Game of Thrones: Battle of the Bastards   Books Included 
June 19, 2016 7:01 PM - Season 6, Episode 9 - Subscribe

A battle at Winterfell. A battle at Meereen.

Sansa & Jon have a heart to heart. Tormund & Davos bond a little. Yara & Theon meet Dany. Littlefinger keeps his word. Sansa has her vengeance.
posted by gatorae (336 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
Battle of the Bastards:The Two Towers::Littlefinger:Gandalf
posted by gatorae at 7:02 PM on June 19, 2016 [9 favorites]


GoT: The Splattering.
posted by Requiax at 7:05 PM on June 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


Pretty good, I'm usually not a fan of battle scenes but the first half of that was actually pretty riveting.

So whoever wrote that thing about the dragons responding to Dany acting as conqueror was definitely on point. She didn't even need riders for the two little dragons.

WTF was with Davos finding Shireen's stag doll?
posted by skewed at 7:06 PM on June 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


That was fantastic, in every way.
posted by zarq at 7:06 PM on June 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


That was dumb and I am dumb because I watched it.
posted by Shohn at 7:06 PM on June 19, 2016 [9 favorites]


WTF was with Davos finding Shireen's stag doll?

He didn't know, before. That they burned her.

He wasn't there.

Does now, though.
posted by kbanas at 7:07 PM on June 19, 2016 [8 favorites]


That was OK. There were... a lot of dumb things in that battle scene. I guess everything that seemed like was going to happen ended up happening. The retaking of Meereen was actually pretty cool! I always laugh when they do that ridiculous dragon riding CGI, but overall it was neat to see how effective they are as war weapons.
posted by codacorolla at 7:07 PM on June 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


SANSA'S LITTLE SMILE

UNHOLY CACKLING ETERNAL
posted by poffin boffin at 7:09 PM on June 19, 2016 [34 favorites]


WTF was with Davos finding Shireen's stag doll?

He has known Shireen died when Stannis was defeated, but not the details. Finding her toy in the remains of a pyre stake is an indication she was killed in a Lord of Light ritual. So now, he's put two and two together and knows that Melisande is responsible for her death.
posted by zarq at 7:09 PM on June 19, 2016 [5 favorites]


This was uncomplicatedly gratifying and I am fully satisfied.
posted by prize bull octorok at 7:09 PM on June 19, 2016 [25 favorites]


I was hoping they'd have Sansa kill him and I was afraid they'd chicken out. They didn't.

Though I still won't buy Ramsay killing Rickon Fucking Stark like a rabbit and not have the other Northern houses lose their shit. I mean, come on.
posted by lydhre at 7:09 PM on June 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


MOAR DRAGONS SETTING SLAVER'S MEN ON FIRE THESE ARE MY DEMANDS
posted by poffin boffin at 7:10 PM on June 19, 2016 [9 favorites]


Sorry, let me explain: WTF is it with GoT characters being able to find trinkets dropped on the ground by women in distress weeks or months later?
posted by skewed at 7:11 PM on June 19, 2016 [22 favorites]


SONS OF THE HARPY STAMPEDED BY 40000 SHRIEKING DOTHRAKI IM EMOTIONS
posted by poffin boffin at 7:12 PM on June 19, 2016 [15 favorites]


im excite
posted by poffin boffin at 7:12 PM on June 19, 2016 [3 favorites]


More Dany + Yara or Asha or whatever they're calling her. I am here for that.
posted by rewil at 7:13 PM on June 19, 2016 [20 favorites]


you know if Sansa was commanding the wildling/northern forces she woulda been all 'already wrote him off, stay put' when Rickon came running
posted by prize bull octorok at 7:13 PM on June 19, 2016 [32 favorites]


also i want 100k words of daenerys/yara fic immediately thank u
posted by poffin boffin at 7:13 PM on June 19, 2016 [28 favorites]


Sorry, let me explain: WTF is it with GoT characters being able to find trinkets dropped on the ground by women in distress weeks or months later?

Plot, I think.
posted by kbanas at 7:13 PM on June 19, 2016 [4 favorites]


Well, one was in the middle of a trampled circle of hoof prints and one in the middle of a conspicuous pyre. It's not like they found them in random places under a rock.
posted by lydhre at 7:14 PM on June 19, 2016 [10 favorites]


I admit, I skipped through most of the battle because it was pretty clear what was going to happen, and I feel like after you've seen one or two people and their horses get punctured by arrows and then close-upedly stabbed, why sit through approximately 1/3 of an episode worth? The Sansa payoff was great, and I'm glad Yara and Daenarys are together, but ... eh.
posted by ChuraChura at 7:14 PM on June 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


Sorry, let me explain: WTF is it with GoT characters being able to find trinkets dropped on the ground by women in distress weeks or months later?

The Lord of Light is in actuality a high level Plot Elemental, and his guiding hand directs his chosen towards sacred Plot Artifacts to advance the almighty binding force of The Plot.
posted by codacorolla at 7:14 PM on June 19, 2016 [23 favorites]


And also GOOD GOD JON LISTEN TO YOUR FUCKING SISTER COUSIN.
posted by lydhre at 7:17 PM on June 19, 2016 [27 favorites]


That has to be the most impressive battle sequence ever filmed. All the many flaws of the episode are forgiven.
posted by humanfont at 7:17 PM on June 19, 2016 [6 favorites]


My disdain for Jon Snow has grown in direct proportion to my affinity for Sansa. Although the former was already fairly high.
posted by codacorolla at 7:18 PM on June 19, 2016 [3 favorites]


Well, one was in the middle of a trampled circle of hoof prints and one in the middle of a conspicuous pyre. It's not like they found them in random places under a rock.

Davos: Hmm, that pyre sure is conspicuous. Better go kick around the debris to check for clues.
posted by skewed at 7:19 PM on June 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


The cursor changed when it passed over the pyre remains so he knew there had to be something there
posted by prize bull octorok at 7:21 PM on June 19, 2016 [133 favorites]


What's the point of not telling Jon about the probable incoming army once it's the night before and he can't do much about sending it back or whatever the problem was with it in the first place?

Also, are the puppies still hungry enough for a Littlefinger dessert y/n?
posted by rewil at 7:21 PM on June 19, 2016 [4 favorites]


i hope the dvd release has a special 20 minute extended ramsay death scene
posted by poffin boffin at 7:21 PM on June 19, 2016 [7 favorites]


ok but I feel like the whole point is that the Starks are better people than the Boltons, right

...right?

I really could have done without that lengthy and graphic death scene. I wanted Ramsay dead and would've happily watched Sansa slit his throat, but I...did not want what that was.
posted by goodbyewaffles at 7:23 PM on June 19, 2016


also no joke with the LOTR analogies. the cavalry coming over that hill, and the giant got to be Boromir!
posted by goodbyewaffles at 7:25 PM on June 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


I hadn't really considered it before, but they could be wrapping the main Frey-killing impulses of LSH into Sansa. Her taking glee in Ramsay's death could be a first step towards that. Although, TBH, I can't blame her. I'm not going to be all high and mighty for Sansa getting some well deserved revenge against a monster.
posted by codacorolla at 7:26 PM on June 19, 2016 [3 favorites]


Yeah, the bad part of me liked the dog scene, but it would have been better to me if Sansa had come forward before everyone as the Lady of Winterfell, pronounced him a traitor, and taken a knife and executed him in front of everyone. Because as her father always said, "the (wo)man who passes the sentence should swing the sword."
posted by gatorae at 7:29 PM on June 19, 2016 [20 favorites]


goodbyewaffles, maybe the point is that we, the audience, are not better people than the Boltons. Graphic scenes of rape and torture of people we like = how dare they, horrible show, Sansa was developing Agency and you ruined it, etc. Graphic scene of dogs eating face off of character we don't like = too short!
On the other hand, it's just a fantasy TV show...maybe this is the place to indulge those wishes about things we wouldn't really endorse in real life.
posted by uosuaq at 7:31 PM on June 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


Welp. I guess we know where all the money they didn't spend on the shit people were sad about not seeing went. Because that was far and away the most impressive battle scenes ever put on television and in many ways better than what we see on the big screen in a lot of films.

I was getting lots of influences from the Agincourt battle in Branagh's HENRY V, except better.

Anybody who didn't like this episode (I'm looking at you Shohn) is maybe watching the wrong show. Like... yeah, you can nitpick why Sansa didn't bring up Littlefinger. But come on, it was riveting.

For my part, I know why Sansa didn't tell Jon. I snarked in the other thread its because he's an idiot and would ruin it if he knew (which is only partly snark) but the truth is that Sansa has learned a brutal lesson; she cannot count on anyone but herself. No one is going to save her but her. With the Littlefinger move she has become the Stark in Winterfell and Jon is just her (kinda dumb) swordarm. Queen in the North!

So it does look like the story is going to wrap up with women taking over pretty much everywhere, yeah? Sansa as Queen in the North. Yara as Queen of the Iron Islands. Dany as Queen of the (six? five?) Kingdoms. Ellaria and the Sand Snakes as Queens of Dorne. Any I'm missing?
posted by Justinian at 7:32 PM on June 19, 2016 [25 favorites]


no i 100% support rapists being torn apart by dogs irl too

although i do not support the abuse of the dogs that would lead them to doing that so it's kind of a conundrum
posted by poffin boffin at 7:32 PM on June 19, 2016 [17 favorites]


Also, so little mention of Rickon. Because nobody cares about fuckin' Rickon.
posted by Justinian at 7:33 PM on June 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


rickon's luxurious curls were very pretty, i'll give him that much.
posted by poffin boffin at 7:36 PM on June 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


uosuaq, I think you're right, but that's hard for me too. because I guess I want to be better than that?

On the other hand, it's just a fantasy TV show...maybe this is the place to indulge those wishes about things we wouldn't really endorse in real life.

this is not the place for this conversation but lately I've been thinking about whether or not the consumption of violent media makes us complicit in real-world violence, and this scene - well every scene involving ramsay tbh - makes me feel complicit. and if that was the point, to make us acknowledge the ugliness we carry, then maybe that's worthwhile, but it's always seemed like the showrunners revel in the violence the same way we do.

anyway ramsay bolton always made me feel gross and awful about the world and I am glad to see him go.
posted by goodbyewaffles at 7:38 PM on June 19, 2016 [5 favorites]


I guess that really was Shaggy Dog after all.... OR WAS IT?
posted by gatorae at 7:40 PM on June 19, 2016 [4 favorites]


I guess that really was Shaggy Dog after all.... OR WAS IT?

It's been a while sense we've seen his head from what, episode 2 or 3? Yet it hasn't rotted. MAKES YOU WONDER.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:41 PM on June 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


Well, looks like Jon Snow is the Leroy Jenkins of his army.
posted by drezdn at 7:41 PM on June 19, 2016 [62 favorites]


I feel like a guy who can walk over your shield wall would be especially effective against it, but I'll let it slide.
posted by drezdn at 7:42 PM on June 19, 2016 [3 favorites]


"We're going to build a shield wall, and MAKE THE STARKS PAY FOR IT."
posted by drezdn at 7:42 PM on June 19, 2016 [22 favorites]


So, Winterfell is now being defended by some much lesser portion of what was already a small army. The Freys and Lannisters have retrenched a few marches away and (if anything) swelled ranks with Tully men (although now that a half-Tully sits Winterfell, that might change). The other Lords of North are chomping at the bit to be the next ruler of the North, or at least have limited allegiance to the Starks (as shown in the help getting montage). The main military power aligned with the Starks is one of the most notorious schemers in Westeros with sights on making himself king, and marrying the daughter of the woman he always loved.

Oh, and a zombie army advances from the North. If they're smart, they're burning that ridiculous wall of corpses that the screenwriters added for effect.

Oh, and, and, a pissed off claimant with three dragons just got her armada.

So the battle (of the bastards) has been won, but the Stark position is extremely tenuous in the same way that Wiley Coyote in mid-air before he looks down is extremely tenuous.
posted by codacorolla at 7:42 PM on June 19, 2016 [5 favorites]


o hai rickon run. run! o, don't zig zag. yes, I will gamble my victory on my archery killing him in front of everyone.

yes all the bodies will fall in a perfect pile to form a body wall to enable encirclement by pikemen, and all the enemy will run that way! as i planned with my toy dolls.

no, no-one has scouts! why would I have scouts?

why it's the rohirrim that have been telegraphed for 6 episodes WHAT A SURPRISE

and jon gets to reclaim his home! exactly like the cliche buster GRRM would have written /s

and .....why yes, i can telepathically control my other dragons without riding them

&c


Yes, mereen was satisfying, yara/dany fanfic - FINE.... the battle was shot well, and ramsay's end was poetic. I particularly liked it how he was smiling as jon was laying into him, and sansa's speech....... .

but come on. this plot had more holes than wun wun. RIP wunwun!

posted by lalochezia at 7:43 PM on June 19, 2016 [9 favorites]


Jon made some really idiotic mistakes in the beginning, but once we got to that long tracking shot of him utterly wasting dudes, I was on board. That was amazing.
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:43 PM on June 19, 2016 [15 favorites]


Also, Yara/Dany is shameless queerbaiting of the cheapest sort and I am nevertheless HERE FOR IT
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:44 PM on June 19, 2016 [50 favorites]


TBH I really didn't care how he died as long as it was Sansa passing the sentence. She could have ordered Jon to chop off his head and I would have been happy. The fact that she reminded him that he was nothing and would return to nothing was the cherry on top.
posted by lydhre at 7:45 PM on June 19, 2016 [4 favorites]


no, no-one has scouts! why would I have scouts?

oh hmm i thought the guys on the flaming crosses at the start of the battle were the stark army scouts
posted by poffin boffin at 7:47 PM on June 19, 2016 [3 favorites]




Also, Yara/Dany is shameless queerbaiting of the cheapest sort and I am nevertheless HERE FOR IT


Danra?
posted by drezdn at 7:47 PM on June 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


Hey, at least she's probably not pregnant with his child! Right? Unless that last parting line about him being part of her was supposed to mean that - but how would he know?
posted by codacorolla at 7:47 PM on June 19, 2016


♩ ♪ ♫ ♬ How do you solve a problem like Melisandre ♩ ♪ ♫ ♬
posted by drezdn at 7:48 PM on June 19, 2016 [19 favorites]


but how would he know?
posted by codacorolla at 7:47 PM on June 19 [+] [!]


His dogs could sense it?
posted by drezdn at 7:48 PM on June 19, 2016


i mean there is a pretty easy way to tell because of a thing that happens once a month or subsequently stops happening.
posted by poffin boffin at 7:50 PM on June 19, 2016 [3 favorites]


Whelp, I didn't loathe that as much as last week.
posted by Alterscape at 7:50 PM on June 19, 2016


I mean, that the timeframe doesn't really line up. Not that the writers of this show ever care about timeframe.
posted by codacorolla at 7:51 PM on June 19, 2016


One more minor annoyance... I really wish all of Ramsay's cowardice would have backfired on him at some point during the battle.
posted by drezdn at 7:51 PM on June 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


Maybe Ramsay's seed is as superpowered and evil as the rest of him. Season 7 is a giallo plot about his devil baby growing inside Sansa.
posted by codacorolla at 7:51 PM on June 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


Sansa's Choice
posted by drezdn at 7:52 PM on June 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


Anyone catch who the flayed people were?
posted by drezdn at 7:53 PM on June 19, 2016


Didn't Sansa say something like, "You'll be gone, your family will be gone" ? It does seem probable/likely that she is pregnant. Her speech earlier in the season to Littlefinger about still "feeling" what Ramsay did to her didn't convince me at all, that seemed like a not-too-subtle reference to torture and not a baby. But her speech tonight seemed more foreshadowy.

That said, shouldn't she know by now if she's pregnant? Since she last saw Ramsay, she and Theon escaped in the woods, split up, and since then Theon has had time to walk across Westeros back to the Iron Islands, attend a King/Queensmoot, steal a fleet of ships, sail around the horn of Westeros, stop off for some drinks in Volantus, sail on to Slaver's Bay, and meet with Dany. Surely that is long enough to notice you missed a period or two or seriously how fucking much time has passed, I am so confused.
posted by gatorae at 7:54 PM on June 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


it's the little things that are pretty frustrating tbh, like how i am not entirely even sure how many days there are in a westerosi week or how many months are in a year or how the seasons even fucking work, oh my god why don't we know yet.
posted by poffin boffin at 7:56 PM on June 19, 2016 [3 favorites]




it's the little things that are pretty frustrating tbh, like how i am not entirely even sure how many days there are in a westerosi week or how many months are in a year or how the seasons even fucking work, oh my god why don't we know yet.


On the plus side, the previews for the next episode hinted at a seasonal related thing happening from the books.
posted by drezdn at 8:04 PM on June 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


Battles in Westeros are really going to change once they develop pike techniques for stopping calvary charges.
posted by drezdn at 8:06 PM on June 19, 2016 [6 favorites]


What's Ghost been up to lately?
posted by drezdn at 8:09 PM on June 19, 2016 [6 favorites]


What's Ghost been up to lately?

Going on an effects-budget-powered walkabout in search of dinner?
posted by Alterscape at 8:11 PM on June 19, 2016 [12 favorites]


What's Ghost been up to lately?


I heard a needle drop sound effect when I read that.
posted by skewed at 8:12 PM on June 19, 2016 [8 favorites]


maybe nymeria is in the rowboat with gendry?
posted by poffin boffin at 8:13 PM on June 19, 2016 [13 favorites]


I admit, I skipped through most of the battle because it was pretty clear what was going to happen, and I feel like after you've seen one or two people and their horses get punctured by arrows and then close-upedly stabbed, why sit through approximately 1/3 of an episode worth?

Oh please. I've sat through 5 seasons of hideous people going "blah blah blah Westeros blah blah winter blah blah Iron Throne" - seeing them all eventually get stabbed slowly in the face is exactly the return on investment I require.
posted by turbid dahlia at 8:18 PM on June 19, 2016 [15 favorites]


I admit, I skipped through most of the battle because it was pretty clear what was going to happen, and I feel like after you've seen one or two people and their horses get punctured by arrows and then close-upedly stabbed, why sit through approximately 1/3 of an episode worth?

I've been whining about this whole season but that battle was tops. Will watch again.
posted by dis_integration at 8:28 PM on June 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


I hope the cold open of next season is Euron wandering around the ocean aimlessly, when he looks down and suddenly finds Dragonbinder floating there.
posted by codacorolla at 8:29 PM on June 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


i hope it's euron and gendry rowing around each other in circles while yakety sax plays
posted by poffin boffin at 8:40 PM on June 19, 2016 [13 favorites]


I would have liked to see Sansa take Ramsay's head with Longclaw. It would have felt Stark-y.

The lead up to the battle felt very protracted like they could have fit something else in but hey, we got CGI helicopter shots of the armies.
posted by toomanycurls at 8:41 PM on June 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


So it does look like the story is going to wrap up with women taking over pretty much everywhere, yeah? Sansa as Queen in the North. Yara as Queen of the Iron Islands. Dany as Queen of the (six? five?) Kingdoms. Ellaria and the Sand Snakes as Queens of Dorne. Any I'm missing?


Mace Tyrell is the formal ruler of the Reach, but everyone knows his mom really calls the shots.
posted by Alluring Mouthbreather at 8:50 PM on June 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


SERPENTINE, RICKON, SERPENTINE
posted by Pyry at 8:53 PM on June 19, 2016 [37 favorites]


I'm hoping that Sansa held the Knights of Vale in reserve rather it just being a miracle of a timely arrival. It'd would be a much more serious leader play if she knew Jon Snow was going to fuckup and planned for it.
posted by srboisvert at 8:55 PM on June 19, 2016 [4 favorites]


SERPENTINE, RICKON, SERPENTINE.

Ha, we were all yelling ZIG-ZAG YOU IDIOT!
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:56 PM on June 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


I expect tomorrow's headline in Kings Landing Sun is going to slander the wildlings for getting caught in a crush.
posted by srboisvert at 8:58 PM on June 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


although i do not support the abuse of the dogs that would lead them to doing that so it's kind of a conundrum

I liked very much that you could totally tell that the big friendly dog in the scene was O HAI MR RHEON DID YOU KNOW SOMEONE PUT DELICIOUSNESS ON YOUR FACE LET ME HELP YOU WITH THAT BLEHHRP BLEHHHHHHRP BLEHHHHHHHHHHHHRP.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:58 PM on June 19, 2016 [33 favorites]


SERPENTINE, RICKON, SERPENTINE

Ahh, c'mon. Rickon probably got a lot of shit from his folks for "showing off" his walking skills while Bran was bed-bound. He's neurotic about it now and probably hard-wired to not overwalk in case Bran kicks (lol) up a stink about it. "Stop walking so excessively, Rickon, you know how much it upsets Bran!" was likely a common refrain in the Stark household. That's the curse of being the youngest child, you can't get too uppity and high-falutin' with your locomotion or it causes drama.
posted by turbid dahlia at 9:10 PM on June 19, 2016 [9 favorites]


the best part about ramsay's dogs is that they're supposed to be incredible at tracking their quarry like bloodhounds but lol bloodhounds are like top 10 most sweetest temperament dogs ever. you want something to tear people apart in ravenous bloodthirsty packs? you want chihuahuas, ramsay. god.
posted by poffin boffin at 9:13 PM on June 19, 2016 [5 favorites]


I liked very much that you could totally tell that the big friendly dog in the scene was O HAI MR RHEON DID YOU KNOW SOMEONE PUT DELICIOUSNESS ON YOUR FACE LET ME HELP YOU WITH THAT BLEHHRP BLEHHHHHHRP BLEHHHHHHHHHHHHRP.

This is how my cat asks for treats. If I don't respond fast enough the my nose gets the teeth.

Now that I think of it she also stabs me in the stomach repeatedly.

Wait a minute she also worships the red god and will follow it all over the apartment.

I wonder if GRRMartin has a cat?
posted by srboisvert at 9:15 PM on June 19, 2016 [11 favorites]


Yes and from what I can tell it is always sleeping on his keyboard and he doesn't want to disturb it.
posted by turbid dahlia at 9:19 PM on June 19, 2016 [59 favorites]


The part of Ramsey that is in Sansa is his cruelty via his abuse. Her smile as she walked away from the revenge scene was chilling. If she was just a Stark would have executed him with her own hand. Now she's got a little bit of Bolton in her too.

We didn't like the battle -- way too long and repetitive, although it did show the brutality of this kind of war. I thought Jon was being so stupid that they all should have been dead given the GRRM Rules of The Real World, but I hope Sansa makes him pay for his stupidity by never letting him make a decision again.

RIP Wun Wun. He's the real MVP.
posted by troyer at 9:21 PM on June 19, 2016 [9 favorites]


This episode was really gorgeous in terms of the cinematography and direction. Some of those shots. I especially loved the shot of Davos at dawn, after he found the doll.
posted by lunasol at 9:28 PM on June 19, 2016 [12 favorites]


and .....why yes, i can telepathically control my other dragons without riding them

I could buy the explanation that upon finding themselves finally free but in the middle of all that chaos, they were just following the example of the alpha dragon. But it'll be pretty lame if she can control all three of them all by herself from now on.
posted by homunculus at 9:29 PM on June 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


SERPENTINE, RICKON, SERPENTINE.

Or he could have just hidden behind one of the big burning X's so Ramsey wouldn't have a clear shot. For a moment I though they might let Rickon live just because it would be kind of ridiculous for Ramsey to make that final, perfect shot.

To hell with Rickon, if anyone deserves to be honored by being buried in the crypt, it's Wun Wun. I don't think they've ever explicitly said that he was the last giant, but if so then they're now extinct. RIP Wun Wun. :(
posted by homunculus at 9:31 PM on June 19, 2016 [3 favorites]


the best part about ramsay's dogs is that they're supposed to be incredible at tracking their quarry like bloodhounds but lol bloodhounds are like top 10 most sweetest temperament dogs ever.

Didn't Ramsey have two sets of dogs?
posted by andoatnp at 9:33 PM on June 19, 2016


For a moment I though they might let Rickon live just because it would be kind of ridiculous for Ramsey to make that final, perfect shot.

My assumption was that he was missing on purpose until Jon got close enough to watch Rickon die.

That said, I was also yelling SERPENTINE, RICKON, SERPENTINE at the television.
posted by Justinian at 9:33 PM on June 19, 2016 [7 favorites]


Did Rickon ever say an actual word at any point during the series? I feel like he didn't. I kind of feel bad for the actor, who was in like 2 episodes 5 years ago and then got brought back to be in chains and rags for a couple minutes before dying.
posted by Copronymus at 9:33 PM on June 19, 2016 [5 favorites]


Yeah, I was bummed for Rickon. I really hope GRRM does something more with him in the books.
posted by longdaysjourney at 9:41 PM on June 19, 2016


That said, that was an amazing battle. The season finale really does have to be people in a room talking at each other since they just blew the entire FX budget.
posted by longdaysjourney at 9:43 PM on June 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


That...was one of the most satisfying hours of this show in a long time for me.

I could buy the explanation that upon finding themselves finally free but in the middle of all that chaos, they were just following the example of the alpha dragon. But it'll be pretty lame if she can control all three of them all by herself from now on.

Yeah, they need to do a bit of backfill on why the other two suddenly burst from the vault, and how Dany is suddenly in charge of Drogon to the extent that she is. At least I hope they will, because I thought part of Tyrion's purpose at this point was to help with some book-derived knowin' about the dragons.

Yeah, I was bummed for Rickon. I really hope GRRM does something more with him in the books.

His may always have been a shaggy dog story.
posted by nubs at 9:43 PM on June 19, 2016 [14 favorites]


GRRM won't be doing anything with Rickon in the books. Primarily because he won't be doing anything with anyone.
posted by Justinian at 9:47 PM on June 19, 2016 [4 favorites]


I kind of feel bad for the actor, who was in like 2 episodes 5 years ago and then got brought back to be in chains and rags for a couple minutes before dying.

Hell, I don't feel bad for him at all, he'll be getting checks from those handful of episodes for the rest of forever
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:53 PM on June 19, 2016 [4 favorites]


GRRM won't be doing anything with Rickon in the books. Primarily because he won't be doing anything with anyone.

Yes, hahaha. What an insightful bon mot! It makes me think of the dwarf jokes Tyrion was talking about.
posted by nubs at 9:53 PM on June 19, 2016 [5 favorites]


But it wasn't a joke... I've become resigned.
posted by Justinian at 9:57 PM on June 19, 2016




Thoughts:

-Who is the guy who got his ear bitten off in the battle? They showed his face in several scenes as if we were supposed to know.
-Why didn't Jon make Wun-Wun go get Rickon? Poor Wun-Wun, VERY stupid Jon. What did Sansa say? "Rickon is as good as dead. Don't do what Ramsay wants you to do."
-I thought the battle was extremely well-shot and produced. I got so caught up in it that I forgot the lords of the Vale were coming, until the horn blew.
-Grey Worm wins the episode. How did the other guys expect "kill this guy, he's lowborn" to go? That scene was powerful.
-This season has all been worth it.
posted by Night_owl at 10:04 PM on June 19, 2016 [3 favorites]


Who is the guy who got his ear bitten off in the battle? They showed his face in several scenes as if we were supposed to know.

That was Smalljon Umber, who had shown up at Winterfell with Osha and Rickon in "Oathbreaker". It looked like Tormund bit his neck before getting stabby.
posted by vespertine at 10:18 PM on June 19, 2016 [9 favorites]


RAMSAY IS DEAD FUCK YEAH ALL MY CHRISTMASES HAVE COME AT ONCE
posted by culfinglin at 10:20 PM on June 19, 2016 [11 favorites]


Cool, thanks. I could tell I was supposed to know who he was but missed that completely. Glad he got what was coming to him.
posted by Night_owl at 10:21 PM on June 19, 2016


Y'know, if this show hadn't already been on the air for six seasons, I would have sworn that the entire Yara and Dany scheme was full of coded references to HRC. Hell, maybe it was anyway
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:24 PM on June 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


Hey, that was some good TV.
posted by Nelson at 10:26 PM on June 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


I made a joke a year or two ago that watching the NFL as a Bills fan is like watching Game of Thrones and rooting for Sansa. So it's looking like a good year for Buffalo coming up...

Also, I do had "BABOU! SERPENTINE!" running through my head tonight, but it was inexplicably while getting out of the subway on my way to my friends' place to watch the episode. When the Rickon moment came up I felt briefly psychic.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:28 PM on June 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


Yay the wolf banner unfurled over Winterfell that felt very nice.

That long take in the battle was outstanding, and it was nice to see nods to tactics, positions, and developments. Even the jerky/blurry cam was used well to ramp up tension instead of just being like, "eh a battle happens". There was LOTS of ridiculous stuff too (the pile of bodies lol), but that's okay.

Ygritte was sugar-coating it; Jon Snow is really the stupidest fucker in the world.
posted by nom de poop at 10:29 PM on June 19, 2016 [25 favorites]


Very frustrating not to see Wun Wun stomp on some spears, pick up a dude and use him and his tower-shield to blast away some other guys and break the phalanx, but it was nice (maybe not the right word) to see how fucked they all truly were once that was closing in. Also nice to see Davos stand down the archers once he realized that Ramsay was doing their job for them by raining arrows down on his own forces as much as on Jon's.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:32 PM on June 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


Whelp, I didn't loathe that as much as last week.

Thankfully the whelps finally got fed. Adieu Ramsay, starver of dogs and beloved chew toy. I'd love to see the direwolves show up at a battle with a banner depicting Ramsay himself flayed with crosses made of Kong bones.
posted by futz at 10:36 PM on June 19, 2016 [4 favorites]


god in the series finale i want sansa on the iron throne with ramsay's dogs at her feet

"i keep them to remind me of my late husband," she says, with a smile that wholly fails to reach her eyes

"how nice," says cersei, piddling herself
posted by poffin boffin at 10:47 PM on June 19, 2016 [35 favorites]


Very frustrating not to see Wun Wun stomp on some spears, pick up a dude and use him and his tower-shield to blast away some other guys and break the phalanx

I found it frustrating that Wun Wun was unarmed. Giants have mastered animal husbandry but he can't make a fucking club? Did he forget about Hardhome?
posted by homunculus at 11:07 PM on June 19, 2016 [8 favorites]


Those are some fast fucking ships the Greyjoys have.
posted by atoxyl at 11:30 PM on June 19, 2016 [17 favorites]


I can't help wondering how many of Dany's Meereenese subjects died during the siege between the time she got back and the time when she and Drogon attacked the ships.
posted by homunculus at 11:38 PM on June 19, 2016 [9 favorites]


I heard Ian McKellen say "On the third day, look to the east" in my head.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:48 PM on June 19, 2016 [4 favorites]


It does not speak well of me, how much I enjoyed watching Ramsay get beaten half to death and how sad I was when Jon stopped.

My favorite moment though was when Sansa started to turn away from the Endoggening, all "ugh I can't watch this" and then realized "oh wait you know what I totally can."
posted by KathrynT at 11:58 PM on June 19, 2016 [13 favorites]


As bizarre as it may seem, from what I've read, the mound of bodies phenomenon is not unusual. Where a few men have died, the following waves have to walk more slowly to traverse the ground and subsequently become more casualties for arrows. In the press of melee, dead and dying horses and men would tend to pile up where the opponents meet, forming rather grisly mounds.

Some of the accounts of the battles of Agincourt and Cannae describe a press of men so thick that soldiers couldn't lift their arms to fight and men who fell were trampled underneath their comrade's boots. It seems like the director did his research and created an effective depiction of what a pitched battle between forces armed with medieval weapons would have looked like.

Decent depiction of medieval warfare aside, Snow's a tactical moron - he should have known better than to charge the Bolton army like he did and lead his men to be encircled. In the planning scene he explicitly stated that they had to avoid getting flanked and then right away he goes and gets his army flanked.

Sigh. You know nothing Jon Snow.
posted by dazed_one at 12:10 AM on June 20, 2016 [29 favorites]


Ooooooh, I am the last of the giants,
my people are gone from the earth.
The last of the great mountain giants,
who ruled all the world at my birth.
Oh the smallfolk have stolen my forests,
they’ve stolen my rivers and hills.
And the’ve built a great wall through my valleys,
and fished all the fish from my rills.
In stone halls they burn their great fires,
in stone halls they forge their sharp spears.
Whilst I walk alone in the mountains,
with no true companion but tears.
They hunt me with dogs in the daylight,
they hunt me with torches by night.
For these men who are small can never stand tall,
whilst giants still walk in the light.
Oooooooh, I am the LAST of the giants,
so learn well the words of my song.
For when I am gone the singing will fade,
and the silence shall last long and long.
posted by homunculus at 12:15 AM on June 20, 2016 [11 favorites]


Sansa at this point would give birth to a child by Reese and smother the poor wee thing before it drew a breath, with what counts for mercy in her world. There is no way she would let a Bolton child by her survive.

I thought it was interesting to see the telegraphing that Snow is alive for the purpose of the Lord of the Light - he walked through that battle unscathed, with recurrent miraculous escapes around him like he'd drunk a freaking felix felicis potion (well, one that had gone a bit funky given his brother's slaughter...)

I'm glad Sansa flinched and glad that she steeled herself and looked back at his death. Then walked away with such giddy relief.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 12:38 AM on June 20, 2016 [5 favorites]


Now that Dany and Yara have made a pact, Euron seems to be shit out of luck... Unless he really does have Dragonbinder, which I think is a lot more likely now. If so, Dany has a serious problem. I wonder how many dragons can be controlled by a single dragon horn.

I guess he didn't mention it at the Kingsmoot because he was totally focused on his big cock.
posted by homunculus at 1:01 AM on June 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


Anybody else think Varys is heading to Dorne to get get Martell support for Daenerys? While I've welcomed the 8 no-Dorne-bullshit episodes in a row, I can't imagine we've seen the last of them for the series.
posted by Justinian at 3:17 AM on June 20, 2016 [4 favorites]


I thought the way Sansa killed ramsay was very appropriate (and hugely satisfying, holy crap), considering as far as I can remember she's never wielded a sword, dagger, or any weapon. She's never had any weapons training at all so if she'd grabbed a sword and slaughtered the guy I'd call bullshit, that's not something you can just *do,* strength and skill wise. She's one of the few characters who has never directly killed anyone, and still is. She maintains that aspect of herself but shows the ability to wield the power, without weapons, to end ramsay by his own means.
posted by danapiper at 3:26 AM on June 20, 2016 [4 favorites]


Anybody else think Varys is heading to Dorne to get get Martell support for Daenerys? While I've welcomed the 8 no-Dorne-bullshit episodes in a row, I can't imagine we've seen the last of them for the series.

Yeah, I speculated on that in the last thread. It seems pretty likely to me; they hate the Lannisters, they've got a fresh army. And as we go further past the books, we can tell what's important by what hasn't been cut out. So, fAegon - definitely not really a Targ, or he'd be in the show. Quentyn, not important. But Dorne was in the show, so it must be at least slightly important - they wouldn't introduce it and then drop it completely.

Of course the other theory was that Varys was following his book path and going back to King's Landing with a crossbow.
posted by Pink Frost at 3:48 AM on June 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


When Sansa started talking about Ramsay and his family being forgotten, I really thought she was leading up to drinking a big mug of moon tea in front of him before setting the dogs on him.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 3:53 AM on June 20, 2016 [13 favorites]


More generally, great episode. Seems like I'm alternating between loving one episode and thinking the next is mostly rubbish. But that hit every note almost perfectly. The battle scenes were way better than I'd hoped, Sansa's revenge was perfect, we're seeing a real flawed side of Jon which is more interesting than making him a Marty Stu. Dany too - Tyrion working to pull her back from turning into her father (and then that point emphasized when they talked with the Greyjoys). Sansa's confrontation with Jon after the strategy session. Jon telling Mel not to bring him back again...so much goodness.
posted by Pink Frost at 3:54 AM on June 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


I kept expecting Davos to go to Melisandre like, "Hey, how about one of those smoke babies?" Would've saved a lot of lives!
posted by web-goddess at 4:11 AM on June 20, 2016 [4 favorites]


I'm 50/50 on this ep. Very satisfying...buuuuuuuuuuuuuttttt.....

-Your giant is totally combat-ineffective. Seriously. Wun-Wun swatting at raised spears, when a good kick to the shields opens the gap? Why didn't he do to those ranks what he did to the door at Winterfell?
-"We need them to charge us so they can't attack us on the sides! HEY GUYS HEY GUYS FOLLOW ME LETS CHARGE THEM HEAD ON"

The tracking shot behind Jon was pretty outstanding. Echoes of Saving Private Ryan and equally chaotic.
posted by Thistledown at 4:12 AM on June 20, 2016 [6 favorites]


Well, if nothing else the Battle of the Bastards seems to have taken care of the Wildling oversupply problem in the North. Poor Wunwun, you will be mourned.

We have Dark Sansa, and she is giving me the chills.
posted by arha at 4:20 AM on June 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


Thistledown: -"We need them to charge us so they can't attack us on the sides! HEY GUYS HEY GUYS FOLLOW ME LETS CHARGE THEM HEAD ON"

That was to highlight Jon's inability to react without emotion. He abandoned his battle plan and put himself in danger because of love & loyalty, as he's done before. Sansa is better at strategic thinking both on the field of battle an off, because she knew there weren't enough men so made a strategic alliance despite her anger with Littlefinger, and she wrote off Rickon despite her equal love for him. I wish she'd just brought out a butcher block and lopped off Ramsay's head in front of everyone, so the Wildlings could share in the justice and because I hate the idea that Sansa has been tainted by Ramsay's sadism, but I also won't begrudge Sansa her revenge.
posted by bluecore at 4:26 AM on June 20, 2016 [5 favorites]


When Jon stopped his best down, I fully expected Sansa to pipe up with "don't stop on my account... As you were" and watch until the bitter end.
posted by coriolisdave at 4:46 AM on June 20, 2016 [5 favorites]


Re: Rickon, I'm still not sure how I feel about that development--it does feel like a bit of a waste--but I recognize for plot reasons he had to die, simply because if he didn't we couldn't have Sansa as Lady of Winterfell, and that seems to be necessary for advancing the northern storyline. I think the thing I'm most looking forward to next week is seeing how she threads the needle in terms of figuring out how to deal with Littlefinger.

I also appreciated the pointed reminder from Tyrion in this episode about Aerys II's wildfire caches and his plans for them... the fact that they've repeatedly taken the trouble to hint at or directly remind the audience of that (Bran's vision, Qyburn's allusions, Tyrion's comment) throughout the season lends some credence to the Mad Queen Cersei theory for the last episode.
posted by Kosh at 4:46 AM on June 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


Will something happen to Jaime next episode? The Brotherhood came back into the plot for some reason, right?
posted by Alluring Mouthbreather at 5:09 AM on June 20, 2016


Brienne had to go south for a reason too - besides the obviously never going to happen stated reason. Maybe the reason was to setup a brief reunion with Jaime, but I suspect there's a Brienne / Brotherhood / Hound confrontation coming.

Clegarth Bowl II. Get hype.

This will mirror nicely with an out of control Mountain using Tommen as a club to kill the High Sparrow. Kinda.
posted by vbfg at 5:16 AM on June 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


I need assurance that Lady Mormont is alright.
posted by drezdn at 6:15 AM on June 20, 2016 [17 favorites]


Why did Dany et al leave those perfectly good flamberges in the dust in Meereen? Those were the kind of sword that the wildlings needed to break Bolton pikes, incidentally.

On a less absurdly nit-picky note, dragonfire was shown to be much more than a medieval flame-thrower: in that scene with Dany and her dragons, their fire was like a monstrous, supercharged blowtorch, frying the ships so intensely (and at some range!) that they shattered in half before they really even burned, or sank; that was an important and cool detail.
posted by clockzero at 6:18 AM on June 20, 2016 [6 favorites]


I was extremely glad the battle of winterfell didn't take up the whole episode because it was incredibly predictable. It looked cool but it went down more or less exactly as folks here and elsewhere had predicted. I've never much liked super dumb, wee little Jon Snow. He has not really developed at all since he was in the courtyard with Jamie in the first season.

The battle for Mareen was by far the more interesting development for me. It had politics and nuance and the exact beats of the development were not foreshadowed for 6 episodes.
posted by French Fry at 6:29 AM on June 20, 2016 [6 favorites]


So r+l reveal when we go to the crypt to bury Rickon?
posted by bfranklin at 6:40 AM on June 20, 2016 [4 favorites]


Yara as Queen of the Iron Islands. Dany as Queen of the (six? five?) Kingdoms. Ellaria and the Sand Snakes as Queens of Dorne. Any I'm missing?

Depending on how things proceed, the powers that shall prevail (my money's on an alliance between Sansa & Dany, aka Ice and Fire) could reward Brienne in the end with a kingqueendom. There are bound to be lots of places left without rulers after the final war & zombiecalypse. Arya could get one, too! Castles for everyone!

I bet Margaery will be back in the game soon, and she'll finagle her way out of the sinking ship that is the House Lannister/Baratheon. Couldn't she somehow end up as the ruler of the Reach? Ooh and after Dany goes west, surely she'll install Missandei as her steward(ess?) in Meereen.

And let's not forget little Lady Mormont on her island.

I foresee an ending to this series that will be often rewatched on Crone Island. (No I don't, really, but it would be great.)
posted by sively at 6:52 AM on June 20, 2016 [10 favorites]


Maybe the whole point of Jon screwing up the battle was to show that Jon is a godawful conqueror to mirror Dany being a godawful ruler, so they have complementary (lack of) skill sets. Except it isn't clear to me whether he's a good ruler or not, given that he was murdered by his own men. His decisions about the wildlings were right, but being right doesn't help much when you are dead. Maybe he's just a doofus like Mace Tyrell. If GRRM likes turning tropes on their head then that would fit; he's like Rudy playing the game of thrones.
posted by gatorae at 7:00 AM on June 20, 2016


lydhre: Though I still won't buy Ramsay killing Rickon Fucking Stark like a rabbit and not have the other Northern houses lose their shit. I mean, come on.

The burning flayed men were psychological warfare for the Bolton forces as much as they were for the enemy. Remember, he rules through fear. Also, the Northern houses have little love for the Starks (see: the northern lord who pointed out that the Starks pretty much abandoned them, and the Boltons were in power).


gatorae: Maybe the whole point of Jon screwing up the battle was to show that Jon is a godawful conqueror to mirror Dany being a godawful ruler

The mirror is that they both try to be logical and controlled (to varying degrees, Dany less than Jon), but both are driven by emotions when put on the spot. Ramsay vs Dany would have been a similar battle, where Ramsay loses only after goading Dany to action that causes major losses on her side.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:05 AM on June 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


gatorae: I guess that really was Shaggy Dog after all.... OR WAS IT?

Brandon Blatcher: It's been a while sense we've seen his head from what, episode 2 or 3? Yet it hasn't rotted. MAKES YOU WONDER.

I thought it was a de-tusked boar, TBH.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:09 AM on June 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


lalochezia: why yes, i can telepathically control my other dragons without riding them

Well, Rhaegal and Viserion were following the biggest sibling, Drogon. They're still pretty young and impressionable, so they do what Drogon does. Plus, he has mom, so he has to be doing the right thing.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:13 AM on June 20, 2016 [15 favorites]


poffin boffin: i hope [the cold open is] euron and gendry rowing around each other in circles while yakety sax plays

Yakety Sax is too upbeat, they've been out there for a while. I want them singing a duet of Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:19 AM on June 20, 2016


The morning after, I'm surprised they were so open about showing us Jon's limits as leader. He has had his moments, particularly with his wilding policy, but he is a deeply flawed commander. People, his people, died because of his foolishness.
posted by Alluring Mouthbreather at 7:21 AM on June 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


Just changed my email signature from "Regards" to "Happy Shitting."
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:24 AM on June 20, 2016 [21 favorites]


Sansa's choice to unleash Ramsay's hounds on him, although in character from what she endured, saddens me with how far she has drifted from being Ned's "he who judges should swing the sword" daughter.

It also a Stark contrast as to what Dany says to Yara: their fathers being awful and leaving the world a better place. Ridding the world of Ramsay is good, but no reason to debase yourself with his vileness. Do you want to be feared or respected
posted by 6ATR at 7:30 AM on June 20, 2016


Alluring Mouthbreather: The morning after, I'm surprised they were so open about showing us Jon's limits as leader.

I just realized he is a true Stark. Like Rob, he tossed aside a good plan for emotions, but he survived, unlike Rob.


6ATR: Ridding the world of Ramsay is good, but no reason to debase yourself with his vileness. Do you want to be feared or respected

The difference between Sansa's use of the hounds and Ramsay is that Sansa used them to prove that they're not so loyal as they are hungry, and she did it in the seclusion of jail cells (or wherever they were). Ramsay used the hounds in public, and in drawn-out chases for "sport," all to increase people's fear of him. Sansa could even say he died of mortal wounds, and no one would bat an eye at that (unlike Ramsay's murder of his father, which was quick to start rumors).
posted by filthy light thief at 7:34 AM on June 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


Also, Yara/Dany is shameless queerbaiting of the cheapest sort and I am nevertheless HERE FOR IT

I have never wanted anything from a TV show as much as I want a Dany / Yara sex scene. Make it so, HBO, and I will forgive you anything else that happens in the rest of this series.
posted by zebra at 7:37 AM on June 20, 2016 [8 favorites]


Dying to the hounds was how Ramsay had to die. It echoes perfectly how his father was killed by a crazed, hungry dog.
posted by explosion at 7:39 AM on June 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


I think the thing I'm most looking forward to next week is seeing how she threads the needle in terms of figuring out how to deal with Littlefinger.

he doesn't really seem to be planning ahead very well tbh. like the WHOLE REASON for a traditional year of mourning after the death of a husband isn't because boo hoo you loved him so much, it's to make sure that the next guy you marry knows whose heirs are whose. being like SANSA LET'S DO IT LET'S GET IT ON, while creepily petyrlike in that one respect, is not very well thought out in the practical sense.
posted by poffin boffin at 7:47 AM on June 20, 2016 [4 favorites]


I had a real problem with Ramsay's death. I know Sansa takes after the Tully side, but that was a thoroughly un-Stark thing to do. Ned must be turning in his grave. Yes, revenge is satisfying, but it makes you no better than the person who did awful things to you.

Oh, and putting Rickon in the crypt? Isn't there a theory that Jon learns the truth of his parentage by finding something in the crypt?

The battle was awesome in terms of cinematography and choreography, but I found a lot of the violence gratuitous. Plus there were too many face shots of Jon and Ramsay staring each other down.
posted by frecklefaerie at 7:52 AM on June 20, 2016


Well, if nothing else the Battle of the Bastards seems to have taken care of the Wildling oversupply problem in the North.

Congratulations, Jon, in trying to prevent a genocide of the Free Folk, because you acted like a complete idiot, you effectively caused a genocide of the Free Folk since their total population must be down to like 20 adult males and a few thousand women and children.

the fact that they've repeatedly taken the trouble to hint at or directly remind the audience of that (Bran's vision, Qyburn's allusions, Tyrion's comment) throughout the season lends some credence to the Mad Queen Cersei theory for the last episode.

It sure seems like it's going to happen. I also think that triggering it could be the thing that finally causes Jamie to turn on her, given his history with people who tried to blow up the entirety of King's Landing with wildfire.
posted by Copronymus at 7:56 AM on June 20, 2016 [6 favorites]


Oh, and putting Rickon in the crypt? Isn't there a theory that Jon learns the truth of his parentage by finding something in the crypt?

OOOOH, that is a good thought.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:58 AM on June 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


They seem to be telegraphing Sansa's "dark side" turn pretty hard over these past few episodes. Dark side isn't really the right word for it though... more like slightly less unalloyed good side. I think that in terms of exacting revenge against the traitor lords of the North, we're going to see her take on Cat's role.

It sure seems like it's going to happen. I also think that triggering it could be the thing that finally causes Jamie to turn on her, given his history with people who tried to blow up the entirety of King's Landing with wildfire.

Yeah, that seems like the direction it's taking. I noticed that when Tyrion was looking at the audience saying "HEY REMEMBER THIS?!" last night, he only mentioned two locations by name, and one of them was the Sept of Balor, which they've also gone out of the way to name as the location of the trial formerly known as by combat.
posted by codacorolla at 7:59 AM on June 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


So, since I guess the show is converging back with something resembling grrm's intended ending, does that mean that Sansa will soon be talking to Littlefinger as though he didn't marry her off to Ramsay? They already had the conversation where they lampshaded the "either a moron or my enemy" thing, so will they be back to their book relationship next week?
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 8:01 AM on June 20, 2016


I'm also re-watching Twin Peaks right now, and after Jon Snow's one man charge at an opposing army, James Hurley and him have merged in my mind into a singular, watery eyed, puppy-brained man child.
posted by codacorolla at 8:04 AM on June 20, 2016 [13 favorites]


that was a thoroughly un-Stark thing to do.

But not a thoroughly un-Catelyn thing to do. She's a Tully, too.
posted by mediareport at 8:11 AM on June 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


Did House Manderly ever show up in the TV version on either side of any of the battles involving House Bolton? I'm tempted to say that other than the Knights of the Vale, they have the only intact military force in the North and could be a powerful ally for Sansa, but I'm not sure if they even exist in the show.
posted by Alluring Mouthbreather at 8:48 AM on June 20, 2016


i wish there was a side-by-side wiki that did episode synopses detailing the episode action next to how it happened in the books (if at all).

i mean i don't REALLY need another horrible timesuck but whatevs.
posted by poffin boffin at 8:57 AM on June 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


Whether Sansa's actions were like a Stark or a like Tully is sort of missing the point; she is much more than the sum of her genetic parts. The question is whether or not her actions were Sansa-ish, and as Tyrion said earlier in the episode about Theon et al, it is now much more complicated for her. What a Stark needs to survive in this new world is a non-black-and-white way of thinking and an ability to bend (knees included, if it comes to that).

IMO it isn't that Jon is a bad leader or bad commander, but that he is still young and impulsive. Ramsay recognized that and exploited it. It's easy to say that a cold, battle-hardened commander would just shrug off something like seeing his long-lost brother killed in front of him, but calling Jon a dolt for his reaction is a bit unfair. His hot-tempered impulsivity is a weakness, but one I empathized with.
posted by tempestuoso at 8:59 AM on June 20, 2016 [9 favorites]


people all over the internet are all like SANSA SO COLD AND EBIL SHOULD HAVE TOLD JON ABOUT THE ALLIES INCOMING and I'm over here like...

1) she really has no idea when or even if LF would respond, plus

2) Ramsey sees a huge calvary coming and holes up in Winterfell, leaving a massive logistical problem of how to feed the siege troops on nothing but snow and ravens.
posted by lonefrontranger at 9:06 AM on June 20, 2016 [9 favorites]


I'm sure Sansa wanted to tell Jon but she was like 'ugh, if I tell him about the raven he's going to spend several hours brooding about it and I have had it up. to. HERE with his goddamn brooding face'
posted by prize bull octorok at 9:12 AM on June 20, 2016 [18 favorites]


gatorae, Sansa's exact quote is: “Your words will disappear. Your house will disappear. Your name will disappear. All memory of you will disappear.”
posted by zarq at 9:16 AM on June 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


You know, maybe I can forgive Wun-Wun being ineffective against those soldiers because, really, he's in the same boat as Tormund - he might be brave and strong but he's also a wildling who has never, ever seen anything like this before.

(Jon, maybe you should have drilled these guys more.)
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:18 AM on June 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


Did House Manderly ever show up in the TV version on either side of any of the battles involving House Bolton? I'm tempted to say that other than the Knights of the Vale, they have the only intact military force in the North and could be a powerful ally for Sansa, but I'm not sure if they even exist in the show.

House Manderly was namechecked early in the season, along with the Karstarks and the Umbers as being the three most powerful houses in the North after the Boltons. The Umbers and Karstarks were then made notable allies of Ramsay, and the Manderlys never mentioned again. I had a small hope they might show up alongside Litterfinger's army - even just the banner - but maybe we'll see them coming to bend the knee to Sansa, the Stark in Winterfell.

Because as far as I can see, in addition to House Bolton disappearing, House Karstark and Umber also ceased to exist after last night; there should be a bit of scramble for all remaining to pledge allegiance and see what there might be to gain in terms of lands and holding.
posted by nubs at 9:19 AM on June 20, 2016


When he was swatting at the pikes at the shield wall I kept wanting to yell "sweep the legs, Wun-Wun! Sweep the legs!"
posted by prize bull octorok at 9:23 AM on June 20, 2016 [8 favorites]


Maybe the whole point of Jon screwing up the battle was to show that Jon is a godawful conqueror to mirror Dany being a godawful ruler, so they have complementary (lack of) skill sets. Except it isn't clear to me whether he's a good ruler or not, given that he was murdered by his own men. His decisions about the wildlings were right, but being right doesn't help much when you are dead. Maybe he's just a doofus like Mace Tyrell. If GRRM likes turning tropes on their head then that would fit; he's like Rudy playing the game of thrones.

You know, this brings up a good point. Not that we haven't already been taking about it, but really, at this point, Sansa has been in a position to learn from most of the greatest schemers and manipulators in Westeros AND two of the absolute most despicable people. She learned from Margery and her grandmother, she learned from Littlefinger, and she indirectly learned from Cersei; and she was under the thumb of both Joffrey and Ramsay. She's gone from being the most naive person on the entire show (seriously, go back and watch the first two episodes) to being, arguably, the least naive. She would certainly be a better ruler than Jon, and arguably better than Dany as well.
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:26 AM on June 20, 2016 [17 favorites]


She's gone from being the most naive person on the entire show (seriously, go back and watch the first two episodes) to being, arguably, the least naive. She would certainly be a better ruler than Jon, and arguably better than Dany as well.

Littlefinger: "Do you perchance recall what I said to you that day your father sat the Iron Throne?”

The moment came back to her vividly.

Sansa: “You told me that life was not a song. That I would learn that one day, to my sorrow.” She felt tears in her eyes, but whether she wept for Ser Dontos Hollard, for Joff, for Tyrion, or for herself, Sansa could not say. “Is it all lies, forever and ever, everyone and everything?”

“Almost everyone. Save you and I, of course.” He smiled
posted by lalochezia at 9:31 AM on June 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


poffin boffin, the The Got wiki has a bunch of information on every episode, and their analyses in the Notes section will often highlight differences between the books and the show. When I was creating fanfare rewatch threads for the first four season, I relied on it heavily.

Their section on the North and Mereen in this episode contains some info cribbed from Entertainment Weekly and other info from the episode's Behind the Scenes featurette. Needless to say, it's filled with episode spoilers.

The North

* The production team was very excited that the "Battle of the Bastards" featured in this episode is the largest on-screen battle they have ever been able to depict, due to a significantly increased budget from HBO over the years - in contrast with how they originally intended to depict the Battle of the Green Fork on-screen in Season 1, but later found that they simply didn't have the budget at the time so they had to leave its events off-screen. Even the budget for Season 2 averaged about $6 million per episode, and the showrunners infamously had to beg HBO for an additional $2 million to complete the Battle of the Blackwater sequence that year. While exact budget figures for Season 6 are unclear, it is known that the budget now averaged about $10 million per episode - $100 million for a 10 episode season. Of course, the budget probably wasn't evenly distributed across the whole season, and a considerable amount was spent realizing the Battle of the Bastards.

* Director Miguel Sapochnik said of filming such a large-scale battle for the TV series: "David [Benioff] and Dan [Weiss] wanted to do a thing of spectacle, a strategic pitchfield battle they hadn't had the resources to do back in season 1 or 2. I was particularly interested in depicting both the horror of war and the role of luck in battle."

* Miguel Sapochnik previously directed Season 5's "Hardhome", featuring the Massacre at Hardhome sequence, which is why the showrunners felt confident putting him in charge of such a major battle sequence in this episode.

* The entire Battle of the Bastards sequence took 25 days to film (including not just the fight scenes but all major character interactions in that subplot). Most hour-long TV drama episodes only take about 10-12 days to film one entire episode. Four separate camera crews were needed.

* The Battle of the Bastards required 600 crewmembers to film (from cameramen to props masters to the costumes department), 500 extras, and 25 professional stuntmen (for close-up shots).

* Another element that the production team was very happy about is that this is the first battle in the TV series which actually depicts cavalry columns charging on-screen (previously they were only mentioned as occurring off-screen). Using large numbers of Horses to film cavalry charges is very expensive, particularly for TV shows instead of feature films. For filming the Battle of the Bastards, no less than 70 horses were used on-location: they didn't simply use only a dozen horses then digitally double them up seven times over - 70 live horses actually appear on-screen. Another complication is that heavy rains in Northern Ireland made the ground at the filming site too muddy to charge on, so the production team had to lay about 160 tons of gravel over the field to give the horses some traction.

* During the melee sequence in the first phase of the battle, the camera follows Jon Snow around through the chaos of the battle in a tracking shot that lasts for an uninterrupted 60 seconds (though there are a few split-second moments when horses run in front of the camera which may have been used to hide shifts between different takes).

* In the Inside the Episode featurette, the showrunners state that one of the visual cues they incorporated into the episode was taken from the real-life Battle of Cannae between the Roman Republic and the Carthaginians under Hannibal. In that battle, Hannibal's smaller army totally surrounded the slower Roman heavy infantry, until thousands of Roman soldiers were standing in a giant circle literally being crushed into each other, shoulder to shoulder: the men on the edges being killed by enemy spears, while the men in the middle were totally trapped by the great press of the human wall and unable to move. Similarly, when the Stark forces are surrounded by the Bolton shield wall in this episode, they are totally crushed against each other, and Jon has to struggle to fight his way up just to breath.

* The Romans at Cannae were caught in a classic double envelopment. Jon Snow himself mentions this maneuver by name in the episode, and indeed his plan was similar to Hannibal's: half the center of their line make a feigned retreat to allow their flanks to circle around the enemy's sides (though it became a common goal for tacticians ever since Hannibal). Jon hoped to anger Ramsay enough to attack him head on to lure him into this. As the episode demonstrates, Jon doesn't understand that Ramsay has a great low cunning when it comes to laying traps for other people, and Ramsay ends up luring Jon's army into a double envelopment by killing Rickon in front of him.

* Ramsay Bolton never actually fights with a sword in the entire battle - he only uses a bow and arrow to toy with his enemies. This is in line with a point from the novels: Ramsay has absolutely no military training, and isn't actually a proficient swordsman. He isn't a coward, and he will brazenly charge at enemies, but he has no formal technique, and cannot hope to compare to a formally trained swordsman like Jon Snow. In the novels, Stannis points out that all Ramsay does is sadistically torture prisoners who cannot possibly fight back against him - he's never actually fought anyone in direct combat. Roose comments that Ramsay lacks form or finesse, wields his sword like a meat cleaver; it is because Reek (the original) was his only tutor, and Reek himself was never trained at arms.

* The TV show invented a scene in Season 4 of Ramsay fighting off a raid by Yara's ironborn on the Dreadfort, bare-chested and wielding daggers, but even this was more of a surprise raid than formal combat, and his guards outnumbered her small raiding force.

* In the "Inside the Episode" featurette, the showrunners explain a major point about Ramsay Bolton's reactions from when the army of the Vale shows up onwards: Ramsay cannot mentally process that he is losing. This explains his bizarre lack of fear up until almost the moment of his death: he is so used to sadistically torturing people he has complete control over in his dungeons that when a situation finally goes beyond his control, he cannot mentally accept the reality of what is happening - instead he just continues to hold on to the confidence that somehow, he'll be able to employ cunning and tricks to get out of this, until it becomes an outright break with reality:

* When Ramsay's army gets caught out of formation and totally destroyed by the knights of the Vale, he tries to wave it off by saying that he still has Winterfell and it can withstand a siege - even though the army of the Vale, tens of thousands strong, is at the least going to besiege the castle, this makes him look weak enough that the rest of the North will rise up against him, and there is no hope of the Lannisters sending him any aid. His remaining general realizes that all is lost even if they still have Winterfell for the moment, but Ramsay seems almost glib about it.

* Ramsay seems almost serious, not sarcastic, when he tells Jon he now "accepts" his offer of personal combat - despite being surrounded by Jon's soldiers with bows pointed at him, Ramsay is still smiling at the situation as if this isn't the end.

* Ramsay continues to grin as Jon beats him to a pulp - apparently because he thinks Jon is venting his anger but won't actually kill him. Even at this point Ramsay is still totally confident that he'll get out of this somehow.

* The Inside the Episode featurette directly states that the reason Jon stops before he can beat Ramsay to death with his bare hands is not out of some sense that sparing him is the honorable thing to do, but specifically because he looks over at Sansa and realizes she has more right to kill Ramsay than he does. Ramsay apparently continues to smirk through this because he incorrectly interprets this as that the Starks are going to spare him.

* Even when Ramsay is tied up in a chair in the kennels, he is still filled with his habitual confidence that he can just trick his way out of this somehow, that for whatever reason the universe won't let the Starks kill him now. He seems outright surprised when Sansa points out that his own dogs will indeed eat him because he starved them for a week. Only at the moment that the dogs start biting him, for a precious few seconds before he dies, does Ramsay know fear and realize he isn't going to survive this.

* According to Dan Weiss in the Inside the Episode featurette, the original draft of the episode had Jon's final confrontation with Ramsay occur on the battlefield, once he penetrated to the very rear of the Bolton lines where Ramsay was. In subsequent drafts they decided that it had more dramatic resonance for Jon to actually confront (and then pummel) Ramsay inside the courtyard of Winterfell itself, given that this whole battle is about the Starks fighting to retake their home - thus the final confrontation occurs within their home castle.

* According to Sansa, House Bolton died with Ramsay. No other relatives or cousins have been mentioned in the novels either, so if Ramsay indeed kills Roose (and Walda's baby) in the next novel, this would apparently make him the last living Bolton - directly because he killed all the others.

* Additionally, it is unknown if there are other members of House Umber in the TV continuity now that Smalljon Umber is dead (there were other sons and uncles in the novels). The fate of House Karstark is unknown, as it is unclear if Harald Karstark survived the battle.

* We have no idea if Rickon Stark will actually die in the next novel, or if this is a condensation of the TV adaptation. In the books, Rickon is hiding out on Skagos, a remote island off the northeast coast of the North itself, and has not been captured by the Boltons - though it is always possible that he may be captured at some point in the next novel, or perhaps be killed by someone else (not necessarily in this fashion).

* On the other hand, the fact that George R.R. Martin named Rickon's direwolf "Shaggydog" may have been a clue all along that even in the books, Rickon isn't going to live to be the heir to Winterfell. A "Shaggydog" is a literary term for a long-running and seemingly significant plot thread which ultimately doesn't go anywhere, subverting audience expectations (the opposite of a Chekhov's Gun). By the end of the fifth novel, it appears that Bran Stark will stay north of the Wall with the Children of the Forest, and that Rickon is going to return to rally the Northern Houses against the Boltons. It would be in keeping with Martin's penchant for unexpected plot twists if in the next novel, it turns out that Rickon actually dies, and - as in this season of the TV series - Bran Stark will actually head back south of the Wall again.

* Rickon Stark had no speaking lines in Season 6. He hasn't had any since he separated from Bran Stark in the Season 3 finale. Of the youngest child actors introduced in Season 1, however, only Art Parkinson (Rickon) has stayed with the TV show all the way through Season 6. The other two very young children from Season 1 were Tommen Baratheon and Myrcella Baratheon, both of which were later recast (their original actors only recurred through Season 2).

* Jon says they will bury Rickon in the crypts beneath Winterfell, next to their father Eddard Stark. In the books, Tyrion agreed to send Ned's remains back North as a sign of good faith, but the Northmen envoys taking them back up the Kingsroad never arrived at Winterfell - they may be trapped somewhere in the Riverlands. Similarly, in the TV version Catelyn is seen receiving Ned's bones in Season 2, sent by Tyrion as a sign of good faith, but it is unclear if they were successfully transported back to the North in the middle of the major front in the war.

* Sansa Stark never even met Ramsay Bolton in the novels, much less married him. This was a heavy condensation of the TV series with a different character, Sansa's best friend Jeyne Poole, who was passed off as Arya so Ramsay could claim the North through her (the Boltons and Lannisters didn't know what happened to either of the Stark girls). As such, Sansa probably won't directly oversee Ramsay's death in the books like this - though even in the books it may turn out to be poetic justice that he will ultimately die when someone feeds him to his own starving dogs (the Bastard's girls), given how infamously he has used them to kill dozens of his victims and hunted girls for sport with them.

* In the novels, the Bolton army is supplemented by forces from the Northern vassal Houses that only grudgingly serve them, such as House Manderly and elements of House Umber, but these vassals are actually planning to betray the Boltons when a crucial moment presents itself (i.e. by changing sides mid-battle). In this episode, Jon Snow even points out that Ramsay Bolton's army only serves him out of fear, don't like or respect him, and would abandon him if the opportunity presented itself. Ultimately this has no impact on the final version of events in the TV episode: Smalljon Umber actively fights for Ramsay, never betrays him, and dies fighting in the battle. The only hint of this thematic point is when Sansa later points out that Ramsay starved and mistreated his hunting dogs so much that they will eat him, even though he blindly insists that they are "loyal" to him.

* With the death of Wun Wun, it's possible that the race of Giants is now extinct.

* Davos Seaworth finds the burned wooden stag he made for Shireen Baratheon, next to an old pyre, and realizes that Melisandre burned her alive. On set, Liam Cunningham (Davos) actually let Kerry Ingram (Shireen) keep that specific carved stag - this burned one must be a duplicate prop.
posted by zarq at 9:32 AM on June 20, 2016 [25 favorites]


So, since I guess the show is converging back with something resembling grrm's intended ending, does that mean that Sansa will soon be talking to Littlefinger as though he didn't marry her off to Ramsay? They already had the conversation where they lampshaded the "either a moron or my enemy" thing, so will they be back to their book relationship next week?

Back in S5E6, Littlfinger's proposal to Cersei was to lead the army of the Vale to the North after Stannis and Boltons had fought, kill the victor while they were licking their wounds and in turn be named Warden of the North.

"I will not rest until the Lion flies over Winterfell."
"And I'll know your a man of your word when I see Sansa Stark's head on a spike."

Now, Cersei's situation has changed a fair amount, but how aware of that is Littlefinger? I suspect he's going to see just how hostile Sansa is and then make a decision about which way to try to play this.
posted by nubs at 9:37 AM on June 20, 2016 [8 favorites]


More from the GoT wiki:

In Meereen

* The Second Siege of Meereen appears to be playing out slightly differently than this in preview chapters from the unpublished sixth novel. The Unsullied and Second Sons counter-attack against the slaver-alliance from within Meereen (as in the episode). Daenerys Targaryen hasn't returned on her dragon yet (to attack the slavers from the air), nor has she brought the Dothraki horde to Meereen, though this will probably occur. One element curiously omitted from the TV version is that in the books the Greyjoy fleet arrives right in the middle of the battle, attacking the slaver-alliance's fleet from behind, pinning them between two fronts. Thus, it appears that in the book version, the slaver alliance is going to be boxed in from four directions: the Unsullied/freedmen/Second Sons army coming out of the city, the Dothraki mounted horde coming out of the mountains to the east, Daenerys on her dragon from the sky, and the ironborn fleet arriving from the west. The TV version doesn't mention the arrival of the Greyjoy fleet, they simply appear in the next scene in the throne room having already arrived in the city.

* In the "Inside the Episode" featurette, the showrunners point out that while they play it for comedy, Tyrion Lannister's botched attempt at an explanation to Daenerys upon her return to Meereen is meant to be accurate: he did do a good job of stabilizing rule over the city, and if he hadn't there would have been nothing left but ashes by the time she came back; indeed the whole reason that the slaver alliance is launching a full scale attack is because his rule of Meereen was going so well that they were feeling truly threatened by it. The joke is that it's difficult for him to summarize an entire season's worth of subplot that Daenerys wasn't present for in just a few sentences, so when it comes tumbling out of his mouth all at once it seems incredulous at first.

* The other slave-masters say that Yezzan zo Qaggaz is lowborn compared to them - he is an aristocrat and a slave-owner but apparently not a very high-ranking one. In the books, Yezzan was actually one of the lead slaver-masters from Yunkai, but the TV version drastically condensed this and basically just re-used the name. It isn't even clear which of the slaver-cities TV-Yezzan is supposed to be from: in the books he was from Yunkai, but he is only seen at Meereen in Season 5 (though Yunkish slave-masters do trade in Meereen), then in Season 6 he apparently fell into representing the newly reconstituted slave-masters in Astapor. Apparently the TV version of Yezzan is a low-ranking slave-master who just travels between the three cities buying and selling, not a member of one of the old and powerful aristocratic families that is rooted into one place (as he is in the novels).

* In the backstory from the novels, there have been several naval battles in the past during which dragons were deployed against enemy ships - given that all ships in this medieval era are made of wood, and therefore flammable, these generally tended to be one-sided affairs. A single dragon can wipe out an entire fleet. During the Targaryen Conquest, Visenya Targaryen used Vhagar to destroy the entire fleet of the Vale on her own. The largest naval battle in the Dance of the Dragons, the Battle of the Gullet, involved a massive fleet sent by an alliance of the Free Cities against Dragonstone, but two thirds of the fleet was destroyed by a force of five dragons and their riders.

* Tyrion Lannister accurately recalls to Theon Greyjoy that they previously encountered each other at Winterfell, back in Season 1 episode 4 "Cripples, Bastards and Broken Things". Incidentally, their scene in that episode was also the only time that the existence of Theon's uncle Euron Greyjoy was alluded to in the TV series before Season 6, though Tyrion phrased it vaguely by referring to Theon's "uncles", but not naming them.

* Tyrion seems to note with some sympathy now that Theon was an outsider amongst the Starks - alluding to the fact that Tyrion was always considered an outsider among the Lannisters.

* Daenerys asks Yara Greyjoy if the Iron Islands have ever had a queen, and she responds no more than all of Westeros ever has (on the Iron Throne). Technically this is true: the only woman who ever tried to claim the Iron Throne in her own right was Rhaenyra Targaryen, who lived 170 years ago, but her younger half-brother usurped the throne ahead of her (claiming that male heirs always take precedence over female ones), leading to the disastrous civil war known as the Dance of the Dragons. As part of the peace agreement between the two factions at the end of the war, it was ruled that Rhaenyra would retroactively not be included in the official list of monarchs but be considered only a rival claimant (even though Rhaenyra actually sat the Iron Throne for about half a year). Thus, in the present day, there has never officially been a ruling queen on the Iron Throne.

* Tyrion points out that Yara and Theon's fleet contains 100 ships, but the "Iron Fleet" should have more ships in it than that - and they explain that their uncle Euron has taken over the rest of the Iron Islands. This is a little more complicated in the books: the "Iron Fleet" is the national fleet of the Iron Islands, sworn directly to the ruler of all the isles, but each of the major vassal Houses have their own local fleets. The Iron Fleet in the novels in fact consists of about 100 ships at any given time, but they are the best ships and crews in the islands - three times the size of their normal raiding ships. When Yara and Theon fled with the ship captains loyal to them earlier this season, it was remarked that they "took our best ships". Thus there are in fact only about 100 ships in the "Iron Fleet" itself (large and elite ships), but "all the fleets in the Iron Islands" number considerably more ships - but they are not considered to be part of the "Iron Fleet".

* When seizing the slaver-alliance's surviving ships, Tyrion remarks that "our queen likes ships" - echoing the same line that Daario Naharis gave back in Season 4, when he said the Second Sons had captured Meereen's local fleet. At the time, he said they captured 93 ships - which is exactly how many ships in the Iron Fleet are heading to Meereen at the end of the fifth novel. This was therefore taken as a hint at the time that the TV series might be omitting the Greyjoy subplot entirely, as Daenerys already had the same amount of ships. Subsequently it was confirmed that the TV show would in fact last through Season 8, not only Season 7, and the Greyjoy Kingsmoot subplot was put back into the TV adaptation for Season 6 - hence why the Meereenese fleet which Daenerys acquired in the TV version only was abruptly burned by the Sons of the Harpy in early Season 5, to make the arrival of the Greyjoy fleet necessary again.

* In the books, Yara and Theon don't go to Slaver's Bay at all - their other uncle, Victarion, was sent east by Euron. Victarion hates Euron and plans to seize Daenerys for himself and overthrow Euron when he returns to Westeros - the TV series condensed this by omitting Victarion entirely and giving his subplot to Yara and Theon (albeit they are related subplots). Instead of secretly planning to betray Euron once making an alliance with Daenerys like Victarion did, this was simply changed to Yara and Theon openly turning against Euron, fleeing with the Iron Fleet to Meereen and hoping to return to overthrow him.

* Daenerys says that even if she accepts the Iron Islands' independence - which she hasn't yet - the ironborn must promise to stop raiding and reaving along the coasts of Westeros. Yara protests that it is their way of life, but Daenerys insists they can't keep doing it. Actually, Daenerys's own Targaryen ancestors made Yara's Greyjoy ancestors stop reaving after they came to power, and the ironborn remained forbidden from raiding ships in Westeros's own home waters as long as they were subject to the Iron Throne, even during Robert Baratheon's reign. A major tenet of the order and stability brought by three centuries of Targaryen rule is that they kept the ironborn in line and put a firm end to their raiding of the shipping lanes. The Targaryens did allow the ironborn to raid foreign waters, but that meant having to sail far away from home, against dangerous foreign fleets in the Free Cities and Slaver's Bay. The ironborn saw these restrictions on their sacred cultural customs (reaving, pillaging, and stealing on the high seas) as "mainland tyranny" that they were chafing under. Thus while reaving and raiding is the ideal of the ironborn way of life, they haven't been doing it for centuries until Balon Greyjoy declared them independent again.

* A point comes up regarding Yara's sexuality: two episodes ago Yara was kissing a female prostitute in Volantis and said she was going to have sex with her. When asked, George R.R. Martin directly confirmed that she actually isn't bisexual in the books, nor has she ever experimented with women - though she is very sexually adventurous with men, unusually for a highborn woman, fitting her overall tomboy persona (her father raised her as a surrogate son). Several female characters in the novels, however, actually did experiment with having sex with other women: Cersei had sex with one of her handmaidens in a drunken fog (and didn't really enjoy it), while Daenerys herself had sex with her handmaiden Irri at one point, apparently experimenting with it.

* It is therefore unclear if the TV series is trying to add some subtext to how Daenerys is impressed with Yara in their scenes in this episode: Daenerys is bisexual (or at least "experimenting") in the novels, and while book-Yara isn't bisexual, TV-Yara has been directly established as bisexual. The possibility cannot be dismissed out of hand: in the behind the scenes featurettes, Emilia Clarke (Daenerys) does remark that "there's mild flirtation, which is exciting to say the least" (it is uncertain if she was being serious).

* Tyrion rather prominently brings up again the revelation Jaime gave in Season 3 that her father, the Mad King Aerys II Targaryen, actually planned to spite the rebels when he was losing Robert's Rebellion by burning King's Landing down with caches of wildfire he had hidden throughout the city. In the books, when Jaime told Brienne about the Wildfire plot while they were in Harrenhal was explicitly the first time he ever told anyone about it (he never even told Cersei). In this episode, Tyrion says that Jaime told him about it at some point - probably just to reintroduce this to the audience, though it's plausible that after making the big move of his first confession to Brienne, and still deeply shaken by losing his sword-hand, he later told Tyrion about it at some point off-screen in Season 4.

* Bran Stark's visions earlier in Season 6 included a shot of a large underground store room filled with barrels of wildfire exploding. In the previous episode, Jaime remarked that Cersei would burn a city to ashes for her children, while in that same episode Qyburn told Cersei that his spies confirmed an old rumor she inquired about. It seems highly probable that this is all setup that Cersei actually found some of the old wildfire caches and intends to detonate them to destroy the Great Sept and core membership of the Faith Militant.
posted by zarq at 9:37 AM on June 20, 2016 [11 favorites]


I thought it was interesting to see the telegraphing that Snow is alive for the purpose of the Lord of the Light - he walked through that battle unscathed, with recurrent miraculous escapes around him like he'd drunk a freaking felix felicis potion (well, one that had gone a bit funky given his brother's slaughter...)

The first guy Jon knocked off a horse with Longclaw flew back about 15 feet, and wasn't cut even though Jon's sword is razor sharp. I can only conclude that the Lord of Light has imbued Jon with telekinesis, which Jon was using unconsciously.
posted by homunculus at 9:47 AM on June 20, 2016 [4 favorites]


She's gone from being the most naive person on the entire show (seriously, go back and watch the first two episodes) to being, arguably, the least naive. She would certainly be a better ruler than Jon, and arguably better than Dany as well.

Which is why I think/hope that this ends not with someone new with their ass parked on the Iron Throne, but with a different system of governance in place that recognizes that putting it all on one person leads to problems. The series is littered with examples of the issue- people in over their heads, not ready, not understanding something critical, just plain psychotic, and so forth. Dany is a conqueror and really good at the dramatic mic drop moments of fucking shit up. Sansa gets the psychological and social aspects of ruling. Tyrion has a practical political mind for negotiations (at least in Westeros, I'm not wholly convinced by his performance in Meereen). Jon apparently inspires something in the people who follow him, though he knows nothing.

What if the winning move in the Game of Thrones is to chuck the throne?
posted by nubs at 9:51 AM on June 20, 2016 [8 favorites]


the The Got wiki has a bunch of information on every episode,

I HAVE NEVER EVEN SEEN THAT WIKI how many wikis are there oh my god
posted by poffin boffin at 9:54 AM on June 20, 2016 [5 favorites]


There should be a wiki to keep track of the wikis
posted by nubs at 9:55 AM on June 20, 2016 [3 favorites]




It is therefore unclear if the TV series is trying to add some subtext to how Daenerys is impressed with Yara in their scenes in this episode

That did not seem unclear at all.
posted by mediareport at 10:03 AM on June 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


That did not seem unclear at all.

I wasn't sure if it was interest or just amusement at a marriage proposal from a different angle than what Dany usually hears.
posted by nubs at 10:19 AM on June 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


prize bull octorok- how would he easily sweep the legs though? those phalanx shields have long spikes set into the base to brace them; their legs were never exposed. the camera closeup went to great pains to show the phalanx advancing in lockstep via digging the shield spikes into the ground to form an immovable barrier.

granted Wun Wun should have been armed but it didn't look like there were many trees in the immediate area.
posted by lonefrontranger at 10:20 AM on June 20, 2016


I wasn't sure if it was interest or just amusement at a marriage proposal from a different angle than what Dany usually hears.

Bit of both, seemed like.
posted by mediareport at 10:20 AM on June 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


Bit of both, seemed like.

Yeah, Daario's back in town too.
posted by nubs at 10:25 AM on June 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


I HAVE NEVER EVEN SEEN THAT WIKI how many wikis are there oh my god

Yeah, it's almost entirely focused on the show and as a result is less content-dense than A Wiki of Ice and Fire. They also do a nice job of making connections between events in past and current episodes.
posted by zarq at 10:33 AM on June 20, 2016


Yeah, Daario's back in town too.

Oh God, I'd forgotten about the terrible book Daario subplot. Please replicate the siege of Meereen and cut that mercifully short, D&D.
posted by codacorolla at 10:44 AM on June 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


Yeah, Daario's back in town too.

Now every time I see him on screen I'll think of Thin Lizzy.
posted by juiceCake at 11:14 AM on June 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


#notmydaario
posted by redsparkler at 11:27 AM on June 20, 2016 [2 favorites]




Oh God, I'd forgotten about the terrible book Daario subplot. Please replicate the siege of Meereen and cut that mercifully short, D&D

I have this beautiful vision of Yara chasing him off with a rake. Then she takes Dany's hand and the two if them wander off to get ice cream.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 11:40 AM on June 20, 2016 [9 favorites]


I had a real problem with Ramsay's death. I know Sansa takes after the Tully side, but that was a thoroughly un-Stark thing to do. Ned must be turning in his grave. Yes, revenge is satisfying, but it makes you no better than the person who did awful things to you.

No better? Really?? I mean, Ramsay brutally tortured dozens (hundreds?) of people purely for his own amusement or power. Sansa did something that had to be done (there was no way the Starks could keep him alive) and yes, she did it more brutally than her father would have, but I really can't see how that makes her the same as him - seems like a real false equivalency.

I think the thing here is that Ned's brand of nobility just doesn't work in Westeros as it is "now." It may have worked in the era of relative peace and security before the war that overthrew the Mad King, but frankly, Ned served his family, and his realm, pretty poorly by being so blindly attached to these ideals. But I think this season shows also that it's not purely a matter of Might making Right, or Ramsey would still be in Winterfell, and alive. I think Sansa is well-positioned to be a really effective leader at this point, because she has just enough of all the people who have influenced her - Ned's sense of justice, Cat's fierceness, Littlefinger's savvy, and maybe a little bit of Ramsey's heartlessness.
posted by lunasol at 11:54 AM on June 20, 2016 [9 favorites]


Oh God, I'd forgotten about the terrible book Daario subplot.

What was it? Because a steamy, sensitively portrayed three-way between Dany, Yara and Daario is pretty much exactly what this show needs right now.
posted by mediareport at 11:56 AM on June 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


Why do people hate the Daario plot so much? On reddit they seem to hate it because they'd rather Dany get together with nerdy Quentyn or MRA-stand-in Victarion, but I don't get it outside that icky context.
posted by lunasol at 12:04 PM on June 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


During the interminable period in the books when she was holed up in Meereen, she spent a lot of time mooning over Daario, and because the books use the POV format, we have to endure chapters and chapters of "sigh... my beautiful Daario!" when we're all just screaming "god damn it Dany forget about Daario and handle your shit!"

Also book Daario has ridiculous blue anime hair if I recall correctly.
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:08 PM on June 20, 2016 [11 favorites]


I just went and checked. Daario is supposed to have a three-pronged beard and curly hair, all dyed blue to match his blue eyes, and he paints the tips of his mustache gold to match his gold tooth and the gold naked ladies on the blades he carries everywhere and constantly strokes. Daario is a completely ridiculous character in the books.
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:11 PM on June 20, 2016 [17 favorites]


Hm. Well, then, a three-way with no-bullshit Yara seems even more like just the right thing.
posted by mediareport at 12:12 PM on June 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


Yes, revenge is satisfying, but it makes you no better than the person who did awful things to you.

Sansa was held against.her will and emotionally brutalized by Jeffrey. She was forced to watch her father die. She was rescued, and then the person who saved her was killed in front of her. Then the person who orchestrated the rescue essentially sold her to a violent psychopath, who subjected her to every kind of violation and torture before murdering her younger brother.

She loses exactly zero points with me for what she did to Ramsay.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 12:14 PM on June 20, 2016 [22 favorites]


I think the thing here is that Ned's brand of nobility just doesn't work in Westeros as it is "now." It may have worked in the era of relative peace and security before the war that overthrew the Mad King, but frankly, Ned served his family, and his realm, pretty poorly by being so blindly attached to these ideals.

Ned's brand of nobility never really worked; it worked for him for a time, when he was Lord of the North, with the loyalty of all his houses and no real outside pressure on him, he could play the noble lord, dispensing justice where needed. In an artificial situation, in other words. As soon as there was any pressure, he was in trouble and he knew it - which is why he went to Littlefinger in an attempt to secure the city watch before making his bid for control. He didn't want to do it, and couldn't do it himself, but he was also not blind to the fact that he couldn't expect honor to prevail at that moment...so he outsourced the need for force to an incredibly untrustworthy source. The first book has a lot of references to the fact that Ned is trusting exactly the wrong person in Littlefinger - in virtually every scene they have together Littlefinger professes how untrustworthy he is, while Ned distrusts Varys right from moment one, and Varys never does a single thing to earn that distrust.

But I think this season shows also that it's not purely a matter of Might making Right, or Ramsey would still be in Winterfell, and alive.

Ramsay is out of Winterfell because in the end Team Sansa had the greater force. Might won. It feels good, because Sansa is much more on the side of Right than Ramsay, but from where I sit, it was still Might that won.
posted by nubs at 12:16 PM on June 20, 2016 [2 favorites]




The first book has a lot of references to the fact that Ned is trusting exactly the wrong person in Littlefinger

Hell, show Littlefinger flat-out told Ned not to trust him. Jon is really a chip off the ol' block. Except by all accounts Lyanna was not a dummo, so maybe it's only the male Starks who get the dummo gene.
posted by Justinian at 12:23 PM on June 20, 2016 [4 favorites]


Why do people hate the Daario plot so much? On reddit they seem to hate it because they'd rather Dany get together with nerdy Quentyn or MRA-stand-in Victarion, but I don't get it outside that icky context.

I don't want Daeny with any of them, necessarily, but I disliked that plot because it as essentially ~300 pages of her sulking, moping, thinking, and then not doing anything. Don't be fooled by my criticism of the show, I really didn't like most of the last two books either. It's the same problem that Tyrion had in the book: a languorous, self reflective journey to nowhere, with barely any movement forward in either character or plot.

In many ways GRRM has the precise opposite problem of the show writers: instead of having to condense everything into 16 hours, he has effectively infinite space to sprawl out into these character digressions that aren't very satisfying. In the middle there's an enjoyable story. Maybe when GOT gets adapted in 20 years as a holotape we can finally get a competent merging of the two.
posted by codacorolla at 12:26 PM on June 20, 2016 [7 favorites]


What if the winning move in the Game of Thrones is to chuck the throne?

I think there's a slight chance that in the finale Dany will have her last dragon* lift the Iron Throne out of the throne room and drop it in the sea.

*Like the CotF and the giants, I assume all magical creatures will be dead by the end of the show, except maybe Nymeria.
posted by homunculus at 12:29 PM on June 20, 2016


Thrones stages an epic battle, but to what end?

I read that one last night. I usually agree with Myles but in this case I think he's missing some of what was going on in the episode. It's weird, a couple recappers agree with him (thought not quite to the same extent) while some of the others I read thought it was superb.

I tend to agree with Sean Collins at Rolling Stone in his recap. Yes, there was some inevitability about this battle but I thought, as Collins says, that the whole thing was suffused with an air of dread and suffocation. And the implications for the Sansa/Jon relationship and Littlefinger's position in the North are very large, something I think glossed over in McNutt's piece.
posted by Justinian at 12:30 PM on June 20, 2016


Maybe when GOT gets adapted in 20 years as a holotape we can finally get a competent merging of the two.

Given the unique shortcomings of the current era of fantasy publishing (namely, the more popular you are the less editing you get), I am hoping that there's some future trend of hotshot editors doing streamlined edits of fantasy series. Like give me a Harry Potter series that's 2/3 the length and has an internally consistent magical society. And less-stupid Quidditch rules. It wouldn't diminish the originals, I don't think. Hell when people produce Shakespeare plays these days they often cut out huge chunks of them for length or because they wouldn't make sense to a modern audience.
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:36 PM on June 20, 2016 [13 favorites]


Exactly. A more recent version I was thinking of is Dickens. He was writing with a specific format in mind (the newspaper serial story). In later adaptations we've gotten versions that have changed format, cut for time, modernized it... GOT is one of the most watched TV shows ever. I think given the proper perspective of time we're going to see interesting reinterpretations of the core story by people who grew up watching it as teens and young adults, which are able to move past structural problems inherent in either genre (phonebook sized contemporary fantasy novels, and "prestige" television).
posted by codacorolla at 12:41 PM on June 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


I usually agree with Myles but in this case I think he's missing some of what was going on in the episode.

Yeah, I felt like he was missing some key elements. This was inevitable, yes, and it lacked the moral ambiguity of previous big battles - but as the show rushes towards the final events, moral ambiguity has been removed in a lot of other places and situations. Jon's taunting attempt at a duel is an opening move in the psychological duel between the two, one which Ramsay wins. Jon's anger at Ramsay doesn't just stem from Rickon and Sansa, but his own grapples with death and being put in a place where he (a) had to kill and (b) could have died; I found an interesting contrast between his suicidal lone-wolf charge at the open of the battle, and then his struggle to get to his feet again and to reach for the light as the darkness crowded around. I think there was part of Jon at the start of this fight that wanted to die - hence his conversation with Melisandre to not bring him back - but by the end of it, he was fighting to get out of a position of certain death, fighting to live, forcing his way back up and into the light.
posted by nubs at 12:51 PM on June 20, 2016 [14 favorites]


Rickon's ignominious death (and Osha's before) really highlights what a mess the plot of this story is. Even the abbreviated TV version has some really awkward loose ends. I have to imagine when they started writing this season they were like "oh shit GRRM left this Stark boy out in the wilderness somewhere, last seen on Skagos an island we've never even mentioned. We have to do something to finish him off". And so we have this dumb plot element offering Jon Snow another chance to be dumb. Osha's fate on the TV show is even worse. She was too popular a character to just quietly write off, so they give her a 30 second clumsy assassination attempt. The End. Just awful all around IMHO.

Looking forward to The Book version, where there's 200 pages of Rickon and Osha having merry adventures around Skagos before they die irrelevantly.
posted by Nelson at 12:56 PM on June 20, 2016 [7 favorites]


GOT is one of the most watched TV shows ever.

Not even close. It gets about 7 million viewers per episode. Compare this to something like, say, ALF, which in it's top-rated 1987-1988 season earned an average of about 17 million viewers per episode. And it was still only the eleventh most-viewed television show of that season.

GOT has its "unofficial" viewers, but ALF has syndication.
posted by mr_roboto at 1:00 PM on June 20, 2016 [5 favorites]


but by the end of it, he was fighting to get out of a position of certain death, fighting to live, forcing his way back up and into the light.

Those are good points. Jon needed to get busy living or get busy dying, to paraphrase Shawshank, and I think by the end of the episode he has finally come down on the the living side. Which is a big deal.

I also think that it is inevitable that we're going to get a big battle in which some fiery dragons burn up a lot of ice zombies. I don't think that's going to make it any less of an exciting episode when it happens. Yes, I like it when ASoIaF subverts expectations. But there are also some narrative pressures to making a good story. You can't do the unexpected at every turn or it loses the impact.
posted by Justinian at 1:00 PM on June 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


I need assurance that Lady Mormont is alright.

It looked to me that Jon used a Mormont shield against Ramsay's arrows in the courtyard; if one of her 62 good men made it that far, Lady Mormont is doing fine.
posted by nubs at 1:01 PM on June 20, 2016 [5 favorites]


Even the abbreviated TV version has some really awkward loose ends.

One thing this season has shown me is just how little a lot of the new characters in the last two books add to the story. Does anybody miss Young Griff? Jon Connington? What a pointless mess.
posted by Justinian at 1:02 PM on June 20, 2016 [5 favorites]


One thing this season has shown me is just how little a lot of the new characters in the last two books add to the story. Does anybody miss Young Griff? Jon Connington? What a pointless mess.

I read that latest chapter to be released by GRRM and remembered how much I don't care about Jon Connington & Co.
posted by Alluring Mouthbreather at 1:08 PM on June 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


Dany: The Ironborn must stop pillaging.
Invades Westeros with 100 000 crazed Dothraki
posted by PenDevil at 1:09 PM on June 20, 2016 [28 favorites]


Also book Daario has ridiculous blue anime hair if I recall correctly.

Indeed.
posted by homunculus at 1:09 PM on June 20, 2016


You know, maybe I can forgive Wun-Wun being ineffective against those soldiers because, really, he's in the same boat as Tormund - he might be brave and strong but he's also a wildling who has never, ever seen anything like this before.

(Jon, maybe you should have drilled these guys more.)


Especially Tormund, am I right? Eh?
posted by clockzero at 1:15 PM on June 20, 2016 [5 favorites]


What was it? Because a steamy, sensitively portrayed three-way between Dany, Yara and Daario is pretty much exactly what this show needs right now.

Only if Yara stabs him, then chops off his head as foreplay.
posted by zarq at 1:17 PM on June 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


Chrys Reviews: Game of Thrones Season 6, Episode 9

Recap: Low Quality Pedigree
posted by homunculus at 1:19 PM on June 20, 2016 [3 favorites]




Ramsay cannot mentally process that he is losing

Ramsay Bolton is the Donald Trump of Westeros
posted by poffin boffin at 1:31 PM on June 20, 2016 [17 favorites]


Only if Yara stabs him, then chops off his head as foreplay.

Surely you mean afterplay. Give me my damn steamy tthree-way first, for fuck's sake.
posted by mediareport at 1:32 PM on June 20, 2016


Give me my damn steamy tthree-way first, for fuck's sake.

Next week on Tits and Dragons!
posted by nubs at 1:35 PM on June 20, 2016 [7 favorites]


Does anybody miss Young Griff? Jon Connington? What a pointless mess.

The only thing I liked about Connington was the fact that his presence allowed me to get the almost-buried joke that Jaime Lannister never bothered to remember the names of any of Aerys' Hands, and just mentally called them "the Griffin one" or whatever.
posted by the phlegmatic king at 1:42 PM on June 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


in response to the ongoing question of "wtf were the burning, flayed corpses about?" I submit that they were likely Stark/Wilding scouts, along with more Bolton general fuckery.
posted by lonefrontranger at 1:45 PM on June 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


a languorous, self reflective journey to nowhere

yeah, this is what i think was the basis of my book sansa dislike; there was so much internal dialogue where she's being SO UNBELIEVABLY agonizingly painfully naive, even for a gently bred young lady of a great house. all her endless cooing thoughts about how handsome and sweet joffrey was, even after she saw him assault her younger sister, seemed really frustratingly vapid in the face of the inescapable realities of westeros. and in the show we are thankfully spared most of that and she's allowed to develop more of a personality as well has having a satisfying arc of character growth by the time she gets to the vale. both book sansa and show sansa are great by the time they arrive in the vale, really, but i think the journey there is more satisfying on the show.
posted by poffin boffin at 1:51 PM on June 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


One thing this season has shown me is just how little a lot of the new characters in the last two books add to the story.

Would have thought you'd have come to that conclusion some time in late 2005, to be honest...;-)

But yeah, fair point. Personally I don't actually mind the idea of the fAegon plot - it could be played as a good indication of how things are breaking down, no-one really knows who is who, or who has the right to the Iron Throne. But it could have been a lot shorter and didn't need a POV.
posted by Pink Frost at 1:57 PM on June 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


I loved the shots of the cavalry charging. Really beautiful framing for an otherwise brutal scene.
posted by like_neon at 2:25 PM on June 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


Chrys Reviews: Game of Thrones Season 6, Episode 9

Frenemy Fire is the new best phrase ever.
posted by drezdn at 2:38 PM on June 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


I didn't find Ramsay's death satisfying because I didn't find his existence satisfying. To watch him die required seeing him again. Think how much more interesting Roose's death in battle would have been.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 5:10 PM on June 20, 2016 [14 favorites]


As a card-carrying – and long-standing – member of Team Sansa, I am very satisfied. Porcelain, ivory, steel.
posted by The Nutmeg of Consolation at 5:50 PM on June 20, 2016 [8 favorites]


Porcelain, ivory, steel.

And lemoncakes.
posted by nubs at 6:18 PM on June 20, 2016 [9 favorites]


Wun-wun lost-lost.
Sorry.
posted by uosuaq at 7:21 PM on June 20, 2016 [4 favorites]


I keep wondering if they brought Robin along, riding behind some Lord of the Vale on a pony.
posted by lauranesson at 7:42 PM on June 20, 2016 [7 favorites]


I gotta say, I'm sad Dany hasn't learned the command to make her dragons poop. Burning ships and putting an end to aerial bombardment is one thing, but pooping on your enemies from a great height really devastates enemy morale.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:42 PM on June 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


I wonder if dragon poop is flammable?
posted by Dr. Zira at 8:15 PM on June 20, 2016


I'm sure it would be. Most poop is when you dry it.
posted by Justinian at 8:19 PM on June 20, 2016


shitfire
posted by Nelson at 8:54 PM on June 20, 2016


Somewhere, in the fictional multiverse, Raistlin is rubbing his hands together, Evilly. Though, I can't remember if its True, Lawful or Chaotic.
posted by lkc at 9:02 PM on June 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


Battle of the Bastards:Army of Darkness::Littlefinger:Henry the Red
posted by brundlefly at 9:21 PM on June 20, 2016


OK I just need a moment to say I'm shocked there are people even trying to shame Sansa because ZOMG Ned Stark would have hated this. Would this be the Ned Stark who would rather abandon his children to this mess, specifically Sansa and Arya in an "enemy" city, rather than do something unethical? THAT Ned Stark? The Ned Stark for who all of his talk about honor we know LIED about at least one thing that happened at the Tower of Joy? That guy?

Seriously. We learned very quickly how well honor fairs in this world. Sansa showed better leaderships skills than Jon and even Dany (who had to be advised by Tyrion not to go all Mad King). If she enjoyed watching her rapist and torturer get eaten by his own damn dogs, I have zero problem with that and Ned better not judge as his death left his daughters unprotected.
posted by miss-lapin at 9:24 PM on June 20, 2016 [25 favorites]


One thing that struck me - Sansa finally returned as The Stark In Winterfell, and acquired a pack of man-eating hounds in the place of of her lost direwolf. (I doubt we'll actually see those dogs again, but they reflected her character nicely in this episode: maybe not inherently vicious, but dangerous when ill-used.)
posted by backstitch at 9:42 PM on June 20, 2016 [5 favorites]


zarq: "That was fantastic, in every way."

Yes, it's good that we got a nice long dramatic rapist episode again. Other characters are boring - wildlings, etc, it's nice that they die stupid deaths regularly - Ramsay Bolton was a wonderful character, and it's nice that they respected and valued him enough to give him a thorough arc, lots of screen time, killed better people for the sake of his embaddening, and granted him a good bloody death.

Seriously, though: even given that this is by far the worst-written show on television, it's actually surprising that D&D manage to keep doing such odious things with characters. This could have been a slightly less plausible redux of Braveheart, but they went the distance and made the centerpiece the noble intelligence and wit and wile of a horrible person who was given a more important and prominent life and death than almost any of the other characters on the show.

Of course, revenge is always a better crowd pleaser than justice - and comeuppance for a cartoonishly bad rapist is always more popular than any kind of legitimate character development by someone who's complicated or interesting.
posted by koeselitz at 9:58 PM on June 20, 2016


justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow: "I didn't find Ramsay's death satisfying because I didn't find his existence satisfying. To watch him die required seeing him again. Think how much more interesting Roose's death in battle would have been."

This is exactly right. Put another way: to find the bloody dismemberment by dogs of a brutal rapist satisfying, I would have to figure out a way to be satisfied that the rape and brutality happened in the first place. And... somehow I can't.
posted by koeselitz at 10:13 PM on June 20, 2016


shitfire

A term I have no doubt Mr. Lahey will have already employed.
posted by juiceCake at 10:27 PM on June 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


Seriously, though: even given that this is by far the worst-written show on television

... Have you ever seen television?
posted by Justinian at 10:50 PM on June 20, 2016 [58 favorites]


even given that this is by far the worst-written show on television

You could stop watching. Or, failing that, stop moaning here.
posted by crossoverman at 10:51 PM on June 20, 2016 [27 favorites]


Somewhere, in the fictional multiverse, Raistlin is rubbing his hands together, Evilly. Though, I can't remember if its True, Lawful or Chaotic.

Chaotic. I hate myself a little for knowing that.
posted by Justinian at 10:55 PM on June 20, 2016 [5 favorites]


God, men, always fucking things up with their EMOTIONS. Why can't they be more logical and level-headed, like women?
posted by Ragini at 3:57 AM on June 21, 2016 [18 favorites]


I think the Trump of Westeros is probably:
- a shady businessman, who
- owns the hugest castle, (it's great,) and
- wants to get it on with his daughter, and
- is known for small appendages
posted by nom de poop at 4:00 AM on June 21, 2016 [9 favorites]


Put another way: to find the bloody dismemberment by dogs of a brutal rapist satisfying, I would have to figure out a way to be satisfied that the rape and brutality happened in the first place.

This makes no logical sense.

One can be happy to see a person get their comeuppance for committing an horrific act (or many horrific acts) without simultaneously celebrating said act.

Being happy Osama bin Laden is dead is not a celebration of 9/11, for example.
posted by zarq at 4:13 AM on June 21, 2016 [6 favorites]


I think the Trump of Westeros is probably:
- a shady businessman, who
- owns the hugest castle, (it's great,) and
- wants to get it on with his daughter, and
- is known for small appendages


So you're saying Trump is Walder Frey?
posted by like_neon at 4:28 AM on June 21, 2016 [9 favorites]


can I just say, I'm glad Jon didn't die. I know it's not cannon and, the way this show goes, who can say what would happen... but I'm glad he lived and didn't die. In fact, most of the named characters made it. They are getting close to the end and need to hurry up and put the final players in their places, so I'm glad Jon didn't die.

My comments on the episode: NICE, DANG, OOH. Also, i really wish they had scrapped maybe 30 minutes of crap from the past 3 episodes, and given more time to the individual interactions. "OK men, let's plan the battle. What do you think of this? You don't like it, eh? Well, whatever, I'm sleepy."

I don't really get sansa. I wonder how much of her character is what is on the screen, and how much is what I made up in my own head. Why didn't she speak up in the battle planning session? That's not the dark queen I know! Oh, well actually she didn't speak up at Mornmont Island either. Or before that. Maybe she's less of a queen and more of a pawn? Maybe D+D actually never intended for her to grow beyond the teenaged girl she started as? I donno.
posted by rebent at 5:08 AM on June 21, 2016 [3 favorites]


WINTERFELL CRYPT GET HYPE
posted by Jacqueline at 5:34 AM on June 21, 2016 [6 favorites]


can I just say, I'm glad Jon didn't die.

I was cackling through the whole battle because he wanted to die heroically so badly, but terrible event after terrible event led him to realize he has plot armor. So no, he can't pass out after being trampled by gigantic wildlings and Umbers. He has to lay there and live through it, perfectly awake, suffering yet magically unharmed.
posted by tofu_crouton at 6:35 AM on June 21, 2016 [17 favorites]


koeselitz: to find the bloody dismemberment by dogs of a brutal rapist satisfying, I would have to figure out a way to be satisfied that the rape and brutality happened in the first place

There are real and awful things in the real world, and this fictional world includes some of those atrocities. You don't have to be satisfied with the awful things in the real world to be happy that they are stopped, or their perpetrators are punished through legal or illegal means.

koeselitz: revenge is always a better crowd pleaser than justice

Justice is an abstract, vague notion, and the definition is very personal. Yes, to extract revenge upon a terrible person brings us to their level, but in some cultures that is also justice (see: the death penalty).

The world is complex, and contains ugly and brutal people and moments. Some media use that to tell a story. If you don't like that, choose something else.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:04 AM on June 21, 2016 [3 favorites]


worst-written show on television

Are you just trolling? I don't see much trolling on metafilter so my reflexes are soft. I'm going to assume you're not trolling, and suggest that maybe you'd be happier not watching. It's optional to watch a show. Completely optional. But you seem to just come in here and be really distressed and frustrated every week.

And if hate-watching this show is your thing? That fine. But to attack and call people out? People who simply like a show is pretty lousy behavior.

I don't mind at all if you think this show is literally the worst. But I wonder why you're watching it and berating people who had a good time watching some TV? That seems like a thing maybe you should examine.
posted by French Fry at 7:11 AM on June 21, 2016 [18 favorites]


I don't think it's the worst show on TV by a long shot, or even the steepest decline in the quality of a TV show, but the writing at this point doesn't really support the 'prestige TV' status GoT had for the first 3 or 4 seasons. They've still got the budget and the actors and most of the viewers so it'll still keep chugging along until they wrap it up - and, hell, I still watch it every week and then come online and talk about it, I still enjoy watching it - but it really does feel like they've stopped going for nuance and just want to tell us what happens.

Like - a few seasons ago, I think we would have seen more of Dany adjusting to her new status after the Dosh Khaleen thing, had a conversation or two that revealed her change in attitude toward the whole "killing all the masters" thing, maybe encountered some opposition among the remaining Dothraki, maybe struck up a friendship or enmity with some of the other Dosh Kaleen.

Instead we get one brief scene where a dragon shows up, and we have to infer the rest. And this goes for just about everybody else on the show, too.

Yeah, that stuff takes time - but many of these plots have been dragging for two seasons.
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:33 AM on June 21, 2016 [5 favorites]


But I wonder why you're watching it and berating people

I've read his comments carefully and I can't see any statement along those lines. His comments are aimed at the show, not anyone watching it.

And while it's hardly the worst-written show on television, it's certainly the worst-written season of GoT, and personally I feel like I'm now watching mainly through a sense of obligation. I think the main problem is that the writers now have to make up a lot of stuff, in a short period of time, in a story which is extremely complicated and has too many moving parts. There are plot and character points that they're trying to hit, but the ways in which these are set up and resolved are extremely rushed and unsatisfying, to say the least.

There was a lot of eye-rolling chez daveje during last night's episode, and I made a comment along the lines of: everything in this show is great, except for the writing.

And on preview, showbiz_liz also gets this.
posted by daveje at 7:39 AM on June 21, 2016 [2 favorites]


"I gotta say, I'm sad Dany hasn't learned the command to make her dragons poop."

Cacarys!
posted by mrjohnmuller at 7:39 AM on June 21, 2016 [26 favorites]


I was happy to see Ramsay go, but I do think prior bad writing of his character kept me from being ecstatic to see him go. Joffrey was a villain you loved to hate; Ramsay after a certain point just became a character I hated to watch. The show made him so one-dimensional that he seemed to come from a different sort of story. Even the slavers felt nuanced by comparison. The real satisfaction a viewer might get from the horrifying death of such a vile figure wasn't there for me, because the showrunners never did the work to make me hate him. He's a cartoon character. I did resent the amount of time the show wasted on him, and I am glad that's over now.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:42 AM on June 21, 2016 [9 favorites]


I don't really get sansa. I wonder how much of her character is what is on the screen, and how much is what I made up in my own head. Why didn't she speak up in the battle planning session? That's not the dark queen I know! Oh, well actually she didn't speak up at Mornmont Island either. Or before that. Maybe she's less of a queen and more of a pawn? Maybe D+D actually never intended for her to grow beyond the teenaged girl she started as? I donno.

In a season that's all about #womenontop, there have been a lot of strange little choices. Sansa doesn't advocate for her cause, really, instead depending on Jon and Davos and Littlefinger to make things happen. She grouses about not being consulted in the planning session, but really doesn't have anything insightful to add - which I was hoping for, some key insight into Ramsay that would change the strategy (how awesome would it have been to have Littlefinger show up to discover he's too late, because Sansa's knowledge turned the day?). Dany negotiates a deal with Yara, gets Yara's agreement, and then turns around to get Tyrion's approval. It's like they keep trying to give the women these awesome power moments, but don't know how to do it without having one of the male characters there to give their blessing or prop them up somehow.
posted by nubs at 7:43 AM on June 21, 2016 [10 favorites]


they went the distance and made the centerpiece the noble intelligence and wit and wile of a horrible person

Assuming you're talking about Ramsay Bolton here, I must have watched a different show. There was nothing noble about the portrayal of his gambit in the battle. It was cruel and murderous and vicious and shown as such. He was also clever and wiley, in a dishonorable way, and there was no ambiguity about that.

Perhaps you missed it, but one of the main themes of Game of Thrones is how honorable people keep failing because they do dumb things in the name of honor. Like poor old dumb Jon Snow, who literally is saying in one scene "we must set a trap and let them come into it" and then the next scene riding out into the killing field because he has to save Rickon because it is the honorable thing to do. Getting his whole army killed in the process. It's a very cynical story being told, but it's consistent.
posted by Nelson at 7:43 AM on June 21, 2016 [4 favorites]


I totally agree with showbiz_liz, and I think there are two related things going on:

1. For the first few seasons, the show writers could lean heavily on the source material. Those three books are damn good, and the plotting and characterization is excellent. They did condense and change some things, but the source material gave them a lot to work with. Then the source material got worse (Books 4 and 5), so the show got worse. And then this season, there's barely any source material at all, so the writers are on their own, and the cracks are showing.

2. Book fans talk all the time about how GRRM wrote himself into a bunch of corners in the last two books, but he also wrote the show into a corner. It kind of reminds me when Aaron Sorkin got fired from West Wing and left the new producers with a shitty abduction plot to get out of. The new producers dispatched with that plot very quickly, and I think the producers here are doing much the same thing. It has no subtlety at all, but it's pretty clear the show writers/producers prioritize tying up loose ends/moving the plot forward over subtlety. And sometimes it drives me crazy, but I also sometimes really enjoy it - like this week, when we finally get some resolution on key plot points.
posted by lunasol at 7:46 AM on June 21, 2016 [8 favorites]


Sansa doesn't advocate for her cause, really, instead depending on Jon and Davos and Littlefinger to make things happen.

While on trial at the Vale, Tyrion said that while he is not particularly good at violence, he is good at convincing others to do violence for him. That is the power that Sansa is now learning to wield as well.

I took Sansa's first scene with Jon as less about advocating for/against specific battle tactics and more as her trying to decide whether or not Jon was worthy of the knowledge she had. If Sansa could convince Jon that Ramsay was more wily than him, she might believe that Jon was capable of handling the information she had rationally.

Sophie's acting in that scene was great. Her internal struggle was almost palpable: duty and loyalty vs what she knows to be right (what the show is about, in a nutshell). She admits she doesn't know about battle strategy. She also knows she can't afford to have Jon turn Littlefinger's army away for reasons of duty (e.g. "You gave my sister to the Boltons, you are a Lannister puppet, leave before I gut you!"), or risk that Jon would screw everything up by having an emotional reaction to Ramsay's inevitable trap, or cause Ramsay to withdraw and force a siege.

Sansa made a call. It was the right one, at least for her immediate needs. Her decision probably saved her life and Jon's life, brought closure to a brutal chapter in her life, and returned her ancestral home to her house. How did she not advocate for her cause?
posted by tempestuoso at 8:22 AM on June 21, 2016 [17 favorites]


I also feel like the show is mostly concerned with (and good at) spectacle. During the first few seasons, that was great, because the spectacle was backstopped by a number of excellent actors and also by the book plots where, generally speaking, things made sense within the world and characters made understandable choices. Now they've killed off a bunch of the best actors (admittedly, this was pretty much inevitable) and without the book plots and motivations to reference, you get a lot more bits like the Arya chase scene, which was indeed spectacular but also leaves a ton of questions about what's even going on with the Faceless Men. Are they semi-magical badass assassins who kill without leaving a trace and have totally subsumed their identity to their death cult (but the Waif is just really bad at most of that) or is it just Jaqen manipulating teenage girls who demonstrate sociopathic tendencies? Obviously there are always going to be some plot holes in anything (and Lord knows the books aren't immune to dumb crap happening for obscure reasons), but it feels like the main driving factor in almost every plot in the show right now is characters doing things just because the plot commands them to do whatever would cause the most excitement rather than making any sort of logical choices.
posted by Copronymus at 8:24 AM on June 21, 2016 [6 favorites]


Did Grey Worm really sheathe his knife with blood on it? That seems like a bad idea.
posted by mwhybark at 8:26 AM on June 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


Did Grey Worm really sheathe his knife with blood on it? That seems like a bad idea.

I don't think it went in a sheath. It just got tucked into his belt. You can see it emerge from the other side when he puts it away. He should have cleaned it off, though, probably on the guy who lived. That would have been cool.
posted by tempestuoso at 8:46 AM on June 21, 2016 [4 favorites]


I've read his comments carefully and I can't see any statement along those lines.

you've missed the deleted stuff then
posted by poffin boffin at 9:18 AM on June 21, 2016 [3 favorites]


So, summing up the last few episodes...
LSH: nope
GNC: nope
CleganeBowl: nope

I really hope we get the Frey pies, at least.
posted by Zonker at 9:19 AM on June 21, 2016 [3 favorites]


Also, so little mention of Rickon. Because nobody cares about fuckin' Rickon.

I think Rickon's death very clearly shows, like the anticlimatic Arya / Faceless Men storyline last week, that GRRM hadn't really thought his storyline through and since GRRM wasn't helping, the show needed to deal with that hanging plot point. Shame it had to be so pointless. Did that kid even have a line in the show? I assume that at least we're going to get a scene in the crypt that reveals something about Jon's parentage so his death won't be a total loss.

The other Lords of North are chomping at the bit to be the next ruler of the North

I hope to be proved wrong but I suspect that the writers, after a few well placed deaths I'm sure, are just going to have the Northern lords fall into line. I think we're going to see an unified North under the Starks sooner rather than later. Sansa as queen of course. I suspect Littlefinger is gonna be dead by her hands sooner or later. The real question, I think, is how the Lannisters and their allies are going to react to the end of the Boltons. I'm particularly curious how the business with the Freys is going to go down. Are we going to see a battle or something else? Sansa likely taking on the role of LSH, not dying but actively pursuing vengeance with the Freys? Or Maybe Arya? For the most part the show has ignored the Freys unless absolutely necessary. Looks like we get a bit of them next week. The preview shows Jamie partying it up with them which is a bit surprising as I assumed he'd magically be back at King's Landing to witness the trial of Cersei. I'm guessing there is a reason for that.

As for Dany, seriously how is she going to get the Dothraki on the ships? They make so much of their culture being about horses, how horrible salt water, etc. so how are they going to manage on the boats? It is kind of hard to figure how long of a voyage it is supposed to be - couple hours? A month? Half a year? Anyways, I assume we'll get one scene of sea sick Dothraki and then have their hordes unleashed on Westeros a la Jon Connigton.

Anybody else think Varys is heading to Dorne to get get Martell support for Daenerys?

Varys is totally heading to Dorne and Dorne will totally be with Dany. Because what else have they got?
posted by Ashwagandha at 9:23 AM on June 21, 2016


Sansa wasn't betraying Jon Snow by not telling him about the Valemen, she had written him off as much as she had written Rickon off, and she didn't want him dragging her army down with his.
posted by Rock Steady at 9:26 AM on June 21, 2016 [9 favorites]


I think GRRM did think through what he wanted to happen with Rickon, and what he wanted was to have it be a literal Shaggy Dog story.
posted by tofu_crouton at 9:29 AM on June 21, 2016 [6 favorites]


If so, that's an awful lot of pages for a dad joke.
posted by Ashwagandha at 9:33 AM on June 21, 2016 [8 favorites]


Sansa wasn't betraying Jon Snow by not telling him about the Valemen, she had written him off as much as she had written Rickon off, and she didn't want him dragging her army down with his.

Honestly when I saw them come over the hill in dramatic charge I thought for sure Snow was dead. That Sansa had sacrificed his army in a tactical battle decision to win the war. I don't think it's been mentioned how many knights the Vale have, but even combined with Snow's army I think they would have been at a disadvantage. The only way to win was to play on Bolton's arrogance and have him over commit his forces, so that you could then come in and flank the shit out of that.

I really hope this is the case, and that it gets some show time, because that would be a very GRRM way of subverting the classical "reinforcements arrive right on time to save the day!" when we instead find out they've been around for about a week killing off the scouts of both armies...
posted by mayonnaises at 9:35 AM on June 21, 2016 [10 favorites]


If so, that's an awful lot of pages for a dad joke.

We're talking about books with a character named "Dick Manwoody" and passages written just to reference real-life football games.
posted by tofu_crouton at 9:41 AM on June 21, 2016 [13 favorites]


I think GRRM did think through what he wanted to happen with Rickon, and what he wanted was to have it be a literal Shaggy Dog story.

tbh if he did in fact do so then i feel a great wave of affection for his masterful trolling.
posted by poffin boffin at 10:11 AM on June 21, 2016 [4 favorites]


i mean as a book reader (and mostly a book enjoyer) i am mad at him for being a constant book failure but i will also simultaneously be delighted if this or similar things are his chosen response to the often incredibly obnoxious entitlement shown by myself and my fellow book readers.
posted by poffin boffin at 10:14 AM on June 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


his masterful trolling

I'd kind of prefer it was otherwise though with Rickon. Another example of GRRM being goofy is in the Tully genealogy where there is an Elmo followed by a Kermit.
posted by Ashwagandha at 10:22 AM on June 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


can i get a citation on that football game line?
posted by rebent at 10:23 AM on June 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


I have little doubt that the whole Rickon plot was a giant troll. Think about it: the only way for the characters we truly care about -- Jon, Sansa, or Arya -- to have any claim whatsoever to Winterfell is for Rickon to die. Did anyone want to see Rickon as King of the North? No. That puts the readers in the position of basically being "meh" about the death of an utterly innocent child who we would normally mourn, but instead we just shrug and say at least the plot is moving forward. If GRRM is fascinated with good people doing bad things and vice versa, this is kind of a clever way to put the reader in that position, too.
posted by gatorae at 10:24 AM on June 21, 2016 [4 favorites]


Wun Wun (phil simms reference)

He's a master at world building; the conversations between characters in the first few books not only tell us so much by their content but by their careful and loaded style. We can infer all of these specific social norms of westeros and sense of history and it's great! What book 3, 4 and 5 showed me was he didn't know when to stop building and starting moving the story. Sort of like an Anti-Star-Wars, all details and nuance and rich wonderful texture, not so much adventure and sweeping pace.
posted by French Fry at 10:27 AM on June 21, 2016 [2 favorites]


If only there was a Telly Tully too!
posted by prize bull octorok at 10:28 AM on June 21, 2016 [3 favorites]


Varys is totally heading to Dorne and Dorne will totally be with Dany. Because what else have they got?

Arrogance. Unbowed, unbent, unbroken, after all.

Dany said "the others are free to ask as well" to Tyrion re: Yara. I predict they won't ask, they will demand, or betray, or do something stupid, and they (most of them, anyway, aside maybe from whichever one it is that likes Bronn) will end up as dragon s'mores.
posted by tempestuoso at 10:29 AM on June 21, 2016


this is kind of a clever way to put the reader in that position

Yeah I can see that but he risks the reader being indifferent to everybody's death.

Arrogance. Unbowed, unbent, unbroken, after all.


I was thinking more what else do they have to contribute to the plot of the show. They are far away from all the action and when the show did spend time with them it did a poor job of making them interesting. Varys heading there seems like a solid way to make them relevant for another season. And if the Dothraki make landfall in Highgarden, the Dornish could be willing to help out.
posted by Ashwagandha at 10:34 AM on June 21, 2016 [1 favorite]




French Fry: “Are you just trolling? I don't see much trolling on metafilter so my reflexes are soft. I'm going to assume you're not trolling, and suggest that maybe you'd be happier not watching. It's optional to watch a show. Completely optional. But you seem to just come in here and be really distressed and frustrated every week.”

I probably would be happier, yes.

“And if hate-watching this show is your thing? That fine. But to attack and call people out? People who simply like a show is pretty lousy behavior.”

It's honestly not "my thing." I'm not sure why I watch it anymore; all I really know is that whenever I watch a Ramsay Bolton episode I end up shivering with – annoyance? rage? vexation? trauma? – at the obnoxious manipulation that his existence represents.

Maybe I'll end up not watching anymore. I've never been this hurt by a television show before. Then again, maybe now I can just accept it for the popcorn fluff I came for, since rapist-dude is gone.

me: “Put another way: to find the bloody dismemberment by dogs of a brutal rapist satisfying, I would have to figure out a way to be satisfied that the rape and brutality happened in the first place.”

zarq: “This makes no logical sense. One can be happy to see a person get their comeuppance for committing an horrific act (or many horrific acts) without simultaneously celebrating said act. Being happy Osama bin Laden is dead is not a celebration of 9/11, for example.”

filthy light thief: “There are real and awful things in the real world, and this fictional world includes some of those atrocities. You don't have to be satisfied with the awful things in the real world to be happy that they are stopped, or their perpetrators are punished through legal or illegal means... The world is complex, and contains ugly and brutal people and moments. Some media use that to tell a story. If you don't like that, choose something else.”

The thing is that we're not talking about the real world. We're talking about a television show that is written by human beings. Some controversy exists over whether real life has an author, I guess, but with a television show I can very definitely point to a small number of people and say – those people wrote down that this was going to happen, and that's why it happened.

That matters to me because the whole point of Ramsay Bolton was to get to Sunday's episode. That was clearly his purpose, right? To be awful, in increasingly awful ways, so that his demise might be the more satisfying. He wasn't a depiction or humanization of real-life villains; he wasn't a working-out of the trauma people experience; he wasn't an attempt to figure out why people do awful things. He barely even had any motivation at all, aside from sadism, and such people don't even really exist; even the most awful evil people generally have something that made them that way. No, the only plausible reason why Ramsay Bolton existed and did all the things he did was to set up a nice villain we'd be satisfied to see die.

And that's not satisfying to me. In fact, it's deeply troublesome. For one thing, if the extremity of a rapist's violence makes his demise more satisfying, it means that this episode would've been better if Ramsay Bolton had gotten to rape a few more people. And that doesn't make any sense to me. It's sheer manipulation, of the cheapest kind, the use of sexual violence to get viewers to cheer at the screen. There is no way for me to feel good about that.

And the predictability of all this is part of what makes it annoying on another level. Copronymus very astutely points out that the show is driven now by spectacle; I think it's driven by spectacle so thoroughly that the writers have forgotten that they have plot elements entirely at their disposal, so they forget that they can use them in unexpected ways to make more subtle points.

At his death, Sansa tells Ramsay that his words will be forgotten, that his house will be forgotten – but everything the show has done undercuts that completely, and makes it impossible for it to ring true. Sansa's speech is hollow and empty. The writers had a way to make it true, though: they could have actually had Ramsay be forgotten, literally not mentioned him at all in the show, and given a throwaway line to another character along the lines of "the Boltons? oh, they were all killed by a plague a few weeks ago, nobody has heard from them since" if explanation is really and truly needed. Dropping Ramsay completely, and letting the survivors move on and regain their agency without him, would have been much more meaningful. But that way they would have felt Ramsay was "wasted," because he was really only there as an opportunity for the good feeling of seeing him eaten by dogs.

French Fry: “But I wonder why you're watching it and berating people who had a good time watching some TV?”

daveje“I've read his comments carefully and I can't see any statement along those lines. His comments are aimed at the show, not anyone watching it.”

poffin boffin: “you've missed the deleted stuff then”

On the internet, it's possible to berate people without realizing you're doing it. That doesn't make it okay. I can think of maybe two comments I've had deleted in the GoT threads (which says something about how hesitant to delete things I guess the mods are, I guess) – the most recent one two eps ago where, in response to nobody but the show, I said the best thing that could happen would be for Arya to actually be dead at the beginning of the last episode, and for her body to be floating out into the Bay of Braavos in the cold open. That's lurid and unnecessary, so yeah. I think I might have had another comment deleted where I just said something like "it's just a terrible show," and nothing more than that, which is also unnecessary. But the fact that I can't remember any more might just as well be a testament to my terrible memory as anything else. Most of all there's my first comment in this thread, directly at zarq, which does look a lot like beratement.

zarq, I apologize – and sorry to anybody else I might have snarked at or sniped at or otherwise been unpleasant toward. I guess the lesson here is not to watch shows that make you shake uncontrollably for an hour afterward. I don't know what's wrong with me, that this show bothers me so much, and that I keep watching it. Again, my apologies.
posted by koeselitz at 10:51 AM on June 21, 2016 [4 favorites]


The things we love destroy us every time, lad. Remember that. — Jeor Mormont
posted by tempestuoso at 11:08 AM on June 21, 2016 [6 favorites]


If only there was a Telly Tully too!

We'll just have to content ourselves with Lharys, Mohor, and Kurleket.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 12:16 PM on June 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


If only there was a Telly Tully too!

I thought there were four of them. sorry
posted by gatorae at 12:32 PM on June 21, 2016 [2 favorites]


Dickon . There is a character named Dickon.
posted by French Fry at 12:34 PM on June 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


Koeselitz-The point is that Ramsay has made his ONCE SIGNIFICANT HOUSE disappear through his own mad dog acts. If he hadn't murdered his father and half brother, there would STILL be a House Bolton to deal with after Ramsay's death, which would make things a lot more complicated. His own actions have made it so there is no longer a House Bolton and for Sansa to re-establish the Starks at Winterfell.

Once the tides turn in the battle,, Ramsay is entirely in denial about losing. He keeps trying to find a way out of the situation (we have Winterfell, no you don't, ok time for a duel, not so much). He even believes when he wakes tied to a chair confronting Sansa that his own dogs won't attack him. Sansa's speech cues him to the fact that not only is he losing his life, but he has killed his House. He's losing EVERYTHING even the loyalty of his dogs. It's all over.

You can't do that-you can't show a significant house in decline- by ignoring it. You have to show it when it was powerful and follow its decline, which is exactly what the show did. That's the most effective way to show that. In addition, by eliding Ramsay we would remove a character whose influence is significant for both the Ironborn and the Starks. It would be...honestly really weird to not have him there.

Look, I wasn't a fan of Ramsay's either. After the exchanges with Theon/Reek, a lot of Ramsay's presence is just Villain. But that doesn't mean the answer is to just edit him out, but to say "He needed to be more nuanced and developed instead of Sadistic Plot Placeholder."
posted by miss-lapin at 12:37 PM on June 21, 2016 [4 favorites]


Her internal struggle was almost palpable: duty and loyalty vs what she knows to be right (what the show is about, in a nutshell)...Sansa made a call. It was the right one, at least for her immediate needs. Her decision probably saved her life and Jon's life, brought closure to a brutal chapter in her life, and returned her ancestral home to her house. How did she not advocate for her cause?

I'm thinking more about her standing by, largely mute, while Jon and Davos argue with Lady Mormont and Lord Glover. Sansa was supposed to have learned from Littlefinger, master manipulator and string puller; those should have been scenes where she could turn things around in terms of the show giving Sansa some development; Jon/Davos/Tormund manage the army, but Sansa is the one that delivers it. At least that is something I kinda thought/hoped would happen.

I didn't find any real sign of an internal struggle going on for Sansa in this past episode, but then again I'm not looking hard at this show for subtlety anymore, so it could be that I missed it.
posted by nubs at 1:04 PM on June 21, 2016 [2 favorites]


Isn't Sansa still only like 16-19 years old? Having recently spent a good batch of time around kids that age... she is pretty fucking awesome.
posted by French Fry at 1:25 PM on June 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


I think she was supposed to be around 14 in the show's first season and 18ish now. Of course at this point she towers over a bunch of her co-stars so she seems older.
posted by Justinian at 1:36 PM on June 21, 2016


In the first book, Sansa is 11 going on 12.

However, in the first episode of Season 1, she says she is 13. She also hadn't menstruated yet, which was a plot point in season 2. As of season 6, she is 18.
posted by zarq at 1:48 PM on June 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


Isn't Sansa still only like 16-19 years old? Having recently spent a good batch of time around kids that age... she is pretty fucking awesome.

She is awesome. I just want her to be more awesome.
posted by nubs at 1:50 PM on June 21, 2016 [1 favorite]




For one thing, if the extremity of a rapist's violence makes his demise more satisfying, it means that this episode would've been better if Ramsay Bolton had gotten to rape a few more people.

This logic is flawed. Ramsay's death was satisfying to some because it is a satisfying thing to see evil be vanquished. Seeing a protagonist triumph over an antagonist is at the root of almost all stories.

By your reasoning, however, you state that the triumph of protagonist over antagonist cannot be satisfying because it requires that the antagonist exists and hinders the protagonist in the first place; you seem to be claiming that the most satisfying stories have no antagonist.

I counter by saying that a story with no antagonist would be boring and deeply unsatisfying.
posted by dazed_one at 3:15 PM on June 21, 2016 [3 favorites]


I guess the lesson here is not to watch shows that make you shake uncontrollably for an hour afterward. I don't know what's wrong with me, that this show bothers me so much, and that I keep watching it.

I get it; I can get pretty frustrated with the show at a lot of points for a variety of reasons, and got to a place a couple of weeks ago where I decided to just take a break from commenting about it at all for a bit. If the show is bugging you to the level you describe, I would say it is time to just shut it off. We live in a time when there is no shortage of entertainment, so find something that entertains rather than enrages.
posted by nubs at 3:21 PM on June 21, 2016 [4 favorites]


- What if the winning move in the Game of Thrones is to chuck the throne?

I think there's a slight chance that in the finale Dany will have her last dragon lift the Iron Throne out of the throne room and drop it in the sea.


Or melt the seat so she can sit her fireproof ass in it and finally make it comfortable.
posted by tilde at 9:14 PM on June 21, 2016 [7 favorites]


I think GRRM did think through what he wanted to happen with Rickon, and what he wanted was to have it be a literal Shaggy Dog story.

If so, that's an awful lot of pages for a dad joke.


Probably also why it played on Father's Day in the US.
posted by tilde at 9:17 PM on June 21, 2016 [2 favorites]


it really does feel like they've stopped going for nuance and just want to tell us what happens.

I've said this elsewhere, but what it is really is the relentless flap of butterfly wings.

They used Sansa instead of Jeyne Pool - so thus they have to mix book-Sansa plot and show-Sansa plot to find a resolution to Winterfell, a resolution that feels rushed because it is rushed. Brienne isn't supposed to be in the North, she's supposed to be in Riverrun, but they want to give Brienne the climactic moment of cutting Stannis's head off and meeting up with Sansa. In the books none of this has happened. None of it. Sansa is still in the Vale being groomed for Harry the Heir.

Tyrion isn't supposed to be in Mereen until the siege itself - but the show wanted to speed that up. Great! Except that now they have to both juggle how Tyrion is still a really great administrator AND the city is on fire. They don't want to add the plague issue, so it just seems random.

The plot seems boring because it is. Because it's all simplified to only the things they think are important, but they are still flying a bit blind.
posted by corb at 11:37 PM on June 21, 2016 [3 favorites]


Would this be the Ned Stark who would rather abandon his children to this mess, specifically Sansa and Arya in an "enemy" city, rather than do something unethical?

That would be the Ned Stark who isn't in the show, at least. The Ned Stark in the show didn't abandon any of his family. That Ned did something unethical to save his family and the crown. He got caught and ate his pride when he bent the knee in front of an angry public to save his daughters. Joffrey had Ilyn Payne take off his head, anyway.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 1:35 AM on June 22, 2016


Probably also why it played on Father's Day in the US.

Plus Tormund got to spend time with his daughter.
posted by drezdn at 5:07 AM on June 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


In the books none of this has happened. None of it. Sansa is still in the Vale being groomed for Harry the Heir.

I think it's a pretty good bet that the book and TV plots have converged here, though—if Littlefinger and the knights of the Vale ride North to help retake Winterfell in the books, Sansa will likely go with them, meeting up with Jon after the battle instead of before.
posted by The Tensor at 9:31 AM on June 22, 2016 [2 favorites]




I just want to say that plot holes aside, this ep was so satisfying. That battle! Those battles, rather! That tracking shot was magnificent and as soon as the cavalry clashed and we were down in the muck and mud and confusion with Jon, I was wholly swept up in the thing.

I really liked that Dany took advice from Tyrion instead of doing her one-note-FIRE-BLOOD-VENGEANCE thing yet again, both i/r/t the ostensible clusterf*ck that happened in Meereen in her absence and i/r/t the enemy fleet. Recently I've been wondering if her role in the story is ultimately a villain's, with her arrogance and bloodthirsty righteousness and history of family madness ... this was a small signal in a different direction.

Melisandre's tete-a-tete with Jon was also interesting -- I thought it told us more about her than about him. She's been visibly humbled by her recent mistakes and hubris, and as a reckoning at Davos' hands is looking increasingly likely, I wonder if she's going to go without protest, having served her "small part in [the Lord of Light's] plan and [being needed for] nothing else."

LOVED the contrast between Sansa and Job's attitudes towards Rickon. Especially because just an ep ago, Sansa held out the idea of helping "our brother" as a way to get Jon to agree to march on Winterfell. Not sure if that's just inconsistent characterization by the writers but if she had already written Rickon off but was using him as a carrot/stick to manipulate Jon, what a statement that'd be about her ability to play the Game...

I know a few people have called shenanigans on Ramsey shooting Rickon instead of Jon, and then Wun Wun instead of Jon, but I actually found both actions perfectly in character. Ramsey is a psychopath and seriously could not seem to grasp the fact that he'd lost; it feels "natural" that he'd choose to terrorize his enemy rather than just end the battle (certainly this is true at the battle's opening, when he likely expected Jon to die under his archers' fire in moments anyway).

In fact he didn't even seem to understand he'd lost until that UTTERLY BADASS SEQUENCE where Jon just steamrolls up to him, barely pausing to brace for each arrow-shot. The look of dawning panic in Ramsey's eyes as arrow after arrow punched into the shield and caught, and Jon's advance continued unchecked ... excellent work by actor Iwan Rheon.

I also thought that in contrast to previous eps, this one had quite a few smallish details that were cool or made sense but which weren't lingered over: Viserion and Rhaegal being noticeably smaller than Drogon; Jon spurring his horse toward the Boltons rather than away after Rickon was shot in order to go under the incoming hail of arrows (yes, this could have been more TSTL nobility but even in the moment I thought it made sense; Tyrion calling Theon out on the fact that we all lead complicated lives; Theon stating that he was unfit to rule, simply and without excuse; Jon picking up the shield of the 62 good Mormont men (!!!) for his advance on Ramsey; the look on that wilding's face after arrow #2 hits the shield ... he just slowly lowers his own bow, all "welp, I'm not needed here." HA.

(Now ... the giant-deployment could've been handled better. We can all agree. Wun-wun. Stop dicking around with those spears step on something. PICK UP A HORSE AND USE IT AS A BATTERING RAM. Sheesh.)
posted by alleycat01 at 1:34 PM on June 22, 2016 [10 favorites]






In fact he didn't even seem to understand he'd lost until that UTTERLY BADASS SEQUENCE where Jon just steamrolls up to him, barely pausing to brace for each arrow-shot.

It was a good sequence. I admit I was kind of hoping for something to the effect of:

Ramsay: "You offered single combat earlier. I've changed my mind."
Jon: "So have I." (Ramsay is struck by a dozen arrows).

But I'll take the pummeling.
posted by nubs at 1:58 PM on June 22, 2016 [3 favorites]


Oh! Also, I 100% expected Sansa to tell Ramsey she'd been pregnant but had already gotten rid of it in that "your name will disappear, you will disappear" speech at the end. I really, really don't think she is pregnant currently -- THAT would be totally out of character given the noted availability of moon tea combined with Sansa's newly pragmatic, non-tender heart.
posted by alleycat01 at 2:35 PM on June 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


Ramsay: "You offered single combat earlier. I've changed my mind."
Jon: "So have I." (Ramsay is struck by a dozen arrows).


That would have been awesome but Jon is just too dumb for that.

the phrase "bless his heart" was uttered several times during the episode at our house
posted by French Fry at 2:41 PM on June 22, 2016 [7 favorites]


Dany negotiates a deal with Yara, gets Yara's agreement, and then turns around to get Tyrion's approval. It's like they keep trying to give the women these awesome power moments, but don't know how to do it without having one of the male characters there to give their blessing or prop them up somehow.

That really jumped out at me too. Yara also looked to Theon, but at least that was subtle. It might be that the scene was meant more as Dany showing Tyrion that she's doing it so he better be on board, but the condescending nod he gave her made it feel like he was giving her his permission. And I get that Dany would want to confer with her advisor, but she has also played the game enough to be aware that looking back for his approval on the deal she just made with the fellow would-be queen who is standing right in front of her with her hand out would undermine the appearance of strength which all rulers in this world are so universally obsessed with (as well as interrupt their bonding moment).

What bugged me more was how dense they made Dany earlier in the show. She's going to burn the masters' cities to ashes? The cities where all those slaves she wants to set free live? She liberated Astapor and Yunkai earlier in the series, so she knows perfectly well that destroying them would either kill thousands of slaves or at best leave them homeless if they survived. I assume that scene was meant to show that Dany might be starting to develop the Targaryen madness, but it just came across as her being dense. How lucky that there was a rational male in the room to talk her down.
posted by homunculus at 4:20 PM on June 22, 2016 [4 favorites]


What was it? Because a steamy, sensitively portrayed three-way between Dany, Yara and Daario is pretty much exactly what this show needs right now.

So far this show has mostly failed the Bechdel fucking test: every time we've seen eroticism between two or more women, it's been for the benefit of a man. I think the only exception was Yara in Volantis, but that wasn't even consensual since all the Volantine prostitutes are sex slaves. I'm not optimistic that a three-way between Dany, Yara and Daario is going to be "sensitively portrayed." OTOH...

Only if Yara stabs him, then chops off his head as foreplay.

Now we're talking.
posted by homunculus at 4:41 PM on June 22, 2016 [4 favorites]


I really, really don't think she is pregnant currently -- THAT would be totally out of character given the noted availability of moon tea combined with Sansa's newly pragmatic, non-tender heart.

...unless she wanted to control House Bolton.
posted by amtho at 5:17 PM on June 22, 2016 [4 favorites]


That really jumped out at me too. Yara also looked to Theon, but at least that was subtle. It might be that the scene was meant more as Dany showing Tyrion that she's doing it so he better be on board, but the condescending nod he gave her made it feel like he was giving her his permission.

Huh. I thought it was a measure of growth in terms of being open about seeking her advisor's thoughts. There was no embarrassment or hiding in what she was doing, nor that of Yara. They're smart and value good advisors and what they say. That's a good thing.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:38 PM on June 22, 2016 [2 favorites]


...unless she wanted to control House Bolton.

She doesn't need Ramsay's child for that. I'm going to go out on a limb here and assume that the show doesn't have the time/patience for any further Northern shenanigans, and that the return of a Stark to Winterfell sets things right in the eyes of most of the Northern Houses (though not the Iron Throne, but I'm not sure they are going to be able to press anything at the moment). If Sansa Stark is now #queenindanorf:

-House Bolton and House Umber are extinct after the battle from what I can see. Traditionally, that means their lands, titles, etc. revert to their overlord - House Stark. Which means Sansa Stark can decide what to do with them. She could grant them to Jon or Tormund or Davos or Lady Mormont or Moon Boy. She could just keep them and have the Dreadfort dismantled.

-House Karstark may be extinct - I'm not sure what happened to Lord Karstark in the battle. If alive, he could have his titles and land revoked for being part of the rebellion against House Stark.

So Sansa should be in control without having to be the mother to the child of her psychopathic rapist.
posted by nubs at 6:43 PM on June 22, 2016 [4 favorites]


Further, if Sansa is recognized as Queen in the North, she can legitimize Jon.
posted by nubs at 7:06 PM on June 22, 2016 [4 favorites]


Wouldn't the current head of House Bolton actually *be* Sansa, in the absence of any male claimants? Not that she intends to continue the lineage, as explicitly stated by her, but Ramsay helpfully informed us that in his view the marriage stood. So, barring prenups, what's the devolution of primogeniture in the North? Reversion to the King, er, Queen?
posted by mwhybark at 7:32 PM on June 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


Ah, I see nubs has reviewed that point and the policy is reversion. So I guess that rules out marital inheritance and female vesting.
posted by mwhybark at 7:35 PM on June 22, 2016


Just want to say that I also didn't read Dany's look to Tyrion as seeking male approval. I really think that she is starting to understand that there is a bloodthirsty nature within her that she can see but not always control without someone else asking her to slow down and think about what she's really saying ("sacking cities"). Also...while intersectionality is certainly a thing...Tyrion doesn't really represent patriarchal approval to me. The poor bastard has always been made to be lesser than just about everyone else in his world. He's gotten away with a lot based on his last name, for sure, but always in conjunction with his wit and brains, not his maleness. His dwarf-ness has always overruled that. It seems like Dany is gonna look to him for that brain, and that makes me happy. It means that maybe by the time she gets to Westeros, her immense power will be comfortably funneled through Tyrion's lens of politics and mercy. It will be Mother of Dragons ruling with the Imp's wisdom, not Woman Figurehead propped up by Male.
posted by lazaruslong at 8:03 PM on June 22, 2016 [2 favorites]


So I guess that rules out marital inheritance and female vesting.

The North is actually pretty ok with female leaders - House Mormont is an example of a House that seems to have had a lot of women in charge - but I can't recall any examples in any of the Seven Kingdoms of a woman inheriting via marriage; when it happens it happens because they are the daughter/sister of the male line and there's no other males around (except for Dorne, where men and women have the same status in the line of succession).
posted by nubs at 8:40 PM on June 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


nubs: "Dany negotiates a deal with Yara, gets Yara's agreement, and then turns around to get Tyrion's approval. It's like they keep trying to give the women these awesome power moments, but don't know how to do it without having one of the male characters there to give their blessing or prop them up somehow."
I understood that scene differently from everybody else here, I guess. Dany looks at Tyrion with a slightly confused expression when Yara extends her hand to seal the deal. I took this as Dany being unfamiliar with the customs of the Iron Islanders; I don't recall her shaking hands with anyone before and she has never spent any time in Westeros. At this moment, Tyrion is her only advisor who has ever been to Westeros, so it's natural that she's looking for a cue from him as to what to do with Yara's arm floating in mid-air.
posted by brokkr at 5:25 AM on June 23, 2016 [8 favorites]


I too took it to mean, "how do I do arm shake?" because he even mimes the gesture subtly.

I think it's meant to show her lack of comfort with westerosi customs, nothing more.
posted by French Fry at 5:52 AM on June 23, 2016 [5 favorites]


According to this guide to succession, all but the Targaryens would be pretty used to female rulers. In this episode, Dany or Yara makes a comment that a woman has not sat on the throne before, which isn't true in book canon, and Dany would certainly know better. Rhaenyra Targaryen was famously Queen for a few months.
posted by tofu_crouton at 6:58 AM on June 23, 2016


I also took the Dany/Tyrion glance to mean "how do I arm shake", which is as dumb as when Sansa has to look at Theon to know how to accept Brienne as a protector.
posted by tofu_crouton at 6:59 AM on June 23, 2016 [3 favorites]


According to this guide to succession

Thanks for that; as much as I like the idea of Sansa legitimizing Jon - and I think it's where the show is headed - I was thinking that it would fuck up the line of succession inside House Stark (presuming said legitimizing happens before Sansa learns Jon is a cousin and not half-brother) rather weirdly. But it looks like even legitimized bastards are automatically behind trueborn children, regardless of order of birth.
posted by nubs at 9:17 AM on June 23, 2016 [3 favorites]


House Bolton and House Umber are extinct after the battle from what I can see. Traditionally, that means their lands, titles, etc. revert to their overlord - House Stark. Which means Sansa Stark can decide what to do with them. She could grant them to Jon or Tormund or Davos or Lady Mormont or Moon Boy. She could just keep them and have the Dreadfort dismantled...House Karstark may be extinct - I'm not sure what happened to Lord Karstark in the battle. If alive, he could have his titles and land revoked for being part of the rebellion against House Stark.

Sansa's been improving but I don't think her demense limit is that high yet. Can she afford the opinion malus?

I'd give the Karstark lands to Lady Mormont because OMG I LOVE HER.

And I want to see Jorah wind up as the grumpy codger in her grumpy court. (Or else the eventual Commander of the Watch, nearby. That'd be poetic.)
posted by snuffleupagus at 9:55 AM on June 23, 2016 [4 favorites]


Rhaenyra Targaryen was famously Queen for a few months.

Nit picking the nit pick:

That's the exception that proves the rule. Taken down in a civil war and de-legitimatized after the fact, it's her brief non-reign that formalized primogeniture in the first place. I think the character is correct in their own perceptions here.
posted by absalom at 10:02 AM on June 23, 2016 [5 favorites]


I am quite sure Sansa intends to establish herself as the Queen in the North. She believes Arya and Bran are probably dead, and Jon has no claim -- and if Jon did have a claim, I'm in the camp that says Sansa didn't tell Jon about the reinforcements because she didn't trust him not to fuck it up. Sansa knows she's the best ruler available, and she won't let go. The real problem is that her military might is largely there courtesy of The Vale. My guess is that she's either going to marry Littlefinger to consolidate the forces, or kill Littlefinger and take them as her own.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 10:58 AM on June 23, 2016 [3 favorites]


I am quite sure Sansa intends to establish herself as the Queen in the North...The real problem is that her military might is largely there courtesy of The Vale. My guess is that she's either going to marry Littlefinger to consolidate the forces, or kill Littlefinger and take them as her own.

I think it's abundantly clear; she has kept the Stark name and Winterfell now flies the Stark direwolf. I don't think the show is going to spend any time on the nitty gritty, but what should happen now is:

1. Other Northern Houses swearing allegiance to House Stark and recognizing Sansa as the Queen in the North;
2. Sansa dispensing some rewards (lands, titles, incomes of the fallen Houses) to her allies and possibly a few punishments (to House Glover, to make an example)
3. Either a continued statement of defiance towards the Iron Throne, along with the establishment of a military presence at Moat Cailin, or an attempt at rapprochement with King Tommen. Robb's war was for independence of the North & the Riverlands; if they both wanted, it could be said that the casus belli ended with Robb's death and/or Joffrey's death and Sansa could be affirmed as Warden in the North. My money is on the former because of the natures of both Sansa and Cersei...but:
4. Negotiations with the Lord of the Vale regarding the nature of an ongoing alliance. Normally, I would think we would see a marriage/betrothal between Sansa and Robyn to cement this alliance as House Arryn and the Vale Lords are taking a big risk if they support Sansa - they are essentially going from being counted as loyal to the Throne to joining with a rebellion for independence. But Littlefinger's presence complicates things, and he's been promised the title of Warden of the North for ensuring the end of House Bolton and things ending with the lion flying over Winterfell. If she marries the Regent for Lord Arryn, is that cement enough? If she kills Petyr, will the Lords of the Vale follow her?

I really think the show is only going to spend any time on 4 and take points 1-3 as assumed; and the question will be more about Petyr's creepy fascination with Sansa-as-Cat as well as the fact that he married her to Ramsay than about the geo-political situation the North is now in.
posted by nubs at 11:22 AM on June 23, 2016 [3 favorites]


So, Sansa's vision for Ramsay came true ... "You're going to die tomorrow, Lord Bolton. Sleep well."

... what's her vision for Littlefinger?

kittens for breakfast: The real problem is that her military might is largely there courtesy of The Vale. My guess is that she's either going to marry Littlefinger to consolidate the forces, or kill Littlefinger and take them as her own.

Except Littlefinger is only there at the blessing of dear, sweet, stupid Robin, who may like Sansa more than Littlefinger, especially if Sansa tells Robin about what Littlefinger did to his mom.

Next episode could/should be very interesting, unless they punt a lot of stuff to next season.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:52 AM on June 23, 2016 [2 favorites]


So, back to dad jokes and the meaning of names. Is Baelish supposed to be a twist of/on baleful (threatening harm; menacing)? Littlefinger is threatening-ish.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:27 PM on June 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


Littlefinger's [was] promised the title of Warden of the North for ensuring the end of House Bolton and things ending with the lion flying over Winterfell

I have to think that he's aware of the way things have been going in King's Landing lately, and isn't likely to stick his neck out for the Lannisters unless and until they're back on top. Especially if Varys's mission turns out to be a meeting with his little birds and Kevan.
posted by Zonker at 2:52 PM on June 23, 2016


I have to think that he's aware of the way things have been going in King's Landing lately, and isn't likely to stick his neck out for the Lannisters unless and until they're back on top

I doubt he is; but he's got that decree tucked away somewhere just in case it all goes pear shaped up North for him, I'm sure. If Sansa is too hostile, and it doesn't look like it is going to break his way, he can still profit.
posted by nubs at 3:13 PM on June 23, 2016


Marrying Littlefinger doesn't get her as much as marrying Robin.
posted by tilde at 4:46 AM on June 24, 2016 [3 favorites]


Alt Shift X
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:08 PM on June 24, 2016 [1 favorite]




> Just want to say that I also didn't read Dany's look to Tyrion as seeking male approval.

Also... Tyrion doesn't really represent patriarchal approval to me.


I didn't think the writers meant it as Dany seeking Tyrion's approval because he's a man, not consciously anyway. But I agree with nubs that they have trouble writing women asserting their power effectively without having a male character's help. I don't think they're promoting patriarchy, in fact I don't think they're aware when they do it. Sometimes the problem is that they're trying to keep a character relevant, and they do it by diminishing the characters around them, especially when they're women. That's been particularly glaring this season with Theon, first with Sansa and now with Yara. Tyrion, otoh, is one of the most relevant characters in the story, but the writers have always amplified his awesomeness at the expense of the young women around him (if they have Missandei fall for him I'm going to start throwing my ASOIAF tomes at the TV.)

The bit with Tyrion and Dany here bugged me because I thought it was inconsistent with how the story has always handled the appearance of power: 'A woman must needs piss twice as hard, if she hopes to rule,' and Dany would be very conscious of that when negotiating face to face with another ruler for the first time. By the standards of our world it was fine, but Planetos is a different place. If that scene had somehow come about in the books, Asha would have been thoroughly unimpressed with the Dragon Queen who needed to look back to her male advisor before shaking on the deal she just made, but then Asha wouldn't be dependent on Theon to speak for her like Yara is. (OTOH, they got it exactly right with Lyanna Mormont. That was perfect.) But it looks like I misunderstood that aspect of the scene: Dany wasn't looking for approval, she was just confused by the arcane ritual of the handshake. That doesn't make it better.

> I also took the Dany/Tyrion glance to mean "how do I arm shake", which is as dumb as when Sansa has to look at Theon to know how to accept Brienne as a protector.

Indeed.
posted by homunculus at 4:38 PM on June 26, 2016


> The real problem is that her military might is largely there courtesy of The Vale. My guess is that she's either going to marry Littlefinger to consolidate the forces, or kill Littlefinger and take them as her own.

I don't see how she could claim the Vale forces by killing Littlefinger. Robin trusts LF completely, and I assume he gave command of the army to him. By allowing the Northern forces to get decimated by the Boltons, Sansa has sacrificed her own power base and made LF the most powerful man in the North (I wouldn't be surprised if we discover that LF's scouts told him that the battle had started, and he held his forces back until the right moment to make sure he was the only one with a real army left.) If LF disappears or turns up dead, they'll probably just go home. They might send a raven to the Eyrie for further instruction, but Robin is basically a frightened kid who would probably panic if LF died, so he'd just recall them anyway. Sansa's only hope now is that she can manipulate LF better than he can manipulate her.
posted by homunculus at 4:51 PM on June 26, 2016


I'd like to believe that Sansa didn't tell Jon about the Vale army because it was all part of her brilliant, cold-blooded plan to lure Ramsey out of Winterfell so he and his men could be mowed down by the knights, but it just doesn't make sense. If she had some reason to expect that LF would arrive when he did, then she's still sacrificed her own forces and made herself dependent on LF again. But there's no way she could have known that the knights of the Vale were going to arrive before hers and Jon's (and Lyanna's, who is probably pretty pissed off at her) forces were completely destroyed. Jon is an idiot, true, but I don't see how he could have fucked things up worse than what was actually happening (the total destruction of the Stark forces) if he had known that there might be an allied force on the way to help. The only reason Sansa isn't either dead by her own hand or in the Winterfell dungeon watching Ramsey flay Lyanna is because the cavalry arrived just in the nick of time. She was saved by a cliche.
posted by homunculus at 5:01 PM on June 26, 2016


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