Game of Thrones: Dragonstone   Books Included 
July 16, 2017 8:02 PM - Season 7, Episode 1 - Subscribe

Arya makes her big return to Westeros. Jon and Sansa disagree on strategy. The Hound gets lectured. Cersei and Jamie disagree on strategy. Samwell gets lectured. The existence of the sand snakes is briefly mentioned. Dany makes her big return to Westeros.
posted by skewed (126 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
Unsurprisingly, Arya's two scenes were the best parts of the episode, IMO; I like to think that the scene with the Lannister soldiers is setting up some internal strife over who she really is now, and will come to the fore again when she reunites with her family. The tension that they've been setting up since season 6 between Jon and Sansa feels a little forced to me; hopefully it's actually leading somewhere and isn't just a filler subplot.
posted by gsteff at 8:19 PM on July 16 [3 favorites]


Definitely I agree they are setting up internal conflict for Arya,she and the hound are on a collision course, and she is going to realize the person that she hated and wanted to kill has truly changed, And will have to decide what that means for her.
posted by skewed at 8:24 PM on July 16 [6 favorites]


I didn't think it was that good. There were a ton of little writing tics that stood out as sloppy, lazy, and dumb. Mostly it felt like bad fan service. I guess I'll keep watching though, simply through the logic of the sunk cost fallacy.
posted by codacorolla at 8:25 PM on July 16 [2 favorites]


from r/asoiaf

The Hound reads the flame better than Melisandre in his first try.

THE HOUND SAW A MOUNTAIN IN THE FIRE, BABY - CHOO CHOO

They're laying it on thick but the hound looking at the fire is a massive moment for his character. No longer letting his childhood define him

Did they just confirm that the Hound is the grave digger……
Like...reflect back on Season 1. What a change.
posted by lalochezia at 8:25 PM on July 16 [14 favorites]


Honestly, the Lannisters can't spare a few guys to hold Dragonstone? There isn't some minor Baratheon lord who wants to live in a big castle? It's only the historical site of the first invasion of Westeros by Targaryens with dragons.
posted by whir at 8:40 PM on July 16 [9 favorites]


Doesn't dragonstone require a lot of support, since it's mostly barren? With winter coming, maybe holding dragonstone was not worth the resources. Or they just wanted a simple scene to film that didn't require any dialogue.

So I guess euron went off to find that dragonhorn/deus ex machina to give to cersei?
posted by skewed at 8:47 PM on July 16 [1 favorite]


I presumed he intended to bring her Tyrion. But maybe the dragon horn ends up being important enough to the story that they're working it in.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:11 PM on July 16 [5 favorites]


There isn't some minor Baratheon lord who wants to live in a big castle?

Oh snap, where are the other Baratheons? Until you mentioned it, I hadn't thought about the fact that there aren't any minor Baratheons in the story since I first read book 1. The story should be riddled with their cousins and whatnot. Certainly Robert was prolific as hell, so where are all their legitimate relatives? Weird.
posted by padraigin at 9:18 PM on July 16


They've only got 11 episodes left to do things. The Dragon Horn seems unlikely to me, but... hey, maybe.
posted by codacorolla at 9:20 PM on July 16


I actually hope next episode starts with Arya riding away from a camp of dead Lanister soldiers. Mostly because Ed Sheeran.
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 11:17 PM on July 16 [5 favorites]


The problem with Dragonstone, and why they're making it empty, has to do with the limited amount of show time left and the massive amount that is having to be cut.

Bookwise, Princess Arianne should be rolling up there to meet with probably-fake-Aegon, which is going to be a super complex plot, that they can't even begin to get into because they didn't set up any of the pieces for it. So now it's empty, because to do otherwise would create plot that isn't and can't be interesting because it's meaningless. Cut time means implausibly empty castle - like, Stannis took literally everyone? He would never do that, plus all we saw were soldiers.
posted by corb at 12:13 AM on July 17 [7 favorites]


Eh, Dragonstone completely deserted was a bit much, but it makes sense that most of whatever caretaker force Stannis left there would have taken off the second they got wind that he was defeated. That is not a place anyone could survive on without a supply line.

My own personal bugbear was the dissonance between Book Jaime and Show Jaime in terms of his character development and relationship with Cersei. So I was heartened that he seemed way disturbed by what Cersei was planning, and also that all the shots in the preview which seemed to signal his unwaivering devotion to her we're all from this episode.

So, predicting Jaime to defect by episode 3. Best fangirl hope he defects to team Arya.

Still loving Show Cersei over Book Cersei, hope she doesn't have too much idiot ball possession in her eventual downfall.
posted by arha at 4:41 AM on July 17


I assumed Euron was sailing away to assassinate Tyrion. His head is the only trophy Cersei would give a crap about.
posted by arha at 4:53 AM on July 17


Oh no, I think he's sailing away for the horn that controls dragons maybe? That would be a pretty big gift for someone about to be invaded by dragons. Though I know in book-time he already has it, I don't think it's been shown in the show yet?
posted by corb at 5:24 AM on July 17 [1 favorite]


In the show, have they done anything to hint at the existence of a Dragon Horn. It feels like Euron has to have something in mind to stop the Dragons, because otherwise his fleet is just dragon fodder, but they haven't really even hinted at a horn, have they?
posted by drezdn at 5:29 AM on July 17 [1 favorite]


I assumed Euron was sailing away to assassinate Tyrion. His head is the only trophy Cersei would give a crap about.

That was my assumption as well. He's got a fleet, Dany's got a fleet, it makes sense to set them against each other and, as you say, it's the thing Cersei wants: the scene before with Jamie hit that note pretty heavily.

My personal gripe is that the story (and I'm thinking mostly of the books here) that is theoretically trying to deconstruct the myths of monarchy gave us a moving scene where the "rightful" ruler returns to her homeland to begin retaking the throne that felt like it could be out of some piece of Targaryen propaganda. It's a minor complaint, and I thought the scene worked well, but that scene felt like it stripped Dany's quest for the throne of some of its complexity.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 5:29 AM on July 17 [5 favorites]


In the show, have they done anything to hint at the existence of a Dragon Horn.

Nope, not a word.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:23 AM on July 17 [2 favorites]


My personal gripe is that the story (and I'm thinking mostly of the books here) that is theoretically trying to deconstruct the myths of monarchy gave us a moving scene where the "rightful" ruler returns to her homeland to begin retaking the throne that felt like it could be out of some piece of Targaryen propaganda

I think that the books are still going there - but honestly, I think that's the biggest problem with the divergence of the books and the show. Seeing the new things they are adding to the show that are at least vaguely based on the books makes me think that in the books, at least, they are going to be showing that it doesn't matter how well intentioned people are, how righteous they are, how kind and honorable they are, there are still massive, massive problems with the feudal system.

So in the books, I anticipate Fake Aegon's banners being answered by some people, and Dany herself seeing them and wondering about it, and having the moment of having to decide between bending the knee to someone she perceives as having a more direct/rightful claim to the throne (though we know he doesn't) who doesn't have experience at being a ruler, and someone who doesn't. And then when Jon's parentage is revealed, to deal with the fact of someone who is legitimately - or is he? - a more 'rightful' heir to the throne. And what precisely does that mean? One of the fascinating things about medieval politics is what happens when the line of the succession gets a little bit bumpy - not just what happens when there are clear and obvious usurpers, but what happens when there are multiple "rightful" claimants. Was Elizabeth I or Mary Queen of Scots more entitled to the English throne? Well, that depends on who you're asking, much like Dany/Jon/FakeGon. Who, even going by the Targ succession line, is the Rightful Ruler Toiling In Obscurity? The one who can take it, which itself casts doubt on the rightfulness of the rule.

And we have spent six seasons and five books seeing Dany trying really hard to Be A Rightful, Good Ruler, and seeing that it kind of fucks her. Every time she's tried to hand down enlightenment from on high - protecting the pillaged, or freeing the slaves, or what have you - the reason why it doesn't work is because these changes are externally imposed from above rather than baked in - and I think we're going to see those problems rise again when she's heading over Dothraki screamers and Ironborn pillaging their way through Westeros. Because those things can't be imposed, they need to be developed culturally, and you can't do that Just Because The Ruler Says So.

Where is the most stable place we've seen in the whole of the GoT universe? The place that seems to function, where war doesn't really touch it, where people are fed enough that you can have a small girl selling oysters in the streets without threat? Bravos, where the Iron Bank - capitalism - holds sway, and where the Sealord in charge is elected. Where tolerance and diversity abound, and slavery is banned. Bravos is the future, Westeros just doesn't know it yet. Yes, it has the House Of Black And White, but it's worth noting that even the mystical guild of assassins has its own lethal brand of democracy. Anyone can hire a Faceless Man - the price is tailored to the one who pays it. And they don't, generally, cause destabilization. The closest they've come is killing the Greyjoy king, but he was also pretty crazy and interfering with trade from Westeros.
posted by corb at 6:40 AM on July 17 [21 favorites]


Still loving Show Cersei over Book Cersei,

The fire with which I love Show Cersei burns like 10,000,000 globes of widlfire.

Mr. Machine pointed out how much Cersei is trying to dress like Tywin. Remember his own black leather outfits?
posted by joyceanmachine at 7:09 AM on July 17 [3 favorites]


I agree with Corb's post, and it's why I have been finding the show frustrating and unsatisfying for a long time. Having read the books well in advance of the show, I keep expecting a story more interesting than swords, sorcery, and bland heroics. The show is good at putting up some wallpaper that seems interesting, but at its core the writers appear to be hacks, who are mostly interested in presenting giffable and Buzzfeedable moments to the audience. I guess there isn't much choice. They have a dozen storylines, and a very limited amount of time to pay any of them off. They also have audience expectations, which probably involve Daenerys and Jon banding together with their wisecracking sidekicks in order to stave off the zombie invasion. That's... insanely boring.
posted by codacorolla at 7:37 AM on July 17 [4 favorites]


which probably involve Daenerys and Jon banding together with their wisecracking sidekicks in order to stave off the zombie invasion.

Which seems to be the logical way to tie up all of Corb's points without actually dealing with them, and is what most folks assume GRRM had in mind, but now it's 2017, and we've all loved the Girl with all the Gifts and we can accept that Winter is now a (reverse) metaphor for the inevitability of environmental disaster in the form of climate change, and everyone will die at the hands of the White Walkers except for Sam, who will remain in Old Town as the living memory of humankind (as forecast for Archmaester Broadbent). roll credits.
posted by OHenryPacey at 9:42 AM on July 17 [6 favorites]


One of the things that I actually liked about this episode was Oldtown. It plays a little bit into a suspicion I've had for a long time, which is that the Maesters aren't the kindly old scholars they pretend to be. I can almost see the cyclical disasters of winter to be a sort of cleansing mechanism, which maintains a certain social order (patriarchy and feudalism), and disperses the energy of the social system of Westeros when it becomes too chaotic. My own far-out hunch is that the Maesters have worked to call the White Walkers back into existence, because they're reactionary utilitarians, who want to maintain their status as the custodians of a terrible social system, rather than risk losing power to commerce, equity, and change.
posted by codacorolla at 9:52 AM on July 17 [16 favorites]


My own far-out hunch is that the Maesters have worked to call the White Walkers back into existence, because they're reactionary utilitarians, who want to maintain their status as the custodians of a terrible social system, rather than risk losing power to commerce, equity, and change.

That is pretty far-out. My thought is that the Maesters know that Oldtown is pretty frickin' far south of the Wall, and as such, winter in Oldtown is a lot different than winter in the North. They can be pretty comfortable and far from the white walker action, as people die, starve and freeze, and they say "thus it has always been," while they read their old books in the (indirect) sunlight.

Otherwise, I agree that they're in no rush to change the social system.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:57 AM on July 17 [7 favorites]


The song Ed Sheeran sang is from "A Storm of Swords." It's called "Hands of Gold."

Lyrics:

He rode through the streets of the city,
Down from his hill on high,
O’er the wynds and the steps and the cobbles,
He rode to a woman’s sigh.

For she was his secret treasure,
She was his shame and his bliss.

And a chain and a keep are nothing,
Compared to a woman's kiss

For hands of gold are always cold,
But a woman’s hands are warm.


The Telegraph: The song was originally written about Tyrion by Symon Silver Tongue, a performer and songwriter. Silver Tongue tried to use it to blackmail Tyrion about the affair he was having with Shae. If the song had been made public, Cersei would have had him killed. The chorus becomes a bit of an earworm for Tyrion -- he says the final line of the song as he strangles Shae with his gold necklace.

Vanity Fair notes that in the show, Tyrion strangled Shae with an ordinary necklace. But in the books, he strangled her with the necklace of the sign of his office: the linked, golden Hands of the King. More symbolism.

When Arya asks what the song is, Sheeran replies, "It's new." So in the show at least, the lyrics probably don't refer to Tyrion. But VF further asks if Ed Sheeran is in fact playing Symon Silver Tongue, and notes that the lyrics could just as easily apply to Jaime's secret tryst with Cersei.
posted by zarq at 10:33 AM on July 17 [12 favorites]


oh, I thought that song was about Ellie Goulding
posted by prize bull octorok at 10:57 AM on July 17 [1 favorite]


My main evidence for the Maesters hiding something comes from the text of the book, so it's really out the window at this point. Martin does seem to be setting that up with the way that Sam experiences Oldtown (what little bit we get), and in a few interactions that others have with Maesters.
posted by codacorolla at 11:25 AM on July 17


codacorolla, interesting. I guess we'll see ... or we won't, if they punt the action and consequences until next season or the next book.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:35 AM on July 17


I didn't think it was that good. There were a ton of little writing tics that stood out as sloppy, lazy, and dumb. Mostly it felt like bad fan service. I guess I'll keep watching though, simply through the logic of the sunk cost fallacy.

My expectations for this season aren't very high. The last season felt really rushed to me, with sloppy shortcuts in the writing. Since this and the next season don't even have a full 10 episodes, I'm guessing this will be more of the same.

Of course, the great thing about low expectations is that it's hard to be disappointed, but you can still be pleasantly surprised.
posted by homunculus at 11:45 AM on July 17


Oh no, I think he's sailing away for the horn that controls dragons maybe? That would be a pretty big gift for someone about to be invaded by dragons. Though I know in book-time he already has it, I don't think it's been shown in the show yet?

Yeah, I assumed the gift he's going to fetch is the dragon horn. I hope that's it, because the show has an opportunity to make this a lot more exciting than the book if we get to see Euron retrieve the horn from the ruins of Old Valyria. Though with the shortened season, it doesn't seem likely.
posted by homunculus at 11:45 AM on July 17 [1 favorite]


Yeah I liked the horn as a thing he already has but is possibly bullshit. The possibly fake muggfin. I like the touches in the book that both magic is real but people are also superstitious and dumb and believe total crap.

But to go get it... seems laaaate to bring it in the show now.
posted by French Fry at 11:50 AM on July 17 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I assumed the gift he's going to fetch is the dragon horn. I hope that's it, because the show has an opportunity to make this a lot more exciting than the book if we get to see Euron retrieve the horn from the ruins of Old Valyria. Though with the shortened season, it doesn't seem likely.

They've pretty much committed to the Euron character, though, and now we're all expecting some kind of payoff. The show's mania for spectacle would make both searching through ruins and a big scene where the horn is dramatically blown decent bets, and it sort of feels like they need to kill some time with the Lannister plot unless they want to have them all die halfway through the season. I don't think it would actually take that much set-up, since he just has to say, "I'm looking for a magical horn that controls dragons!" and then show up with it to give to Cersei, and then blow it at a dragon and see what happens.
posted by Copronymus at 11:53 AM on July 17 [1 favorite]


. My own far-out hunch is that the Maesters have worked to call the White Walkers back into existence, because they're reactionary utilitarians, who want to maintain their status as the custodians of a terrible social system, rather than risk losing power to commerce, equity, and change.
posted by codacorolla


Close, but in the book canon, nope - emphasis below mine

AFFC, Samwell V

Alleras stepped up next to Sam. "Aemon would have gone to [Daenerys] if he had the strength. He wanted us to send a maester to her, to counsel her and protect her and fetch her safely home."

"Did he?" Archmaester Marwyn shrugged. "Perhaps it's good that he died before he got to Oldtown. Elsewise the grey sheep might have had to kill him, and that would have made the poor old dears wring their wrinkled hands."

"Kill him?" Sam said, shocked. "Why?"

"If I tell you, they may need to kill you too." Marywn smiled a ghastly smile, the juice of the sourleaf running red between his teeth. "Who do you think killed all the dragons the last time around? Gallant dragonslayers armed with swords?"

He spat. "The world the Citadel is building has no place in it for sorcery or prophecy or glass candles, much less for dragons. Ask yourself why Aemon Targaryen was allowed to waste his life upon the Wall, when by rights he should have been raised to archmaester. His blood was why. He could not be trusted. No more than I can."
posted by lalochezia at 11:59 AM on July 17 [15 favorites]


Euron could already have the dragonbinding horn, the gift is a dragon. Imagine the two fleets coming to clash, the dragons flying towards Euron's ships, we all know how this ends because of what we saw in Slaver's Bay last season. Then he uncovers the horn, and blows.

I think the less time they spend setting up the horn, the higher percentage chance there is of it actually working to bind a dragon. If they build it up with dark rituals and junk, he's definitely just going to get eaten. But if it's a surprise unveiling, well Dany's fleet had better watch out.
posted by Wulfhere at 12:13 PM on July 17 [6 favorites]


lalochezia: "The world the Citadel is building has no place in it for sorcery or prophecy or glass candles, much less for dragons. "

Yes, I always thought that the Maesters of the books actually didn't want magic to return to the world so they were doing everything they could to remove and prevent it. Qyburn being defrocked (dechained?) would seem to indicate that as well. Maesters of the show are a bit more ambiguous though.

If Euron is going to fetch the Dragon Horn I suspect it isn't going to appear here until the last season if at all. What I strongly suspect he's going to get is a hostage... likely Yara and/or Theon.
posted by Ashwagandha at 12:32 PM on July 17 [3 favorites]


So apparently, GRRM confirmed that Shireen burns in the books as well. One of my favorite bits of speculation that I've heard is that Melisandre burns her, not to make the weather a little better for Stannis, but to fuel the magic for Jon's resurrection. That feels like much bigger stakes and much better conflict to me.
posted by KathrynT at 12:37 PM on July 17 [6 favorites]


Because Jon needs even more things to mope about!
posted by elsietheeel at 12:50 PM on July 17 [1 favorite]


Oh snap! Extra layer added to the "You sound like you admire her" / "I've learned a great deal from her" scene:

Sansa was rocking a Cersei hairstyle from earlier seasons in the S7 premiere.
posted by lord_wolf at 12:51 PM on July 17 [5 favorites]


Yes, I always thought that the Maesters of the books actually didn't want magic to return to the world so they were doing everything they could to remove and prevent it. Qyburn being defrocked (dechained?) would seem to indicate that as well. Maesters of the show are a bit more ambiguous though.

Ah, thanks for that. It's been so long since I've read it, that I'd gotten confused on the details. It appears as though the maesters have ulterior motives, but likely aren't in league with anyone but themselves.
posted by codacorolla at 1:03 PM on July 17


I just hope Sam can find the name of the wind in time!
posted by drezdn at 1:24 PM on July 17 [13 favorites]


GRRM confirmed that Shireen burns in the books as well

Sure if we're gonna engage in unwritten fan-fiction.
posted by French Fry at 1:28 PM on July 17


Speaking of GRRM confirmations, is this list of chapters the most complete set of preview chapters from Winds of Winter? I was going to read through what I could find, because after this episode, I want moar!
posted by filthy light thief at 1:31 PM on July 17


I'm glad I had no idea what Ed Sheeran looks like because I was thus is no way annoyed at his appearance.
posted by Justinian at 1:36 PM on July 17 [14 favorites]


I think Tyrion's head makes the most logical sense, but my money's actually on the dragon horn, too, if only because it would be the most Cersei thing imaginable for her to bring down the Wall in an attempt to crush her "enemies in the North" -- e.g., shortsighted and signing her own death warrant. (What does she care, as long as everyone else goes down with her?)

But I think he has to either already have it (unlikely given his conversation with Cersei), or get it from someone/some group of people we already know -- at this stage in the show it's too late to have him go off on some quest or introduce new lands and people. Anyway, I *hope* we don't waste screentime watching Euron the Eurotrash DJ go on an indiana jones treasure hunt.

Euron could already have the dragonbinding horn, the gift is a dragon

Euron as depicted in the show just seems too doltish and clownlike to get his hands on/master a dragon, though. We've already met and disposed of villains who were way more competent and menacing -- even the Undying back in S2 would have been more believable.
posted by alleycat01 at 1:57 PM on July 17


There's a lot left unsaid between Jaime and Cersei. Are you angry with me? Not angry. Are you afraid of me? Should I be?

Jaime killed the Mad King for merely threatening to do what Cersei actually did. And then Cersei's actions ended up causing the death of their last and youngest child. And she was unapologetic about it because Tommen was a "traitor".

I'm honestly shocked that Jaime is still standing alongside Cersei.

Also where was Bronn?
posted by elsietheeel at 2:07 PM on July 17 [3 favorites]


Does anyone remember if there's anything in the books about parameters under which the dead can become wights? Like, do they themselves need to have fallen in a battle with the WWs/wights, or do they maybe need the Night's King to actually resurrect them (en masse or whatever, not necessarily personally)? Or, like, are all the graveyards just gonna turn over and yield up blue-eyed zombies once the Walkers come wandering south?

I guess I'm wondering what shot any humans even have once the Wall comes down, if there's no limit to zombie resurrection. There are an awful lot of dead bodies packed into Westerosi soil, and if burning the corpses is the only way to prevent a body from turning wight ... those seem like steep odds.
posted by alleycat01 at 2:07 PM on July 17 [2 favorites]


I think he's about to stop standing by her, very very soon. That look he had when she called Tommen a traitor? Eek.

I know people sometimes don't like it when popular theories become canon because it doesn't feel "surprising" enough, but Jaime killing Cersei as a fulfillment of the valonqar prophecy just feels right. And all of their respective experiences keep twisting them further and further away from each others' point of view ... it would feel like a natural place for that story to go.
posted by alleycat01 at 2:11 PM on July 17 [13 favorites]


"You'd best pray it's a wildling blade that kills me, though. The ones the Others kill don't stay dead ... and they remember." - Ser Alliser
posted by elsietheeel at 2:13 PM on July 17 [1 favorite]


Agreed on Jaime being the valonquar. I've also seen some pretty convincing theories about J being Azor Ahai (but I've also seen a great one about it being Davos as well, so...)

I'm not so sure how I feel about that quote from Ser Alliser I just posted. It might not be show canon. Have we seen wights that have died by non-Other means?
posted by elsietheeel at 2:16 PM on July 17


Maybe Hardhome? Lots of people killed by wights, not Others, but it looked like everyone rose.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 2:28 PM on July 17


I'd count death by wight as being death by Other, if it's White Walker magic that animates them.

I remember the Watch being quick to burn the bodies at Castle Black even when they were killed by wildlings or brothers. But that could just be cautiousness.

For some reason I want to say we saw wights of people who were killed by Thenns in the show, but I have a major zombie phobia and tend to watch all scenes with walkers out of the corner of my eye or between my fingers.
posted by elsietheeel at 2:41 PM on July 17 [3 favorites]


Is the valonquar prophesy part of the show? I remember they had the prophesy of all of Cersei's children dying, but don't remember otherwise. I think the symmetry and irony of Jaime having to do another great unappreciated dead for the seven kingdoms by killing an insane monarch and saving King's Landing by surrendering the city to an invading rebellion is too delicious to avoid.

Jaime in the season finale: What the hell, it's been almost 20 years since last time I had to murder the reigning monarch who I'm sworn to protect in order to save tens of thousands of innocent lives and I was just starting to earn back some respect. Jeesh, I am *never* going to live down this nickname now.
posted by skewed at 2:54 PM on July 17 [4 favorites]


By the one, one of my favorite parts about Cersei's gear these days is that her short haircut really, really highlights how much she looks like Jamie. You can see how, before puberty hit, the two of them could have been mistaken for each other, and it really drives home the new gap opening up between them.

Add in how she's basically reprising Tywin's pierced-leather, all-black getup, and it's actually a subtle, interesting way to do her I WISH I WERE A MAN I WISH I HAD A PENIS bits from certain books, but without the terrible, terrible GRRM writing/equating genitals with gender.
posted by joyceanmachine at 3:23 PM on July 17 [6 favorites]


"Books Included" encompasses the Player's Handbook and Dungeon Master's Guide, correct? The D&D D&D recap returns!

In this episode:
• Arya uses the "impostor" ability of the Assassin archetype to pass convincingly as Walder Frey. The quick-acting, no-save poison she uses isn't listed in the DMG, so perhaps is campaign-specific.
• Bran uses a (house-ruled?) ability to see from afar, or foresee, the march of the dead. (As an aside, a discursus on the nature of Bran's greenseeing ability – in D&D terms – might prove interesting.)
• Sansa fails a Persuasion check against Jon, but perhaps the public context of the disagreement gave him advantage.
• Lady Lyanna Mormont doesn't ace her Persuasion checks. She aces her Intimidation checks. Lady Lyanna Mormont need Persuade no man.
• Euron rolls a natural "1" on his Persuasion check, yet resolves to return with an object that will give him advantage on the roll.
• Sam rolls a lot of Constitution checks with middling success, yet in the end succeeds with a combination of skill checks that include Investigation, History, and Perception. It appears, however, that he has learned not a single cantrip. Pick mage hand, Sam!
• Pod is still fairly worthless in melée, as he is only able to get in a hit on Brienne when Tormund distracts her. Does Pod display a nascent aptitude for a Rogue's sneak attack ability?
• Tormund, meanwhile, fails a Charisma check (contest?) against Brienne.
• Littlefinger utterly fails his rolls of Insight, Deception, Intimidation, and Persuasion against Sansa. She's leveled up. A lot.
• Sandor performs some sort of clairvoyance through the flames. How a bog-standard – though high-level – Fighter suddenly has access to a 3rd-level spell might prove a fruitful line of investigation. (This commenter would be tickled to see Sandor multi-class into Cleric, taking the Fire domain.)
• Daenerys assumes ownership of an abandoned stronghold.

Lastly, this commenter rolled a natural "1" on a Pop Culture skill check, failing to recognize some bloke named Ed.
posted by The Nutmeg of Consolation at 3:24 PM on July 17 [54 favorites]


NUTMEG I AM SO HAPPY TO SEE YOU POSTING IN THESE THREADS AGAIN OKAY NOW IMMA READ YOUR RECAP
posted by joyceanmachine at 3:27 PM on July 17 [4 favorites]


Also where was Bronn?

Bronn is in the background hanging with Jamie in the trailer for this season so I'm gonna assume we'll see him soon.
posted by Ashwagandha at 4:11 PM on July 17 [2 favorites]


We haven't had a good clumsy sexposition scene in years. Where is the equivalent of Theon and Ros in the tub? Where is Baelish and the hookers going on about politics and society with occasional breaks for instructions about ass-touching?

I barely know you any more, Game of Thrones!
posted by Justinian at 5:32 PM on July 17 [1 favorite]


I think Tyrion's head makes the most logical sense, but my money's actually on the dragon horn, too, if only because it would be the most Cersei thing imaginable for her to bring down the Wall in an attempt to crush her "enemies in the North" -- e.g., shortsighted and signing her own death warrant. (What does she care, as long as everyone else goes down with her?)

I don't think Dragonbinder would bring down the wall, that was the fabled Horn of Winter. But Cersei probably doesn't need to bring down the Wall since Bran just came through and he presumably still has the Night King's mark on him. I suspect Archmaester Ebrose's confidence that "the Wall has stood through it all" is a good indication that it's going to come crumbling down.
posted by homunculus at 6:06 PM on July 17 [9 favorites]


Yeah, I don't think you can have a clearer foreshadowing of the wall coming down than have the archmaester say "Bah, that thing will be there FOREVER! You hear me? FOREVER!"

Also, just thematically, the show/books can't really end with the wall standing, or the Night's Watch existing. It's a horrible institution, and any ending that involves petty thieves still being drafted into slavery just won't work.
posted by skewed at 6:45 PM on July 17 [8 favorites]


Oh shit you guys are right, I mixed up my magical horns!

Well ... Dragonbinder actually makes more sense for Euron to come back with anyway as a "priceless gift," since the threat from Dany & her dragons probably feels way more imminent to Cersei right now than any mumbo jumbo about the undead.

Also, elsietheheel, I TOO have a petrifying fear of zombies (even the movie Zombieland legit gave me nightmares) and watch all White Walker scenes through my fingers. So much so, in fact, that I couldn't participate in that whole "Was the zombie giant Wun-wun or not" debate in the show-only thread because I had no ability to see identifying features like a single eye through the vee made by my index and middle fingers.
posted by alleycat01 at 7:27 PM on July 17 [1 favorite]


(sorry--elsietheeel, not heel. Not doing so well with reading comprehension these days.)
posted by alleycat01 at 7:35 PM on July 17 [1 favorite]


All the talk of sibling slaying in that Euron / Lannister conversation makes me wonder if the precious gift is actually Tyrion.

After rewatching tonight with my partner, I noticed when Cersei was talking with Jamie in the map room about her "little brother" coming across Narrow Sea Jamie happened to be standing in that exact location on the map. This is likely a fake out for the jamie= valonquar theorists out there. Also I wonder if the theory that Tyrion may be the child of the mad king might have some truth to it.
posted by Ashwagandha at 8:34 PM on July 17


ok so I don't want to have to go back and re-watch the early seasons, but wasn't there some sort of horn amongst the stash of dragonglass that Jon and his buddies dug up on a trip beyond the wall? Am I remembering that right and if so does that have some significance?
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 8:38 PM on July 17


Yes on the Fist of the First Men (which I suspect we will see again this season), but I think it was the show faking us out.
posted by Ashwagandha at 8:43 PM on July 17




After rewatching tonight with my partner, I noticed when Cersei was talking with Jamie in the map room

You mean when Cersei is standing on the Neck and Jaime was standing near the Fingers?

"And when your tears have drowned you, the valonqar shall wrap his hands about your pale white throat and choke the life from you."
posted by elsietheeel at 1:35 AM on July 18 [9 favorites]


Of course, Jaime only has one hand...
posted by elsietheeel at 1:36 AM on July 18 [5 favorites]


Yeah, I would have forgotten that if Euron hadn't reminded me. ಠ_ಠ
posted by Night_owl at 5:47 AM on July 18 [3 favorites]


You mean when Cersei is standing on the Neck and Jaime was standing near the Fingers?

Jamie is standing in the Narrow Sea when she specifically mentions that her "little brother" is coming across the Narrow Sea.
posted by Ashwagandha at 6:12 AM on July 18 [1 favorite]




The Maester took something from Jon's decision that I did not:
Jon is right that a unified North is needed to face the White Walker threat. And executing Alys Karstark and Ned Umber, both children, is simply not in Jon’s nature.
No one said anything about executing them, just about kicking them out of their family homes and replacing them with "loyal" families. But his subsequent question is a good one:
Is it wise to allow Last Hearth, a frontline castle in the coming war, to be under the control of a child not named Lyanna Mormont? Probably not.
Agreed - WTH, turning castles over to children? There is only one young Lady Mormont, and these kids are not even bold enough to be her shadows. (Then again, they come from traitorous families, and Sansa was just saying they should be booted from their homes, so I would likely also look scared and concerned, doubly so for the mood in the room.) Also agree with this:
Clearly Jon needs a small council, and that small council needs to have regular meetings. Issues such as these should be debated behind the scenes, not aired in public. To be fair, Jon’s new at this. But as king, he’s accountable for the way his kingdom is run.
Which is something Sansa could have suggested, and she could be included at the table. But with Cersei as her "mentor," a small council might not have come to mind because Cersei didn't really hold much stock in that kind of thing.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:05 PM on July 18 [1 favorite]


Jon is right that a unified North is needed to face the White Walker threat. And executing Alys Karstark and Ned Umber, both children, is simply not in Jon’s nature.

I. Don't know how I feel about the implication that executing them might be in Sansa's nature. I'm kinda horrified, and kinda delighted, and kinda offended on behalf of Sansa.

Concepcion is 10000000000000% right that to there were plenty of other options short of straight-up execution, though, including fosterage and hostage-taking. Alternate thought experiment: given her own past with arranged, political marriage, would Sansa be willing to require Alys Karstark to some loyal (and likely much older) bannerman hungry for the title and Karstark land, and whose loyal service meant that he should get the step up?
posted by joyceanmachine at 2:08 PM on July 18 [2 favorites]


I was wondering why they weren't being married off myself.
posted by bq at 2:12 PM on July 18 [1 favorite]


there were plenty of other options short of straight-up execution, though, including fosterage and hostage-taking
..of course, the last hostage the Stark's fostered kinda betrayed and fucked Robb, so.... yeah.
posted by coriolisdave at 2:43 PM on July 18 [1 favorite]


Going back a bit - corb, I am 100% with you, and I've long said that the only conclusion to this series I'll be happy with is the abolition of the feudalist/monarchist system. The books especially make it so clear that Westeros is not served well by this system. And having Westeros exist as a kingdom with Dany or even Jon on the Iron Throne is not going to be a satisfying ending.

Unfortunately, the show doesn't really get as much into the impact on the "smallfolk" as the books did. One of the recappers pointed out that A Feast for Crows, as challenging as it was to read, was essentially an exploration of the impact of the war between the kings on the small farmers and poor people of Westeros. But we don't see that nearly as much in the show, for understandable reasons.

However, we did get a bit of that in this episode (the man and his daughter who had starved, the Lannister soldiers), so maybe the show is trying to set this up now?

I am also trying to parse the Maester's speech. At first, I thought maybe they were trying to introduce some enlightenment ideas into the mix, and it reminded me of the fan theories, mentioned upthread, about how the maesters are trying to kill magic and introduce an era of reason. But then the conclusion, which was downright fatalistic (the world will keep going no matter what happens) seemed to undermine it. So maybe they were just trying to make the point that the maesters are in an ivory tower and won't look kindly on Sam trying to use their knowledge to interfere in the world.
posted by lunasol at 4:04 PM on July 18 [3 favorites]


I was also thinking about the whole "fanservice" thing while I was watching this episode. Whenever the showrunners have gotten to drive the plot (which is most of the time now), they are definitely really fanservicey but ... I kind of love it.

I think my expectations for the show are just a lot simpler than my expectations of the books. The books are really ambitious on a narrative level, challenging, and a really rich reading experience (even A Feast for Crows). The show is a gorgeous soap opera with high production values and great acting. I'm happy with having them be two different things, though I increasingly think we won't get any more books and the conclusion will come solely from the show. And I think that if GRRM could manage to pull all these threads together, it would be an incredibly satisfying ending. Whereas the show ending will be less satisfying but more entertaining. But who even knows if GRRM will be able to pull it all together in the end? I am betting he won't.
posted by lunasol at 4:10 PM on July 18


I find it so interesting that while we decry this modern age of instant gratification and an ever diminishing attention span, our most riveting cultural touchstone is a story that is taking decades to unfold.
posted by OHenryPacey at 5:04 PM on July 18 [6 favorites]


If they build it up with dark rituals and junk, he's definitely just going to get eaten.

This is the only way I'd be happy with it being a magic horn the show forgot to mention until the last season. chimaera predicted Euron taking the Quentyn Martell role, which seems like a good place for him.
posted by Gary at 5:27 PM on July 18


I. Don't know how I feel about the implication that executing them might be in Sansa's nature.

Sansa wasn't advocating for their execution, at least not per se. She advocated for stripping their lands and castles and giving them to more worthy families.
posted by tclark at 5:31 PM on July 18



Unfortunately, the show doesn't really get as much into the impact on the "smallfolk" as the books did.


I disagree. In a scene deeply influenced by Beckett's waiting for Godot, one of the finest in the show, Arya and the Hound encounter a farmer.

The simple monologue about "Fair exchange" is incredibly moving.
posted by lalochezia at 5:51 PM on July 18 [1 favorite]


the man and his daughter who had starved

They didn't starve, The Hound killed them.
posted by elsietheeel at 5:55 PM on July 18 [3 favorites]


It's more accurate to say that he guaranteed that they would die when they had previously only been very likely to die.
posted by Justinian at 7:06 PM on July 18 [4 favorites]


Arya and the Hound encounter a farmer yt .

I'd forgotten how much Arya learned from the Hound! I am greatly looking forward to their reunion.
posted by Justinian at 7:12 PM on July 18


Finally caught up on this tonight. Whole thing struck me as a little hamfisted and rushed, which bodes ill for the rest of the season. Definitely some patchy spots in the writing --- probably the strongest plot was Jon and Sansa.

But I'm curious what other people think about the Arya plotline. My gut feeling is that the show doesn't have the fortitude to really be brutal anymore, and that therefore Arya's plot will be the struggle for her soul, and she will somehow regain her humanity by the end. Which is rather disappointing, really. I'd far rather it ended up that deciding your only purpose in life is revenge and spending years training to become a remorseless killing machine kind a leaves a mark on a person. As of right now the show has room to keep the Hound and Arya in counterpoint --- the Hound journeying towards light and redemption, Arya towards vegence and death --- but I just feel like they'll end up pulling their punches. Because people want to see Arya win. People want to believe that the good guys killing the bad guys solves all problems. There was a time when I'd have thought this show would be a bit more complicated than that, but I think we're past that now.
posted by Diablevert at 7:20 PM on July 18 [6 favorites]


I would be very shocked if the show's theme turned out to be "The good guys killing the bad guys solves all problems".
posted by Justinian at 7:21 PM on July 18


Well, not to split hairs, but I don't know if that's the theme of the story. Maybe, maybe not. What I'm saying is, it's what people find satisfying. And I don't know if the show is brave enough to leave people dissatisfied with Arya, to come to feel repugnance for her, or feel that her quest is pointless, harmful. The satisfying ending for the little girl who saw her father get his head chopped off is the full Conan the Barbarian combo platter, following by her skipping into Jon's arms and helping him to defeat the zombie army. Right now I'd say that's likelier than, say, her killing Jamie just when he was about to bring the Lannisters over to Jon, or some other quest-for-personal-vengeance-imperils-the-realm outcome.
posted by Diablevert at 7:32 PM on July 18 [1 favorite]


Gotcha. I do agree that I'd prefer a resolution more along the lines of "before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves" for Arya than we're likely to see.
posted by Justinian at 8:14 PM on July 18 [2 favorites]


If they turn Euron into Quentyn that will do a lot to redeem the show, IMO.
posted by codacorolla at 8:18 PM on July 18 [10 favorites]


I thought the gift for Cersei was Tyrion. Jamie and Cersei had just been talking about how much they hate him, he is reachable by boat, it brings the chance for Jamie/Tyrion conflict...lots of pluses.
posted by shothotbot at 6:06 AM on July 19 [1 favorite]


I thought the gift for Cersei was Tyrion.

True, but if the rumours that he might be one of the characters to ride one of the other dragons then it might be a harder task to wrangle him.
posted by Ashwagandha at 6:11 AM on July 19


I think one of the things Sansa hoped was that members of the Veil could be rewarded, as they had literally no reason to be there other than littlefingers command. That would put their allegiances firmly in the Stark camp, lessening littlfinger's power a lot.

Jon just doesn't see these complexities. He's made a habit of not really listening to her, just as rob and Ned made a habit of not really listening to the either Catlyn or the subtext of situations.

All good warriors, all good leaders, all shitty politicians.
posted by French Fry at 7:09 AM on July 19 [10 favorites]


If they turn Euron into Quentyn that will do a lot to redeem the show, IMO.

Could you explain a bit more what you mean by this? I haven't read the books in a while, so I may be forgetting something important. My impression was that Quentyn's function plot wise was all tied into storylines that have been completely excised from the show --- e.g. the Dany Learns to Control the Dragons thread and the Dorne/Pretender plotline. In the show, Dany has both Dorne and the Dragons fully on-side at this point, so there's no tension in whether they will be brought on. The dragon horn could still turn up and revive the struggle-for-control-of-the-dragons thread --- Cersei with a dragon, that'd be fun --- but that'd be Euron being himself/Victarion. What do you feel was important about Quentyn that adds thematic heft to the story?
posted by Diablevert at 7:36 AM on July 19


The Quentyn plotline is fucking terrible, and probably rightly excised. I just want to see the next smarmy, sleazy, paper thin super-powered villain character get roasted by a dragon before he can ruin the show too much.
posted by codacorolla at 8:13 AM on July 19 [6 favorites]


Although, if I'm being frank, I'd like to see about 95% of the cast roasted by dragons at this point.
posted by codacorolla at 8:13 AM on July 19 [4 favorites]


I think the Quentyn thing that was refreshing that I liked was someone (important) with ill intent trying to do something bad and that plan just failing in the stupid way it seems like it would fail. That was nice.

Like it would have been nice if Ramsey had missed rickon, (maybe to have rickon die in the battle anyway, because shit happens, and I don't care about rickon) because Ramsey's plan is a dumb one unless he is aware of the script. Aware he will have both perfect aim and excellent dramatic timing.

(also see everything else Ramsey does and many other of the straight out villains)

What's nice about Quentyn's story is he fails. He isn't defeated, he doesn't win for a while, only to have some new hero manage to wrangle the dragon back, he doesn't punish his enemies for long time only to eventually overplay his hand, he just fails.

I too would like that for Euron.
posted by French Fry at 10:22 AM on July 19 [10 favorites]


I've long said that the only conclusion to this series I'll be happy with is the abolition of the feudalist/monarchist system.

So actually what I want to see is the Westerosi equivalent of the Magna Carta - where firm limitations are placed on the power of the monarchy. I want to see Arya or Dany or Sansa or Jon take the throne, only to find its power greatly reduced, and the sense that more power will be coming to those who had less in a slow, steady way.
posted by corb at 10:56 AM on July 19 [3 favorites]




Oh snap! Extra layer added to the "You sound like you admire her" / "I've learned a great deal from her" scene:

Sansa was rocking a Cersei hairstyle from earlier seasons in the S7 premiere.


Hair down with small braids on the sides pulled back; that's actually a pretty common style. Correlation may not equal causation.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:30 PM on July 19


Thing I feel dumb about not realizing. There aren't any kids anywhere.

Jon snow has no children, and who knows if zombie dudes have kids. Sansa has no children (thank god that trope would be dumb as toast). The greyjoys have no children. Dany's kids are dragons. Tyrion (somehow!) has no kids.

Cersei and Jamie at least discuss that their dynasty can't really be a dynasty now. But it's also true for everyone else.

Lot of the people in throne game winning positions have no children, are also single and/or have additionally through magic, mutilation, age or plot been rendered sterile.

Pyrrhic victory FTW
posted by French Fry at 12:38 PM on July 19 [3 favorites]


Hair down with small braids on the sides pulled back; that's actually a pretty common style. Correlation may not equal causation.

Except it's show canon that Sansa's hairstyles have meaning.
posted by elsietheeel at 12:39 PM on July 19


Homunculus is underselling the analysis at that link. It is the most profound commentary I have ever read about Westeros and approaches a high level on "commentary about the world told through commentary about Westeros." Go read it, I promise you will not regret it.
posted by corb at 12:45 PM on July 19 [3 favorites]


Huh. Is... GoT commentary at the LA Review of Books a Thing? How did I not know this?
posted by Justinian at 1:01 PM on July 19 [1 favorite]


So actually what I want to see is the Westerosi equivalent of the Magna Carta - where firm limitations are placed on the power of the monarchy. I want to see Arya or Dany or Sansa or Jon take the throne, only to find its power greatly reduced, and the sense that more power will be coming to those who had less in a slow, steady way.

Eh, I think that's bullshit Whig history myself. John himself basically ripped up the Magna Carta and spit on it as soon as his barons' backs were turned. The power of the monarch waxed and waned for the next 400 years; Henry VIII was far more powerful and tyrannical than most of your Plantagenets. It was really the religious wars and the Tudor's dynastic struggles that allowed Parliament to become a true rival to the throne. If Henry had been succeeded by a grown son, rather than a child and two daughters, perhaps England would have ended up with another Sun King to rival Louis instead of Parliament importing a compliant Dutchman and a bunch of German yokels to do their bidding.
posted by Diablevert at 1:03 PM on July 19 [4 favorites]


Huh. Is... GoT commentary at the LA Review of Books a Thing?

Yeah, I've been reading Sarah Mesle's commentaries since 2015.
posted by homunculus at 3:20 PM on July 19 [1 favorite]


I am now reading her Season 4 commentaries because they are /just that good/.
posted by corb at 6:15 PM on July 19 [1 favorite]


Honestly, the Lannisters can't spare a few guys to hold Dragonstone? There isn't some minor Baratheon lord who wants to live in a big castle? It's only the historical site of the first invasion of Westeros by Targaryens with dragons.

The Book vs. The Show.
posted by homunculus at 7:28 PM on July 19 [5 favorites]


Soon people can respond to those comparisons by doing "The Book vs. The Show" and just leaving the Book side completely blank. Oh, that stings doesn't it Grrm.
posted by Justinian at 9:11 PM on July 19 [5 favorites]


From the Season 4 commentary, to give you guys an example of how good it is:
In their language, Shae is either a woman you love, or a whore; she cannot be both. For Tywin, calling Shae a whore asserts that fucking her was not an act of retaliation against Tyrion; it also gives him a way to show that his feelings for Tyrion are quite warm, by comparison. For Tyrion, defending Shae against the word “whore” allows him to redeem his own violence towards her. Neither man can talk about the broken way they’ve loved each other without using a woman’s vulnerable sexuality as the source of their vocabulary. That this way of talking erases the complexity of Shae completely is not something that seems to occur to them. I wonder: is it supposed to occur to us? Do you think we’re supposed to realize, in this moment, that Tyrion, just like the misogynistic father he (and we) both love and loathe, ultimately buys into a very narrow vision of what a woman can be?
posted by corb at 11:55 PM on July 19 [3 favorites]


Oh man, how have I missed the LARB commentaries all this time?

Late to the game, because it took a couple of days to finish the rewatching of all the previous seasons with my partner, who'd never seen them before. He'd resisted seeing the show, but got hooked by the end of season two.

Nutmeg, the D&D recap was hilarious as always!

Re: the Iron Fleet's magically-appearing ships — the kajillion sails and rigging but mysterious lack of sailors in the rigging makes me wonder exactly how all those sails get deployed, but okay. I also can't figure out where the hell they got all the wood from, when the Iron Islands are mostly rocks, seaweed, and barnacles. If they have the logistics in place to build and launch all those ships, how have the Ironborn failed to rule the seas? Do they just have the worst admirals but best shipmasters ever? Sign me up for the ship truthers!

And speaking of logistics — Dragonstone's empty, I'm guessing, because Stannis took everyone and everything with him, and no one seems to be in a crashing hurry to go occupy a place that requires one hell of a supply line.

Bran and the Wall — so, if Bran's been touched by the Night King, and now the Night King can not only track him, but cruise right on through protective wards, why the hell did he cross the Wall and thus break it? Way to fucking go, Bran! Why did Benjen/Coldhands not mention this when they were conveniently talking about the Wall's protective wards in the last episode?

Jon and Sansa — no foreshadowing there of conflict, nope, none whatsoever.

Lyanna Mormont for President 2020.

How long before Jaime turns on Cersei? Do we have a pool going?

Also I am SO GLAD the threads are back and now I can beanplate to my heart's content with all of you!
posted by culfinglin at 11:33 AM on July 20 [1 favorite]


Why did Benjen/Coldhands not mention this when they were conveniently talking about the Wall's protective wards in the last episode?

Benjen probably doesn't know that Bran is marked and Bran is...well, that's a plot hole if they're going in that direction because Mr. I'm The Three-eyed Raven Now should have damn well known better.


Also I noticed in the other thread that someone brought up the idea of zombie Hodor. That's a horrifying thought.
posted by elsietheeel at 12:07 PM on July 20


Hopefully Brandon will address this in the next episode, because it would be the height of tv-show stupidity for the characters not to discuss these things in general (The Walking Dead is probably the worst about this, but lots of shows with elements of the supernatural do it, and it's such lazy writing and destroys my suspension of disbelief.) Perhaps the damage has already been done, the zombie army could already cross?
posted by skewed at 12:13 PM on July 20 [2 favorites]


So during the entire trip down to the Wall, Benjen didn't think to ask Bran and Meera why they had to leave the safety of the Three-Eyed Raven's cave? And Bran just neglects to mention that he got touched by the Night King? It's the kind of thing I could see a teenager doing, I guess, but ARGH.
posted by culfinglin at 1:00 PM on July 20 [1 favorite]


Alternate thought experiment: given her own past with arranged, political marriage, would Sansa be willing to require Alys Karstark to some loyal (and likely much older) bannerman hungry for the title and Karstark land, and whose loyal service meant that he should get the step up?

I was wondering why they weren't being married off myself.


I think Sansa would be willing to require Alys to marry someone of proven loyalty as long as it was someone who wasn't obviously deranged like a Joffrey or a Ramsey. Sansa is a realist, and I think she would believe (as the story has reminded us many times) that alliances in Westeros are sealed with marriages, and I think the Northern Lords gathered in the hall probably qualify.

In the book, Jon gets Alys to marry a wildling chieftan, the Magnar of Thenn. It was his first real foray into playing politics. He did it mainly to prevent Alys's treacherous uncle of gaining control of House Karstark, but also, as I recall, to bring the wildlings into the fold by creating a new wildling House in the North. The first reason doesn't apply on the show now, but the distrust of the wildlings is still there. For a story that has been obsessed with political marriages, it would be an odd omission not to have her marry someone, even if it's not a wildling.

And if Tormund is the one, maybe once he's married he'll stop leering at Brienne before she kicks the shit out of him.
posted by homunculus at 6:38 PM on July 20 [4 favorites]


I wish Brienne would kick the shit out of Tormund, because his leering is unsettling and creepy as hell. He looks deranged. When men have looked at me like that, I've driven straight to police stations to get away from them. That expression doesn't say, 'I'm attracted to you,' so much as it says 'I have a windowless van and have roofied your drink.'
posted by culfinglin at 8:50 PM on July 20 [1 favorite]


So during the entire trip down to the Wall, Benjen didn't think to ask Bran and Meera why they had to leave the safety of the Three-Eyed Raven's cave?

I think Benjen might be on team White Walker. He showed up just in time to save Bran and therefore get him through the wall with the magic mark and didn't bother heading back to the wall to meet his brothers himself.
posted by toamouse at 12:09 AM on July 21


I wish Brienne would kick the shit out of Tormund, because his leering is unsettling and creepy as hell. He looks deranged

I think the problem is that the show wants to show that Brienne is Still Desirable As A Woman, and they're using Tormund, whose actor is in fact genuinely a delight, to do it. At the same time, the way the character is envisioned in the books really doesn't allow for a Wildling Romance, so there's nowhere to go with that character development other than a lot of longing looks. And since the actor is so much fun and the Brienne/Tormund ship is so popular, you're going to see a lot of that, even though I don't think it makes any sense to have a wildling essentially pining for a lady.
posted by corb at 12:35 AM on July 21 [5 favorites]


Pyrrhic victory FTW

I think you just hit on the tl;dr version of the series.
posted by entropone at 9:07 AM on July 21 [3 favorites]


Beautiful Death: Winter came for House Frey
posted by homunculus at 12:09 PM on July 21 [1 favorite]


So you know how the maesters forge a link for each subject they master… what metals do you think they use for Bedpan Scouring and Soup Slopping?
posted by culfinglin at 1:46 PM on July 21 [6 favorites]


steel wool and/or sterling silver
posted by Golem XIV at 2:10 PM on July 22 [3 favorites]


After all the bitching I saw on facebook about what's-his-nuts' singing cameo, I was expecting a five minute scene of him on a stage by himself. Instead it was... a perfectly normal establishing shot of soldiers singing a song, exactly like they've done a dozen times before on this show!

I was not familiar with Ed Sheerz at all before this episode and I can only assume that people's pre-established hatred of him made them hate that scene, because nothing about it seemed out of place to me at all!
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:36 AM on July 23 [4 favorites]


Agreed. He did not stick out to me at all, even the hair. I did make the mistake of looking up the video for his big hit, which has been stuck in my head for a week.
posted by bq at 9:38 AM on July 23 [1 favorite]


Text of Sam's book mentions ingesting dragon glass as possible cure?
...uted to Westoros. ...er may use dragon ...ss of the stone, which ...ude, and some of the ...earrings adorned with ... Valyrian proves and ... But for the most part dr- ... too difficult for build- ... of the ostentatious kind pre-

... alue on dragonglass are the ... consider the stone sacred thoug ... ustory or because of some arcane ... Whatever the case, in the eastern mar ... candles and amulets along with ... There are even tales of the less sav- ... considered dragon glass as a cure for ... in his great work on illnesses and dise- ... little harm incures from the ingestion ... not discount the harm to the gullible ... better spent on practical treatments ...if this association with the ... which explains the low ... have purchases ... rers sadly
That might explain how Shireen was cured of greyscale. I hope this means Sam and Jorah are going on a field trip, because I'd enjoy watching Sam interact with Daenerys and Tyrion.
posted by homunculus at 12:39 PM on July 23 [1 favorite]


GRRM: The Swords Are Drawn

So the next thing we can expect from GRRM is "Sons of the Dragon," a chronicle of the reigns of Aegon the Conquerer's two sons, Aenys I Targaryen and Maegor the Cruel, as part of the The Book of Swords anthology, which comes out on October 10.

Also, the graphic novel version of The Mystery Knight will be released on August 8.
posted by homunculus at 12:57 PM on July 23 [1 favorite]


Shireen was cured of grayscale?
posted by bq at 3:54 PM on July 23


Cured in as much as she didn't die from it, thought the books say that's pretty common for children, don't they? It's like chicken pox, more serious when contracted as an adult. Greyscale has been a big enough idea in the books that it's got to have some kind of tie-in with the broader conflict.
posted by skewed at 4:15 PM on July 23


I thought the books said that it was rare for anyone to survive greyscale, but my memory is hazy and the ASoIaF wiki doesn't make the numbers clear. But here's what the GoT wiki says:

Greyscale: In the books
Greyscale is considered a death sentence if contracted as an adult, though children have a slightly better chance of surviving it - though only in the sense that a handful of children have occasionally been cured of the disease. The symptoms can be stayed by limes, mustard poultices, and hot baths, though this is just delaying the inevitable. Greyscale kills very slowly, leaving its victims to suffer as their flesh deteriorates. Adults infected with greyscale can live a year or two, sometimes five, and it is not unknown for a few to live another ten years, but it always kills them in the end...

Very rarely, children infected with greyscale can fight off the infection, though they are still left disfigured. It is feared that the disease still lies dormant in such children, though maesters insist that they are not infectious (i.e. Shireen's father Stannis, Davos, and the rest of their household do not fear that they can catch greyscale from her, but this is still a common superstition about people who survived greyscale). The wildlings still consider people who survive greyscale "unclean", and will euthanize any child that shows the symptoms. The wildlings call the disease the "grey death".

There is no one, confirmed cure for children affected with greyscale - it is just that healers who try a variety of methods sometimes end up succeeding. In the TV series, Stannis explains that he brought in every maester, healer, and apothecary on both sides of the Narrow Sea to try to cure Shireen, and the combination of their efforts ended up succeeding - which is apparently also what Stannis did in the novels. None of them know what they specifically did that cured Shireen, or if it was a combination of different methods: basically, in desperation they "threw everything on the shelf" at the disease, and somehow this managed to cure her.
Perhaps one of the maesters had her ingest obsidian, or maybe just living on Dragonstone provided enough contact to do it.
posted by homunculus at 5:26 PM on July 23 [1 favorite]


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