Game of Thrones: Battle of the Bastards   Show Only 
June 19, 2016 7:00 PM - Season 6, Episode 9 - Subscribe

Terms of surrender are rejected and accepted. SHOW ONLY THREAD.

Written by David Benioff & D. B. Weiss

Directed by Miguel Sapochnik

Full cast and crew credits

Preview photos

Trailer for episode

Entertainment Weekly: Battle of the Bastards by the numbers (no spoilers on what happens, just a look at the huge numbers involved in producting the episode)
posted by Brandon Blatcher (279 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
ATE HIS FACE OFF
posted by zarq at 7:01 PM on June 19, 2016 [6 favorites]


Dark Sansa is frightening...
posted by Carmine Red at 7:01 PM on June 19, 2016 [3 favorites]


It's great that the episode wasn't strictly about the battle of Winterfell, that would have been exhausting.

It's good to have a staff meetings, but perhaps make it short while the city is being attacked.

Not sure why the Great Masters won't to argue with a someone who has a dragon. Ooops three dragons. Aaaannnd a dotraki horder. Oh my god, that was beautiful. Especially Greyworm handling two of the three masters.

The parlay was great, particually Sansa's final comments.

Hey, explaining advanced tactics or metaphors to Tormound.

Sansa and Jon are quite the awkward pair. She has a point, but doesn't know enough to give the more concrete advice that Jon needs. But points to him for realizing his error in not asking her for advice.

Yara and Dany, what an amazing pairing! Interesting also that Dany openly turned to Tyrion for his final approval of the alliance. She's grown.

Ramsay reached a new level of sadist and as horrible as it was, it fit the character perfectly. Chillingly briliant. Not the smartest move there Jon.

Jesus, what a bloody battle, brilliantly shot though. But seriously Jon, that was a stupid move that completley fucked up your own plan.

FUCK YEAH SANSA SAVES THE DAY.

No THAT was a fitting end for Ramsay, oh yes. Overall, that was a surprisingly fitting episode, especially for Sansa. IT's extremely fitting that Ramsay sparked that cruelty in Sansa. She may have just just graduated to a higher level.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:02 PM on June 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


'But now they're starving'



yeeees


It's not only great it also repudiates thr Bolton's whole rule via terror, kicked hungry dogs will only serve you until they can't and you're gonna be overthrown and eaten the instant it's possible.
posted by The Whelk at 7:03 PM on June 19, 2016 [7 favorites]


Tasty!
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 7:04 PM on June 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


Wun-Wun! :(

Ok, I laughed at Tyrion's "Thank you for the armada. Our queen does love ships" line. And I hope that Yara/Danaerys launches allll the ships (ha!)

On the one hand, Sansa saved the day. On the other hand, maybe she could have fucking mentioned her plan to Jon at some point? That plot detail was infuriating because basically everyone could see it coming so it just boiled down to the extremely tired tv trope of "someone withholds really important and timely information" and had me twiddling my thumbs during the battle to see how much grim!mud!fighting! we'd have to endure before the big save.

I was expecting Sansa to say "keep going" when they cut to her watching Jon beat the shit out of Ramsay, but letting his own dogs devour him was a pretty nice touch.
posted by TwoStride at 7:06 PM on June 19, 2016 [8 favorites]


Yara: I wouldn't demand, but I'm open to pretty much anything.

Damn.
posted by skewed at 7:07 PM on June 19, 2016 [28 favorites]


Yes, WUN WUN, poor giant . I was upset.

On the other hand, shit is happening ! You got a few place holder episodes but STORY IS DEVELOPING IN BIG WAYS, do like, keep doing that.
posted by The Whelk at 7:09 PM on June 19, 2016


I got $10 that says Yara isn't going to completely give up reaving.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:17 PM on June 19, 2016 [8 favorites]


On the one hand, Sansa saved the day. On the other hand, maybe she could have fucking mentioned her plan to Jon at some point?

This is the one major black mark against this episode for me. I don't really understand where they're going with Jon and Sansa, but the bullshit they pulled amounted to almost fourth wall breaking ("It's a surprise because for reasons that only make sense for the audience watching the show that is our lives and struggles, I, Sansa, have chosen not to give someone else critical information!").

It borders on the old romcom trope of "this is going to be 90 minutes of pseudo-drama based on two people steadfastly refusing to ask a common-sense question of one another".

Dragons torching stuff was nice, though. Also, they came the closest to convincing me they might actually kill Jon Snow for real than they ever have.
posted by tocts at 7:18 PM on June 19, 2016 [4 favorites]


On the one hand, Sansa saved the day. On the other hand, maybe she could have fucking mentioned her plan to Jon at some point?

No fucking way she should have mentioned it to Jon, because he was being completely dumbass. Sansa correctly called what was going on with Rickon and wrote him off, so she wouldn't be affected by what happened. Jon didn't and that nearly fucking cost them the battle.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:20 PM on June 19, 2016 [20 favorites]


Perhaps Sansa didn't know if they would actually come? Plot and character-wise she should have been like "oh, I called for help, I don't care if you don't like it". But yeah, I guess calling it out would have ruined the drama. Still, I can mostly overlook it.
posted by skewed at 7:21 PM on June 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


The Lord of Light wanted Jon Snow to live today.
posted by LizBoBiz at 7:21 PM on June 19, 2016


Basically, Jon got all emotional, while Sansa kept her cool. After this, Jon leading anyone should be called into question.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:22 PM on June 19, 2016 [4 favorites]


tocts: "This is the one major black mark against this episode for me. I don't really understand where they're going with Jon and Sansa, but the bullshit they pulled amounted to almost fourth wall breaking ("It's a surprise because for reasons that only make sense for the audience watching the show that is our lives and struggles, I, Sansa, have chosen not to give someone else critical information!")."

And it's a huge black mark indeed. With this move, the episode goes one way. Without it, it goes the exact opposite way. There is no reason why Sansa could not have told Jon that Littlefinger was on the way (or that she had at least sought his assistance). I can understand why she didn't tell Jon before she summoned Baelish's help, because he'd betrayed Ned Stark and Jon likely would have objected. But after, when it's a done deal? Perhaps Jon wouldn't have trusted Baelish to show up, or to do the right thing if he did show up. But still, wouldn't Jon rather know?
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 7:23 PM on June 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


Episode 9: So That Happened
posted by uosuaq at 7:25 PM on June 19, 2016 [4 favorites]


If Sansa had mentioned it to Jon he would have found some way to fuck it up. Boy can fight like a lion but he's dumber than a box of dull rocks.
posted by Justinian at 7:26 PM on June 19, 2016 [22 favorites]


If Sansa had mentioned it to Jon he would have found some way to fuck it up. Boy can fight like a lion but he's dumber than a box of dull rocks.

Probably. And Sansa correctly realized that Jon didn't need to know. Either Baelish shows up and leads troops or he doesn't. If he does, YAY. If he doesn't, then there's still Plan A.

OH WAIT, JON FUCKED THAT UP.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:28 PM on June 19, 2016 [4 favorites]


The real story here is I have nothing to say about this ep yet because HBO Now was down until 10:30pm EST. It was like the Red Wedding on twitter.
posted by dis_integration at 7:35 PM on June 19, 2016 [5 favorites]


yeah my sister texted me that HBO NOW wasn't working so I texted her back some spoilers to tide her over. I'm not sure she took it in the intended spirit? Or maybe she did.
posted by Justinian at 7:37 PM on June 19, 2016 [3 favorites]


HBO NOW was definitely stuttering a bit for me, but didn't crash and only paused for 15 seconds at most. Then it would pick up right where it left off.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:38 PM on June 19, 2016


Jon still may have fucked up, but after they've had TWO arguments about "we need more men!" "we go with the army we have!" it's DEFINITELY time to be all, "so, I wrote away and 5000 men may be on their way, so... maybe we can at least put off watching our brother's execution for another day or two?"

Meanwhile, I know this sounds ludicrous because I am completely down for a show that gives me fireproof Danaerys, dragons, white walkers, and people coming back from the dead, but... Davos finding his carved stag, in the dark, under the snow, has completely strained my credulity.
posted by TwoStride at 7:41 PM on June 19, 2016 [14 favorites]


The thing that strained my credulity was the arrow shot to Wun Wun's eye. If Ramsay had time to aim such an arrow, why the hell didn't he kill or at least maim Jon Snow instead? He was perfectly willing to shoot him a second later.
posted by komara at 7:46 PM on June 19, 2016 [3 favorites]


Finally finished watching the episode 51 minutes late. It took @HBONowHelp 45 minutes to even acknowledge that there was a problem. Were the support staff all watching the Cleveland game?

Great episode once we could finally watch it, one of my favorite filmed battle scenes ever.
posted by octothorpe at 7:55 PM on June 19, 2016 [3 favorites]


Oh shit. Doggos. Doggos and Ramsay. I'm speechless.
posted by dis_integration at 8:03 PM on June 19, 2016


Oh shit. Doggos. Doggos and Ramsay. I'm speechless.

Consider that Sansa thought carefully of how to kill Ramsey, then ordered him to be tied up in the kennel and waited for him to awaken, knowing exactly what was going to be done. Then taunted him and watched as they began eating him and walked away with a smile on her face.

Jon still may have fucked up, but after they've had TWO arguments about "we need more men!" "we go with the army we have!" it's DEFINITELY time to be all, "so, I wrote away and 5000 men may be on their way, so... maybe we can at least put off watching our brother's execution for another day or two?"

Because Sansa isn't all goodness and light, especially not now. She wanted some of the glory of saving Winterfell, to establish herself as power in her own right and one that is above Jon.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:12 PM on June 19, 2016 [6 favorites]


Jon Snow knows nothing. Even when people are screaming things at him. He earned a quantum of forgiveness for leaving Ramsay to Sansa but God Damn that boy is dumb.

Where my DanYara shippers at? TBH, it would kind of be gross fan service if they went there, and between Daario and the fine free women of Meereen, I think that both ladies can have their needs met well enough to keep things strictly business.

If Dany and Co. were to land at Dorne next episode I wouldn't even be mad.

Props to whoever it was that called Ramsay going all Lecter on us. I was relieved that Sansa kept that short.

The less said about HBO Now, the better.
posted by sparklemotion at 8:15 PM on June 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


I like the explanation that Sansa kept it a secret because she decided she couldn't trust anyone not to fuck things up. I hope they make this explicit next episode, but doubt it.
posted by skewed at 8:15 PM on June 19, 2016 [10 favorites]


I hope they make this explicit next episode.

I doubt it. If there's anything this season has convinced me of, it's that fanfare is better at proposing logically justified consistency in tenuous plotting than the writers.
posted by Alterscape at 8:17 PM on June 19, 2016 [11 favorites]


The issue here is that that while Jon and Sansa are family and trust each other to extent, it's not complete trust at all, on either side. That'll probably be issue going forward, especially when Jon finds out how Baelish was invited to show up.

Sansa wants power and she's willing to keep her own counsel to get it. It worked this time around, but it's not guaranteed to work all the time.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:20 PM on June 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


I'm having trouble grokking the "Jon fucked up". Ramsay's plan was to slaughter his own men in order to kill all of Snow's fighters on the battlefield. Then surround them and slowly kill them all. How would it have gone differently if Jon hadn't rushed out and tried to single-handedly win the war?

It was stupid and emotional, sure. I guess he thinks he's immortal now. But it wouldn't have changed the outcome of the battle. Generally you can't account for a commander who is willing to kill all his own fighters to win except by refusing to fight. (Shades of WWII in the Pacific, I guess).
posted by dis_integration at 8:22 PM on June 19, 2016


Sansa has a better blood claim to the rule of Winterfell than Jon does and there was a definite theme in this episode of woman asserting themselves as fit to be rulers. Sansa wanted to come out of this as the hero of the battle and use that to raise her level of power in comparison to Jon who she thinks is more than a little dim.
posted by octothorpe at 8:25 PM on June 19, 2016 [3 favorites]


I'm having trouble grokking the "Jon fucked up". Ramsay's plan was to slaughter his own men in order to kill all of Snow's fighters on the battlefield.

The plan was to force Ramsay to charge so that Ramsay's army would be the one to get surrounded. We don't know whether that would have worked, but it was a better plan than riding straight into him, which is what he wanted.
posted by sparklemotion at 8:47 PM on June 19, 2016 [11 favorites]


I'm going with Team Sansa May Have Deliberately Set Up Most Of The Wildlings To Get Slaughtered Because They're Jon's Men, Not Hers. I mean, he's her half-brother and all, but I don't think she's ever going to trust anyone completely again. (And there's also a good argument for her not wanting to unduly raise everyone's hopes over what amounts to a Hail Mary pass.)

I'm also in favor of making this episode's official nickname Puppy Chow. Good ol' Ramsay, trying to give Sansa a Hannibal Lecture until the very end.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:49 PM on June 19, 2016 [9 favorites]


If Ramsay wasn't a huge idiot, he had two excellent opportunities to shoot Jon Snow right in the head: when he shot Rickon, and when he shot Wun-Wun. (Also, when Rickon was running through the field all I could think was "hey idiots, maybe send the GIANT to run over there in five seconds and scoop him up?!")
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:52 PM on June 19, 2016 [5 favorites]


The attack formation they described is not at all what happened when Jon charged after his brother (somewhat understandable) but then kept charging (which fucked their attack plan). My only Jon defense is that he's the only Stark child who hasn't seen a member of the family killed. He got news of their deaths but that's a different emotional impact than watching.
posted by toomanycurls at 8:52 PM on June 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


Maybe Sansa could share a little of that sweet, sweet character development with her siblings? Jon and Arya have been through so much shit and they're just as soft and jumpy as ever, while Sansa gradually turns into the Anti-Dany we didn't (still don't?) know we needed.
posted by an animate objects at 8:55 PM on June 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


That was some Battle of Cannae shit right there, except for the part where Littlefinger showed up. No one showed up to save the Romans.
posted by A Bad Catholic at 9:05 PM on June 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


Did the final battle make anyone else dizzy?
posted by FallowKing at 9:05 PM on June 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


Danaerys + Yara = win

It is SO much better-lit when they bring out the CGI budget. I would like all episodes to be so brightly lit so I can tell wtf is going on.

Jon facing down the entire Bolton army was absolutely beautiful, and a wonderful heroic moment for the character. Beautifully shot, beautifully acted. However, I did not really buy Jon making such dumb battle decisions just to set that up. (Also, Jesus Christ, Rickon, EVASIVE MANEUVERS PLEASE.) Also not sure I buy Sansa not revealing her secret army to Jon. Guess we'll talk about that next week since the last episode of the season surviving characters always recap and discuss the 9th episode. (I also assume that's when Tyrion will get at least some comeuppance.)

I'm intrigued that the Rickon plot was thrown away so fast but I guess the showrunners are trying to wrap up outstanding plot lines. I always thought Rickon was expendable, though. First-born Robb's dead, Bran's becoming a tree warg, Jon's a bastard, you just don't need another boy-child, all the roles are filled.

Battle was really beautifully shot, they did a great job with the madness and chaos of battle, my heart was in my throat. Again I don't know that I totally buy the set-up for it but I understand why they wanted to set it up so they could shoot such a gorgeous set piece.

I guess next week we get lots of talking and find out everybody's motivations for their inexplicable actions this week. Also Brienne better turn back up next week! Also pretty glad Tormund didn't die. Thought Jon was going to give Wun Wun the mercy stroke; mixed feelings about having Ramsey do it instead. Also mixed feelings on Jon's men not just mass-shooting Ramsey before Jon went and face-punched him to death. Some of these armies need way better discipline and tactics and, like, practical decision-making skills.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:34 PM on June 19, 2016 [3 favorites]


PS where was Ghost?
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:35 PM on June 19, 2016 [6 favorites]


When the circle of Ramsey's men is squeezing Jon's troops and he's crushed and struggling for air, I had flashbacks to two times when I felt the rising panic of wondering if I was going to survive: being caught in the terrifying surge of crowd swarm at a rock concert (before the 1979 The Who tragedy in Cincinnati, when 11 people died) and falling underneath the Bladderball (before it was outlawed).
posted by carmicha at 9:36 PM on June 19, 2016 [7 favorites]


PS where was Ghost?

Walkabout in search of a little more money for the effects budget?

(Yea, I made a similar joke in the other thread, but I'm tuning and improving it!)
posted by Alterscape at 9:38 PM on June 19, 2016 [3 favorites]


> Probably. And Sansa correctly realized that Jon didn't need to know. Either Baelish shows up and leads troops or he doesn't. If he does, YAY. If he doesn't, then there's still Plan A. OH WAIT, JON FUCKED THAT UP.

Pretty much my view too.

Jon's hubris in plowing forward steadfastly on the strength of ye old honorable principles against an unprincipled sadist was idiotic. But abandoning his own battle plan to indulge even more grandiose savior fantasies was just fucking careless. Ugh.

When Jon started in on his "I won't let him hurt you" platitudes to Sansa, I once again wished she'd gotten quite a bit more explicit about just what Jon was NOT able to protect her against. FFS.
posted by desuetude at 10:01 PM on June 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


All I cared about in this episode was Sansa not dying, and never having to look at Ramsey's stupid face again. So I guess I got what I wanted.

Still very worried the Sansa might be pregnant, BUT—who cares, Ramsey stories are over and I'll take what I can get.
posted by Sokka shot first at 10:06 PM on June 19, 2016 [5 favorites]


That dialogue between Yara, Dany, Tyrion and Theon was so perfect - such great characters given smart lines for a change, and the strong women flirting was awesome. I want to watch that scene over and over again.

I can nitpick the battle scene (Wun Wun seemed so oddly helpless against the shield wall it was silly, particularly since he goes on to destroy a fortified castle wall just minutes later) but I have to admit I was on the edge of my seat and thought they did a great job with the grime and horror and gore.

And Sansa correctly realized that Jon didn't need to know. Either Baelish shows up and leads troops or he doesn't. If he does, YAY. If he doesn't, then there's still Plan A.

It cracks me up that folks are still trying to defend the withholding of info about Littlefinger's army as anything other than clumsy writing to artificially boost suspense. Sansa was not "correct" in keeping that info to herself; her decision to do so, and let Jon go to battle with fewer men (while actively criticizing him for doing so, jeez) doomed hundreds if not thousands of Wildlings to needless death. It was ridiculously poor strategy on her part, and undermined her otherwise sharp thoughts about Ramsey's ability to trap people.

There's no defense in Sansa's character for the completely stupid decision not to tell her army that another army might be on the way to help, and no defense of the writers' refusal to make use of realistic moves like scouts and messengers in order to artificially create suspense for a last-minute save.

That's all I'm gonna say about that. The rest was mostly great.
posted by mediareport at 10:53 PM on June 19, 2016 [12 favorites]


It seemed to me that Jon would probably not have been okay with Sansa calling on Baelish and I thought it was in character that she didn't tell him when she sent out her letter. On the other hand not telling him even the night before the battle?
posted by atoxyl at 11:25 PM on June 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


jfc Sansa, "You should have asked me about Ramsay!" well you could have told Jon about your pocket army on the way, if you want input on the battle plan maybe let everyone else in on your own scheme
posted by BungaDunga at 11:40 PM on June 19, 2016


I was relieved that Sansa kept that short.

She dragged it out and enjoyed it — the smile on her face as Ramsey gets devoured was as discomforting as it was telling. And Dany took some relish in describing how she would sadistically torture her enemies, crucifixion, etc. Interesting that we're still supposed to root for them as vanguards of justice or a "better" way forwards, but they may end up, in some ways, as more of the same.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 11:43 PM on June 19, 2016 [3 favorites]


Interesting that we're still supposed to root for them as vanguards of justice or a "better" way forwards, but they may end up, in some ways, as more of the same.

I think that's exactly it. Maybe the whole thing ends with all the guys we're rooting for in basically the same positions as their parents were in Season 1. Just poised on the edge of yet another bloody fuckup, forever and ever.
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:49 PM on June 19, 2016 [9 favorites]


The only way it makes sense is if Sansa wants Jon neutralized so she can be Warden of the North in her own right. She knows if she's not in charge, the people who are in charge can't protect her. Sure, maybe keep Jon around- Tormund and the wildlings like him, why not- but if she brings the army that wins the battle, she's plausibly got the upper hand...
posted by BungaDunga at 11:56 PM on June 19, 2016 [4 favorites]


You know, I have seen the "whoops you must have misunderstood we are here to discuss YOUR surrender" gambit approximately one million times but I'm not sure it has ever been quite so satisfying.
posted by KathrynT at 12:05 AM on June 20, 2016 [21 favorites]


Danearys and Yara for the win!
posted by cazoo at 12:17 AM on June 20, 2016


That was a 24 carat ball-tearer of a battle. Loved watching the Knights of the Vale plow through the pikemen just like how it used to happen in real life according to information I have gathered from Total War.

RIP in peace Wub-Wub.
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:23 AM on June 20, 2016 [8 favorites]


Game of Thrones: Battle of the Bastards director speaks out. Some interesting details on planning and shooting the episode.

Game of Thrones actor on that grisly Battle of the Bastards death. Actor Ian Rheon talks about Ramsay's character.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:46 AM on June 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


Anyone else yelling "Serpentine!" to Rickon?
posted by octothorpe at 4:23 AM on June 20, 2016 [15 favorites]


As to further thoughts on Sansa, it's frustratingly unclear whether withholding the information will prove to be a calculated decision on her part or just weak writing.

The way she dismissively told Ramsay he'd be dead by tomorrow hints that she knew Baelish would arrive or was already there. If so, that marks her as particularly cruel. Just like Dany holding staff meeting while more of her subjects were killed by the Masters. They may be women, but they may not be that much different from previous male rulers, in the end.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:38 AM on June 20, 2016


Because if she was willing to write off Rickon, she might have been willing to write off Jon also. Letting him and others go into battle if she knowingly had forces that could have turned the tide would be an unfortunate character development.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:47 AM on June 20, 2016


Because if she was willing to write off Rickon, she might have been willing to write off Jon also. Letting him and others go into battle if she knowingly had forces that could have turned the tide would be an unfortunate character development.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:47 AM on June 20 [+] [!]


Good points.

"No one can protect me. No one can protect anyone."

posted by Thistledown at 4:53 AM on June 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


Why unfortunate? She's growing up and learning the game better than Jon has or even their father ever did.
posted by octothorpe at 4:54 AM on June 20, 2016 [5 favorites]


That was fun. Hmm, where to begin.

As much as I love watching Khaleesi rain death and fire down upon her enemies. Dany's story-line this year has felt like a reset. It seems like it was only a few seasons ago that the Mother of Dragons had an army, a bunch of boats, and dragons ready to cross the sea. Yet, here we are. That being said, I loved that moment with Grey Worm slicing the two slavers who tried to sell out the other lowborn slaver. Also, lots of interesting shots with regards to camera. Seeing Tyrion and Grey Worm loom large over the slaver on his knees, heavy handed but still a powerful symbol.

Oddly enough, my favourite moment of the Dany story-line was when Theon and Yara showed up. Loved watching Yara casually flirt with Khaleesi. These powerful women, joining forces, trying to leave world better than their fathers. That's some powerful shit. Happy Father's Day ya'll!!?!

Now to the Battle of the Bastards. I enjoyed the battle sequences quite a bit. But this entire sequence, as entertaining as it was, felt kind of meh to me. Maybe it's because the end result was written on the wall, so there wasn't any real surprise here. We knew who was going to win. Or at least, I knew who was going to come in at the last second and save the day. It was just too predictable for my tastes. The only satisfying moment in this sequence was watching Bolton finally get his due.

I haven't rewatched last night's episode yet, but unless I'm mistaken, Sansa had a victorious smile as she walked away from Ramsey and his dogs, I'm not making that up, am I?!? I like that we have Sansa being all confident and powerful, but I feel like Game of Thrones cannot make up their mind on whether they want her to be confident and powerful or unsure and scared. I realize that it is possible to be both of these things at different times. But, I wish the writers would just fully commit and give us the badass Sansa that we all know is inside. This season has seen her in both roles. I did enjoy watching her argue with her brother Jon. Him not understanding how deep her knowledge and experience are with regards to Ramsey. Jon is just too stuborn. Like his father, I guess.

All in all, a pretty sweet episode. I still think this season has felt like three steps forward and two steps back. The only good thing being that, we are finally starting to see characters moving forward, sailing to other continents, establishing power, finally making some progress on the chess board.

“Happy shitting!”
posted by Fizz at 4:55 AM on June 20, 2016


Why unfortunate? She's growing up and learning the game better than Jon has or even their father ever did.

Writing off your loyal allies (or family) to consolidate your own power/ego is never a positive development.

And considering that her ally is Baelish, who now has numerical superiority in Winterfell, it's not clear yet that she's playing the game better. I hope she is though and that she teaches Jon a few things.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:11 AM on June 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


On a totally different note:

Back at the end of Season 2, Tyrion showed the home audience the horror of wildfire, which he used in the Battle of Blackwater to take out Stannis' fleet. In Season 3, Jaime told Brienne that the reason he killed the Mad King was because he was going to kill the civilian population with wildfire. Earlier this season, Bran (in one his raven-in-training sessions) had a vision involving the Mad King and wildfire. Also earlier this season, Cersei's pet not-quite-a-maester Qyburn tells her that a rumor she asked about has turned out to be true. This came back to her right as her "I choose violence" plan went south, because Tommen decided (was pushed into?) outlawing trial by combat.

Now, this episode, Tyrion casually mentions to Danaerys that Jaime told him that her father (the Mad King) had caches of wildfire stored all over the city, under all the major thoroughfares and buildings, including the Great Sept of Baelor.

If Jaime knows it, and if he has had no problem mentioning it to his brother and a woman he's clearly smitten by / admires, then Cersei knows it too. I don't know if she'll succeed, but it seems clear that Cersei is about to try to literally burn King's Landing to the ground.
posted by tocts at 5:51 AM on June 20, 2016 [4 favorites]


Maybe the whole thing ends with all the guys we're rooting for in basically the same positions as their parents were in Season 1. Just poised on the edge of yet another bloody fuckup, forever and ever.

Jon's conduct and the framework of his thinking reminded me a lot of Ned Stark's. Sansa's of Cersei. There are differences of course, but there are similarities.

Like last week's episode I feel conflicted about this one. Some great stuff, even dialogue, but also mixed with a feeling that the writers have abandoned writing within the HBO universe and have shifted to the NBC universe, particularly in the way it now has to shove every point up the ass of it's viewers just in case viewers lack any sort of intelligence and that's the antithesis of great TV.
posted by juiceCake at 5:52 AM on June 20, 2016 [4 favorites]


Interesting how our emerging Queens all come in brother sister pairs, except Dany --Yara and Theon, Sansa and Jon, Margaery and Lancel, and of course Cersei and Jaime. All in very different relation to each other.

I don't think Jon is "playing the game" -- Jon has always and only done what's right in front of him that had to be done, but he's never really had an overarching strategy. Winterfell HAD to be taken or he, and Sansa, and the Wildlings, could never be safe. If he has any long term plan it's, "Fight the army of the undead, I guess?" Even Davos has a clearer idea of where they're going. Jon gets backed into corners by circumstance and does what he has to do, but he doesn't really plan ahead. Or have any kind of end game.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:12 AM on June 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


it seems clear that Cersei is about to try to literally burn King's Landing to the ground.

I bet she succeeds, too, where the Mad King failed. It would be a Shocking Development on par with GRRM's other Shocking Developments: make winning the smoking, charred ruins of King's Landing not much of a prize at all.
posted by mediareport at 6:13 AM on June 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


PS, here's the actors who play Sansa and Ramsey having a grand old time as buddies. I don't know if you will find this calming or disorienting.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:17 AM on June 20, 2016 [5 favorites]


She knows if she's not in charge, the people who are in charge can't protect her.

Interesting that Sansa's motivation is getting closer and closer to Cersei's: when you play the game of thrones you win, or you die. And Sansa has watched so many die, and suffered so much as a pawn in the game already.
posted by sparklemotion at 6:18 AM on June 20, 2016


Also, and this really is the last I'm gonna say about it, for real, Sansa's "writing off" of Rickon was very much earned by that long, awful slog we endured last season. She's not shrewdly calculating how best to win power and sacrificing her young brother, she's simply acknowledging what overly emotional Jon can't: there's no fucking way Rickon survives captivity by the monster she was forced to marry.

In contrast, Sansa's alleged betrayal of Jon - the first relative she's seen alive in the North in years after enduring horror upon horror on the road - would be earned by what? A single remark by Littlefinger designed to throw her into doubt? A newly acquired Darkness that makes her willing to sacrifice one of her only living relatives on the altar of her own ambition? Please.
posted by mediareport at 6:25 AM on June 20, 2016 [7 favorites]


Very satisfied that Danerys found Euron's "I'll just marry her and use her for power" plan as hilarious as all of the rest of us did.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:39 AM on June 20, 2016 [10 favorites]


Huh. Sansa wasn't close with any of her siblings. Not her sister, because they were so different, probably not her brothers, because they were raised different and had different roles. She was probably most close to her mother. So writing off her siblings wouldn't be a huge leap for her. It's not a goal or desire, but if push comes to shove, especially in re-establishing the Stark name...well then.

A shame. Sansa and Jon could make a formidable force, in a way that Theon and Yara seem to have become.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:45 AM on June 20, 2016


I don't read Sansa's choice as a "betrayal" of Jon, more just a lack of trust that he would do the right thing, given the additional information.

And Sansa's darkness isn't newfound. It's been established since she went literally dark after Littlefingers rescue in Season 4.

Part of me is kind of worried for Peter "actually, Tommen says that I'm warden of the North" Baelish, if he tries waving that piece of paper in her face.
posted by sparklemotion at 6:50 AM on June 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


Interesting how our emerging Queens all come in brother sister pairs, except Dany

Dany already dealt with her meddling brother. I do wonder if we're going to see Sansa pushing Jon out when it comes to ruling Winterfell. She certainly seems the more capable ruler.

Also, where'd they get those Stark wolfshead banners? It seems like you oughta burn the banners of the people who you stole a castle from. Otherwise you're just jinxing yourself.
posted by dis_integration at 6:54 AM on June 20, 2016 [8 favorites]


THE NORTH REMEMBERS AND KEEPS BANNERS, JUST IN CASE.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:55 AM on June 20, 2016 [41 favorites]


it seems clear that Cersei is about to try to literally burn King's Landing to the ground.

The only people left in King's Landing that we really care about are Margie, Loras, Tommen, and Cersei. It'll be interesting to see if and who Cersei bothers to tip off when she decides to burn it all down.
posted by almostmanda at 6:58 AM on June 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


Banners of defeated enemies make great trophies, actually. I think there was a medieval French king who kept the handmade banners of a peasant revolt and had them woven into a carpet, so that he could walk on them every day when he got up.

I'm sad about Wun Wun - mostly because I wanted to see him riding Drogon in the ultimate assault on the Ice Zombies.
posted by AdamCSnider at 6:58 AM on June 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


I knew Jon Snow was going to survive that battle, and probably because of Sansa bringing in the cavalry, but I still almost choked to death in sympathetic distress when he was on the verge of being suffocated in that pileup.

Holy shit, that was tense. And profoundly upsetting, because what a horrible, pathetic way to die that would be.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:00 AM on June 20, 2016 [11 favorites]


I'm fine with Sansa not telling Jon things.

Jon Snow is so dumb that you kind of wonder sometimes if that's suposed to be some kind of thing. Like watching the show I wonder if they are trying to show me something with how dumb he continues to be after six years. Like did that fever that Cat talks about addled his mind a bit when he was a child? He's good at fighting but just dumb as a bag of hammers.
posted by French Fry at 7:01 AM on June 20, 2016 [6 favorites]


My least favorite bit of dialogue came after after Sansa makes the completely valid point that Jon should have included her in the planning to get her insight about Ramsay. When Jon challenges her on what she would have contributed, she starts off fine and then breaks down into that weird (IMO)and rather childish hand-wringing about how she doesn't know anything about battle.

I presume this was supposed to make sure that we knew that we were not supposed to regard Sansa as any kind of great strategic mastermind AND set up a "gotcha" moment when her Baelish-ex-machina shows up, but it just felt icky and sexist to me.
posted by desuetude at 7:15 AM on June 20, 2016 [9 favorites]


It would be incredibly ridiculous if the Hound and Brienne run into each other as they both head north. They'd argue a bit about Arya and it would be a whole 'nother level of ridiculous if Arya then shows up as she heading to Winterfell.

But all three of those actors working together could totally make the scene work, so there probably wouldn't be much grumbling. Having intentionally denied us reunions for years, we'd just be thrilled to have another one that'd we'd let it slide, while shrugging our shoulders and saying "Well, of course everyone was going to end up back together."

Which is standard storytelling, but that's NBC, as someone noted above.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:19 AM on June 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


> I do wonder if we're going to see Sansa pushing Jon out when it comes to ruling Winterfell. She certainly seems the more capable ruler.

Oh, and I was going to say that I don't think Sansa needs to push Jon out to rule Winterfell, since he's a bastard. I suspect it will come down to who she decides to marry to be her co-ruler, considering the way her character's fortune has been constantly hitched to one man or another.
posted by desuetude at 7:21 AM on June 20, 2016


I suspect that Sansa isn't down with hitching her fortune to any man at this point. So I hope Baelish pushes the point, because surely those dogs are still hungry.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:25 AM on June 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


Anyone else yelling "Serpentine! " to Rickon?

Couple of points. Yes, it occurred to me that Rickon should have done some dodging, after the arrows had been fired. But I'm sitting on my sofa not running for my life from a deranged sadist with an army. I can forgive him trying to put maximum distance between himself & Ramsey & not thinking too much about tactics. Second, even if he was able to dodge a couple of Ramsey's arrows it still wouldn't have mattered. With a couple of words Ramsey could have flooded the field with arrows - "Archers, nock, fire!" and Rickon would be dead for sure. Less satisfying to Ramsey perhaps, but much more certain. Rickon never stood a chance, sorry.

Oh & Wun Wun's death was very sad but of course Ramsey was going to do it. First, sadist so he's extracting pain from Jon, Tormund & the rest. Second, giant so pretty big threat to eliminate, even if he was already stuck with like 30 arrows & spears. And third, ego - how often does the opportunity come along to kill a giant? Given that Wun Wun was the last giant, never again.
posted by scalefree at 7:27 AM on June 20, 2016 [6 favorites]


With a couple of words Ramsey could have flooded the field with arrows - "Archers, nock, fire!" and Rickon would be dead for sure.

Yep.
posted by leotrotsky at 7:28 AM on June 20, 2016


When Jon challenges her on what she would have contributed, she starts off fine and then breaks down into that weird (IMO)and rather childish hand-wringing about how she doesn't know anything about battle.

Ehh... but she doesn't know anything about battle -- and never really would have had the opportunity to learn (maybe, if Joffrey hadn't been a.) a monster, and b.) also totally clueless about strategy/tactics himself, she might have had a chance to pick up something before the battle at the blackwater). I mean, Tormund couldn't even completely follow the plan and he'd been fighting all his life.

But she was right about what was most important -- Ramsay wasn't going to fall into their trap, he was going to lay one. And it would be one that would hurt on a deep and personal level, because that's what Ramsay knows how to do.

The one thing that kind of bugged me about Sansa's outburst at Jon was that she was in the room watching silently the whole time -- I know that she lives in an UberPatriarchy, but I feel like, in that room, with those 3 guys, if she had spoken up they would have listened, so it seemed a little petulant to be grumpy at Jon for not explicitly calling on her.
posted by sparklemotion at 7:32 AM on June 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


With a couple of words Ramsey could have flooded the field with arrows - "Archers, nock, fire!" and Rickon would be dead for sure.

I dunno, Magical Stupid Jon seems to have survived a full volley just fine.
posted by mediareport at 7:33 AM on June 20, 2016 [7 favorites]


Even aside from feeding Ramsay to the hounds, Sansa is basically terrifying at this point. Her plan was essentially, "Make a scary alliance to win back Winterfell while telling no one, let young brother get killed for strategic reasons, leave half-brother twisting in the wind to buy the Vale time."
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:34 AM on June 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


Related to noticing that it seems the women are taking over, the Dany throne room scene with Yara & Theon gave me the thought that this may end up not with Dany on the Iron Throne at all, but instead the ending of the Iron Throne, at least as we know it - as the seat of power over all of Westeros. Yara says they want an independent Iron Islands. When Dany agrees, Tyrion warns "what if others want that too" and she says "they can ask." Perhaps Westeros is to become the United States of Westeros instead of the Empire?
posted by dnash at 7:48 AM on June 20, 2016


Sansa is basically terrifying at this point.

At least Dany has Tyrion to talk her down. I really hope that Jon can win Sansa's full confidence in the near future because, as has been stated above, they could be a formidable team if they could work together.

I wonder when it was exactly that Sansa decided to write off Rickon. I figured he was done for as soon as he showed up, but Sansa used him as the prod to get Jon to make the attempt to take Winterfell back -- I wonder if she ever actually believed they'd get him out alive.
posted by sparklemotion at 7:49 AM on June 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


I am somewhat curious to see how Sansa deals with Little Finger. I would be very curious, but the show's plotting and writing is so up and down, that one is never quite sure what they're going to do and if they're going to do a good job whatever they do.

Sansa might be about to graduate from PhD studies in playing the game by outsmarting Baelish and taking the Vale's troops as her own. Or she might need to spend another year studying.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:50 AM on June 20, 2016


It seemed to me like the issue with Sansa not mentioning Baelish's forces was really a timing issue, not a strategic issue. What she said to Jon was--I thought--that she wanted him to wait until they had enough forces. But the battle was already planned for first thing in the morning, there was no going back at that point. I figured that Sansa showing up late in the battle was because of the logistics of him getting his men there in that much time.

Anyway, thought this episode was pretty fantastic. It's the first time I was interested in any of Dany's machinations in like 3 seasons. She and Tyrion are a fantastic team.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:55 AM on June 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


Oh, that was fun. Dany and Yara were just a delight - I'm not sure Dany has had a negotiation before with someone who is not doing wheels-within-wheels 8 dimensional chess but instead just straightup offering "I have this thing you want, here is what I want." With bonus flirting.

Actually, between Dany (several times), Yara, and Sansa, this episode has been full of badassed women smirking. I like it.

And, yeah, they're mentioning wildfire a lot. I assume shit will burn next week.
posted by rmd1023 at 7:56 AM on June 20, 2016 [6 favorites]


Also, both my wife and I were yelling "SERPENTINE! SERPENTINE!" at the screen when Rickon was running across the field.
posted by rmd1023 at 7:59 AM on June 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


Brandon Blatcher: Not sure why the Great Masters won't to argue with a someone who has a dragon. Ooops three dragons. Aaaannnd a dotraki horder. Oh my god, that was beautiful. Especially Greyworm handling two of the three masters.

First, there are a couple amusing typos in this, my favorite being "dotraki hoarder," which I imagine to be a Westerosi who collects too many of those charming "little Dothraki scamps" figurines (I'm imagining something like Hummel figurines or those with the big heads and big eyes doing cute things, but as troublesome Dothraki kids).

With that, the masters thought two dragons were chained up, and the third gone forever. Apparently Drogon snuck in under the cover of night. Then Dany stayed up all night, catching up with Tyrion, Missandei and Greyworm about the fun they've had while she's been gone, then they started telling jokes, and before they knew it, it was morning and they hadn't talked about the muvva fruckin' war ships attacking the city. The whole time, Drogon was curled up in the stables, after having eaten a few horses and goats.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:03 AM on June 20, 2016 [5 favorites]




I just looked it up -- Rickon was 11. He was 6 when Robert Baratheon rode to Winterfell. What a shit life that poor kid had. Like all I can hope for is that Smalljon Umber treated him well for a few months before he decided to turn him over to the Boltons.
posted by sparklemotion at 8:09 AM on June 20, 2016


That was quite a satisfying hour of TV. I wanted Ramsay's death to be worse than Joffrey's and yay, it was.

Sisters are doing it (sorta) for themselves!

Or she might need to spend another year studying.

Under the further tutelage of Littlefinger? Look what that got her the first time around. Nah, I think it's about time for the student to become the master.
posted by fuse theorem at 8:19 AM on June 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


PS where was Ghost?

I could have sworn that it was Ghost lurking outside when Ramsay was locked up at the end, so I was imagining that Sansa would tell Ramsay that she didn't need his dogs or something like that.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:21 AM on June 20, 2016


it seems clear that Cersei is about to try to literally burn King's Landing to the ground

I recall Dany's visions of King's Landing when trapped in the House of the Undying. Maybe that isn't snow in the throne room, but ash.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 8:58 AM on June 20, 2016 [9 favorites]


Maybe that isn't snow in the throne room, but ash.

And she's alone because everyone else is that ash. Imagine a city-wide inferno that takes out the natives, plus Dany's entourage, plus her army, plus all the other armies fighting there, etc., etc. Only one fire-proof Targaryans left.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 9:10 AM on June 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


What HBO, no cross promotions with Purina dog chow?! You're just leaving money on the table!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:11 AM on June 20, 2016 [5 favorites]


I think that Cersei's intent may be to simply burn Baelor's Sept to the ground (or as much of it as will burn, given that it looks made of stone), and threaten to ignite the other caches of wildfire if the High Sparrow doesn't lay off. (HS could then try to call her bluff, but she could turn that around on him pretty easily by having proxies point out that it's not exactly square with his alleged concern for the common people.) Of course, whether or not Cersei or anyone could contain the conflagration to the Sept is another matter; IIRC, the stuff is like napalm or even white phosphorus.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:19 AM on June 20, 2016


PS where was Ghost?

That is gonna be my tagline for the entire season!! Boo on direwolf budgetary cuts.

One thing that did crack me up was Ramsay's calling Rickon a "little man," or something like that. So much time has passed that Rickon looked 25 in those last scenes.

I will say that since Sansa knows firsthand what Ramsay can do--and has seen what he's done to someone like Theon--I feel like she had already written Rickon off as dead or tortured past recognition before the battle even started.
posted by TwoStride at 9:24 AM on June 20, 2016


What HBO, no cross promotions with Purina dog chow?!

I mean would you want to advertise that your main ingredient is 100% organic horseshit?
posted by French Fry at 9:39 AM on June 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


What a shit life that poor kid had.

And that poor actor! He basically had 3 lines on the whole show that I can remember, but still had to have a humiliating onscreen death, once again without lines!
posted by dis_integration at 9:54 AM on June 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


The scene I remember most about Rickon was him smashing walnuts while Bran listened to complaints from subjects at Winterfell. Eventually Bran had to tell him to knock it off.

There was another scene where Bran was in the crypts and there seemed to be something else down there, cue scary music. Turns out its just Shaggy Dog and Rickon, who thought it was funny that Bran was scared.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:28 AM on June 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm kind of overwhelmed by how incredible and well-done that battle was. 10/10

For a moment there I thought Jon was going to stand up after punching Ramsey bloody and then go get his sword to give to Sansa for the final head-chopping. But Lady Bolton feeding him to the dogs was everything I'd been waiting for.
posted by lullaby at 10:43 AM on June 20, 2016


I was anticipating a nice Stark family beheading, but then I thought, you know what, maybe it's good that they're not genuflecting at the altar of Doing What Good Old Ned Stark Would Do. Sometimes you just gotta feed a motherfucker to his own dogs.
posted by prize bull octorok at 10:53 AM on June 20, 2016 [8 favorites]


For me the scene between Dany, Tyrion, Yara and Theon was the highpoint of... well, probably the entire series up till now. There was so. much. win. in that short conversation. It brought the characters together like pieces that wouldn't have fit before, but now, after all they have individually gone through, there's a click and you know this could become awesome.

I'm a sucker for tales of comradery and cooperation. And this scene was brimming with that, and the promise of more to come.

There were Dany and Tyrion exchanging looks that made it clear how much trust there is between the two, and also sharing a look of amusement about Euron's big cock. There was the curiosity and emerging mutual respect - even flirty warmth - between Dany and Yara.

And since I've been recently rewatching the first seasons with a GoT newbie, this really brought it home how much Theon has changed. From a prick into a ruin of a man, and then slowly into someone who now stands up straight and backs his sister's claim for the salt throne. I was struck by the simplicity with which he said "I'm not fit to rule." No drama or self-pity, just stating a fact he knows is true.

And Tyrion has found his place, too, as the trusted advisor of someone who earns his respect but also really needs his particular abilities. He'll really prove useful once it's time to negotiate the peace between Sansa and Dany. And Varys is away on a mission to bring Dorne into the fold, just in time for the Sand Snakes to appear and make ceviche of Euron.

This being GoT, it shouldn't take long for my bubble to burst.
posted by sively at 10:56 AM on June 20, 2016 [10 favorites]


Sansa's never even held a sword. And Ned specifically said "The MAN who passes the sentence should swing the sword." The idea of a woman passing the sentence was never considered, so there's no reason things would be done the exact same way.

Although there's a canon story in my head where Jon and Sansa talk after being reunited, about what they've been through. Jon realizes that he can't exactly help Sansa deal with the abuse she suffered, so he takes her to the female Wildings and asks them for help. They spend a lot of time with Sansa and give her emotional support, while also giving her a bit of training on how to wield a dagger.

Sansa isn't a rough and tumble fighter and never will be, but having a few skills in that area wouldn't hurt. That way she's a double threat in the political arena and up close. But D&D never returned my calls, so...
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:01 AM on June 20, 2016


Sansa's never even held a sword.

I thought she was going to slit his throat with a knife. Don't need training for that.
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:04 AM on June 20, 2016


It would be nice if Sansa got the Valyrian steel dagger (with the dragonbone handle) that Littlefinger used to attempt to incriminate Tyrion for the attack on Bran way back in S1.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:07 AM on June 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


Trust me, it helps.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:08 AM on June 20, 2016


"Make a scary alliance to win back Winterfell while telling no one, let young brother get killed for strategic reasons, leave half-brother twisting in the wind to buy the Vale time."

I don't think it was buying time. I think it was a strategic calvary reserve held back until the full Bolton army was committed. Sansa basically used a reverse of Jon's strategy. The Stark forces ran into a three sided trap just like they wanted to catch the Bolton forces in. Except the Bolton's didn't dig the trenches to prevent a calvary attack from a flank.

They pretty much laid out the strategy for her in the meeting she wasn't participating in.
posted by srboisvert at 11:09 AM on June 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


For me the scene between Dany, Tyrion, Yara and Theon was the highpoint of... well, probably the entire series up till now. There was so. much. win. in that short conversation. It brought the characters together like pieces that wouldn't have fit before, but now, after all they have individually gone through, there's a click and you know this could become awesome.

I totally agree. The thing is, and I don't really think I've seen it seen mentioned elsewhere, but Yara doesn't just bring ships. She brings herself. After all, a war fleet without an admiral is not much of a war fleet.

Dany's small council grows.
posted by absalom at 11:25 AM on June 20, 2016




That moment when he gets up, walks away, and then comes back to continue pummeling the hell out of Ramsay.....
posted by zarq at 11:39 AM on June 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


I mean I suppose there's a difference of degree here, but it's a little weird for Tyrion to be lecturing Theon on "not becoming a monster" when this is the guy who strangled his girlfriend. They've both failed moral tests in crucial moments.

I mean I know both the narrative and audience are on Tyrion's side, but between his actions on the way out of King's Landing and his moral flexibility w/r/t slavery, he's got plenty of blood and suffering on his own hands.
posted by Sokka shot first at 11:43 AM on June 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


She was trying to kill him, so that lets him off the hook a bit.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:45 AM on June 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


a lungful of dragon: She dragged it out and enjoyed it — the smile on her face as Ramsey gets devoured was as discomforting as it was telling. And Dany took some relish in describing how she would sadistically torture her enemies, crucifixion, etc. Interesting that we're still supposed to root for them as vanguards of justice or a "better" way forwards, but they may end up, in some ways, as more of the same.

I would counter that Ramsay's death was a relatively humane sort of torture, given that our other point of reference is Ramsay and House Bolton flaying people, which Ramsay topped by setting them on fire. Yeah, Sansa was kind. That dog (those dogs? it was dark) wouldn't just chew on non-vital pieces and let him suffer for days, it would kill him in a matter of minutes, 10 tops. And Danerys was talked down by Tyrion, while Yara has agreed (for now) to put an end to the raping, reaving and pillaging. (She's going to have to change House Greyjoy's motto from 'We Do Not Sow' to 'Self-sufficiency Isn't So Bad,' and push to rebrand the Iron Islands to remove the idea that they pay 'the iron price' for goods.)


Fizz: Oddly enough, my favourite moment of the Dany story-line was when Theon and Yara showed up. Loved watching Yara casually flirt with Khaleesi. These powerful women, joining forces, trying to leave world better than their fathers. That's some powerful shit. Happy Father's Day ya'll!!?!

Oh, huh - so it was. Zing!


DirtyOldTown: Very satisfied that Danerys found Euron's "I'll just marry her and use her for power" plan as hilarious as all of the rest of us did.

I want to give Euron a few points for swaying the "vote" with the Iron Islanders, with whom the answer "with my huge cock!" is sufficient response for various questions. But yeah, your manhood isn't fireproof, so he should probably re-think that pitch when/if he meets Dany.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:53 AM on June 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


While watching Jon deftly wield that shield as he made his final advance on Ramsay, I realized: if Benjen = Tony Stark/Ironman, then Jon = Steve Rogers/Captain America. Captain America woke from the dead, of sorts, and Jon seems to have acquired either some kind of superpowers or amazing luck.
posted by fuse theorem at 11:58 AM on June 20, 2016


desuetude: I presume this was supposed to make sure that we knew that we were not supposed to regard Sansa as any kind of great strategic mastermind AND set up a "gotcha" moment when her Baelish-ex-machina shows up, but it just felt icky and sexist to me.

I think they could have addressed the fact she might have thought Baelish would show up with forces by having her waiver and pause when Jon asked "do you have any ideas?" "Well, ah, it probably won't even happen. Nah, you do your thing, but be careful!"


zarq: That moment when he gets up, walks away, and then comes back to continue pummeling the hell out of Ramsay.....

I was really hoping that when he looked up at Sansa, he'd say "where are my manners, do you want to kick his ass, too?" And then she would stroll over in riding boots and proceed to kick and stomp on him.

Instead, she demonstrated that when you rule by fear and the fear is gone, you have nothing, no power at all.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:58 AM on June 20, 2016


it's a little weird for Tyrion to be lecturing Theon on "not becoming a monster" when this is the guy who strangled his girlfriend

Ah but that's not public information. Tyrion's done some awful shit but very quietly. While publicly being known for things he didn't actually do (conspire to destroy the starks and kill joff most notably). Theon's actually a nice foil in that way as his disgraces are incredibly public, betray the starks, murder their sons and then become captured by the Boltons.
posted by French Fry at 12:10 PM on June 20, 2016


"Bee tee dubs Jon I sent a raven to High Fantasy Machiavellian Duckie but idk if it got there so he may or may not be showing up with reinforcements. Go do your thing but try not to let the possible chance of a last minute save out of nowhere mess with your head or your plans, k? Nahhh who am I kidding alls Ramsay's gotta do is hold up a sign that says 'ain't I a stinker?' and you'll go charging out to fight him mano-a-mano all gooey with emotion and high as a kite on your own Lawful Goodness. Go get 'em tiger! And make sure your killing machine direwolf buddy is nowhere near the battlefield. Also, you told Wun Wun to swat aimlessly at his enemy no matter what they do, right? It is vital that he hold to his swat aimlessly orders. My god, if he actually used his tremendous bulk as leverage for anything other than opening doors we might actually win this thing free and clear, right? Craziness! Can't have that happening. So yeah, anyway. Good luck out there, we're all counting on you!"
posted by prize bull octorok at 12:10 PM on June 20, 2016 [7 favorites]


Theon's actually a nice foil in that way as his disgraces are incredibly public, betray the starks, murder their sons and then become captured by the Boltons.

I know Theon has done some horrible things, but I was hoping he'd get a pep talk from Varys and/or Greyworm.
posted by gladly at 12:31 PM on June 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


Ah but that's not public information.

Oh, sure. I just mean the extent to which the audience seems to be meant to to consider Tyrion the voice of realism, reason, and moral superiority strains credulity. And I mean, I genuinely like the guy but he's completely full of shit.
posted by Sokka shot first at 12:33 PM on June 20, 2016


Jon seems to have acquired either some kind of superpowers or amazing luck.

Magical Stupid Jon seems to have survived a full volley just fine

Let me repeat: The Lord of Light wanted Jon Snow to live.

Seriously, he had soooo much luck on that battlefield. Those were all things that I've seen in other movies but he got ALL the lucky breaks. I am glad they did show him talking to the Red Witch beforehand to kind of establish that the Lord of Light would be there on the battlefield today.
posted by LizBoBiz at 12:35 PM on June 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


Random thoughts: how did the Dothraki know who to fight when rushing into Mereen? I like to think Danearys said "kill anyone in fancy clothes, and double-kill anyone wearing a stupid gold mask with horns."

How did the mounted men of the Vale know who to kill? Maybe Sansa said "leave the really grubby ones, those are with Jon." (Worst. Ozzfest. Ever.)


Brandon Blatcher: ... Greyworm handling two of the three masters.

... was only possible because two of them were similar heights.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:43 PM on June 20, 2016


The Giant! NOOOO!!!!
posted by essexjan at 1:14 PM on June 20, 2016


Right?! For some reason, the death of Wun Wun really bothers me. He never said much, but I liked the character.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:18 PM on June 20, 2016 [1 favorite]




Waiting for the Knights of the Vale would have meant an even battle at the outset, with an even chance of winning or losing, at least from a numbers perspective. Jon was showing absolutely no signs of being a master strategist, however, even failing to ask Sansa for intel on the enemy. He fights well, but is no General. And, frankly, having already been fragged by the Nightswatch isn't much of a resume builder, either, so far as leadership skills are concerned. Ramsay, on the other hand, has proved to be a cunning, ruthless manipulator and strategist, and rules his men with fear. I think Sansa watched and listened to her half-brother's war plans and knew he couldn't be trusted not to waste an advantage, so she held back the cavalry. At least in my fantasy of not wasting the Sansa plot-arc. It's far more interesting if she's smart enough (and willing) to write off her younger brother and risk her half-brother in order to lure Ramsay's men into "a pincer."

Not saying that's the way they'll write it, just that it's more interesting.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:26 PM on June 20, 2016 [7 favorites]


Melisandre's lack of faith translates as some lackluster conversations on the nature and will of (the Red) God, and the power of his servants.

Jon Snow: My lady. You weren't at the war council.
Melisandre: I'm not a soldier.
Jon Snow: Any advice?
Melisandre: Don't lose.
Jon Snow: If I do, if I fall... don't bring me back.
Melisandre: I'll have to try.
Jon Snow: I'm ordering you not to bring me back.
Melisandre: I am not your servant, Jon Snow.
Jon Snow: You're in my camp. I'm the commander.
Melisandre: I serve the Lord of Light. I do what he commands.
Jon Snow: How do you know what he commands?
Melisandre: I interpret his signs as well as I can. If the Lord didn't want me to bring you back, how did I bring you back? I have no power. Only what he gives me and he gave me you.
Jon Snow: Why?
Melisandre: I don't know. Maybe you're only needed for this small part of his plan and nothing else. Maybe he brought you here to die again.
Jon Snow: What kind of god would do something like that?
Melisandre: The one we've got.

I look forward to Mel's religious greeting and sympathy cards. I'm imagining something like:

Cover: "I pray that the Red God has future plans for you!" / inside: "Otherwise, you probably won't survive this injury."
Cover: "Happy Birthday! May the Red God's love and truth shine brightly on you for another year!" / inside: "Because the night is dark and full of terrors."
posted by filthy light thief at 1:38 PM on June 20, 2016 [17 favorites]


Congratulations on surviving another day of the Red God's plans for you! Unless this raven has reached you too late.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:42 PM on June 20, 2016 [18 favorites]


I definitely took "Maybe you're only needed for this small part of his plan and nothing else. Maybe he brought you here to die again" as Melisandre knowingly referring to herself. I think Davos is gonna kill her and I think she knows it, and having resurrected Jon and possibly finished playing her part, she is somewhat resigned to it.
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:45 PM on June 20, 2016 [7 favorites]


it's a little weird for Tyrion to be lecturing Theon on "not becoming a monster" when this is the guy who, when the woman who lied on the stand in an attempt to get him executed pulled a dagger on him and tried to finish the job personally, strangled his ex-girlfriend in self defense.

FTFY.

I mean, if we want to paint Tyrion as a monster, then killing his father was seems like a more flat out "evil" act, which I think he's shown exactly zero remorse for.
posted by sparklemotion at 1:45 PM on June 20, 2016


I look forward to Mel's religious greeting and sympathy cards. I'm imagining something like:

Cover: "I pray that the Red God has future plans for you!" / inside: "Otherwise, you probably won't survive this injury."
Cover: "Happy Birthday! May the Red God's love and truth shine brightly on you for another year!" / inside: "Because the night is dark and full of terrors."


Then I expect you'll get a kick out of Melisandre at a baby shower.
posted by The Tensor at 1:58 PM on June 20, 2016 [5 favorites]


I miss Tywin, Roose Bolton and Alliser Thorne, mostly for their voices and enunciation. Each had a distinct and wonderful speaking style, it's a shame all three weren't in a room together. They have been talking about paint drying and it would have been great to hear.

I mean, if we want to paint Tyrion as a monster, then killing his father was seems like a more flat out "evil" act, which I think he's shown exactly zero remorse for.

That wasn't evil. There wasn't a lot he could do at that point, Tywin wouldn't have ordered port closed and Tyrion hunted down. Which would have been just another in a long line of attempts to have him killed.

Tyrion's main fault is that he's the usually the smartest asshole in the room, but still an asshole. He's also funny and charming, so we're generally ok with him being an asshole, because he's doing to the "right" person.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:06 PM on June 20, 2016 [4 favorites]


I miss Tywin, Roose Bolton and Alliser Thorne, mostly for their voices and enunciation.

A weekly podcast of these three actors, in character, discussing that week's episode of GoT

You are so sad that this doesn't actually exist right now, aren't you?
posted by prize bull octorok at 2:21 PM on June 20, 2016 [10 favorites]


Tywin wouldn't have ordered port closed and Tyrion hunted down.

After Jaime freed Tyrion, Tyrion could have just walked up the stairs and out to freedom -- the ship would have been gone before anyone realized he was missing.

Tyrion made the decision to visit his father's chamber, and I can't imagine that his plan for that confrontation was for it to end in any way other than one of them being dead. I can forgive him for Shae, because he didn't expect to find her there, and she did pull the dagger cheese knife first. But Tywin's death came with malice aforethought.

Tyrion to me is a smartass, but not an asshole. He's (patricide aside) never been needlessly cruel to anyone. And when he had to be needfully cruel to someone (when he was trying to get Shae to leave) it broke his heart. Which is why what happened with Tywin and Shae was so striking -- he spent his entire life being beaten down by his father and only acted on it after it was made clear that his own father would cut him dead for no good reason at all. And it took a full season (or more, depending on how you count) for him to get over it.
posted by sparklemotion at 2:26 PM on June 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


Wun Wun being completely useless when they were surrounded kind of sticks in my head. Why didn't he have a tree trunk club? I think I remember him using a club in past episodes. He could have kicked the shield men over. He could have got hands on the end of a spear and yanked it out of their hands. As someone up thread said, he just sort of swatted at them lamely.
posted by Fleebnork at 2:43 PM on June 20, 2016 [4 favorites]


Well, they are huge and strong, but there was only one of them left, so how competent could they be?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:45 PM on June 20, 2016 [5 favorites]


I mean they could have still shown that even he was outnumbered by spearmen, but I feel like he could have done something more than just swat at them. If a giant kicks a shieldman, that guy is going to have a bad day even with his shield.
posted by Fleebnork at 2:51 PM on June 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


Or just grab the spear and pull. That instantly creates a hole in the defense.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:56 PM on June 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


I got the impression from watching him fight that wun-wun wasn't his name. It was his IQ. 11.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:08 PM on June 20, 2016


Tyrion made the decision to visit his father's chamber, and I can't imagine that his plan for that confrontation was for it to end in any way other than one of them being dead. I can forgive him for Shae, because he didn't expect to find her there, and she did pull the dagger cheese knife first. But Tywin's death came with malice aforethought.

Huh. I always took it as Tyrion didn't quite no what to expect, but he was going to confront his father for once. Then there was the altercation with Shay, where he killed her. That wasn't the intention, but none the less, he did. THEN he finds himself in a position he's never been in before: his father is at his mercy. With emotions running hot, at that point I think it was bound to happen and it's not surprising that he killed Tywin over something so mundane. Tyerion had reached a breaking point and well, that was that. His father didn't grasp that the situation was very different and Tyerion was at the end of his rope.

Tyrion to me is a smartass, but not an asshole.

Those two adjectives are close cousins!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:35 PM on June 20, 2016


28 Realer Than Real Reactions You Had to the "Battle of the Bastards" on Game of Thrones. No. 28 makes think of Sansa growing up to be the Dowager Countess of Grantham.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:39 PM on June 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


Couple of things: Dark Sansa is all well and good but I don't think sadism is a switch that you can just suddenly flick on, so it would have been good to see a more gradual evolution towards it. I also agree it was incredibly pointless for her have not to told Jon about the reinforcements from the Vale. Like, does she not realise that Jon's army is also her army?

Also, kind of weird that Ramsay still had all his perfect white teeth in his mouth when he was tied up pre-dog. Jon was wailing on him pretty hard so surely a few would have been knocked loose...kind of took me out of the moment a bit.
posted by turbid dahlia at 4:37 PM on June 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


Ramsay thinks he still has a chance at a brokered convention.
posted by General Malaise at 4:41 PM on June 20, 2016 [11 favorites]


The Lord of Light wanted Jon Snow Ramsay's Perfect White Teeth to live.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:47 PM on June 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


Ramsay is lobbying superdelegates and complaining about corruption as we speak.
posted by Justinian at 4:50 PM on June 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


does she not realise that Jon's army is also her army?

Is it, though? She doesn't command it. The army she has some control over is the one she (maybe intentionally) holds back to save the day. The one that keeps her out of Ramsay's hands forever. She warned Jon she would never go back to Ramsay. We assumed she meant she'd kill herself first, and Jon assumed she meant "protect me." But maybe it was a warning. She did counter that no one could protect anyone. If she has to sacrifice Jon's army to stay safe... maybe that's a price she's willing to pay.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:53 PM on June 20, 2016 [5 favorites]


Dark Sansa is all well and good but I don't think sadism is a switch that you can just suddenly flick on, so it would have been good to see a more gradual evolution towards it.

Just because Sansa doesn't recite her list at night (that we get to see, at least), doesn't mean she doesn't have one. It's possible that Ramsay is the only one that she desires that kind of revenge on, but she has been through worse shit than Arya, so I will grant her this moment of bloodthirst.

If Joffrey or Meryn Trant were still alive, I might worry for them. If Sansa gets any revenge on Cersei it will be something more like leaving her penniless and powerless somewhere, since that is what Cersei fears most.
posted by sparklemotion at 5:01 PM on June 20, 2016


Cersei seems to be doing a pretty bang-up job of getting revenge on Cersei.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:03 PM on June 20, 2016 [17 favorites]


Ramsay thinks he still has a chance at a brokered convention.

It's all part of the fast-paced, topsy-turvy world of Westerosi politics, where today's Warden of the North is tomorrow's dog shit.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:22 PM on June 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


FTFY.

Tyrion put Shae in a series of impossible situations and then expected her to simply do what she was told when he decided their relationship was inconvenient. Her response was more vicious than he would've guessed, but by that time he'd fucked her in more ways than one. Again, the audience is expected to take Tyrion's side since he's being the "realistic" one, but he had no business cultivating a serious romantic relationship with a women for whom that relationship would only ever be an enormous liability. He effectively killed her when he brought her to King's Landing.

And yes, then he killed his father on the chamber pot. Which was satisfying to watch, but it deeply worsened the stability of King's Landing.

And I mean he's no more morally compromised than most of the cast of the show, many of whom we also root for—which is fine, that's the kind of show this is. But I'm not going to let him off the hook for it any more than I'm going to let Jaime off the hook for any number of his misdeeds. The show itself, however, seems eager to let us forget.

Tyrion's one of my favorites, and to my mind hardly anything interesting has happened with him in two seasons. Certainly nothing remotely approaching that enormously affecting conversation between him and Oberyn where the latter volunteers to be his champion, which remains a (perhaps the) high point of the show for me.
posted by Sokka shot first at 6:04 PM on June 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


Tyrion put Shae in a series of impossible situations and then expected her to simply do what she was told when he decided their relationship was inconvenient.

This characterization robs Shae of every ounce of her agency in that relationship. She went with him to Kings Landing knowing that he wouldn't be able to publicly acknowledge her, and was fine with it until he stopped putting out. There were definitely two people dancing that particular tango.

And when it came to an end (because he was married to another woman), Tyrion tried to make sure she'd be safe and have a chance at happiness, and she tried to murder him twice (and acted in other cliched "woman scorned" ways).

Tyrion isn't a flawless beacon of goodness and light (only Brienne and Pod are that), but I can't fault him for how things went with Shae without faulting her too. Which is disappointing to me, because I thought that Shae was a more interesting character than she turned into in Season 4, but she did what she did with her eyes open the whole way.
posted by sparklemotion at 6:39 PM on June 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


Tyrion put Shae in a series of impossible situations and then expected her to simply do what she was told when he decided their relationship was inconvenient.

Huh? Shae repeatedly put herself in those situations, despite being told exactly how dangerous it was by Tyerion. She was offered tons of money to leave, several times, and refused, insisting on staying to the point where she agreed to be the chamber maid of her lover's wife.

Tyerion wasn't perfect put he certainly didn't put her in series of impossible situations. Shae had plenty of agency and choose to stay, time after time.

Tyrion isn't a flawless beacon of goodness and light (only Brienne and Pod are that)

Don't forget Sam!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:42 PM on June 20, 2016 [4 favorites]


> She's going to have to change House Greyjoy's motto from 'We Do Not Sow' to 'Self-sufficiency Isn't So Bad,' and push to rebrand the Iron Islands to remove the idea that they pay 'the iron price' for goods.

Perhaps they could retool their economy to focus on tourism.

or, wait, first they should give international finance a try. but if that doesn't work out, tourism.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 6:44 PM on June 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


"Jon seems to have acquired either some kind of superpowers or amazing luck."

Yeah, he's got some George Washington-level shit going on there with his arrow-dodging powers!

George Washington being famous, starting early in his career, for the fact that despite being 6'2" and up on a horse and preferring to lead from the front, he never ever ever got hit by a bullet no matter how many enemy soldiers shot at him (or how many of his own soldiers with their unreliable muskets shot from behind him). And after his first couple battles, shooting at Washington personally was definitely a thing because he was already famously unshootable.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:58 PM on June 20, 2016 [6 favorites]


While watching Jon deftly wield that shield as he made his final advance on Ramsay, I realized: if Benjen = Tony Stark/Ironman, then Jon = Steve Rogers/Captain America.

Arya = Black Widow, with a bit of Daredevil.

Or just grab the spear and pull. That instantly creates a hole in the defense.

And the ones on either side simply close up the gap, which is pretty easy since they're also moving in and squeezing the dudes in the middle anyway.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:24 PM on June 20, 2016


At the very least Wun-Wun could have done more with using the bodies of some of Ramsay's soldiers as clubs to swing around before tearing them in half...
posted by TwoStride at 7:54 PM on June 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


In addition to "Serpentine!", I also yelled "Hide behind the mound of dead bards!"
posted by lkc at 8:23 PM on June 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


Yara Greyjoy will transform them from pirates and shipbuilders to an export powerhouse focused on selling affordable, but stylish flat pack furniture.
posted by humanfont at 8:32 PM on June 20, 2016 [19 favorites]


Guys we get it, yu're way better at military strategy with Giants. The next time we attack the fort with Giants you can totally be in charge.
posted by The Whelk at 9:06 PM on June 20, 2016 [22 favorites]


At the very least Wun-Wun could have done more with using the bodies of some of Ramsay's soldiers as clubs to swing around before tearing them in half...

Yeah Wun-Wun doesn't know how to giant any more than the damn direwolves apparently know how to direwolf. Even the dragons were basically useless in this episode, all three of them taking what felt like ten minutes and all the contents of their fire-glands to sink one lousy wooden boat that was already festooned with barrels of oil.
posted by turbid dahlia at 9:08 PM on June 20, 2016 [10 favorites]


He effectively killed her when he brought her to King's Landing.

She chose to come with him, she chose to stay, she chose to put him in increasingly dangerous predicaments. To be fair, he went along with all of it (until the end, at least) but to claim she had no agency is not a reflection of her character as portrayed in either the books or the show.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 11:55 PM on June 20, 2016


Don't forget Sam!

and Hotpie!
posted by mwhybark at 12:31 AM on June 21, 2016


And that king's bastard in a boat somewhere.
posted by rdr at 1:17 AM on June 21, 2016 [3 favorites]


Yara Greyjoy will transform them from pirates and shipbuilders to an export powerhouse focused on selling affordable, but stylish flat pack furniture.

It's odd that the Ironborn don't use their sailing prowess to move into shipping, at least a little. It's doubly odd that Dany and Tyrion don't recommend that they do. Dany merely gives an order that the Iron must stop the only way of life that they know. That can't end well.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:03 AM on June 21, 2016 [3 favorites]


Or rather, it shouldn't end well, but you never know with this show. They might investigate that story angle or just shrug it off while focusing on some other tangent.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:09 AM on June 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


Dany merely gives an order that the Iron must stop the only way of life that they know. That can't end well.

Yeah, and you think she'd have learned that particular lesson by now, what with her entire plot over the last 2 seasons!
posted by showbiz_liz at 4:16 AM on June 21, 2016 [4 favorites]


While I liked Ramsay's battle plan thematically - build a wall of bodies (including of your own men who you rain down arrows upon) - that plan does somewhat depend on the survivors continually climbing up/over the Body Mountain to keep it getting higher. Surely the survivors would just go around it instead of trying to climb over the pile of dismembered/screaming guys (that was totally grim btw). Also thought the giant could have been more effective - grab the pikes away from the pikemen, grab a guy and smash him down onto the ranks, etc. I feel like while the plotting of Ramsay's plan makes sense, the way it was actually filmed made it seem like there was more the good guys could have done*.

At the very least, Jon Snow is now in charge of doing something we do actually know he's good at - defending a castle. Hopefully the Vale dudes leave some soldiers behind though because the Starks sure don't got anyone to actually man the battlements.

*Aside from you know, not having Idiot Snow charge off on his own.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 5:57 AM on June 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


Even the dragons were basically useless in this episode, all three of them taking what felt like ten minutes and all the contents of their fire-glands to sink one lousy wooden boat that was already festooned with barrels of oil.

I did think maybe the dragons should have been whizzing round setting them all on fire, but Tyrion(?) said something like "thanks for the ships", implying they wanted the sailors to all jump overboard in fear or the Masters to just surrender, leaving the fleet open for capture.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 6:03 AM on June 21, 2016 [6 favorites]


Are you suggesting that Jon was outgunned, outmanned, outnumbered and outplanned?
posted by ChuraChura at 6:04 AM on June 21, 2016 [9 favorites]


Hopefully the Vale dudes leave some soldiers behind though because the Starks sure don't got anyone to actually man the battlements

That's not what you want.
posted by rdr at 6:04 AM on June 21, 2016


Or just grab the spear and pull. That instantly creates a hole in the defense.

History Nerd The ones holding the long-spears are actually the row behind the shields. The shield guys just hold and move the shields; this way they can spike the shields into the ground and put their full weight behind them. The shield holder is then armed with a big dagger or short sword to hack at any limbs that manage to squeeze through. The spear guys have another row of spear men behind them holding their spears upright ready to drop into any spear gap very quickly.

So when wun wun grabs or swats at the spears it doesn't move the shields and the spear is rapidly replaced. Supposing he can be killed by spears (which it seems he is badly wounded by at least one) it's a bad match up for him.

The phalanx and the resulting crush is largely also a psychological weapon, to overcome it you need a lot of coordination to either preemptively flank it or wedge at a given spot knowing that doing so will kill a lot of your own men. The force they had was clearly not prepared to do either.
posted by French Fry at 6:22 AM on June 21, 2016 [11 favorites]


This characterization robs Shae of every ounce of her agency in that relationship. She went with him to Kings Landing knowing that he wouldn't be able to publicly acknowledge her, and was fine with it until he stopped putting out. There were definitely two people dancing that particular tango.

Mm, fair enough. I guess I found her complete lack of empathy and understanding in re: Sansa situation to be so wildly out-of-character (and more boring than the alternatives) that I kind of erased it from my read of the character, which is...not necessarily a fair thing to do. Thanks for the perspective.

I still maintain that Tyrion's smarmy smartest-guy-in-the-room schtick is being unduly foregrounded in favor of what I feel are more interesting and complicated aspects of his character, though.
posted by Sokka shot first at 7:03 AM on June 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


History Nerd The ones holding the long-spears are actually the row behind the shields.

Thanks for the info!

As good as the episode looked, there were budget limits, so Wun Wun swinging a flaming log in as probably never gonna happen, except in my dreams.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:17 AM on June 21, 2016


I too was perplexed by his lack of a weapon.
posted by French Fry at 7:19 AM on June 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


I suspect it was plot. Having a log would have given him too much power against the phalanx, so they left it out.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:36 AM on June 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


The Starks knew they couldn't pull off a seige, so they needed the giant to survive long enough to smash the door. So pragmatism once again deprives the world of a kick-ass giant flaming log berzerker massacre.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 7:52 AM on June 21, 2016 [2 favorites]




Blimey that was brutal. I had to leave the room a couple of times due to sensory overwhelm. Plot randomness aside, as a set piece it was possibly the most terrifying and moving depiction of what actually happens in a pitched hand-to-hand battle I've ever seen. And I have to say, I've never rated Kit Harrington as an actor (although very appealing to watch for...ahem...other reasons ) but he really pulled it out of the bag on this one - the rage and shock and horror, that adrenalised-to-the-point-of-no-return stare when Jon Snow finally broke through the crush was just astonishing , I felt it in my bones just how ruinous that kind of experience could be, and how strong you'd have to be to live with the memory of it. He and Tormund (my beating heart!) both nailed it.

But also with Sansa - that loss of innocence we'd already seen has become something darker, and potentially twisted. This is what I most love about GoT - that it perpetually hammers home the point that no one comes out well from violence and cruelty, whichever side they're fighting for.
posted by freya_lamb at 8:32 AM on June 21, 2016 [3 favorites]


Again, if they could have just stuck to the original plan, I think the best use of Wun-Wun would be a giant bow and arrow. Stand just outside of human-sized arrow range, shooting the occasional giant-sized arrow into the Bolton forces. But maybe they already lost the giant that knew how to make giant bows.
posted by RobotHero at 8:38 AM on June 21, 2016


turbid dahlia: Dark Sansa is all well and good but I don't think sadism is a switch that you can just suddenly flick on, so it would have been good to see a more gradual evolution towards it.

We have seen her grow from naive princess with dreams of marrying the handsome prince and becoming queen, to realizing that royal women are pawns in the politics of noble houses, and their actual well-being means nothing.

Let's look back -- Joff beat her, and had his guards beat her, and then she was cast aside and given to Tyrion, who didn't abuse her but was used to help her realize her non-active role in these transactions. Then Littlefinger swore to protect her, which gave her some hope, to the point she turned down Lady Brienne's offer of rescue, only to have LF lust over her as a replacement for her mother, then he pushed her aunt out of the moon door. Then he give her to the Boltons as a way to curry favor, where she was beaten and tortured further by Ramsay as his wife. Sure, we didn't explicitly see all the torture she received at the hands of Ramsay, but I'm OK with this instance of "telling not showing."

In short: her path from idyllic light to brutally realistic dark has been well shown over the full course of the show. With Ramsay, her transition escalated quickly, though it was off-screen, so we were saved that torture porn.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:56 AM on June 21, 2016 [4 favorites]


RobotHero: I think the best use of Wun-Wun would be a giant bow and arrow. Stand just outside of human-sized arrow range, shooting the occasional giant-sized arrow into the Bolton forces. But maybe they already lost the giant that knew how to make giant bows.

Making bows can be tricky, especially if you're looking to scale up the bow and arrows that much. Keep it simple and give him a huge sling.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:59 AM on June 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


To win or not to win-that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the end to quiver
The slings and arrows of outrageous giants,
Or to rip arms from a sea of troubles,
And, by ripping, end them. To win, to win-
No more-and by a win to say we end
The heartache and the thousand natural shocks
That flaming logs might end too-'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished. To fail, to fall-
To fall, perchance to suffocate. Aye, there's the rub,
For in that lack of breath what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal pile,
Must give us paws. And speaking of paws,
Where the hell is Ghost?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:33 AM on June 21, 2016 [8 favorites]


Again, if they could have just stuck to the original plan, I think the best use of Wun-Wun would be a giant bow and arrow.

or maybe he could throw ROCKS hateeverything shitfeathers
posted by Rat Spatula at 11:53 AM on June 21, 2016 [2 favorites]


In short: her path from idyllic light to brutally realistic dark has been well shown over the full course of the show.

I feel you but I disagree. Yes we've certainly seen a lot of shitty stuff happen to her, but her own growth has been treated fairly superficially, to my mind.
posted by turbid dahlia at 12:20 PM on June 21, 2016


> Yara Greyjoy will transform them from pirates and shipbuilders to an export powerhouse focused on selling affordable, but stylish flat pack furniture.
posted by humanfont at 8:32 PM on June 20 [15 favorites +] [!]

See the problem with this plan is that the iron islands can't really set themselves up as flat-pack furniture exporters now that Yara's idiot uncle cut down all the fucking trees to build his implausible insta-fleet.

I'm telling you, they need to set up a tourist economy. Try to sell the cold and the wet and the treelessness as a positive — like, maybe describe the terrain as eery and beautiful, like nowhere else on Planetos, and see if the rich suckers from the Reach buy it. Maybe try to convince everyone that tiny, provincial Pyke is actually a hip and happening cultural center, with a thriving music and art scene...
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 12:26 PM on June 21, 2016 [4 favorites]


Import good coffee, sell fermented shark to tourist.
posted by French Fry at 12:37 PM on June 21, 2016 [3 favorites]


Maybe they could invent the Slow Mummery genre
posted by prize bull octorok at 12:46 PM on June 21, 2016 [2 favorites]


See the problem with this plan is that the iron islands can't really set themselves up as flat-pack furniture exporters now that Yara's idiot uncle cut down all the fucking trees to build his implausible insta-fleet.

This is only a problem if they plan to sell solid wood furniture. If they switch to particleboard or fiberboard, they can simply pulp the fleet.
posted by The Tensor at 12:59 PM on June 21, 2016 [5 favorites]


or maybe he could throw ROCKS hateeverything shitfeathers

rocks, hell! there was a giant pile of corpses of men and horses! two or three equine missiles into the shield wall and bob's yer uncle!

grumble
posted by mwhybark at 1:05 PM on June 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


Well my giant bow and arrow suggestion was in the imaginary scenario where Jon Snow can stick to the plan. I wanted something that guarantees better range than regular arrows. Even if you're a giant, I'm less confident you can beat that just with a good throw.

Though also it was frustrating that Wun-Wun wasn't able to break a hole through the line of pikemen. Like, the advantage of pikes is their reach, right? If you're up against a guy three times a regular man's height, you should lose some of that advantage, I think.
posted by RobotHero at 1:24 PM on June 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


Yes we've certainly seen a lot of shitty stuff happen to her, but her own growth has been treated fairly superficially, to my mind.

S02E01 - Sansa learns to control Joffrey by appealing to his sadism.
S02E09 - Sansa has learnt to assert some power over Joffrey by getting a rise out of him.
S04E07 - Sansa is receptive to the idea of throwing her enemies out of Robin's moon door, and then slaps him.
S05E06 - Sansa cuts Myranda to the bone with a couple lines.

Yeah, it's not as overt as Arya-the-Mini-Murderer, but we've definitely seen signs of Sansa becoming the kind of woman who would want to watch her rapist get eaten by his own dogs.
posted by sparklemotion at 1:27 PM on June 21, 2016 [5 favorites]


Hey, if the world gives girls nightmares instead of the fairy tales they dream of, that shouldn't be too surprising.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:17 PM on June 21, 2016


You Can't Tip a Buick: "Try to sell the cold and the wet and the treelessness as a positive"

Maybe spas? Come to Great Wyk for the Dampness Cure and the healthful Seaweed Wraps!
posted by Rock Steady at 2:19 PM on June 21, 2016 [4 favorites]


Maybe spas? Come to Great Wyk for the Dampness Cure and the healthful Seaweed Wraps!

'Remember: what is dead may never die, and that includes your complexion!'
posted by mordax at 2:24 PM on June 21, 2016 [5 favorites]


The Iron Islands could take a cue from the Aran Islands: cable-knit sweaters/jumpers for everyone!
posted by The Nutmeg of Consolation at 2:26 PM on June 21, 2016 [4 favorites]


Would you rather fight one eight-foot-tall pikeman or eight one-foot-tall pikemen?
posted by RobotHero at 2:28 PM on June 21, 2016 [2 favorites]


'Now offering an "Iron Price Discount" on our "Rock Wives' Day Out" package!'
posted by Rock Steady at 2:35 PM on June 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


Since a D&D D&D breakdown seems insufficient this week:

Turn: Fall 298

F SLAVERS to MEEREEN

A DOTHRAK to MEEREEN
F DRAGON support A DOTHRAK to MEEREEN

F IRON to MEEREEN

A WINTERFELL hold
A KARHOLD support A WINTERFELL

A WALL to WINTERFELL
A WILDLING support A WALL to WINTERFELL
A VALE support A WALL to WINTERFELL
posted by Rock Steady at 2:43 PM on June 21, 2016 [14 favorites]


'Remember: what is dead may never die, and that includes your complexion!'

What is Wet May Never Dry℠
posted by The Tensor at 2:51 PM on June 21, 2016 [6 favorites]


rock steady wins the thread.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 2:56 PM on June 21, 2016 [2 favorites]


Don't forget Sam!

and Hotpie!


And Ser Pounce!
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:55 PM on June 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


THE NORTH REMEMBERS AND KEEPS BANNERS, JUST IN CASE

My husband pointed out that it's pretty savvy to keep banners sometimes. "Oh no, we only LOOKED like we were helping your enemy! We have kept banners against the day of your return the WHOLE TIME!"
posted by corb at 7:24 AM on June 22, 2016 [4 favorites]


sparklemotion: Yeah, it's not as overt as Arya-the-Mini-Murderer, but we've definitely seen signs of Sansa becoming the kind of woman who would want to watch her rapist get eaten by his own dogs.

You left out the times where Sansa talks about what kind of person Ramsay is, and her line "No one can protect me. No one can protect anyone." The only protection from someone else is to kill them. Having them be eaten by their own dogs is just cosmic retribution, or the will of the Red God, or whatever.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:28 AM on June 22, 2016


corb: My husband pointed out that it's pretty savvy to keep banners sometimes.

Also, I can imagine Ramsay having the banner above his bed. Or on his bed. While he did ... stuff.

With that idea, I really hope they washed it before hanging it on the wall. Just sayin'.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:30 AM on June 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


You left out the times where Sansa talks about what kind of person Ramsay is, and her line "No one can protect me. No one can protect anyone." The only protection from someone else is to kill them. Having them be eaten by their own dogs is just cosmic retribution, or the will of the Red God, or whatever.

Obviously, Ramsay needed to die. But I think it's fair to say that Sansa chose a particularly sadistic way of doing it. She could have let Jon finish him, or slit his throat, or had him hanged (she could cut the rope), or any number of other quick deaths that didn't involve betrayal by creatures that you thought you could trust (because Ramsay's idea of trust was fucked up).

The argument was made that Sansa's switch to sadism, in this case, was too sudden and unearned. I was trying to counter with ways that I think that given what Ramsay did, and given what Sansa has been through, we have been shown that she is the kind of person that would want to savour in this particular death, for this particular person.

I don't think that anyone will deny that Sansa has spent 6 seasons becoming more shrewd and ruthless, and she'll probably be the cause of more than a few more deaths. But, I don't think that she's gotten the taste for dog-based murder, or that she's going to be the new Flayer of the North. She wanted Ramsay to suffer so he did.
posted by sparklemotion at 10:55 AM on June 22, 2016


> But I think it's fair to say that Sansa chose a particularly sadistic way of doing it. She could have let Jon finish him, or slit his throat, or had him hanged (she could cut the rope), or any number of other quick deaths that didn't involve betrayal by creatures that you thought you could trust (because Ramsay's idea of trust was fucked up).

On the other hand, he wasn't actively murdered/executed by Sansa or Jon's hand, which could potentially be a wise CYA move and allows them to control the story if needed.

What is known to those at Winterfell so far is that Jon beat Ramsey to a pulp and he was dragged off to a cell in chains, still alive.

It will subsequently presumably be known that he was mauled to death by his dogs, though we don't yet know how and when this will be revealed. But as far as we know, no-one knows that it was Sansa who intentionally released his dogs on him. (Actually, does Jon even know? I guess we'll find out next week.)
posted by desuetude at 2:32 PM on June 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


It will subsequently presumably be known that he was mauled to death by his dogs, though we don't yet know how and when this will be revealed.

I don't think it would be too hard to keep his actual cause of death under wraps. For the purposes of not leaving extra soldiers for the Night King (and because who has time to dig that many graves) they will have a whole bunch of body burning to do over the subsequent few days. It would only take a trusted few men (or, even just Jon, or tbh, just Sansa) to sweep up what's left of him and toss it on the pyre.

That being said, I don't know that there's any reason to bother pretending that Ramsay wasn't executed by the Starks. It's war. They just watched him murder their non-combatant brother. He was a usurper. People lose their heads for less than that all the time in this world. It's not like there is anyone who would come after them to avenge Ramsay Bolton.

The only (human, overt) enemies that the Starks have right now are the Lannisters (who have reason to have them both killed already), and the Freys (who will just do whatever the Lannisters tell them to). The Karstarks and the Umbers will probably be a bit grumbly, but I don't think they are much of a threat (and I don't think they cared about Ramsay).
posted by sparklemotion at 3:29 PM on June 22, 2016 [1 favorite]




It seems certain that Sansa was intentionally holding back information to ensure that she is the "Stark in Winterfell." Yes, maybe her claim is better than Jon's in some abstract sense, but Winterfell has had the same number of queens as it has had bastard kings. Armies matter a lot when it comes to deciding whose claim is better.

This way, Jon's army is decimated and hers, the saviors of Winterfell, is entirely intact. If she had mentioned her army earlier, it would have essentially ended up merged with Jon's, and the victory would have belonged to Jon simply because he is a dude with past commanding experience.

To me, the only question was whether or not she intentionally waited until the very last moment to ensure that as many wildlings as possible died, thus further securing her power.

And I totally called the Ramsay-eventually-gets-fed-to-his-own-hounds-in-the-end thing several episodes ago.
posted by 256 at 7:33 PM on June 22, 2016 [2 favorites]


Indeed in that case the question can be whether she deliberately gave up on Rickon not only to spare her heart but to ensure she is the Stark in Winterfell.
posted by Iteki at 10:23 PM on June 22, 2016


> That being said, I don't know that there's any reason to bother pretending that Ramsay wasn't executed by the Starks.

Well sure, he's definitely defeated and dead because of the Starks. But I can imagine it being useful to be able to control the reveal of it being Sansa versus Jon who pulled the trigger, and controlling when this information is made known and how it's spun.
posted by desuetude at 11:01 PM on June 22, 2016


Indeed in that case the question can be whether she deliberately gave up on Rickon not only to spare her heart but to ensure she is the Stark in Winterfell.

Sansa didn't give up on Rickon for any tactical advantage, she gave up on him because he was already dead. I think the writers did her a disservice by not letting her explain that to Jon, but on the other hand, I think it's too much a Jon thing, to want to race to save Rickon. Imagine watching him trying to run for his life without showing him you're trying to save him?
posted by glitter at 2:58 AM on June 23, 2016 [2 favorites]


Jon Snow can sure defend a castle but he's never been one to let his brain over-rule his emotions.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:59 AM on June 23, 2016


Sansa does not control the army of the Vale. Littlefinger commands the army and that means he a threat to the Starks. If I were Sansa, he'd be next on my list.
posted by rdr at 4:43 AM on June 23, 2016 [2 favorites]


> Sansa does not control the army of the Vale. Littlefinger commands the army and that means he a threat to the Starks. If I were Sansa, he'd be next on my list.

Maybe I'm just a sick weirdo, but does anyone else think that Sansa and Littlefinger have pretty sizzling chemistry? I kind of hope they get a transgressive little fling before resuming their more proper roles in the story.
posted by desuetude at 6:39 AM on June 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


Who knows? I'd say she might have be vaguely interested before, but after Ramsay, he's not her favorite person at all.

But the writers might make it happen, just because, so who knows.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:22 AM on June 23, 2016


Every time she appeared 'receptive' to his advances, it was because she was playing into his infatuation for her/Cat, so I can see her doing it to get something in return, but otherwise I think it would be out of character.
posted by m'eixuga at 8:40 AM on June 23, 2016


She's going to use the lessons of Littlefinger himself and Margie's seminar in seduction to drive a creepy, sexy wedge between Littlefinger and Robin. Surely Royce would probably be fine with this, Littlefinger can't go soon enough for his taste, and Robin is obviously getting pushed off a ledge at some point, I mean I think all the characters would agree - he's got no living relatives, and unlike Ramsay he has no Posse.

Or maybe Sansa & Royce just agree that she's QueenInDaNorf and he's DudeOfTheVale, they push Littlefinger off a tower. Robin could even live, giving Royce legitimacy as chaperone. Wassa word. Regent. Heck, you'd just need to give Robin enough rope to hang himself, by letting him push the wrong person through the Moon Door.

The question then is whether Little Lord Macdonald-Triad is old enough and straight enough that girls are entrancing to him, and not just gross-ass bags of cooties.
posted by Rat Spatula at 9:14 AM on June 23, 2016 [2 favorites]


I kind of hope they get a transgressive little fling before resuming their more proper roles in the story.

...I've been assuming that he was angling to marry her. He's got a piece of paper giving him a relevant title, he's been working his whole life to prove that the "nobles" aren't better than he is, and he may have genuine affection for her.

Sure, she doesn't trust him now, but he's clever and he may find a way to work around that, or persuade her that he'd be a good husband after all.
posted by amtho at 11:14 AM on June 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


He got insider her head with that crack about her not having an army and Jon being a half brother. One hopes she eventually orders Brienne to stab him and takes his army.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:17 AM on June 23, 2016 [3 favorites]


Dark Sansa is all well and good but I don't think sadism is a switch that you can just suddenly flick on, so it would have been good to see a more gradual evolution towards it.

Funny how people seem to have forgot that Sansa started out dark enough that she was willing to throw her own sister, her sister's wolf and a completely innocent young man under a bus. She was always evil. The change now is that she is competent at it.
posted by srboisvert at 11:36 AM on June 23, 2016


Evil? That's pretty harsh. In my eyes, that's the act of a selfish child who doesn't want her plans ruined. And I don't see "Dark Sansa" as evil, either, but definitely a different person from the little girl who had hopes of marrying the king and becoming queen, wearing pretty dresses and eating lemon cakes with other noble women.


desuetude: Maybe I'm just a sick weirdo, but does anyone else think that Sansa and Littlefinger have pretty sizzling chemistry?

Eeehhhh, Sansa has no love for the man. Any sizzle is hatred, particularly for him handing her to Ramsay.

Sansa: Did you know about Ramsay? If you didn't know, you're an idiot. If you did know, you're my enemy. Would you like to hear about our wedding night? He never hurt my face. He needed my face, the face of Ned Stark's daughter. But the rest of me, he did what he liked with the rest of me as long as I could still give him an heir. What do you think he did?
Littlefinger: I can't begin to contemplate--
Sansa: What do you think he did to me?
And so forth.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:48 AM on June 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


Prediction: Sansa is going to dispose of Littlefinger by denouncing him in front of the assembled Knights of the Vale for throwing Lysa Arryn to her death back in Season Four.
posted by The Tensor at 11:53 AM on June 23, 2016 [5 favorites]


Littlefinger's a complicated man, and he, uh, betrayed Sansa's father, but I don't think she knows that. He messed up with arranging her marriage (probably), but I think it's possible that she might still like him. He did save her life, and probably again by bringing that army. He also seems to be helping her build her own power base.

If he isn't just setting her up as his own pawn -- which should become clear soon -- and if she isn't a black/white good/bad thinking -- which she seems not to be -- then I think he has a chance with her.

I don't think it would be wrong of her to consider partnering with him, either, if she can be convinced that he's sincere with her (and if he comes clean about the whole "I betrayed your father for reasons" thing, or that's handled somehow). They would be a formidable force together.
posted by amtho at 12:04 PM on June 23, 2016


I'm betting on Sansa being Baelish's downfall. She's the only one he really talks to about what he wants and she seemed aware of that before. Plus she has the whole "You killed the Lady of the Vale, Robyn's mother." That won't go over well, if it ever comes out.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:09 PM on June 23, 2016 [3 favorites]


my suspicion is that Sansa screwing over Littlefinger in the immediate aftermath of him being instrumental in reclaiming Winterfell for her is how we will be shown that her transformation to Dark Sansa is complete
posted by prize bull octorok at 12:09 PM on June 23, 2016 [3 favorites]


Eeehhhh, Sansa has no love for the man. Any sizzle is hatred, particularly for him handing her to Ramsay.

I'm not going climb aboard the HMS SansFinger (he said she could have been his daugther and then kissed her! he would totally ask to call her "Cat" all the time), but she definitely seemed receptive back at the Vale.

And neither Sansa nor the Audience knows if Littlefinger knew what kind of danger he was putting her in. I'd put money on him not knowing, or miscalculating Sansa's ability to tame the beast. Think of the job that Margaery managed to do on Joffrey -- it's not completely crazy to believe that a smart, strong, woman could control a psychopath, in this universe.

So, if Littlefinger really didn't know (and could prove that to Sansa somehow... I don't know how), I could see her coming around to forgiving him. I mean -- who else has given her more of the tools that she needs to survive in this world?

I could also see Sansa manipulating him to get what she wants while denying him what he wants. Like, maybe she marries him and does the sex with him but never truly loves him? He's totally the type to not care about sex (in fact, I am having memories of a NSFW sexposition scene back in season 1 or 2) so if she withholds her love it would tear him to bits.
posted by sparklemotion at 12:11 PM on June 23, 2016 [2 favorites]


I'm really disliking the Dark Sansa nomenclature, it sounds wildly inappropriate. She's been a pawn in other's schemes, so when she finally starts having her own schemes she's given this nickname that implies 'good' Sansa would have stayed quiet and docile.

The woman has been thoroughly messed with, it's not bizarre that she would thoroughly mess with others to cement a base of power to protect herself.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:13 PM on June 23, 2016 [3 favorites]


So when she finally starts having her own schemes she's given this nickname that implies 'good' Sansa would have stayed quiet and docile.

Are you implying that "dark" means "bad"? [/hamburger]

I'm pretty sure that the "Dark Sansa" nickname happened because she lied to cover up a murder and then went all goth. If she hadn't had that temporary appearance switch, we might have called her "LittleSansa," or "[whatever we started calling Arya when we realized she was actually pretty scary]Sansa." Or maybe it still would have been Dark Sansa, but it's not intended as a bad thing.

And the opposite of "Dark Sansa" isn't "quiet and docile Sansa", it's Sansa "my family lets honor and the nobility get in the way of good sense a whole lot" Stark. Starks don't scheme, but they (mostly) aren't pushovers either. But from lying to protect LittleFinger, to withholding information from her allies, to raw feeding Ramsay's dogs, she is very much not acting like a typical Stark (which is what's going to keep her alive, tbh).

Arya is a basically a homicidal maniac but she's more of a Stark than Sansa is right now.

And I'm not convinced that Sansa wouldn't have ended up as Dark Sansa if things had gone differently. If she had married Joffrey, would have needed to do it to survive both him and Cersei. If she had stayed in King's Landing with Tyrion, she would have learned quite a bit and been and powerful ally for Tyrion to have. Hell, she could have throw Littlefinger under the bus at the Vale and rebuilt her power from there.
posted by sparklemotion at 12:58 PM on June 23, 2016


Subtle Sansa

or Grown-Up Sansa
posted by amtho at 1:27 PM on June 23, 2016


sparklemotion: she definitely seemed receptive back at the Vale.

That was before the Boltons. Let's continue her discussion with Littlefinger:

Sansa: What do you think he did to me?
Brienne: Lady Sansa asked you a question.
Littlefinger: He beat you.
Sansa: Yes, he enjoyed that. What else do you think he did?
Littlefinger: Sansa, I--
Sansa: What else?
Littlefinger: Did he cut you?
Sansa: Maybe you did know about Ramsay all along.
Littlefinger: I didn't know.
Sansa: I thought you knew everyone's secrets.
Littlefinger: I made a mistake, a horrible mistake. I underestimated a stranger.
Sansa: The other things he did, ladies aren't supposed to talk about those things, but I imagine brothel keepers talk about them all the time. I can still feel it. I don't mean in my tender heart it still pains me so. I can still feel what he did in my body standing here right now.
Littlefinger: I'm so sorry.
Sansa: You said you would protect me.
Littlefinger: And I will. You must believe me when I tell you that I will.
Sansa: I don't believe you anymore. I don't need you anymore. You can't protect me. You won't even be able to protect yourself if I tell Brienne to cut you down. And why shouldn't I?
Littlefinger: Do you want me to beg for my life? If that's what you want, I will. Whatever you ask that is in my power, I will do.
Sansa: What if I want you to die here and now?
Littlefinger: Then I will die.
Sansa: You freed me from the monsters who murdered my family and you gave me to other monsters who murdered my family. Go back to Moat Cailin. My brother and I will take back the North on our own. I never want to see you again.
Littlefinger: I would do anything to undo what's been done to you. I know that I can't. Will you allow me to say one more thing before I go? Your great-uncle Brynden the Blackfish has gathered what remains of the Tully forces and retaken Riverrun. You might consider seeking him out. The time may come when you need an army loyal to you.
Sansa: I have an army.
Littlefinger: Your brother's army.
Sansa: Half-brother.

She wrote to someone at the Vale, most likely Littlefinger, so she had a plan for what to do if he came through with the support. "Lend us your aid and I shall see to it that you are well rewarded" is pretty open language, which could be anything from granting him lands and a title, but Cersei promised he would be appointed as the new Warden of the North once Winterfell is taken and both the Boltons and Stannis are defeated.

And here we are, the Boltons are dead, Stannis is gone, and Winterfell is retaken, in thanks to Littlefinger's use of the Vale knights. Everything came up roses for Baelish. Of course, for his deal with Cersei to stand, she needs to retain some power in King's Landing, and her level of control and power aren't clear.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:25 PM on June 23, 2016


That was before the Boltons.

Yes. But, for the reasons detailed above, I can see her coming around to forgiving him. Or at least coming around to "i will deal with your presence because your army is here and is both useful and a danger to me." Or maybe even "i have a punishment planned for you that is worse than being banished from my sight and i will keep you close until i can arrange it."

Sadly, I think that what happens next is more in Littlefinger's hands than hers. She's accomplished her goal (as far as she has shared her goals with us), and we don't know what Littlefinger is planning.

Of course, for his deal with Cersei to stand, Littlefinger needs to deliver Sansa's head on a spike.

Also Cersei is gonna burn the motherfucker down this weekend. It is known.
posted by sparklemotion at 2:52 PM on June 23, 2016


Baelish wants power. He also wants Sansa, that's his weakness. She could exploit that, hard to say. I think all she wants is Winterfell and the military strength to keep.

Oh look, the Hound is headed North with the Brotherhood. So is Arya. Guerilla tactics may be in order.

At least till the Walkers arrive. One of my pet theories is that having a Stark in Winterfell helps some magic against the Night King. Not sure how, but such a guess.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:36 PM on June 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


What I can't figure out is how controlling the North gets Littlefinger closer to the Iron Throne.

I can't really see him retiring to Winterville, you know?

Maybe he thinks the Walkers might be interested in his fine southern prostitutes?
posted by sparklemotion at 5:00 PM on June 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


The North and the Eyrie are pretty much impossible to conquer, so that's a good base for building one's ladder.

Of course White Walkers will probably put a wrinkle in that plan, if they ever show up.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:37 PM on June 23, 2016


I doubt Littlefinger's plan factors in the Ice Zombie Appocoplyse wildcard.
posted by humanfont at 5:51 PM on June 23, 2016 [2 favorites]


I still really think that Sansa is going to wind up with Tyrion in the end. My reasoning is this:

(1) He's the only man with basic decency she's ever had much to do with, aside from her close, blood relatives-- and she's now in a position to understand that the Stark men's tendency to be honorable at the expense of being savvy can get lots of people killed.

(2) Narrative payoff reason [a]: T's agreement with Sansa: At the outset of their marriage, Tyrion promised he wouldn't try to have sex with her until she wanted him to. There's a bit of a Chekov's gun there. (Yeah, I know. Yuk it up.)

(3) Narrative payoff reason [b]: Sansa's arc: In addition to learning strategy, resilience, and the like, Sansa's also been learning not to trust appearances and representations. Joffrey looked noble and lovely, but was a monster. Baelish seemed like a nurturer and protector, but now appears to have been little more than a heartless and self-interested pimp. Sansa has said of herself that while Ramsay spared the integrity of her face, he was not so restrained with the rest of her, so now her own physical reality and appearance no longer match. She's becoming less and less of the kind of person to whom a person's outward beauty would be a make-or-break factor in how she feels about them.

(4) Narrative payoff reason [c]: Tyrion Gets the Girl: Tyrion's now no longer as much of a drunken, wisecracking, brothel-dwelling, wastrel as he was in the first episode. He's stopped living on Lannister wealth and prestige, and he has separated as completely from his family as a human being can. Instead, he fully inhabits his own powers. He serves Danaerys not out of obligation but out of choice, and no one can humiliate him anymore. He has, in sum, reached the point where, to put it in David Wong's terms, society owes him a hot girl.

(5) Sansa and Tyrinn now suit one another. They've both been through absolute hell: They've lost the people they cared about most. They've endured captivity. They've taken human life. Having lost most of the comforts and power they were born with, they've both had to build themselves something entirely new-- and they've come out stronger. When they were married, they weren't really in a position to understand each other. Now they are.

To be clear, I find reason 3 and 4 seriously objectionable on feminist grounds. I'm in no way saying that this is what *should happen.* I'm saying that I believe this is what *is happening.*
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 5:53 PM on June 23, 2016 [3 favorites]


I think you're right, but mostly because beyond society - I think GRRM thinks that Tyrion is owed a hot girl, because even if he denies it, Tyrion is clearly an escapist viewpoint character.
posted by corb at 5:58 PM on June 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


I wouldn't mind those two getting together, it makes a sense of strategic sense in terms of building alliances in the old way. Plus the two of them seemed to reach an understanding and enjoy each others company, though that was probably due to the abuse Joeffery hurled at both them.

Narratively, Tyrion is as close to a prince as Game of Thrones gets, and Sansa like a princess. So she would still get something like the fairy tale ending if they wind up together. I'm betting it will happen.

Assuming the White Walkers don't, you know, kill everyone.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:11 PM on June 23, 2016


I think it just bothers me sooooo much because "That really gorgeous girl I like is being sooo shallow in wanting a gorgeous guy instead of me, righteous guy who just isn't good looking or charming" is such an MRA Thing that if it happens in show, I will not be able to restrain my screaming.
posted by corb at 6:26 PM on June 23, 2016 [2 favorites]


Perhaps, but I always laugh at the idea that Tyrion isn't good looking. He's just a really short handsome man.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:33 PM on June 23, 2016 [5 favorites]


Corb, I agree that it's really gross. There's also the punitive dimension: "Not attracted to the brainy, outsider Nice Guy, eh? Well say hello to RAMSAY!!!"

(Not that I'm saying Tyrion is himself exhibits MRA-Nice Guy behavior-- he doesn't. I do, however, think he's a natural point of identification for people invested in that particular MRA narrative.)
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 6:44 PM on June 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm really hoping the show doesn't end with a marriage of convenience, whether or not it seems narratively satisfying. I'm hoping Sansa or Dany don't have to marry anyone to consolidate their power.
posted by crossoverman at 7:00 PM on June 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


I thought it might when Dany was all fired up about conquering. But she's more amenable to regions simply swearing loyalty and a region headed by a woman would be looked on very favorably.

But I doubt the Dothraki are gonna be keen to just talk.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:08 PM on June 23, 2016


Tyrion is as close to a prince

Tyrion's empathy with Sansa during their arranged marriage (esp., the whole not forcing himself on her thing) might end up rewarding his humanity more than he had expected.

House Lanister is broke, Tyrion's close to Dany, Tommen's weak, Starks want to be left alone (to fight ice zombies), so if Dany wins at KL, it's not inconceivable that Dany is the Boss and the Starks and Lanisters reconcile by hooking Sansa and Tyrion up again; Tyrion married to Sansa brings her into Dany's fold.
posted by porpoise at 7:52 PM on June 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


Since Sansa and Tyrion did actually seem like maybe they could make a go of it, I wouldn't chalk him winding up with her as simply "Tyrion deserves a hot girl now." It's not like Tyrion hasn't had a hot girl already.

And Sansa's previous rejection of him was less because she was shallow and more because she didn't know him, he was a Lannister (uncle to the guy who was tormenting her), he wasn't Loras (whom she had had a crush on previously), she wasn't going to get out of King's Landing (like a marriage to Loras would have done for her), she had already endured a rape threat that evening, and he was disgustingly and vulgarly drunk. And then a few days(? - time is funny on this show) later her mother and brother were murdered. And then a few days later the purple wedding happened. Oh...and she was 14 when all of this happened. I wouldn't have been in the mood through that.

BUT as much of a great team they could be, I'd rather see them as friends/allies than married at the end of all this. Marriage never seems to go well in this world, so having any* of our favorites end by riding off into the sunset to live happy ever after seems like a bit of a cop out.

*except Sam and Gilly.
posted by sparklemotion at 7:58 PM on June 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


BUT as much of a great team they could be, I'd rather see them as friends/allies than married at the end of all this. Marriage never seems to go well in this world, so having any* of our favorites end by riding off into the sunset to live happy ever after seems like a bit of a cop out.


Tyrion will vouch for Sansa to Daenerys, and for Daenerys to Sansa.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:50 PM on June 23, 2016 [2 favorites]


Yes, but they don't have to be married for that to happen.
posted by sparklemotion at 8:54 PM on June 23, 2016 [2 favorites]


No of course, they don't have to be. We're just speculating on what might make sense given an arbitrary and apologist/backsplaining interpretation of the world that's been built for us.

Aside from Dany 'lending' her dragons to burn all of the North, I can't really see any other synchronicity between Sansa and Dany. Dany might be shallow enough to give Sansa the question of a doubt because Sansa's another woman (what would Dany do with Cersei?) but I doubt it.

Hmm, a problem; anyone competent In The North would realize that they need a Whole Lot More Soldiers who can fight in Winter conditions. Dany's around, but all of her soldiers are desert light cavalry specialists.

Emphasis on 'desert.'

"How big are Dothraki nuts?"
"Depends on high up you are."
posted by porpoise at 10:11 PM on June 23, 2016 [2 favorites]


I can't really see any other synchronicity between Sansa and Dany.

Hmm, a problem; anyone competent In The North would realize that they need a Whole Lot More Soldiers who can fight in Winter conditions.


This might mesh well with another potential problem: Sansa's half-brother Jon Snow hanging around, having recently returned from the dead, with a whole lot of martial expertise and no real life plan.
posted by amtho at 12:50 AM on June 24, 2016


...oh and her other brother who happens to be a warg...
posted by amtho at 12:50 AM on June 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


I think it would be incredibly out of character for Tyrion to desire Sansa, though. He wants a woman who enjoys sex as much as he does. (Ooh, maybe they can find a way to hook him up with Margery!)
posted by desuetude at 6:28 AM on June 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


...oh and her other brother who happens to be a warg..

Let's recap the Stark kids:
Arya, trained with the Faceless Men, has undefined assassination skills and a potential ally in those Faceless Men.

Bran, who has the potential to be a powerful wizard. We don't what that means exactly, but it was hinted by the previous powerful wizard that he could stop the Night King. Did the Three Eyed Raven say Bran was the only person who could stop him?

Jon, a good swordsmen who has a get-of-death card.

Sansa, learned the political game in King's landing and has a powerful, but creepy, frenemy in Baelish.

If those kids ever got back together, that would be a helluva band!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:38 AM on June 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


maybe they can find a way to hook him up with Margery!

It strikes me that romance doesn't play a terribly big role in the show. Certainly not as big a role as it plays in the fandom. Cersei/Jamie and recently Sam/Gilly are our only romantic couples really. There aren't really a lot of flings either. We see loveless marriages, and a lot of nameless prostitutes. Dany's hooked up with Dario, but that doesn't seem like much of a going concern. There is no love in the north and we as fans tear our hair out over Breinne+Tormand looks but nothing comes of that. When's the last time a couple other than Cersei/Jamie Sam/Gilly even kissed on screen?

I ship everything
posted by French Fry at 9:39 AM on June 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


Jon, a good swordsmen who has a get-of-death card.

FWIW, the latest Ask the Maester column had Jon at the top of the (living) swordsmen power rankings for Westeros-Essos.
posted by chimpsonfilm at 9:52 AM on June 24, 2016


Obviously Robb and what's her name. Need and Cateyn seemed to be in love. Jon and Ygritte. Tyrian and Shae. Loras and Renly. Tommen and Margery seemed like they could have had something resembling love. Greenroom and Mesandei. Hodor and bacon.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:53 AM on June 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


Ned and Cateyn seemed to be in love.

iirc, Cat explicitly told someone that the love between her and Ned grew slowly over time, and that she definitely wasn't into him at first.

Not sure about Margery and Tommen, unless Tom grows up real fast or if she has a daddy-thing and could fall in love with an incompetent buffoon.

But yeah,, Robb and whatsername ended terribly. Jon and Yg was tragic. Shae probably was in love to an extent with Tyr, but that was also tragic. Loras and Renly was tragic.

Is there anyone in cannon with whom Sansa could conceivably legitimately fall in love with? Pod? Cousin-marriage with Jon?

I can see respect growing between Sansa and Tyrion (bidirectionally), and who knows, maybe a love - of sorts - could grow between them over time.
posted by porpoise at 10:04 AM on June 24, 2016


Not sure about Margery and Tommen, unless Tom grows up real fast or if she has a daddy-thing and could fall in love with an incompetent buffoon.

Oh, it couldn't happen now, but in the beginning, it very much seemed like something approaching love. Doubtlessly, it wouldn't have been quite that Margaery, as she using him, but had things stayed peaceful, it might have happened. But all that's gone now, never to return. Though she'll still play the part of course.

There was also Daenerys and Drogo. Oberyn and Ellaria Sand very much loved each other! So love definitely occurs on the show, but it usually ends in tragedy.

iirc, Cat explicitly told someone that the love between her and Ned grew slowly over time, and that she definitely wasn't into him at first.

Oh totally, but I think it's the best model for Tyrion and Sansa getting together. They wouldn't be each others first pick, but the basic decency and respect each has could grow into a form of love. Tyrion never denied that Sansa was beautiful, but her hard earned political acumen could gain his respect and admiration on another level.

Plus I don't think he's been with anyone since they've been married. There was the one prostitute who he found he couldn't sleep with because of the marriage vows. Since then, he's mostly been drinking. That little detail would earn Sansa's admiration. So I'm still betting those two wind up together.

Bran and Meera may end up together also.

Speaking of Sam and Gilly, where are they?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:29 AM on June 24, 2016


I could see Tyrion and Sansa having a kind of companionate marriage where they don't have sex at all. Which is not to say they necessarily wouldn't or shouldn't have sex, but I don't think they'd have to for it to be a functional marriage.

The main problem is, it's hard for me to imagine Sansa being ok with being Sansa Lannister. Although, it would be pretty funny if the entire rest of the house was destroyed and she and Tyrion were the only ones left!
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:36 AM on June 24, 2016


Speaking of Sam and Gilly, where are they?

Freakin' seriously.
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:36 AM on June 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


Speaking of Sam and Gilly, where are they?

They've delivered the Valyrian sword to Gendry, who is studying it to bring back the secret recipe.
posted by rocketman at 11:09 AM on June 24, 2016 [9 favorites]


Wait, wasn't Gendry an apprentice under one of the few amorers who knew how to reshape Valeyrian steel? If so, that could be useful.

Arya should pick up from whatever town he's in, after she picks up Hotpie, on her way to Winterfell. Then Winterfell will have topnotch food and some serious weapons for dealing with YOU KNOW WHO.

Sam and Gilly are traveling to Old Town, where the Citadel is located. They were last seen at House Tarly, which is in or near Horn Hill, at the foot of the Red Mountains in The Reach (which the Tyrells) rule. Look on this map, in the lower left corner and you'll see they're not far from Old Town, so they should put in an appearance in the finale.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:24 AM on June 24, 2016


being Sansa Lannister

Oh, right! Yeah, that might be a showstopper.

However, Sansa is sticking with her Stark name - her Lannister marriage was dissolved due to non-consumation, but she's also a Bolton by marriage if her Lannister-ism was annulled. Does husbandcide dissolve a marriage in GoT?

She could, alternatively, take a page from the Mormonts (also of The North) and assume the patrilineal family name matrilineally, so any get of hers would still be Stark.
posted by porpoise at 11:52 AM on June 24, 2016


I'm pretty sure that Tyrion isn't overly attached to the Lannister name, I could see him making the switch.
posted by sparklemotion at 12:00 PM on June 24, 2016


I too would like to watch Game of Thrones with Leslie Jones.
posted by jamaro at 12:01 PM on June 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


Pretty sure that Sansa gives zero fucks about what the law or custom is and will be always be referred to as a Stark, no matter what title she has. Just as Arya found out who she is, so did Sansa.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:07 PM on June 24, 2016 [2 favorites]


Grey Worm and Messendei are another pairing up - I wonder if that will work out?

As for Tyrion remaining a Lannister - does having a dead-or-alive bounty put out by the Lannisters come with disinheritance/disown-er-shipment?

Patricide doesn't necessarily invalidate one's claim to a family claim (eg. Ramsey and Roose Bolton).

Sansa keeping her Stark name isn't an issue - Cersei is still known as Cersei Lannister, whereas her chilren are known as Baratheons. The issue is Sansa's get - will her kids' 'Starkness' be honoured? I'm guessing it will, at least in The North.

What family name does Maergery go by? Oleana?
posted by porpoise at 12:29 PM on June 24, 2016


What family name does Maergery go by? Oleana?

Well, her house is Tyrell, but given that she has married three (3!) Baratheons so far I feel like at some point that name has to stick, right?

I too would like to watch Game of Thrones with Leslie Jones.

If they made this a regular thing, I would watch it weekly. That was amazing.

Speaking of which, do you guys have post-show recap series that you're a fan of? Cracked's Winter is Taking Forever is new this season and is pretty good. And I stick with Funny or Die's Gay of Thrones even though the premise is often better than the recaps themselves -- sometimes they are gold though.
posted by sparklemotion at 12:37 PM on June 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


Cersei is still known as Cersei Lannister

As far as we know that's close to unique among the westeros nobility, and possibly a derisive phrase people use against her, that she's not a true Baratheon.
Maergery is a Baratheon and her Grandmother Oleana is a Tyrel which isn't her median name. Both the tully women Lyssa and Cat were Aryn's and Stark's 100% of the time.

Lady Mormont even took to openly questioning Sansa's "Starkness" by calling her Lannister and Bolton. I think divorce by dog-pack might be able to help her out there but I think maintaining that name through marriage would be pretty atypical, but then again, world ending.
posted by French Fry at 12:41 PM on June 24, 2016 [2 favorites]


Speaking of which, do you guys have post-show recap series that you're a fan of?

No, most of them are terrible, with people trying to show off there knowledge of film history while cracking lame jokes as they misread what's going on in the show, aka nerd nitpicking. Nerdpicking? Or worse, they keep dragging the fucking books into a discussion about the show, 90% of the time to harp on why X wasn't adapted from the best.

I wish Jessica Chobot would do recaps, she got the right mix of professional speaking, snark and witty banter that would kill. Gay of Thrones does a pretty good job, because it's so obviously over the top about the discussion, it's fun. Everyone else usually tries to pretend that they're some what serious and it just fails.

Has anyone found any written recaps they enjoy?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:31 PM on June 24, 2016


Speaking of Sam and Gilly, where are they?

With Ziggy Stardust, you know who played guitar, jamming good with Sam and Gilly and the Spiders from Mars.
posted by about_time at 4:57 PM on June 26, 2016 [2 favorites]


HWg thread nevermind
posted by The Whelk at 7:15 PM on June 26, 2016


Never mind, I found them!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:55 AM on June 27, 2016


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