Game of Thrones: Eastwatch   Books Included 
August 13, 2017 10:42 PM - Season 7, Episode 5 - Subscribe

Bran continues to do nothing.
posted by skewed (80 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Gendry!!!!!!!

There was squealing
posted by vibratory manner of working at 11:21 PM on August 13 [2 favorites]


So the scene where Gilly mentions that Rhaegar annulled his wedding, even if Sam had been listening, would that have been of any interest to him? He has no info about Jon's parentage, right? So it's either just some fanservice for book readers or at some point Gilly will be in a position to say "oh, I read somewhere that Rhaegar married someone else". The latter is just... underwhelming.

Still kind of hoping Bran never gets around to meeting Jon and nobody ever finds out about his parents.
posted by skewed at 11:36 PM on August 13 [4 favorites]


I'm disappointed the Maesters seem more incompetent than actually running a conspiracy against magic. When the camera hung around after Sam left the room I thought we were going to get something far more devious than that.

Beyond Sam missing the important news, his plan of grabbing a bunch of random books and scrolls doesn't seem that useful either. I guess it's a TV show so he'll end up with something important, but it seems just as likely he'd wind up with a bunch more bowel movement diaries.

Arya has to be smarter than falling for a Littlefinger ploy, so I'm just going to spend my time wondering if he should get the pointy end of Needle or the Valyrian steel dagger.
posted by Gary at 11:37 PM on August 13 [1 favorite]


nobody ever finds out about his parents.

What has Howland Reed been up to all this time? The Crannogmen tend not to get involved but he must have heard about Jon Snow being the new King in the North. Maybe now would be a good time to mention that Jon is the rightful heir to Westeros?
posted by Gary at 11:42 PM on August 13 [3 favorites]


So the scene where Gilly mentions that Rhaegar annulled his wedding, even if Sam had been listening, would that have been of any interest to him?

I disagree; I think Gilly was about to say that he wed Lyanna. Sam would know who Lyanna Stark is. It's quite possible he would have put 2 and 2 together.
posted by Justinian at 12:40 AM on August 14 [3 favorites]


Gendry either ends up another Quentyn or he ends up as a big deal as the real eventual king or prince consort as husband to Dany/Sansa/etc., (which would be a nice ironic ending to the series, a Baratheon near the top of power.)
posted by Apocryphon at 12:40 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


What has Howland Reed been up to all this time? The Crannogmen tend not to get involved but he must have heard about Jon Snow being the new King in the North. Maybe now would be a good time to mention that Jon is the rightful heir to Westeros?

Yeah... and Meera just left to go back to her family, so she could fill them in on any details they might have missed. I don't think we're done with the Crannonpeople.
posted by torticat at 12:53 AM on August 14


I'm disappointed the Maesters seem more incompetent than actually running a conspiracy against magic. When the camera hung around after Sam left the room I thought we were going to get something far more devious than that.

This could be read as a sign that the conspiracy was successful. The anti-magic, anti-dragon wing's campaign suppressed the practice and study of magic so thoroughly that the governing council has graduated from opposing it to simply not taking it seriously. That's why one maester disparagingly compares Sam to Jenny of Oldstones, to illustrate that the reality Sam glimpsed does not and cannot exist for them.

What has Howland Reed been up to all this time?

Considering the Crannogmen answered the call to aid at Moat Cailin, it's odd that Howland Reed didn't send an emissary to Winterfell once word got out that the Starks had retaken it. I mean, Reed just seems like the type who'd keep an ear to the ground. That the show hasn't addressed this seems more a matter of setting up an Exciting Reveal than anything else.
posted by Fish, fish, are you doing your duty? at 1:03 AM on August 14 [3 favorites]


[Added the "Books Included" tag. Just a quick reminder: if you make a comment to mods about needing an edit, please flag your comment so we'll see it.]
posted by taz at 1:46 AM on August 14


Can the maesters really annul a marriage that has been consummated and produced children? Even Henry VIII had a hard time pulling that one off, and it got him excommunicated...
posted by nicwolff at 2:38 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


I disagree; I think Gilly was about to say that he wed Lyanna. Sam would know who Lyanna Stark is. It's quite possible he would have put 2 and 2 together.

Maybe, though it's still a step from 'oh wow, Rheagar married Lyanna' to 'therefore the guy I thought is Ned Stark's bastard is actually Lyanna's son'. At least with the information Sam has now.
Just more confirmation for viewers, at the moment, like the ToJ sequences.

Any significance to the mention of Jenny of Oldstones, or is it just another Easter Egg for book readers, that won't be resolved in the show?

As I said in the other thread: what sort of an idiot plan involves Tyrion sneaking into King's Landing, when he's one of the most easily recognisable people in Westeros? So much happening that doesn't make any sense at all.
posted by Pink Frost at 2:44 AM on August 14 [4 favorites]


I thought that was the records of the High Septon, not of a maester? If anyone could annull a marriage it would be him.

They could've at least gotten Tyrion a big cloak and stilts or something.

I suppose Jon didn't even bother stopping by Winterfell on his way to Eastwatch. Why bother? It's not like he has any more important responsibilities than to go ranging beyond the wall with a ragtag band to accomplish something they should've done the last time they had white walkers at Castle Black.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 3:14 AM on August 14


When Jon was standing in front of the dragon, as much as I like Jon, a small part of me was hoping he would get Quentyn Martell'd.
posted by drezdn at 4:52 AM on August 14 [3 favorites]


So, I actually liked this episode: the action was compelling, and the direction was well done. But, man, the writers are really struggling, aren't they? All of the major plots and counterplots in this episode were just... incredibly dumb.

- Tyrion going to KL to meet with Jaime. Why not arrange something in an abandoned fort? Varys is known (or used to be known) to the audience as a spymaster - he could surely do something like this? You could still get Jaime there under a pretense. Have Bronn lie and say that they're meeting a contact from an Esseros merc group. And then, as mentioned in either this thread or the other, when Cersei finds out that Tyrion is in KL, and DOESN'T move to apprehend him!? What the fuck!? That's not only a win for her personal, petty grudge, but also a win for the war effort. It doesn't even make sense that she let him go to show character development (that was never earned), because letting him go doesn't make any fucking sense. Dumb, dumb, dumb for all characters involved.

- LF's plot is dumb, it's dumb if Arya and Sansa fall for it, and the whole situation (regardless of how it plays out) is a bunch of hand-wavey shit by the writers to cause drama at Winterfell. I don't think that it's even necessarily a bad move to have a successful plot by LF, but having it be him doing a bunch of cartoony shit to make that happen just makes every character involved look stupid. Like... have him drop the scroll from his coat... that's still cliched and stupid, but is at least better than what happened on screen.

- Jon and Co. ranging beyond the wall in order to capture a White Walker is a terrible plan, at every step of the way. At least the ranging party idea is cool, and Jon is canonically an idiot, so that makes some sense with the plot. I'm not really sure how you fix this plot, but I guess it's obvious that GRRM's plot notes needed Jon beyond the wall, and this was the best way they could think to do it.
posted by codacorolla at 8:13 AM on August 14 [9 favorites]


I was disappointed that Jaime was pulled out of the water by Bronn instead of being resurrected by the Drowned God and/or becoming Azor Ahai amid all the salt and smoke. I was also irritated that Jamie's gold hand was still attached.

I liked the Jon/Drogon scene; the zoom up on his eye was adorable. It made the dragon seem like a big dumb horse or a cat or something. I liked that based on the camera angle, Dany couldn't see that Drogon was sniffing Jon out and judging him to be worthy. Yet another being who knows Jon's identity but can't say anything.

I thought Gendry's warhammer looked unbalanced and silly, but I was happy to see him, and the "still rowing" comment made up for it. I also liked that he was owning up to being a Baratheon and they hit it off the way Ned and Robert did.

I liked that Littlefinger is messing with Arya, but I think Arya has more skills than he realizes. If she was paying attention, she'll know that Sansa's missive wasn't current, since the note came from Maester Lewyn's records, as stated by the Maester. Sure, she wrote a letter to Robb back in the day, but Cersei made her do it, and it's easy for her to justify.

I liked the ending with the Magnificent Seven heading out into the snow (IIRC, they are going for a wight, not a WW, which should be a much easier task).

I also liked that the Maesters aren't scheming but rather are simply inept/out-of-touch academics.

It's cool that Sam is now the heir to Horn Hill (pending release from his vows by Jon, or maybe it's moot anyway if the Wall falls).
posted by tempestuoso at 9:27 AM on August 14 [5 favorites]


While I am loving a lot of this (The Avengers Assemble Beyond the Wall!) I keep thinking that GRRM is going to handle the majority of this quite differently and it's a shame we won't see that version on the screen.

Arya has to be smarter than falling for a Littlefinger ploy, so I'm just going to spend my time wondering if he should get the pointy end of Needle or the Valyrian steel dagger.

I am thinking Arya is too wily as well. Littlefinger is going down but I think my fantasy of him going through the Moon Door isn't going to happen. Sad!
posted by Ber at 9:43 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


In a more thought out story, Arya would have come upon a poor dying serf just outside of winterfell, she would have given grace and taken the serf's face, entered winterfell in disguise, become Littlefinger's servant where she could have uncovered his double-dealings for Sansa. the reveal and reunion would have been even more satisfying because of the tension.
The ham-fisted writing , " this scroll that you have searched high and low for is the only copy that exists, right (wink, wink)?" to keep us guessing whether it's Arya or LF who's pulling the strings is silly.
posted by OHenryPacey at 9:52 AM on August 14 [9 favorites]


Tormund is in charge of Eastwatch? Jon sent him there because the castle was undermanned, not completely abandoned. We know that Cotter Pyke is a character on the show because he was mentioned back in the first season. Presumably Jon sent a raven to Ed, who in turn told Pyke to accept the Wildlings' help, but they wouldn't have been put in charge of the castle over the Brothers who were already there. That was lazy writing.
posted by homunculus at 9:53 AM on August 14 [2 favorites]


I keep thinking that GRRM is going to handle the majority of this quite differently and it's a shame we won't see that version on the screen.

I fixed that for you.
posted by Justinian at 10:23 AM on August 14 [15 favorites]


Bran continues to do nothing.

Man, Bran? He high.

Agreed on most of the comments above. This season has been a big slip in writing. It's still intensely enjoyable, but it's got this flavor of we-need-to-tie-all-the-loose-strings-up-in-a-bow that leaves me unsettled. It goes steeply against the GRRM mode, where random bad shit happens to muck up the standard fantasy narrative all the time. It's what makes the story great, the unbalance created by that style, and now it's feeling a bit too...neat.

It's frustrating enough that I think if this ends the way people are speculating, with some sort of Jon/Danearys victory and throne ascension, I'm going to be disappointed for how predictable it ended up being.

It'd be much more satisfying to end with King Bronn, because everybody else has killed each other and Bronn knows when to duck and cover. Hot Pie can serve as Hand.
posted by mcstayinskool at 10:27 AM on August 14 [9 favorites]


I just realized something about the annulment reveal, it's not really so important that Rhaegar and Lyanna's marriage and the birth of Jon were legitimate. What really matters is that, after the annulment Rhaegar and Rhaella were no longer married and therefore Dany is a bastard!
posted by skewed at 11:23 AM on August 14


oh nevermind, just got my targaryan family tree mixed up, forget what I just posted
posted by skewed at 11:26 AM on August 14


I suspect in the end the theories and evidence about parentage and legitimacy may be red herrings.

Regardless of which characters have a plausible legal basis to sit on the Iron Throne, the fact is that no single claimant has the political power to protect their claims and actually rule, and between the wars that have shattered the Great Houses and the imminent White Walker invasion, it seems likely that if anyone is left standing at the end of the story (barring the White Walkers win scenario), the survivors will bend their knee to the person who did the most to ensure everyone's survival. And then that person will legitimize the heirs of whatever Houses have the political support to rule, even if those heirs were previously considered bastards.

Who are the people who have shown the best survival skills? Of the nobility from the Great Houses, the names that come to mind are Sansa and Arya Stark. Gendry. Maybe Tyrion though he's mostly just lucky. Other survivors include Brienne, Varys, Littlefinger (though I think he will get his comeuppance), Davos, and Bronn.

Cersei and Dany are on a collision course regardless of any short-term efforts to set aside their differences, and Jon should have been dead already. I can't see any of them surviving. So I see the various advisers among the survivors arranging whatever marriages bring a lasting peace after the dust clears, and being rewarded with title themselves in many cases.

All of that adds up to Queen Sansa to me. She and Tyrion could rule as a Stark/Lannister alliance with no intention of issue, with Arya/Gendry and their children the designated heirs. What you'd call that ruling house I don't know.
posted by llachglin at 12:46 PM on August 14 [2 favorites]


I really do not see Jon making it through the end game alive. If wild ass guessing is allowed my theory is that someone, probably Sam, will uncover a way to undo whatever magic the White Walkers are using to raise the dead. Which will win the war but will be bad news for Jon.

Dany might survive but her dragons probably won't. And seeing that her claim to divine right is so tightly wound up in her being the Mother of Dragons (and having the only WMD in Westeros) her coming out as Supreme Queen seems unlikely as well.
posted by arha at 1:22 PM on August 14 [5 favorites]


Arya has to be smarter than falling for a Littlefinger ploy, so I'm just going to spend my time wondering if he should get the pointy end of Needle or the Valyrian steel dagger.

Why not both?

Yup, Drogon was artfully posed to block Dany's view. The Gendry reveal to Jon, though ... that kind of is annoying how they're speeding through bringing him back and along, due to the whole shortened season crap. Not that these guys aren't already lazy writers, but it's starting to get compltely dumb on alot of these plot hole scenes, too.
posted by tilde at 2:04 PM on August 14 [4 favorites]


I really do not see Jon making it through the end game alive. If wild ass guessing is allowed my theory is that someone, probably Sam, will uncover a way to undo whatever magic the White Walkers are using to raise the dead. Which will win the war but will be bad news for Jon.

But the magic used to bring Jon back is likely quite different than whatever power the white walkers use. This is the song of fire and ice, after all. The white walkers are on the side of ice, but the other resurrections, namely Beric (and Catelyn in the books) and Jon's, are done by servants of the lord of light aka the fire god.

Also, although this is only slightly hinted at in the show, the evidence in the book points to Jon's warging ability being in some way tied into his presumed resurrection. (For example, the prologue chapter about the skinchanger, and also, Jon's last word being "Ghost.") So that's another complication.

Now, this is also just a guess, but it seems plausible that if you kill all the white walkers, then all the wights will just go back to being legit dead as opposed to zombie dead.
posted by litera scripta manet at 2:16 PM on August 14


Also, about that annulment...

So, it seems like the reason for the annulment would be because Rhaegar was set on the dragon having three heads, and Ellia Martell couldn't have anymore children.*

But how does the annulment affect the line of succession? Does the annulment mean that Jon would become first in line to the throne? Does it take away eldest child Aegon's claim to the throne? Or would Aegon still be first in line (assuming he is in fact alive and not just a pretender/Faegon)?

*I assume Rhaegar chose Lyanna as his wife because they fell in love, but I'm guessing the reason Rhaegar gave himself permission to marry her is because of his obsession with this prophecy or whatever he read in that book.
posted by litera scripta manet at 2:21 PM on August 14 [1 favorite]


It's ridiculously hamfisted that the writers dropped the annulment thing by having Gilly randomly find it in a book...

Does the annulment mean that Jon would become first in line to the throne?

Yes. If that book Gilly is reading is accurate then Jon is the trueborn heir to the Targaryen line and his claim would be above Danny's. Though nicwolff asks a good question above:

Can the maesters really annul a marriage that has been consummated and produced children?

The answer in the books is apparently no. However, that page also says the books hold that a king can divorce his queen even after she's given birth to children, so maybe? I don't have the books handy to check the references, maybe they provide more detail.

I don't think we've gotten nearly as much detail about the rules of succession and annulment in the show, but I doubt they'd bring the annulment up if they didn't intend it to be valid.

Does it take away eldest child Aegon's claim to the throne?

As far as we know Aegon doesn't exist in the show so Jon is heir in the show.

For the books, I looked around but the answer seems like we don't have enough information about inheritance rules to answer this definitively yet, but the link above indicates that the answer is complicated.
posted by Sangermaine at 2:59 PM on August 14


But the magic used to bring Jon back is likely quite different than whatever power the white walkers use.

GRRM gave an interview back in July where he casually dropped a seemingly huge tidbit about Jon's resurrection and Lord of Light resurrections in general (emphasis added):
And Jon Snow, too, is drained by the experience of coming back from the dead on the show. - (Interviewer)

Right. And poor Beric Dondarrion, who was set up as the foreshadowing of all this, every time he’s a little less Beric. His memories are fading, he’s got all these scars, he’s becoming more and more physically hideous, because he’s not a living human being anymore. His heart isn’t beating, his blood isn’t flowing in his veins, he’s a wight, but a wight animated by fire instead of by ice, now we’re getting back to the whole fire and ice thing.
So Jon and Beric and all the other Lord of Light resurrections are fire wights, mirror images to the White Walker's dead creatures. They're also zombies, just fire zombies instead of ice zombies.
posted by Sangermaine at 3:04 PM on August 14 [10 favorites]


Also:

1. Cersei is going to try Red Wedding Danny and the gang at their meetup; she said she'll deal with her enemies like her father.

2. It's obviously not going to play out the same way. Maybe someone semi-important will die.

3. Very possibly it will finally yield Cleganebowl since Cersei will of course bring Zombie Mountain and now the Hound is going to be Jon's bro and so may be present when Jon brings the wight for the meeting.

Separately:

a. It's pretty ridiculous how Varys and others are acting like killing people with dragon fire is oh so terrible and beyond the pale. Like, they live in a world where literally anyone with any level of power routinely kills or horrifically tortures to death people who refuse to yield to or join them after losing in battle. Yet somehow Varys gets choked up over someone being burned as opposed to beheaded or being sent to the dungeons to be tortured for years like what happened with every other ruler he's served.

The choice Danny offered her vanquished foes was the only sane thing to do.

b. It's pretty rad that Gendry uses a war hammer like Robert did.
posted by Sangermaine at 3:24 PM on August 14 [2 favorites]


Sorry to hog the thread, but one more thing:

If Danny wants to confirm what Jon is saying about the army of the dead can't she just, you know, fly up north on one of her dragons, see for herself, then return?
posted by Sangermaine at 3:34 PM on August 14 [1 favorite]


If that book Gilly is reading is accurate then Jon is the trueborn heir to the Targaryen line and his claim would be above Danny's.

Yeah, I totally get that Jon's claim beats Dany's. No question there. But in the books, we have Young Griff who claims to be Aegon, Rhaegar's eldest son by Ellia Martell. So if he's not just a pretender, I'm curious how this annulment would impact his claim. Although it may turn out that the books would take a different approach than an annulment, like reinstating polygamy or something.

In the show, this question obviously doesn't matter since the show completely cut out the Aegon storyline (thankfully), so there's no question that Jon has the best Targ claim to the throne. It still remains to be seen how much that claim really matters, though.
posted by litera scripta manet at 3:39 PM on August 14 [1 favorite]


- LF's plot is dumb, it's dumb if Arya and Sansa fall for it, and the whole situation (regardless of how it plays out) is a bunch of hand-wavey shit by the writers to cause drama at Winterfell.

And it's the return of the "women are catty" trope.
posted by homunculus at 5:02 PM on August 14 [8 favorites]


This week's D&D D&D session was a bit heavier on the social interaction part of RPGing, particularly in contrast to last week's barn-burner. Assume Persuasion checks as read.

• Drogon uses his breath weapon on Lord Tarly & Fancy Lad, both of whom make no save and take full (and fatal) damage. We are assuming that Drogon is equivalent to a red dragon, though what age class he falls into could be debated. The breath weapon of a young red dragon deals 16d6 fire damage (save for half), while that of an adult deals 18d6, so perhaps the difference counts for little.
• Jon casts animal friendship on Drogon.
• Bran casts a form of scrying against the Night King, who makes a Wisdom save to detect the intrusion. Nonetheless Bran is able to gather valuable intelligence, which he passes along using a mass animal messenger spell.
• Gendry arms himself with something resembling a maul – not a warhammer – and explicitly states his class ("I'm a Figh'er"). We will presume he is no higher than 2nd level and has not chosen an archetype yet. Perhaps he'll level up during the upcoming excursion.
• Arya shadows Littlefinger: these are contests between her Stealth rolls and his Perception rolls. We know that the last contest went to Littlefinger, but earlier results are unknown. In the meantime Arya reminds us that she has ordinary Rogue skills, too, by picking a lock.
• Lastly, Jon forms a party with Ser Jorah, Gendry, Tormund, Sandor, Thoros, and Ser Berric to pursue what seems like a side quest. Clearly theirs is a melée-heavy group. Any casters among the White Walkers should make short work of them, but they should be able to hold their own against wights. At least Jon has some levels in Paladin (as we discovered during the Battle of Hardhome) though they may wish that Sam were with them, carrying a satchel full of fireball scrolls.

Required reading for next week will be page 110 of the Dungeon Master's Guide, particularly the rules sections on "Extreme Cold", "Frigid Water", and "Slippery Ice". It may also prove useful to refresh yourselves on the rules for Exhaustion (Player's Handbook, p. 291).
posted by The Nutmeg of Consolation at 5:21 PM on August 14 [22 favorites]


a. It's pretty ridiculous how Varys and others are acting like killing people with dragon fire is oh so terrible and beyond the pale. Like, they live in a world where literally anyone with any level of power routinely kills or horrifically tortures to death people who refuse to yield to or join them after losing in battle. Yet somehow Varys gets choked up over someone being burned as opposed to beheaded or being sent to the dungeons to be tortured for years like what happened with every other ruler he's served.

I thought they made it pretty clear that, for Varys in particular, burning your prisoners alive is worse because it's basically the signature move of the Mad King. It's worse not because fire is a particularly worse way to die, or because executing your prisoners is unheard of, but because that particular method of execution has a lot of associated historical baggage and none of it is good. For people who so desperately want to keep reassuring themselves that Dany is nothing like her lunatic dad, having her gravitate towards lighting prisoners on fire is definitely worrisome.
posted by mstokes650 at 7:20 PM on August 14 [8 favorites]


Gendry arms himself with something resembling a maul – not a warhammer

Ah, yes. Ok! That is definitely a maul.

(Implying that Gendry is even stronger than the legendarily strong Robert? Fits - he hasn't a lot of formal training in warcraft like Robert would have, and he hasn't really have had to deal with penetrating heavy armour. Make up for armour piercing with plain brute force concussion damage. Yes, the other side is a little pointed, but only enough to concentrate impact force rather than penetration. Why not use that side all the time? Probably accuracy issues.)

Love your D&D recaps, Nutmeg!
posted by porpoise at 7:31 PM on August 14 [2 favorites]


It occurs to me that the actor playing Gendry seems to have larger magnitude age-related appearance changes than any other actor on the show who hasn't been replaced - perhaps even Maisie Williams.

I know that absence is a big factor, but Gendry looks "old," now. Joe Dempsie is 30, the last we saw him was in 2013 when he was 25/26-ish.

He looks great. It's just that he was a "big kid" when introduced and now he's, like, an adult and stuff. fwiw, I'm hurtling into 40 next year.
posted by porpoise at 7:42 PM on August 14 [1 favorite]


"Jon! Our dad's were BFFs, let's be BFFs, too, just like them!"

"Welp, turns out my dad killed your dad, so uh.. awkward."
posted by gatorae at 7:54 PM on August 14 [1 favorite]


Perhaps he'll level up during the upcoming excursion.

Maybe my DM's have all been generous, but I think a level-2 fighter might level up from the XP of just what we saw of his journey out of Kings Landing, to Dragonstone and north to the Wall. Two goldcloaks have to worth a fair bit especially.
posted by traveler_ at 9:10 PM on August 14 [3 favorites]


(Implying that Gendry is even stronger than the legendarily strong Robert?)

While Robert's weapon is usually referred to as a warhammer, I think it likely more of a maul much like Gendry's. With a spike, yes, but recall that he killed Rhaegar with blunt force rather than by piercing his breastplate with the spike. So I'm fairly confident that it was maulish.
posted by Justinian at 12:04 AM on August 15


FWIW, and that's not a lot, the officially licensed recreation was 44 inches long and about 10 pounds. So that's a sledgehammer weight but with another foot or so on the haft.
posted by Justinian at 12:09 AM on August 15


So Jon and Beric and all the other Lord of Light resurrections are fire wights, mirror images to the White Walker's dead creatures. They're also zombies, just fire zombies instead of ice zombies.

if this is the case, one might hope they're damn sterile. again, negating their oppty of being a ruler unless you slip a cookoo's egg in there. But again, Dany is supposedly sterile too.
posted by tilde at 4:29 AM on August 15


Huh. Maybe Dany's some sort of fire wight, too, since the bonfire in season 1.
posted by Shohn at 6:58 AM on August 15 [11 favorites]


I wonder if the drowned god has any water wights?
posted by drezdn at 7:44 AM on August 15 [4 favorites]


Where do you think Euron gets his invincibility, omniscience, and fashion sense from?
posted by codacorolla at 9:46 AM on August 15 [9 favorites]


Where do you think Euron gets his invincibility, omniscience, and fashion sense from?

the time lords who move his fleet from place to place?
posted by OHenryPacey at 10:27 AM on August 15 [10 favorites]


he is the MASTER of the high seas
posted by French Fry at 11:42 AM on August 15 [4 favorites]


Cotter Pyke is a character on the show because he was mentioned back in the first season.....That was lazy writing.

Ok, I'm going full Comic Book Guy. That is insane, duder! You expect them to cast a brand new actor, give him half a scene of dialogue, 90% of which would consist of explaining who the fuck he is, just to keep internal world-building consistency? Instead of giving the same space and time to one of the few tertiary characters whom show watchers will vaguely remember, and who is cannonicly in that location in a command role? Okay, that's maybe not a comic book guy-style complaint, more a sympathetic hack complaint. But still.

Also, perhaps it is my fate to play the eternal contrarian, but I could not disagree more with this:

- LF's plot is dumb, it's dumb if Arya and Sansa fall for it, and the whole situation (regardless of how it plays out) is a bunch of hand-wavey shit by the writers to cause drama at Winterfell.

And it's the return of the "women are catty" trope.


I think that plot is some of the best writing in the episode, because it is by far the most fully grounded in established character. Peep this scene from season one. Season one! And that's the core, that's the dynamic between them: Sansa plays politics, keeps her head down, does what she needs to survive. Arya does what she thinks is right and damn the world. They are opposite personalities; Arya has always distrusted and been resentful of and bitter toward Sansa. The incident with the butcher boy is what put the Hound on her list --- before she even had a list. And she lays the blame for that on Sansa, on Sansa's willingness to play politics.

That's where their relationship was when Ned died; then they each spent a half decade going through severe trauma which the other is not in a position to understand. So tell me, if Arya were to find evidence that Sansa had betrayed Ned, do you think she would be forgiving? The girl who spent a half-decade subsuming her whole identity into becoming a Ninja Vengence Robot?

I'm not saying it's for sure that LF will successfully bring off his plot. But the idea that Arya might oppose and connive against Sansa is some of the most plausible plotting we've seen this whole season.
posted by Diablevert at 6:06 PM on August 15 [10 favorites]


Ok, I'm going full Comic Book Guy. That is insane, duder! You expect them to cast a brand new actor, give him half a scene of dialogue, 90% of which would consist of explaining who the fuck he is, just to keep internal world-building consistency?

Sure, why not? All they need is a guy in Night's Watch garb and a couple of lines like:

Jon: Commander Pyke, we meet at last. How is it going with the Brothers and Wildlings working together?
Pyke: Surprisingly well, your Grace. The Night King is a uniter, not a divider!
Tormund: And I'm the decider!
Jon: Well, that's great.

And then when Davos says that he's not going with them, Pyke says that he's staying too since that's his job, to which Tormund would grunt or belch or something, and that would be that. It's not that hard!
posted by homunculus at 7:00 PM on August 15 [1 favorite]


> It's cool that Sam is now the heir to Horn Hill (pending release from his vows by Jon, or maybe it's moot anyway if the Wall falls).

I don't think Jon can release him from his vows; there is no release from the Night's Watch. Remember that when Stannis offered to make him the Lord of Winterfell, Jon would have had to break his vow in order to accept. Sam would have to do the same. Of course, Sam might be willing to simply break his vow in order to protect his mother and sister, who are now in a precarious position. He knows his sister Talla does not like the man she is betrothed to, Symon Fossway, but once she marries him he will become the Lord of Horn Hill. Besides, Horn Hill is in the Reach and Jon has no authority there, so if Sam showed up claiming the title then Fossway could simply have him arrested and executed as a deserter. The only way Sam can legitimately inherit is if the Night's Watch is disbanded later in the series.

You know, I'm reminded of a plot line from the books that got derailed on the show: Bronn's marriage to Lollys Stokeworth. So now Bronn is still looking for a wife and a castle, and Jaime owes him a big favor. Jaime might also feel some responsibility towards House Tarly since Randyll and Dickon both died in service to Cersei, and he could probably talk Cersei into setting aside Talla's betrothal to Fossway and have her marry Bronn (assuming Horn Hill is still under the Crown's dominion, which is not clear). I would love it if Sam and Bronn end up as brothers-in-law.
posted by homunculus at 7:00 PM on August 15 [4 favorites]


What I don't get is how Littlefinger imagines this current plot playing out. Like, I get that it benefits him to remove Sansa's support systems, but he's basically just put his ticket to power directly in the crosshairs of a magical ninja assassin with poor emotional control. Was that *really* the best plan of action, dude?
posted by Meow Face at 7:21 PM on August 15 [4 favorites]


"Yeessss, the pieces of my plan are coming together! And soon, Sansa will be dead, and I shall be---- well, probably also dead, now that I think about it. Huh."
posted by Meow Face at 7:25 PM on August 15 [5 favorites]


It's so dumb!
posted by codacorolla at 8:06 PM on August 15 [1 favorite]


The reason I hate the dumb plot is because it requires Littlefinger to know that a Arya has assassin rogue skills but not the full extent of them.
posted by corb at 9:08 PM on August 15 [4 favorites]


Stories, corb, stories. =)

The shear amount of them must mean there's some substance to them, but the variety means that most of them are unreliable.

Not surprised if LF (and lots of other people) may suspect Arya as being an assassin, but almost(?) everyone discounts it because gossip, right? - she survived incredible odds, and that must come with made-up stories attributed to her?

Knowledge is even less evenly spread than it is now, in this fictional setting. Lots of inaccurate gossip.
posted by porpoise at 12:00 AM on August 16


The only way Sam can legitimately inherit is if the Night's Watch is disbanded later in the series.

Which could happen if they defeat the Night King. With the white walkers gone and everyone friends with the wildlings there isn't much left to watch up there.

Maybe that's why Bronn is staying alive. They want to finally give him his castle, but it will be one of the abandoned Night's Watch buildings.
posted by Gary at 7:35 AM on August 16 [2 favorites]


The reason I hate the dumb plot is because it requires Littlefinger to know that a Arya has assassin rogue skills but not the full extent of them.

I don't think LF knows Arya is an assassin or wants Sansa dead. What he wants is to cause dissension within the Starks that will cause Sansa to turn to him for help. I also don't think Arya would kill Sansa without confronting her.
posted by Diablevert at 8:01 AM on August 16 [1 favorite]


LF: is shown to have spies around Winterfell and therefore probably knows what Sansa knows; Saw Arya duel a fully grown woman who's one of the best fighters in the realm to a draw; based his entire plan around Arya having the skillset of an assassin. He knows, almost definitely.
posted by codacorolla at 6:27 PM on August 16 [3 favorites]


It's also possible Littlefinger heard Arya's "no one" reply to Brienne, was already familiar with the Faceless Men, and put two and two together.
posted by donatella at 6:38 PM on August 16


Yeah, there's no way LF wouldn't know about the faceless men. Knowing that kind of stuff is his whole game. He knows exactly what Arya is (unless they're planning on making him designated idiot again this season).
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 7:10 PM on August 16


I feel like it's a huge stretch to go from "I know about the Faceless men" to "I can recognize them on sight such that I know Arya, who as far as I know was on the run and has never left Westeros, is now a Faceless man." Especially when he couldn't even tell Ramsay Bolton was a psychopath.
posted by corb at 7:43 PM on August 16 [1 favorite]


There's got to be gossip about Arya being a FM.

Maybe not, but I'm guessing that if there are any future books, there'll be gossip about Arya (true or not - definitely gossip about Sansa).
posted by porpoise at 9:02 PM on August 16


Well - yeah, and I think you've actually put your finger on what has me so upset about the whole thing.

In the books, I have every faith and confidence that GRRM could build up rumours of Arya being a Faceless Man such that Littlefinger could suspect. You have the murder of the Freys, leaving the Frey women alive, you probably have half a hundred small interactions, rumours of Arya having been seen in Bravos, whatever.

But this sped-up, jumped-up timeline has not earned that. All we see is Littlefinger seeing her fight, and he knew she was in sword training before Robert died
and that her family is known for swordfighting prowess. As far as anyone knows, Ned defeated the Sword of the Morning. The only thing that makes Arya's swordfighting prowess unlikely is her gender, and it is a perfectly reasonable assumption that if she has survived everyone looking for her, she's going to be good.

And I kind of want to see it if we're going to be doing things like have Littlefinger leaving Faceless Man Glue Traps or whatever.
posted by corb at 4:29 AM on August 17 [7 favorites]


Especially when he couldn't even tell Ramsay Bolton was a psychopath.
Show LF acting on behalf of D&D to get Sansa tortured for kicks couldn't tell. Now that constraint's off him, he goes back to being written closer to the book character.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 6:07 AM on August 17 [2 favorites]


And on a second read of your latest comment corb, nah, I agree with you.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 6:09 AM on August 17


LF: is shown to have spies around Winterfell and therefore probably knows what Sansa knows;

We don't know what Arya told Sansa about her life in the past five years. I don't know why Arya would have told her that she trained with the Faceless Men.

Saw Arya duel a fully grown woman who's one of the best fighters in the realm to a draw;

He saw her get the drop on her in an impromptu training session. He certainly knows Arya's good with a blade. But she'd be doing sword training in King's Landing; I don't see why evidence that she's continued that training would automatically mean she's a Faceless Man.

based his entire plan around Arya having the skillset of an assassin.

What do you think his plan is? Having Sansa killed helps LF not at all, why would he want that? And even if he did want Arya to kill Sansa, why would that require the skillset of an assasin? She's one of the people who could get close to Sansa with no trouble at all. So far LF's seen her be handy with a blade, willing to snoop around and can pick locks --- that seems like the skill set he expects out of his shoeshine boy.

I mean, to argue about this at all is building castle in the air, really, because much of the case depends on what is known about the Faceless Men in Westeros, and I don't think either book or show has been too clear on the point. Westerosi know they exist, their HQ is in Bravos and that they can be hired for a shitload of money to kill kings and lords, that seems to be common knowledge. Is is known that a woman can be a Faceless Man? What their slogans are, their secret signs, what the coin means? The Bravosi seem to have a greater level of knowledge --- in the books if I recall Arya gets deference from the common sailors when traveling with the coin, they ask her to put in a good word for them, there's a sense that the Faceless Men have a certain reputation among the common people. That didn't seem to me to be the case in Westeros. They seem more like the Illuminati or the Freemasons than the Marines, at any rate -- I don't think Arya having smart-alecked "no one" to Briene is the same as her turning up with Semper Fi tattoed on her bicep, in terms of being a marker that people would recognize.

Show and book, Arya is a 10 year old girl everyone though died five years ago --- Book LF certainly didn't seem to think there was much chance the real Arya was still around, in Bravos or elsewhere, since he attempts the Jeyne Poole switch. That she spent her summer vacation training with a magic death cult and is the hidden hand behind the Frey massacre is not I think the obvious answer that anyone would intuit immediately from seeing a 15 year old girl do good in a sparring session one time. My personal speculation would be that Arya's story to Sansa would be something like, "I was kidnapped by the Hound, escaped and stowed away on a boat to Bravos, where I spent a few years as a servant/actor before saving enough money to book passage home when it seemed safe." Sure, she's talked about her list, wanting to kill Joffrey and Cersei. But I don't think Sansa knows what she's really capable of.
posted by Diablevert at 8:53 AM on August 17 [2 favorites]


Yeah, there's no way LF wouldn't know about the faceless men.

I don't remember exactly how the show handled it, but at least in the books, during Ned's short stint as Hand of the King, Robert finds out Dany is going to be married off to a Dothraki horselord and (in an unusual bit of foresight, for Robert) predicts exactly how bad it could be for Westeros if a Dothraki army showed up on its shores. He wants to have Dany assassinated, which leads to a lot of dickering among the small council and ultimately to Ned attempting to resign as Hand.

It also leads to this exchange:

"On Braavos there is a society called the Faceless Men," Grand Maester Pycelle offered.

"Do you have any idea how costly they are?" Littlefinger complained. "You could hire an army of common sellswords for half the price, and that's for a merchant. I don't dare think what they might ask for a princess."


Ned leaves and a bit later Littlefinger catches up with him and tells him what happened:

"After you stormed out, it was left to me to convince them not to hire the Faceless Men," he continued blithely. "Instead Varys will quietly let it be known that we'll make a lord of whoever does in the Targaryen girl."

Ned was disgusted. "So now we grant titles to assassins."

Littlefinger shrugged. "Titles are cheap. The Faceless Men are expensive. If truth be told, I did the Targaryen girl more good than you with all your talk of honor. Let some sellsword drunk on visions of lordship try to kill her. Likely he'll make a botch of it, and afterwards the Dothraki will be on their guard. If we'd sent a Faceless Man after her, she'd be as good as buried."


So book-Littlefinger is definitely familiar with the Faceless Men and their level of skill, and I'd say it's safe to say he's even purchased their services before. (But he's not familiar enough with their inner workings to understand their tailored-to-the-situation pricing structure, which is why he thinks they're always outrageously expensive - for him, they would be.) I think it's reasonable to assume show-Littlefinger has a similar level of knowledge about the Faceless Men, and that's without getting into speculation about things like who was it that hired Jaqen H'ghar to come to Westeros in the first place.

Now I've suspected pretty much since she left the House of Black and White that Arya's arc might end with her killing Sansa (the last true holder of the name Stark) and return to Braavos, having finally truly become No One. Even so, I think it would be a massive, massive disservice to Sansa's character arc for her death to come about as a result of Littlefinger's machinations and not her own choices. (Of course I also thought it would take longer for Arya to get to Winterfell and figured Sansa's "just-in-case" maneuvers to position herself in power would be further along and closer to full-on treason by then, but I wasn't expecting everyone to learn how to friggin' teleport this season.) Like Diablevert, I am also confused about Littlefinger's plan here because, if he knows as much about Arya as he needs to for this plan to make sense, he should also know this plan has a very high risk of Sansa getting prematurely stabbed to death and I think he's too much of a pervy creeper to want her dead unless absolutely necessary.
posted by mstokes650 at 10:58 AM on August 17 [3 favorites]


(I never replied to the rest of Diablevert's comment because I've been sick for the last day and a half. En guarde!)

That's where their relationship was when Ned died; then they each spent a half decade going through severe trauma which the other is not in a position to understand. So tell me, if Arya were to find evidence that Sansa had betrayed Ned, do you think she would be forgiving? The girl who spent a half-decade subsuming her whole identity into becoming a Ninja Vengence Robot?

After she found the evidence? No. My complaint is with what led up to it.

I'm not saying it's for sure that LF will successfully bring off his plot. But the idea that Arya might oppose and connive against Sansa is some of the most plausible plotting we've seen this whole season.

Plausible, sure, but poorly executed. Arya and Sansa are two grown-ass women who have survived by using their wits and grown smarter and wiser over the years, and yet they reverted to the brattish rivalry they had as children by their second conversation since being reunited. Sure, I do think their old antagonism would begin to return as their disagreements mounted, and return fully once Arya found the scroll, but before that I would've expected these two characters to have each made a good-faith effort to work together as sisters precisely because they both know from experience how horrible the world around them is. Sansa knows that the lone wolf dies while the pack survives, which is what Ned was trying to tell Arya in that clip you linked above. But to me that scene was always bookended by another scene in season 2, when she didn't go with Jaqen to Braavos because she had to find her family, including her sister. I always thought that was an important moment for Arya, which showed that she finally understood what her father meant. But apparently that lesson has been lost, which is a disservice to the character, imo.

(Book Arya is a different matter: she explicitly rejected Ned's lesson and came to believe that only the lone wolf survives, but Book Arya and Show Arya are different characters. Show Arya has always been smarter and wiser than her younger counterpart.)

And the trigger for the hostility is just silly. The reason Arya is staring daggers at Sansa and goading her is because Sansa didn't execute Jon's bannermen after they insulted him? What? Arya has always been contemptuous of playing politics, it's not her thing by any means, but she's also never been an idiot before. The clever girl who sparred with Tywin Lannister back in season 2 would have been smart enough to see that Sansa executing Jon's bannermen was a dumb idea and actually would be the real act of treason against Jon. But then maybe Arya doesn't know about the need to unite against the Night's King and the army of the dead. Since no one ever talks to each other she may still be in the dark; she certainly acts like it.

(And where is Brienne? She's supposed to be by Sansa's side at least some of the time, and she might have had a moderating influence. So for that matter would Ghost, but he's still unaccounted for.)

Having these two smart, grown women revert straight to their childhood rivalry is infantilizing. And it's part of a pattern with this show that seems to think that strong women show their strength by snipping at each other. It's a tired old trope. It's also poor drama: imagine if Arya and Sansa had made a genuine attempt to get along and work together, gradually becoming annoyed with each other's differences, and then Arya finds the scroll and their antagonism of old returns in full. But that would have required a bit of positive female bonding which the writers of this show have a hard time getting their minds around.
posted by homunculus at 11:01 AM on August 17 [1 favorite]


Sarah Mesle didn't add her part of the LARB review until yesterday, and damn she is on fire (so to speak).

Winter: How Does It Even Work? by Aaron Bady & Tarly Men Who Don’t Listen to the Women Who Are Trying To Save Their Dumb Lives by Sarah Mesle
posted by homunculus at 12:04 PM on August 17 [3 favorites]


Show and book, Arya is a 10 year old girl everyone though died five years ago --- Book LF certainly didn't seem to think there was much chance the real Arya was still around, in Bravos or elsewhere, since he attempts the Jeyne Poole switch. That she spent her summer vacation training with a magic death cult and is the hidden hand behind the Frey massacre is not I think the obvious answer that anyone would intuit immediately from seeing a 15 year old girl do good in a sparring session one time.

Actually, in the beginning of the first book she's 9, while in the beginning of the first season she's 11. Also, if I remember correctly, the showrunners have said that about a year passes between the beginning of each season, which would make her 18-years-old on the show (unless her age has been retconned like Tommen's was).
posted by homunculus at 3:53 PM on August 17 [1 favorite]


Having these two smart, grown women revert straight to their childhood rivalry is infantilizing. And it's part of a pattern with this show that seems to think that strong women show their strength by snipping at each other. It's a tired old trope. It's also poor drama: imagine if Arya and Sansa had made a genuine attempt to get along and work together, gradually becoming annoyed with each other's differences, and then Arya finds the scroll and their antagonism of old returns in full. But that would have required a bit of positive female bonding which the writers of this show have a hard time getting their minds around.

I agree with all of the above, and especially this part. Let's set aside diving into the wiki, or coming up with head canon, and just think about this in terms of plotting, characterization, and visual direction. The plotting is lazy - it's coming up with a harebrained plan that's easy to poke holes in for the sake of drama (LF is a spymaster, and Arya is a budding assassin - these characters should be smarter than 3 seconds of introspection from the audience). The characterization is stagnant - it's playing off of a grudge that either shouldn't exist, or should be more complicated than what we saw in Season 1 (otherwise it obliterates so many hours of character development). The direction is goooooood awful - having everything take place in a single montage is lazy, lazy, lazy, and the depiction is like something that would be in a Naked Gun movie to make fun of a completely implausible villain plot... like that scene of LF staring down the corridor should've been scored with a slide whistle.
posted by codacorolla at 5:03 PM on August 17 [4 favorites]


The characterization is stagnant - it's playing off of a grudge that either shouldn't exist, or should be more complicated than what we saw in Season 1 (otherwise it obliterates so many hours of character development)

Yeah, this. Should Arya and Sansa dislike each other? Maybe! Maybe very much! But not because "Sansa is sleeping in my parent's room!" "Wah Arya doesn't understand diplomacy!"

Should Sansa, who has been raped and tortured through trying the only survival device in her power, resent the sister who ran and never came back for her until she was free? Should she resent the sister who clearly has AMAZING combat skills, yet never tried to join any of the other Starks until the battle is won? Who still has the capacity to laugh with joy and no shadows, despite her prowess and whatever she's suffered? Who after everything, still hankers for her bastard brother she has complicated feelings for?

Should Arya resent Sansa, from her perspective, for staying and not seeming to fight? For making compromises, unlike her father? For failing to lend her support to Robb, for failing to turn literally anyone of moment, for not fighting harder to save Rickon?

Maybe. Maybe. But you have to work harder to show those to us than being "here are the same rivalries as in Season 1! Have fun!"
posted by corb at 5:14 PM on August 17 [3 favorites]


Counter point, have you ever seen family you don't like/hate after a long time? Like when you've all grown into adulthood and become decent loving people.

Only to find that you are having a shouting match from 20 years ago all over again and bringing out the absolute worst in each other? ...

Just me? Ok.
posted by French Fry at 6:53 AM on August 18 [6 favorites]


Not just you, French Fry. I was on the side of this being a completely unbelievable plot line until I read your comment. Because, yes, my siblings and I frequently revert to bickering children when we get together, not letting go of the ideas we had about each other as kids, and not accepting that any of the others could have also evolved into adults with more complex personalities and world views. So I could see this as being true about the Stark sisters. But, ugh, now it's going to make this even more frustrating to witness.
posted by zerbinetta at 9:37 AM on August 18 [1 favorite]


Oh it's still dumb in the show and feels like a side track of two great characters... but it does sort of fit with my experience of family dynamics.
posted by French Fry at 10:15 AM on August 18 [1 favorite]


Plus, they're still kids, despite all the growing up they've both done. Well, they're young adults, and as young adults, it's fully within the scope of reality for them to seem super grown up and then do something so petty and juvenile the next moment.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:57 AM on August 18


Yeah, I have siblings I love dearly, and I also have been to Christmas. The idea that people might revive old dynamics when brought back to the family home alter a long time away...makes complete sense to me, personally. Plus, I mean, sure some of Arya and Sansa's bickering back in Season 1 was petty and bratty....but Arya does with justification believe that Sansa got her friend murdered. Oscar-winning films have been made about people's lives being shadowed for decades for less traumatic stuff, and for Arya that was before the real bad stuff started happening. I'm not sure why people's baseline expectation is that she'd regard Sansa with mature acceptance and saintly grace.

But mostly...all y'all who dislike it so much seem to to agree that there is plenty in the background between these two characters that would justify the arc, you basically think it happened too quickly. Like we could have got here, but for realism's and depth's sake it should have taken more time. So...you wanted four of the nine remaining episodes to be playing out that string? We're gonna get midway through Ragnorak in all the rest of this complex tapestry, meanwhile the Stark girls are off starring in My Dinner With Sansa? I'll put it this way: I agree that the Stark sisters' plot development was hasty and in that sense unrealistic. I just think that off all the bullshit that happened last week, it was by far the least unrealistic. I mean, talk about stunted emotional development, Peter Dinklage got stuck delivering his trial speech to his brother, again. You could give Jon's plot about 900 episodes of Proustian interiority, it still wouldn't make any damn sense.

This whole entire season is a cartoon, in the oldest sense of that word --- a hasty sketch of the planned drawing, enough to give you the outline needed to full in with richness and color and detail, not the real deal itself. It's only the fact that we have seen the prior seasons that could possibly make any of this satisfying at all, that we have all that built-up investment and understanding to fill in the layers that certainly aren't there in the writing and which even the most talented cast members are struggling to put into the acting.
posted by Diablevert at 12:39 PM on August 18 [3 favorites]


I've been feeling that the Tarlys refusing to bend the knee out of loyalty to Usurper Cersei made no damn sense whatsoever, but on further reflection, I think it may be a consequence of removing FAegon from the show world. I can't see Tarly being loyal unto death to Cersei...but I could see him standing still for a boy he genuinely believed - in error - was the rightful king, a boy raised in Westeros and taught philosophy and honor and strategy.
posted by corb at 7:59 AM on August 19 [6 favorites]


I've been feeling that the Tarlys refusing to bend the knee out of loyalty to Usurper Cersei made no damn sense whatsoever, but on further reflection, I think it may be a consequence of removing FAegon from the show world.

Interesting idea. I certainly don't think BookRandyll would have sworn loyalty to Cersei: he's both a stickler for the letter of the law (she has no claim) and a misogynist (so he would have considered Mace Tyrell his liege, not Olenna). We won't know until TWOW comes out (I do think he'll eventually finish that one, but I'm not so optimistic about ADOS).

But the part that made even less sense to me was how willing Randyll suddenly was to have his son, his name ("that name means something!") and his House come to a fiery end, regardless of his loyalties. All Westerosi lords are obsessed with their legacies, but some more than others. Randyll was willing to kill his eldest son to preserve his, so he was in the same league as Tywin Lannister. Wars happen and monarchs come and go, and House Tarly survived Aegon's Conquest, The Dance of The Dragons and The War of The Five Kings, but the Dothraki are unacceptably swarthy so might as well leave his land and his wife to their tender mercies? What? Once Dickon stepped forward Randyll should have tried his damnedest to have him survive, even if it meant going to the Wall after all (where he would have probably become the new Lord Commander in no time). He would have reminded Dickon of his responsibility to watch over his mother and sister, his possible betrothed (because there's no way Randyll Tarly hadn't already arranged a marriage for his fully grown son and heir) and the people under Tarly rule in the middle of a damned war. If Daenerys wasn't going for it, he could have reminded her that during Robert's Rebellion he was the only Targaryen loyalist who ever defeated Robert Baratheon in battle (I have no idea if Dany even knew about that) and asked her to honor that history. If that still didn't work, he might have even asked that she reconsider on taking prisoners and take his son as a hostage, which is common practice in Westeros, hoping that he might return home one day. Darth Dany may well have burned them both anyway, but the way it played out made no damn sense.
posted by homunculus at 12:38 PM on August 19 [3 favorites]


But mostly...all y'all who dislike it so much seem to to agree that there is plenty in the background between these two characters that would justify the arc, you basically think it happened too quickly. Like we could have got here, but for realism's and depth's sake it should have taken more time.

It's not just the speed, it's also the quality and content. If it had just taken longer to get to Arya sniping at Sansa for taking their parents' bedroom, that would have been just as inane.

This whole entire season is a cartoon, in the oldest sense of that word --- a hasty sketch of the planned drawing, enough to give you the outline needed to full in with richness and color and detail, not the real deal itself. It's only the fact that we have seen the prior seasons that could possibly make any of this satisfying at all, that we have all that built-up investment and understanding to fill in the layers that certainly aren't there in the writing and which even the most talented cast members are struggling to put into the acting.

This is true.
posted by homunculus at 12:38 PM on August 19 [2 favorites]


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