Game of Thrones: Beyond the Wall   Books Included 
August 20, 2017 10:48 PM - Season 7, Episode 6 - Subscribe

Gendry runs fast.

I enjoyed this episode. Didn't make a lot of sense, but... I dunno, don't really care. Enjoyed watching it. Maybe my expectations are low.
posted by skewed (108 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Deus ex Benjin.
posted by porpoise at 11:17 PM on August 20 [8 favorites]


I was one of the people who couldn't resist the leaked episode and watched it on Wednesday.

Mostly I am enjoying the smug feeling of being right about the wight dragon. I almost saw some chemistry between Jon and Dany. Tormund's crush on Brienne is adorable. The faces thing was...eh. Like Arya says she can speak in someone's voice and inhabit their body but Sansa is just dangling some rubber faces.

It was a good episode and a lot happened but at the same time the plot wasn't really moved forward THAT much and it wasn't spectacular?
posted by elsietheeel at 11:57 PM on August 20


Well, there now being a zombie dragon could be a pretty big deal. Or it could get scorpioned out of the sky by Bronn when next season is even more rushed than this one.

I did enjoy the banter of the men walking and realizing how many have crossed paths before.

I didn't enjoy the Arya / Sansa scenes but am mostly reserving judgement until we find out if there's a point to all this.

Is the zombie dragon an ice dragon or is that a separate thing? I guess we won't know until it breaths fire or ice or something else entirely.
posted by Gary at 12:19 AM on August 21


The thing that bothers me the most about Viserion dying is it seems like a tacit acceptance that we're not going to have Tyrion Targaryen, because even though 'the dragon has three heads', one of the dragons is dead and thus doesn't need a rider, so it's just going to be Jon and Dany dragonriding by their lonesome.
posted by corb at 1:34 AM on August 21 [8 favorites]


I think the dragon will have to breath fire, because that's almost certainly how the Army of the Dead gets through the wall. But, knowing that one of the characteristics of wights is that they're highly flammable, it seems like the dragon would consume himself in the process of melting the wall, or at the very least be a huge friendly fire liability. This is definitely one of those things where I'm wondering what Martin had in mind, and how far they're going off his plot points in the show because they done away with a bunch of stuff. Maybe the Others in the book actually end up with the horn that brings the wall down.
posted by LionIndex at 3:06 AM on August 21


So much rammed in.

I can deal that we are now in quantum Westeros.

But.

Quite apart from anything else, where the hell did the wights magic those giant dragon raising chains from? Who the hell were those random wildlings being fed to wight pit in the battle scene?
posted by arha at 4:15 AM on August 21 [8 favorites]


And the dumb seems to be piling on to get characters back to where they are in the books. Give me one good reason to send Brienne, Sansa? And if you have to send her, send Littlefinger as well if he's so damned determined to be useful.
posted by arha at 4:21 AM on August 21 [1 favorite]


Because the plot says so. Which may mean Brienne dies via Cersei, due to the effect she has on Jimie.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:28 AM on August 21


I never bought the Tyrion as a secret Targ theory, if anything he is the most like Tywin of the 3 Lannister children. If anything Cersei (and Jaime) looked like the secret Targs with the whole burn them all sept explosion. Would fit with the "gods flip a coin when a targaryen is born", and also the incest, ugh.

So Jaime, who would be Danys brother, just did himself out of a dragon by not choosing sides earlier. Idiot.
posted by arha at 4:32 AM on August 21 [3 favorites]


Or vice versa Brandon Blatcher. We can always hope.
posted by arha at 4:33 AM on August 21


That was a dumb plan, Jon.

It feels like everyone is carrying the idiot ball this week.

Who all from the party that went North of the wall died?
posted by drezdn at 5:27 AM on August 21


I kind of thought that when Thoros got injured they'd think "sweet, now we can just wait for him to turn and bring him back."
posted by drezdn at 5:28 AM on August 21 [10 favorites]


So Benjen was Coldhands.
posted by ersatz at 5:45 AM on August 21


In the show yes, but IIRC, he can't be in the books (or probably isn't?).
posted by drezdn at 6:06 AM on August 21


When Tormund got a bunch of lines, I thought he was getting the reality show-style, last episode edit.
posted by drezdn at 6:10 AM on August 21 [3 favorites]


Now you see, the show subverts expectations by having a second deus ex machina in a single battle
posted by DoctorFedora at 6:24 AM on August 21 [17 favorites]


You might be able to count the magical javelin as a third one!
posted by drezdn at 6:30 AM on August 21 [1 favorite]


we're not going to have Tyrion Targaryen,

We never were. There was not, ever, even the slightest possibility of that happening, or the tiniest hint of any reason to think it would. People just like Tyrion and clung to the craziest theories they could dream up, but it always baffled me why anyone would ever treat this idea as anything but a joke.
posted by Sangermaine at 6:32 AM on August 21 [5 favorites]


Man, I was actually starting to come back to the show after the last two episodes. One thing: the fight scenes were awful. A bunch of shaky cam nonsense and bad costuming where it took me 10 seconds to figure out that it was just an extra getting fed to the wights instead of someone who matters. I think that, more than any other problem the show has, it is TERRIBLE at telling a story visually. For whatever problems it has with dumb characters, rushed plots, and cliched writing, many of the problems that exist come from the seeming inability of most of their directors to tell a coherent story on the screen.
posted by codacorolla at 6:34 AM on August 21 [2 favorites]


Show Coldhands was revealed to be Benjen a while back, when he helped Bran and the Reeds north of the wall. For book Coldhands, Benjen gets disqualified by one of the Children saying "they killed him long ago", when Benjen hasn't really been gone that long. My preferred theory is that in the book, Coldhands is Ser Duncan from the Dunk and Egg tales, and his inclusion is just a way for Martin to tie that series in with ASOIAF.
posted by LionIndex at 6:37 AM on August 21 [3 favorites]


I can't imagine Cersei would be pleased to see Littlefinger. While Lady Olenna sadly failed to mention his part of the plot to kill Joffrey, it must be common knowledge that LF took the knights of the Vale to the Battle of the Bastards. And it must be common knowledge that Ramsay married Sansa. Sure, the knights of the Vale could hold loyalty to their deceased lady's niece, someone must have had to function as a convincing intermediary...
posted by elsietheeel at 7:38 AM on August 21 [1 favorite]


I thought the Wights ending up in the water would lead to them swarming from below. I was wrong.
posted by drezdn at 9:13 AM on August 21 [1 favorite]


I think Hardhome established that Wights don't do water, didn't it?
posted by IanMorr at 9:20 AM on August 21 [2 favorites]


Sansa should have quipped, "yea and all the lords will just assume my legs were cut off bvat the knee"
posted by sammyo at 9:21 AM on August 21 [1 favorite]


If that's true, shouldn't they just turn the wall into a moat?

IIRC, there was stuff that implied that wights could move under water, but maybe not in the show.
posted by drezdn at 9:23 AM on August 21


Sansa should have quipped, "yea and all the lords will just assume my legs were cut off bvat the knee"

She didin't want to give her any ideas.
posted by homunculus at 9:25 AM on August 21 [1 favorite]


I would fall in love with the show again if the Night King sent back one of the dead redshirts wearing a shirt that says "Now I have a dragon. Ho ho ho."
posted by drezdn at 9:39 AM on August 21 [9 favorites]


elsietheeel: It was a good episode and a lot happened but at the same time the plot wasn't really moved forward THAT much and it wasn't spectacular?

Good episode, wut? It was fooking tragic. SO MANY BAD DECISIONS, so many questions to the direction and editing choices. Really, you want to have a few quick bursts of battle, then minutes of hauling a dragon out of the ice with chains that the undead found ... somewhere beyond the wall? So much WTF.

Yes, the plot moved forward, but I got distracted by how poorly so many things went. Sure, there's probably a big, interesting story behind all this, but when all the pieces move in such dumb ways, I'm distracted and annoyed. Interesting story, bad story telling.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:42 AM on August 21 [7 favorites]


I'm gonna be supremely fucking annoyed if this season ends with an uneasy alliance between Cersei and Dany to fight the Army of the Night King.
posted by Thistledown at 9:45 AM on August 21 [1 favorite]


I'm gonna be supremely fucking annoyed if this season ends with an uneasy alliance between Cersei and Dany to fight the Army of the Night King.

Even with everything we've had to swallow this season about teleporting and plot armor and Euron's Instant Fleet™, nothing would make less sense than Cersei even pretending to give a damn about this wight once it's presented to her.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:47 AM on August 21 [8 favorites]


Yeah, hopefully she'll ignore the wight and whatever Danny has to say and tries to Red Wedding them, leading to disastrous results.
posted by Sangermaine at 10:03 AM on August 21 [3 favorites]


The thing that bothers me the most about Viserion dying is it seems like a tacit acceptance that we're not going to have Tyrion Targaryen, because even though 'the dragon has three heads', one of the dragons is dead and thus doesn't need a rider, so it's just going to be Jon and Dany dragonriding by their lonesome.

The Night's King will ride it.
posted by Hypatia at 10:52 AM on August 21 [2 favorites]




The brothers McElroy may have accidentally predicted the "Blue Eyes/White Dragon."
posted by drezdn at 11:49 AM on August 21 [5 favorites]


Gendry runs fast.

Apparently four seasons of continuous rowing makes you an absolute beast at cardio.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 2:52 PM on August 21 [12 favorites]


In this episode, a couple of wights pop out of the water and try to drag Tormund in with them, so it certainly seems that some of them can handle water.
posted by jimw at 3:11 PM on August 21


a monstrous she wolf: What you missed on 7x06 of Game of Thrones
posted by homunculus at 3:48 PM on August 21 [3 favorites]


Trying to figure out the actual rules for wights or anything else is badly hamstrung by the wild disdain the showrunners have for consistency in worldbuilding or anything else that would make them have to think of a second idea for a scene.
posted by Copronymus at 3:57 PM on August 21 [7 favorites]


I mentioned in the show thread that one of the things that was so frustrating about the human/raven/dragon relay race was that there were more plausible ways to get the message to Dany using previously established story elements, like the ability of the Three-Eyed Raven to communicate from afar with visions. Brynden communicated with Bran and Jojen that way. Presumably Bran has the same power now, and it might be even stronger than his mentor's was since the show has implied that Bran is more powerful than ordinary wargs and greenseers.

But from the books there was another, more plausible alternative: glass candles. If Dany had acquired a glass candle at some point, she could have been watching Jon and the Brotherhood without Brains the whole time, and seen the approaching Army of the Dead, and she could have left Dragonstone much earlier. The writer's could have introduced glass candles as soon they decided that they wanted that cliched rescue in the story, say like Dany could have found one in a hidden room at Dragonstone that only dragon riders could enter, or something. They really did not have to "break the plot so badly that suspension of disbelief is well and truly dead."
posted by homunculus at 5:30 PM on August 21 [5 favorites]


As the DM stretches the plausibility of the campaign, this commenter's inner rules lawyer comes out. This week's D&D D&D recap focuses on our party's side quest beyond the Wall.

• Encumbrance rules clearly are being ignored in this campaign, nor is the DM bothering to track rations. Tormund is carrying the requisite 50' coil of rope, though, while the lead scout does appear to have a 10' pole. Toss in some torches and some iron spikes and you've got yourself a proper dungeon delve.
• A dire, undead polar bear attacks the party, dropping Thoros quite low in hp.
• Sansa finds the material components that Arya uses for her disguise self spell.
• Having been surrounded by the army of the dead, Beric ignites his flametongue sword. Jon wields his holy avenger bastard sword, Tormund readies a greataxe, the Hound hefts Gendry's maul, and Jorah dual-wields blades made of dragonglass (one a short sword, the other a dagger).
• The undead foes would be ruled to be skeletons (CR 1/4) rather than wights (CR 3). The foes fall easily and in great numbers to our heroes, and do not seem to have the life drain ability described for wights (MM p.300).
• The dragons use their breath weapons to great effect, and the undead both have poor Dex saves and vulnerability to fire. The breath weapon of a by-the-book dragon does typically have a recharge rate of 5-6 rounds, however, while these dragons use their breath weapons more frequently.
• The Night King hurls – at extreme range – a javelin with the frost brand and dragon slayer abilities, dealing a crit on Viserion, enough to cause death through massive damage rule. The PHB states a maximum range of a thrown javelin as 120' (p. 149), beyond which an attack cannot be made (p. 147, rule on range). Sooooooo ... the DM did some major roll- and rule-fudging for dramatic effect.
• Jon in the lake: "A creature can be immersed in frigid water for a number of minutes equal to its Constitution score before suffering any ill effects." (DMG p.110) So while it may stretch belief, it appears to conform to RAW.
• Coldhands/Benjen appears wielding a morning star (?) with the flametongue ability (normally restricted to swords, but house-ruled).
• The Night King raises a dracolich as a legendary (?) action.

All in all, this week's session might have been a bit frustrating for our players, seeing as the DM is railroading the campaign towards a climactic battle with the BBEG within the next several sessions.
posted by The Nutmeg of Consolation at 5:41 PM on August 21 [22 favorites]


Well, that was all very silly.
posted by Diablevert at 5:58 PM on August 21 [4 favorites]


Tiny point, The Nutmeg; Tormund can be seen in a few scenes with a dragonglass axe (earlier on their way North, Tormund is seen with his usual steel greataxe) - the blocky rectangular and smaller one.

But yeah, it appears that holy or dragonglass isn't particularly more effective on the raised/derived undead and may only have additional powers against racial White Walkers.

Benjen/Coldhand's sidearm looks like a weaponized censer/thurible, possibly holy in addition to flametongue.
posted by porpoise at 6:22 PM on August 21 [2 favorites]


Screengrabs of:

Tormund with the Dragonglass axe

Another of Tormund along with a flaming sword and The Hound hefting Gendry's hammer

And a nice view of Jorah drawing his dragonglass Daishō combination
posted by porpoise at 6:39 PM on August 21


Even with everything we've had to swallow this season about teleporting and plot armor and Euron's Instant Fleet™, nothing would make less sense than Cersei even pretending to give a damn about this wight once it's presented to her.

I wouldn't buy her actually giving a damn but pretending to in order to backstab Dany I would buy.
posted by Justinian at 7:47 PM on August 21


someone correct me if I'm wrong, but - weren't the two faces in the bag that of Littlefinger, and Maester Useless?

If so, there's an implication that Arya could have been impersonating either or both of those characters this episode. Given we know faces don't need to come from dead people, it would not be a leap to assume Arya has already been impersonating Sansa.

..so who really sent Brienne away?
posted by coriolisdave at 8:11 PM on August 21 [2 favorites]


At this point the ending is telegraphed, kill the Night King and all the bad guys will literally crumble. It's just a matter of who will deal that blow (what are the Vegas odds for an Arya bullseye to take him out?).

My hope now is that they defeat the white walkers fairly early next season. They'll be weak from the war while Cersei stayed back and redoubled all her defenses. Get back to the human drama and give the ending some room to breathe.
posted by Gary at 8:12 PM on August 21 [3 favorites]


"someone correct me if I'm wrong, but - weren't the two faces in the bag that of Littlefinger, and Maester Useless"

I think that was Walder Frey's face. Not Littlefingers's.
posted by sprezzy at 8:27 PM on August 21 [4 favorites]


Faces don't have to come from dead people?
posted by Night_owl at 8:42 PM on August 21 [1 favorite]


If Dany had acquired a glass candle at some point, she could have been watching Jon and the Brotherhood without Brains the whole time, and seen the approaching Army of the Dead, and she could have left Dragonstone much earlier.

The Brotherhood Without Brains vs. brainless ice zombies… it works!

Also, it cracks me up that Benjen is both Deus ex Benjen and wields a thurible. I never got to light that much incense on fire when I was the thurifer on acolyte duty; I'm jealous.
posted by culfinglin at 8:47 PM on August 21 [4 favorites]


My main question is: When the unfortunate dispensable member of the fellowship of the North got fatally mauled by an undead grolar bear, couldn't they have waited to see if he died and turned into the zombie they'd been looking for? Isn't that what normally happens to dead guys in the north? Even if it was inevitable that they ended up being rescued by flying creatures, just at the last moment, surrounded by orcs goblins enemies, could they have waited around a while first, just in case?
posted by sfenders at 8:47 PM on August 21 [9 favorites]


Faces don't have to come from dead people?
No - when Arya is fighting Jaqen in the Faceless Man temple, he removes a bunch of faces, including Arya's own.
posted by coriolisdave at 8:48 PM on August 21


I think the Arya-face in that scene was basically a stupid TV continuity mistake. I choose to interpret that as the Faceless Men having the ability to alter Arya's perceptions (i.e. similar to when they make Arya blind) rather than literally having Arya's face. If they can just have any face with magic then why bother with all the body cleaning and chopping off dead people's actual faces?

/rocking in the continuity corner, telling herself that google says homing pigeons have been clocked flying 92.5 mph average speed during a 400-mile race, and have been known to fly 700 miles in a day.
posted by gatorae at 8:58 PM on August 21 [4 favorites]


I'm gonna be supremely fucking annoyed if this season ends with an uneasy alliance between Cersei and Dany to fight the Army of the Night King.
posted by Thistledown at 9:45 AM on August 21 [1 favorite +] [!]


i thought that that is what Cersei had stated she will fake, like one or two episodes ago.
posted by eustatic at 9:01 PM on August 21


Who the hell were those random wildlings being fed to wight pit in the battle scene?

Yes, I guess I need to rewatch and count how many men actually headed north, but I did not notice any extras until 1) the bear killed one and 2) another got dropped into the wight pit. Nor did I notice any extras after those things happened... stupid, lazy storytelling. When Jon and Tormund stopped to look at the guy who had been killed by the bear, I was yelling "rope him up! take him back! he'll resurrect before you get back to the wall and you won't even have to deal with any night kings!" But no, they just left him there and walked away. Morons.

But of course they had to burn Thoros when HE died. Because you wouldn't want to have captured one wight in a crazy unnecessary battle, then allow yourselves to be surrounded by thousands of others, and then have another one resurrect in your midst. THAT would just be dumb, and our battle-hardened warriors are anything but dumb.
posted by torticat at 10:57 PM on August 21 [4 favorites]


We should just write our own version of the rest of the series, it's gotta be better than whatever is currently in store for us.

I propose that Jon gets eaten by a wight in the season finale.
posted by Meow Face at 11:22 PM on August 21 [7 favorites]


My main question is: When the unfortunate dispensable member of the fellowship of the North got fatally mauled by an undead grolar bear, couldn't they have waited to see if he died and turned into the zombie they'd been looking for?

Right??!???!!? That was so fucking stupid. We were shouting at the TV. Cersei is going to organize a tournament where some knight easily kills the zombie using a method she researched earlier, then she'll call it fake news and throw them all in the dungeon. Don't underestimate Cersei, Jon you moron.

Of course every single thing Jon Snow does in his entire life from climbing the wall, to betraying Ygritte to getting surprise-killed by people who obviously want to kill him is Top Stupid. He's dumb and unlucky. At least Dany seems to have some kind if divine intervention on her side.

Arya has turned bad, eh. This was pretty heavily implied in the books as the price of revenge. Good to see it playing out. Sansa, meanwhile, remains the smart one who makes bad decisions like her mother and Rob. I miss Rob. I feel like he would be doing a much better job of defending the north and uniting people.
posted by fshgrl at 11:38 PM on August 21 [1 favorite]


Oh. That's what's been bugging me - there's a tenuous symmetry with the Highlander property; Conner Macleod gives Duncan Macleod this plot-important sword. Anway, for plot reasons, that sword is irrevocably lost and the replacement that Duncan acquires are a pair of (mundane?) butterfly swords which he uses as his primary in the climax of the property ending (at least for a good long time) movie.

This season of GoT hasn't been entirely dissimilar in quality to Highlander: The Source.

Jorah officially relinquishing Longclaw, and picking up a couple of Dragonglass shortblades - well... he might get the chance to impregnate Danny after all.

posted by porpoise at 4:25 AM on August 22 [1 favorite]


I was wondering today whether or not the only reason Ghost hasn't died a cheap, tear jerker death is because he's too expensive to produce.
posted by codacorolla at 6:46 AM on August 22 [3 favorites]


I was wondering today whether or not the only reason Ghost hasn't died a cheap, tear jerker death is because he's too expensive to produce.

Ghost is among the several things important to the story that I feel like the show has avoided because of budget reasons. The other big one that keeps bugging me... The weather should be way worse in the North. They don't even bother having much snow in Winterfell. The weather in this week's north-of-the-wall story wasn't even a blizzard by Wisconsin standards.
posted by drezdn at 6:57 AM on August 22 [5 favorites]


If Gendry's dash and the timing of Dany's arrival is to be at all believable then the confrontation couldn't have been far north of the wall at all.

Which means the army of the dead is a day or two's march away from the wall? That seems like it could've been remarked upon.
posted by snuffleupagus at 8:50 AM on August 22 [2 favorites]


The thing that irritates me the most about those dumb fucking chains is that it would have been so much cooler and so much scarier to have the wights just make the chain out of themselves, grabbing and pulling at one another like some kind of horrible swarming bucket brigade. Better visuals, better continuity, better spookiness. But no, they went with Stupid Fucking Chains of Wait, What? instead.
posted by KathrynT at 9:22 AM on August 22 [13 favorites]


Why not just have the Night King dive into the water and raise it down there? It took a simple touch of the hand. Presumably he/it doesn't have to breathe, or at least doesn't mind the cold.

I suppose because then the logical thing would be for him to mount it and ride it up through the surface, and they're saving that for later. Although they could've just cut there.
posted by snuffleupagus at 9:25 AM on August 22 [3 favorites]


Ghost is among the several things important to the story that I feel like the show has avoided because of budget reasons.

Yeah. I mean, it's funny - GRRM made the series because he didn't think it could be made for TV. For a while, they were like, "No, I think we can!" And then in the last seasons it seems clear that no, they really can't. They don't have enough dragons, enough direwolves, enough of a large cast, or military conflicts. So they're plugging everything into stupid holes.

Like: Cersei hiring the Golden Company, and I'm sure they're just going to be like "sweet we are just mercenaries, nothing to see here."
posted by corb at 9:31 AM on August 22 [1 favorite]


I think a walker has to actually turn something dead into a Wight, it's not just a thing that happens.
posted by LionIndex at 10:03 AM on August 22 [1 favorite]


Yeah. I mean, it's funny - GRRM made the series because he didn't think it could be made for TV. For a while, they were like, "No, I think we can!" And then in the last seasons it seems clear that no, they really can't. They don't have enough dragons, enough direwolves, enough of a large cast, or military conflicts. So they're plugging everything into stupid holes.

Except that, unfortunately but predictably, the stuff that made it "impossible" for TV (like the special effects for the dragons and the castles filled with extras) are OK for the most part. To me, it's the cheap stuff -- the writing -- that they are screwing up with now. I mean, it's not more expensive to come up with reasonable travel times. But the writing is the core of the story (any story) so when that fails, the story fails.

I mean, think of the difference in how it felt to see Joffrey die versus to see the dragon die? Joffrey was a monster and it was still somehow tragic and disturbing to see him strangle to death in his mother's arms. The dragon's death should have been even more bittersweet, but eh. I mean, it was sad because seeing an animal die is sad. But then its death got overshadowed by the plot mechanisms of it becoming an Ice Dragon, and we didn't even see its own mother mourn. I'm not looking for scenes of Dany grieving and tearing her garments or whatever, but that it was so much easier to empathize with and care about Cersei's reaction to Joffrey's death than Dany's to her dragon-child is just...eh. I don't think that's how it's supposed to be?

But maybe it is. Who even knows.
posted by rue72 at 10:34 AM on August 22 [5 favorites]


the stuff that made it "impossible" for TV (like the special effects for the dragons and the castles filled with extras) are OK for the most part. To me, it's the cheap stuff -- the writing -- that they are screwing up with now.

Well, but the thing is - there's a difference between "castles full of extras", and "Castles full of characters who each have their own complex backstory, from which you can predict their nuanced actions." The writing they are doing is full of holes where other characters should be.

So for example: Littlefinger, in the books, has a lot of people that he's constantly interacting with, and he's not as much of an obvious menace. Per GRRM:
Book Littlefinger and television show Littlefinger are very different characters. They’re probably the character that’s most different from the book to the television show. There was a a line in a recent episode of the show where, he’s not even present, but two people are talking about him and someone says ‘Well, no one trusts Littlefinger’ and ‘Littlefinger has no friends.’ And that’s true of television show Littlefinger, but it’s certainly not true of book Littlefinger... of course there’s the Machiavellian thing. He’s, you know, everybody trusts him, everybody depends on him. He’s not a threat. He’s just this helpful, funny guy, who you can call upon to do whatever you want, and to raise money, and he ingratiates himself with people and rises higher and higher as a result.
But because the show doesn't have a lot of time to develop every single character, they have to make Littlefinger more of an obvious smarmy bastard. So why should Sansa trust him? And of course, she doesn't. But in the book, it's harder. Does he love her? In what way? Does he have her best interests at heart? It's much, much harder, and so much, much more interesting.

Same thing with Tyrion. In the books, Tyrion's learning that Tysha wasn't a prostitute, but exactly what she appeared, and he raped her at the urging of his own father, is what pushed him to kill Tywin. Yes, it's complex, but it's complex in an interesting way. But the television show doesn't have time for Tysha, and Tyrion wanting to find her, and his guilt over what he did, so they just eliminate it entirely. And in the process, they make Tyrion much more uncomplicatedly noble, which makes him a less interesting character. We've been seeing it in recent episodes: he's only appearing to give bad advice and tell Dany that Jon is doodling the name Targaryen over all of his notebooks.
posted by corb at 10:53 AM on August 22 [12 favorites]


The thing that irritates me the most about those dumb fucking chains is that it would have been so much cooler and so much scarier to have the wights just make the chain out of themselves

We just saw that they are brittle as hell though, right? (when the Hound hits one with a rock his lower face falls clear off).

Maybe this is me showing my most-not-reading-the-books ass off in the books included thread but does the Nights King or any White Walker have to physically touch the dead to reanimate them? It wouldn't have made for great tv but isn't the most likely way for the NK to revive the dragon at the bottom of the lake to revive him first, remove him second?
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 12:08 PM on August 22 [1 favorite]


Maybe this is me showing my most-not-reading-the-books ass off in the books included thread but does the Nights King or any White Walker have to physically touch the dead to reanimate them?

The Night's King hasn't actually appeared in the books yet (other than as a figure of ancient lore). I'm pretty sure none of the books' perspective characters have seen a direct reanimation, so there's really no clue how it might work mechanically. Really, the books haven't quite gotten to most of the White Walker plot yet, so all of it is shrouded in mystery and unclear, although I suspect that it will follow the show outline a lot more closely than most of the other plots are/did.
posted by Copronymus at 12:20 PM on August 22 [2 favorites]


He touched the dragon, but resurrected basically the entire population of Hardhome just by waving his arms. So, there's a direct intent involved, but who knows how much. The books never got into the origin of the white walkers, but I figure the show version is pretty much Martin canon.
posted by LionIndex at 12:51 PM on August 22




The other big one that keeps bugging me... The weather should be way worse in the North. They don't even bother having much snow in Winterfell. The weather in this week's north-of-the-wall story wasn't even a blizzard by Wisconsin standards.

Actually that's not the showrunners' fault, it's global warming's fault. I remember reading that the reason this season was delayed was because their locations had such mild winters, so they had to wait on the weather. Which of course means they should have had more time for filming scenes like Bronn's and Tyrion's reunion; that kind of shit is totally their fault.
posted by homunculus at 3:33 PM on August 22 [2 favorites]


> we didn't even see its own mother mourn. I'm not looking for scenes of Dany grieving and tearing her garments or whatever, but that it was so much easier to empathize with and care about Cersei's reaction to Joffrey's death than Dany's to her dragon-child is just...eh. I don't think that's how it's supposed to be?

Daenerys’ Range of Emotion on Game of Thrones 7x06
posted by homunculus at 3:46 PM on August 22 [2 favorites]


I disagree - we did see Dany grieve - look at her reaction to the very first thing Jon says ("I'm sorry. I'm so so sorry") from his undeathbed.

Immediately, her face crumples in grief before she manages to regain control. She's putting on a brave face because That's What Queens Do.

I'm not Emilia's biggest fan by any means, but that was excellently done.
posted by coriolisdave at 4:02 PM on August 22 [5 favorites]






LARB nails it, as they usually do.
posted by codacorolla at 4:59 PM on August 22 [2 favorites]


We just saw that they are brittle as hell though, right? (when the Hound hits one with a rock his lower face falls clear off).

Sure, sometimes they are, but that same brittleness applies to their chain-pulling abilities, doesn't it? I mean when you're pulling on a chain, your body has to contain the shear forces between your arms holding the chain and your feet on the ground.

In my vision of this writhing zombie-rope, if someone breaks apart, their comrades just let go of the broken off bits and hang on to a more central part instead. We know the bits stay independently mobile so the arms and legs and whatnot wouldn't have to leave the structure, they could just grab hold of a rib cage or wedge themselves through a pelvis or something.
posted by KathrynT at 5:14 PM on August 22 [5 favorites]


Which of course means they should have had more time for filming scenes like Bronn's and Tyrion's reunion; that kind of shit is totally their fault.

From the link: Actor Says Game of Thrones Cut One of the Season's Most-Needed Reunions

Woah, woah, woah... this changes everything. I'm probably the biggest show apologist left on Mefi at this point, but cutting a MF'ing Tyrion/Bronn scene!???! They're on HBO for the god's sake, just run the show 5 minutes longer! What the hell?
posted by skewed at 5:48 PM on August 22 [8 favorites]


It wouldn't have made for great tv but isn't the most likely way for the NK to revive the dragon at the bottom of the lake to revive him first, remove him second?

The Night King exchanges a meaningful glance or two with his lieutenant, then strides purposefully towards the steaming open water where the ice has been broken. He approaches the edge of the ice without slowing, as if he's going to walk straight out into the water, but before he actually gets to the edge, the ice cracks and gives way. He does not react, but plunges straight down into the icy black water. A moment passes. Some bubbles rise to the surface. Nothing happens. Then the ice dragon emerges, bearing its undead passenger triumphantly into the sky.

Seems great enough in my imagination. I'm going to just pretend that's what happened.
posted by sfenders at 7:05 PM on August 22 [6 favorites]


And yeah I said steaming open water. Top tip for any future directors attempting to depict a cold climate with open non-frozen water: The colder it is, the greater the clouds of steam that rise from the surface. Could really add some atmosphere and realism with that.
posted by sfenders at 7:13 PM on August 22


So nobody else thinks Jon winds up riding the wight dragon? They're both undead ice creatures after all.
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:11 PM on August 22 [2 favorites]


They're both undead ice creatures after all.

Technically Jon is an undead fire creature.
posted by homunculus at 10:21 PM on August 22 [4 favorites]


Side bet on which currently living Stark child will be killed by a reanimated Ned with no head. Who wants in?
posted by vbfg at 5:02 AM on August 23 [4 favorites]


From the LARB's beef: "Season seven is every Rolling Stones tour after Steel Wheels."

Hahaha. OUCH!

Voodoo Lounge was actually better than Steel Wheels, though, so maybe D&D get their shit back together for S8. Probably not though.
posted by snuffleupagus at 5:53 AM on August 23 [1 favorite]


Man, y'all are harsh. I kinda liked this episode! But it was a big basket of dumb, no argument there. I feel the same way about the books, mostly GRRM's lack of discipline in telling a clear story. But at least he has some complexity and subtlety.

I'm trying to imagine what the book version of the events in this episode would look like. Is the journey to find the wight like 300 pages? Literally 2000 pages dedicated to setting up this Zombies v. Dragons fight, how does he write the battle? How much foreshadowing of the zombie ice dragon does he do, how many long lost tales in the Maester's vault at the Wall? Does this stupid spat between Arya and Sansa make any more sense, and how many lemon cakes do they share while having it? Are they delicious? Do they have any fearsomely strong cider left at Winterfell?
posted by Nelson at 8:26 AM on August 23 [5 favorites]


I was pretty happy with the first Arya/Sansa convo. Arya wanted to know if having everything she had dreamed of was worth her selling out the family, Sansa needed to say at least I was trying to do something while you were doing who knows what.
The second convo was pretty dumb. I'm guessing the first rule of face club is don't talk about face club.
I think if I respected the writing team at all I'd be on board with the idea that at least one of the scenes that we saw included Arya wearing the face of someone, be it LF, Sansa or even the Maester.
posted by OHenryPacey at 8:51 AM on August 23 [3 favorites]


I'm trying to imagine what the book version of the events in this episode would look like. Is the journey to find the wight like 300 pages? Literally 2000 pages dedicated to setting up this Zombies v. Dragons fight, how does he write the battle? How much foreshadowing of the zombie ice dragon does he do, how many long lost tales in the Maester's vault at the Wall? Does this stupid spat between Arya and Sansa make any more sense, and how many lemon cakes do they share while having it? Are they delicious? Do they have any fearsomely strong cider left at Winterfell?

Things we know:

1) the wight hunt doesn't take place in the books, and in fact, a version of this has essentially already been done before. Remember, they send Ser Alliser Thorne with a wight hand in a jar that still moves? But Tyrion, remembering what a d-bag he is, keeps him waiting so long that the hand has essentially decomposed by the time they see him.

2) I feel like we've already received foreshadowing about ice dragons. Jon Snow mentions stories Old Nan used to tell of ice dragons, and the World Of Ice And Fire talks about them - "made of living ice, with eyes of pale crystal, vast translucent wings, and breath of cold." So I think we may in fact see an ice dragon in ASOIAF, but it may not be Viserion resurrected. My suspicion is actually that Viserion, rather than being taken by the Night King, will be taken by Devil Greyjoy and his dragonhorn.

3) The spat between Arya and Sansa in the books could be much, much richer - for example:
a) In the books, Sansa is the one who tips off Cersei that the Starks are leaving to go back to the North rather than staying and continuing the marriage alliance. This is what gives Cersei the advance warning to be able to stymie Ned Stark's plans, and capture Ned and Sansa.
"How well I know that, child," Cersei said, her voice so kind and sweet. "Why else should you have come to me and told me of your father's plan to send you away from us, if not for love?"

"It was for love," Sansa said in a rush. "Father wouldn't even give me leave to say farewell." She was the good girl, the obedient girl, but she had felt as wicked as Arya that morning, sneaking away from Septa Mordane, defying her lord father. She had never done anything so willful before, and she would never have done it then if she hadn't loved Joffrey as much as she did. "He was going to take me back to Winterfell and marry me to some hedge knight, even though it was Joff I wanted. I told him, but he wouldn't listen." The king had been her last hope. The king could command Father to let her stay in King's Landing and marry Prince Joffrey, Sansa knew he could, but the king had always frightened her. He was loud and rough-voiced and drunk as often as not, and he would probably have just sent her back to Lord Eddard, if they even let her see him. So she went to the queen instead, and poured out her heart, and Cersei had listened and thanked her sweetly . . . only then Ser Arys had escorted her to the high room in Maegor's Holdfast and posted guards, and a few hours later, the fighting had begun outside. "Please," she finished, "you have to let me marry Joffrey, I'll be ever so good a wife to him, you'll see. I'll be a queen just like you, I promise."
b) In the books, Arya is reputed to be marrying Ramsay Bolton - it's Jeyne Poole, not Arya, but Sansa and Littlefinger don't try to stop it, even with so much as a word. Jeyne Poole is tortured in Arya's place, and the whole North knows it's happening, but no one tries to rescue Arya. Meanwhile, Sansa is working on her Vale marriage plans.

c) Arya and Sansa both could blame each other for the loss of their direwolves. Lady was killed in Nymeria's place, and Arya had to drive off Nymeria with stones, losing the wolf she loved deeply. She still has wolf dreams where she is with Nymeria in the Riverlands.
posted by corb at 1:44 PM on August 23 [7 favorites]


Also, I realized that one of the problems with why the letter isn't a real thing in the show is because they made it much less driven by Sansa - like, it's obvious it's a thing she has to do, not that she wants to do.
Joff would need to punish Father, the lords would expect it, but perhaps he could send him back to Winterfell, or exile him to one of the Free Cities across the narrow sea. It would only have to be for a few years. By then she and Joffrey would be married. Once she was queen, she could persuade Joff to bring Father back and grant him a pardon.

Only . . . if Mother or Robb did anything treasonous, called the banners or refused to swear fealty or anything, it would all go wrong. Her Joffrey was good and kind, she knew it in her heart, but a king had to be stern with rebels. She had to make them understand, she had to!

"I'll . . . I'll write the letters," Sansa told them.

With a smile as warm as the sunrise, Cersei Lannister leaned close and kissed her gently on the cheek. "I knew you would. Joffrey will be so proud when I tell him what courage and good sense you've shown here today."

In the end, she wrote four letters. To her mother, the Lady Catelyn Stark, and to her brothers at Winterfell, and to her aunt and her grandfather as well, Lady Lysa Arryn of the Eyrie, and Lord Hoster Tully of Riverrun.
It's really easy to forget, because Sophie Turner is a national treasure, how terrible Sansa was written in the books as a child, and how long she took to understand reality, and the idiotic mistakes she made along the way, learning that. So I can easily see the book Sansa and Arya coming into serious conflict, but - not like this.
posted by corb at 1:57 PM on August 23 [10 favorites]


Remember, they send Ser Alliser Thorne with a wight hand in a jar that still moves? But Tyrion, remembering what a d-bag he is, keeps him waiting so long that the hand has essentially decomposed by the time they see him.

They did the first part of that on the show too. Mormont sent Thorne to show the hand to Joffrey in the first season, but there was no follow through. We never saw him in KL, and he was back at Castle Black in season 2 with no mention of what happened with the hand.
posted by homunculus at 5:03 PM on August 23 [1 favorite]


kill the Night King and all the bad guys will literally crumble. It's just a matter of who will deal that blow

Just ask Bronn to do it.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 6:20 PM on August 23 [3 favorites]


It's really easy to forget, because Sophie Turner is a national treasure, how terrible Sansa was written in the books as a child, and how long she took to understand reality, and the idiotic mistakes she made along the way, learning that. So I can easily see the book Sansa and Arya coming into serious conflict, but - not like this.

Their mother the Lady Catelyn is largely responsible for their antagonism in the books too and that's left out here. She is a lot more the batshit lady playing fast and loose with her kids lives in the books than she ever was in the show. And she encourages the rift between her daughter's. As well as separates Rob and Jon, leaving Rob with Theon instead, and we all know how that turns out.

If Jon is a Wight, he's a lot less weird and decaying than all the other ones.
posted by fshgrl at 12:51 AM on August 24 [3 favorites]


GRRM would just have had Yara and Theon killed, maybe in a horrible way, maybe even Theon goes back to being Reek but for Euron. No one gets redeemed.

Theon survives and rescues Jayne Poole in the books, so I don't think that GRRM planned to just kill him off -- or even withhold all redemption from him, either.

I'm kind of perplexed why so many people are so taken aback that Theon is still around?

It's "inconvenient" for a lot of characters (including/especially Theon) that he's survived, but that's exactly why it makes sense to me (and I like!) that he has. Plus, Theon has always been very conscious of his own fragility and has always been obsessed with his own status and survival, to an outright obnoxious (and self-obsessed) degree. It makes sense to me that someone like that would find a way to survive, even despite himself.

To me, Theon belongs on the show as much as any of the Starks or Lannisters do, so I'm happy he's there. Will already reserve my table for one!
posted by rue72 at 8:46 AM on August 24 [3 favorites]


I'll sit with you. Theon's not boring.
posted by bq at 9:03 AM on August 24 [5 favorites]


Theon is more boring than Asha, but then so is Yara.
posted by homunculus at 10:12 AM on August 24 [1 favorite]


I actually don't think Theon is going to survive long in the books. I'm pretty sure he's going to be sacrificed by Melisandre to have the weather clear up for Stannis's forces, and the show just didn't want to have two burnings of beloved characters.
posted by corb at 10:42 AM on August 24


I'm pretty sure he's going to be sacrificed by Melisandre to have the weather clear up for Stannis's forces

Wouldn't he be more useful as eyewitness proof that Ramsey didn't actually marry a Stark girl? As far as I could tell, a lot of the reason the Boltons wanted to parade him around was to legitimize the Ramsey/"Arya" marriage. Now he and Jayne are proof that there is no Stark in Winterfell.

Plus, he seems like a pretty awful holy sacrifice at this point. A half-dead, disgraced, disowned "noble" from the weirdo pirate house? I feel like Asha would be the better choice, if Melisandre is into killing Greyjoys right about now (which I am not a proponent of anyway!).

Theon is more boring than Asha, but then so is Yara.

I kind of have a crush on Yara, so of course I'm biased in her favor. But regardless, I found Asha a bit irritating in the books. She was too "cool."
posted by rue72 at 1:00 PM on August 24 [1 favorite]


...whoa
posted by The Whelk at 6:03 PM on August 24 [9 favorites]


One thing I was kicking around for a long time was that there were actually three Targareyans for a long time. Aemon. I know he died of old age but it would be interesting to see him reanimated by the Night King and riding an Ice Dragon, now wouldn't it? Less interestingly, he basically said he'd broken his vow of chastity during Jon's trial. And he was 100 years old. God knows how many little Dragon riders could be running around near the wall.
posted by fshgrl at 6:35 PM on August 24 [2 favorites]


Huh... something I just realized is that in terms of slavery the show has:

Made the Free City of Braavos complicit with slavery, when the single guiding moral that Braavosi have is that they find slavery absolutely repellent.

And, at the same time, have completely forgotten the main reason that Jorah Mormont was exiled in the first place: openly trading slaves, turning Jorah into a hero while erasing the single worst crime he has committed (even worse than betraying Daenerys, IMO).

That's, uh, quite the pairing for a single season.
posted by codacorolla at 6:56 PM on August 24 [4 favorites]


Oh I like the idea of zombie Aemon riding an ice dragon. But GRRM dragged that tired, dying old man all the way to Braavos bound for Oldtown only to have him die and be pickled in a cask of rum on the way. (One of the books' earlier pointless 100 page journey adventures.) I'm not sure where the body ended up but I doubt it was in the North, although the idea of a rum-drunk zombie ice dragon rider is pretty great.

TV Aemon dies up at the Wall though, so maybe there's hope. Man, the Night's Watch graveyard is going to make for a hell of an elite combat unit. So many scoundrels sent to the Wall for their combination of criminal ways and fighting prowess.
posted by Nelson at 8:22 AM on August 25


What are the odds that The Fookin' Legend of Gin Alley comes back as an on-screen zombie? That would truly be full circle of bad show writing.
posted by codacorolla at 12:16 PM on August 25 [1 favorite]


Unfortunately they burned his body.
posted by drezdn at 12:24 PM on August 25


But GRRM dragged that tired, dying old man all the way to Braavos bound for Oldtown only to have him die and be pickled in a cask of rum on the way. (One of the books' earlier pointless 100 page journey adventures.) I'm not sure where the body ended up but I doubt it was in the North, although the idea of a rum-drunk zombie ice dragon rider is pretty great.

I thought that Archmaester Marwyn stole it when he took Sam's ship and dashed off toward Daenerys, although looking back at the ASoIaF wiki, I think it's not entirely clear whether Sam got the Aemon barrel off of the boat first, so it's possible Sam still has him. Either way, he's pretty far from the North.
posted by Copronymus at 3:20 PM on August 25


I thought that Archmaester Marwyn stole it when he took Sam's ship and dashed off toward Daenerys, although looking back at the ASoIaF wiki, I think it's not entirely clear whether Sam got the Aemon barrel off of the boat first, so it's possible Sam still has him. Either way, he's pretty far from the North.

Is there some theory about why Aemon's corpse would be significant in the books? It was a weird and jarring thing to include if it's not significant, but an even weirder thing to make significant.
posted by skewed at 3:53 PM on August 25


The shipboard-body-pickled-in-rum thing is an old story going back to Admiral Nelson, I'm guessing GRRM just liked it and put it in there after he sort of forgot why he'd bothered dragging Aemon through that long, pointless journey in the first place. I could be wrong and it will all be revealed to be a carefully crafted story. Perhaps Young Griff develops a taste for flavored rum spiking his fearsomely strong cider.
posted by Nelson at 4:07 PM on August 25 [3 favorites]


There's a chance they do something with whatever Kingsblood is when it's been intermixed with rum for a few months, but that's a pretty long shot.
posted by Copronymus at 4:40 PM on August 25 [2 favorites]


Here's a neat detail I completely missed: Arrowhead Mountain & the White Walker Creation
posted by homunculus at 3:15 PM on August 28


That is neat but.. Or maybe something else is going on behind the scenes that we aren’t aware of yet.

Or maybe they were on location already and liked it so used it twice.
posted by Nelson at 6:04 PM on August 28


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