Game of Thrones: Winterfell   Show Only 
April 14, 2019 6:54 PM - Season 8, Episode 1 - Subscribe

People gather in the North to prepare for the coming battle.

SHOW ONLY
Links are free of spoilers

Directed by David Nutter

Written by:
David Benioff & D.B. Weiss (created by)
Dave Hill (written for television by)
posted by Brandon Blatcher (371 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
 
I’m team Queen in the Fucking North.

Screw all those other assholes, Sansa’s got this.
posted by lydhre at 6:56 PM on April 14 [25 favorites]


Winter is here.
posted by Fizz at 6:56 PM on April 14


SQUEEEEE
posted by alleycat01 at 6:57 PM on April 14 [1 favorite]


The night king must be a fan of Hannibal.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 6:59 PM on April 14 [18 favorites]


All those various reunions hit all the right spots, no lie, pretty much pitch perfect for each one.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:00 PM on April 14 [11 favorites]


man that bronn scene, huh? what a combo of "hey remember when this show would just have excessive T&A for no reason, wait you don't miss that? nah you miss it, definitely, here it is again" and "this character serves no narrative purpose and hasn't for like 3 seasons, let's waste an entire scene clumsily and quickly allowing the possibility of future narrative tension". maybe A was meant as apology for B

so glad the night king is getting into interior decorating, he's got a real eye for symmetry
posted by Kybard at 7:01 PM on April 14 [23 favorites]


Yes, definitely Team Sansa.

Also, every time Jon and Dany are makin' out my face screws up like I just ate a whole lime. Dude... stop... no don't...
posted by Justinian at 7:03 PM on April 14 [15 favorites]


I filled out my death pool bingo, but I really just want all of these dipshits to start dying.
posted by codacorolla at 7:03 PM on April 14 [12 favorites]


If we don't get Cleganebowl I am going to burn the world. Who is with me?
posted by Justinian at 7:03 PM on April 14 [14 favorites]


Wow, so after waiting sooooo long for some of these reunions and more, it's just like suddenly we're flooded with all this stuff people have been waiting for forever:

- Jon reuniting with Bran AND Arya
- Jon finally finding out about R+L=J
- Jon riding Rhaegal
- Arya reuniting with the Hound AND Gendry

Oh, and on a slightly less long awaited note, I had been wondering when Sam was going to find out about his father and brother.

Too bad they're making us wait for the Jaime reunions, but I'm looking forward to him seeing Tyrion now that they're finally fighting on the same side, and also Brienne. Also, I love Bran's "waiting for an old friend" line.
posted by litera scripta manet at 7:04 PM on April 14 [14 favorites]


Now that they're only like cousins and not half-siblings, I wonder if John and Sansa could get past the whole being raised as siblings things because honestly I feel like they would be a good King and Queen. Like, they're sort of perfect complements to rule side by side. Sansa has the brains and the head for logistics and court intrigue, while John has the battle strength and honor and the ability to make people want him as their leader. Sure, the whole making babies thing might be awkward, and it's not like I actually "ship" them together, but I think they could do a really good job of ruling together.

Also, I look forward to Sansa's I told you so when Jaime reveals Cersei is definitely not coming to fight. It is kind of ridiculous that Tyrion took her at her word.
posted by litera scripta manet at 7:08 PM on April 14 [14 favorites]


Oh, and wow, really bold of Dany to threaten Jon Snow's sister like that just right to his face. Between that and Sam revealing what happened to his family, I wonder if Jon is going to start re-thinking that whole nothing like her father thing. I mean, Dany is definitely not the mad king, but she's also shown time and again she'll go for justice over mercy almost every time.
posted by litera scripta manet at 7:11 PM on April 14 [16 favorites]


I had pretty low expectations for this, but it's a 10/10 right? Everything was pretty much perfect, in character an on point. So many choice scenes!

Arya and the Hound:
"You left me to die"
"I robbed you first"

Sansa to Tyrion: "I use to think you were the cleverest man I knew"

The tensions between Sansa and Dany!

Jon and Arya:

Sam looking very mature and grown!

Gendry's "My Lady" and Arya's smile!

Hell, even Euron finally worked.

Sansa going toe to toe with Tyrion and winning, easily.

Hot damn, this season just might work out.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:12 PM on April 14 [17 favorites]


"Remember my offer. Whatever they're paying you, I'll pay double."
- Tyrion to Bronn, last episode

Sending Bronn off to kill Tyrion when she had the clear chance to kill him last episode felt ... stupid.
posted by gatorae at 7:14 PM on April 14 [6 favorites]


Bran: *stares into middle distance*
posted by dephlogisticated at 7:14 PM on April 14 [22 favorites]


man that bronn scene, huh? what a combo of "hey remember when this show would just have excessive T&A for no reason, wait you don't miss that? nah you miss it, definitely, here it is again" and "this character serves no narrative purpose and hasn't for like 3 seasons, let's waste an entire scene clumsily and quickly allowing the possibility of future narrative tension". maybe A was meant as apology for B

To be fair, if you want to murder Jaime and Tyrion, who better than Bronn? He's trusted by both brothers, even though they probably should know better. Of course, Bronn also could just take the gold and make a run for it.

Definitely could have done without the brothel setting, however.
posted by litera scripta manet at 7:15 PM on April 14 [6 favorites]


*staring intensifies*
posted by uosuaq at 7:15 PM on April 14 [10 favorites]


Why did they have to make the tree face SO SAD
posted by oulipian at 7:15 PM on April 14 [11 favorites]


In fairness to Tyrion, I still think he's probably the cleverest man in the world but he has one or two giant glaring blindspots. The primary one being when it comes to dealing with his family.
posted by Justinian at 7:15 PM on April 14 [5 favorites]


I liked everything but the dragonriding which was soooooooo cheesy and I'm a big cornball for dragonriding (I cried during the first dragonriding scene in How to Train Your Dragon AND the aliendragonriding scene in Avatar!). This one was bad tho.

The Jon parenthood reveal was very well written. Good tension.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:16 PM on April 14 [7 favorites]


This was off to a great start for me. Personal favorites:
-Sam continues to speak for us all with his, "Bran is... whatever he is now."
-And Bronn also kinda speaks for all of us with the "This fucking family" about the Lannisters
-"My eyes have always been blue!" Tormund, I love you.
-"What do dragons eat? Whatever they want."

And for the record, I'm still team Lady Mormont on the throne when the dust settles.
posted by TwoStride at 7:16 PM on April 14 [39 favorites]


OkCupid is leaning really hard into the GoT cross-promotion and just sent me a push notification. Because nothing says romance like learning that your new boo was secretly your aunt all along.
posted by BungaDunga at 7:17 PM on April 14 [14 favorites]


So what major characters did we get nothing from in this episode? Brienne and Melisandre and....? Anyone else?
posted by Justinian at 7:18 PM on April 14 [3 favorites]




I could also see the Bronn thing as sort of a test. It's a good way to determine whether Bronn is loyal to gold/Cersei over her brothers.

Oh, and I'm also looking to Dolorous Edd being reunited with Jon Snow. And also more Tormund. And also the awkardness of a Brienne/Jaime/Tormund sort of love triangle. Which will mostly just be Jaime and Brienne exchanging deep, longing looks as Tormund stares lustfully on from the background. And also Tormund making jokes at Jaime's expense.
posted by litera scripta manet at 7:19 PM on April 14 [7 favorites]


Can I just say I hate Euron. Not the way I hated Joffrey (an all time great villain) or even the way I hated Ramsay (a better villain in the books, here a little too mustache-twirley but whatever). I hate Euron because he sucks and is boring, and there isn't much show left and he's eating up screen time. It's the Nazis at the end of Breaking Bad all over again. No one cares about this guy. He just showed up like two episodes ago. Get outta here.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:20 PM on April 14 [51 favorites]


I loved the callback to Sansa last season doing walk-and-talks through Winterfell about winter food storage and this episode she is like ARE YOU KIDDING ME WITH THESE EATERS, EVERYWHERE.
posted by gatorae at 7:21 PM on April 14 [37 favorites]


The look on Meera’s face—do you think her dad might have told her that R+L=J?
posted by 1970s Antihero at 7:21 PM on April 14 [2 favorites]


So what major characters did we get nothing from in this episode? Brienne and Melisandre and....? Anyone else?

Well, we didn't have any Gilly and baby Sam (unless they were in the background somewhere), although we did get a brief mention of them.

And same on the Euron hate. I really hope he gets eaten by a dragon very, very soon. Or crushed by Zombie Mountain. I'm honestly surprised Cersei hasn't strangled him already.
posted by litera scripta manet at 7:22 PM on April 14 [1 favorite]


I'm super disappointed that the world of GoT hasn't produced a kraken yet... ideally, one that would eat Euron.
posted by TwoStride at 7:23 PM on April 14 [13 favorites]


Biggest shock of the entire run of the show: Theon actually accomplishing something.

Also, I enjoyed seeing Tyrion et al talking up my William and Mary-style co-monarchy plan for Dany and Jon. It can’t really end that way, the only way to be true to the themes of the show is to end with the Iron Throne melted to slag, but it’s a nice idea to open the last season with.
posted by Zonker at 7:24 PM on April 14 [6 favorites]


And same on the Euron hate.

You mean Sea Ramsay?
posted by Justinian at 7:25 PM on April 14 [12 favorites]


The spooky castle exploration was OK, even if the Umber set-piece was ridiculous. I do like the idea that The Night King is a crafter.

Everything else was awful. Like on par with a sword and sandles 'epic' movie from the early 2000s.
posted by codacorolla at 7:29 PM on April 14 [7 favorites]


My wife has taken to refering to Euron as Pirate Pacey
posted by Mick at 7:32 PM on April 14 [23 favorites]


I just want to confirm that, on the theory of medieval seafaring in the game of thrones universe, a few hundred soldiers just stand straight up in full armor during the entire journey across the pseudo-english channel, just like, standing there, shitting in their silk undies or whatever.
posted by dis_integration at 7:36 PM on April 14 [26 favorites]


Also, to that one Mefite who told us all about the practicalities of having black sails from a few years ago.

All I ever think about when I see a boat with black sails is those would fade so fast! Every God damn time I see them.
posted by Fizz at 7:36 PM on April 14 [11 favorites]


If we don't get Cleganebowl I am going to burn the world. Who is with me?

GET HYPE Y'ALL

Yeah, it was a pretty good season premiere. Just a few random notes:

- Yay for the various reunions. (Even for Tyrion/Sansa, because while they've both been through some changes, she is not nearly the person she was when they parted, and her mic drop moment with him was well-crafted.) With maybe one exception, which I'll get to.

- Sam's reason for telling Jon (Aegon? AeJon?) was also well-done. And what a great place to do it, too, in the crypt of his real mom and fake dad/real uncle.

- It's fitting that Euron favors an axe, because he seems like he wears Axe, all the different varieties at once. You enjoy getting some of that fuckboy while you can, Cersei. (kfb's comparison above with the Nazis in BB is apt.)

- The Daenerys/Unsullied parade into Winterfell scene was also great--especially with Arya staking out a spot among the townsfolk; Lady "ain't no lady" Arya is all about that rogue lyfe, yo--and ditto for the following council meeting. I respect Team Queen Sansa, but all I'm saying is that Lyanna Mormont is still going in hard.

- Also great scene in Castle Black at the end. I don't care that much about Berric, but Tormund and Edd are still kicking, at least.

Not-so-greats:

- Did Dany really not get a clue that Jon being able to ride a dragon might have meant something?

- I'm glad that Yara is finally away from Douchebeard, but I feel like she's being shuffled off to the Iron Isles for the duration, and there are a whole lot of people on the show that I'd rather see less of than Gemma Whelan.

- Bronn had better cover up that fancy shiny red-and-gold crossbow if he's going to play Lee Harvey Oswald. Or maybe he'll get up there and think twice about going up against all those ballers and sell out rather than go back to Long John Scumbag, Ser McZombie, and Wannabe Feudal Rick Sanchez.

- Jaime wanted to get caught, right? I mean, I understand that disguise technology in fake Middle Ages won't go much further than smearing mud on your face and maybe blacking out a tooth, but just dyeing your hair and walking into a place where everybody knows your name and at least one of the deadlier people has you on a list? Although the kid that he disabled being the one to give him the stinkeye was pretty keen.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:41 PM on April 14 [16 favorites]


My wife has taken to refering to Euron as Pirate Pacey.

It was killing me all episode trying to figure who he reminds me of and why I have a completely unjustified fondness for him...thank you!
posted by sallybrown at 7:44 PM on April 14 [3 favorites]


Although the kid that he disabled being the one to give him the stinkeye was pretty keen.
I assumed that Jaime was the "friend" Bran was waiting for... then I judged Bran's Raven-sense for not telling him more precisely when Jaime would show up, since it seemd like Bran was just lurking in the entryway for, like, days.
posted by TwoStride at 7:45 PM on April 14 [18 favorites]


but just dyeing your hair

I will never understand why the wigs on this show are so awful while the clothing is so incredible (Dany’s coat...I was drooling!)
posted by sallybrown at 7:46 PM on April 14 [10 favorites]


The only purpose Euron really served here, for me, was another demonstration just how low Cersei is willing to stoop to win/keep the Iron Throne. Overall this was a massive roll call episode - but I mostly enjoyed it, nonetheless. Too much of this episode was predictable. Too many times I was able to, without trying, anticipate the next line - in some cases verbatim. GoT is usually better than that.

Regarding the drama over Jon and bending the knee... The logical thing to me would have been for Dany to give Jon rule over the North if everybody survives. That she hasn't done that says to me she's not really the right person to hold the throne either. Hordes of undead at the door, do you really need to keep every last scrap of the kingdom together under one rule? Queen Sansa has a nice ring to it, though... maybe we'll get there, somehow.

Had just re-watched S1E1 before watching this, so the Jaime / Bran thing at the end was really satisfying. As was the Arya / Hound moment. Well, pretty much every moment with Arya. Team Arya all the way.

And as others have noted, the Jon / Sam scene right after Sam being told about his father and brother was very powerful. Almost surprised that Sam wasn't happy to learn about his father, but can understand being sad about his brother. His father, frankly, deserved it. Not because he wouldn't bend the knee, but just generally being a grand asshole.
posted by jzb at 7:48 PM on April 14 [7 favorites]


Who do you have for your first death of the season? I'm thinking Edd.
posted by codacorolla at 7:52 PM on April 14


Ahh, the changes in the clockwork models in the opening. Such a little thing to make me so deeply happy. (Since I don’t have to actually worry about what was behind the wall.)
posted by rewil at 7:52 PM on April 14 [9 favorites]


Almost surprised that Sam wasn't happy to learn about his father, but can understand being sad about his brother.

Yeah, I sort of wondered what Sam's reaction would be to his father, although I imagine it was his brother's death that hit him the hardest. Even if there might have been some resentment, I imagine he felt more affection for Dickon than his father. But also, Sam is a very kind, sensitive person, and I could still see him feeling sad about his father, especially with the circumstances surrounding his death.

It will be interesting to see Dany's reaction to R+L=J. I mean, I assume her family has a long history of incest, so that isn't necessarily a deal breaker for her, although I assume it may be for Jon. But Jon now serves to seriously undermine her claim to the throne, even if he doesn't really want it.
posted by litera scripta manet at 8:01 PM on April 14 [5 favorites]


I also used to think Tyrion was clever. Back when GRRM was writing the dialog.
posted by srboisvert at 8:02 PM on April 14 [34 favorites]


"Also, to that one Mefite who told us all about the practicalities of having black sails from a few years ago. All I ever think about when I see a boat with black sails is those would fade so fast! Every God damn time I see them."

Hahahahaha that was me and I literally came in here to complain about the black sails. #shiptruther

TEAM SANSA 4EVA
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:02 PM on April 14 [33 favorites]


I'm hoping we don't hear anything from Bronn for the rest of the season and the finale just has a quick opener with him arriving on a tropical island with his chest of gold.

I love how completely not curious everybody is about Bran. Oh, he can see the past, present and maybe future of everything that's ever happened, cool... we're busy planning a battle and some political intrigue, gotta get back to that.

Did I miss an explanation of how Tormund didn't die at the end of last season's wall-smashing?

Did they decide to just pretend Jon's wolf died on his way back to his home planet?
posted by skewed at 8:04 PM on April 14 [19 favorites]


I also used to think Tyrion was clever. Back when GRRM was writing the dialog.

I dunno... I mean I've read A Dance With Dragons after all...
posted by Justinian at 8:05 PM on April 14 [11 favorites]


Great idea! Arya can just nip on down to King's Landing (perhaps Jon can give her a ride on a dragon), and we can get a two for one special AND fulfill the T&A quota for a particular episode:

While Cersei and Euron are mid coitus, Arya can just sneak on in there and shove a sword through both of them! Although I still generally enjoy Cersei as a character/villain. Sea Ramsay is just the absolute worst (at least the worst of any still living characters).

Also, I enjoyed Yara punching Theon for that time when he bailed on her when she was captured by Euron, but then helping him back up. And then being understanding when he wanted to go back to Winterfell to fight for the Starks.
posted by litera scripta manet at 8:06 PM on April 14 [3 favorites]




I just saw my first dragon-watching-incest meme in the wild.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 8:23 PM on April 14 [3 favorites]


Neat that the orrery has the Tragaryan Dragon as a rare/ long periodocity event whereas the Stag/ Wolf/ Lion where all pretty closely grouped.
posted by porpoise at 8:24 PM on April 14 [4 favorites]


My thoughts, as much as I can remember them:

1. Danish Pacey has clearly-defined goals and sees them through! That's definitely one of the Seven Habits of Highly Successful Paceys.

2. The Arya/Gendry shippers definitely got enough sustenance tonight to keep the slash-fires burning for another couple years.

3. Lotsa great little pairings tonight, some obvious, some subtle. Sansa used to think Tyrion was the cleverest man alive; Arya thinks Sansa is the cleverest person alive (this might be the single most important point to remember for the rest of the series.) Cersei says Euron has to "earn" her, and then like two literal seconds later invites him to bed. Davos says Dany has to "earn" the Northmen. She doesn't. Euron and Gendry are both thirsty for praise, etc.

4. The Sam scenes were the most powerful of the episode, but Sam is also in shock and kind of giving bad counsel now. We had the benefit of watching the scene with Dany and Randyll, but if that had been some randos or even another family of Tyrell nobles, I think Sam would understand this world and how wars and conquering work. So now he's sowing discord where unity is what is required for any of them to survive. Totally understandable, but bad counsel, and Bran the Raven should know better there as well.

5. That Bronn scene was the most gratuitous of gratuitous nude scenes since the infmaous Littlefinger "sexposition" in season 2. And then it teased us Flynn and Headey being in the same scene together before not giving us that. Come on. (The whores being more interested in the injuries of the Lannister men than in Bronn was hilarious, though.)

6. Watching the end, I thought, "Wait, Bran is giving Jaime the eye? What does he know? Have those two even interacted befo- OH WAIT RIGHT THAT. THAT. So that should be interesting.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:25 PM on April 14 [21 favorites]


Sam being sad about dad’s death makes sense. He died thinking Sam was worthless, and Sam will never be able to tell him about killing a white walker, curing Jorah or anything.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:25 PM on April 14 [27 favorites]


And then it teased us Flynn and Headey being in the same scene together before not giving us that

RIGHT!

We've already seen some Theon prosthetic-penis. I wanted to know what his uncle had going on under there. Euron is a mad pirate but he's nothing if not sexy
posted by dis_integration at 8:31 PM on April 14 [1 favorite]


Nah, Sam told Pops about the white walker on his way down to the Citadel and Pops dismissed it as wildling bullshit. Still, dad, even if he was a piece of shit.

And man, I think Ramin Djawadi is forgetting which series he was scoring - some of the riffs were _exceptionally_ Westworld-y.
posted by Kyol at 8:36 PM on April 14 [6 favorites]


I would just like to note one last time what a great job this show did casting young and unknown actors -- from Maisie Williams and John Bradley to Bella Ramsey and Kit Harrington -- who managed to carry these very complex characters through 8 seasons and can stand up against Lena Headey and Peter Dinklage and Diana Rigg. Their casting department really had an eye for young and unknown talent who could carry big roles, and the show did a great job bringing those younger actors on in skills and helping them grow into the roles.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:37 PM on April 14 [54 favorites]


The episode has been over for 13 minutes in our household, and we’ve been arguing about whether Sam should’ve expected his father and brother to die for failing to bend the knee. I’m with Navelgazer that Sam should’ve expected for his Dad and possibly his brother to die if they failed to bend the knee. HOW DO YOU THINK THE GAME OF THRONES WORKS?

Also, Arya saying that Sansa is the cleverest person she’s ever met does my heart good. Sansa has really grown up, and I love the way they’re shooting Williams, emphasizing the lines of her face and how sharp her profile is. And the line about how Sansa thought Tyrion was the cleverest person in the world, and how she would’ve formed that opinion when they were married while he was trying in his way to protect her, and the space for friendship that could’ve opened up, except it didn’t for GOOD REASONS and now they’re standing here with Tyrion having made a SERIES of terrible miscalculations all last season, and Sansa basically having made a continuous series of high WIS checks one after the other all last season.
posted by joyceanmachine at 8:39 PM on April 14 [18 favorites]


In:re the Night King being a crafter: the first scene of the series is build around the Night King decoratively arranging a bunch of zombie-corpses for maximum scary effect. This isn't a new hobby.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:42 PM on April 14 [24 favorites]


Also, gotta say that the fact that they had Yara give Theon a hand up at the end of her rescue scene, and then the entire exchange in the immediately following scene with ten hugging each other — think how much more powerful that hug and verbal recognition of him being a Greyjoy would’ve been if they hadn’t already tipped their hand that Yara has accepted him at the end of the rescue scene. It would’ve actually told you something that you hadn’t had before.

But no, they duplicated the emotional import, and wasted precious fucking screen time when that is the single most resource we had left.

AND I HAD TO SEE THEON ON MY SCREEN FOR LONGER THAN I TECHNICALLY NEEDED TO. ALTHOUGH I SWEAR I REMEMBER A SHOT LAST SEASON WHERE SHE HAD HER THROAT SLIT???
posted by joyceanmachine at 8:45 PM on April 14 [2 favorites]


That Jon/ Arya reunion... "Once or twice."

Love Arya forcing a role in the family.

Cersei's epaulets ~ Trump's even more unhinged tweets?
posted by porpoise at 8:48 PM on April 14 [4 favorites]


I know it's too early for a verdict on much of anything, but this episode makes me more confident in what I've felt for a while: The battle against the Walkers (and the aftermath) should have been the last 2 seasons of a 7 season series rather than the last season of an 8 season series. That would, I think, have allowed for 7 seasons of consistent quality and pacing instead of 5 seasons of consistent quality and pacing followed by 2 seasons of inconsistent quality and pacing (though with very high highs) and then a last season of, one hopes, return to the consistent quality of the beginning.

But that reflects in large part, I think, Martin's failing as much as the showrunners. They were waiting for the post-Red Wedding material to move forward and get published and it never happened. It's no secret that AFFC and ADWD are mostly water treading. And that was reflected in seasons 6&7.

But we're finally getting an ending! After 25 years! And this first chapter of that ending was, I thought, pretty good and sets the stage for even better.
posted by Justinian at 8:48 PM on April 14 [12 favorites]


HOW DO YOU THINK THE GAME OF THRONES WORKS?

Sam knows how it works. He also knows a good leader doesn’t get hung up on knee bending, as he pointed out to Jon.

He knows how it works and he doesn’t like it.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:50 PM on April 14 [12 favorites]


Yeah, the Yara/Theon 2 minutes of story felt like it sort of wanted to be a bit more screen time, but _whoops_ we gotta wrap this one up, folks! So hey hey Theon's back and wotcha they're on a boat, and hey here's a self-serving plan, but sorry I gotta GTFO sis *hug* *gtfo*.

I'm really going to try avoiding noting which bits of storyline feel compressed this season so I can just enjoy it wrapping up.
posted by Kyol at 8:52 PM on April 14


The AV Club has a good review up already, and they thought that Bronn's brothel scene was to parallel Tyrion's brothel visit from the first episode--part of all the ways this episode inserted callbacks to the series premiere with Robert and his entourage coming to Winterfell. Along those lines, I kind of thought that Daenerys telling Sam about his father and brother was a bit similar to Ned Stark's idea that the person who gives the sentence should swing the sword...
posted by TwoStride at 8:53 PM on April 14 [4 favorites]


Danish Pacey has clearly-defined goals and sees them through! That's definitely one of the Seven Habits of Highly Successful Paceys.

I like how in season six Euron was all "hey, I know, let's build the largest fleet of ships in the world", and the Iron Islanders were all like "wow, that's a great idea, how have we never thought of doing that" and built like three thousand ships in a week. Now that's leadership!
posted by dephlogisticated at 8:57 PM on April 14 [21 favorites]


Also, of the few people missing from this episode, the one I missed most (and who would have fit in the narrative best) was definitely Gilly.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:59 PM on April 14 [8 favorites]


Lack of plot direction was a serious handicap for the writers in the last two seasons, but while they seem unable to come up with much in the way of original narrative, now that they are finally barreling towards a finale their craftwork manages to do the job nicely. But I really hope some of the Avengers Assemble team is killed off prior to the last battle, otherwise we're going to have some ridiculous Globetrotters-esque alley-oops in their final attempt to kill the big bad. Plus they all deserve their own personalized deaths at this point, so I hope the writers start doling it out soon.
posted by chortly at 9:03 PM on April 14 [5 favorites]


But Jon now serves to seriously undermine her claim to the throne, even if he doesn't really want it.

OK, so my knowledge of this world is largely through fannish osmosis, but surely they've reached the point of "Good, bad, I'm the guy with the gun?" Like, with the Walkers bearing down on everyone, with winter seconds away, are there really a ton of people caring fantastically about whether Jon is the Targaryen with a superior claim to the throne? (And that assumes that Salic-style law applies, giving precedence to the son of a man over the man's surviving sister.)
posted by praemunire at 9:04 PM on April 14 [6 favorites]


I like how in season six Euron was all "hey, I know, let's build the largest fleet of ships in the world", and the Iron Islanders were all like "wow, that's a great idea, how have we never thought of doing that" and built like three thousand ships in a week.

UGH THIS STILL MAKES ME SO ANGRY. Even worse than Littlefinger apparently being able to teleport from one end of Westeros to another, and all the other logical inconsistencies...those stupid ships. Sure, we don't sow or reap and we live on barren islands with few natural resources but we can totally whip up the greatest fleet of ships the world has ever seen in a week. No problem. Totally plausible. Also, who the fuck wants to sail for the guy who makes everyone mute?
I hate Sea Ramsay so much. SO MUCH.

Although I did enjoy the fact that the crew of Sea Ramsay's ships being mute meant that it was a lot easier for Theon to sneak in and save Yara. Come to think of it, isn't a mute crew really problematic? Like, wouldn't they need to talk to each other to coordinate at times?

Seriously, stupid, stupid Sea Ramsay. The only thing he's good for is dragon food.
posted by litera scripta manet at 9:05 PM on April 14 [13 favorites]


Seriously. Based on current lines of succession, the person with the greatest "claim" is Gendry. But realistically the two greatest claims are Cersei, for holding it, and Dany, for currently being the one winning it.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:06 PM on April 14 [4 favorites]


Team Arya. There's STILL t too goddamned many people on that continent.
posted by evilDoug at 9:07 PM on April 14 [6 favorites]


Team Sansa (which helpfully includes Arya.)
posted by Navelgazer at 9:08 PM on April 14 [2 favorites]


but we can totally whip up the greatest fleet of ships the world has ever seen in a week.

But seriously tho, could they build one galleon in a week? Don't you have to let the wood sit around and season or something?
posted by Justinian at 9:10 PM on April 14 [4 favorites]


Like five to seven months at a highly sophisticated shipyard working at top capacity. They could maaaaaaybe turn out 5 a year if ginormous and wealthy.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:15 PM on April 14 [13 favorites]


If they gave us just one sequence of a mid-size storm absolutely ending everything built in the iron islands now that they've completely deforested them, then I could excuse that bullshit.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:18 PM on April 14 [8 favorites]


The "exploring the spooky castle scene" gave me a distinct Dark Souls feeling.
posted by snuffleupagus at 9:21 PM on April 14 [3 favorites]


Folks, the beings we're watching aren't Earth-humans, they're Westerosi. One obvious difference, judging by wounds, is that Westerosi blood pressures run about 1400/800. Another difference is that they're naturally quick shipbuilders because earlier in their evolutionary history they were bathed in a thick flux of shipulon particles.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 9:23 PM on April 14 [69 favorites]


The burning of the kid stuck to the wall had nice callbacks to _The Thing_. Reminded me of the Fuchs-Thing out in the snow but twitching around like the Norris-Head-Thing.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 9:24 PM on April 14 [8 favorites]


I'd be okay with the ship thing if every scene featuring these stupid ships showed them falling apart. Like, oh, there goes another mast, someone's foot goes through the floor board, all while another ship spontaneously sinks in the background... and oh look, a kraken just swallowed that one. Because I'm pretty sure the only thing keeping these ships afloat is stupid Sea Ramsay's massive ego.

Also, if they had a moment where they were like, shit, we just built 1000 ships but there are only like 10 people left on the iron islands to sail them. Oops.
posted by litera scripta manet at 9:27 PM on April 14 [8 favorites]


I'm so glad we're all on board the ship truther train now. I have had Feelings About This since season 6.
posted by Ragini at 9:34 PM on April 14 [4 favorites]


I'm so glad we're all on board the ship truther train now.

Truther fleet?
posted by acidnova at 9:39 PM on April 14 [1 favorite]


but we can totally whip up the greatest fleet of ships the world has ever seen in a week.

I'm here among my people so let me scream about about them finding obsidian, a VOLCANIC ROCK, in a place well known for its sedimentary undersea landslides known as turbidites, that is MARINE SEDIMENTARY ROCK and how much I want to scream about the incongruity of the two, and then this episode are they melting down obsidian or something? I am confused. Because that's what it looks like they are doing. You can't melt silica like that. IT'S GLASS. GLASS. YOU'RE MELTING GLASS THAT IS MELTED GLASS. SO I'M SCREAMING IT'S JUST SILICA WHAT STOP WITH YOUR GEOLOGICAL IMPROBABILITIES STOP I AM HAVING FEELINGS FUCK YOU AND YOUR SILICA MELTING

anyway i cried at jon and arya reunion time and thought the night king's hannibal moment was kind of bad yet also interesting? and am also so in love with sansa and arya but also kind of want more shirtless gendry and for arya to slap some tongue with that boy, c'mon arya! and also felt like my heart got stabbed when nobody recognized arya as they passed her

oh and also Jon and Daenerys still have the worst chemistry
posted by barchan at 9:40 PM on April 14 [39 favorites]


Oh and amid all the meetings we got, I’m wondering if we’ll get Mormont meeting Mormont, if the Lady’ll have any words for her cousin.
posted by rewil at 9:41 PM on April 14 [16 favorites]


oh and also Jon and Daenerys still have the worst chemistry

Yeah making out with your nephew will do that.
posted by Justinian at 9:43 PM on April 14 [4 favorites]


I mean, the actors. The actors have terrible chemistry.
posted by barchan at 9:46 PM on April 14 [3 favorites]


No one died. Did I miss it? I don't think anyone died in this episode. When was the last episode with zero fatalities?
posted by adept256 at 9:55 PM on April 14


nevermind I forgot about dickless rescuing his sister
posted by adept256 at 9:56 PM on April 14


Did I miss it?

Uh, poor young Lord Umber who got turned into Night King wall art.
posted by TwoStride at 9:57 PM on April 14 [10 favorites]


The Umber kid got made into an undead wall decoration, that counts.
posted by rewil at 9:57 PM on April 14


Well, young Lord Umber became wall art...
posted by acidnova at 9:57 PM on April 14 [1 favorite]


Jinx!
posted by TwoStride at 9:58 PM on April 14 [2 favorites]


Putting Lyanna and Jorah Mormont in the same scene and not having them interact left me making a very sour face.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 10:01 PM on April 14 [24 favorites]


I don't know whether I should admit this, but am I the only one not remotely bothered by the incest? Did I miss that day in school that was supposed to instill a primal disgust over two complete strangers fucking who happen to be genetically related? I mean, yeah, I'm conflicted over the relationship between Jaime and Cersei, but the incest is really the least of it, and I really have almost no emotional response to the fact that Daenerys and Jon share a fair amount of DNA. I mean, I'm disgusted by their relationship, don't get me wrong, but that's due the aforementioned lack of chemistry and Daenerys's repeated amorality. It seems like such an abstract thing to be disgusted by, especially in a bizarre world full of dragons, plot holes, unrealistic shipwrightry, and genuinely despicable sexual relations. Chemistry or not, if they love each other, fine, go off and live happily ever after after ridding the land of white walkers and installing the foundations of a proportionally representative legislature.
posted by chortly at 10:14 PM on April 14 [13 favorites]


No, especially since she's his aunt it seems kind of . . . meh. But then, my great-grandparents were first cousins. I do think it's interesting that the first questions raised have been about rightful inheritance and not the fact that they've fucked but I guess we haven't seen Jon have a chance to process that info yet.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:17 PM on April 14


Though according to this article they're actually about as related as full siblings. Which is a lot worse, I guess.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:22 PM on April 14 [5 favorites]


I don't think Bran was giving Jaime the "stinkeye" (sidenote: Where I come from, stinkeye is slang for the anus, so thank you for that mental of image of Bran mooning Jaime). Bran has transcended grudges. I really doubt he was sitting at the gate for days just so he could shake his fist at Jaime. Bran must know something important about Jaime's role in the fight to come (a husband for Daenerys too, maybe?). I think Bran knows that winning the game is the only thing that matters. How you play it doesn't.
posted by Brocktoon at 10:53 PM on April 14 [9 favorites]


Though according to this article they're actually about as related as full siblings. Which is a lot worse, I guess.

Worse for having children, sure, but the "can't have children --> disgust" logic is pretty problematic for a lot of reasons, and in any case the disgust people express often seems quite separate from some long-term worry about children. But I don't mean to derail TV gossip onto some weird moral psychology tangent!
posted by chortly at 10:56 PM on April 14 [3 favorites]


I assume Jon will ignore the truth about his heritage but Sam will blurt it out in a moment of contention which will Create Conflict as Samwell is exactly the sort of person to get all rules lawyery and unsophisticated about that .

Like Sam is still barred from holding Lord of House Tarly and I think Dany was betting on him being ready to ask for reestablishment of his right and didn't factor what a thundering do-gooder dork he is.
posted by The Whelk at 11:09 PM on April 14 [18 favorites]


No, two people of about the same age raised as strangers in two degrees of relation doesn't bother me all that much (would we really be horrified if they were cousins?). Except that wasn't the madness inherited? In which case, probably not great having a couple of potential recessives marry. (Ordinarily, people freaking out about the genetic consequences of one generation of incest seem to be not too well-informed, but when there's a known genetic disorder...)
posted by praemunire at 11:10 PM on April 14 [2 favorites]


I mean, the actors. The actors have terrible chemistry.

Yeah this, I would be way more comfortable buying it as a dynastic marriage. All the romance falls flat and I don't think the show is doing this on purpose but I'd LIKE to be proven wrong.

Like, that little spark in the foundry between Arya and Gendy? Actual chemistry! Pod and Tourmond have more chemistry than our royal pair. It doesn't does not read on the screen.

Jon and Dany read like people who have been told they have to get together and act like it.
posted by The Whelk at 11:16 PM on April 14 [17 favorites]


Sansa on Joffrey’s wedding: “It had its moments.”
posted by mach at 11:19 PM on April 14 [57 favorites]


Like,

What would be cool is if the characters of Jon And Dany felt like they both HAD to get together as the ONLY way to save the world as a dynastic marriage and they were both, unconsciously or not, trying to convince themselves this was a love match and also the Only Way even if we, the viewer, can see it looks very perfunctory.

That would be great! It would be a huge criticism of her whole breaking the wheel stuff and Jon's pragmatism In trying to charge the system they're actually perpetuating the arranged marriages of the past that led to this nonsense.

And then Jon;s actual BY THE WAY I'M YOUR NEPHEW could be used as a wedge to break the union apart without losing face, or blow it up accidentally and ending up with Maesters going well uh actually technically ...Sansa? is in Line? Who knows. It just throws the whole idea into question and maybe open up the idea that Jon and Dany could make actual love matches and not just advantageous marriages.

But I don't think the show is going that deep in themes although I'd be overjoyed if it was. Cause like, overthrowing a cruel monarchical system would be fun.

I'd love to be proven wrong that the idea is Kit and Emma just don't click on screen.
posted by The Whelk at 11:28 PM on April 14 [14 favorites]


Clearly Kit only has eyes for his fire-haired Wildling.
posted by Justinian at 12:16 AM on April 15 [25 favorites]


I’m just bothered by the Night King wasting perfectly good wights to nail some damn legs to the wall.
posted by lydhre at 3:06 AM on April 15 [4 favorites]


Enjoyed that a lot, hit basically all the right notes. Some nice callbacks as well - the opening scene echoing the very first scene of the first episode, with the southern armies marching into Winterfall. Even some of the same figures picked out among them - Tyrion and the Hound, at least. And the boy running was an echo of Bran as well.

Felt like Jon/Dany at the waterfall was a callback to Jon/Ygritte? They had sex in a cave behind a waterfall or something? Where he invented oral sex? Or was that only in the books?

CLEGANEBOWL

I feel like this might be another of those beloved book things, like Lady SH and fAegon, that just aren't going to happen in the show.
posted by Pink Frost at 3:19 AM on April 15 [1 favorite]


Also, with Dad and bro dead, this means Sam is the head of House Tarly, yeah?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:11 AM on April 15


Oh duh, no, he's still a member of Night's Watch, he can't be.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:11 AM on April 15 [1 favorite]


Cersei had to fuck the Sea Douche because all her husbands, husbands to be, and rumored lovers are dead and she's pregnant by her brother. At this point the entire kingdom is pretty sure she screws her brother and she's only Queen because all her family died from a case of murder.

By sleeping with Euron, she muddies the water over her baby's parentage. Maybe she screwed her brother, but she definitely slept with the pirate guy. This allows those that depend on her to sleep at night.
posted by 80 Cats in a Dog Suit at 4:16 AM on April 15 [34 favorites]


Danish Pacey

Dammit. He is now Danish Pacetry in my head from here and ever forward. Well Done.
posted by srboisvert at 4:37 AM on April 15 [5 favorites]


I'd love to be proven wrong that the idea is Kit and Emma just don't click on screen.

I have this theory in my head that Kit's acting is a little purposefully terrible here because previously we watched him actually fall in love with a woman on screen who he had incredible chemistry with and now he knows he has to watch the last season with his wife and things can't look too believable!

But I think it's just bad acting, and forced writing. They have to get together because the plot says so, and we're supposed to buy it mostly because they're two beautiful people--just like I'm pretty sure the audience is supposed to like Dany but I have agreed with what Sam says in this episode for about 7 seasons now. Though maybe they are intending to change our minds about her. Hard to tell.

Worse for having children, sure, but the "can't have children --> disgust" logic is pretty problematic for a lot of reasons, and in any case the disgust people express often seems quite separate from some long-term worry about children. But I don't mean to derail TV gossip onto some weird moral psychology tangent!

I don't think you can separate out the concern about having children when you're talking about a hetero couple in a universe with iffy to no birth control. The terrible genetic impacts of incest are a major theme in the show.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 4:38 AM on April 15 [8 favorites]


CLEGANEBOWL

I feel like this might be another of those beloved book things, like Lady SH and fAegon, that just aren't going to happen in the show.


It's not really a book thing, since the show has long since outrun the books. It's really fan wishful thinking, since the Hound is the only person who's fought the Mountain and survived that we know of, and they're both still... well, arguably not alive in Gregor's case, but animated, anyway.
posted by Halloween Jack at 4:42 AM on April 15 [1 favorite]


I've read the books, but only finished S1 of the series, so this episode mostly left me confused and with a vague sense of shipping Sansa/Dany.
posted by betweenthebars at 4:46 AM on April 15 [1 favorite]


Like five to seven months at a highly sophisticated shipyard working at top capacity. They could maaaaaaybe turn out 5 a year if ginormous and wealthy.

While part of the Seven Kingdoms they benefit from a single customs union and JIT delivery of all the wood and skilled labor they need.
posted by srboisvert at 4:49 AM on April 15 [19 favorites]


I feel like this might be another of those beloved book things, like Lady SH and fAegon, that just aren't going to happen in the show.

The Hound confronted the Mountain last season in Kings landing and pretty foreshadowed that they would fight.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:50 AM on April 15 [2 favorites]


If we want poetic arc-resolution and all that, then if CLEGANEBOWL happens (get hype!) then Sandor will be representing Sansa when it does.
posted by Navelgazer at 4:58 AM on April 15 [4 favorites]




Daenerys is going to be embarrassed when she finds out Jon is her nephew. She's going to have Aegon her face.
posted by guiseroom at 5:22 AM on April 15 [70 favorites]


Dany and Jon have all the chemistry one might expect of a guy and his aunt dating. I'm not sure if the actors just aren't feeling each other or what; it could also be a deliberate choice, as certainly Dany and Jon have plenty of reasons to be a little uncomfortable with each other even as a couple. After all, they are still rivals. Everyone around them knows it, even if Dany and Jon want to pretend it isn't so.

As the show has progressed -- and, significantly, as it's run out of book to adapt -- it has moved from being a sort of meta-commentary on the tropes of high fantasy to being, well, a work of high fantasy. I've always felt like GoT was kinda the Watchmen of its genre -- enjoyable as an example of the genre, sure, but more interested in deconstruction of the genre than anything else, unless that "anything else" is using the genre to deconstruct the politics of the real world. In other words, it's one thing that the Targaryens are a commentary on/parody of/homage to Michael Moorcock's Elric stories, but the real story is when Dany -- One True Queen Dany, Royal Blood Dany -- talks about breaking the wheel. This is absolutely not what goes on in high fantasy. High fantasy is about chosen ones whose bloodline gives them the right to rule. This is Problematic as Fuck, clearly. It's a metaphor for meritocracy, maybe, but for most of human history we have conflated merit and being born into the "right family." That's not a metaphor. Being born a billionaire and becoming president on the basis of no accomplishments is not a metaphor, it's what happens.

So I'm a little nervous about where we're going when Sam -- generally presented as the voice of reason and someone (like Tyrion) who knows what the hell is really going on, but who also (unlike Tyrion!) is pure-hearted and at all times good and noble -- seems very convinced that Jon should be king because Jon is the one with a "true" claim to the throne. Jon may be the best option to lead Westeros, but not because of whose son he is. I can see a desperate Sam trying to sell Jon on his claim because he (Sam) realizes that Dany is a nutcase, however well-intentioned she may be, but the scene is not played that way: Sam really believes what he's telling Jon, and indeed Sam is perhaps the show's most guileless character -- there is no way he would say these things to Jon if he didn't believe them. I am worried that the show believes them. I'm hoping for a resolution more nuanced than Jon accepting his destiny.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:46 AM on April 15 [36 favorites]


As soon as he appeared onscreen, Mrs. Fedora started referring to Euron as Harry Mudd, and you know what? She is right
posted by DoctorFedora at 5:47 AM on April 15 [18 favorites]


I understand they needed to perform exposition, but the dialog in this episode tended rather dull. Even the lines that were supposed to be clever fell with a thud. Dragons eat "whatever they want." Grab the dragon "wherever you can." Wooden to the point of risking termite infestation. 😴
posted by exogenous at 6:06 AM on April 15 [14 favorites]


Even the lines that were supposed to be clever fell with a thud. Dragons eat "whatever they want." Grab the dragon "wherever you can."

yeah the dialogue in almost every scene now feels perfunctory, like they barely bothered to remove placeholders that said [INSERT DESCRIPTION OF PREVIOUS SCENE BETWEEN THESE CHARACTERS] or [WITTY RETORT REINFORCING PAST CHARACTERIZATION] or whatever

I would kill for a scene in which someone is shown to be smart by acting smart instead of by being described as smart by another character. the show has gotten so lazy on that front
posted by Kybard at 6:14 AM on April 15 [24 favorites]


If there's non-chemistry between Jon and Dany, it's not because Emilia Clarke isn't giving it her all. Like, those are some EYES that Dany is giving Jon when he asks what she'll do if he falls, and she says that she'll have enjoyed the pleasure of his company.

I also enjoy how, in some ways, Jon being her uncle makes him more marriageable by Targaryen standards.
posted by joyceanmachine at 6:28 AM on April 15 [16 favorites]


I would kill for a scene in which someone is shown to be smart by acting smart instead of by being described as smart by another character. the show has gotten so lazy on that front

Yeah, this stuff makes me cringe.
posted by skewed at 6:32 AM on April 15 [6 favorites]


Has anyone mentioned that the CGI dragonriding was really terribly done? I mean ug. It was like watching a worn vhs copy of The Neverending Story. And then the moment they are off the dragons the CGI got better.

Also I'm probably in the minority, but I was hoping the dialog would be better. Maybe just a bit?
posted by Catblack at 6:36 AM on April 15 [9 favorites]


Two things I'm still confused about:

* Does no one but Melisandre know that Gendry is a Baratheon? Does he not know why he got leeched? Not that I think anyone cares about having a Baratheon on the throne at this point, but it's a little unfair for him to rib Arya about her heritage.

* In all of Westerosi history, only one non-Targ has ever ridden a dragon (more or less). Now, we know Jon Snow knows nothing, so he might be dumb enough to try and hop on a dragon. But Dany should know that boyfriends don't get to ride dragons just because they are bedding a Targ. Was she not expecting a crispening?
posted by tofu_crouton at 6:38 AM on April 15 [10 favorites]


Well, I'm sure there were originally plans on having a big build-up to how/if Jon can ride a dragon, but they couldn't fit it in what with the 14 hours spent on Ramsey and Euron's storylines. So instead they're just out for a walk and, heh, why not give it at try?

Since they can't do the CGI well enough, I think they'd be better off just having the dragons seen from ground view, to reinforce how fucking scary they would look, and how much they'd make Targaryans look like fiersome aliens not to be trusted.
posted by skewed at 6:44 AM on April 15 [11 favorites]


Not that I think anyone cares about having a Baratheon on the throne at this point, but it's a little unfair for him to rib Arya about her heritage.

I think it underscores the point that birthright doesn't mean shit. Gendry was raised poor and will probably always think of himself of non-royal. Mostly because he's seen how crappy the royals can be and wants no part of it. Well, except for Arya.

But Dany should know that boyfriends don't get to ride dragons just because they are bedding a Targ. Was she not expecting a crispening?

1. I don't think Dany has been well educated in all that
2. It probably feeds into her inflated ego i.e. "I'm awesome and have dragons, so my boyfriend can ride one, sure, that's my birthright doing". But that dragon was looking at Jon like "oh hell yeah, I get to have my own human".

Tyrion and/or Varys should know though, and be counseling her about that.

Dany talking all these years about birthrights and claims is about to be tested. Which is great, but awful for everyone else 'cause she won't deal with it well.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:48 AM on April 15 [12 favorites]


In all of Westerosi history, only one non-Targ has ever ridden a dragon (more or less). Now, we know Jon Snow knows nothing, so he might be dumb enough to try and hop on a dragon. But Dany should know that boyfriends don't get to ride dragons just because they are bedding a Targ. Was she not expecting a crispening?

I guess these things are a lot easier to write if you ignore the four thousand page lore bible. Not caring about quality probably speeds things up, too.
posted by codacorolla at 6:54 AM on April 15 [4 favorites]


I can see a desperate Sam trying to sell Jon on his claim because he (Sam) realizes that Dany is a nutcase, however well-intentioned she may be, but the scene is not played that way: Sam really believes what he's telling Jon, and indeed Sam is perhaps the show's most guileless character -- there is no way he would say these things to Jon if he didn't believe them.

Oh I totally saw it Sam, who's never had much respect for simple authority, especially when it's been stupid, realizing "Oh shit, we'd be better off with Jon and he has the the important birthright shit that matters so much to some people, so hell yeah."

Sam has watched Jon unite the brotherhood and wildings, without getting all worried about who's bends what. There's no doubt that had Randall Tarly been before Jon, he and Dickon (heehee) would still be alive.

I don't think other characters think Jon is infallible or perfect, but they realize he looks out for everyone, especially the "little people," and that makes him a helluva like better than some royal who's all obsessed about looks, status, and people bowing down to them. Jon is kinda perfect for the King role 'cause he doesn't want it, but will do it. Just give the guy some damn good advisers.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:58 AM on April 15 [11 favorites]


I actually liked the “what do dragons eat” / “whatever they want” exchange, both because it’s parallel to the old joke about where an 800 pound gorilla sits, and because it’s the right sort of “well fuck you, too” reaction for Daenerys to give Sansa. But I was a little disappointed that no one pointed out that the likely answer to Sansa’s (entirely reasonable) concerns about feeding three armies is that there will probably be more than enough to eat for anyone who survives the coming war with the dead. The Night King has been presented as a crafty enemy, but will he have the sense to starve out Winterfell rather than just try to storm the place?
posted by Zonker at 7:07 AM on April 15 [7 favorites]


My theory is that the Night King is just going to bypass Winterfell and move south while letting them freeze and starve. The show has too many main characters up there for them to all get into a huge battle next episode.
posted by Catblack at 7:13 AM on April 15 [6 favorites]


I can see a desperate Sam trying to sell Jon on his claim because he (Sam) realizes that Dany is a nutcase, however well-intentioned she may be, but the scene is not played that way: Sam really believes what he's telling Jon, and indeed Sam is perhaps the show's most guileless character -- there is no way he would say these things to Jon if he didn't believe them.

Oh I totally saw it Sam, who's never had much respect for simple authority, especially when it's been stupid, realizing "Oh shit, we'd be better off with Jon and he has the the important birthright shit that matters so much to some people, so hell yeah."


I suspect Sam is how GRRM sees himself so I woudn't be at all suprised if Sam gets to be the one who has the insight and sees "the truth".

(Maybe that's also why it took Sam so long to get around to telling Jon the kind of important details even though a deadline (or line of the dead) is approaching.)
posted by srboisvert at 7:18 AM on April 15 [15 favorites]


Overall I thought that this episode was a fairly, ah, gentle and kindly re-entry to a world we haven't been to in nearly 2 years ... for lack of a better phrase (and for a show that can't rein in its own tendency toward gross-out shock and spectacle).

We got:
A) LOTS of long-awaited reunions. I was surprisingly touched by Bran/Jon's, since I didn't think those characters, like, cared about each other at all. Kinda let down by Arya/Jon, which didn't have as much stifled emotional intensity as I expected.

Sansa/Tyrion's was probably the best in that both characters remained true to the plot and their personal narratives, and/but you still sensed all of the unvoiced undercurrents. (This show does not do unvoiced undercurrents very well right now, so a lot of that is down to the acting, I think.)

Gendry/Arya was fun just because, oooo, zingy!

Arya/Hound was pretty good too ... also down to those actors, I think, and the writers' restraint in the dialog.

B) Some semi-subtle but still obviously fanservice-y bits ... e.g., Cersei and her "I was told there'd be elephants" schtick (lolol. I was told there'd be elephants too! And ice spiders!)

C) Nobody important died! {Sorry, Umber kid}

For GoT, that's a pretty gentle opener.

I also sort of enjoyed the "what if he doesn't want me to ride him?"/"then I've enjoyed your company, Jon Snow" line since it seemed like it could double as "Rhaegal ate you, but it was fun while it lasted!" OR "if you can't man up and ride a dragon, you're not the consort for me". I don't know if I actually got that from Emilia Clarke's delivery of the line given her archness, but I thought it could work on both levels.

But overall I totally agree that Dany and Jon have zero chemistry. After seeing her with Drogo (even in visions/flashbacks), and him with Ygritte, it just feels soooo forced and cardboard.
posted by alleycat01 at 7:21 AM on April 15 [15 favorites]


On re-watch, I still think the episode is pretty damn good, but i'd rate it about and 8/10 instead of 10/10. Still a lot of great stuff, but a bit too plot driven with Dany, as Tyrion and Varys should be counseling the hell out of her to tone it down or at least talking about amongst themselves about the problems she's creating.

'Cause Dany? Threatening the Lady of Winterfell in her own house is not a way win over non-trusting northerners. She literally hasn't learned a lot, which if fine story wise, but still so odd to see her very smart advisers just sort of rolling with it.

Also, the "scary spooky" castle with Tom and Ed seemed a bit longer than necessary, though the comedic pay off was nice

The Bronn was sorta of genius in my interpretation. Nudity! Threesome! And even the prostitutes are bored, most of them lying there and chatting about other things. Seemed to be the show saying "Fine, here's some nudity, but we go other stuff to do now."

Finally, I think Jon & the gang screwed up by not either getting two wights or stopping in Winterfell first with the one Wight, to show the North exactly what they're up against. 'Cause the Northerners are acting exactly like people who've never seen a murderous skeleton and it shows.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:21 AM on April 15 [13 favorites]


Also yes! Dread Pirate Pacey is just THE WORST. MUST we spend any of our remaining time on him??

It's sort of enjoyable that Cersei also seems to think so, although I thought her extremely rapid capitulation to bedding him was annoyingly out of character.
posted by alleycat01 at 7:23 AM on April 15 [2 favorites]


The Bronn was sorta of genius in my interpretation. Nudity! Threesome! And even the prostitutes are bored, most of them lying there and chatting about other things. Seemed to be the show saying "Fine, here's some nudity, but we go other stuff to do now."

Oh yeah, I sort of thought that was the producers doing a tongue-in-cheek callback to all the controversy surrounding their overuse of sexposition. Not fanservice but, like, producer-service, and kinda funny.
posted by alleycat01 at 7:25 AM on April 15 [2 favorites]


Does no one but Melisandre know that Gendry is a Baratheon?

Jon-aegon and presumably everyone else in the Dany camp know that Gendry is a Baratheon, (we saw Gendry admit this last season when he arrived at Dragonstone), but I do believe that being a bastard puts your claim to the throne pretty low compared to trueborn people. But also, no army, no bannermen, etc., means no claim. Lastly, if you don't try and claim the throne, it doesn't matter if you were born with the crown on.
posted by dis_integration at 7:26 AM on April 15 [4 favorites]


Brandon Blatcher: Sam being sad about dad’s death makes sense. He died thinking Sam was worthless, and Sam will never be able to tell him about killing a white walker, curing Jorah or anything.

Kyol: Nah, Sam told Pops about the white walker on his way down to the Citadel and Pops dismissed it as wildling bullshit. Still, dad, even if he was a piece of shit.

In the little "inside the episode" clip at the end with D&D, one of them praised John Bradley (Samwell) for his acting where he was showing a different emotion for hearing that his dad died -- and it was also in the script:

Daenerys: I'll have to make some changes in the Citadel when I take my throne. A great service merits a great reward.
Samwell: Oh, it's my honor to serve you, Your Grace.
Daenerys: Well, there must be something I could give you.
Samwell: If it's not too much trouble, I could use a pardon.
Daenerys: For what crime?
Samwell: Um I borrowed a few books from the Citadel. And also a sword.
Daenerys: From the Citadel?
Samwell: From my family. It's been in House Tarly for generations. It would've been mine anyway, eventually, but my father had other ideas.
Daenerys: Not Randyll Tarly? You know him? I offered to let him retain his lands and titles if he bent the knee.
Daenerys: He refused.
Samwell: [GULPS] Well At least I'll be allowed home again, now that my brother's the lord.
Daenerys: Your brother stood with your father.
Samwell: [BREATHING SHAKILY] Hm. Thank you, Your Grace. For telling me.

(via rough trascript, which I cleaned up in this copy)

He was kind of miffed his dad died, but hey, there's an upside! It was hearing that his brother died that really broke him up.

Also, I love that Sam's first request is that his "lost book fees" get waived, before bringing up the family sword.


TwoStride: The AV Club has a good review up already, and they thought that Bronn's brothel scene was to parallel Tyrion's brothel visit from the first episode--part of all the ways this episode inserted callbacks to the series premiere with Robert and his entourage coming to Winterfell.

The "inside the episode" clip mentioned that Ayra's intro also mirrored the beginning of the show, except then she was the kid who was thrilled to see the Lannisters coming in with their pomp and procession, so now she could appreciate that a young boy would want to get a good view of Dany's army.


lydhre: I’m just bothered by the Night King wasting perfectly good wights to nail some damn legs to the wall.

Have you seen the size of his army? That's part of their power - they have the sheer size. Also, I think he used some arms in there, too.

But I was more bothered by the lack of transition to the search party/parties coming to see how House Umber was doing with its evacuation. So much time for other elaborations that weren't really necessary, and suddenly there's a search party or two in Castle Umber? Who decided it was worth sending one or two dozen fighting men to see if the residents of a castle, who wouldn't all be figthing folk, mind you, were safely evacuated. Maybe they also came to see if they had any food caches to empty and bring back? I don't know, I'm guessing because no one explained that part.


exogenous: I understand they needed to perform exposition*, but the dialog in this episode tended rather dull. Even the lines that were supposed to be clever fell with a thud. Dragons eat "whatever they want." Grab the dragon "wherever you can."

I want to edit in a laff track into some scenes. I REALLY want to re-edit this as a comedy trailer, complete with holding on characters when they're making goofy faces, but I don't have that kind of skill or time, so I'll stick with the joke edit :)
posted by filthy light thief at 7:29 AM on April 15 [5 favorites]


A few more comments:

- On the one hand, the council meeting of the lords was cool and showed True GOT VIP, Lyanna Mormont speaking truth to power. On the other hand, the whole idea that Jon and Dany and Sansa and Tyrion haven't had a sit-down together in private beforehand to hash out a united front to present to the various lords/get updates from each other/make sure there are no surprises makes my project-management soul go UGGGGGGGGGGGGGH.

And I get Dany might not think of it because she is Mother of Dragons, Queen of the Andals, etc., and that Jon is just Not Very Bright, but man, Sansa and Tyrion not realizing they gotta have a status conference beforehand is bad. Maybe you can argue that Sansa hasn't organized it, because she is pretty clearly not all-in on Dany, but Tyrion's failure to do that work is just "..................... christ, Sansa was RIGHT."

(Or, you know, a result of the showrunners not caring/not having time for that kind of storytelling or characterization anymore.)

- The shot of Missandei and Grey Worm looking at each other in that sea of white people was A+++++

- As was the stuff showing that Dany is a little taken aback at the hostility of the Northerners, because notwithstanding what Jon told her, she kinda expects to be welcomed by the common folk like she was in the various cities down south, but then the dragons flying overhead and her little :> is just top-fucking-notch for characterization. And also because I spent a significant part of my childhood reading and re-reading and re-reading Anne McCaffrey.

- Also, just to expand on a thought, I really, really, really like the way the show is (implicitly, and perhaps unintentionally) handling Sansa and Arya, where the two of them have a healthy respect for each other, and understand that they have aligned goals, but don't necessarily spend a lot of time hanging out together for funsies.

- #SHIPTRUTHER: Am I right in understanding that Sea Ramsay's entire crew is somehow mute/has had their tongues cut out? Because I did not think his nonsense black-sailed fleet and his nonsense, ramming-prow-but-no-banks-of-oars flagship could get more nonsense-y, but the idea that his entire ship's crew is mute, which I just have a LOT OF QUESTIONS ABOUT how they handle sale evolutions, AND they don't have reasonable means for alerting neighboring ships of a boarding party, which is just like, super-fucking-basic, first-half-of-the-semester Oldschool Naval Warfare 101.
posted by joyceanmachine at 7:29 AM on April 15 [31 favorites]


You’d think they would at least have a system of bells or something.
posted by janell at 7:35 AM on April 15 [4 favorites]


In case anyone wants to talk about more book-related things, here's a full season 8 books included FanFare thread.

Yaah #ShipTruthers! joyceanmachine, I had the same questions -- is no one on watch because hey, "we own this patch of ocean now"? Were they getting cocky about night watch duty?
posted by filthy light thief at 7:41 AM on April 15


Is theon coming by himself to "help out" with the cause? They should have a 30 second scene with him starting his apology to the Stark family and then have Arya slit his throat before slipping away unseen. Sorry, we don't have time for more Theon!
posted by skewed at 7:43 AM on April 15 [7 favorites]


What do y'all think Arya's specialty dragonglass weapon commission is for? Any ideas? It put me in mind of some kind of spearfishing gun in that it looked designed to detach into parts ... though both ends with dragonglass tips.
posted by alleycat01 at 7:51 AM on April 15 [1 favorite]


If there's non-chemistry between Jon and Dany, it's not because Emilia Clarke isn't giving it her all. Like, those are some EYES that Dany is giving Jon when he asks what she'll do if he falls, and she says that she'll have enjoyed the pleasure of his company.

this was true last season, too. Clarke has been working so hard to carry so much of the weight of that "romance" that it's super depressing to watch Harrington reciprocate with, at best, mild variations on his stock blank/grim/buhhh expressions
posted by Kybard at 7:53 AM on April 15 [12 favorites]


More on the Night King and that spiral symbol he leaves behind. Seems to be symbol from the Children of Forest,used in the creation of the White Walkers.

So maybe the Night King is holding a grudge and feels the need to put his "tag" on everything?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:56 AM on April 15 [1 favorite]


is no one on watch because hey, "we own this patch of ocean now"? Were they getting cocky about night watch duty?

I mean, they were in harbor, I guess? So on the one hand, you'd expect the boarding nets to be down, and you'd also expect there to be a skeleton crew left behind for shore leave? And bumboats with liquor and ladies heading out for everybody left on the ship, that could be a pretty big distraction element in that EVERYBODY IS PARTYING THEIR BRAINS OUT, EITHER ON SHORE OR OFF. On the other hand, I don't know how the leisure industry would react to the Ironborn raiding ethos, but on the third alien hand, the Iron Islands don't have enough population to crew the ships, so maybe it's mostly Golden Company people, with readies to spend?

I've just spent more time thinking about the details of Euron's Trash Fleet and the economy of Kings Landing than the entire show, btw.
posted by joyceanmachine at 7:58 AM on April 15 [6 favorites]


But I was more bothered by the lack of transition to the search party/parties coming to see how House Umber was doing with its evacuation.

I don't think that was a search party.

I think, based on the characters involved, that the survivors from the wall are heading south and came to that castle (Last Hearth) on their way to Winterfell.

They probably stopped by to rest, get some food, or join up with any Umber men also heading south to Winterfell and found the place ruined.
posted by Reggie Knoble at 8:03 AM on April 15 [29 favorites]


Alleycat, maybe it's for slaying the undead dragon?
posted by heatvision at 8:03 AM on April 15 [2 favorites]


Sam will keep his mouth shut because he doesn't have enough proof to back up Jon's claim. Certainly not enough to convince Daenerys to willingly abdicate. Ser Davos needs to know right away, though. He's the kind of guy who could get that proof, I think.
posted by Brocktoon at 8:09 AM on April 15


Isn't riding the dragon proof? I figured that's why they so explicitly showed the dragon tilting right above Winterfell, so all the people could see Jon was riding it.
posted by something something at 8:13 AM on April 15 [3 favorites]


Cersei had to fuck the Sea Douche because all her husbands, husbands to be, and rumored lovers are dead and she's pregnant by her brother.

Yeah this was my interpretation, too. I didn't even think the show was being terribly subtle about it or anything.

Euron (aka "Sea Douche") thinks he's hot shit for bangin' the queen, when in reality she was using him—he didn't get laid because of his throne room sadface whining, but because it happened to check a box in Cersei's Grand Plan. The punchline is when he says he'll "put a prince in her belly" (ew) which is lol considering what he doesn't know about what's already baking in the ol' oven. No wonder she's fond of his arrogance—it's his flaw. A less-arrogant dude might wonder why the sudden change of heart, but not our Euron; he's basically GoT's Zap Brannigan.

Also, as a result of him dawdling around dipping his wick in the royal ink, so to speak, he manages to lose his captive (Yara). Pity his mute crew is pretty crap at raising an alarm.
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:30 AM on April 15 [30 favorites]


Kinda let down by Arya/Jon, which didn't have as much stifled emotional intensity as I expected.

Same. "OMG ARYA I HAVEN'T SEEN YOU IN AGES!!! btw can we talk about how Sansa doesn't like my new girlfriend? pouty face"
posted by tofu_crouton at 8:32 AM on April 15 [5 favorites]


Regarding Arya's weapon design, I'm going to predict that she has invented a handheld firearm, and the internet will exhaustively and extensively explain how stupid and unrealistic that is.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 8:34 AM on April 15 [8 favorites]


What do y'all think Arya's specialty dragonglass weapon commission is for? Any ideas?

The favorite theory among people I watched it with is that it's a harpoon gun designed to take down an undead dragon. Just, you know, in case they see one. And maybe she's keeping it on the d/l because presumably Dany wouldn't appreciate the suggestion.

I kinda figure they'll try for a Captain-Quint-in-Jaws type plan that'll probably involve shooting the thing multiple times and bringing it down by having the other end of the lines tied to trees or... whatever. It'll be horrible and die horribly probably surrounded by its siblings (maybe it'll kill one or both first, for dramatic effect) and in the end even though it's an undead dragon that's directly contributed to ending the world I'll probably end up feeling bad for it.
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:38 AM on April 15 [12 favorites]



Sam will keep his mouth shut because he doesn't have enough proof to back up Jon's claim. Certainly not enough to convince Daenerys to willingly abdicate. Ser Davos needs to know right away, though. He's the kind of guy who could get that proof, I think.


Ask Ned Stark the value of proof.
posted by srboisvert at 8:47 AM on April 15 [16 favorites]


Kadin2048: I didn't even think the show was being terribly subtle about it or anything.

FTFY ;)

Seriously, subtle is not this show. Sure, you can pick apart a lot of clues and hints, but there's a lot of the show that is Punching You In The Face With Plot.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:54 AM on April 15 [4 favorites]


Sam will keep his mouth shut because he doesn't have enough proof to back up Jon's claim

Sam's all about the books, so for him that's proof enough. Plus he has magical Bran confirming it and he's pissed off about Dany killing off his brother just 'cause they wouldn't bend the knee.

Sam gives zero fucks about authority if he thinks its for the greater good to go against it.

Dany will be convinced, on some level, but that doesn't mean she's gonna be bending any knee.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:57 AM on April 15 [3 favorites]


When I saw the symbol created by the Night King, my first thought was that he's a Soundgarden fan.

My favourite bit was Yara headbutting Theon though. I really hope we get to see more of her this season.
posted by Kris10_b at 10:16 AM on April 15 [6 favorites]


Having watched the whole of Upstart Crow between last season and this, it was a lot harder to take Yara seriously, especially when her only on-screen foil is the pathetic Euron. The headbutt helped.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 10:25 AM on April 15 [1 favorite]


hey I bet if they crack the white walkers' heads open they'll find the spiral pattern printed on the inside of their skulls! also I am looking forward to seeing more B-roll footage of How To Train Your Dragon spliced into Game of Thrones
posted by prize bull octorok at 10:27 AM on April 15 [15 favorites]


Jon has more chemistry with his sister-cousin than with his lover-aunt. #sorrynotsorry

Also I am pretty sure the Lannister soldiers that the ladies in the brothel mentioned were the same we saw. Poor Ed Sheeran.
posted by asteria at 10:32 AM on April 15 [8 favorites]


I'm still pissed, by the way, that Sam is still getting all the credit about Lyanna and Rhaegar.

GILLY DESERVES TO BE FIRST AUTHOR
posted by joyceanmachine at 10:35 AM on April 15 [67 favorites]


Regarding dragons, Jon riding them, and that weird look Drogon gave him:

So, Daenerys named her dragons Viserion, Rhaegal, and Drogon. Two for her brothers, one for her first husband, all of whom were dead before the dragons hatched.

The dragons embody the spirit of those people, I think (apologies if this has been suggested/pointed out already). Viserion failed and is now working against Dany/everyone; Drogon is highly protective of Dany and doesn't completely trust Jon; but Rhaegal, who Jon rides, is inhabited in some way by the spirit of Jon's true father, which is why he's so friendly and lets Jon ride on his back.
posted by clockzero at 10:40 AM on April 15 [33 favorites]


Cersei had to fuck the Sea Douche because all her husbands, husbands to be, and rumored lovers are dead and she's pregnant by her brother.

OK, that makes sense. I was actually confused as to why he didn't have a dagger in his crotch in the next scene.

this episode are they melting down obsidian or something?

Ugh, this had my eye twitching. I guess the solution is to assume that dragonglass is not actually like obsidian that much after all, because otherwise wtf,
posted by Rock Steady at 10:56 AM on April 15 [3 favorites]


I kinda figure they'll try for a Captain-Quint-in-Jaws type plan that'll probably involve shooting the thing multiple times and bringing it down by having the other end of the lines tied to trees or... whatever. It'll be horrible and die horribly probably surrounded by its siblings (maybe it'll kill one or both first, for dramatic effect) and in the end even though it's an undead dragon that's directly contributed to ending the world I'll probably end up feeling bad for it.

"We're gonna need a bigger moat." better get said at some point by someone. Bron?
posted by srboisvert at 11:16 AM on April 15 [14 favorites]


Sansa on Joffrey’s wedding: “It had its moments.”

Yes, this. I knew then that I was going to enjoy this episode.
posted by blurker at 11:41 AM on April 15 [9 favorites]


I guess the solution is to assume that dragonglass is not actually like obsidian that much after all

The show has repeatedly identified dragonglass as obsidian.

S2E3 The Prince of Winterfell, the rangers find the cache at the Fist of the First Men:
Must be dragonglass.
Dragonglass? The maesters call it obsidian.
Why would a brother hide it here? I expect it's 'cause he wanted somebody to find it.
S5E5 Kill the Boy, Sam tells Stannis about killing the White Walker:
I'm told you killed a white walker.
I did, Your Grace.
How?
With a dagger made of dragonglass.
Dragonglass?
What the maesters call obsidian.
I know what it is. We have it in Dragonstone.
That said, I thought the Hound's dragonglass axe looked more like it had been knapped and bound -- Stone Age style -- than cast? I wondered for a moment if the weird blue molten castings were maybe Gendry having rediscovered the secret to Valyrian steel.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 12:09 PM on April 15 [10 favorites]


On Euron, I rather liked Glen Weldon's coinage "Captain Jackass Sparrow." (NPR, "who will die" season preview, no spoilers)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 12:14 PM on April 15 [10 favorites]


Structurally it seems like you have to split this season into two parts: dealing with the human threat (Cersei) and dealing with the supernatural threat (Night King). It makes the most sense to save The Night King for last, since it's also the biggest existential threat, but everything from last night's episode seems to indicate that might be the first encounter.

I presume that Cersei's plan is to abandon the Northerners (maybe sow discord) and let the wights rip them to shreds, and then clean up the remainders. It's obviously a bad plan because a) Cersei concocted it, and b) because the Night King IS an existential threat (something only Jon seems to ever realize) and will just use its newly bloated army to crush the South soon after it crushes the North.

So maybe one approach is that there's a showdown at the end of the first act in the North, they lose, survivors come South and are captured by Cersei at the end of act 2, and act 3 is about the remaining humans banding together (or not) and finally facing the undead army united (or not).

The Gold Company seems like an interesting wrinkle. I feel like The Iron Bank is still sore about the ungodly amount of money that The Crown owes, and might have sent them there to help Cersei initially, and then turn on her as soon as it makes sense, seize Westeros, and operate it as a colonial holding. This would also be a way (ugh) to bring back in the Mereen plot, since the sons-of-harpies might see their goals aligning in terms of killing Daenerys before she can win in Westeros, consolidate power, and come back to Essos to finish the job. More likely the writers just ignore everything above, The Gold Company is another band of super villains (until they're defeated by an idiotic plan devised by the heroes that works because they're the heroes), and we never hear about Essos again.
posted by codacorolla at 12:23 PM on April 15 [3 favorites]


That said, I thought the Hound's dragonglass axe looked more like it had been knapped and bound -- Stone Age style -- than cast? I wondered for a moment if the weird blue molten castings were maybe Gendry having rediscovered the secret to Valyrian steel.

I think that Gendry's master was one of the few people who knew how to work with Valyrian steel and reforged the Stark family sword into two swords. Can anyone else confirm?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:27 PM on April 15


I feel like The Iron Bank is still sore about the ungodly amount of money that The Crown owes

Last season, they were paid back in full with the looted Tyrell treasury, and then decided to go all-in with Cersei by giving her a new line of credit, which she then used to bring over the Golden Company.
posted by joyceanmachine at 12:28 PM on April 15 [7 favorites]


I only wish that when the characters were making wisecracks about how badass dragons are, or ironically referencing something that happened in a past season of the show, they would look directly at the camera and smirk so that I know that I, the viewer, am "in on the joke." That would make the show better, IMHO.
posted by prize bull octorok at 12:30 PM on April 15 [4 favorites]


I think that Gendry's master was one of the few people who knew how to work with Valyrian steel and reforged the Stark family sword into two swords. Can anyone else confirm?

Tywin brought a smith in from Volantis to reforge the swords:
Looks fresh-forged.
It is.
No one's made a Valyrian steel sword since the Doom of Valyria.
There are three living smiths who know how to rework Valyrian steel. The finest of them was in Volantis. Came here to King's Landing at my invitation.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 12:31 PM on April 15 [3 favorites]


They showed whoever it was melting down the Stark sword and casting it into two sword molds. Which is even more batshit crazy from a materials science point of view than casting the dragonglass.
posted by cardboard at 12:33 PM on April 15 [15 favorites]


BLADETRUTHERS
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:40 PM on April 15 [27 favorites]


Last season, they were paid back in full with the looted Tyrell treasury, and then decided to go all-in with Cersei by giving her a new line of credit, which she then used to bring over the Golden Company.

Oh, well, nevermind then. I guess I'd forgotten about that since the whole Tyrell thing was so rushed and nonsensical.
posted by codacorolla at 12:40 PM on April 15 [1 favorite]


Honestly, I thought the show had reached new heights of maturity when Cersei was asking Euron about the elephants and he didn't make a phallic joke.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:43 PM on April 15 [2 favorites]


Even the lines that were supposed to be clever fell with a thud. Dragons eat "whatever they want." Grab the dragon "wherever you can."


My wife yelled out that exact line half a second before Daenerys did.
posted by octothorpe at 12:54 PM on April 15 [2 favorites]


That said, I thought the Hound's dragonglass axe looked more like it had been knapped and bound -- Stone Age style -- than cast?

How does the obsidian work? Is it a contact kill like a poison? A cutting kill - only obsidian can penetrate? How much does it take?

The axe seems like a really inefficient use of a limited resource.
posted by srboisvert at 1:29 PM on April 15 [2 favorites]


Did anyone else get the feeling of being stared at by a very intense pussycat when J&D were at the waterfall? I know I've seen that look before.
posted by greatgefilte at 1:57 PM on April 15 [7 favorites]


Drogon and Rhaegal watching - equivalent to having pets in the room when you get down, or children? Discuss!
posted by LegallyBread at 2:00 PM on April 15 [8 favorites]


I want a behind the scenes bit where the Night King is directing his zombies to make the body-part art.
‘No, no, move the toes two inches to your LEFT’
posted by culfinglin at 2:31 PM on April 15 [20 favorites]


The show has repeatedly identified dragonglass as obsidian.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
posted by Rock Steady at 2:40 PM on April 15


I think the problem (or at least one of the problems) with the Jon/Dany chemistry - or lack thereof - is that they both naturally are more reserved types. For Dany, I think it's partially how she learned to be in order to be taken seriously. She has such a hard time getting people to take her seriously because of sexism, etc, that she has learned to come across as tough and serious and no nonsense. And Jon Snow is just sort of quiet and broods a lot.

So anyway, I think we see Jon have the most chemistry with people who help balance out his natural tendencies. Like, Ygritte was always making fun of Jon and getting him to laugh and not take himself so seriously. And even on the platonic side, with Sansa, Arya, Sam, Tormund, Edd...we still see Jon laughing and smiling with them at least some of the time.

But even when they're alone, I feel like we only ever see Dany and Jon being super serious, which is why their relationship just feels very forced. Even at the end of last season when they hooked up on the boat, like it was completely silent, and just felt like, "Well, guess it's the time when we have sex."
posted by litera scripta manet at 2:57 PM on April 15 [13 favorites]




I'm surprised to see people saying they lack chemistry, I never got that impression and thought they were cute together.
posted by GoblinHoney at 3:04 PM on April 15 [3 favorites]


Of course, another issue with the Jon/Dany thing is that every time I see them together, I just want to shake Jon and be like, "She's your aunt!" Not because I'm really that bothered by incest between fictional characters in a world that already has a lot of incest, but because I'm pretty sure Jon will be really bothered by it, and I've never enjoyed dramatic irony.

Also, as pointed out in Chrys reviews for this episode, I was amused by Sam leading with the "Lyanna Stark is your mother" thing, and then sort of dramatically pausing before being like, "And also Ned Stark is NOT your father."
posted by litera scripta manet at 3:13 PM on April 15 [12 favorites]


Oh, and while the dragon riding scene may have been kind of corny, it made me happy because I feel like Drogon always gets ALL the attention, while poor Rhaegal and Viserion just get ignored and locked in a dungeon and left chained up for months. And then when poor Viserion got killed, Rhaegal lost his closest companion, so I think it's nice that poor Rhaegal finally gets to join in on the whole dragon riding thing with his big brother Drogon.

And yes, I am way too emotionally attached to these dragons.
posted by litera scripta manet at 3:17 PM on April 15 [15 favorites]


Loved the moment when Jon went to greet Sansa and she towered over him like an Amazon.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 3:20 PM on April 15 [20 favorites]


> And yes, I am way too emotionally attached to these dragons.

for reals. I've come to admit that before I watch each episode this season, I have to psychologically prepare myself for the possibility that a dragon might die.

and, like, it takes work to prepare myself for that. GRRM has famously described the ending of the series as "bittersweet," which makes me afraid that 1) the night king loses, but 2) all the dragons die in the process.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 3:27 PM on April 15 [2 favorites]


I am calling Euron Squidward and I am unanimous in this.

I loved this episode! Usually it takes me a few episodes to get back into GoT (and by then the season's half over), not this time. So many things done exactly right. I even forgave the gratuitous T & A because Bronn.

"I've always had blue eyes!!" made me LOL.

Can't wait to see Brienne.

The look on Jaime's face when he sees Bran. Ooh...awkward.
posted by biscotti at 3:36 PM on April 15 [1 favorite]


Thank you for those who pointed out that Cersei needed to sleep with Euron for plausible deniability (assuming she's pregnant by Jaime, which I had sort of thought she made up as a last-ditch way to manipulate him? shrug).

Anyhoo, I was pleasantly surprised at how many reunions there were this episode. My favorite was actually Sansa and Tyrion, which is bittersweet since I always wished they could have been better allies. Yes, the marriage was terrible and neither one was emotionally equipped to support the other, but they always seemed like they could one day unite around common enemies/goals. Maybe they still can, though Tyrion isn't really as smart as he thinks he is while Sansa actually is as smart as she thinks she is after coming through all that trauma.

I feel like Daenerys and the whole show are having a big blind spot about everything in this episode. Like, at least let us get a scene of her with her advisers wondering how to win people over and what she can do to earn the North's loyalty. She had a long drawn-out earning of Jon Snow's trust last season, at least give it a go with his family. Jorah is freakin from the North, and may have some insight even if he was banished in disgrace. Or Tyrion, who somehow hasn't yet been murdered by the Starks. Go have a nice chat with Davos, for that perspective on how to not be from the North but still function there. Or even Sansa. You were both once scared little girls who had to make do and survive while your families got systematically murdered. Bond over that! You've got dragons and an army, Sansa knows the local politics and how to manage an actual castle. But no, I guess she doesn't want to bend the knee so whatever. It makes Daenerys look foolish and I think she has more potential than that.

And what was the point of that old-men-shipping-Jon-and-Dany scene if they're not going to even propose that as an option? Maybe I'm missing something, but them doing a political marriage actually solves a lot of issues. Unless it's not enough because that still just brings the North back into the Seven Kingdoms? Still, solve a lot of problems right now. Jon has the people on his side, Dany has two-thirds of the world's dragons and a giant loyal army.

All of it seems pretty moot though, in the face of the Night King and undead armies. It seems really dumb to squabble about Northern independence and family feuding when they've got a freakin ice dragon and are on their way down the continent with basically no obstacles. Bran basically dropped that fact and...everyone went back to arguing about how there's no more King in the North. I get it from Cersei too, but I expect her to be short-sighted.

Last stray thoughts: looking forward to what they do with Jaime. Bran reunion is a good start. Brienne is somewhere too, right? And he and Tyrion didn't part on the best of terms. I'm much more hype about all of that than Cleganebowl, which I think would be dumb if it happens.
posted by j.r at 3:55 PM on April 15 [4 favorites]


Without reading: I’m team Lady Mormont married to Gendry. She rules, he tools. Invents all kinds of useful things while she reshapes the world.
posted by tilde at 4:01 PM on April 15 [12 favorites]


I feel like Daenerys and the whole show are having a big blind spot about everything in this episode. Like, at least let us get a scene of her with her advisers wondering how to win people over and what she can do to earn the North's loyalty.

YES! THIS!

I feel like it makes some sense to have Daenerys not comprehend the spirt of the Northerners, and also to believe that having won over their leader she's won over all of them (this is a lesson she needs to learn more than once, apparently having forgotten how Drogo's bloodriders treated her after he succumbed). But Dany has advisors, and some of them are exceedingly competent. But instead of Davos, Varys and Tyrion sitting down with Missandei and Grey Worm to figure this one out, we get Davos, Varys and Tyrion talking about becoming obsolete. MOTHERFUCKERS EARN YOUR KEEP! AND IF THE TORCH NEEDS PASSING THEN PASS THAT TORCH! SHIT.
posted by Navelgazer at 4:07 PM on April 15 [4 favorites]


Also, I must must must repeat this bit from a friend in re: Jon bending the knee:
Good news: I brought back an army and also dragons that will fight for us and make it so we will not all die from zombies that look like our loved ones. Bad news: I lost my hat.

Every Sucka MC from the North: WE FUCKING LOVED THAT HAT
posted by Navelgazer at 4:11 PM on April 15 [28 favorites]


Sansa huffed to Jon about having to feed the armies. "What do dragons eat anyway?" etc.

So it would be better for Jon and Dany et al to retreat further south, the midlands or thereabouts, Riverlands for instance, where winter has less of a hold and food is more plentiful. Sansa can hold the North because she's the smartest one now.

Yes, that's how stupid this sniping is.

Finally, I think Jon & the gang screwed up by not either getting two wights or stopping in Winterfell first with the one Wight, to show the North exactly what they're up against. 'Cause the Northerners are acting exactly like people who've never seen a murderous skeleton and it shows.

+1

Tyrion believing Cersei's promise is more scriptwriter's stupid schtick. At least Jaime has arrived so this dumb bit with stop with the next episode and Tyrion can go back to drinking and knowing things.

Sending Bronn off to kill Tyrion when she had the clear chance to kill him last episode felt ... stupid.

I missed some of that dialog but I thought Bronn was being sent to kill Jaime?
posted by TWinbrook8 at 5:04 PM on April 15 [4 favorites]


team Lady Mormont married to Gendry

Don't disagree - but didn't Arya eye flirt on Gendry really really hard after asking him to smith a secret weapon for her?
posted by porpoise at 5:19 PM on April 15 [3 favorites]


I missed some of that dialog but I thought Bronn was being sent to kill Jaime?

To kill both of "her treasonous brothers".
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 5:21 PM on April 15 [1 favorite]


Brienne is somewhere too, right?
She's in Winterfell. She was standing behind Sansa during the "What do dragons eat?" scene with Danaeris. See image 39 in the Chrys Reviews link above.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 5:30 PM on April 15 [1 favorite]


I love Lena Headey’s portrayal of Cersei so hard. That emotion that passes over her face once Euron has left is amazing. So much you could read into it. Grief over losing Jaime? Fear for the unborn child? Disgust at sleeping with the pirate? All three?

IIRC one of the tells last season that Cersei was up the duff was that she was off the wine, so I don’t quite know what to make of her boozing it up again. I personally think she either never was pregnant and it was just a way to manipulate first Jaime and then Tyrion (while lettering the latter think he was just oh so clever for figuring it out himself), or that she has lost it in the meantime which plays a bit into whatever the hell was going on in that scene with Euron.
posted by arha at 5:37 PM on April 15 [8 favorites]


Yeah, I just can't bring myself to get worked up about whether obsidian can be melted down or not when making magic weapons to kill the undead. I assume there's some extra mystical properties going there along with whatever misunderstood forging is going on.

I was, however, waiting for them to solve the "what do dragons eat" problem by sending the dragons to forage from that House that pulled out of sending their bannermen to join the fight.
posted by TwoStride at 5:49 PM on April 15 [11 favorites]


Shit what if one of the dragons ends up eating ghost
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:05 PM on April 15 [2 favorites]


Shit what if one of the dragons ends up eating ghost

HDU! (Plus, I'd put my money on Ghost).
posted by TwoStride at 6:33 PM on April 15 [1 favorite]


Order the pizza, open the Cheetos, and put the 'Dew on ice because it's time for another D&D D&D recap. This last session of the campaign looks to be a doozy so I hope everyone has warm dice and clean character sheets!

In the opener we watch as:
• Jon, the Hound, and Gendry all fail Perception checks to notice Arya in the crowds lining the road. Her changed appearance perhaps gave them disadvantage on their rolls.
• Arya succeeds her save against the dragons' Frightful Presence (while many commoners do not).
• Danaerys casts the friends cantrip on Sansa. Sansa, Lady of Winterfell, shrugs it off by using legendary resistance as a lair action.
• Bran tactlessly shares with Daenerys what he learned through his latest legend lore casting.
• Qyburn succeeds at a Medicine check in passing, and equips Bronn with a light crossbow. (No need to ask if Bronn has proficiency: he undoubtedly has many levels in Fighter.)
• Theon and friends ace their stealth checks, allowing them to add massive sneak attack damage to their ranged strikes. Yara later knocks Theon prone with an unarmed attack of her own.
• Jon finally succeeds at a Wisdom-based roll, passing an Animal Handling check to ride Rhaegal; he also passes succeeding Dexterity checks to remain mounted.
• Gendry forges a dragonglass battleaxe (1d8 slashing, 1d10 versatile, undeadbane) for the Hound, putting his Guild Artisan background to good use.
• Tormund and company make stealth checks entering Castle Umber, giving them a surprise round against Dolorous Edd and the Watch survivors.
• Beric uses his flame tongue longsword to impale a newly-risen wight.
• Bran casts eyebite on Jaime, giving him the Panicked condition.

All-in-all a satisfying mix of RP and dice rolling, with a couple quick combat encounters. I am curious to see what other lair actions – and perhaps regional effects too? -- Sansa now has access to.
posted by The Nutmeg of Consolation at 6:37 PM on April 15 [54 favorites]


I am curious to see what other lair actions – and perhaps regional effects too? -- Sansa now has access to.

MUFFLED SCREAMING

I MISSED THESE RECAPS
posted by joyceanmachine at 6:43 PM on April 15 [5 favorites]


it's time for another D&D D&D recap

These are really good but see all D&D after AD&D is heresy.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 7:05 PM on April 15


Tyrion Lannister: "The Karstarks. One of the better sigils. Beats an onion, anyway."
Davos Seaworth: "Can't argue with that."

May be the line of the episode, for me. That shit's pretty good.
I can't argue with it, anyway.
posted by rp at 7:08 PM on April 15 [5 favorites]


Poor Rickon. So inconsequential that even his siblings forgot about the whole dead sibling thing.
posted by Justinian at 7:09 PM on April 15 [18 favorites]


Sansa on Joffrey’s wedding: “It had its moments.”

No pun intended, but this was easily my favorite moment of this episode. I dislike that the show has put us in the mindset of Sansa vs. Daenerys for the crown of The Strong Woman, but it’s nonetheless evident to me that Sansa is the more humane and pragmatic of the two. Similarly, I feel like the tone is increasingly more assertively favoring the interpretation of Daenerys as yet another tyrant in the making, although that’s been my sense for a while. I don’t know that it’s done any work to present some sort of alternative beyond the status quo of blood-right, which is gross but pretty par for the course from the dunces D&D as far as I can tell.
posted by invitapriore at 7:24 PM on April 15 [4 favorites]


Sansa had all the best quips this episode. "It had its moments," "What do dragons eat, anyways."

The second is where Sansa became my favourite character now - she understands and is concerned about logistics. This is one of the sorest points for me with the books and the show - this all started out as supposed to be a very long winter and insufficient stores were put in to handle it.

Having a war is very handy for reducing everyone's population - but that has all been swept behind dragons and battles and stuff.

Armies need feeding. No question why everyone's willing to contribute their armies, but where is the food coming from while they're still standing?

It's super weird how much Sansa and my work responsibilities/ obligations align.
posted by porpoise at 8:38 PM on April 15 [10 favorites]


• Jon finally succeeds at a Wisdom-based roll, passing an Animal Handling check to ride Rhaegal; he also passes succeeding Dexterity checks to remain mounted.

OR HE HAS A RACIAL FEAT THAT ADDS +4 TO HIS ROLLS AND GIVES HIM ADVANTAGE ON DRAGON-RIDING maybe idk haha
posted by clockzero at 8:46 PM on April 15 [10 favorites]


Yes, Arya and Gendry flirt. But if he’s king, she’s out of there. She doesn’t want to rule, she wants to be a short Brienne. Well, she wants to e herfself, which is more Brienne than Sansa.
Clearly Kit only has eyes for his fire-haired Wildling.


Lucky (or not) for him, she will be back as the dead rise, no? I wonder what’s in the rest of Sams books?

Speaking of the dead, are we going to get a lot of one armed Umber white walkers? Hope they didn’t hang up their dominant arms.

The globetrotter montage comment. Dammit. I’m Quite Susceptible to ear worms and I might break out whistling Sweet Georgia Brown mid episode if it happens.
posted by tilde at 8:47 PM on April 15 [4 favorites]


Halloween Jack: It's not really a book thing, since the show has long since outrun the books. It's really fan wishful thinking, since the Hound is the only person who's fought the Mountain and survived that we know of, and they're both still... well, arguably not alive in Gregor's case, but animated, anyway.

Yeah, 'wishful thinking' is better. I was really just trying to troll Justinian by suggesting that his hype for Cleganebowl was equal to other people hyping things I knew he hated. But it didn't work. *sigh*.
posted by Pink Frost at 12:53 AM on April 16 [1 favorite]


I was so appalled by your referring to fake Aegon as beloved that I was rendered speechless.

At least you didn't mention Quentyn. Boy that was an important story that went somewhere and was totally worth the pages it occupied. If you'd talked about Quentyn we would have had to duel.
posted by Justinian at 1:30 AM on April 16 [6 favorites]


I may have a faith in GRRM that's as misplaced as Tyrion's faith that Cersei's army will come north*, but even I have some common human decency, sir.

*Just to be vaguely on-topic.
posted by Pink Frost at 2:25 AM on April 16


she will be back as the dead rise, no?
The night watch knew the dead were rising by the time of that battle, didn't they? They'd have burnt all the bodies. Assuming they had the fuel.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 4:45 AM on April 16


I think I've finally managed to lower my expectations far enough to be able to enjoy the show again.

I mean, would I love more of a show-don't-tell-approach to demonstrating Sansa's smartness? Sure, but the show's not really doing that any more (it's all well and good to make Sansa the "cares about logistics"-person, but bound to fall pretty flat in a show that stopped caring about logistics a long time ago - I'm with the ship truthers on this one; Sansa's remarks here are ornamental, because we all know it won't matter for the plot). I'll take a couple of lines in a council meeting, consistent distrust of Cersei and Arya's proclamation to Jon. It's just nice to have the sisters on the same team.

Still, it's a bit sad to see Tyrion become so useless. True, his chapters became a bit of slog towards the end in the books, but you could still see how he is a skilled operator, working his way up from jester to a postion where he could win a mercenary army for Dany's cause. I really do hope Tyrion gets at least one last opportunity to demonstrate good sense, before the whole thing ends, by, maybe by talking Sam out of pursuing Jon's claim for instance. (Extremly unlikely to happen, of course).

I get why Sam's no fan of Dany after what she did to his family, but from a bigger picture view, the smart move here would be to find that Measter's diary and destroy all evidence of Jon's true parentage and never speak of it again, because right now, all this information does is make the Dany/Jon alliance even more of hard-sell to the former opponents of the Targaryen dynasty. Re-installing a Targ on the throne is dicey enough, but two in-one-go, bringing back the whole incest tradition? That's not going to win hearts and minds, no matter how much Northerners and wildlings like Jon. Once the ice zombies are defeated, you gotta think dynastical again. Are the Westerosi really prepared to go back to roling the dice on their ruler's sanity? Someone like Varys is bound to object. And Tyrion too, quite possibly. They might let it pass in this one instance (since right now, Dany's supposed to be infertile anyway), but officially removing that incest taboo for the rulying dynasty again? Doesn't like a recipe for longterm peace and stability.

And right now, there's no way round a Jon-Dany alliance. Jon might technically have the superior claim, but he needs her dragons and her army. Apparently Sam has this cute idea that Dany may just acknowledge Jon's superior claim and help them defend the North anyway, without any particular promise of compensation, because it's simply the right thing to do, which, who knows, might even happen! But it's a bit risky. Because, much as we all might be annoyed by Dany's delusional sense of destiny to rule Westeros, she really doesn't have much of another reason to be here. For all anyone knows at this point, the ice zombies don't swim, and Dany could be snug in Essos, sit this whole thing out and save herself and the people loyal to her a lot of headache. Sam is trying to make this a test of hypocrisy - Dany required Jon to sacrifice his personal amibitons for the sake of his people, so she should be prepared to do the same - but the analogy doesn't quite hold. The Northerners after all don't want to be Dany's people apparently, and those who do, the Dothraki and the Unsullied, would be safer and happier in Essos. What do the Westerosi have to offer to her, apart from the Throne? Jon's handsome face? But Sam doesn't even know they're already banging!

For what it's worth, I do think that the ice zombies will be revealed as global threat/that Dany might be sufficiently moved by the plight of poor Westeros to help without getting to rule/will accept Jon's claim because she's really, truly, genuinely and consistently sold on the whole birthright-argument whether it favours her or not, and that Sam's strategy may work out well enough eventually. Just saying, if it's does, that's more because of luck, not because it's particually well thought through. For someone who's just decided that Dany's too ruthless to be queen, he's relying rather heavily on her good heart.

The safer bet, and therefore the one that should be favoured by all pragmatic characters with a big picture view to the problem at hand, is still an Jon-Dany-Marriage with Jon as the junior partner, and no mention ever of his Targ genes, to not open that whole officially-sanctionned- incest-can-of worms.
posted by sohalt at 6:01 AM on April 16 [10 favorites]


For all anyone knows at this point, the ice zombies don't swim

Yarra certainly listed that as a prime reason to take back the Iron Islands, but even if they don't swim, surely they can walk - into the sea, along the sea bed, and back up onto land.
posted by Mogur at 6:12 AM on April 16 [2 favorites]


but even if they don't swim, surely they can walk - into the sea, along the sea bed, and back up onto land.

If that were the case, they would have bypassed the Wall a long time ago.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 6:20 AM on April 16 [6 favorites]


I guess they have a dragon now, so the Night-King could fly them over one by one - but they're not unbeatable unless they reach a critical mass, so you'd have a fair chance of fending off that sort of invasion.

The bigger risk is that they learn how to sail. But again, since they haven't so far.... wildlings at Hardhome had boats (that's how Jon escaped), and the zombies haven't learned to make them work for them yet.

What I want to say is, based on the knowledge available, it wouldn't be completely delusional to think one might sit the whole thing out somewhere on an island/in Essos, and it's very much not the in the interest of the Northerners to risk Dany getting round to that point of view.
posted by sohalt at 6:30 AM on April 16


The show has been really sort of dicey about the undead and bodies of water. I mean, they certainly didn't seem to be too held up by the lake Our Boys were cowering on a rock in the middle of when Dany showed up with the dragons last season, it's not like water caused them to disintegrate or lose their animating magic. I could see them not being able to navigate, I guess, and there were just enough undead and a shallow enough lake that navigation was "scramble over your undead brother to the warm living enemy"...

On the other hand, a few undead ships sailing across the sea and Yara's position on the iron isles is not worth the trouble. I don't recall if they've ruled out sailing. I could see shipbuilding as something that might not be in their repertoire, but there's going to be ships galore at some point in their march.

(On the other other hand, there are awfully few deep sea ports, could the undead _do_ the whole ships' boat and net climb and whatnot? Are they self-driven enough to manage a ship, or are they just a horde that the Night King vaguely directs?)
posted by Kyol at 6:33 AM on April 16 [1 favorite]


Oh, good points.

Yes, I see now that water really is a barrier, for any number of reasons (ie what if salt water blocks the Night King's telepathy?). We still lose all of Westeros, though.
posted by Mogur at 6:42 AM on April 16


Dany required Jon to sacrifice his personal amibitons for the sake of his people, so she should be prepared to do the same

I didn't get why this works the other way around from the show (y'all have shown me that he would be a better ruler, but I didn't get that the show was trying to tell us that). I understand why he needs her to save his people: she has dragons and and army and there are zombies coming. Why does his better claim make it so that if she doesn't bend she dooms her people?

Yarra certainly listed that as a prime reason to take back the Iron Islands, but even if they don't swim, surely they can walk - into the sea, along the sea bed, and back up onto land.

From what I have seen of the Iron Islands, they're more like cliffs coming out of the sea? Zombie's can't climb sheer cliffs can they?

And finally, don't know if anyone has called it yet but I think that Cersei's baby is going to be sacrificed to the Night King. The prophecy did say that all her children would die right?
posted by LizBoBiz at 6:45 AM on April 16 [4 favorites]


The Iron Islands are like a dozen rickety castles built in the middle of an ocean that require raiding to sustain since they can't farm. The least effort would be to let them all die of starvation and madness, and the only slightly more difficult option would be to do a bombing run on them with your ice dragon.
posted by codacorolla at 6:45 AM on April 16 [2 favorites]


They clearly are good at making chains. Harness undead Viserion to any kind of floating vessel and voila.
posted by soren_lorensen at 6:46 AM on April 16 [1 favorite]


Maybe that will finally give Euron something to do (other than talk trash and be horny) - he could teach the zombies to sail. I'm not really envisioning a proper alliance with the Night King (I would find that disappointing - their whole deal is that they aren't just another faction you can negotiate with), but maybe he gets zombiefied himself, in a way that lets him keep some of his personality/expertise (like Coldhands). You don't keep the pirates around unless there's going to be some proper showdown at sea.

I'm counting on a couple of familiar faces going down the Coldhands-route in the battle to come. Jaime too, probably. (So he can die in Brienne's arms, defending Winterfell, and then a second time, as a Coldhands-zombie, together with Cersei.)
posted by sohalt at 6:47 AM on April 16 [2 favorites]


I understand why he needs her to save his people: she has dragons and and army and there are zombies coming. Why does his better claim make it so that if she doesn't bend she dooms her people?

In my opinion, it doesn't, which is why Sam's move is dumb (and why I'm not sure Jon would be the better king - he's also not always good at picking advisors. He got himself assassinated too, remember?)

But if the zombies indeed figure out a way to sail/fly/cross the ocean to Essos in some manner, that calculation changes.
posted by sohalt at 6:51 AM on April 16


Is winter happening everywhere because the Nightking is going south or the game of thrones world is suffering from global warming for a long time. Since the Nightking can ride a dragon, is he a Targaryen ?
posted by metafus at 7:33 AM on April 16 [3 favorites]


I mean, would I love more of a show-don't-tell-approach to demonstrating Sansa's smartness?

Sansa was apparently the only one who actually listened to Bran when he told them about the wall and the dragon as she immediately called everyone to Winterfell for safety. That makes her a genius as far as I'm concerned.

Since the Nightking can ride a dragon, is he a Targaryen ?

It would explain why his wall art looks so much like the Targaryen sigil. And if that's the case, I think it makes it more obvious how they'll really defeat the Night King it will just depend on who is going to make that sacrifice - Jon or Dany.
posted by asteria at 7:42 AM on April 16 [5 favorites]


I feel like 9 days out of 10 Sam would be one of the best advisors in Westeros. This is definitely his "off day" though.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:47 AM on April 16 [2 favorites]


I'm counting on a couple of familiar faces going down the Coldhands-route in the battle to come. Jaime too, probably. (So he can die in Brienne's arms, defending Winterfell, and then a second time, as a Coldhands-zombie, together with Cersei.)

Oh no, poor Jaime :’-(
posted by sallybrown at 7:48 AM on April 16 [3 favorites]


> I feel like Daenerys and the whole show are having a big blind spot about everything in this episode. Like, at least let us get a scene of her with her advisers wondering how to win people over and what she can do to earn the North's loyalty.

This rang true to me, honestly. Daenerys Targaryen has many talents and I will stan her forever no matter what, but cultural sensitivity has uhhh never been her forte.

unrelatedly, a hypothesis:

The R+L=J knowledge bomb that Bran dropped / got Sam to drop is such an effective way to sow dissent among the top echelon of the alliance of the living that it makes me suspect that Bran is, um, not on the side of the living. I'm biased toward seeing it this way, though, just because that's how I'd write it. Like:

Good news, Starks! Your brother is alive!
Bad news, though! He's creepy and inhuman and maybe not really your brother now!
Good news, though! He's a wizard who can see through space and time, and therefore a tremendous intelligence asset for whoever's side he's on!
.... bad news, though. He's not on your side.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 8:11 AM on April 16 [30 favorites]


also though it would be very GRRM if the revelation that the noble-hearted bastard boy who's clawed his way to a position of leadership without losing his fundamental decency has actually been the trueborn king all along turns out to be the thing that ruins everything.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 8:26 AM on April 16 [44 favorites]


the smart move here would be to find that Measter's diary and destroy all evidence of Jon's true parentage and never speak of it again

To me, it's important that Mr Sees the future aka Bran is pushing for that info to be revealed to Jon. Not necessarily announced to the world or even Dany, but definitely told to Jon.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:33 AM on April 16 [3 favorites]


the smart move here would be to find that Measter's diary and destroy all evidence of Jon's true parentage and never speak of it again

Of course, but Sam is the ultimate in-universe lore nerd, and so it would be wildly out of character for him.
posted by BungaDunga at 8:52 AM on April 16


Jon's problem isn't that he doesn't want to be king but that he is unbelievably awful at being a politician.

Sure, he knows that bending the knee to Dany was what he needed to do, and he never wanted to be king, etc. But the correct way to sell it isn't "you morons need to pull your heads out of your asses" (even though they do). At least pretending to acknowledge their concerns at having a total unknown Targaryen in charge could have gone some way towards getting people on side.

Or realizing ahead of time that the only plausible way to sell this would be a marriage, and convincing Dany of it. Yes, none of this matters. But also, unity in the face of the undead threat at the gates also matters, and if it takes a bunch of bullshit to convince people (and he of all people should know how much people are convinced by his whole The End Is Nigh shtick, which is not much) then it's a bunch of bullshit that should happen.

He is somehow even worse at this than Ned Stark.
posted by BungaDunga at 9:04 AM on April 16 [13 favorites]


He is somehow even worse at this than Ned Stark.

The genes of a Targ and the wits of a Stark seems like it should be its own unique curse in Westeros.
posted by codacorolla at 9:09 AM on April 16 [44 favorites]


I really would like to see some GRRM sensibilities flower in the storyline again; the show is basically an amorphous blur to me once you get past season 4 but I feel like we've been in the land of crowd-pleasing fanservice for a wretchedly long time. My darlings are not being killed at a satisfactory rate.
posted by prize bull octorok at 9:18 AM on April 16 [18 favorites]



To me, it's important that Mr Sees the future aka Bran is pushing for that info to be revealed to Jon.


See, that's precisely what makes it extra questionable to me! I would not necessarily go as far as Reclusive Novelist who suggests that Bran might have switched sides (although he did get marked by the Night King, so he absolutely could have been compromised), but whatever Bran's agenda is now, it's getting clearer and clearer that the survival/well-being of his nearest and dearest is no longer particularly high on it. I wouldn't put him past him at all to, say, sacrifice Winterfell and the better part of humankind in order to prevent the return of dragons/an original flavour Targ dynasty. Maybe for Bran's purposes it's sufficient if a couple of people survive in some caves to repopulate Westeros after the ice-zombies have reigned for a couple of centuries and developed their own game of thrones in which to take each other out. He may ultimately still be somewhat on the side of humanity (or view himself as such, arguing that the ice zombie apocalypse is a necessary purge to facility a clean new start), but I see little reason to assume he still has the best interests of the currently living at heart. He's thinking in other dimensions now.

At any rate, "let's just do what Bran says, because he can predict the outcome" would make it way too easy, wouldn't it? I can't see a series that has so far been built on hard choices and impossible moral dilemmata resolve like that.
posted by sohalt at 10:33 AM on April 16 [7 favorites]


"Loved the moment when Jon went to greet Sansa and she towered over him like an Amazon."

I was shocked at how much taller Sansa was than my queen Dany. Dany has been pretty isolated from most of the cast and we often see her in positions of authority and she has that big regal energy. Then she stands next to Sansa and suddenly looks so tiny.
posted by GoblinHoney at 11:03 AM on April 16 [3 favorites]


I just got this delightful mental image of Sansa and Brienne:
  1. Picking up Daenerys
  2. Rolling her up into a little ball
  3. Playing catch with her

posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 11:07 AM on April 16 [13 favorites]


Some of my favourite bits this ep were all the times Sansa is looking at someone like she is considering twenty things at once and several of those were whether or not this person needs to die.
posted by Mogur at 11:22 AM on April 16 [15 favorites]


Since the Nightking can ride a dragon, is he a Targaryen ?

I think it makes it more obvious how they'll really defeat the Night King it will just depend on who is going to make that sacrifice - Jon or Dany.


Oh God they're going to fuck him to death, aren't they?
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 1:21 PM on April 16 [16 favorites]


That spiral pattern the Walkers do resembles the Targ sigil , sorta
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:05 PM on April 16 [1 favorite]


Sansa to Tyrion: "I use to think you were the cleverest man I knew"

Also a favorite moment of mine, although I was very much expecting Tyrion to mutter “So did I...” to himself as she walked away.
posted by Celsius1414 at 3:13 PM on April 16 [1 favorite]


Then she stands next to Sansa and suddenly looks so tiny.

Reminds me of Queen Victoria being under 5’ and ruling a quarter of the world.
posted by Celsius1414 at 3:15 PM on April 16


Janelle Monaé is about that tall too, and likewise rules the world.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 4:21 PM on April 16 [8 favorites]


"This episode was called Winterfell but it should've been called Looks." Jonathan Van Ness is back with his final season of Game of Thrones recaps: Gay of Thrones, S8E1. (via Funny or Die)
posted by fuse theorem at 5:22 PM on April 16 [3 favorites]


When Jon asked Arya if she had used Needle, and she said yes, and then he showed her his big man-sword, I so wanted her to ask him if he had used his.

Just because a) it would have been a fun line and b) would have been exactly the sort of thing smartass-cum-badass-Arya would have asked Jon and c) would have reinforced the strength of their relationship, put them on the same level, and made Jon realise what Arya had become.

It's like...come on, writers! It was right there! What the hell!
posted by turbid dahlia at 6:18 PM on April 16 [16 favorites]


Yeah, Arya and Jon's reunion missed a lot of opportunities. I was waiting for her to pat her dagger and say, "I have my own now, too." or something.

Probably all of these things happen across a few score pages if this was a book.

I wonder if anyone had anticipated that Sophie Turner would end up quite as tall as she did when they first cast her. Maybe she just surrounds herself with short people? Her 'official' height is 1.75m - even I'm taller than that. Huh. I had no idea Kit Harrington is a compact 1.73m.
posted by porpoise at 6:52 PM on April 16


5'9" is still quite tall for a woman. That's something like 2 standard deviations above the mean.
posted by Justinian at 7:24 PM on April 16 [1 favorite]


They might let it pass in this one instance (since right now, Dany's supposed to be infertile anyway)

By the way, if there's one thing we know, it's that a recently-established dynasty just climbed out of civil war with pretenders still lurking in various corners needs sons. Several of them.
posted by praemunire at 9:55 PM on April 16


By the way, if there's one thing we know, it's that a recently-established dynasty just climbed out of civil war with pretenders still lurking in various corners needs sons. Several of them.

Yeah, but you gotta work with the dragon-queen you've got, and this one happens to be infertile. Since they can't change that, why not see the bright side? Dany's really the fixture here, because right now everyone needs her more than she needs them. You could bring back another Targ tradition I guess, and re-introduce bigamy.

Or reconsider the whole absolute monarchy thing. Make the Great Council a permanent thing, figure out a less bloody way to negotiate transfer of power. Pre-programmed succession crisis seems like a perfect occasion to introduce that kind of idea.
posted by sohalt at 3:13 AM on April 17 [1 favorite]


I don't see the story going this way, but presuming a (relatively) happy ending in which all key characters survive and the balance of forces doesn't change drastically, Dany is more or less set up to be an Empress, with various kings beneath her, and practicalities would encourage splitting Westeros into (at least) three smaller realms - the north, the central lands, and Dorn.

(The total disappearance of all things Dornish with the end of the Martel arc is sticking in my craw lately. Surely there should be Dornish soldiers going north....)
posted by snuffleupagus at 4:31 AM on April 17 [1 favorite]


> (The total disappearance of all things Dornish with the end of the Martel arc is sticking in my craw lately. Surely there should be Dornish soldiers going north....)

I certainly hope that they make an appearance again, though it makes sense to me to have them not go north.
  1. There's just not that many of them. One of the few things I remember from the morass of tedium that was book 4 was that the Martells have a tendency to report inflated numbers for the size of their armies, and IIRC the size of the Dornish population as a whole, because if Rest of Westeros realized how few there actually were they might be tempted to invade. A few thousand extra Dornish soldiers freezing in Winterfell wouldn't add that much real force to the Army of the Living
  2. A big deal is made, both in the books and on the show, of how Dorne was the only kingdom that didn't fall to the Targaryens in Aegon's initial invasion, since when the Dornish are in Dorne they're able to run guerrilla campaigns that allow them to effectively fight back against much larger armies, even if the much larger army they're fighting has dragons. Therefore,
  3. If things go super sideways, like as sideways as possible, a coupla thousand Dornish guerrilla fighters might be the only thing stopping the dead from claiming all of Westeros.

posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 5:05 AM on April 17 [4 favorites]


> Yeah, but you gotta work with the dragon-queen you've got, and this one happens to be infertile. Since they can't change that, why not see the bright side? Dany's really the fixture here, because right now everyone needs her more than she needs them. You could bring back another Targ tradition I guess, and re-introduce bigamy.

I feel compelled — with great dismay — to point back to the part of the conversation where we figured out that whereas Jon and Daenerys are nephew and aunt (icky! and somewhat dicey genetically), Jon and Sansa are actually just cousins (not particularly dicey genetically, and historically not considered icky).

Also I feel compelled to note that Jon Snow has a thing for bossy redheads.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 5:46 AM on April 17 [15 favorites]


My new fantasy is that Dorne has been conducting covert diplomacy with the Summer Islands since Oberyn's death, which now sail into Ki-Landoo in their Swan Ships, wipe out the Trash Fleet and put....whoever's in charge in Dorne now on the throne. Golden Company can just switch sides. Hey, Circe, here's those elephants you requested. Mountain go squish.
posted by snuffleupagus at 6:00 AM on April 17 [1 favorite]


I declare ki-landoo the new canonical name for the capital city of the seven kingdoms.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 6:07 AM on April 17 [2 favorites]


Also I feel compelled to note that Jon Snow has a thing for bossy redheads.

But he still needs Dany and her Dothraki and the Unsullied to fend off the Zombie-apocalypse. Kinda has to factor that in, no? I guess he could try to argue for bigamy for the sake of dynasty building - it worked for Aegon the Conqueror. Didn't work so well for Rheagar though. Not sure if Northerners are terribly appeased if the Northern girl only gets to be a sister-wife.
posted by sohalt at 6:44 AM on April 17 [1 favorite]


If things go super sideways, like as sideways as possible, a coupla thousand Dornish guerrilla fighters might be the only thing stopping the dead from claiming all of Westeros.

Doesn't seem like much of a reach to me! Seems like the big battle for Winterfell will start next episode, how long can they drag it out? Another episode, at maximum, I think. And episode 3 is just too early to defeat the Night King. I think it's a safe bet that Winterfell will fall and things are going to go super-sideways indeed.

Elia isn't dead yet. Cersei keeps her alive to watch her daughter's corpse rot beside her, which is a very Cersei thing to do, but maybe there's another narrative reason to keep a Dornish character around?

I think it's too early to count out Dorne.
posted by sohalt at 6:56 AM on April 17 [3 favorites]


hypothesis: Winterfell falls last.

Note: this hypothesis is based on the assumption that the Night King is not a dummy.

So. The Night King has a huge-ass zombie army. These zombies are super effective at ripping people to shreds and then turning them into more zombies, but they are susceptible to fire.

The Night King has a zombie ice dragon. He’s in possession of one-third of the total air power in Westeros. A zombie ice dragon is damned hard to kill (.. re-kill? de-animate?)... unless you happen to have a dragon of your own.

Why would the Night King attack the alliance of the living in Winterfell? They have the only army large enough to stand up to his zombie horde, they have two superweapons (Rhaegon and Drogon) that can light up zombies en masse, and they have the only weapons (Rhaegon and Drogon again) that can take down his own personal superweapon.

Moreover, Winterfell is hella easy to bypass. It’s not controlling any choke points. If the Night King wanted to (and why wouldn’t he want to?), he could go down the east coast, sack the Dreadfort (picking up some Bolton zombies), sack White Harbor (picking up a town of Manderly zombies), pass through the Neck (this is the tricky part — maybe the Reeds are magic enough to stop him or slow him at Howland’s Moving Castle), and then (presuming the Reeds don’t have sekrit magik) sack King’s Landing, picking up one. million. zombies.

Then, whensoever he pleases — maybe after waiting for starvation to properly set in up at Winterfell — he moseys back north and finishes off the now comparatively minuscule army in Winterfell.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 7:11 AM on April 17 [11 favorites]


Dany's infertility - perhaps there's a reason for the Targ's incest thing.

One hypothesis for a portion of miscarriages is that the HLA remix of the embryo is incompatible with the host's immune system. There are anecdotes of couples who are infertile with each other, but are viable with other partners.
posted by porpoise at 7:22 AM on April 17


I might be misremembering, but I think that in Dany's case it's explicitly the price she paid Mirri Maz Duur to "Save" Drogo.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:26 AM on April 17 [3 favorites]


oh shit oh shit oh shit.

No army has ever taken Moat Cailin from the south.

The Night King implements the plan in my previous post. When he tries to come back north, the army of the living comes south to meet him at the Neck. The Final Battle between the living and the dead happens at Howland’s Moving Castle.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 7:32 AM on April 17 [11 favorites]


Oh, that's absolutely what I'd do if I were Night King, but I don't think that's how it will play out.

Dolyian reason: Cersei's still got a bit of wildfyre left, so I'm pretty sure the zombies are going to make it King's Landing. Zombies and wildfyre are just made for each other. But Jaime and Tyrion would presumably stay in Winterfell until the zombies attack, so if the zombies attack King's Landing first, they won't be there for Cersei's big show-down in King's Landing, and I just don't see her die before some sort or reckoning with her brothers. Of course she might just survive her encounter with the Night King, but "burning King's Landing to the ground" has such a "last action while alive/going out in style"-ring to it, have her survive that only so she can make it to Winterfell to be strangled by one of her brothers as the prophecy demands would be doing a diservice to the character, I think.

Watsonian reason: For a while now, the Night King has been pretty obsessed with Bran. Assuming, for a moment, that he hasn't already succeeded in winning Bran to the side of the zombies (still like that theory, but it's just that right now), Bran is clearly the greatest threat to his operation, because he potentially knows all his dirt, plans, secret weaknesses, etc and he might find out another vital piece of intel any minute he's left alive. (Eg. Bran could potentially figure out how to control the wights himself, turn the zombies against each other, create his own walkers, etc.) From that perspective, every second Bran is suffered to live is a risk and it makes perfect sense to make taking Bran out the priority.
posted by sohalt at 7:45 AM on April 17 [4 favorites]


The Final Battle between the living and the dead happens at Howland’s Moving Castle.

I could see that. Winterfell falls, the surviving humans retreat to the underground (pretty elaborate cave system up North), Night King moves on to King's Landing, learns the humans have regrouped at Moat Coalin - final stand at the Neck. (Quicksand seems like a great asset when fighting an army of the Undead).

I always thought the last Stand would be in the Riverlands, but that's just a feeling. We'll see.
posted by sohalt at 7:57 AM on April 17 [1 favorite]


Why would the Night King attack the alliance of the living in Winterfell?

To get all the dragons. It's great that Dany and Company have two more Dragons, but the Nightking didn't miss when hurled the "missile" at the one dragon.

In fact, if Dany & Co aren't coming up with a strategy to avoid getting the other dragons killed, well, it'll be pretty normal for this show.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:39 AM on April 17 [5 favorites]


Jon and Daenerys are nephew and aunt (icky! and somewhat dicey genetically), Jon and Sansa are actually just cousins (not particularly dicey genetically, and historically not considered icky).

I'm not sure why a marriage of first cousins would be that much better genetically than a nephew-aunt marriage. You're adding one additional person's genes to the mix, but if there's a dangerous recessive trait the aunt carries, there's still a healthy risk that the nephew will have inherited it, too.

I don't know how widely it's understood that Dany is infertile (if indeed she truly is). Her infertility is actually a compelling reason to back Jon instead--assuming he can win the favor of the dragons. An infertile queen is unlikely to leave a stable kingdom behind her. You will end up with a civil war between Starks and whatever house does well in the period and can claim to be second cousins once removed of the Targaryens.
posted by praemunire at 8:59 AM on April 17 [2 favorites]




Her infertility is actually a compelling reason to back Jon instead--assuming he can win the favor of the dragons

And the Dothraki and the Unsullied. They don't just need the dragons, they also need the army.
posted by sohalt at 10:53 AM on April 17 [1 favorite]


Okay, so the Night King led his army after thousands of years because that one guy stopped leaving him babies. Now Cersei is pregnant and Jon and Dany had the how do you know you can't have a baby foreshadowing before having sex, so which baby is going to be sacrificed to the Night King to convince them to go back up into the north for another couple thousand years?
posted by 80 Cats in a Dog Suit at 11:19 AM on April 17 [5 favorites]


....so which baby is going to be sacrificed to the Night King to convince them to go back up into the north for another couple thousand years?

The Wall is down, next episode the Night King will already be at the gates of Winterfell. Hardly enough time for Dany to carry a baby to term, I imagine. (I think that forshadowing is really more supposed to raise the spectre of mad-incest-Targ-successors). A baby at Winterfell which is conveniently already born would be Gilly's.....
posted by sohalt at 12:13 PM on April 17 [2 favorites]


I’m really just in this for the five minutes of Jaime & Brienne time I’m praying we get next episode.
posted by sallybrown at 12:14 PM on April 17 [3 favorites]


George Lucas helped direct Game of Thrones’ season 8 premiere

It shows.
posted by codacorolla at 12:25 PM on April 17 [6 favorites]


Forget where I read this but the Writers Guild Foundation in Los Angeles has a library, free and open to the public, which has most of the Game of Thrones scripts which are annotated with descriptions that will clear up some things as of the end of last season like Cersei really was pregnant and Tyrion really has Feelings for Dany.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 12:49 PM on April 17 [4 favorites]


It shows.

Lucas' problems have always been in the writing department, not the directing department. In my opinion leastwise.
posted by Justinian at 1:00 PM on April 17 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure why a marriage of first cousins would be that much better genetically than a nephew-aunt marriage.

In this case it doesn't matter, though, as Jon-Dany are much more closely related than your typical nephew and aunt. Someone linked an analysis where they are roughly as related as full brother/sister would be.

I would be interested to know what exactly Dany wants for the future of her dynasty? I realize right now her plan is just GIVE ME WHATS MINE but as far as she knows she has no more relatives who could be named heir. What's her plan? Hope for the best?
posted by Justinian at 1:04 PM on April 17 [4 favorites]


Maybe she wants Drogon to succeed her as the ruler of Westeros. Semi-relatedly, only within the past year did I consciously realize that Drogon is just one letter off from dragon. Drogon the Dragon. First of his name, etc.
posted by prize bull octorok at 1:13 PM on April 17 [7 favorites]


I would be interested to know what exactly Dany wants for the future of her dynasty?

Tyrion brought that up at some point and Dany was like "we have win first, then I'll worry about it."
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:28 PM on April 17


There are fine precedents for adoption. If, say, Sansa were to have a promising young son, he might be fostered and adopted as a Targaryen. If Dany actually loved her consort, that would probably be an acceptable outcome.
posted by praemunire at 2:48 PM on April 17 [2 favorites]


It depends how much of the claim to the empire is built on having control of dragons, I suppose.
posted by Navelgazer at 2:50 PM on April 17


metafilter: it depends on how much of the claim to the empire is built on having control of dragons, I suppose.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 3:43 PM on April 17 [2 favorites]


Prediction: Samwell Tarly is going to meet his end in the next episode or two, and his death will be a kind of martyrdom for getting the word out about Jon being the rightful king and whatnot.
posted by Burhanistan at 4:15 PM on April 17 [3 favorites]


I got no predictions at this point, there are lots of possibilities, imo. From the straight forward dead vs living to jon vs dany to a three way brawl between cersei, dany and jon and all the possible variations in between.

Sadly there's a lot of theories spinning in my head, but overall I don't have huge confidence in the showrunners while hoping I'm all sorts of wrong about them.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:48 PM on April 17


It seems I have missed out on a #shiptruther thing. I just unfocus my eyes and sing to myself quietly whenever Euron is on screen. Still, I can't quite believe Euron's crew is literally mute. I was like, "Ah, they must be referring to the silence of the dead, because they just murdered them." Everything about the Greyjoys has been bad forever really.

Just to pick on Jon and Dany, I don't think Kit Harrington or Emilia Clarke are great actors in the first place, but Jon and Dany are ALSO both very stiff self-involved characters. That's fine they can be stiff and self-involved people who like each other and don't know how to romance bc they were the woo-ees rather than the woo-ers in their previous relationships. They really squandered a chance for a scene where Dany warms up to Jon because the dragons like him, explicitly, and they talk and unthaw and learn about each other's hearts, but instead it's some dragon spectacle* and generic romance talk, like a teenager's idea of a date, just jamming those characters into a Romance Situation, no changes just the same pouty Jon and imperious Dany that their actors can't quite get around.

*My SO said, "I never thought I'd say this in my life, but this gratuitous dragon flying scene is boring."

I liked the Jon and Arya reunion because of course. I am very concerned about the Winterfell heart tree. It's like a big fat direwolf that can't move, all this time, in terms of its vulnerability and readiness to be GRRM'd just to make me feel bad. I'm going to be very sad when they burn it to fight wights, or a dragon just goes BRRAP on it.

Urgh I just remembered the children of the forest fighting with hand grenades.

I'm ready for the end. I'm here for it. There are some characters I like, I would like to see good things happen w/ them, show, pls.
posted by fleacircus at 5:48 PM on April 17 [11 favorites]


They could've done reunion fan-service in a slightly long pre credits roll, none of them really advanced the plot.

*My SO said, "I never thought I'd say this in my life, but this gratuitous dragon flying scene is boring."

I hope some real narrative tension appears, the biggest grandiose quality cgi is just dull if there is not some emotional backing. They are producer fools if the miss out having one of those long episodes just be Arya in disguise riding all over the kingdoms cleaning up corruption (in a very final way).
posted by sammyo at 6:11 PM on April 17 [5 favorites]


Just to pick on Jon and Dany, I don't think Kit Harrington or Emilia Clarke are great actors in the first place, but Jon and Dany are ALSO both very stiff self-involved characters.

Yeah, but Jon had great chemistry with Ygritte and Dany's had chemistry with Drogo, Jorah, and even a little with the Daarios and Yara. It almost makes me wonder if something is up with their relationship but that's another kind of #shiptruther.
posted by asteria at 6:23 PM on April 17 [2 favorites]


I'm ready for the end. I'm here for it.

Honestly, so am I. In a way, it seems like there just isn't enough series left tell the rest of this story, and at the same time it feels like they only need like 90 minutes to tell the rest of it. Strange. I wonder what will happen but I'm keeping expectations pretty low. Let's just get on with it, now.
posted by clockzero at 6:31 PM on April 17 [2 favorites]


George Lucas helped direct Game of Thrones’ season 8 premiere
It shows.


codacorolla, I'm kind of curious about this. I'm admittedly in what I assume is your same boat in terms of mostly hate-watching this show, but for me this episode felt more artfully directed and written than any of the ones from the last, I don't know, four seasons or so. For me that still only puts it firmly in the realm of "workmanlike," but I'm genuinely interested in what you found particularly artless about it in the context of the whole show.
posted by invitapriore at 6:50 PM on April 17


I’m catching up here, but dis_integration has it right about Gendry: he is not a Baratheon and has no actual claim on the throne, although he could still try to gather supporters if he really wanted to make a go at it. Perceptions that he has a claim or is an heir tend to be grounded in a misunderstanding of how bastardy works in the story.

There are basically three tiers for a Westerosi noble bastard:

1. Just a bastard, a random kid who isn’t acknowledged by the father
2. An acknowledged bastard who gets one of the regional bastard surnames like Waters, Stone, or Snow (claimed and provided for by the father on one level or another, but still unable to inherit)
3. A legitimized bastard who is brought into a family’s line of inheritance (Ramsay Snow becoming Ramsay Bolton and Roose’s heir is your example here).

Gendry isn’t even a Waters, let alone a Baratheon, because Robert never actually acknowledged him.

It’s not unthinkable that some people might rally behind Gendry if he turned out to have a ton of military prowess, but they’d have to be clamoring to have an heir of Robert specifically on the throne, one who isn’t in any way prepared for that responsibility, and I don’t see that happening. (When you saw this with Jon in the North, he had proven military prowess and leadership experience and was seen as an acknowledged bastard of Ned Stark, all things that made a big difference.)

However, if Gendry survives the war, I can see whoever is in charge at the end legitimizing him to potentially keep House Baratheon going. It’s a bastard house to begin with, but since this is not the +books thread, I’ll end the explanation there.
posted by verbminx at 7:00 PM on April 17 [6 favorites]


(When you saw this with Jon in the North, he had proven military prowess and leadership experience and was seen as an acknowledged bastard of Ned Stark, all things that made a big difference.)

Another thing worth noting: Even Ned who was Robert's close friend and was extremely loyal to Robert didn't think Robert was a very good king. No one really seems to be desperate for more of Robert Baratheon as a ruler. Ned Stark (and the Starks as a whole) were beloved by the Northern houses. So even though Jon Snow is a bastard, he still embodies a lot of Ned (both good and bad qualities) and was raised by him, so you can see why Northern houses who fondly remember the good years with Ned Stark as Warden of the North/Lord of Winterfell and who still mourn his loss would be willing to support Jon Snow. With Gendry and Robert Baratheon, not so much.
posted by litera scripta manet at 8:00 PM on April 17 [6 favorites]


Litera scripta manet, you’re absolutely picking up what I was setting down. While the average citizen during Robert’s reign probably thought he was an okay king (the kingdoms were more or less at peace, and there were some favorable conditions beyond his control, like the long summer), much of what people liked about his reign that was within anyone’s control was attributable to Jon Arryn’s administration and to Tywin Lannister funding the Crown, which itself was eventually funded by the Iron Bank.

For Gendry to become king, people would have had to specifically believe in and love Robert the way Ned was loved in the North, so that they wanted to follow someone they saw as the next best thing. My impression is that the Lannisters completely blew whatever political capital Robert had (also my opinion is that he absolutely was an usurper in the end, someone interested in killing Rhaegar when he should have cut a deal with him, but I try to leave opinion out of plot analysis). Meanwhile, though, Jon likes Gendry, and there is that Ned and Robert exchange about “my son and your daughter,” so I won’t rule out Gendry/Arya until at least one of them is dead.
posted by verbminx at 8:54 PM on April 17 [4 favorites]


For me that still only puts it firmly in the realm of "workmanlike," but I'm genuinely interested in what you found particularly artless about it in the context of the whole show.

It's boring and predictable. One flat shot after another. The dynamic shots are cliched and stupid. It's mostly characters quipping and expositing at one another, and the one semi-interesting scene (exploring the castle) is pretty doofy and ends quickly. The dragon-sex scene is like something out of a CW show. Honestly, most CW shows are better.
posted by codacorolla at 9:28 PM on April 17 [2 favorites]


You know it's great that Theon is getting his redemption arc but what's he really bringing to the table? He doesn't have an army (although Yara might spare a few men), he's not going to be well-received by any Stark. I reckon he's zombie fodder, first "named" character down? probably saving Bran's life in the process? That would be a tidy finish.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 9:32 PM on April 17 [3 favorites]


Drogon and Rhaegal watching - equivalent to having pets in the room when you get down, or children? Discuss!

Worse, I think it was Drogon and Bran watching, hence Bran insisting it's time to tell Jon about his lineage. IIRC, the "previously on..." segment prior to the opening credits ended with a shot of Bran, and then a close up of a Dragon's eye blinking, representing Bran inhabiting it, so maybe that was intended to foreshadow this.
posted by chill at 1:32 AM on April 18 [5 favorites]


The dragon-sex scene is like something out of a CW show.

HOW THE HELL DID I MISS THE DRAGON SEX SCENE?
posted by some loser at 5:28 AM on April 18 [3 favorites]


Oh wait i see you meen the sex scene with the dragon watching... not the same thing. I see where I went wrong.. like if someone had said "the tentacle sex scene" you can imagine what I'd be expecting. What I'd *not* be expecting is a scene where the tentacles just kind of watch two humans going at it.
posted by some loser at 5:32 AM on April 18 [19 favorites]


I’m catching up here, but dis_integration has it right about Gendry: he is not a Baratheon and has no actual claim on the throne, although he could still try to gather supporters if he really wanted to make a go at it. Perceptions that he has a claim or is an heir tend to be grounded in a misunderstanding of how bastardy works in the story.

While I agree with you about the codified ways that succession works, I think that paints a very incomplete picture especially w/r/t the Iron Throne. Claim isn't about proof of anything, it's about telling a story, any story, that people can use to back you up. (Darius's claim in classical Persia is a great example of this, but then, so is Robert's - part of the reason he was chosen to supplant Aeron if the rebellion succeeded was that there was Targ ancestry way back with him.) Hell, Cersei's only claim to the throne is "I'm sitting here what are you gonna do about it."

Particularly in war-torn Westeros with all niceties going out the window, what you need for a claim are supporters. That's where Gendry would fail. Not because he doesn't have a good story, but because he has no one who'll listen to it or care.
posted by Navelgazer at 5:52 AM on April 18 [4 favorites]


You know it's great that Theon is getting his redemption arc but what's he really bringing to the table?

There seem be lot of variations on the question of what really matters i.e. the dead vs the living or are the living still fighting amongst themselves.

I have such mixed emotions about Theon, thanks to Alfie Allen's excellent portrayal of him. Having him killed by a Stark would feel oh so right, and yet. Having him earn some measure of redemption feels right, and yet?

It's be interesting to see what Arya and Sansa have to say about him.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:07 AM on April 18 [3 favorites]


> What I'd *not* be expecting is a scene where the tentacles just kind of watch two humans going at it.

up to this point in my life I never once considered tentacle sex from the tentacle beast’s perspective. like what if in tentacle beast culture sex with humans is seen as over the top weird and gross? what if tentacle beasts get kinkshamed by other tentacle beasts for finding sex with humans fascinating? do tentacle beasts sometimes go hikikomori and spend all their days and nights obsessively watching human sex on pornhub?
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 7:20 AM on April 18 [10 favorites]


I don't know about tentacle monsters that are the product of weird science or the Elder Dimensions or whatever, but I would imagine that octopodes would find us deeply freaky. I mean, only four limbs? And those not even having suckers but some kind of puny ridges for gripping? And with bones inside us? What's up with that? I'd imagine that if they saw humans mating that they couldn't stop laughing, and they'd understand that we'd want to have sex with them, but for them it would be like doing it with a meat-covered stick where they would have to spend some time finding out where to put it in.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:43 AM on April 18 [6 favorites]


there is only one god: the god of keeping threads on topic. and there is only one thing we say to the god of keeping threads on topic: not today.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 7:51 AM on April 18 [31 favorites]


There's also the element where cephalapods generally die after mating/laying eggs. Like, after a varying-by-species amount of courting, one octopus tucks a packet of sperm inside the other, and then they sort of go their separate ways and basically stop eating, with the female laying the eggs and wafting first sperm and then clean water over the eggs and guarding the eggs and maaaaaaybe surviving long enough to see the eggs hatch.

So in my mind, if true tentacle monsters are like actual cephalapods in this way, sex that can lead to reproduction is intimately tied to death, and our mammalian tendency to fuck indiscriminately and bear young INSIDE OUR BODIES LIKE BONES is both horrifying and fascinating at the same time.

This is my favorite derail in the history of Metafilter, by the way.
posted by joyceanmachine at 7:53 AM on April 18 [13 favorites]


someday my hypothetical grandchildren may ask me where I was and what I was doing when the Mueller report dropped, and well I think I’ll have to lie to them, because giving the real answer would require so much explaining.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 8:09 AM on April 18 [23 favorites]


Navelgazer — But that is, again, pretty much implicit in what I said. No one has any compelling reason to follow Gendry. He does not have a legal claim on the throne, and for his position as Robert’s bastard son to make him an attractive claimant, supporters would have to be motivated to follow him (because of his charisma and because of things like emotional investment in his father’s reign) and give him military and financial support. I don’t see any of this happening.

I can’t get into other canon examples (i.e. reasons why Daemon Blackfyre and his descendants had support), because this isn’t the books thread. But medieval royal claims are absolutely not fully legalistic and regular the way we now expect in a constitutional monarchy, for sure: to a great extent, the kind of thing Daenerys is doing, the “fake it until you make it” approach, that idea of having a good story, is a good depiction. You might get the army eventually, if you look like a good enough candidate, or you might just be someone else’s permanent guest (Viserys), or you might set up a competing “court” from whatever country you’re stuck in. “Fuck you, that’s why” (Cersei’s reasoning) also works if you can back it up. We see all of these approaches in this story, and all claim pursuits involve a claimant acting under the assumption that they already are the monarch, not asking for permission to be the monarch.

This is also why a lot of people tend to not understand Daenerys’s execution of the Tarlys (essentially, they betrayed a liege lord who they had sworn fealty to who had sworn it to her), but I figure I’m pretty late for that debate. It is interesting to me that debates in this fandom often tend to play out as though they were in-world, though, especially when something (in this case, how justifiable those executions were or were not) is not cut and dried either in the story or out of it. Lots of mileage comes from the ambiguity.
posted by verbminx at 9:19 AM on April 18 [9 favorites]


Claim isn't about proof of anything, it's about telling a story, any story, that people can use to back you up

That's exactly right, and it's why I think the revelation of Jon's true lineage can help him only at the margins, especially at a crisis point like this where soldiers on the ground and cash in the treasury are so crucial. People already following Jon will feel extra-justified in continuing to do so. People who want to switch at any point will have a nice cover story. But most people in choosing a side will have calculated who they think is most likely to prevail over the external threat and the other competitors, and for them it doesn't matter much who Jon's father is.
posted by praemunire at 9:19 AM on April 18 [3 favorites]


Actually, is there a chance revealing Jon's true parentage will hurt his support from the northern faction? They're already angry that he gave up his crown. Now they'll find out he's not actually good old Ned's boy after all, plus the prejudice against Targaryens. Do they have any feelings about Lyanna? Does it matter that he was raised by Ned? I don't expect them to have very progressive views on adoption and who your "real" parents are through that lens. Also it would be a way for Sansa to become Queen in the North, which I am all for.

The talk about power goes all the way back to something Varys said in season 1(?). I've found the book quote but I think the show basically had it the same:
“In a room sit three great men, a king, a priest, and a rich man with his gold. Between them stands a sellsword, a little man of common birth and no great mind. Each of the great ones bids him slay the other two. ‘Do it,’ says the king, ‘for I am your lawful ruler.’ ‘Do it,’ says the priest, ‘for I command you in the name of the gods.’ ‘Do it,’ says the rich man, ‘and all this gold shall be yours.’ So tell me – who lives and who dies?”
My Sansa feelings aside, I can't help but feel like all the human stuff is stupid (especially Cersei's, I mean I love Lena Headey but Cersei is so dumb sometimes), and the Night King really does have the best claim with the biggest army.
posted by j.r at 9:45 AM on April 18 [5 favorites]


I was once accidentally served someone else’s lunch at a work outing. They set in front of me a plate of pasta with baby cephalopod tentacles arranged artfully atop the noodles. I was so sad looking at these sucker flowers.

Now I see that they’re ORPHANS, too, and I can no longer even.

Lady Mormont will raise Gendry and show off his parantage via Sam, as well as shine up his dragon glass skills and Arya will gut anyone who objects. Plus everyone else with a claim will be dead.
posted by tilde at 10:04 AM on April 18 [1 favorite]


There was one moment when they did a boring long shot of Jon and Dany to broadly telegraph the people talking about them on the ramparts were concerned and the two actors looked so chemistry rich I was betting to myself it was an outtake.
posted by tilde at 10:07 AM on April 18 [1 favorite]


Do they have any feelings about Lyanna?

Pretty sure Lyanna Mormont is named after Lyanna Stark.

And like, I think the narrative for how Robert Baratheon got on the throne was that the EVIL PRINCE unlawfully KIDNAPPED and RAPED the pure and innocent Lyanna, and to AVENGE HER, Lyanna's brother and beloved RAISED THE NORTH AND THE HEREDITARY BARATHEON LANDS IN REBELLION.

So recognizing Jon as the legal heir to the throne involves a certain amount of back-tracking on one of the big, glorious stories that the Lords of the North have been feeling proud about and naming their daughters after for a generation. Plus, Jon being the legitimate heir (and not just a bastard like Gendry) means having to believe in some book larnin'. It's an iffy case.
posted by joyceanmachine at 10:07 AM on April 18 [8 favorites]


The north LOVED Lyanna. But they also gonna love the guns Gendry got from rowing several seasons straight when he takes his shirt off in episode 2.
posted by tofu_crouton at 10:12 AM on April 18 [16 favorites]


I was once accidentally served someone else’s lunch at a work outing. They set in front of me a plate of pasta with baby cephalopod tentacles arranged artfully atop the noodles. I was so sad looking at these sucker flowers.

NIGHT KING INTO HAUTE CUISINE NOW
posted by Navelgazer at 10:47 AM on April 18 [4 favorites]


It would be on point for this show to give each surviving main character a Six Feet Under finale-style send-off at the end of the last episode. Could easily be seen through Bran.

(They will not do something that awesome, I am aware. I just wanted to share that thought.)
posted by heatvision at 10:51 AM on April 18 [1 favorite]


Love is the death of duty.
posted by amtho at 10:52 AM on April 18 [2 favorites]


> or you might just be someone else’s permanent guest (Viserys)

so uhh is comparing Julian Assange to Viserys a thing, because it seems to me like it should totally be a thing.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 11:02 AM on April 18 [12 favorites]


And like, I think the narrative for how Robert Baratheon got on the throne was that the EVIL PRINCE unlawfully KIDNAPPED and RAPED the pure and innocent Lyanna, and to AVENGE HER, Lyanna's brother and beloved RAISED THE NORTH AND THE HEREDITARY BARATHEON LANDS IN REBELLION.

Oh shit good point. They would have loved her, starting with how she was a tomboy lady who rode horses and may or may not have been a secret knight who won a tourney or whatever. Lyanna Mormont sure would have. The pure martyr thing is bonus. But if it turns out she was actually in love with Rhaegar and ran off with him, I don't think they would want to deal with that kind of complexity in a person they venerate like that. They can't even deal with the complexity of, we need Dany's army and dragons so maybe it's not the time to argue about the King in the North thing right now.
posted by j.r at 11:20 AM on April 18 [6 favorites]


> or you might just be someone else’s permanent guest (Viserys)

Read as Ghost , would read again with a Viserys ghost moving from hauntee to hauntee after X pivotal episode.
posted by tilde at 11:57 AM on April 18 [2 favorites]


hah! it’s a way to lampshade the “looks like so-and-so is carrying the idiot ball” thing that happens when the writers need someone to make out-of-character mistakes in order to get the story the writers prefer to happen. Just every so often have the character you need to be dumb get mind-hijacked by a ghost who’s dumb.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 12:28 PM on April 18 [5 favorites]


I would imagine that octopodes would find us deeply freaky

Probably true, but this only highlights what a complete fuckwit your average mollusk is.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 1:34 PM on April 18


I'm right here ffs
posted by prize bull octorok at 1:42 PM on April 18 [15 favorites]


> Probably true, but this only highlights what a complete fuckwit your average mollusk is.

torn between desire to come to the defense of The Whelk and desire to make fun of House Greyjoy
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 1:45 PM on April 18 [7 favorites]




Also, Arya knows about Jon being stabbed through the heart! How? I want to see that conversation!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:04 PM on April 18 [2 favorites]


Arya's kinda been interested in her god (of Death) - I remember her having an fall outs with the one-eyed guy over gods in a previous season.

Being someone with a positive Streetsmarts skill, she surely must have picked up rumours/ news of Jon getting stabbed and dead while up at the Wall, then returning and taking up the mantle of Lord Commander of the Night's Watch.

Being interested in Death/ death - someone who comes back is surely interesting, no? What if someone she retired came back - and not even as "undead" or even diminshed like one-eye (Donderion).
posted by porpoise at 6:37 PM on April 18 [1 favorite]


Honestly, most CW shows are better.

Y'know, Mrs. Spatula dragged me kicking and screaming into watching _Grimm_, and for the first three or four episodes I was way too cool for it, and rolling my eyes at this pack of AV-club drama geeks... and by the end I was begging for more, because those guys were leaving _nothing_ behind... It was sloppy and dumb and messy, but it was FUN because they were TRYING SHIT.

_GoT_ though... This show is just... _boring_. I paid for the HBO, and I'm fully invested, sunk cost, I'll finish it off... but so far the best episode this season was the Bud Lite ad.
posted by Rat Spatula at 8:17 PM on April 18 [2 favorites]


Y'all are watching a different show than me. I've seen almost every CW show at one time or another and there's simply no comparison. The writing, directing, acting, production values, cinematography, etc etc are just in a different league. Either you haven't seen the CW or you are just way too invested in hating on GoT. Which, sure, got a bit bumpy the previous two seasons... but have you actually seen "Legacies" on the CW? Ouch.

CXG rocked though.
posted by Justinian at 1:37 AM on April 19 [6 favorites]


I think that people who are puzzled by Cersei being willing to sleep with Euron so soon are forgetting something - she just really likes to bang. Woman knows what she likes and if there's a political benefit to it as well? Great, have at it!

Also, the animated opening sequence always makes me think they're hinting that all of this world is actually on the inside of a huge hollow planet.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 3:50 AM on April 19 [2 favorites]


Also, the animated opening sequence always makes me think they're hinting that all of this world is actually on the inside of a huge hollow planet.

A clockwork cosmic bong and the "sun" is the part of the bowl the lighter is under.

Or would that be a cosmic clockwork bong? I'm not sure the proper modifier order there. It's too early and I'm still hung over.
posted by tilde at 4:14 AM on April 19 [1 favorite]


Also, the animated opening sequence always makes me think they're hinting that all of this world is actually on the inside of a huge hollow planet.

Same. Apparently GRRM vetoed that a long time ago but I still think it's true.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 4:17 AM on April 19


Yeah, I think it’s been clarified that the only reason the intro is inside a sphere is because otherwise they have to show what’s around the table
posted by DoctorFedora at 6:35 AM on April 19


Look, my husband dragged me kicking and screaming into watching GOT, and I think the intro is pretentious wank, and I dislike Arya, Jaime, and Tyrion on principle because FUCK GEORGE R R MARTIN AND TERRIBLE IDEAS ABOUT WHO IS WORTHY OF REDEMPTION.

But the production values on this show are wild. Like, it's true, maybe the dragon flight stuff wasn't AAA game studio cut scene quality, but there is no way the CW is doing a scene like Jon and Danerys riding into Winterfell. The number of extras they had, and the horses, and the costumes, and the number of cameras they had, and the cinematography, and the color work? None. You would've gotten a CGI shot of the countryside, and then Jon and Danerys standing the courtyard with two horses in the back held by The Dude We Rented Them From For Three Hours and eight other dudes wearing obviously plastic armor.

And as bad as the dialogue sometimes is on this show, it's still better than CW standard. And I say this as somebody who has watched way more seasons of CW and CW-adjacent shows than I should've -- the closest this show has come to being CW level was during the Bad Pussy Dorne period, and even then, my God, they were filming at the Alcazar in Seville.
posted by joyceanmachine at 6:57 AM on April 19 [5 favorites]


I think that people who are puzzled by Cersei being willing to sleep with Euron so soon are forgetting something - she just really likes to bang.

Maybe, but clearly not Euron. Her body language in that scene wasn't exactly ambiguous.
posted by sohalt at 8:24 AM on April 19 [1 favorite]


I totally bought Cersei wanting to sleep with Euron. He’s gross-hot-dirty in his way, plus things are tense around there and her pool of potential guys is tiny given that she needs to maintain her command/respect/boss lady position and we all know that means not being able to sleep with an underling (given that the sexism of Westeros isn’t too different than what we have to deal with). If anything I thought she was letting her lust get ahead of her reason, because it would have been more effective for her to string Euron along longer or dole out favors one bit at a time.
posted by sallybrown at 8:33 AM on April 19


Again, I'm not disputing that someone out there might legit be into Euron; some people certainly are into "gross-hot-dirty", alright. I just don't see any indication whatsoever that Cersei might be among them. She seems deeply annoyed by his insistence, gives in only after visible internal struggle with herself, looks pretty apalled afterwards, and when she pays him a compliment "You're arrogant. I like that", she sneers. (A poster above commented she probably likes his arrogance because it makes him easier to manipulate and ultimately get rid of, and I think that's the most plausible reading). There's not a single moment in the entire sequence of events where she looks remotedly pleased with what's happening.

[....]given that she needs to maintain her command/respect/boss lady position and we all know that means not being able to sleep with an underling. Exactly. And Euron totally is her underling, at least in her eyes (I mean he's no Rhaeagar, is he? The Grejoys are also a bit of a loser house, in the larger scheme of things, mere vasalls, while she's the Queen of Seven kingdoms; their current claim to independence is a disgrace Cersei finds entirely illegitimate, but desperate times call for desperate measures), so sleeping with him will only give him ideas above his station. She might have to play into his delusion for strategical reasons for the moment being, but she clearly loathes every second. Did you see her reaction when Euron wants her to compare him to Jaime? The gall of it! To even think they could possible be on the same level! Mark my words, she's already plotting Euron's ultimate demise in that moment.

(Now, Dany and Daario, that's where that dynamic you described pretty much applies. But these scenes are framed and acted very differently.)
posted by sohalt at 9:52 AM on April 19 [5 favorites]


I actually like the cheesiness of the dragon rides. It makes me feel like I'm watching a classic fantasy adventure show, like Flash Gordon...
posted by Schmucko at 11:48 AM on April 19


My problem with the cheesy dragon ride was the sheer laziness of the plotting around it. What does it mean to Jon? To Dany? Why did she think he would be able to ride it, as he isn't known to be a Targ? Why did she invite him to? This seems like it would be an important Relationship Moment! The dragons are her children, not a cool car...
posted by BungaDunga at 12:52 PM on April 19 [6 favorites]


Fans: WE! WANT! DRAGON! RIDES!
Writers: *facepalm, deep sigh* Idiots. Fine... have to do it before [whatever terrible thing happens to Jon/Dany in the Battle of Winterfell that destroys everyone's favorite ship], I guess, so... after he knocks her up, but before the Battle of Winterfell, and also as close to him finding out about his true parentage as possible but still before that 'reveal'.

... and so we get this, now, despite it being utterly pointless from any narrative standpoint. Not well-executed or directed or budgeted because the people who were dying to see it won't care or even notice whether it's crap. The rest of us will suffer in silence - or just whine on places like Reddit and Metafilter. Places that the show runners and directors can ecstatically ignore completely now that production's wrapped.

If I'm bitter, it's probably because the PBS version of the Narnia series had the most fucking godawful flying Aslan ride, and I knew precisely how was terrible it was at age 9. Ruined direct-to-themepark-ride bullshit for me forever, but it doesn't help that this particular episode's dragon riding was somehow worse than that flying Aslan scene despite having at least a thousand times the budget. JFC.
posted by Ryvar at 1:12 PM on April 19 [5 favorites]


it's still better than CW standard.

In point of fact we don't even have to theorize... because the CW has actually done a fantasy show in an obvious response to GoT's popularity! It's called The Outpost. And while nobody I know claims to have actually seen it, I have and I know it wasn't a dream because google confirms the show exists. Let's just say that they aren't filming in Iceland with 200 extras.
posted by Justinian at 1:26 PM on April 19 [1 favorite]


the CW has actually done a fantasy show in an obvious response to GoT's popularity! It's called The Outpost.

What... is... going on in that photo? I have a lazy eye, I guess I should be happy that one of my people got a starring role in a CW show?
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:27 PM on April 19


Honestly, most CW shows are better.

Y'know, Mrs. Spatula dragged me kicking and screaming into watching _Grimm_


As an unabashed Grimm fan, I feel I should point out that it was an NBC show. . .
posted by soundguy99 at 5:50 PM on April 19


About the dragon riding, I always figured Jon would ride Rhaegal in more of a heat of the moment thing. Like, in the battle with the Night King or something like that.

Actually, they had a great opportunity for it last season. After Benjen helped Jon escape, we could have seen Jon fall off his horse, or the horse gets injured, or something like that. And Jon's basically in the middle of a winter hellscape with no rescue in sight, and then here comes Rhaegal, and Jon just says "fuck it, if the dragon eats me, at least it will be faster than freezing to death" or whatever.

Or just some rationalization! Maybe Jon just doesn't know enough about the history of dragon riding to know that non-Targaryens have really long odds when it comes to dragon riding. (Of course, Jon is a Targ, but he doesn't know that.)

Another option would be wait until Jon's Targ heritage is revealed, and then use it as a sort of test.
posted by litera scripta manet at 8:34 PM on April 19 [1 favorite]


Now, regarding the implications of Jon's newly revealed parentage, I guess one option would be to use it as a bargaining chip to get the North declared its own separate kingdom. Jon may not be able to successfully fight Dany for her claim to the throne, but she has relied a lot on how the throne is her right by birth, so maybe she'd be willing to let the North go in exchange for Jon not pressing his claim. (Not that he seems inclined to press his claim, but I imagine their might be some people who want him to.)
posted by litera scripta manet at 8:37 PM on April 19


About the dragon riding, I always figured Jon would ride Rhaegal in more of a heat of the moment thing. Like, in the battle with the Night King or something like that.

Actually, they had a great opportunity for it last season. After Benjen helped Jon escape[…]


Or instead of that. Really, they could have replaced all the Benjen Ex Machina scenes with dragons being helpful. There’s no particular reason Drogon couldn’t have saved Bran that time, for example. Tie the three eyes to the three eggs, y’know?

And doing away with Benjen would also do away with the whole business of, “So it turns out shoving dragon glass into your heart makes you the freethinking kind of zombie,” which is just a weird one-off that is only there to provide Benjen’s deus-ex-machina moments with a deus-ex-machina of their own. Once you get rid of all that, you can also go ahead and ditch all the clunky exposition required to explain it.

His swingy fire thing is neat, but surely they could just give that to literally anyone else? It’s not exactly magical technology, and there are dudes with actually magical flaming swords, so...???
posted by Sys Rq at 10:51 PM on April 19


(that flaming sword is a *great* prop, btw)
posted by Sys Rq at 10:59 PM on April 19 [1 favorite]


Wait, Benjen was a zombie? stabbed in the heart with dragonglass? did I miss something?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 3:17 AM on April 20


My own memory is hazy, but apparently yes.

On the show, Benjen was stabbed by a White Walker while on the other side of the Wall, but the children of the forest saved him with Dragonglass, turning him into a partial White Walker. Now, he is neither zombie-like nor a blood-thirsty killer by nature.

I imagine that Bran knows how that process works and could replicate it. I used to think Jaime would make a good candidate for that kind of thing.
posted by sohalt at 4:40 AM on April 20 [1 favorite]


[One deleted. Remember, this thread is Show Only, no spoilers (or edging in to possible spoilers); thanks!]
posted by taz at 6:57 AM on April 20


Wait, Benjen was a zombie? stabbed in the heart with dragonglass? did I miss something?

Yup. I mean, I didn’t even realize Benjen existed at all until I Clockwork Oranged the whole series over the last few weeks. He’s easy to miss, since his whole arc is literally only three episodes and is ultimately pointless. It’s better left unnoticed, tbh. But, yeah. Zombie.

Waaaay back in the beginning, he went north of the wall, and his horse came back riderless. The assumption was that the chilly willies got him, but then way later in like season six or seven he showed up to save Bran and it was like, “Hey, remember me? [Uh...Kind of?] Turns out I’m not dead!” But then Bran had a flashback or something where he saw the, um, tree...fairies? shoving (not stabbing, shoving) a hunk of dragonglass into Benjen’s heart, and it was explained that the chilly willies did get him, and that the shard-shoving was how he came to be not a chilly willy chess piece kind of zombie but just a regular dude who happened not to be alive anymore. And also he couldn’t go south of the wall without turning to dust because of wall juju. But then the chilly willies got him again after he saved Jon, so now I guess he’s extra dead? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

None of that has anything to do with anything (especially this episode!) and the whole story would be better served by putting a dragon there instead.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:32 PM on April 20 [1 favorite]


only three episodes and is ultimately pointless

It's not pointless if it establishes a process where a bunch more people get Benjenized later on. Like hundreds or thousands of people. That'd be messed up -- therefore it's my new prediction.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 12:48 PM on April 20 [1 favorite]


But then Bran had a flashback or something where he saw the, um, tree...fairies? shoving (not stabbing, shoving) a hunk of dragonglass into Benjen’s heart, and it was explained that the chilly willies did get him, and that the shard-shoving was how he came to be not a chilly willy chess piece kind of zombie but just a regular dude who happened not to be alive anymore.

That wasn't Benjen. That was a flashback showing the creation of the first White Walker. The HBO viewer's guide describes it thusly:
Thousands of years in the past, in a lush green locale, Bran and the Three-Eyed Raven find Leaf and other Children of the Forest huddled in front of a weirwood tree with a man tied to it. Leaf inserts a shard of dragonglass into the man's chest, and his eyes turn ice blue. The Children of the Forest created the White Walkers. Pulled back to the cave, Bran demands to know why. “We needed to defend ourselves,” Leaf says, “From you. From men.”
The actor in that scene was Vladimir Furdik, who plays the Night King.
posted by dephlogisticated at 2:22 PM on April 20


Or instead of that. Really, they could have replaced all the Benjen Ex Machina scenes with dragons being helpful. There’s no particular reason Drogon couldn’t have saved Bran that time, for example. Tie the three eyes to the three eggs, y’know?

Well, it would have felt a lot weirder for Drogon to have saved Bran since the dragons were very far away at that time, but I agree that Rhaegal could have completely replaced Benjen in the S7 scene. It seems like the Night King/white walkers were mainly interested in getting their own dragon, so it was wights going after Jon (as far as I remember), and the wights are easily dispatched by dragon fire.

Another advantage of Rhaegal saving Jon is that it would have made Jon's survival less completely ridiculous, since just riding on the dragon could keep him warm(er) and he would have gotten back to safety a lot sooner.

For replacing the Benjen saves Bran scene, maybe they could have just like not killed off Summer and Bran and maybe even Meera could have ridden Summer to Castle Black. Aren't the direwolves supposed to be like the size of a pony?
posted by litera scripta manet at 2:27 PM on April 20


That wasn't Benjen. That was a flashback showing the creation of the first White Walker.

You’re completely right, of course. I guess I somehow conflated that scene with the one where Benjen says they did the exact same thing to him. How foolish of me. This show is so straightforward! Fml.
posted by Sys Rq at 3:08 PM on April 20 [3 favorites]




While the bit about the translation from Valyrian of "gold" and "hand" is the sort of absolute nerding out that I can get behind I find the evidence for Jon being Azor Ahai to be overwhelming. The salt, smoke, and bleeding star sell it for me re: Jon.
posted by Justinian at 5:59 PM on April 20 [1 favorite]


I've been doing a re-watch of GoT (didn't quite manage to finish before the new season started), and I have to say, I'm almost rooting for Jon to press his claim to the Iron Throne just because it would really bring out the delicious irony of Dany being presented as the "rightful ruler of the 7 kingdoms, etc etc" and going on about the oath House Stark pledged to House Targ and how she's the last Targ so Jon needs to bend the knee. (Dany would have been 1000x less annoying to watch in S7 if she had dialed the "bend the knee" rhetoric down significantly.)

Obviously, she can also just be like I have dragons, thousands of Unsullied soldiers and a Dothraki horde so I win. And a lot of people have advised her to just embrace being a conqueror, but she seems to really care about her "right" to the throne. So if she really does believe all that crap she spouted to Jon in S7 Ep 3, the minute she finds out about R+L=J, she should just hand it all over to Jon.

She won't, of course, and he probably doesn't want it, but still.

Also, I'm curious to see Dany's reaction. Because I feel like a part of her would be happy to know she's not the end of the Targ line. She's no longer the last Targ in the world. Although since she's convinced she can't have babies, it may make her feel more conflicted about marrying Jon, because if he wed someone else and had kids with them, it could keep the Targ line from going extinct.

One way they could deal with this: Have Jon and Dany break up, have Jon marry someone else, and have Dany take the iron throne, but designate Jon/Jon's heirs as the the next in her line of succession. (This is assuming a) any of them survive the coming battles and b) that Dany is in fact unable to bear children. And as I think Jon pointed out in S7, maybe she shouldn't just take that witch's word for it.)
posted by litera scripta manet at 7:59 PM on April 20 [2 favorites]


Also, I really feel like they're doing Sansa's character a disservice by always talking about how smart she is and not really showing it. Like, we see her talk about food stores and crap like that, but Ned Stark could do that shit. Jon Snow handled that as Lord Commander of the Night's Watch. Handling that stuff is great for looking out for the people under your care, but I want more than that for Sansa.

In re-watching Game of Thrones earlier seasons, I was reminded of how masterful Margaery was at all of this. The way she got the common people on her side. The way she handled Joffrey. The way she handled the creepy High Sparrow. Time and again, she was shown to be a top player of the game.

And that's what I want for Sansa. We saw a flash of it when she lied for Baelish when he was on trial for Lysa's murder, and I loved it, but we haven't seen anything on that level since.

I'm sure this is just another one of those things sacrificed for the sake of the shorter final seasons, but it's still disappointing. Like, what if instead of seeing Lyanna Mormont putting the northern lords in their place, we saw Sansa channel Margaery's particular brand of savvy to get them to go along with whatever she and Jon plan? What if instead of having Dany and Sansa so clearly at odds, Sansa was working behind the scenes to smooth out relations between the Northern Lords and Dany?

I feel like that is exactly what Sansa's character arc has been building too, but we're just not seeing it.

This is one of many reasons I wish they had just given us 10 episodes for S7 and S8. These character moments are some of my favorite parts of the earlier seasons, and they just don't really seem to have the space for them anymore.
posted by litera scripta manet at 10:19 PM on April 20 [9 favorites]


They showed-not-told her outwitting Littlefinger. Do we need her to be smarter than that?
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 6:59 AM on April 21 [1 favorite]


I was reminded of how masterful Margaery was at all of this....These character moments are some of my favorite parts of the earlier seasons, and they just don't really seem to have the space for them anymore.

Agree completely. I don’t care much about the battles—I love all the scheming and interpersonal plotting (I think I’m the exception though). I’d love more stuff like that delicious Lady Olenna / Jaime scene from last season.
posted by sallybrown at 7:34 AM on April 21 [2 favorites]


They showed-not-told her outwitting Littlefinger. Do we need her to be smarter than that?

Yeah, I'd like to see more examples of Sansa's brilliance. I like that she's Lady of Winterfell and has been dishing out sick burns left and right, but have never quite been as sold on the "Sansa is brilliant" thing the show wants to believe. I want her to be brilliant, but the writers have done a generally sloppy job with her story, where's she smart when the plot needs her to be.

The less said about Sansa and Arya" fighting" and then turning on Littlefinger the better, it was poorly conveyed.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:33 AM on April 21 [5 favorites]


Game of Jones: Leslie Jones and Seth Watch Game of Thrones’ Final Season Premiere

"Bran, that not how you introduce yourself to people."
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:55 PM on April 21 [4 favorites]


One way they could deal with this: Have Jon and Dany break up

They did the sex, right? Solution seems pretty obvious: Royal baby. They get married and “unite their houses” or whatever, that settles all the knee-bending business, and legitimizes the baby as Indisputable Ruler of Goddamned Everything.

Then Drogon gets jealous of his new half-brother and barbecues him. End credits.
posted by Sys Rq at 3:20 PM on April 21 [2 favorites]


Wouldn't the baby be fireproof?
posted by Pronoiac at 4:40 PM on April 21 [3 favorites]


I was reading a TV critic (at vox, I think) who was saying part of the problem with last season and this season so far is that they give us the set-up (act 1) and the payoff (act 3), but they keep skipping the plot & character development that connects the dots and takes us on the journey with a character (act 2), and that's why we just get announcements that Sansa is really smart, and that Jon and Dany are in love and so on, but it just keeps going setup/payoff, setup/payoff and there's no development. And it's typically quite a logical setup/payoff, we can connect the dots on our own, but that isn't nearly as satisfying as an Act 2 that takes us along on that journey even where we know where it's going. The first several seasons had a lot of Act 2, which gave us a lot of the great character moments we enjoyed. But the last couple seasons have started cutting out Act 2.

The critic also noted that this is a lot more common that it used to be in visual media, and that superhero movies are another big offender, just doing setup/payoff without giving us the development in the middle, which can make for an enjoyable spectacle, but then when you start to think about it afterwards, you're like "Okay, but a lot of that was unearned."
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:20 PM on April 21 [11 favorites]


I've seen that criticism of popular movies quite a bit lately, that there's very little time spent on act 2 and a rush to get to the big action in act 3.
posted by octothorpe at 5:33 PM on April 21 [2 favorites]


I spent an hour+ reading all 365 comments here (!). What's particularly notable is how much joy there is in the discussion here, particularly the first two thirds. It really is entertaining TV, isn't it? Even the parts that are dumb like Sea Ramsay are still good fun. And the larger epic is just serious enough that you can enjoy the show both ironically and unironically at the same time.

I think the biggest loose end to work out is who really gets to rule in the end. The grand arc of the epic has always been Jon + Daenerys, and I suppose that's still possible, but I think it won't happen. They need to pay off the Daenerys-is-a-crappy-leader theme. Also it's just a little too on the nose now. I'd like to think the awkward non-chemistry behind the actors is deliberate, just sort of setting the scene for it not working out.

Jon's gonna die (again) heroically in battle. Cersei is going to meet some grisly end. So that leaves Sansa still standing when the music stops. I'm fine with that. I most want to see what happens to Arya. They're setting her up for some sort of normal humanity, what with the goo-goo eyes for Gendry. But she is No One. She will never again get to enjoy natural human life.

I loved Bran's creepy presence at the end of a bunch of scenes, like an unwanted punctuation mark. It set a very unsettling counterpoint to all the workmanlike and fun reunion scenes, etc.
Audience: "Hey, a family reunion at Winterfell! This show is fun!"
Bran: "We don't have time for this. Winter and Death are coming."

Audience: "Oh look it's Jaime again! I like him!"
Bran: "Hi, remember me? You destroyed my spine."
posted by Nelson at 7:42 AM on April 24 [1 favorite]


Same energy
posted by Rock Steady at 9:16 AM on April 24


Do you think anyone asked Bran if he wanted a hand getting out of the courtyard? I assume the cuts back to him still stuck out there were intentional humour but its very muddy out there and access at Winterfell is clearly a shambles.
posted by biffa at 2:38 AM on April 29


One thing that’s really funny about the show - I was wondering how they were going to get people to various places but it turns out their answer is just “but what if we all just had them at Winterfell and never explained it and figured you’d be fine with it?” GRRM must be weeping in his beer.
posted by corb at 6:22 AM on April 29 [3 favorites]


Because I basically just remembered the LA Book Review existed and these are AMAZING:
What allowed Game of Thrones to trick you into forgetting that was the way it lingered in small characters, in roles and side-adventures that weren’t about whether Jon or Dany would rule, and weren’t about the clash between dragons and white walkers. Everyone has baggage, and they carry it with them, always; at its best, the show never forgot that. So the best parts of last night’s episode were all the wonderful individual check-ins that we got, where proximity finally allowed long-separated frenemies to compare notes: Tyrion sort of awkwardly walking up to Sansa and having the old “isn’t it weird that we were married once?” conversation, and bonding over cheerful memories of Joffrey’s brutal death; Jon meeting Bran and Arya and having to deal with how weird they are now (and bonding with Sansa over same); Arya meeting the Hound and Gendry, and re-negotiating the terms of their ongoing relationships; I liked seeing Daenerys be out-of-place and a little maladroit — in Winterfell, in love, and in gratitude — and even Nihilist Queen Cersei is kind of fun, though I understand why people find Euron to be the absolute worst (he is); Sam’s stuff was a little hammy, but also a well-earned character beat and played as well as it could have been; it’s interesting to see Tyrion reckoning with the fact that — though his entire character is defined by being clever — none of his plans have worked, not in ages; and the prospect of Jaime coming face to face with his blond, child-murdering past was a really annoying cliff-hanger, because I really want to see how that scene goes down: Jaime has been the show’s great “oh he’s kind of good now?” character that has never really had to face the reasons why he used to be so bad; the fact that he’s suffered doesn’t absolve him of the violence he’s done, and the prospect of seeing the character actually reckon with that, well, I hope it’ll be good.

And yet, these check-ins, which should have been payoffs, never really seemed to breathe, were cropped short, compressed and cut off. We got those reunions because the characters all had to be re-introduced to the audience, and it was done with efficiency and economy because it had to serve that purpose. It’s been so long since we were deep into this material that many of the backstories will be dimly remembered, if at all; for the next five episodes to use these characters, we have to remind ourselves what their character arcs even are. Seen this way, these check-ins served to remind us of each character’s salient points, like the “scenes from past seasons” montage that HBO helpfully precedes each episode with.

But it seems clear, as we hurtle forwards to a conclusion — Only! Five! More! Episodes! — that there won’t be much time for that kind of thing anymore. There will be no elephants this season, and there won’t be any more seasons; Game of Thrones’ real apocalypticism isn’t the wars to come or winter. It’s the end of the show. For the first time in the series, everyone is packing light, bringing only what they need.
posted by corb at 8:44 AM on May 13


So this article is rank clickbait and may have spoilers for later episodes in season 8, but the awkwardness of that Cersei / Bronn interaction is explained therein:
Lena Headey (Cersei) and Jerome Flynn (Bronn), dated in real life. Unfortunately, it didn’t end well. Both have clauses in their contracts ensuring that they’re never in scenes together and don’t even see each other on set.
posted by Nelson at 8:33 AM on May 14 [2 favorites]


« Older Abby's: Free Alcohol Day...   |  Killing Eve: Nice and Neat... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments

poster