at 2:28 PM on June 6, 2016 [12 favorites]


Re: "Maybe Arya was never actually supposed to kill the actress at all. Maybe it was a test" - a friend also adds "a side point supporting the assassination as a test. It cannot be a coincidence that Arya was ordered to assassinate someone playing one of the few living members on her list, while watching a reenactment of the events that drove Arya onto the revenge path."

I disagree that it can't be a coincidence, but it would make more sense to give Arya this specific person as a test if 'passing the test' meant letting her live, rather than killing her.
posted by showbiz_liz at 2:34 PM on June 6, 2016 [4 favorites]


This episode was written by Brian Cogman, who also wrote and defended the episode in which Sansa was raped on her wedding night, and who came up with the idea to include Dorne on the show by having Jaime and Bronn go there.

I'm beginning to think this Brian Cogman person isn't such a terribly gifted writer.
posted by clockzero at 2:53 PM on June 6, 2016 [6 favorites]


I've also had some trouble with the High Sparrow and the Faith Militant -- like everyone else, pretty much I instinctively despise him. But that makes me question myself, given that the context here is that if anyone (a big "if") has any claim to popular legitimacy and the care of the welfare of the general population, it's the Faith Militant. They're odious in many respects, but basically everyone and every institution on this show is odious. The one moral constant has been that message GRRM built into the books, that in all this power scheming, it's the powerless that suffer. So I keep thinking that when everything is weighed, the Faith Militant is arguably by a big margin the least of all evils ... where all the choices are pretty terrible. The whole of Westerosi (excepting Dorne and Bear Island) seems to be patriarchal and homophobic anyway, the Faith Militant is just reinforcing a status quo in that respect. But in all the other respects they are in the right. I don't want to support the Faith Militant and I really want to see that smirk rubbed off the High Sparrow's face, but when it comes down to it I think I'm pretty much always going to be on the side of popular revolutions against the aristocracy. Even when they are theocratic.

About Arya -- I agree with everyone that the whole thing was weird. And like others, I feel that no outcome is likely to be satisfying. I really would not be surprised if this is completely played straight, even though it makes no sense for Arya to behave so carelessly. But all of the twists are so difficult to believe. I think it's going to be the acting troupe with fake blood thing, but obviously the Waif could have attempted to kill Arya any number of ways that couldn't be anticipated and prevented.

Which sort of brings me to that other thing. Like some other people, I do sort of like how things are happening this season and I don't have any strong emotional attachment to the books. But, even so, this season seems to me to be notably more television trope-ish than in the past. More like typical contrived TV plotting. I'm super happy at the absence of rape and torture and I think the things that are working for other people this season are working for me. But the whole of it ends up feeling pretty "meh" to me. Like regular TV. But maybe this is just me.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 2:58 PM on June 6, 2016 [7 favorites]


Crone Island must be located near Bear Island
posted by clockzero at 3:03 PM on June 6, 2016 [12 favorites]


For all of the proof about maybe that not being Arya, can we add to the list the question of how in hell Arya is supposed to have gotten her hands on enough coin all of a sudden that she can charter a damn ship?
posted by Navelgazer at 4:19 PM on June 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


Also impressed with the castle designs for the Blackfish and the others we saw this week. That was a lot of production expense for an establishing shot.

Riverrun's design was loosely based on Château de Chenonceau, which is a fantastic castle.
posted by homunculus at 4:33 PM on June 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


Arya sure did look like she was going to miss the Titan of Braavos just before getting stabbed.
posted by The Hamms Bear at 4:58 PM on June 6, 2016


Okay, so here's my fanfiction version of/prediction for next week!

[Please feel free to scroll past this. It's much longer than I expected! I'm...a little nervous about a job interview, and writing this took me out of myself for an hour, so that's good. But you don't have to read it! I often hate it when people slap gigantic slabs of text up in here, so I won't be offended, I promise.]

Arya, uninjured and holing up somewhere, is startled by the appearance of Arya, bleeding to death and crawling into her hiding place. Our Arya (the first one) stares goggle-eyed and trembling as her doppelganger collapses into her arms. Injured Arya hands the bags of gold we saw earlier over to the Real Arya, saying something like

INJURED ARYA: A girl must meet a seafaring man, two miles from here, and pay him his wages. It is arranged. The man will take a girl home. He knows a girl's face.

Our Arya recovers enough to understand this is a Faceless Man.

ARYA: Jaqen?

INJURED ARYA: Do names still mean so much to a girl?

ARYA: Yes.

INJURED ARYA: Then it is good a man did what he did.

The Faceless Man peels away his Arya face, revealing himself to be

SYRIO: A man should have known what a girl was from the start.

Then Syrio pulls away his face, revealing himself to be

JAQEN: It was not your fault, but his, Arya Stark.

ARYA: No, no, what can I do?

JAQEN: The wolf cannot be driven out of you. It must kill. It must rule. But it would die in Braavos. It is hunted. A faceless girl is too strong for Arya Stark. For now, a faceless girl thinks Arya Stark is dead, but that --

Jaqen begins to seizure; Arya takes his hand, desperate.

ARYA: No! Please no. What do we say to the god of death?! We say --

Jaqen smiles at her, grips her hand.

JAQEN: I say today.

He dies. Arya takes the money and leaves her hiding space. Then, several unrelated scenes later, she finds the unsuspecting Waif and kills the crap out of her. The idea of Arya killing her in total darkness -- where Arya can fight, but the Waif cannot -- is a cool one, so let's run with that.

And then it's dawn and we come upon the sailor, who is met not by Aria, but by the Waif.

SAILOR: Well, who have we now.

The Waif tosses him a bag of gold.

WAIF: Your passenger. You'll get the other bag when I arrive whole. Questions?

The sailor shrugs.

SAILOR: Not a fuckin' one.

The Waif nods and begins to walk past him, boarding the ship. He admires her from the side, then grimaces and moves to lay hands on her hip and shoulder.

SAILOR: Oi, what's this? You can't carry --

We see that he's trying to pull a sword away from its place on the Waif's hip. She draws it first.

WAIF: It's mine. And I can.

Once the sailor has a good look at the sword, though, he laughs heartily, in sudden genuine good spirits.

SAILOR: Oh hell if I'd known it was but a knitting needle, I'd have made no fuss at all. You hold onto that, miss, I don't want any problems.

The Waif sheathes Needle. She smiles. It looks unnatural as hell to us, but the sailor is charmed.

As the ship takes to sea, as Braavos moves into our wake, we move into the Waif's cabin, where we see her at the window; she removes her face and is Arya, eyes unknowable.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:59 PM on June 6, 2016 [41 favorites]


I want that to be true.
posted by corb at 5:10 PM on June 6, 2016 [6 favorites]


Y'know, I'd bet Planetos is swarming with former Faceless Men, like ex-Pralite monks. Acolytes who undergo all of the training without taking their final vows.
posted by Apocryphon at 5:47 PM on June 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


Y'know, I'd bet Planetos is swarming with former Faceless Men, like ex-Pralite monks. Acolytes who undergo all of the training without taking their final vows.

There was that child-assassin with the blue lips from the House of the Undying...
posted by Navelgazer at 5:48 PM on June 6, 2016


For all of the proof about maybe that not being Arya, can we add to the list the question of how in hell Arya is supposed to have gotten her hands on enough coin all of a sudden that she can charter a damn ship?

Also, she wasn't carrying Needle when she was attacked. In fact, she appeared to be unarmed. That's insane, considering she was sleeping with a sword at her side in the last episode.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:28 PM on June 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


So you're saying she sold Needle for a really good price...
posted by Navelgazer at 6:30 PM on June 6, 2016


I have a hard time believing that she gave up everything EXCEPT Needle and kept it all this time to just sell it when she could easily steal that much money now.
posted by miss-lapin at 6:43 PM on June 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


Chrys Watches Game of Thrones, Season 6, Episode 7: Burning Bridges

Recap!
posted by homunculus at 6:53 PM on June 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


But wasn't Syrio Forel the First Sword of Braavos? Wouldn't that make it hard for him to be a Faceless Man, too?
posted by clockzero at 6:57 PM on June 6, 2016


Thanks Kittens for Breakfast, that was a pleasure to read.

I'm enjoying watching the show, but I'm also hacked off that it's not living up to its potential.

...

At least I've got hype.
posted by LegallyBread at 7:02 PM on June 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


kfb, I think you are on to something. Jaqen's devotion to Arya never made any sense. A couple of years ago, I remember bruiting J = S to my wife and a fair amount of chinstroking pursued.

Let it be entered into the books that kittens for breakfast cut the gordian knot of the braavosi on this day, 6-6-16. the proof has yet to be proven.
posted by mwhybark at 7:41 PM on June 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


re: Arya's "holdin' the guts in" routine was Jaqen's go at fulfilling the original contract of the Cersei actress's original contract that Arya reneged (ie., cover for Arya blowing a job) - by pretending to be an Arya in distress in order to gain access to the actress-target?

Man, I'm weird on Jaqen's interest in Arya now. It's not like Jaq couldn't have escaped on his own and 'needed' Arya to free him, way back in Westeros, subjectively 6 years ago.

Arya being foreign-trained returning to fulfill her original intents (her list) is completely trope. Is Gurm violating trope by following trope, now, that he thinks that he's been violating trope?
posted by porpoise at 8:04 PM on June 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


But wasn't Syrio Forel the First Sword of Braavos? Wouldn't that make it hard for him to be a Faceless Man, too?

Well, I doubt they would have been able to check those credentials. It's not like Westeros has LinkedIn. At most, maybe Wierwood.net has a jobs pages.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 8:11 PM on June 6, 2016 [8 favorites]


How many more episodes did Brian Cogman write this season? I submit that if the ration is too high, the more interesting story articulated here is less likely
posted by clockzero at 8:36 PM on June 6, 2016


Maybe Jaqen feels that he owes Arya for misrepresenting what to expect if she joined the Faceless Men back in season 2. He (or whoever that was) implied that she would be able to pursue the people on her list by offering their names to the Many Faced God, but when she got there she found out it doesn't really work that way.
posted by homunculus at 9:25 PM on June 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


drezdn: "One thing that worries me is that, in general I liked GoT the books because they tended to subvert cliches. The specific scenario that happened with The Hound tonight was the middle part of so many movies in the 70s and 80s or so."

man, if you think you're worried about Game of Thrones being cliched after watching this episode, just wait until you go back and watch the first five seasons
posted by koeselitz at 10:14 PM on June 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


the High Sparrow is an idiot if he doesn't at least suspect that Margaery is faking. I mean, maybe he doesn't care if she's faking

He clearly knows, that's why he issued that not so veiled threat against Lady Olenna.
posted by bq at 10:45 PM on June 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


I've said it before and I'll say it again: The nobles want to cheat you out of your money and freedom, but the Sparrows want to cheat you out of you.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:20 PM on June 6, 2016 [8 favorites]


I've said it before and I'll say it again: The nobles want to cheat you out of your money and freedom, but the Sparrows want to cheat you out of you.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:20 PM on June 6


Eponysterical.
posted by Special Agent Dale Cooper at 11:24 PM on June 6, 2016 [4 favorites]


Nitpick: rewatching Lyanna's scene, I found it odd that she didn't seem to care that Rickon is alive and being held by Ramsey. If the pledge of loyalty to the Starks which she sent to Stannis was sincere (and I don't think it was contradicted by her name-lawyering Jon and Sandra Sansa; all Westerosi put a ridiculous amount stock in names) then the discovery that a bona fide Stark is alive should have settled the matter right then and there. She would no longer think of it as "someone else's war," she would want to help free her liege lord (like Robett Glover and Wyman Manderly in ADWD.) Obviously the writers wanted to use Davos and bring the White Walkers into it, but I think they did Lady Lyanna a slight disservice: she would take her house's duty to the Starks seriously and have already pledged to help before the White Walkers came into the conversation.
posted by homunculus at 12:17 AM on June 7, 2016 [5 favorites]


How many more episodes did Brian Cogman write this season?

D&D will write the last three episodes of the season - as they always have, except when GRRM was still writing for the show.

I do wonder, if season 7 is only seven episodes long, whether D&D will write all of them - since they average around 7/10 per season so far. That said, Cogman has been with the show since season one, so maybe they'll throw him one. (He is the only other writer - apart from D&D - who has written for every season of the show so far.)
posted by crossoverman at 3:25 AM on June 7, 2016


I guess I was really grumpy this week. Could I just grump about a couple things?

I loved Lyanna Mormont as much as anyone, but given the mores of House Mormont, would it have been so impossible for one of her advisers to be a woman?? Why does she have to have a mansplaining moment, to the left or the right, before she makes any decision?

Why does SANSA get no opportunity to say a word or two? Why the hell does the actual living Stark not get the speech that persuades House Mormont to commit its 62 fighters? Why would Ser Davos, who ought to be an unknown in Bear Mountain, make the argument?

Alternatively, when Lyanna points out Jon is a Snow, why doesn't he just lay Bearclaw on the table, 'nuff said. Bearclaw doesn't even merit a mention in the discussion, wtf??

Ser Davos's interaction with Lyanna calls back to his relationship with Shireen of course. But why does Davos's characterization matter more Sansa's or Jon's in this scene, when the Mormonts are intimately involved in their history and not his??

And btw does he even know how Shireen died? Does it matter to him that he's recommending that they set up camp at the location where she was burned to death?
posted by torticat at 5:33 AM on June 7, 2016 [5 favorites]


Why does SANSA get no opportunity to say a word or two? Why the hell does the actual living Stark not get the speech that persuades House Mormont to commit its 62 fighters? Why would Ser Davos, who ought to be an unknown in Bear Mountain, make the argument?

I believe the point of those scenes was to make Sansa feel much less confident than she was before, pushing her into asking Littlefinger for the Vale's help.
posted by dis_integration at 5:36 AM on June 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


To my mind, I think the show and the incredible Pryce have been very deliberate in keeping the Sparrow's true feelings ambiguous. Most of his actions can be read more than one way. What is fascinating to me is how many watchers of the show have quite firm opinions on him

I am one of those watchers I guess! I think the show has been very very clear that the High Sparrow is a creep. Definitely the sex angle--Cersei's walk of shame should not have given pleasure to any real man of god(s), and the HS's enjoyment there was pretty clearly telegraphed. Then his icky talk with Margaery this last episode...

Then there is the fact that his private interactions differ from his public persona, in that his veiled threats and power plays (with Cersei, Jaime, Olenna, Margaery, probably more I'm not thinking of) really do not fit with the humble-voice-of-the-devout that he projects in public. I'm not sure what his endgame is, but that he is ruthless and manipulative is super clear.
posted by torticat at 5:43 AM on June 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


But dis_integration, wouldn't that point have been made better if she had been the one making the case asking the Northerners for help?
posted by torticat at 5:45 AM on June 7, 2016


But dis_integration, wouldn't that point have been made better if she had been the one making the case asking the Northerners for help?

Well the way I read all of it was that Sansa had believed that the Stark name was enough, and that even if she was no longer naive in many ways, she had yet to really realize that even in the North, which "remembers", what they remember is power and might, gold and grain, etc., not honor and old pledges to broken houses. Even Stannis the Mannis had to have Davos do his convincing for him at the Iron Bank of Braavos. And for a similar reason: Stannis seemed to think it was enough to be the rightful heir to the throne, while Davos realized all that honor and right and good mattered little, what mattered was the pressing needs and interests of the person you're trying to convince.

The scene where she gave Littlefinger his commeupance was a great one, and I was rooting for her all the way, but it also showed naivete. You don't reject that kind of support, you accept it, and then figure out how to make sure you can be the master of it. Littlefinger would accept it and then plan the death of the one offering it once the soldiers were useful to him.
posted by dis_integration at 6:12 AM on June 7, 2016


One more thing on the Mormont scene, why was all the talk only about how many fighting men they had? It's one of the distinctives of the House that their women fight, and reference was even made to Lyanna's mother being a mighty warrior, and Lyanna being pretty fearsome herself.
posted by torticat at 6:16 AM on June 7, 2016 [3 favorites]


Why does SANSA get no opportunity to say a word or two? Why the hell does the actual living Stark not get the speech that persuades House Mormont to commit its 62 fighters? Why would Ser Davos, who ought to be an unknown in Bear Mountain, make the argument?

Because there was a structural thing going on in the episode. They pitched the Free Folk, House Mormont, and House Glover on joining the fight. Jon won over the wildlings, Ser Davos won over Lady Mormont, and Sansa ran up against a wall at Deepwood Mott.

This is primarily important because it gives her the extra motivation to secretly write to Littlefinger at the episode's end. This is her fight and her honor dictates that she be doing her part, and she felt like she had let them down all episode.
posted by Navelgazer at 6:18 AM on June 7, 2016 [5 favorites]


You don't reject that kind of support, you accept it

Yeah I guess maybe I misread that scene then. I didn't think Sansa rejected the offer, I thought she just filed it away. Which is basically what LF suggested she do--he told her the information might be useful to her, but didn't ask her to take immediate action on it.

Which is also why I was a little mystified by why Sansa's letter-writing this week was all secretive-like. Writing to her uncle seems like a no-brainer even though he's not a northerner. His family was massacred in the RW too and he is no fan of the Boltons. Maybe I'm missing something though. (Maybe something as obvious as, it could be difficult extracting him & his men from a castle under seige while still leaving Riverrun adequately defended.)

Unrelated--I didn't like in the LF/Sansa scene how he reminded her that JS is her half-brother, and that also seemed to get some wheels turning in her head... what is the significance of that? I hope it was just that he was reminding her that a Snow might not be as strong an advocate as she had assumed (which admittedly was born out in this last ep).
posted by torticat at 6:25 AM on June 7, 2016


Which is also why I was a little mystified by why Sansa's letter-writing this week was all secretive-like. Writing to her uncle seems like a no-brainer even though he's not a northerner. His family was massacred in the RW too and he is no fan of the Boltons. Maybe I'm missing something though.

I think Sansa is writing to Littlefinger to ask for the aid of the Knights of the Vale in retaking Winterfell.
posted by clockzero at 6:45 AM on June 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


Unrelated--I didn't like in the LF/Sansa scene how he reminded her that JS is her half-brother, and that also seemed to get some wheels turning in her head... what is the significance of that?

I think he was doing two things there: first, as you suggested, he's pointing out that a Snow won't be received by noble northern houses like a Stark would, and second, he's again trying to make Sansa feel a bit more isolated and insecure because he wants power over her; he wants to not only be needed by her, but for her to feel that he needs him.

Also, her status as a Stark seems precarious. I can't remember which character pointed it out, but she's been married twice already.
posted by clockzero at 6:53 AM on June 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


For those wanting a definitive answer (does it count as a spoiler to look closely at what's been shown in an episode?), the contents of Sansa's letter have been transcribed pretty convincingly.
posted by tempestuoso at 7:05 AM on June 7, 2016 [8 favorites]


Lady Mormont reminds us Sansa's many-married.

Do we talk about the "behind the episodes" here at all? Think they dropped a spoiler in this week's.
posted by tilde at 7:10 AM on June 7, 2016


I can't remember which character pointed it out, but she's been married twice already.

Ha yeah, Lady Lyanna. "I've heard conflicting reports," hahaha.

I rewatched the scene and maybe it wasn't as bad as I thought. Since I complained about mansplaining I should note that Lyanna cut Jon off just as he was saying "what you have to understand my lady..." and also that she cut her maester off just before making her final pronouncement. Those were kinda nice moments.

Still think Sansa and Bearclaw should come into play but oh well. Navelgazer I like your structural explanation about the episode.
posted by torticat at 7:12 AM on June 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


So... short of Tyrion dying, Sansa will legally be Sansa Lannister, wife of Tyrion Lannister forever, right? Her marriage to Ramsay was predicated in the idea that Tyrion was dead, so it isn't legitimate.
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:15 AM on June 7, 2016


I thought for some reason that Sansa and Tyrion's marriage was technically nullified because it was never consummated.
posted by tempestuoso at 7:25 AM on June 7, 2016 [3 favorites]


Oh right right. I forgot about that. I wonder if people believe that, though. (At any rate, hopefully Ramsay will be dead soon and it won't matter!)
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:28 AM on June 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


Why would Ser Davos, who ought to be an unknown in Bear Mountain, make the argument?

Because Shireen. I thought it was kinda sad, in that respect. (Though I just saw someone already mentioned that.)
posted by The Hamms Bear at 7:31 AM on June 7, 2016


Also this is a thing that Davos is good at. He did pretty much exactly this thing for stannis several times. He's a plain speaking but highly persuasive leader.
posted by French Fry at 7:58 AM on June 7, 2016 [6 favorites]


I think Sansa is writing to Littlefinger to ask for the aid of the Knights of the Vale in retaking Winterfell.

Ohhhhh of course, that makes much more sense. And with the reddit detective work I guess we can count it as fact.
posted by torticat at 8:04 AM on June 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


the High Sparrow is an idiot if he doesn't at least suspect that Margaery is faking.

I'm gonna assume he's falling for Margaery's smirky feminine wiles. What better, and more cliched way, for a clergyman to fall then through the pleasures of the flesh... and then getting burned up in wildfire.

Yeah I'm totally baffled by the whole thing.

I'll echo others above, the Arya scene doesn't make a lot of sense in the context of the show or the books. I hope they resolve it but as it stands it is kind of lame. With the lack of Jaqen H'ghar Lorathi style of speaking between him and the Waif in the previous episode and the stabbing in this one it makes me wonder if they are just trolling us and are totally just going to off her. Then again it does look like her leaping off a bridge in the promo for next week.
posted by Ashwagandha at 8:10 AM on June 7, 2016


I thought for some reason that Sansa and Tyrion's marriage was technically nullified because it was never consummated

I really hope this isn't the case, though I can see how they might do that. Purely from a narrative perspective, I am on board with a legally-dubious marital status being thrown into this mix and confusing everything.

Also I was sort of hoping to see a marriage work between them. I don't know if they could ever truly love one another. But in the wake of what each of them has been through, I can see them as a respectful marriage of political allies and friends that becomes damn near a force of nature.

Also I know Martin loves him some on the nose reversals, so it would be sort of great to see them actually fall in love and then Sansa turns out to be a sex wizard and fucks the tits off Tyrion and he spends the rest of the series following her around like a puppy.
posted by middleclasstool at 8:22 AM on June 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


I hope that Sansa gets to be awesome and unite the North against the rest of Westeros on her own without being a sexual object in a forced marriage. Especially not to someone she was married to as a teenager.
posted by ChuraChura at 8:30 AM on June 7, 2016 [10 favorites]


The common view of Tyrion is that he's a rapacious letch, as seen in the Braavosi play. I think the thing is that, as kin-slaying, king-slaying, condemned persona non grata in Westeros, some might consider Sansa something like legally widowed, and Roose was pretty clear and open about not giving a shit whether she still had her "virtue" or not.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:35 AM on June 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


i have it figured out. from an email with a friend:

me: new theory: it's the smoke monster. arya was the smoke monster
friend: from salt and smoke. Arya went to Braavos on a ship, and now she's the smoke monster! Arya = Azor Ahai confirmed
posted by trunk muffins at 9:19 AM on June 7, 2016 [6 favorites]



To me this is a "by their fruits you shall know them" kind of thing? If unlawful imprisonment and psychological torture with the intent of brainwashing and raising up your own army with an "anything goes in the name of the cause" ethos doesn't point to impure convictions, I'm not sure what would.


Define impurity. Or, cannot brutality be pure? I mean, say what you will of Pol Pot, the man believed his own line. He had a vision of the perfect world and he was willing to destroy anything that stood in the way of it, up to and including the merely nearsighted. If the Sparrow truly believes that the King and his family must be brought round to the one true faith to restore peace, prosperity, just rule, and the favor of the gods, why would he not imprison those who commit crimes against it? Why would he not seek to spread it message among the faithful, to raise an army to protect them and to stand against the other, secular armies which have ravaged them? He hopes to turn Margery's heart to the light --- might not helping her to become familiar with the good word be part of that path? And so why not send a septa to read to her from the good book for a few hours each day?

I'm playing Devil's Advocate here, to be sure. But in general, that the Sparrow seeks power seems to me to tell you nothing about whether he's a true believer or not. If the faith is only the means by which he hopes to obtain power, he would seek power. If his faith is solid as a rock and he genuinely seeks to bring about a religious revival in society, he would seek power, because it is only by obtaining the levers of power that he can bring about that end. "Unlawful"? Who makes the law? By what right do they make it? Jefferson said "by the consent of the governed," most other times and places have said "God" or "the army at my back." None of what he's done has been unlawful, bar maybe dragging the old High Septon out of the brothel. But only the dragging part. No title may preserve the sinner from judgement, or from punishment, if he has sinned, no? Otherwise there are men put above and beyond the law, and that's exactly what the Sparrow opposses.
posted by Diablevert at 9:48 AM on June 7, 2016 [6 favorites]


Fiddly Question: Did the Faith Militant carve the 7 pointed star on their damn foreheads in this books??

For whatever reason that bothers me so much in the show, seems too cartoonish for the otherwise subtle "is he? isn't he?" presentation they are giving the high sparrow.
posted by French Fry at 9:56 AM on June 7, 2016


Ask the Maester
posted by Navelgazer at 10:00 AM on June 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


I mean, say what you will of Pol Pot

Ok, for real, when you find yourself saying this you need to stop and reconsider. I feel like maybe you haven't entirely thought this speech act through.
posted by clockzero at 10:01 AM on June 7, 2016 [10 favorites]


Also, a sort-of meta-observation:

It's interesting that readers and viewers of the story are thinking in terms of articulated prophecies (e.g., discussing whether Daenerys or Jon Snow might be Azor Ahai). GRRM has shown us that we can't assume things like prophecies carry real weight or force, that they might be completely imaginary, and yet our human tendency to give prophetic claims a certain epistemic privilege both mirrors that of the characters in this story while falling victim to the kind of magical thinking that GRRM's whole world is meant to disabuse us of.
posted by clockzero at 10:24 AM on June 7, 2016 [3 favorites]


I appreciate the thoughtful discussion about the Sparrow. My main takeaway is pretty much all of the protagonists in Ice and Fire are awful in some way or another. The Sparrow is awful too, but in a different way. How awful we think he is compared to the Lannisters or the Tyrells seems to mostly be related to how we feel about the Holy Roman Empire. I think it is interesting that the Faith of the Seven is the only faction we see really sticking up for the smallfolk. If you believe the books are an allegory for the rise of democracy in Europe, they're the ones to keep your eye on.

As for protagonists I guess the Starks are the most blameless; other than being kind of dumb they don't have too many character flaws. And of course we sympathize with Sansa most of all. I think a lot of us identify with Daenerys too since her story of rising to power is so appealing. But my money is on the story making her the second coming of Mad King Aerys before it's all over.
posted by Nelson at 11:17 AM on June 7, 2016 [3 favorites]


seems to mostly be related to how we feel about the Holy Roman Empire

That is not what I took from most people's responses, honestly. Mostly people seem to dislike theocracy more than monarchy. And you can argue that is a pretty modern preference — that having thrown off religious rules we don't care much for religious power states — but I don't think it has much to do with our impressions of the Roman Empire. Power-hungrys gonna hunger for power, so then the question becomes how much they also care about your inner thoughts and boners, and how honest they are about the pursuit.
posted by dame at 11:27 AM on June 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


Living in America, it might be a cultural bias to view contemporary creeping theocracy as a threat more similar to the Sparrows, and hence, more dangerous and distasteful, than the "conventional" secular tyranny and brutalities of the noble class. But that ignores two things: 1) there are different types of theocratic movements, and at the very least, the Sparrows are on the side of charity for the common people unlike the modern theocrats we are familiar with, and 2) our society is still under threat by secular nobility, except they call themselves plutocrats instead of aristocrats and dress in staid colors. Sometimes they dress in the ten-thousand dollar suits of televangelists, and also speak of gods, and I'd argue those types are more similar to the great houses than the Sparrows.
posted by Apocryphon at 11:37 AM on June 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


when you find yourself saying this you need to stop and reconsider. I feel like maybe you haven't entirely thought this speech act through.

On the contrary. To refuse to recognise the virtues of an evil thing is simply to refuse to understand it, and evil must be understood to be fought effectively. Why do evil systems work on people? What levers do they pull? Because defeating one evil thing does not remove the lever. You need to understand what good people believed they were doing when they went and did something horrible in order to stop the horrible thing from being repeated. Because merely believing that you're doing good is not enough.

So that's my point: you don't have to be a venal hypocrite to do evil. You can be a true believer. In fact, the true believer may have a freer hand, a greater scope.
posted by Diablevert at 11:53 AM on June 7, 2016 [7 favorites]


Eh, I wish I could go back and delete this now, I'm turning into a windbag. Sorry, all.
posted by Diablevert at 12:19 PM on June 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


I think there is the question of reliability. What villains (as they are almost all villains) remind us most of our real world villains? and for some people that's the Sparrow with his structural misogyny and homophobia and for some it's the power mad murders and tyrants in the noble houses. Likely more people know/see people like the Sparrow than like Cersei Lannister. We don't here a lot of time on CNN dedicated to how Elizabeth Warren had all her husband's bastard children murdered by the police so that her incestuous offspring can one day rule america.

I'm a fan of the Sparrow like I was a fan of Tywin, they are both great characters played by wonderful actors. Maybe both deserve to die on the toilet. I think within the context of the show the Sparrow is less of a monster than many others are... but in a show with Ramsay "the mansey" Bolton around everyone is less of a monster than someone.

NIGHTKING/WUN WUN 2016
posted by French Fry at 12:21 PM on June 7, 2016 [5 favorites]


I think it's possible to have least hated/least monstrous personal preferences of non-heroic characters on the show. That's why people liked Stannis for being about justice, and for being technically the true legitimate ruler, despite him being dour and austere and murdery.
posted by Apocryphon at 12:51 PM on June 7, 2016 [3 favorites]


I mostly liked Stannis because I mutter to myself correcting other folk's grammar as well.
posted by Justinian at 1:42 PM on June 7, 2016 [16 favorites]


I mostly liked Stannis because I mutter to myself correcting other folk's grammar as well.

mutter mutter ... folks' ... mutter mutter ...
posted by tempestuoso at 1:55 PM on June 7, 2016 [28 favorites]


We don't here a lot of time on CNN dedicated to how Elizabeth Warren had all her husband's bastard children murdered by the police so that her incestuous offspring can one day rule america.

Yeah, but those consumer protections.
posted by The Gaffer at 2:11 PM on June 7, 2016


Davos doesn't know how Shireen died, does he? Is he assuming she was killed by Bolton men as part of Stannis's defeat?
posted by chimpsonfilm at 3:15 PM on June 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm honestly a little worried for Davos. We have no indication that he knows. He's going to find out, and that means a confrontation with Melisandre. I don't see that working out for him.
posted by vbfg at 3:33 PM on June 7, 2016 [3 favorites]


I bet he's going to find out next episode, when someone finds a child's skull, burnt but unmistakably deformed by greyscale. if i had to guess who finds it, i would suggest Lyanna.
posted by mwhybark at 7:00 PM on June 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


... and this should lead to one or more continuing, developed characters dying. The leading candidates are obviously Mel and Davos, so let's assume it won't be, that either she splits and he faces criticism for running her off or vice versa and either or both then enter into an unexpected confrontation which results in at least one mortal event.
posted by mwhybark at 7:06 PM on June 7, 2016


When Arya got stabbed, it looks like no one is dying.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:54 PM on June 7, 2016


I remain impressed with how well-camouflaged the wildlings are.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:28 PM on June 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


Ok. Having rewatched the Area scenes from this episode a couple of times, I am now 100% with Team That's-Not-Arya.

From the interview that General Malaise quoted above, we know that Arya's left-handedness is very important to Maisie Williams, and that she makes a point of honoring it whenever the constraints of filming make it possible.

In the scene with the ship's captain, she not only threw with her right hand (twice!) when it would have been just as feasible for her to use her left, she also retrieved an object with her right hand from a completely different angle which, IMO, would have had more natural blocking if she'd done it with her left.

Couple that with the almost goofily clueless expression on her face when she responded to the disguised Waif's call, and I don't think there can be any doubt: Maisie Williams was very intentionally not playing Arya in those scenes.

On rewatch, I noticed another strange (and decidedly un-Aryalike) thing about the stabbing: Arya didn't really fight back. She stood there gasping while the knife went in several times, and it took a beat or two for her to shove the Waif away. (When she did so, she also gave her a head-butt, but it seemed more defensive than offensive). Then she retreated over the edge of the bridge and into the water. Maisie Williams conveyed very little anger in the scene-- I got much more of a sense of shock and betrayal. (And Arya, of course, is all about the anger. I think if someone stabbed the real Arya Stark, she would lash out with everything she had, and tear her attacker's throat out with her teeth if she had to.)

So tl;dr: There is absolutely no way that was Arya.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 11:15 PM on June 7, 2016 [10 favorites]


We can all agree that it was Arya who retrieved Needle in episode six though, right? Because she removed all the rocks and pulled the sword out exclusively with her right hand.
posted by The Hamms Bear at 11:27 PM on June 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


I remain impressed with how well-camouflaged the wildlings are.

My husband and I, too. Every time. It constantly gets a mention. Maybe the DoD should start watching GoT before designing new uniforms.
posted by corb at 11:27 PM on June 7, 2016


We can all agree that it was Arya who retrieved Needle in episode six though, right?

She was the only person who knew where it was.
posted by crossoverman at 11:36 PM on June 7, 2016


In episode 6, she gestured with her left hand while talking to the actress, and there was no wardrobe change between that and the scene where she dug out needle. In most of the digging-and-retrieval scene, Maisie Williams was in profile against the twilight sky alongside a huge pile of rocks, and in order for her to use her left hand, I think they'd have had to flip the whole composition 180 degrees. That may not have been feasible. In her final scene (in the vault, with the candle) she draws needle with her left hand.

So I don't feel like there's any reason to doubt that it was Arya who dug up needle-- and I still think the not-Arya theory is well-supported.

Still, that's a really good catch, The Hamm's Bear! It didn't even occur to me to check Arya's handedness against the previous episode.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 12:09 AM on June 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


Also team Not-Arya for this reason (and this was something I noticed *before* she was stabbed, and just went back and rewatched). After negotiating with the captain, she walks past a girl with a hairstyle like she has been wearing right up to this point, with her height and build, walking away from the camera. Even if that's not Real Arya (and I don't think it is), I feel like this is a hint from the showrunners. She's out there being anonymous until she can flee for real. Misdirection.
posted by tracicle at 5:30 AM on June 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


Having it be Jaqen testing the Waif with someone disguised as Arya is the only thing that remotely makes sense, so I hope that it is that.
posted by codacorolla at 5:42 AM on June 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


It actually makes a lot of sense for it to have been Arya, with bloodpacket props borrowed from the Mummers, drawing out the Waif and baiting her back into a trap.
posted by Navelgazer at 6:46 AM on June 8, 2016


It actually makes a lot of sense for it to have been Arya, with bloodpacket props borrowed from the Mummers, drawing out the Waif and baiting her back into a trap.

But the Waif could have killed her in any number of other ways, including slitting her throat or bashing in her head with a rock...
posted by showbiz_liz at 6:57 AM on June 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


After negotiating with the captain, she walks past a girl with a hairstyle like she has been wearing right up to this point, with her height and build, walking away from the camera.

Huh! This really is pretty striking. (You can see from the crowd scenes at the theater that this basic style of dress is pretty common, but the similarities in the first pic can't be accidental, even if it was only for funzies.)
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:15 AM on June 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


And the Waif isn't going to use a trick knife like an actor would. If blood packs were that strong, everyone would wear them instead of armor. It was clear that the Waif stuck in the knife and gave it a good twist, directly in violation of Jaqen's instructions not to let her suffer, and a nod to "twisting the knife" meaning making things worse*. One supposes a trained and experienced assassin knows the difference, just by feel, between a blood bag over a shirt and a liver.

* Although, according to wikipedia, the standard method for knife fighting in Sicily (scherma di stiletto siciliano) using an Italian stiletto is to twist it: "A person skilled in the use of a stiletto would thrust the knife deep into the victim, then twist the blade sharply in various directions before retracting it, causing the sharp point to inflict severe internal damage not readily apparent when examining the entrance wound." (Possibly the source of the idiom.) It seems fair that a Braavosi assassin would have a knife fighting style like a Sicilian.
posted by tempestuoso at 7:25 AM on June 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


This whole "but I am not left handed!" theory savors strongly of tin, to me. Like maybe? You know, Maisie Williams is a fine young actress and I'm sure she made a concerted effort to do things lefty as part of developing her character. But even she admits that she's been inconsistent with it. i like the show and have often defended it, but it's clearly the case that since they've gone of book the writing has gotten faster, looser, choppier. I can believe that GRRM would nonchalantly mention "Arya" doing something righty to clue the reader in that she's a imposter. On the show it strikes me as far more likely to simply be bad writing.

On the other hand, the bags of gold are also weird, the change of hairstyle is weird. I dunno, I'd like it to be the case that it's not Arya. Though that does turn the shot of her bleeding out in the street in Bravos into a cheap stunt, which is the kind of thing book and show haven't really done.
posted by Diablevert at 7:32 AM on June 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


It's a Bryan Cogman episode. I do not expect this to be a clever or interesting double cross. I would like that, but it's fucking Bryan "rape is interesting" Cogman here.

I expect Arya to get help from Theon or the actors.
posted by French Fry at 7:48 AM on June 8, 2016 [6 favorites]


My husband and I, too. Every time. It constantly gets a mention. Maybe the DoD should start watching GoT before designing new uniforms.

I think it comes down to two things: the white, grey, brown black color scheme works really well north of the wall, and probably even as far south as the Neck - wouldn't want to try it in Highgarden until winter, though. And the base color of mottled grey-and-white is broken up with the black and brown furs at the seams, which makes it look like Gore Optifade overlaid with First Lite.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:50 AM on June 8, 2016


It's a Bryan Cogman episode. I do not expect this to be a clever or interesting double cross. I would like that, but it's fucking Bryan "rape is interesting" Cogman here.

It's not like individual writers get to just yank the plot in whatever random direction they feel like, with no input from the rest of the writing staff or the showrunners.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:03 AM on June 8, 2016 [1 favorite]



It's a Bryan Cogman episode. I do not expect this to be a clever or interesting double cross. I would like that, but it's fucking Bryan "rape is interesting" Cogman here.

It's not like individual writers get to just yank the plot in whatever random direction they feel like, with no input from the rest of the writing staff or the showrunners.


it shure would explain a lot of the shitty writing tho

or are they all idiots
posted by lalochezia at 8:55 AM on June 8, 2016


It's not like individual writers get to just yank the plot in whatever random direction they feel like

Cogman is not just a writer, he's a co-producer and 3rd wheel to D&D. He's directly claimed responsibility (credit?) for the Sansa Marriage plot detour and a number of other unpopular changes/turns the show has taken.

I actually make an effort to skip the opening credits to not see who has the writing credits so that I don't prejudge an episode, but if you comb back through the list it's a pretty bad track record.
posted by French Fry at 9:01 AM on June 8, 2016 [6 favorites]


ARYA: No! Please no. What do we say to the god of death?! We say --

Jaqen smiles at her, grips her hand.

JAQEN: I say today.

He dies.


He does warn Arya that a face will end up in the hall, one way or another.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 9:33 AM on June 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


"I expect Arya to get help from Theon or the actors."

I'm like 70% this. Maybe 20% fake blood and 10% something else. All the arguments about how Arya wasn't acting like Arya are strong, it's just that I think it's more likely bad writing than some clever ruse. And all the variations of a clever ruse, including the blood bag or Jaqen-as-Arya, seem convoluted and deeply implausible to me and therefore also bad writing. So if it works out to be bad writing one way or another, the simplest explanation is that it's just inconsistent characterization.

I don't like caring so much about this, but to be very honest, Arya is the biggest reason I'm still watching the show. She's the only character I truly care about (Sansa, Sam, and Brienne, too, but mostly Arya). I can't imagine that they'd kill her off, but as someone wrote at the beginning of the thread, if she dies, there will be rioting.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 10:35 AM on June 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


Theon is nowhere near Braavos, so he can't be the one to help. The actors are a possibility.
posted by painquale at 10:56 AM on June 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


The ship's captain that Arya books passage from specifically mentions the Iron Born being in town.

(I know they show the establishing shot of Volantis' bridge, but again, sloppy writing)

I also love Arya. But man it's been a long time since she was in a fun story; So Arya and the hound have the fight in the tavern "Every F---ing Chicken in this room" where Arya get her revenge on Polliver and gets needle back. They ride off into the sunset, it's awesome, That's a high water mark for Arya and the hound. That's season 4 episode 1.

That's a long goddamn time ago, I had fewer kids and less gray hair. No matter who/what was going down in that scene I would like her to move on.
posted by French Fry at 10:58 AM on June 8, 2016


The most surprising and interesting thing they could do there is have Arya actually just die.
posted by koeselitz at 11:17 AM on June 8, 2016 [4 favorites]


The ship's captain that Arya books passage from specifically mentions the Iron Born being in town.

(I know they show the establishing shot of Volantis' bridge, but again, sloppy writing)


Geographically, it makes no damn sense at all for the Iron Born to be in Braavos. That'd mean they left the Iron Islands, sailed south around Dorne, and then sailed all the way north up the Narrow Sea to get to Braavos. To then go from there to Mereen to find Daenerys, they'd have to sail all the back down the Narrow Sea and around to Slaver's Bay. It makes a lot more sense for them to stop in Volantis for supplies than to sail past Volantis twice without stopping.

It's bad enough writing that sea travel has apparently become instantaneous teleportation this season; making them take ridiculous circuitous nonsensical routes in zero time would be even worse.
posted by mstokes650 at 11:21 AM on June 8, 2016


this discussion of the Arya plotline is terrifically interesting. I hope it's not just bad writing. they had given themselves a perfect set-up by having Arya blow out the candle to remind us that she can fight without being able to see...so why not have the scene with the ship's captain take place at night, and then have her encounter the waif in a dark alley and really make it a fight to the death (or, to the pain!).
such a waste if what we saw is not a misdirection.
posted by OHenryPacey at 11:27 AM on June 8, 2016 [3 favorites]


The ship's captain that Arya books passage from specifically mentions the Iron Born being in town.

The ship's captain said that someone he trusts told him that the Iron Fleet was in Slaver's Bay. I took that as the writer's way of informing the audience that the Ironborn had moved on from Volantis. But they were never anywhere near Braavos.
posted by homunculus at 11:34 AM on June 8, 2016 [10 favorites]


Yeah I was about to paste the transcript because it seemed so bad the more I looked at it

I'm very glad I'm wrong
posted by French Fry at 11:36 AM on June 8, 2016


tvguide says there will only be 7 episodes in season 7 and 6 in season 8

i am mad
posted by poffin boffin at 12:02 PM on June 8, 2016 [3 favorites]


Only 1 episode in season 13. In which Rickon and Lyanna's fully grown daughter takes the Iron Throne after an aggressive election cycle based on middle class jobs and union rights.

I would be so much happier with 13 episodes this year and next.
posted by French Fry at 12:20 PM on June 8, 2016 [4 favorites]


Tormund should have been there to meet his daughter, Lady Mormont.
posted by drezdn at 12:50 PM on June 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


ok maybe someone covered this already so if you did, I'm sorry I missed it. my understanding is the Faceless Men could only take the faces of those who had died. Arya hasn't died so how could Jaqen be her? I mean I love the idea, but I thought the whole point of taking care of the dead was to harvest their faces for use.
posted by miss-lapin at 1:04 PM on June 8, 2016


miss-lapin - yeah, it's not clear, but right before he blinded Arya, Jaquen showed her her own face on his, so apparently at least he can do hers?
posted by General Malaise at 1:12 PM on June 8, 2016 [3 favorites]


I would be so much happier with 13 episodes this year and next.

Given the production demands of this series, it's not possible for them to produce more than 10 episodes per year. I really wish we weren't getting 7 and 6 episode final seasons, but given the scope of the show, it just can't be done.
posted by crossoverman at 3:09 PM on June 8, 2016


I also love Arya. But man it's been a long time since she was in a fun story

If you look at the books, she's barely been there in the last two, so there hasn't been much of any kind of story. The TV series has basically been stringing along a very thin thread for the last few seasons.

And again, looking at the books, the only major viewpoint characters who have died have been Ned and Catelyn Stark (and arguably Jon Snow), and only one of them is firmly in the ground. I'm pretty sure Arya's arc isn't over, it's pretty crappy to set her up for so long with no real resolution.
posted by daveje at 3:19 PM on June 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


it's not possible for them to produce more than 10 episodes per year

And also, if they can get millions of people to pay for another year of HBO, why wouldn't they?
posted by Night_owl at 4:18 PM on June 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


Given the production demands of this series, it's not possible for them to produce more than 10 episodes per year.

Yeah, they shoot from Juneish to Novermberish of each year, for release in April of the following year. I've seen interviews where D&D half joke that when the show is over they'll sleep. Here's a production timeline of the earlier seasons.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:19 PM on June 8, 2016


In re: the left-handed thing, maybe we shouldn't overthink it.

As an actual left-hander, I feel duty-bound to point out that many of us wind up semi-ambidextrous in practice simply because we're forced to live in your cruel right-handed world.
posted by soundguy99 at 6:24 PM on June 8, 2016 [13 favorites]


And again, looking at the books, the only major viewpoint characters who have died have been Ned and Catelyn Stark (and arguably Jon Snow)

Excuse me, Arys Oakheart was VERY IMPORTANT.
posted by gatorae at 6:39 PM on June 8, 2016 [4 favorites]


poffin boffin: “tvguide says there will only be 7 episodes in season 7 and 6 in season 8 / i am mad”

I agree, that's far too many. I'm actually shocked they're even thinking of doing a season 8. It seems like they'll run out material long before then.
posted by koeselitz at 6:56 PM on June 8, 2016


Haven't they essentially "run out of material" already? Which is possibly why they've been able to squeeze the upcoming Book 6 into 10 episodes? 13 episodes to cover the final book seems pretty reasonable to me.
posted by crossoverman at 7:24 PM on June 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


Since he wasn't able to keep up with the books, it might help the show if GRRM just set the books aside altogether for now and concentrated his energies on helping D&D write the scripts for the rest of the TV series until it's done. He could help the showrunners come up with material for the rest of the show, help keep the writing consistent and dialogue fleshed out, and it might give us 10 episodes for season 7 and even 13 for season 8 (if they delayed the release a little.) And it might even help Martin tighten up the story and finish the books afterwards.

I would write that as fanfic, but no one would buy it.
posted by homunculus at 8:46 PM on June 8, 2016


Excuse me, Arys Oakheart was VERY IMPORTANT.

I'm still bummed we never got to see ShowHotah use that wild glaive/long axe in action.
posted by homunculus at 8:52 PM on June 8, 2016 [4 favorites]


Also, she can be 100% consistent as an actress only to have them flip the shot. I don't know that you can go on handedness at all.
posted by gerryblog at 10:50 PM on June 8, 2016 [3 favorites]


GET FUCKING HYPE

ALSO, SANDOR IS THE YOUNGER BROTHER. SANDOR = VALONQUAR?
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:10 AM on June 9, 2016 [9 favorites]


HYPECITY Any predictions what happens to Cersei if she loses? Seems like they'd (the writers) want to whisk her away but she has Zero natural allies in the world. Does she just get executed and they play the RoC slowly over the end credits?
posted by French Fry at 9:06 AM on June 9, 2016


Seven hells yeah!
posted by corb at 9:08 AM on June 9, 2016




Pink Frost: Arya's sequence was weird - we last see her blowing out a candle with the Waif coming for her, then all of a sudden she's in the city? Confused me. By the end of it I was almost thinking it would be a dream sequence. And like obviously she won't die so there's no drama.

After thinking about that scene and the ones in this episode, I'm on Team Crafty Arya. She retrieved Needle, knowing she would be leaving the Faceless Ones soon. Now she has money and all but swaggers up to the Westerosi captains and talks, rather loudly, about hiring a ship tomorrow morning, tossing bags of money around (and taking [at least?] one of them back). She's setting herself up to be seen. Then after getting stabbed, she has enough power and control of herself to headbutt The Waif and roll into the water, releasing a LOT of blood after being under the water for a moment. This convinces The Waif that she's really dead (or mortally wounded, with the bonus of getting infected from the canal water), clearing the way for Arya to crawl out of the water and stumble through the market, still very much alive. Here she is again seen, but doesn't grab anyone for help or cry out. Why? She has a plan, and is heading somewhere specific.

I don't think she's going to go with the actors, as I think Lady Crane still has a price on her head (or do people get refunds if their hit is foiled and announced publicly as a would-be hit?). So she'll find another healer, possibly running into Yara and Theon, or even Tyrion and Varys?


corb: I agree that they are combining the Bloody Mummers with the Brotherhood.

Interesting theory - that would drastically change the Brotherhood in my eyes. But after re-reading the Broken Man speech from the books that Nelson linked to upthread, I'm counting the three guys on horseback, who follow the Red God, as some of the Broken Men, who may also be in the Brotherhood. As mentioned upthread by others, plenty of soldiers for The Good Guys are also terrible people who rob, rape and murder.


Nelson: Why does everyone hate the High Sparrow? There's a case to be made he's the most decent and moral man in Westeros.

poffin boffin: he's a homophobic bigot using his religious power to punish gays and women for having sex.

And his religion-based power is enforced by self-mutilating thugs, whose thuggish ways and self-mutilation haven't been curtailed by the High Sparrow.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:51 AM on June 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


Elementary Penguin: Cleganebowl foam fingers.

"3 BLACK DOGS ON A FIELD OF FOAM HYPE."
posted by filthy light thief at 9:52 AM on June 9, 2016 [6 favorites]


I feel like Cleganebowl is going to be teased in the final episodes, but we're not actually getting it 'till next year.
posted by codacorolla at 10:41 AM on June 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


This season is starting to feel heavy on the tease, light on the payoff, so we'd better get something good before they wrap for another year.
posted by prize bull octorok at 10:54 AM on June 9, 2016 [3 favorites]


I'm definitely on the side of "That was the BWB under the Seven-hating Leadership of Lady Stoneheart"

George R.R. Martin Confirmed This Key Character Won’t Return To ‘Game Of Thrones’
posted by homunculus at 11:01 AM on June 9, 2016




codacorolla: I feel like Cleganebowl is going to be teased in the final episodes, but we're not actually getting it 'till next year.

#CLEGANEBOWL 2016SOMETIME - STAY HYPE, PLEASE
posted by filthy light thief at 11:59 AM on June 9, 2016 [3 favorites]


Watch 'Deadwood' Creator Read Deleted 'Game of Thrones' Speech

"You wanted Ian McShane to read "The Broken Men" piece? Um, sorry. Instead, here's the creator of Deadwood monotoning through the piece, filmed vertically with a phone! Enjoy!"

No disrespect to David Milch, but he's no Ian McShane when it comes to (voice) acting.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:04 PM on June 9, 2016 [8 favorites]




Are we ever going back to Dorne? Seems like this season they are done, but weird to throw all that away.
posted by humanfont at 2:55 PM on June 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


Let's not go to Dorne. It's a silly place.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:57 PM on June 9, 2016 [16 favorites]


Dorne only seems really important for two reasons: Cersei's revenge, and being the last warm place in Westeros during a long winter. I have a feeling that it can enter a holding pattern until one of those comes up.
posted by codacorolla at 3:32 PM on June 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


My guess is the Dorne armies will show up at Kings Landing at the most inopportune time.
posted by drezdn at 3:44 PM on June 9, 2016 [3 favorites]


Like the season finale when something seems like it might just have wrapped up, and they're all "Oh hai, you killed my brother, now prepare to die." And scene!
posted by filthy light thief at 8:02 PM on June 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


The only thing I am certain about on this show is this: Arya and Tyrion cannot die. MAYBE in the last episode. SO IMPROBABLY but maybe somewhere in the last season. It won't happen. Even if the actors -- I'm sure much in demand -- wanted to leave early to pursue plum film roles (I'm presuming Peter Dinklage signed up for Pixels many, many years ago), there is no way this information would not leak. If Arya died last week, we probably would have been expecting her to die since last year. I hope her survival isn't the product of something stupid, but she will survive.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:08 PM on June 9, 2016 [2 favorites]



ALSO, SANDOR IS THE YOUNGER BROTHER. SANDOR = VALONQUAR?


TMOTAT, wow. I bet you're right about that.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 9:08 PM on June 9, 2016


Nah, the valonquar has to be Jaime or it won't mean nearly as much.
posted by Jacqueline at 9:50 PM on June 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


Although given they left out that whole part of Maggy's prophecy who knows what the fuck the show is going to do with it, if anything.
posted by Jacqueline at 9:51 PM on June 9, 2016 [1 favorite]




Something is bothering me. Maggy the Frog's prophecy said Cersei have and lose three kids, but we know she had 4. The first one was Robert's and died as an infant. Then the three with Jamie. Maybe the Frog is actually a red herring.
posted by humanfont at 11:33 PM on June 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


The first one was Robert's and died as an infant.

Was that a show invention?
posted by Jacqueline at 12:26 AM on June 10, 2016


Yup.
posted by drezdn at 3:38 AM on June 10, 2016


Ugh, that Slate piece is entirely meaningless. GOT is not good because it can't/won't do standalones? Why? I mean, I love a show when it throws out its usual structure for something different, but this article decides that spending a whole episode focused on one plot (ie. a battle) isn't unusual enough? It's got to be more like BB's The Fly? Uh, no. Gimmick episodes can feel as bad as these examples feel good. I'd much rather GOT stick to its strengths and forget trying to be like other TV shows that use gimmick episodes to shake things up.
posted by crossoverman at 4:37 AM on June 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


forget trying to be like other TV shows that use gimmick episodes to shake things up.
posted by crossoverman at 7:37 AM on June 10


eponysterical
posted by Jacqueline at 6:08 AM on June 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


Maybe the Frog is actually a red herring.

The Frog is a herring, the Spider is a merling, and the Sparrow is a wolf in sheep's clothing.
posted by clockzero at 7:23 AM on June 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


The point is taken, the beast is molting, and the fluff gets up your nose. This is basically how I feel about trying to explain the GoT universe at this point.
posted by clockzero at 8:03 AM on June 10, 2016


The clarity is devastating, but where's the ambiguity?

And put me in team #IHatedTheFlyEpisode
posted by chimaera at 8:10 AM on June 10, 2016 [1 favorite]




First, that is awesome.

Second, after reading the name "Lem Lemoncloak" I don't whether to make a "Mang Mangothong" joke or a "who are the other two dudes in Lemoncloak's party" joke so I'll make both okay thanks.
posted by middleclasstool at 12:49 PM on June 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


Well, that is a big change from the books. Lem wasn't a pleasant fellow, but massacring smallfolk was never his m.o. They're definitely combining the BWB with the Bloody Mummers.
posted by homunculus at 12:59 PM on June 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


I'm guessing they moved LS to later so as not to hint that Jon would be back since he matters more to the story. Or so I've heard from people who've read past the first two books.

But, I'm not totally convinced LS will be back herself, as it starts to feel a bit tropey, from a general audience perspective, to be bringing back so many characters. We'll see how it goes.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:32 PM on June 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


But, I'm not totally convinced LS will be back herself, as it starts to feel a bit tropey, from a general audience perspective, to be bringing back so many characters.

I've been wondering if the number of reincarnated characters is actually part of the endgame.
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:40 PM on June 10, 2016 [4 favorites]


Violence is a disease
posted by homunculus at 1:51 PM on June 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


"They're definitely combining the BWB with the Bloody Mummers."

I don't understand this, though, because IIRC both appeared on the show (second season?) by name and were quite distinct. In fact, I thought that we saw that the Bloody Mummers were rampaging out of Harrenhall until Tywin showed up and that BWB had, in part, come about as a response to them. The Bloody Mummers were controlled by Gregor and against which Ned sent Beric Dondarrion to stop -- and he became the leader of BWB. So it makes no sense to me within the context of the show that they could be combined or, in fact, that BWB could end up behaving like BM at all. This is all based upon what was actually in the show, not the books. If they were going to combine BWB, they should have done it long ago.

I guess one possibility is that without Beric the BWB devolved into just a roving gang and ended up combining with BM. From one perspective, that makes sense as dispossessed and desperate fighting men could just as easily decide to switch to being like BM from being BWB. From the other perspective, though, BWB seemed very ideological. But maybe it was just the leaders.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 3:51 PM on June 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


As a big fan of the show, I don't think the Mummers have ever been mentioned on it.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:57 PM on June 10, 2016


I don't think the Mummers ever existed on the show as a distinct group. As I recall, the men at Harrenhall were just Lannister soldiers under Gregor's command, though some of the characters had been Mummers in the books. I just meant that the writers are having the BWB on the show behave like the Mummers did in the books, taking their place in the story.

I guess one possibility is that without Beric the BWB devolved into just a roving gang

Another posibility is that Beric is still in charge and that he's gone insane from having been resurrected by Thoros too many times. It's pretty late in the series to introduce Stoneheart and she'd be the third resurrectee this season, but I wouldn't be surprised if the writers have simply combined Beric and Stoneheart into one character.
posted by homunculus at 5:02 PM on June 10, 2016


They were the really terrible guys who were rampaging out of Harrenhall who, when Tywin got there, smacked them down a little bit. The top guy was Vargo Hoat and he was a named character. And, if I recall correctly, they had a distinctive banner. If the show didn't actually name-check them as their nick "Bloody Mummers" or as their actual name, "Brave Companions", it did everything just short of that.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 5:05 PM on June 10, 2016


The guy Roose Bolton sent north to kill Jon Snow, Locke, was the show version of Vargo Holt. GRRM didn't like how they'd changed him, so they changed his name out of respect for his wishes.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:12 PM on June 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


Huh. Well, okay, that was a long time ago. I can't trust my memory.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 5:16 PM on June 10, 2016


Locke: In the books
Locke is the TV series' condensed version of the character Vargo Hoat from the A Song of Ice and Fire novels. Hoat is the leader of the Brave Companions, also called the Bloody Mummers and the Footmen, an ill-reputed sellsword company formed by dangerous men of different cultures and backgrounds, most of them from Essos, composed of the lowliest scum from across two continents. The atrocities they have committed are far worse in their inhumane cruelty than even the savage raids and mass-murders of The Mountain and his men. The TV series condensed the subplot involving the Brave Companions, changing them to be simply a particularly vicious group of Bolton soldiers.
posted by homunculus at 5:40 PM on June 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


Ugh, that Slate piece is entirely meaningless. GOT is not good because it can't/won't do standalones? Why? I mean, I love a show when it throws out its usual structure for something different, but this article decides that spending a whole episode focused on one plot (ie. a battle) isn't unusual enough?

Um, I don't think that's what he's saying. He's not calling for novelty episodes, and he's not saying the show should imitate others. I don't think that's the point. He's mainly just bemoaning that the show doesn't take the time to explore its themes and characters in more depth (at least not anymore):
But the show is like a freight train with too many cars, unable to stop or even slow down lest they start piling up. [...] There’s no room for the equivalent of “Here’s Not Here” or Breaking Bad’s “The Fly,” no opportunity for the show or its audience to catch their breath and reflect on the journey thus far. That’s what keeps it from being a truly great show as opposed to a show full of great moments. It’s TV’s most impressive plot machine, but you can always feel the wheels turning.
He compared “The Broken Man” to “Here’s Not Here” because they share the theme of violence vs. nonviolence. Obviously TBM isn't in the same league as HNH, but I don't think it's a fair comparison: HNH explored the backstory of a character's transformation in great depth after the fact, but on GoT we've barely been reintroduced to the Hound. He's obviously not going to renounce violence, but I suspect the Hound is going through an ethical transformation not unlike Jaime's in season 3: when Ray confessed to having once murdered a boy, the look of regret on Clegane's face had to have been for Micah. He's not the man he used to be.

But the Slate writer has a point that, regardless of how much Clegane has changed, it's probably not going to be explored with any great depth on the show. The showrunners are moving at a pace which won't allow for that kind of character development anymore (though I'll be very happy if they prove me wrong.)

As for standalones, I don't think of them as gimmicks; they're just episodes with a different pace and focus, and they're great when they're done well. But I think the show did just fine exploring its characters and themes without them, at least for the first 4 seasons. Actually, I think this season is the only one where a character standalone episode would have worked: for Bran. Bran's flashback scenes felt out of place with the rest of the show, and his tutelage with Bloodraven was way too short. If they'd given him a standalone (say everything up to the final cave scene) the flashbacks wouldn't have been out of step with the rest of the episode and they could have done more of them. They could also have fleshed out Bloodraven and Leaf's characters more thoroughly, and explored the history of the COTF and the origins of the White Walkers more extensively. But that's really the only time in all six seasons where I think a standalone episode was called for.
posted by homunculus at 6:22 PM on June 10, 2016




I was also disappointed that they dropped the broken men speech, because to me it really encapsulated the whole broken world that's being portrayed here. One thing the people behind the show have been very adamant about is that all the rape was really important because of "realism" and showing how brutal this world is; now they have the perfect way to tell how all this war is breaking people and ... nope. Instead a short conversation and then it's off to Important Knights Capturing Important Castles. How about having the broken men speech and then cutting to Jamie taking over the Frey siege? Maybe a bit on the nose, but I would much have preferred it to just ignoring how all these powerful people and their causes are destroying lives.
posted by bjrn at 3:47 AM on June 11, 2016 [10 favorites]


> Okay, so here's my fanfiction version of/prediction for next week!

Please, please let this 'Game of Thrones' rumor be true
posted by homunculus at 6:13 PM on June 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


Apropos of not much, was anyone else bothered by the Hound's shirt in this last episode? That waffle weave looked sooo modern it was really distracting! Looks like the costume department just nicked a couple of bathrobes from the Belfast Radission, dipped them in Dylon and futzed with the front. Also, the shoulder seams looked really machine sewn? (I may have watched those scenes a few times)
posted by runincircles at 2:29 AM on June 12, 2016


Yes! That waffle weave was super weird. I wonder if he was supposed to wear something else (more along the lines of what Brother Ray had) but something went wrong with it.
posted by bjrn at 3:53 AM on June 12, 2016 [1 favorite]


It's probably Valyrian waffle weave. The secret to its creation is lost, but some tailors in Westeros can still mend it.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 6:31 AM on June 12, 2016 [14 favorites]


I finally had time to watch this episode and I have to say my first & most prevailing thought was that this is the first episode in ages to be properly lit ... Iike in such a way that I could actually see everything happening on screen. Usually there's at least 10% that I squint at for awhile, dim the lights and angle the tv to rewatch, and finally just give up on ever being able to visualize.

Me to husband: GOT is too dark.
Husband (not a watcher): Yeah I hear it's really bloody.
Me: No, literally too dark. I can't see what's happening on screen. Is there a tv setting to adjust the contrast or something?

posted by alleycat01 at 11:10 AM on June 12, 2016 [9 favorites]


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