Game of Thrones: A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms   Show Only 
April 21, 2019 6:58 PM - Season 8, Episode 2 - Subscribe

The battle at Winterfell approaches and a number of characters come to terms with what's coming.

Directed by David Nutter
Written by Bryan Cogman

50 sec episode preview

Show only thread!
posted by Brandon Blatcher (429 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
 
HBO isn't releasing episode titles, hence the generic one.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:58 PM on April 21


THE PUPPY LIVES.

Oh happy day, they spared 30 bucks out of the cgi budget for Ghost!!
posted by lydhre at 6:59 PM on April 21 [25 favorites]


And like clockwork, Jon does the right thing at the worst possible time.
posted by Zonker at 7:01 PM on April 21 [29 favorites]


This episode sponsored by GIANT’S MILK™
posted by oulipian at 7:01 PM on April 21 [67 favorites]


In Pod We Trust!
posted by Fizz at 7:02 PM on April 21 [2 favorites]


I love Sansa's cenobite costume.

Also loved the battleboard with 10,000 silver tiles on one side represeting the army of the dead.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 7:06 PM on April 21 [24 favorites]


Tonight, the Westerosi Players present "Waiting for Godot."
posted by Shohn at 7:12 PM on April 21 [41 favorites]


And like clockwork, Jon does the right thing at the worst possible time.

To be fair, it seems like he was purposefully avoiding Dany, because of not wanting to reveal this (but also, probably not being able to be around her without revealing it). She was the one who sought him out, and when she made that comment about Rhaegar and Lyanna, obviously Jon couldn't just not say it then. He was raised as Ned Stark's son after all.

I can understand Dany not wanting to believe it when she first hears it. Jon didn't want to believe it at first either. But there's a reason why so many people believed in R+L=J. When you let it sink in, it makes sense. Dany herself sort of underlines this, when she talks about how she always heard Rhaegar was such an honorable and good man, but then he raped Lyanna. But of course, he didn't, and from what we know of him, he wouldn't. Just like Ned "Honor" Stark wasn't going to go off and have a bastard son when he just got married. Even Stannis commented on this seasons ago, about how he didn't believe Ned Stark would have fathered a bastard.
posted by litera scripta manet at 7:14 PM on April 21 [8 favorites]


Another good episode, IMO, with a lot of characters moments. Perhaps not a lot or how I would like them to go, but they are there! And there's proof that they have a plan and are building defenses!

If I had a complaint at this initial point, it would be that the story is structured to raise a number of questions (what will the North be under Day, how do Dany and Jon work out their lineage)and intentionally deny us answers. A common trope, but maddening at times. Particularly with Jon having the worst timing, always.

My favorite part was Brienne becoming knighted and the others clapping for her.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:15 PM on April 21 [4 favorites]


I so much want Grey Worm and Missendei to ride off into the sunset together, but I feel like their conversation tonight was like a giant red flag saying "Grey Worm's going to die." It's about as reliable a curse as Ned saying he would tell Jon Snow about his mother the next time they meet. Or the reminiscing about dead Targs (RIP Barristan Selmy).

But if the show wants to subvert expectations, maybe they could do that by not killing off Grey Worm (or Missendei)? Please and thank you.
posted by litera scripta manet at 7:16 PM on April 21 [26 favorites]


He should have just been like, "I'm only telling you this because I don't want to smash it with my aunt, but otherwise I'm not going to tell anyone because I'm a shitty King and don't want the Iron Throne anyways. Let's go burninate some wights."
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:17 PM on April 21 [23 favorites]


Sansa’s outfit is [chef kiss] awesome. All the women’s costumes this season, in fact. And Lady Mormont will fuck you up with a glare.

I assume there was a huge checklist of “necessary character moments” on the wall of the writer’s room, and they went down the list and people walked around asking each other “why is everyone calling me ‘dead meat’?”
posted by rmd1023 at 7:17 PM on April 21 [12 favorites]


The smart thing for Jon to do (since I don't think he really wants the throne) is to promise not to challenge Dany's claim in exchange for the North's independence.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:17 PM on April 21 [28 favorites]


Also man I do not know how I feel about Sansa and Theon.
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:17 PM on April 21 [16 favorites]


There are only four episodes left. So is it like 3) living (sans cersi) vs dead; 4) dany vs cersi 5) dany (& jon) vs sansa 6) dany vs jon?
posted by about_time at 7:18 PM on April 21 [1 favorite]


I loved it. All the little episodes and conversations were just perfect. Funny and heartfelt and really satisfying. This was the most character-driven episode of the series that I can remember, and we saw who everybody was through the way they interacted with each other. It felt like a nice payoff for sticking through all these years.

Also, I think Dany is already pregnant. It was odd the way she phrased it - “the last living male heir of House Targaryen.” Jon doesn’t want to be king, they can’t be together now since they both know about the incest, but if there’s a Targaryen baby on the way it can be tapped as the new king while Dany raises it in Kings Landing and Jon can stay in the north and everybody wins.
posted by something something at 7:18 PM on April 21 [9 favorites]


I love Sansa's cenobite costume.

Sansa modeling her outfits on whomever she had been influenced by has been a running theme. Cersei, Margaery, Littlefinger... and now Cersei again with Cersei's post-claiming-the-throne outfits. Except she has never seen Cersei's latest iteration, having been nowhere near King's Landing, right? But it definitely works thematically so all is forgiven.

Oh, Jon, honey, no... at least you do have really nice hair.
posted by Justinian at 7:18 PM on April 21 [4 favorites]


I also feel like way too much of this episode was devoted to Jaime having conversations with Brienne and especially Tyrion. I fear Jaime's odds of survival are not good either. Which is too bad, since they only just managed to get his character arc back on track.

Also, can I just say how much joy I got out of that scene in front of the fire with Jaime, Tyrion, Davos, Pod, Brienne, Tormund, and Davos? Especially the Jaime knighting Brienne.

Actually, in general I liked this episode. Although I can't help but think the fact that episode 1 and 2 have been so filled with all the things we've been desperately waiting for, and it's just warming us up for the slaughter that's just around the corner.
posted by litera scripta manet at 7:18 PM on April 21 [12 favorites]


Is it weird I was watching the Arya/Renly bit through my fingers? We watched her grow up from a little kid! I don't need to see this Arya! Stop!
posted by Justinian at 7:19 PM on April 21 [27 favorites]


episode 1 and 2 have been so filled with all the things we've been desperately waiting for

I reiterate, though: no CLEGANEBOWL = burn the world
posted by Justinian at 7:20 PM on April 21 [6 favorites]


Is it weird I was watching the Arya/Renly bit through my fingers? We watched her grow up from a little kid! I don't need to see this Arya! Stop!

No I totally felt the same way. It felt like the dirtiest scene on this entire show, a show that invented sexposition, just because we first met her when she was what, like 11? Also, unlike someone like Bran who looks very different compared to the pilot, Arya still looks a lot like the girl we first met. It just feels wrong. Like, not wrong from a plot or story perspective, but I felt wrong watching it.

(Also, I think you mean Gendry)
posted by litera scripta manet at 7:22 PM on April 21 [19 favorites]


Jaime is most definitely toast. He's going to go down defending Bran, I'm calling it now.
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:22 PM on April 21 [18 favorites]


Assuming anyone survives against the Night King (and I figure they will, we have 4 episodes left, I assume before the end, what's left of the Northern forces + Dany's army will be marching on King's landing. Which is when we'll totally get Clegane Bowl.
posted by litera scripta manet at 7:23 PM on April 21 [1 favorite]


Yes, Gendry of course. Watching her sex up Renly would have been... very awkward and probably quite messy.
posted by Justinian at 7:24 PM on April 21 [3 favorites]


Alternatively, the Hound dies in the fight against the Night King, the Night King's forces then head down to King's Landing, and we get zombie!Clegane bowl.
posted by litera scripta manet at 7:24 PM on April 21 [18 favorites]


Also man I do not know how I feel about Sansa and Theon.

Indeed and I love that. He's earned a cut throat, but also a chance for some small redemption.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:24 PM on April 21 [2 favorites]


Jaime is most definitely toast. He's going to go down defending Bran, I'm calling it now.

I think that's Theon's role. Jaime has to make it back to King's Landing to kill Cersei.
posted by Justinian at 7:24 PM on April 21 [24 favorites]


That entire fireplace scene is something I'll be rewatching for years.

Also, Pod singing made me feel feels.
posted by Fizz at 7:25 PM on April 21 [16 favorites]


And why are they sending everyone else to the crypts WHERE ALL THE DEAD PEOPLE ARE??? Jesus, people, it's like none of you have ever watched this show before.
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:25 PM on April 21 [54 favorites]


As much as people (ahem me) want Brienne and Jaime to get it on, that knighting moment was a thousand times more meaningful to her than anything else would have been.

Plus they’ll have lots of time once they both survive the war, right? Right? Sob.
posted by sallybrown at 7:25 PM on April 21 [32 favorites]


Listen, where is Melisandre? When did we last see her?

Also, I was thinking that Bran and Tyrion were settling in for a long illuminating chat. Next thing I see, Tyrion is with the rest of the gang by the fire. What happened with the Bran talk?
posted by triggerfinger at 7:26 PM on April 21 [20 favorites]


I did kind of like how Arya wasn't even like professing her love to Gendry. She was just like, we're probably about to die, so might as well not die a virgin. It felt very believable, actually. I was totally on board with it. (I just didn't want to see it.)

But I still ship Jaime/Brienne 4ever, and I wish Jaime would have just gone in for the kiss after knighting her. Totally would have traded that for seeing Arya getting it on. Also would have been worth it for Tormund's facial expression response.
posted by litera scripta manet at 7:27 PM on April 21 [12 favorites]


That entire fireplace scene is something I'll be rewatching for years.

I was flashing back to every Pennsic War I've ever been to.
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:28 PM on April 21 [4 favorites]


Also can I just say how very much I love Tormund? I loved his response to Brienne's knighting. I love how he just tackled Jon Snow. I love that giant ginger muffin, and I very much don't want him to die.

(I'm pretty sure he's going to die *sob*)
posted by litera scripta manet at 7:28 PM on April 21 [35 favorites]


I also feel like way too much of this episode was devoted to Jaime having conversations with Brienne and especially Tyrion. I fear Jaime's odds of survival are not good either. Which is too bad, since they only just managed to get his character arc back on track.

But if Jaime doesn't die, how will he kill Cersei and then rip his face off to reveal himself as Arya?
posted by Navelgazer at 7:29 PM on April 21 [42 favorites]


People who I think will die next episode: one of missendei or grey work (but not both, and I think it'll be her), theon, davos, gendry, and pod. Their stories are done now.

Also, how many times can they show us Arya's aim is high quality as foreshadowing? Clearly she's going to take down the ice dragon.
posted by about_time at 7:30 PM on April 21 [7 favorites]


I also enjoyed how they scored and staged Edd's return and Jon's reaction to it sort of like a lover's reunion or something goofy like that. They lock eyes from across the courtyard. Jon heads over to embrace Edd and then out of nowhere, here comes Tormund. I love them all so much.

I also love Edd saying, "The last person alive should burn our bodies." Didn't he say almost exactly that at the battle for the wall back in S3? I love dour Edd so much.
posted by litera scripta manet at 7:31 PM on April 21 [11 favorites]


I think Brienne is toast. She got what she always wanted (to be a knight) and they sort of nuked the whole Tormund/Brienne thing with his crazy (awesome) story. I think she's headed for a blaze of glory and goodbye. Probably Tormund as well.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 7:31 PM on April 21 [7 favorites]


eople who I think will die next episode: one of missendei or grey work (but not both, and I think it'll be her), theon, davos, gendry, and pod

Davos and Pod are not going to die! You take that back! Theon can die in a fire for all I care.

Okay, you're right, Davos is definitely going to die, because multiple times this episode they discussed how bad a fighter he was and how he improbably survived several battles.
posted by litera scripta manet at 7:32 PM on April 21 [1 favorite]


That felt like the best episode in like four seasons. A languid pace, focused on individual characters thinking about their place in the greater world, focused on what's important to them.

All the sudden I started realizing that I'm not ready for any of these characters to die yet.

Brienne being knighted was great, her reactions were great, Jamie and Tormund's bits were great.

Good for Arya. She's grown up, it seems right for her character, and very sex positive.

We still are waiting for Chekov's Priestess of Light to show up.

Glad they kept the previews for next week extremely vague, I prefer not to see them at all but with GoT fever hitting a fever pitch I figure people will mention what's going on in them anyway (not specifically here, just around the internet and real life).

Really not ready for whomever is going to die next week to die. Except maybe Theon.
posted by skewed at 7:32 PM on April 21 [15 favorites]


Ser Brienne! Ser Brienne!

I am so happy.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:32 PM on April 21 [7 favorites]


Also I thought Gendry and Arya was fine and earned. Maisie Williams is what, 22? She looks like a 22 year old woman.

And no, I am not just saying this because of the large quantity of Gendry/Arya fic I have consumed. Nope.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:33 PM on April 21 [22 favorites]


I think the writers were a bit of genius with all the character moments, yet not all the characters interacted, so I'm left wanting more. Sweet trick.

I keep wanting the Hound and Arya to have some deep and meaningful conversation, but the short bits have worked so well. They'll probably meet again, just a question of how.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:34 PM on April 21 [4 favorites]


Oh, Jorah's definitely going to die though. Perhaps defending the Lady of Bear Island? There were too many good Jorah moments in this episode.

I did really like how he stood up for Tyrion with Dany. I also like how he clearly told Dany to go make friends with Sansa, because she totally needed to! I mean, she's fucking Sansa's brother-cousin. She's staying in Sansa's castle. It was really stupid not to try and make friends with her.

I also just generally really enjoyed that scene between Dany and Sansa.
posted by litera scripta manet at 7:34 PM on April 21 [10 favorites]


GREY WORM AND MISSANDEI

ARE GOING TO GET PROPER MARRIED

AND HAVE REAL RINGS

JUST FOR EACH OTHER

AND THEY WILL DIE TOGETHER IN THEIR SLEEP

ON THE BEACH AT NAATH

140 YEARS FROM NOW

FUCK EVERY SINGLE FUCKER IN THIS BAR WHO DIASAGREES
posted by joyceanmachine at 7:36 PM on April 21 [71 favorites]


Also I thought Gendry and Arya was fine and earned. Maisie Williams is what, 22? She looks like a 22 year old woman.

I actually liked the moment as well. I just irrationally felt really dirty watching it. It's like, watching your sibling get it on. It feels wrong, even if you know intellectually that it's not.

Okay, maybe that's the wrong analogy to use for Westeros.
posted by litera scripta manet at 7:36 PM on April 21 [12 favorites]


Yeah, you are right. Ser Brienne is definitely going to die. Her story is done too. Maybe that will enable Pod to live long enough to fight in the siege of kings landing (and die there).

We didn't hear from Bronn this episode...
posted by about_time at 7:37 PM on April 21 [1 favorite]


Yep, it was earned. Just, as with lsm, I felt awkward. Like when I lived with my parents and we were watching a show and a sex scene would come on. Like that. Please let it be over. No, don't take the top off. Noooo
posted by Justinian at 7:37 PM on April 21 [4 favorites]


We didn't hear from Bronn this episode...

Tyrion did make an offhand comment about Cersei at least not trying to kill him at Winterfell. He might as well have showed a picture of his boat, the SS Live-4-Ever.
posted by Justinian at 7:38 PM on April 21 [4 favorites]


My death bets here:

Grey Worm (And probably Missendei--that convo was totally "I've just bought a boat and I'm retiring next week to sail it around the world!"), Jorah, Davos, Gendry (waah), Theon, and probably either Tyrion or Jaime but not both.

I don't think Brienne will die (I could see her living on as Sansa's protector), but the knighting scene really made me think Jamie will.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:39 PM on April 21 [4 favorites]


I think Brienne is toast. She got what she always wanted (to be a knight) and they sort of nuked the whole Tormund/Brienne thing with his crazy (awesome) story. I think she's headed for a blaze of glory and goodbye. Probably Tormund as well.

But I feel like they can't kill both Brienne and Jaime, because what better way to break our hearts than to make us watch one of them mourn the other's fallen body on the battlefield? And between the two of them, I feel like Jaime is more likely to be the one who goes. I also feel like this episode foreshadowed Jaime dying pretty heavily.

Just like how Missendei and Grey Worm can't both die for maximum drama. For some reason, I feel like Missendei dying and Grey Worm living would be more tragic than vice versa, but I'm not sure why. I just feel like if Grey Worm died, Missendei would mourn for a long time but eventually find someone else. But with Grey Worm, he was so closed off before her, and I don't know whether he could really recover. She's the first person to really help him have an identity outside of "soldier". But either way, it's going to be so sad.

Next week is going to hurt a lot.
posted by litera scripta manet at 7:41 PM on April 21 [7 favorites]


Good for Arya. She's grown up, it seems right for her character, and very sex positive.

This was my thought too. I was dreading them doing a scene like this and what we got felt tasteful, true to character, and non-exploitative.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:42 PM on April 21 [11 favorites]


For my death pool, I've put that I think Jon/Aegon takes the Iron Throne, but I toyed with the idea of young Lady Mormont taking it. She is bad ass and it would not surprise me in the least.

Also, I'm hoping we see Robin Arryn again. They sent him off to learn how to fight or something so maybe he comes back and he's a decent guy now instead of the monster child we all remember.
posted by triggerfinger at 7:44 PM on April 21 [3 favorites]


It would be narratively so weird for Jaime to die next week. He's got too much unresolved drama with Cersei. He's the fucking Kingslayer! I think Brienne will die to save him (crying on keyboard typing this) and let him know he can still be the knight he wants to be with her dying breath.
posted by skewed at 7:45 PM on April 21 [4 favorites]


But I feel like they can't kill both Brienne and Jaime, because what better way to break our hearts than to make us watch one of them mourn the other's fallen body on the battlefield? And between the two of them, I feel like Jaime is more likely to be the one who goes.

I’m going to be so pissed if (already self-sacrificial) Brienne goes out sacrificing herself for Her True Love Jaime. I think they kinda need to subvert that expectation and show that Jaime is just as willing to die for her (although LET HIM LIVE).
posted by sallybrown at 7:45 PM on April 21 [3 favorites]


Is this the only episode of the series with zero deaths?
posted by Navelgazer at 7:50 PM on April 21 [8 favorites]


I don't understand why Varys, supposed smartest man in the world, is continually shunted off to the side. Jorah is the advisor that appeals to Dany's humanity, and Tyrion is the official Hand, but they seem to have no idea what to do with him, other than make meta-jokes about his uselessness through digs at him being a eunuch.
posted by facehugger at 7:51 PM on April 21 [13 favorites]


My guess is Varys ends up Hand of the King Or Queen at the end of the series but that's pure speculation.
posted by Justinian at 7:52 PM on April 21 [1 favorite]


Yeah, Varys probably has some action coming up whenever Melissandre shows up, so I guess he got short-shrift for this episode.

Each of the last four episode runs right around 80 minutes, by the way. So there'll be plenty of time for people to talk even with the inevitable 35 minute battle scenes.
posted by skewed at 7:54 PM on April 21 [4 favorites]


OOooooo Varys should be on the Iron Throne
He's the only one who 100% would then immediately burn it and break the wheel

I'm here for Varys inventing democracy in Westeros
posted by facehugger at 7:55 PM on April 21 [28 favorites]


Non-CGI Ghost amused me. The battle must be craaaazy in E3 to hire a husky from the pound for E2.
posted by gatorae at 7:59 PM on April 21 [12 favorites]


I bet next episode will be the most expensive hour of television ever filmed.
posted by Justinian at 8:02 PM on April 21 [1 favorite]


Guys, guys, in your musing about Who Is Going To Die, keep in mind there will be people who have to die *twice*! Like if the Night King does a mass corpse-raising mid-battle a la Hardhome, that could get interesting...
posted by megafauna at 8:03 PM on April 21 [24 favorites]


megafauna, that is horrifying in a dramatic way

Not only will we see people die, but if/when the battle moves south to King's Landing, we'll have to see, maybe, zombie!Brienne fight Jaime - it would be like an surreal, heartbreaking inverse of all the character beats this episode

Man, I will be SO here for a GoT version of Les Revenants
posted by facehugger at 8:09 PM on April 21 [2 favorites]


The other thing about Jaime is from a narrative stand point, he doesn't have much left to do, it seems. I mean, you could make things up, but it feels like he's wrapped up a lot unfinished business. He finally broke away from Cersei. He reconciled with Tyrion. He knighted Brienne. He apologized to Bran. He's finally shaken off all that Lannister baggage, and doing what he always really wanted to do, which was fight as a true knight.

On preview: It would be narratively so weird for Jaime to die next week. He's got too much unresolved drama with Cersei. He's the fucking Kingslayer! I think Brienne will die to save him (crying on keyboard typing this) and let him know he can still be the knight he wants to be with her dying breath.

I'm not sure they ever really can resolve his story with Cersei. Could he kill her, knowing she's pregnant with their child? At least show-Jaime, I'm not sure they've done enough to make that feel earned. I also feel like everyone has been predicting Jaime kills Cersei for so long that I'm starting to thing it has to be anyone but Jaime. (Although it could totally be Arya wearing Jaime's face.) It also just felt like this episode was so focused on him, that it's setting up him dying.

I also feel like Jaime dying protecting Brienne is way more satisfying narratively.

But I very much do not want any of them to die.
posted by litera scripta manet at 8:10 PM on April 21 [3 favorites]


Jamie doing a face-to-face with Bran; I expected much more. But it sufficed. The show needs to never have another Bran looking at Jamie again to pull it off, though.

I actually lol-ed when Brienne was "WTF Jamie!" It was kind of sweet of Jamie to subordinate himself explicitly to Brienne.

Jorah precipitating a not-terrible Dany/ Sansa convo. Super glad that Sansa doesn't hate Tyrion and is intelligent/ mature enough to understand why she shouldn't.

Love love love Sansa's fashion choices, and the new Hard Sansa.

Sansa's reaction to Theon was... weird. Theon must have perved on Sansa when they were kids...? Or did littleTheon rely on Sansa like he might have been used to with Yara before being ransomed to the Starks?

!!Tormund

I wanna see him and Jaime vie for Brienne's attention.

Tyrion and Brand getting together - I'd be ok if GoT/ ASoIaF ended with that, I'd be completely fine moving on.
posted by porpoise at 8:15 PM on April 21 [1 favorite]


Can we make a list of all the people who will definitely survive the next episode, so that I can have the emotional wherewithal to go to work this week?

First up, I agree with Justinian, Tyrion is definitely due for one last confrontation with Cersei.

Ditto Jon, Dany, Sansa, and Arya.
posted by facehugger at 8:15 PM on April 21 [2 favorites]


That was OK. It had some of the better writing within the past 4 seasons. It felt like this should've been the first episode, and that basically nothing happened last week in comparison. I'm looking forward to things really cranking up so I can start checking squares off my DEATHBINGO sheet.
posted by codacorolla at 8:16 PM on April 21 [2 favorites]


I feel like I finally got the Tormund I wanted in this show and it's so late in the game!

Also Davos needs to live to be the Hand of Sansa, Queen in the North.

I feel like Jon's ultimate end is brokering a deal with Dany for the North's independence and then riding out to be King Beyond the Wall, leading some new Night's Watch/Wildling society out there as the first line of defense in case the dead rise again. Can he and Beric even age? Immortal Jon out beyond the wall, his watch never ending seems fitting.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:17 PM on April 21 [20 favorites]


One small thing: They were talking about whether Dragon fire can kill a white walker or the Night King, but it seems like the odds of that are not great, right? We've seen White Walkers walk through fire no problem (like in Hardhome). It kills wights, sure, but White Walkers? Although I guess the argument could be made that dragons are magic, and they are sort of set up as the counterpoint to White Walkers, so maybe their fire is special enough to work.

Although from a Doylist perspective, I just can't imagine that Drogon toasting the Night King is how this is going to go down. It seems too easy. I do very much hope we get to see Jon and Dany riding Dragons in battle. Maybe against the Night King on his dragon? I very much want that.

The dragon has three heads, indeed.
posted by litera scripta manet at 8:17 PM on April 21


Could he kill her, knowing she's pregnant with their child? At least show-Jaime, I'm not sure they've done enough to make that feel earned.

I always assumed that Cersei would have one more trick up her sleeve with the Wildfire and Jaime would kill her in a "burn them all" scene paralleling what happened with the Mad King. Though her apparently real pregnancy does complicate matters and make that seem less likely.
posted by Justinian at 8:17 PM on April 21 [2 favorites]


I legit cried when Jaime knighted Brienne but now I'm pretty convinced she won't survive.

Jaime has to survive so he can kill Cersei, it's the only way to get redemption.

"Is it weird I was watching the Arya/[Gendry] bit through my fingers? We watched her grow up from a little kid! I don't need to see this Arya! Stop!"

I thought it was interesting that they didn't give full-frontal or full-backal nudity of Arya, I think because we DID watch her grow up. So they only gave us sideboob and buttcrack.

I LOVE TORMUND FOREVER, I LOVE HIM SO MUCH HE'S MY WIFI PASSWORD. (The network is called Winternet Is Coming. My guest network is Tyrion LANnister.)

After talking at the end of last thread about missing Act 2s, and their character development, this felt like a lot of Act 2 and I was pleased by the slow character moments. I also really enjoyed Sansa and Dany getting along and making amends, but then realizing they are still on the opposite side of some things. It's refreshing to see women addressing problems head-on on television, but still being uneasy allies even though they have some common ground.

I'm preemptively stressed about next week.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:18 PM on April 21 [23 favorites]


Though her apparently real pregnancy

How does Jaime know Cersei isn’t lying about the pregnancy, like he tells Tyrion? That was an odd conversation, with Tyrion saying Jaime always knew what Cersei was...did he? He knew she would go full Wildfire...?
posted by sallybrown at 8:21 PM on April 21 [1 favorite]


Can we make a list of all the people who will definitely survive the next episode, so that I can have the emotional wherewithal to go to work this week?

First up, I agree with Justinian, Tyrion is definitely due for one last confrontation with Cersei.

Ditto Jon, Dany, Sansa, and Arya.


Agree with all of those. Those are probably the only characters I feel like have to survive next episode, although I also think Sam and Gilly will survive the battle.
posted by litera scripta manet at 8:22 PM on April 21


They can't possibly kill all the people whose deaths seem foreshadowed and almost certain...can they?
posted by Pryde at 8:23 PM on April 21 [2 favorites]


"Note: Poochie died on his way back to his home planet."
posted by Justinian at 8:24 PM on April 21 [5 favorites]


I thought it was interesting that they didn't give full-frontal or full-backal nudity of Arya, I think because we DID watch her grow up. So they only gave us sideboob and buttcrack.

I also imagine Williams had the contract clause power to refuse any more than that if she so chose.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:25 PM on April 21 [5 favorites]


How does Jaime know Cersei isn’t lying about the pregnancy, like he tells Tyrion? That was an odd conversation, with Tyrion saying Jaime always knew what Cersei was...did he? He knew she would go full Wildfire...?

I don't know that he really does, although the fact that she slept with Euron seems like a decent clue (to the audience), because I feel like she did that so she could pass off the baby as Euron's.

I don't think Jaime suspected she would go full on Mad Queen. I think it was more that he knew she was a pretty terrible person who was willing to kill just about anyone who wasn't Jaime or her children.
posted by litera scripta manet at 8:25 PM on April 21 [3 favorites]


They can't possibly kill all the people whose deaths seem foreshadowed and almost certain...can they?

I could see them splitting the battle at Winterfell over two episodes, with some more character beats/development in between (fighting, regrouping/coming to terms with who survived and who died Day 1, and then fighting more), so that some people die next episode and others in episode 4.
posted by sallybrown at 8:27 PM on April 21 [3 favorites]


Jon doesn't want the throne, but Dany wants it too much. She still doesn't really seem to care about the people under her rule, and she's unable to consider any compromise that means she doesn't get what she considers her birthright. She "loves" Jon, but instantly seems ready to turn on him if he threatens her throne.

I really, really, desperately want Brienne of Tarth to survive. And Lady Mormont and Arya. And Gilly, Little Sam, and Sam. Surely the showrunners/writers are not evil enough to kill any of them, right?
posted by jzb at 8:28 PM on April 21 [7 favorites]


I also imagine Williams had the contract clause power to refuse any more than that if she so chose.

According to James Hibberd over at EW, Dan&David basically just told Maisie Williams to go with whatever she wanted to do in that scene. I saw in a different article that the only really specific direction in the writing for it was that Gendry should take note of her scars, which we did see happen and makes sense for the moment.
posted by Justinian at 8:29 PM on April 21 [9 favorites]


I missed Cersei, but this was a great episode. I got a Henry V vibe. The Mormonts! Only 64 fighting men, but this is how I imagine powerful houses are born, the 8th Kingdom. Looking at the massive men willing to die for Lady Mormont, I don't think she is prone to exaggeration. They really are worth 10 each.

Bran nixed my idea that the Crypt is a source of power that the Night King must possess before he is able to invoke endless winter. I thought for sure the first trailer gave that away. The Lord of Light knows about this power, hence needing Jon resurrected in order to defend it. Anyway, I think something big will happen in the Crypt regardless.
posted by Brocktoon at 8:31 PM on April 21 [2 favorites]


The valonquar was purposely removed in the show's version of Cersei's prophecy. Jaime isn't killing her.
posted by asteria at 8:32 PM on April 21 [3 favorites]


Oh, I think the odds of Lady Mormont surviving are pretty good. I really feel like Jorah will die protecting her, thereby finally sort of rehabilitating his legacy with House Mormont.
posted by litera scripta manet at 8:34 PM on April 21 [12 favorites]


I really, really, desperately want Brienne of Tarth to survive. And Lady Mormont and Arya. And Gilly, Little Sam, and Sam. Surely the showrunners/writers are not evil enough to kill any of them, right?

I think Arya is safe for the series and definitely for next episode. The virgin dying after sex is too gross a trope to take part in. Gendry could be gone though. Also, Melisandre told Arya that they would meet again at some point.
posted by skewed at 8:35 PM on April 21 [3 favorites]


Bran nixed my idea that the Crypt is a source of power that the Night King must possess before he is able to invoke endless winter. I thought for sure the first trailer gave that away. The Lord of Light knows about this power, hence needing Jon resurrected in order to defend it. Anyway, I think something big will happen in the Crypt regardless.

Maybe we'll just go full on zombies versus ghosts, and the ghosts of all those dead Starks will rise up to fight the Walkers. Maybe those statues that look nothing like the person they are modelled after will spring to life. Winterfell mounting it's own defenses...

Oh wait, I think I'm getting Hogwarts and Winterfell mixed up. I have no idea.

But I do think there must be something to the "there must always be a Stark in Winterfell." Something that goes beyond just good stewardship.
posted by litera scripta manet at 8:36 PM on April 21 [10 favorites]


Bronn's still making his way to Winterfell, which probably means plot-armor for Jaime and Tyrion for the time being. Not so much for Brienne.

Theon's probably done-for in his duty protecting Bran, but that will also mean some sort of big moment for Sansa.

I don't think Gilly makes it out of Episode 3 alive, though.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:36 PM on April 21 [2 favorites]


Bella Ramsey on playing Lyanna Mormont:
What will you miss most about playing her?

I think the opportunity to stand up in front of a load of grown men and shame them.
That's what we'll all miss too!

(She also plays Mildred Hubble in the Netflix adaptation of The Worst Witch which is fucking delightful and if your childhood was like mine you will enjoy it very much! Even without the campy Tim Curry song. She's very funny! She has excellent comic timing. I'm excited to see where her career goes from here, since she's carried two very different roles with equal skill.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:37 PM on April 21 [23 favorites]


In fact, I always assumed that as long as there is a Stark in Winterfell, the Night King can't get in, similar to how the dead couldn't pass through the Wall while it stood. But since they reminded us of the mark on Bran's arm, and we know that broke the enchantment on the 3 Eyed Ravens cave, maybe it will do the same to Winterfell defenses. I imagine it should have done that to the Wall as well, though. Although maybe it did, and the wight dragon was just about expediency.
posted by litera scripta manet at 8:38 PM on April 21 [5 favorites]


“At first, I thought it was a prank,” Williams says. “I was like, ‘Yo, good one.’ And [the showrunners were] like, ‘No, we haven’t done that this year.’ Oh f—k!”

so instead of writing the scene to further develop Arya's character

it started from the writers trying to find a way to hit their (HBO-mandated?) annual T&A clause

some things haven't changed
posted by facehugger at 8:40 PM on April 21 [4 favorites]


These first two episodes have just felt like tedious box-checking and water-treading to me. Nothing particularly interesting or surprising has occurred, mostly just a lot of cringey fan service. Seconding the feeling of wrongness from the Arya/Gendry scene. And I’m never going to get the weird giant-suckling image out of my head either.

I liked cenobite Sansa and I’m glad they’re finally, after seven seasons, giving Bran some meaningful role in the plot. Hopefully the writers have gotten all the singing and fireside chats out of their systems and we can now commence with the bloodbath that they’ve been glacially building up to. I’m calling it now: one or more previously-dead characters will show up as wights next week for a mid-battle shocker, and my money’s on Hodor being one of them.
posted by dephlogisticated at 8:41 PM on April 21 [7 favorites]


facehugger: they meant they hadn't pranked actors with fake scenes this year.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:41 PM on April 21 [16 favorites]


I’m calling it now: one or more previously-dead characters will show up as wights next week for a mid-battle shocker, and my money’s on Hodor being one of them.

It's the cheapest, dumbest shit they could pull, so...
posted by codacorolla at 8:43 PM on April 21 [5 favorites]


Hopefully the writers have gotten all the singing and fireside chats out of their systems and we can now commence with the bloodbath that they’ve been glacially building up to.

I know opinions will differ on this, but a lot of my favorite GoT scenes have been conversations between characters. I really enjoy the battles too, and if I had to pick favorite episodes, the battles stand out for sure, but we've spent so long with these characters, and we've waited so long for them to be in the same place, that it would be a shame not to take some time to enjoy it before they cull half the cast.
posted by litera scripta manet at 8:44 PM on April 21 [39 favorites]


I’m calling it now: one or more previously-dead characters will show up as wights next week for a mid-battle shocker, and my money’s on Hodor being one of them.

Wait, going back to the crypts, couldn't any/all of those dead bodies be reanimated by the Night King? So Ned, Lyanna, all the other ancestral Starks? And shouldn't they maybe have considered that before having everyone hide in there? I know it would be super morbid, but it seems like they probably should have gone in and burnt all those bodies before the army of the dead arrived.
posted by litera scripta manet at 8:47 PM on April 21 [3 favorites]


I know opinions will differ on this, but a lot of my favorite GoT scenes have been conversations between characters

There are two types of game of thrones watchers. People who were riveted by Tyrion's pre-execution soliloquy about his cousin squashing bugs and people who thought it was a giant waste of time which could be spent on boobs & blood.

(Cue everyone to chime in that they are neither and thought it was just meh)
posted by Justinian at 8:47 PM on April 21 [4 favorites]


that it would be a shame not to take some time to enjoy it before they cull half the cast.

For the gamers out there, this episode was like when Shephard threw the giant house party just before the final battle against the Reapers.
posted by Justinian at 8:49 PM on April 21 [15 favorites]


A lot of commenters are talking about who's going to die based on common understanding of narrative and fantasy conventions. Wasn't the whole point of the original book series, and the show, to ignore or defy those conventions? I'd expect "who dies" to feel very, very much like random chance.
posted by amtho at 8:50 PM on April 21 [4 favorites]


So last week people were complaining that there weren't enough character moments.

Now this week people are complaining that there are too MANY character moments!?

Seriously WTF... Metafilter is NEVER pleased.

Anyway, I thought this episode was amazing-- a return to 2nd/3rd season brilliance. I loved it. I actually teared up when Theon reunited with Sansa, and Brienne got knighted! It felt so rewarding to a long-term viewer. Everyone felt in character, and it advanced all the many subplots and character arcs. Of course, there's been some missteps along the way, but nothing is perfect. All in all, this show is BRILLIANT.
posted by suburbanbeatnik at 8:51 PM on April 21 [10 favorites]


Turns out the official title for this episode is "A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms" and that's perfect.

I know opinions will differ on this, but a lot of my favorite GoT scenes have been conversations between characters.

You're not alone on that, it's one of favorite parts of the show. I the writers basically got it right but giving us two episodes of the large cast of characters reuniting and coming to terms with their past and the upcoming battle.

Dany really sticks out like a sore thumb here. She finally has the killer of her father right before and she can have him executed, but nope, her "subjects" are like "we need every able body". And the said it in front of the court!

Theon wants to show up and fight? Fine, fine, put him to work. If he doesn't anything, we'll slit his throat, but if he does some good, we'll give him a nod. Whatever.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:52 PM on April 21 [5 favorites]


A lot of commenters are talking about who's going to die based on common understanding of narrative and fantasy conventions. Wasn't the whole point of the original book series, and the show, to ignore or defy those conventions? I'd expect "who dies" to feel very, very much like random chance.

1. Re-reading the books now (with Steven Attewell's excellent chapter-by-chapter analysis at Race for the Iron Throne, and yes I know this isn't the books thread, bear with me) the early deaths that seemed "Random" were actually well set-up, though definitely as part of a deconstruction of fantasy tropes rather than the romantic interpretation of them.

2. As far as the show goes, I feel like with "The Watchers on the Wall," the show took on a full-on Romantic bent, and then has been bending that way more and more as the series has continued, if only because they've outpaced the source material and haven't had GRRM guiding it much anymore. Point is, I think we're largely out of deconstruction territory for the home stretch.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:59 PM on April 21 [29 favorites]


Navelgazer, that makes better sense - I stand corrected.

litera scripta manet, you're killing me! Your comment and megafauna's above made me realize how little the show has done with the true ramifications of zombies. I really hope that in this twilight hour, the writers took the concept and ran with it, and we get maximum emotional devastation from characters "coming back to life" and fighting their loved ones.

I'm so pumped for a Les Revenants-flavored GoT that I'm now halfway convinced I should write a fanfic of it or something. Most improbable, AVClub-esque crossover on AO3, coming right up!
posted by facehugger at 9:03 PM on April 21 [2 favorites]


I'm so pumped for a Les Revenants-flavored GoT that I'm now halfway convinced I should write a fanfic of it or something.

Do it! Do it! And then link us to it!

What if the Starks are reanimated by the Night King, but thanks to some Stark bloodline resistance to evil winter magic, the zombie Starks turn on the Night King and fight for the living instead? That would be pretty cool.

Ugh, I'm so pumped/terrified for next Sunday that I can't stand it. I'm probably going to hyperventilate/cry.
posted by litera scripta manet at 9:09 PM on April 21 [4 favorites]


ONCE AGAIN, PODRICK, SAVES THE DAY WITH HIS DIPLOMATIC SKILLS, ARTISTIC TRAINING, AND ABILITY TO READ A ROOM.

WE STAN A CHARMING EXTROVERT.
posted by The Whelk at 9:13 PM on April 21 [40 favorites]


Sansa's reaction to Theon was... weird. Theon must have perved on Sansa when they were kids...?

I think the point of the Sansa/Theon reunion is that they are both survivors of the same trauma, having been under Ramsey's control and tortured by him during the same period. They had forged a bond at that time even though Theon had betrayed the Starks years before.
posted by torticat at 9:17 PM on April 21 [33 favorites]


Although I thought this was one of the best episodes in recent seasons, one thing that did bug me a bit:

With Jaime's trial, I'm glad that Brienne came to Jaime's defense, but I can't believe they didn't take this opportunity to remind everyone of why Jaime killed Aerys. Also, it annoys me that Dany is still calling back to Viserys talking about how they were going to get revenge on the evil people who murdered their father. Dany's acknowledged that her father was evil. Tyrion told her about the wildfyre and why Jaime killed Aerys. Jaime has done some terrible things, but killing Aerys was absolutely the right thing to do.

And Bran could have totally done a retelling of the "Burn them all" thing, which would have tied in well later as proof of Bran seeing the past when she questions Bran knowing about Jon's lineage.
posted by litera scripta manet at 9:18 PM on April 21 [20 favorites]


ONCE AGAIN, PODRICK, SAVES THE DAY WITH HIS DIPLOMATIC SKILLS, ARTISTIC TRAINING, AND ABILITY TO READ A ROOM.

And his hair looked great too!
posted by sallybrown at 9:19 PM on April 21 [1 favorite]


Although I do like that Sansa trusts Brienne enough to take her word when she vouches for Jaime. That was a nice character moment.

I also do enjoy when Bran trolls people like he did in repeating "the things we do for love" in this episode, or when he said "chaos is a ladder" to Littlefinger.
posted by litera scripta manet at 9:20 PM on April 21 [26 favorites]


By the way, if you didn't watch the end credits you missed "Jenny Of Oldstones" covered by... Florence + the Machine.
posted by Justinian at 9:21 PM on April 21 [7 favorites]


Man, where do you think the safest place in Winterfell is? Could it be...THE CRYPTS? not foreshadowing at all nosiree

Also, right after they mentioned the battle of the bastards, Mrs. nushustu said "you know what would be funny? If this show did a clip episode. Get half the middle players, Tyrion and Davos etc. stuck in a room with some wine and be all like 'remember that battle where...' and then have it fade to show us that battle from season 2 or whatever."

AND THEN TWENTY MINUTES LATER THEY BASICALLY DID JUST THAT.

My wife is a genius and should write for HBO.
posted by nushustu at 9:21 PM on April 21 [8 favorites]


The fact that Jaime didn't talk about his reasons for killing Dany's father is most of the reason I don't believe Jaime will die next episode (despite there being quite a bit of foreshadowing to that effect). I know he already said all that to Brienne like 3-4 seasons ago, but I think Dany still needs to hear (from the only living witness) how Aerys needed to die for the good of the realm, and realize that there are good reasons that the Targaryans lost the Iron Throne.
posted by skewed at 9:30 PM on April 21 [9 favorites]


Jon's dipshit timing in the first place aside, how does he not take five seconds to be like "I'm not planning on taking your throne bee tee dubs" instead of letting potential usurpation just hang there between him and Dany?
posted by jason_steakums at 9:33 PM on April 21 [15 favorites]


["Turns out the official title for this episode is "A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms" and that's perfect." Fixed that for us! ]
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:33 PM on April 21 [2 favorites]


The smart thing for Jon to do (since I don't think he really wants the throne) is to promise not to challenge Dany's claim in exchange for the North's independence.

I was thinking along the same lines except that he cedes his claim to the throne in exchange for veto power whenever Dany want to scorch someone.

But yeah, Jon's definitely not after the throne; it's been made abundantly clear that he has never been motivated by ambition, ever. I think Kit Harington signaled it a bit even in this episode, with his exasperated look after Dany mentioned he had a claim to the throne.

Also, re this
they can’t be together now since they both know about the incest

...is there consensus on this? I would think within the show world their relationship would be perfectly okay, indeed that it's a done deal (though incest might explain the complete lack of chemistry!). Anyway what I'm trying to ask is, have fans in fact been revolted by it, following the reveal? I can see for plot reasons why they would split up and Jon would stay in the North; but would the incest actually play into it?
posted by torticat at 9:36 PM on April 21 [1 favorite]


Thinking back to Viserys and how unreliable he was, I'm reminded of the fact that Dany named her dragons after her husband and brothers. If she'd named one after her father, then that dragon would be...

Aeron.

Desk jockeys everywhere who sit the nylon chair could have claimed to be dragonriders.
posted by pykrete jungle at 9:37 PM on April 21 [7 favorites]


this was most of what i wanted... just some lazy time with these characters, and a chance to remember who tf they all are, jesus an explainer video would have been more efficient

sansa and the epaulets

... is the name of my new band

you are all perceptive and delightful

IF ONLY the crypts looked any good on crave, this service’s image quality is 🤮
posted by sixswitch at 9:37 PM on April 21 [1 favorite]


"Re-reading the books now (with Steven Attewell's excellent chapter-by-chapter analysis at Race for the Iron Throne, and yes I know this isn't the books thread, bear with me) the early deaths that seemed "Random" were actually well set-up"

I agree. I was surprised that people were surprised that Ned died, since he was set up in the very beginning of the book/show with the Stark direwolf killed by the Baratheon stag, and the torch being passed to the child-direwolves/Starks, with the five direwolf pups and the one creepy albino pup. And like it was pretty clear at the end of the first book/season that everything Catelyn stopped to worry about TOTALLY HAPPENED, she is the Cassandra of GoT.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:40 PM on April 21 [13 favorites]


A fan has been serviced. A fan is ready to mourn next week.
posted by rewil at 9:49 PM on April 21 [43 favorites]


I also imagine Williams had the contract clause power to refuse any more than that if she so chose.

I was kinda thinking - if I were Williams' age, on this show, playing a character who doesn't get to do a lot of normal person stuff, I would probably think it was fun to get to have a sex scene like everybody else (even though the setup is a bit of a cliche). But I think it would have been weird for everybody to get more explicit than they did.

I always assumed that Cersei would have one more trick up her sleeve with the Wildfire and Jaime would kill her in a "burn them all" scene paralleling what happened with the Mad King. Though her apparently real pregnancy does complicate matters and make that seem less likely.

I have also long assumed this, to the point where I'd be a little disappointed if it didn't happen. I wouldn't be too shocked if it was Tyrion instead, but... well, beyond the satisfying narrative symmetry, something about the fact that Tyrion is already the one who killed Tywin makes me think it fits better as Jaimie's arc.
posted by atoxyl at 9:55 PM on April 21 [4 favorites]


Tormond is the best character cause he’s an idealized representation of how we’d like to act in a cris, have no idea what’s going on or able to make decisions, make bad jokes, spend a lot of time on haircare and being disaster horny.

my only prediction is that the Battle Of Winterfell (or whatever) next week is very bloody and chaotic and we lose a lot of people but Arya manages to kill the ice dragon, so it's a net gain.

also Samwell got ...sassy? with Edd and the others and his whole speech about erasing memory by erasing stories? Without the three eyed raven they have no history so the Night King is fixated on controlling him cause he controls history?

like, unusually anti-imperialist thought process , Sam.
posted by The Whelk at 9:57 PM on April 21 [15 favorites]


Also you all are talking about foreshadowing of individual character deaths and I'm just thinking about the number of times somebody said "you'll be safe... in the crypts!!"
posted by atoxyl at 9:59 PM on April 21 [25 favorites]


🎶 sansa and the epaulets 🎵
posted by sixswitch at 10:02 PM on April 21 [3 favorites]


I haven't read through the thread yet, but as a general comment the show lives or dies on the strength of its actors. Tonight's MVP was definitely Brienne. Her reaction to getting knighted, and wordless looks she exchanged with Jaime, are what stick with me the most. Bravo Gwendoline Christie and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau!

A close second is Sansa in her conversation with Daenerys. You can see the moment Sansa's mask slips on, when she tells Dany that she should have thanked her as soon as she arrived. Her whole posture and tone changed and she kept it going until Dany couldn't handle the question about the North and then they were interrupted. Elsewhere on Reddit, someone pointed out that she picked up that move from watching Margaery handle Joffrey. Props to Sophie Turner.

The whole character of Cersei also hangs on Lena Headey's acting, though sadly she didn't show up this week.
posted by j.r at 10:03 PM on April 21 [24 favorites]


Dany's all laying into Tyrion for being a poor judge of his sister's character and making bad decisions and I'm just thinking, yeah, but if he's on such a bad roll what if that also applies to his judgement of your character and decision to side with you...

Also I loved how during the judgement of Jaime Sansa's like "that's great your grace but uh no" and then Jon does the same and Dany just kind of has to deal with it. It really seems like she hasn't thought through what breaking the wheel really looks like and what that means for that whole monarchy thing she's still so intent on.
posted by jason_steakums at 10:10 PM on April 21 [8 favorites]


also how much of a sore thumb Dany stuck out in this episode all about diplomacy and hatchet-burying and compromise. She's not good at that, which fits as the show has been saying for seasons she's good at conquest but not statecraft.

Like her speech to Tryion about him being a bad judge of character is basically her talking to herself
posted by The Whelk at 10:11 PM on April 21 [12 favorites]


Predictions:
Brienne dies because her story’s over. Saving Jamie and him giving her knighthood so she can die a knight was it. Pod continues her legacy. This probably means (fuck fuck fuckfuckfuck) Tormund aka best character in the series eats it, too, because with her gone the ship is broken.

If I’m wrong and both of them live (GIANT BABIES FUCK YEAH), Jaime definitely bites it (absolved, knighted Brienne, done), and Tyrion lives to confront Cersei, having resolved not to repeat his previous mistake. Possibility that him strangling Cersei is strike three with Dany, who almost definitely survives. If that happens, she just demotes him and he inherits Casterly Rock.

Arya definitely spears down Ice D (duh), small but non-negligible chance of Gendry-baby who would technically be heir to Storm’s End with Stannis having burned the continuation of his line before he died, and Cersei having offed the last of the legit Baratheon heirs. Arya probably has a goodbye scene with a dying Hound after the battle unless the producers really did buy into CleganeBowl (unlikely but not impossible).

And the sex scene was fine, sheesh, initial shock quickly subsided once I realized she’s of non-creepy age both in the story and real life. Gendry’s hot as shit, so... Get it, girl.

Jon dies, his baby with Dany inherits the Iron Throne. Resolves umpteen-bajillion succession and narrative issues. Filling in Dany on his actual background was signing his own death warrant, as far as story-logic is concerned. I highly doubt the writers are brave enough to embrace Martin’s Targ incest = wincest (no chromo).

Theon surviving the battle I’d give less than 1% chance. The stuff with Sansa makes a bit more sense if you know the book version of Ramsay & Sansa’s wedding night (shudder), but only a bit.

Jorah bites it, saving Lady Mormont. Grey Worm bites it, leaving Missandei shattered. Sam probably lives, burns Edd and Jon’s bodies. Davos lives to confront Melisandre.

Best guesses, at any rate. Leaning slightly Bran lives but not sure.
posted by Ryvar at 10:13 PM on April 21 [5 favorites]


Oh but also the ongoing theme of Dany's "break the wheel" rhetoric biting her in the ass, like it;s all fine and well to be against slavery but the North wanting independence is Going To Far.

Like that's the risk of liberation movements, they can very easily get away from you - like Madison writing we can;t let this democracy idea get too far or they'll be after all our stuff.
posted by The Whelk at 10:16 PM on April 21 [8 favorites]


Pod continues her legacy. This probably means (fuck fuck fuckfuckfuck) Tormund aka best character in the series eats it, too, because with her gone the ship is broken.

we continue to pilot the haunted pirate ship Podmund despite it having no basis in reality aside from some previous oddly sexual menacing
posted by The Whelk at 10:19 PM on April 21 [1 favorite]


if Ser (!!!!!) Brienne dies next week I'm setting the television on fire
posted by karayel at 10:24 PM on April 21 [7 favorites]


Also, I think Dany is already pregnant. It was odd the way she phrased it - “the last living male heir of House Targaryen.”

Nope. Just rewatched that scene & the word "living" is not uttered.
posted by scalefree at 10:28 PM on April 21 [2 favorites]


(for the record the Diplomacy Answer to the Sansa/Dany scene would've been for Dany to say she shares Sansa's concerns, being someone left without a country herself, and that, when and if the current crisis is past, she will always keep the people of the North and their wishes in mind. It would leave her open to interpretation and maybe could work with Jon to create a quasi-independent Queen in the North compromise. Maybe. The Westerosi version of Scotland getting its own parliament.


but that would be widely out of character. That;s something Margy would've done. Dany's not diplomatic. )
posted by The Whelk at 10:36 PM on April 21 [3 favorites]


Ok I don't think Tyrion will be the one to bring Cersei down. My reasoning is that Cersei thinks that, which is why she's always treated him like crap. She can't imagine Jaime being the one who to bring her down, which is why I think it has to be him.
posted by miss-lapin at 10:37 PM on April 21 [5 favorites]


if the series doesn't end with Jamie and Cersei dying in a pool of their own blood together I'll eat a hat
posted by The Whelk at 10:38 PM on April 21 [8 favorites]


She can't imagine Jaime being the one who to bring her down, which is why I think it has to be him.

Yeah, or at the very least, the show will not foreclose the possibility by killing him off next week. I'm pretty certain Tyrion and Jaime both live to see the endgame.
posted by torticat at 10:42 PM on April 21 [1 favorite]


...in fact I'm 99% sure Tyrion survives the show, ironically the only Lannister to survive the game of thrones. Just in terms of their family... there is no way Cersei lives, obvs; and it would be weird for Jaime to be left carrying on after the deaths of both Cersei and Tyrion. The only other option is for the whole family to be killed off, and I kind of doubt that happens.
posted by torticat at 10:50 PM on April 21 [6 favorites]


["Turns out the official title for this episode is "A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms" and that's perfect." Fixed that for us! ]

While you're at it, could you fix up last week's episode title too? Should be Winterfell, not Winter is Coming.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 10:56 PM on April 21 [1 favorite]


EW: Game of Thrones writer Bryan Cogman breaks down season 8, episode 2’s big scenes:
Jaime knighting Brienne in the Great Hall: “We wanted to take the audience by surprise. It’s not a ceremonial scene on a cliff at sunset with billowing capes. It comes out of a throwaway moment that even some people in the room think is a joke and then they quickly realize it’s not. It’s a monumental thing. It’s a moment of grace and beauty in the middle of a nightmare and the main reason I wanted to write this episode.”
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 11:03 PM on April 21 [13 favorites]


Although for an episode so focused on delivering people-talking-in-rooms a lot of those conversations felt like they were interrupted just as they got interesting. Like for example: I wanted to hear what Arya and the Hound had to say to each other but no, here's perpetual third-wheel Beric Dondarrian blundering into the moment.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 11:07 PM on April 21 [25 favorites]


Also from that EW article: — Davos and Gilly tending to refugees: “The short little scene with Davos and Gilly tending to refugees streaming into Winterfell. They encounter a girl with half her face scarred who bears a resemblance to [Stannis Baratheon’s sacrificed daughter] Shireen. The name ‘Shireen’ is not said in the scene. But Shireen taught both Davos and Gilly how to read. This is an example of how brilliant [showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss] are. I wrote a scene where Davos and Gilly get on the subject of knowing how to read and then get on the subject of Shireen and how she taught them both. It was the right inspiration but it felt contrived. [With the showrunners’ notes it] evolved into this where the scene is absolutely about Shireen, but neither of them are aware of the impact she had on the other. It was a beautiful way of acknowledging all of these threads between all of these characters that many of them are not aware of and never will be aware of — only we as the audience have the privilege of being aware of them.”

I
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:13 PM on April 21 [33 favorites]


The name ‘Shireen’ is not said in the scene.

Although the music underneath it was positively yelling it. Who needs names when you have leitmotifs?
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 11:15 PM on April 21 [13 favorites]


Todd VanDerWerff, Vox: 8 winners and 4 losers from Game of Thrones’ terrific “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms”, admiring its storytelling mechanics:
I have to push back against the idea that “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” would have been improved by scenes featuring lots of military strategizing. Look at how the show spent most of the episode clarifying which characters are going to be where when the battle arrives.

This is standard “first act of a war movie” stuff, but it’s standard because it works. We want to know Jaime will be with Brienne, and Jorah will have Sam’s Valyrian steel sword, and Gilly will be down in the crypts. The show isn’t really preparing us for the physical reality of this battle, but it is preparing us for its emotional reality, letting us know whom we need to worry about when, and letting us feel the echoes of long-past events like Jorah being exiled from the Seven Kingdoms and his own family. (He has a very sweet scene in this episode with tiny Lyanna Mormont, who is the ruler of his house now.)

This is in keeping with Game of Thrones’ modus operandi. By and large, its military tactics are hogwash and make next to no sense if you think about them for five seconds. But it’s so good at underlining the emotional stakes of its battles that we find ourselves nodding along anyway. It doesn’t exactly excel at the thing where you understand why either side won or lost, but it does excel at making sure you know who is doing what and when.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 11:18 PM on April 21 [13 favorites]


Totally inappropriate, but while the knighting moment with Brienne was just so wonderful, I also really wanted her to get it on with TriPod. Can't let that man go to waste.
posted by miss-lapin at 12:17 AM on April 22


A necessary and okay quiet before the storm episode. I cried at Brienne's knighting. I wish Tyrion had gone through even more résumés before then, though; recounted some more deeds.

I feel like Jaime's real path forward will be having nothing to do with Cersei, he's always been sort of about his own prowess, which he didn't understand or appreciate until it was lost. He can't grow into another love but maybe he could grow into duty, if he was fit for it... He needs to go out in a flash of excellence. Tyrion can live to tell Cersei that he's quite sure that in Jaime's dying moment, he wasn't thinking of Cersei at all.

Our Arya is all grown up now. I liked when she ditched the Hound and Ser Beric, which felt like a lot of parties, I've been on all three sides of that. I hope Bronn gets to see Arya gank a zombie dragon with a javelin so he knows he's not at the top of the high score list, and maybe Bronn can then save Tyrion's life with a crossbow bolt and they can joke about where he was really aiming; I will accept this cheese.

I'm excited. The payoff potential is so high, with so many characters involved we know in so much detail. Just think what kind of lame perfunctory death awaits Lord Royce tho.

But I don't really have any predictions. I just hope the tree survives!
posted by fleacircus at 12:33 AM on April 22 [2 favorites]


Also because I have to write this somewhere:

A girl knows how to get the d.
posted by miss-lapin at 2:21 AM on April 22 [20 favorites]


There's a lyric video of Florence + the Machine - Jenny of Oldstones (the end credits song) on the GoT Youtube channel.
posted by primal at 2:46 AM on April 22 [2 favorites]


This is an example of how brilliant [showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss] are. It was a beautiful way of acknowledging all of these threads between all of these characters

That was a very nice bit in the episode. However, does anyone else feel bludgeoned over the head by how WOKE the showrunners apparently believe themselves to be at this point, in a way that is neither brilliant nor subtle? I am happy for the (slow) reduction we've seen on the T&A and gratuitous rapey content, and even some improvement in the treatment of POC on the show. But I don't need to be told via dialog that Tyrion's no longer whoring (as part of his project of self-betterment apparently); that Grey Worm and Missandei feel they could never be comfortable in racist Westeros because they will never be accepted; that women struggle as leaders as a result of the patriarchy; that--hey, it's totally unjust that Brienne can't be a knight! (I admit that last one was tempered by the humor of Tormund's being the one to point it out.) All those scenes could have been handled better just by cutting some of the dialog or altering it in small ways.

I thought, in contrast, that the reunion between Theon and Sansa was nicely done in this respect, because it was simply shown, without clunky dialog explaining why, that these two sufferers of PTSD have a particular kind of bond.

For the rest, I just feel preached at by B&W and it's like, fuck you, the rest of us recognized this shit in season 1. Glad you finally got on board, but don't suddenly throw all this virtuous dialog at us in the last season and act like you understood it all along. (The bit with Tyrion was particularly galling, because you KNOW that back in the early seasons his "whoring around" was not seen as a character flaw that required betterment. It was just, you know, the way things were in Westeros, and an entertaining little part of Tyrion's character...one which incidentally led to his meeting his only great love--how does THAT bit of history make sense with his "betterment" plan?)

I am obviously not opposed to Benioff & Weiss recognizing and learning from early mistakes! Just wish they'd course correct with more subtlety and humility and without the preaching/virtue-signaling, something they have absolutely not earned the right to do.

Maybe I'm just grouchy.
posted by torticat at 3:12 AM on April 22 [8 favorites]


This stuff about how Cersei loves Jamie and loves her children... I don’t buy it; Cersei is 109% self-centered. She, basically, fucks herself (her twin), her children are as close to clones as would be possible, etc. This is what informs her choices imho, and I’m not sure Jamie is “her” enough anymore for the old rules to apply.
posted by J.R. Hartley at 3:53 AM on April 22 [6 favorites]


However, does anyone else feel bludgeoned over the head by how WOKE the showrunners apparently believe themselves to be at this point, in a way that is neither brilliant nor subtle?

Nope, I've been enjoying all the changes, been good to see. I will admit seeing the racism in the North strikes me as a bit odd at this point in the series, though. Possibly it hints at the Northerners needing to learn to band together? We'll see...
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:21 AM on April 22 [5 favorites]


I think that the show-runners have listened to the criticisms that the show has received and also have realized that 2019 is not 2011.
posted by octothorpe at 4:35 AM on April 22 [5 favorites]


I've been enjoying all the changes, been good to see.

Don't disagree with that one bit, just criticizing the execution.
posted by torticat at 4:35 AM on April 22


But I don't need to be told via dialog that Tyrion's no longer whoring (as part of his project of self-betterment apparently);

Yeah, I just thought it was weird that they were intimating this was some kind of self betterment thing. I always assumed he stopped whoring because after the devastation of everything that happened with Shae, he just couldn't do it anymore. That's why we had that scene in Volantis or wherever in S5 where he starts to go off with the prostitute, and then tells her he can't do it. Not that he won't do it, but he can't.
posted by litera scripta manet at 4:39 AM on April 22 [16 favorites]


Yeah I was put off by non-whoring Tyrion not being a response to Shae, but how he's suddenly Filled With Hope now that he's aligned with Dany. Also...now Littlefinger is gone, it seems he has been passed the idiot ball.
posted by miss-lapin at 4:45 AM on April 22 [3 favorites]


So I loved this episode. It did nothing to subvert standard fantasy tropes. Singing, drinking, fucking, and talking the night before battle is standard. This was our chance to say goodbye to characters we've been following for years.

We also got to see three versions of women warriors; Brienne of Tarth, an exemplary knight, Arya Stark, who has turned herself into the most effective weapon she could possibly be, and Lady Mormont, who is a pure warrior. Pretty cool.
posted by rdr at 4:47 AM on April 22 [16 favorites]


Yeah I was put off by non-whoring Tyrion not being a response to Shae, but how he's suddenly Filled With Hope now that he's aligned with Dany. Also...now Littlefinger is gone, it seems he has been passed the idiot ball.

I thought it was obvious that the self-betterment thing was BS and it was really about Shae.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 5:43 AM on April 22 [24 favorites]


But I don't need to be told via dialog that Tyrion's no longer whoring (as part of his project of self-betterment apparently)

What's funny to me here is that they already had a subtle, kind of funny, more effective way to show rather than tell this point - when Tyrion calls back to his bit about how he'd like to die, from season 1 (with Jaime able to recite it along with him) and just the look afterwards between the two of them, both of nostalgia and of not being at all the people they were whenever they last shared that joke.

The later conversation between them wasn't needed at all, I don't think (though I didn't terribly mind it or anything.)
posted by Navelgazer at 6:13 AM on April 22 [8 favorites]


I wonder if we'll see fewer main character deaths next week than we're expecting, and maybe Bran's diversion leading to some kind of event that draws out the conflict with the Night King for another episode or two (but on a smaller scale).

To the extent that the show still wants to subvert convention, we might see favorite characters survive the battle just to wind up killing each other afterward as the politics shake out.

Probably not, though.
posted by snuffleupagus at 7:15 AM on April 22 [1 favorite]


So if they take out the Night King do all the other White Walkers just fall over like the droid army in The Phantom Menace?
posted by octothorpe at 7:31 AM on April 22 [3 favorites]


You have to kill the head vampire.
posted by guiseroom at 7:34 AM on April 22 [11 favorites]


I will never understand how someone says out loud "The wine is gone" and Tyrion doesn't get a line
posted by lazaruslong at 7:35 AM on April 22 [15 favorites]


As usual, Alan Sepinwall’s piece on this episode is beautiful and moving.

I may be deluded, but on rewatch, the way the episode spent time showing Jaime’s focus on Brienne hints to me there is more to come for their story. Maybe it was just to emphasize that if Brienne does die, Jaime will have lost someone he loves. But the way the camera showed Tyrion noticing Jaime noticing Brienne, and then Jaime watch Brienne listen to Tormund...I think Jaime has more to say to her.
posted by sallybrown at 7:37 AM on April 22 [13 favorites]


I found it interesting that the whole seven kingdoms plot seems to set up the wheel for another spin. You have a North about to be betrayed again and 4 or so possible claims to the iron throne. The whole thing has come full circle rather than breaking it.

Whatever happened to the aerie?
posted by srboisvert at 7:59 AM on April 22 [6 favorites]


([Bella Ramsey] also plays Mildred Hubble in the Netflix adaptation of The Worst Witch which is fucking delightful and if your childhood was like mine you will enjoy it very much! Even without the campy Tim Curry song. She's very funny! She has excellent comic timing. I'm excited to see where her career goes from here, since she's carried two very different roles with equal skill.)

@Eyebrows McGee, I hope you're also watching the cartoon Hilda on Netflix, because it is all kinds of awesome.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 8:00 AM on April 22 [4 favorites]


Yeah I was put off by non-whoring Tyrion not being a response to Shae, but how he's suddenly Filled With Hope now that he's aligned with Dany. Also...now Littlefinger is gone, it seems he has been passed the idiot ball.

I thought it was obvious that the self-betterment thing was BS and it was really about Shae.


I don't see it being about Shae as much as it was about Sansa.

It has always struck me that Sansa made Tyrion feel morally small and that even drove some of his behavior toward Shae at the end. Like he realized he wasn't worthy of Sansa and as a result then realized he wasn't worth of Shae either and that is part of why he was so brutal when he tried to drive her away.
posted by srboisvert at 8:06 AM on April 22 [4 favorites]


I have a theory that the Night King is actually after little Sam, as he was promised to him a few seasons ago. I think it's a safe bet that anyone in the crypts is toast. I hope next week's episode is an extra long one.
posted by Catblack at 8:13 AM on April 22 [3 favorites]


I’m less afraid of the trope “Arya the not virgin dying” than “Arya after one night has the Baratheon bastard” at this point. Especially with the red woman still at large.
posted by tilde at 8:20 AM on April 22 [3 favorites]


With Tyrion, I’m still wondering about last season’s treatment of his feelings towards Dany, including his hallway listening on the boat. Maybe there’s some pining going on there.
posted by sallybrown at 8:21 AM on April 22 [1 favorite]


I was really persuaded by the theory that Bran is actually a Night King sleeper agent/infiltrator, either wittingly or unwittingly. Based on this episode that doesn't look like it will pan out unfortunately?
posted by LegallyBread at 8:36 AM on April 22


Whatever happened to the aerie?

The Knights of the Vale are in Winterfell manning the defenses (Lord Royce was meeting with Sansa when Dany came in to see her. He's always been the main non-Arryn lord in the Vale, and is the father of the lordling shithead who was leading the Nights Watch party in the cold open of S1E1.)
posted by Navelgazer at 8:40 AM on April 22 [10 favorites]


litera scripta manet: I can't help but think the fact that episode 1 and 2 have been so filled with all the things we've been desperately waiting for, and it's just warming us up for the slaughter that's just around the corner.

In the short Inside the Episode bit with D&D, one of them was talking about how this episode was about everyone's "last night together," so yeah, lots of death to come.


soren_lorensen: Also man I do not know how I feel about Sansa and Theon.

In that "last night together" mini-recap, Sansa and Theon are "just trying to find some human solace together," which didn't sound like a hook-up when I first heard it, but now the 12 year old in me just added "in bed" to the end of that quote, and with this show, I dunno. But if this is the "before the battle" bit, I don't think they'll have time for a Sansa and Theon in bed moment. Then again, it's D&D.


skewed: All the sudden I started realizing that I'm not ready for any of these characters to die yet.

Yeah, that was the effect of this episode on me, too.


litera scripta manet: Next week is going to hurt a lot.

Next week singular? There are four more episodes, and even though this is the final season of the show, I can't see them have an epic battle one episode. Then again, they have to get back to Cersi and have that epic battle, including a sea battle, right?

sallybrown: I could see them splitting the battle at Winterfell over two episodes, with some more character beats/development in between (fighting, regrouping/coming to terms with who survived and who died Day 1, and then fighting more), so that some people die next episode and others in episode 4.

That's my thought, too.


Eyebrows McGee: I thought it was interesting that they didn't give full-frontal or full-backal nudity of Arya, I think because we DID watch her grow up. So they only gave us sideboob and buttcrack.

And she was shown as the initiator, with Gendry being the awkward one in that situation. For this show, that's a pleasant change for a female character, which is a pretty sad statement to make in 2019.


The Whelk: ONCE AGAIN, PODRICK, SAVES THE DAY WITH HIS DIPLOMATIC SKILLS, ARTISTIC TRAINING, AND ABILITY TO READ A ROOM.

In the "Inside the Episode" bit, one of the D's mentioned that they wanted a song in this episode, and Daniel Portman has a good voice, so why not? They really undersold the increased role it gave Podrick in this moment.


The Whelk: also Samwell got ...sassy?

[Jon Snow?]: Well, if that's what it's come to,
Edd: - we really are fucked.
Sam: Well, calling you "fucked" wouldn't be strictly accurate.
Edd: [CHUCKLES] Samwell Tarly. Slayer of White Walkers. Lover of Ladies.
Me: AND MAKER OF JOKES! You missed maker of jokes!
HBO, call me, I'll help patch up these creaky scripts!


The Whelk: how much of a sore thumb Dany stuck out in this episode all about diplomacy and hatchet-burying and compromise. She's not good at that, which fits as the show has been saying for seasons she's good at conquest but not statecraft.

You don't need statecraft when you have dragons, am I right? Or in her father's case, wildfire.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:40 AM on April 22 [1 favorite]


WRT Davos and his scene with the girl with the scarred face: this tweet.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:40 AM on April 22


I was really persuaded by the theory that Bran is actually a Night King sleeper agent/infiltrator, either wittingly or unwittingly. Based on this episode that doesn't look like it will pan out unfortunately?

Same, and also same. I have no fucking clue what that Bran being the memory of man bullshit is supposed to mean, but I suspect he's just a wizard at this point. Hope I'm proven wrong.
posted by codacorolla at 8:47 AM on April 22 [1 favorite]


A very enjoyable episode. I make a lot of homebrewed beer and don't always bother to come up with original labels or even names for each batch, but I have been inspired.
posted by exogenous at 8:48 AM on April 22 [14 favorites]


It's not that I think Sansa and Theon are going to bone before the battle (Sansa doesn't seem the type to jump into the sack like that, even under extremis), just the googly eyes they were making at one another. Though I'm not quite as anti-Theon as a lot of people. I kind of feel like he's just an irretrievably broken human being and he's suffered enough. The best I can hope for him is that he dies honorably defending Bran and Winterfell. I think that's probably the best he can hope for himself, too.
posted by soren_lorensen at 8:53 AM on April 22 [6 favorites]


- Brienne's knighting was, to me, more satisfying than sex or some kind of big romantic profession of love could've ever been. Jaime and Brienne's relationship has always been the words and actions not entirely matching up -- they say horrible things to each other, and then, Jaime keeps Brienne from being raped by their captors at the cost of his right hand. He mocks her oath-keeping, then gives her Oakthkeeper, a Valyrian sword forged from the one wielded by the Warden of the North from time immemorial, and tells her to go find Sansa and Arya.

But the separation of words and actions is turned on its head this episode. Now, when he shows back up again, she steps up with words that are in and of themselves the action. Later, he tries to reciprocate by coming to her and putting himself under her command, which is a nice courtly gesture, but ultimately a hollow one, because where the fuck else will he be? Among Stark soldiers and others who remember that it was a Lannister liegeman who flayed their lords and commoners alive? It means something, but not enough, which they both know, especially because she takes Jaime (presumably as her second) to the council of war, which he would never have been allowed into otherwise.

When Jaime knights Brienne, it's a repeat of past events with them in some ways -- he's recognized her worth before in words. And he's recognized them in actions, too. But it's never been these words and these actions. It's the best, deepest thing that Jaime could ever give Brienne -- she's the one saving him now, and he isn't in a position to give anyone Valyrian swords, but the one goddamn thing this entire ugly journey has given him is a chance to reclaim the internal values of being a knight, and by the seven, he's going to do what he can for Brienne.

AND HER SMILE AT THE END. JESUS. I AM NOT A SENTIMENTAL PERSON WHEN IT COMES TO GOT, BUT I JUST STARTED TO CRY.

- Speaking of which, I'm generally anti-Tormund, because in prior scenes, Brienne had made it very clear she wasn't interested in him, and I Do Not Like it when dudes persist in the face of being told their interests are unwelcome. But there was a little flash of that here, that maybe she might possibly be interested in him? But to me, the contrast between Tormund's hots for her, and how she feels about being a knight -- Jaime is part of it, and I agree with the showrunners that she has romantic feelings for him, but for Brienne, romantic feelings for any person are nothing on her lifelong devotion to being a knight.

- I just thought about the first time Brienne probably heard those words -- maybe standing at her mother's side, watching her father knight some scraggly, teenaged member of the minor gentry, and how Brienne must have felt then, and how she must have felt at every knighting she's seen in the years since, and SDOGIU:EORIJ:DLKFJ I'M TEARY AGAIN

- Sansa and Danerys was the other fascinating scene -- it's a major goddamn breach of protocol for Sansa to shove her chair back and storm out of the council before Danerys has even so much as stood up. But then instead of coming back hard, Danerys takes the soft approach, coming to Sansa in her place of power, rather than making Sansa come to her. She sends away all their servants, so it's one on one. She sits down to let Sansa know this is an informal audience. It's what she should have done from the beginning if she'd been competently fucking advised.

And even though Sansa is CLEARLY wearing Cersei's clothes and channeling Margaery Tyrell in service of the North, there is a personal bending. The camera pulls back for a second to show that Sansa hesitates for a moment for sitting down -- it's a fraught moment. If this is formal, Danerys would want Sansa to stand to reinforce which one of them is the ruler. European court etiquette in these situations generally dictates that just because the monarch is sitting, that doesn't mean everybody else does, too, without a formal invitation to do so. But Danerys, without formality, sits. And she leaves it up to Sansa whether to sit or stand.

Sansa after a moment of hesitation sits, too. And I love the way that Sansa and Dany touch on the people they know in common -- not just Jon, but Tyrion, and then the politics, and Sansa leaning forward to press her leverage.

It's a nice bit.

- Also, fucking Lyanna Mormont and her little hard face and the respect she has earned and talking to Jorah. Like, he's twice her height, but nobody is in fucking doubt that she is in charge, and that she is the future of the house, not him. She doesn't dispute that she is the future, and not him, but reminds him that it's her choice. And I love the way that her face is lit in this scene -- the little hard face, made to glow with light, framed by dark hair and even darker armor, and when she decides the audience is over, the audience is over, and she turns and goes and armored men part to make way for her. This version of Lyanna wouldn't waste her stinkeye on Ramsay Bolton.

- I mentioned it above, but GREY FUCKING WORM. I love that his insignia of rank are that his quilted armor has gold threads, and then that fucking three-headed dragon sigil above the actual, physical location of his heart and how it matches Missandei's cloak brooch. I could read an entire 50,000 word piece of fanfiction about the Unsullied that night -- do they feel fear? How do they feel about the fear they see all around them? Do they keep to themselves in their quarters? Do they have a small celebration? Or do they keep the old traditions, even more rigorously than any other night, because it is a final, terrible affirmation that they choose to be in this land, at this battle, and that dying in the service of a leader they chose is more than they ever thought they'd have?

- The Things We Do For Love was maybe the biggest laugh line in our house last night.
posted by joyceanmachine at 8:59 AM on April 22 [38 favorites]


The Things We Do For Love was maybe the biggest laugh line in our house last night.

I love how everyone gets quiet and looks at him like "Oh jesus, what the fuck is going on about now," while Jamie looks absolutely terrified.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:18 AM on April 22 [17 favorites]


I do appreciate Bran having some normal teenage moments of just trolling people.
posted by asteria at 9:36 AM on April 22 [25 favorites]


I'm guessing episdoe 3 is a big battle, duh, then episode 4 is a recovery, then episode 5 is another big battle (to be revealed, but it's probably human vs human), then wrap it all up.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:40 AM on April 22 [3 favorites]


Also, WRT Arya getting it on with Gendry, just a brief reminder that this is the same character that we've seen, or known to, kill literally dozens of people, once you factor in all the Freys.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:30 AM on April 22 [6 favorites]


Dany actually has some competent military advisers, mercenary generals that have won campaigns, and yet the only planners at the table the days before the Big One are losers (Sansa won the BotB, and was she even there?).

My expectation is a lot of running at one another, followed by loud crunching sounds and flying cakes of mud, followed by confusion, then deaths or near deaths or maybe/maybe-not deaths of the Night's Watch, the Brotherhood, the Knights of the Vale and greater and lesser characters whose time has come.

I figure at least one Dragon, possibly Dany's, gets injured and has to land, forcing the other to retreat and allowing the Night King to land in the Grove to face Bran.

On the field Jon will be distracted from the battle by Dragon issues, but the rest of the army will be facing its darkest moment when we cut to the Grove...

I have the Hound snorting derisively at Theon and facing the NK himself or with Dondarrion, they both fall only to have Arya waste the NK with her pointed stick (it's two headed, not a throwing spear, and much like the weapon she used as a faceless trainee), thus causing the army of the dead and the ice dragon to drop, just as they are about to overwhelm the living. I'd bet Bran dies here too.

Davos -- dead
Tormund -- dead
Edd -- Dead
Brienne -- fatally wounded, dies in Jaime's arms
Jorah -- dead, and found by Lady Mormont
Greyworm-- Dead


I figure the crypt scene to be pretty understated -- yeah, the dead come to life, but the children and Tyrion, Gilly and even Varys hold them at bay until the NK gets dropped.

It wouldn't surprise me to have them reach the darkest hour at the end of the episode, Dragons on the ground, NK approaching Bran, the crypt swarming with undead Starks, and leave it as a cliffhanger for the next episode.
posted by OHenryPacey at 10:42 AM on April 22 [2 favorites]


I think the Arya/Gendry scene is meant to be kind of creepy. She's grown up into a... fairly stable, but nevertheless murder machine. So that scene has a sort of "here's what you* asked for, but it's still pretty weird, right?" vibe, and I hope that was intentional. Especially her fairly inscrutable look after.

*for some value of you
posted by BungaDunga at 10:43 AM on April 22 [7 favorites]


Happy Easter!
posted by brundlefly at 10:52 AM on April 22


I'm hoping the major "gotcha" moments aren't just who dies and who doesn't. It would be interesting if Jon's parentage wasn't the only one to suddenly be in question. The Citadel seems to willfully forget what secrets it holds.
posted by Brocktoon at 11:15 AM on April 22


Happy Easter!

Taken in conjunction with some other posts, such as this one at a Rangers game, it's clear that politics isn't the only thing Sansa learned from Cersei. Does Sophie carry a glass of red wine with her everywhere she goes or acquire the glass at her destination?
posted by Justinian at 11:20 AM on April 22 [6 favorites]


In some ways, I have a lot of sympathy for Danerys in the crypts. Like, she goes to be with Jon, maybe get a little last-minute, pre-flight sexing in, and it turns out that he's not only in the crypts, but standing in front of the one for a woman famously raped and murdered by Danerys's brother -- it's something she has thought, about, right? When she leans up against him, you can see that she has thought about how Rhaegar was supposed to be the Good Targaryen, and has a little speech about it.

And then he tells her that Lyanna was his mom, to which I assume rapidly made Dany think:

1. WAIT, WHAT YOU MEAN NED STARK WAS DOING IT TARGARYEN-STYLE? I DIDN'T THINK THE STARKS HAD GOOD TASTE LIKE THAT.

Followed rapidly by:

2. OH WAIT, YOU MEAN THAT YOU'RE THE PRODUCT OF RAPE AND IT'S AWKWARD AND TIME FOR ANOTHER CONVO ABOUT HOW MY FAMILY IS THE WORST, RIGHT?

and then

3. OH SHIT YOU'RE NOT A BASTARD YOU LEGIT BELIEVE THAT HAVE A CLAIM TO THE THRONE SUPERIOR TO MINE
3A. I FUCKING GAVE YOU A DRAGON

and then

4. [DRAMATIC HORN BLAST OF APPROACHING ICE ZOMBIES]
posted by joyceanmachine at 11:25 AM on April 22 [17 favorites]


I wish this whole show had been a lot more like this episode. It once was -- it's bittersweet to return to that only at the end.

One thing no one has mentioned about the Arya/Gendry scene is Williams's career concerns (assuming she will continue acting). Arya is so waifish and Wlliams hasn't aged as obviously as the other youngsters that it's very easy to think of Maisie Williams as still 14 or something. Which would be good if she wants to plays teenagers for eight more years, but I sort of think that part of her willingness to show a small bit of nudity was to assert herself as an adult actor. As others have said, that's certainly true about that scene with regard to the character of Arya: she's unambiguously a grown woman and woe to those who don't account for that. I sort of like to think that about Maisie Williams, too, because she's awesone and, also, give her an Emmy already.

Jaime knighting Brienne was one of the best scenes and moments of this entire show. The oath he spoke was as much about himself as it was Brienne: at some point -- maybe just that moment -- Jaime realized that Brienne embodies the virtues of a true knight like no one else he's known since he squired for Barristan Selmy. That's the only person he's ever wanted to be, the only thing that's mattered to him more than Cersei. He was speaking the oath for both himself and Brienne.

It seems weird to not have seen Melisandre in these two episodes -- especially because everything we've seen has hinted that R'hllor, the God of Flame and Shadow, is the deity singularly opposed to the Night King. Surely Jon will kill the Night King with both some dragonfire and R'hllor's assistance?

I didn't notice the crypt foreshadowing when I watched the episode, but in retrospect it seems heavy-handed in a narrative featuring the undead. The whole idea worries me a lot. Both in-narrative and meta-narrative. Lyanna's there! Ned's there! (Isn't he?)
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 11:29 AM on April 22 [24 favorites]


The opening scene kept making me think of American Idol. What'd you think, Jon? Little pitchy? Hey, Jaime's going to Hollywood!
posted by prize bull octorok at 11:36 AM on April 22 [2 favorites]


It's not that I think Sansa and Theon are going to bone

Your clue here would be if she starts hanging out with Missandei to learn how to make whoopee with an AMAB eunuch.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 11:54 AM on April 22 [6 favorites]


It seems weird to not have seen Melisandre in these two episodes -- especially because everything we've seen has hinted that R'hllor, the God of Flame and Shadow, is the deity singularly opposed to the Night King

Dragons are flame given life; the White Walkers are shadow given form. If that's what R'hllor really is, He would not be on either party's side exclusively.
posted by clockzero at 12:05 PM on April 22 [1 favorite]


Seventh dimensional chess here, but does anyone else think GRRM’s usage of “Ser” over “Sir” was a build up for Ser Brianne all along? Nice avoidance of the gendered term, even if knights in Westeros are male by tradition.
posted by m@f at 12:19 PM on April 22 [12 favorites]


The religious aspect of this show (and how the various faiths relate to each other) has always been the part that totally confused me. I hope the resolution is more about the interpersonal relationships we’ve seen built throughout the series and less about religion/mythology. Although it would be interesting to explore the endlessly self-justifying “well, that happened because the Lord of Light wanted it that way.”
posted by sallybrown at 12:21 PM on April 22 [2 favorites]


Nerdette Recaps podcast is out (I've only been refreshing my podcast player ALL DAY) and the episode description made me loller:

"It sure seems like the crypt is the safest place in Winterfell. Anyone want to check it out?"

And then they played a montage of all the times someone says "you'll be safe in the crypts".

HEY YOU GUYS WANT TO GO HANG OUT IN THOSE CRYPTS? SEEMS SAFE!
posted by soren_lorensen at 12:29 PM on April 22 [10 favorites]


a) where the fuck is my Sansa/Hound reunion moment
b) re: Arya and her new to do list: after doing Gendry, that scene where she's gazing off in the distance is her going, "yeah, I'm definitely gay" right? which means
c) Arya better live long enough to meet Yara is all I'm saying. THEIR NAMES*. ARE.AN. ANAGRAM. YARYA 4EVA

*yes I know it's not yara in the books let a gal dream a little, maybe D&D are telling us something
posted by barchan at 12:42 PM on April 22 [13 favorites]


I was confused when Jon and Dany had a scene all alone in the crypts right before the battle. Hadn't they spent the whole episode sending people to take refuge in the crypts? Even if they roped off a special section for the important dead people, it still should be noisy as hell in there.
posted by Quonab at 12:47 PM on April 22 [8 favorites]


Isn't the Lord of Light's whole thing that the current world that everyone lives in is technically Hell? Cause that rings about right to me
posted by lazaruslong at 12:50 PM on April 22 [1 favorite]


HEY YOU GUYS WANT TO GO HANG OUT IN THOSE CRYPTS? SEEMS SAFE!

How does that even work? Ned and Rob are in pieces, not sure where catelyn is and everyone is just bones under heavy slabs. I get that we got dragons and magic and whatever the fuck Bran is, but it seems like a helluva stretch to say the dead will be able to do much to anyone.

Having Theon die and then get reanimated seems more likely.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:50 PM on April 22 [3 favorites]


All writers have their weak spots (mine is a tendency to overgeneralize) and GRRM's is religion. Every faith in the seven kingdoms and abroad seems like a placeholder for something that at least has some whiff of the numinous about it to be written later. I hope and suspect that the red god is a red herring, because man, the groundwork has just not been laid for a full Melisandre vindication.
posted by prize bull octorok at 12:55 PM on April 22 [5 favorites]


Also, since Bran could take over Hodor and the Wights have about the same or less Brain activity than that, shouldn't Bran be able to take over the ice dragon?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:06 PM on April 22 [3 favorites]


Since there's only 4 episodes left, the only way they can wrap up the Cersei storyline is by having the Night King ride Zombie Viserion to King's Landing (a small detour that should take a couple of hours tops, as we know from S07E06), burn to a crisp what hadn't been burned by wildfire in S06E10, including Cersei, Qyburn and Mr Strong, and go back to Winterfell to attend the more pressing matter of Bran & co.
posted by elgilito at 1:16 PM on April 22 [1 favorite]


How does that even work? Ned and Rob are in pieces, not sure where catelyn is and everyone is just bones under heavy slabs.

Lyanna's going to rise from her grave and have a heart-to-heart with Dany about Targs and stuff.

does anyone else think GRRM’s usage of “Ser” over “Sir” was a build up for Ser Brianne all along? Nice avoidance of the gendered term, even if knights in Westeros are male by tradition.

Fun fact: GRRM actually used the term "Sir" exactly once in the series (in A Dance with Dragons). Presumably a typo...OR WAS IT?!?
posted by The Tensor at 1:18 PM on April 22 [2 favorites]


My read on 'Ser' is that it's no more or less than standard GRRM 'You're not in Kansas anymore (but you are somewhere with very many recognizably Kansasesque qualities)' world building, which is why there are so many characters called things like Robbothy and Benjward and Mykeal and Aindrew.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 1:37 PM on April 22 [36 favorites]


at least he didn't go with S'r
posted by prize bull octorok at 1:39 PM on April 22 [13 favorites]


Since there's only 4 episodes left, the only way they can wrap up the Cersei storyline is by having the Night King ride Zombie Viserion to King's Landing

I am wondering if he's planning on doing that while his army attacks Winterfell, we had all that talk of "Daenerys could just ride her dragons over to King's Landing and end this all right now but that uhh might be a bit too aggro" and the Night King wouldn't care.
posted by jason_steakums at 1:40 PM on April 22


Since there's only 4 episodes left, the only way they can wrap up the Cersei storyline is by having the Night King ride Zombie Viserion to King's Landing

I honestly think the night king battle will be wrapped up pretty much next episode and then humanity gets back to tearing each other apart for the most uncomfortable chair in the world.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:54 PM on April 22 [4 favorites]


There’s going to be some human (non Night King) conflict ahead for Cersei if Jaime is right that her pregnancy is real. I can’t imagine Jaime being able to kill her knowing she’s carrying his child. One of the many reasons why the unspooling of whatever plot that’s left will depend a lot on whether the Night King vs. humanity or Cersei vs. the North (or something else) is the final battle.
posted by sallybrown at 1:55 PM on April 22 [1 favorite]


It would be hilarious if the next episode were to skip the entire battle and just open on dealing with the aftermath.
posted by JDHarper at 2:01 PM on April 22 [30 favorites]


I'm going to throw out some predictions so I can get credit for them later:
  1. Dying next episode: Theon, Gray Worm, Brienne, Jorah, Sam, Gendry, and Davos.
  2. The dragons will fight. Viserion will kill Drogon.
  3. When he turns to kill Bran, Bran will warg into Viserion and force him to land.
  4. Arya will pop up and glass-harpoon the Night King.
  5. Bran will become the rider of Viserion, just like he rode Hodor, with help from a special saddle designed by Tyrion.
  6. This will leave Dany as Daenerys Stormborn of the House Targaryen, First of Her Name, the Unburnt, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Breaker of Chains, Mother of Dragons...but with no dragon of her own. The only rider of a living dragon will be Aegon "Jon" Targaryen, Sixth of His Name, the Unkillable, King of the Andals and the First Men. What now, Khaleesi?
  7. When all the dust settles after whatever happens down South, the 1,000th Commander of the Night's Watch will be Jaime Lannister, King- and Queenslayer.

posted by The Tensor at 2:12 PM on April 22 [5 favorites]


at least he didn't go with S'r

Sr, by analogy with Ms.
posted by The Tensor at 2:18 PM on April 22


Oh, finally have a good character name for my ASOIAF rpg - Ser Robbothy, former maester and milk of the poppy addict, now anointed by the High Septon as protector of the smallfolk
posted by skewed at 2:20 PM on April 22 [4 favorites]


My only prediction is that Theon dies and that the Night King battle will be wrapped up, pretty much next episode.

Naturally others will die, I just hesitate to say who, it could go so many ways and I'm comfortable just watching to see how things unfold. Would not be surprised if Winterfell itself is one of those killed. Once we see how that shakes out I'll probably be willing to make some predictions.

I hesitate 'cause there's logic, narrative logic, showrunner logic, so things could go all sorts of ways.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:22 PM on April 22


> I was confused when Jon and Dany had a scene all alone in the crypts right before the battle. Hadn't they spent the whole episode sending people to take refuge in the crypts? Even if they roped off a special section for the important dead people, it still should be noisy as hell in there.

The crypts under Winterfell are huge. The impression I get is that the proportion of Winterfell that is not crypt vs the proportion that is crypt is roughly equal to the proportion of an iceberg that’s above water vs the proportion that is below water.

so like on the one hand lots of space to have private conversations, even if there’s a ton of refugees down there, but on the other hand lots of dead Starks to pop out of their graves bent on killing (pick one) [everyone / the night king]
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 2:23 PM on April 22 [3 favorites]


What if the true Night King was the wights we made along the way
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 2:27 PM on April 22 [39 favorites]


The dragons will fight. Viserion will kill Drogon.

That's the most dramatically interesting outcome, for sure, as I doubt Dany can ride anyone but Drogon, and having Jon on Rhaegon while Dany is grounded shakes things up indeed. (Assuming Dany doesn't attempt to ride Rhaegon and learn this lesson the hard way.)
posted by Navelgazer at 2:29 PM on April 22


I think Bronn will shoot down Viserion with the golden crossbow while the two dragons are fighting. It will be deliberately unclear whether he was aiming at Viserion or Drogon.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:35 PM on April 22


I think there might be a Face-Heel Turn coming.
posted by asteria at 2:37 PM on April 22 [5 favorites]


I am completely incapable of making predictions about where this show is going to go. like I thought it was sus how everyone was talking up Tyrion’s wonderful fantastic brain all episode, and as a result have a hunch that he’s going to get done for during the battle.

This means, of course, that Tyrion survives till the end and maybe ends up on the iron throne.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 2:39 PM on April 22


or at least, his BRAIN ends up on the iron throne
posted by some loser at 2:52 PM on April 22 [5 favorites]


Not feeling this season so far! Sad.

Almost threw up on the couch during the #GIANTSMILK scene. They should list slurping alongside nudity in the content warnings.
posted by dis_integration at 3:18 PM on April 22


Reanimated Starks have a pretty good reputation in my book. Jon turned out OK and whatever happened to Benjen seemed fine, aside from the bad skin, cold hands and copious amount of crow shit that probably accumulated around him. Maybe all the Starks get reanimated and just end up being cool, friendly zombies.

I like the idea of Jamie becoming head of Night's Watch.

I think Jon and Sansa makes about as much sense as any relationship now.

The parallels between Gendry:Arya Robert:Lyanna aren't promising but hopefully they won't get into the whole history repeats itself parallel structure thing.

Is there a ship configuration that gets all the main houses combined in one couple?
posted by Telf at 3:20 PM on April 22 [3 favorites]


Is there a ship configuration that gets all the main houses combined in one couple?

Nope. Just did the math and reviewed how babies are made and that doesn't make any sense at all.
posted by Telf at 3:24 PM on April 22 [4 favorites]


I don't know... Euron's ships seem to defy all logic, so I'm thinking maybe shipping Euron with anyone else gets everyone around the world in one trip.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:40 PM on April 22 [7 favorites]


My impression was that the Night King reanimates those he has killed - not resurrecting people who have been dead for a decade or more. Did I miss something where he raises cemeteries?
posted by obliquity of the ecliptic at 3:43 PM on April 22 [5 favorites]


In my Brienne shipper fantasy, something like this occurs:

Jaime and Brienne fight side-by-side, killing White Walkers left and right, until he saves her life by taking a blow intended for her. As he lies mortally wounded, she dispatches wight after wight after wight in his defence.

Against the run of the battle, with the front lines overwhelmed, Tormund ploughs his way through to her side and covers her as she and Pod propel Jaime back into Winterfell in the nick of time. They barely have time to throw Jaime to a convenient maester before they have to fight again, making a desperate stand with The Hound in a last ditch attempt to save the castle.

Elsewhere, Bran, Dany, Jon and dragons encounter the Night King and Viserion at the Godswood. Theon gets his big send off and Jon engages the NK but goes down under his blows. Thinking its all over, Dany flies off on a battered Drogon.

Pod is killed by the White Walkers, along with Edd, Beric and Gendry. Lyanna Mormont, her troops and the freefolk fight like demons. Mad shit in the crypt but Gilly, Missandei and Tyrion figure it out and Arya saves the day.

Brienne and Tormund are both horribly wounded and down to their last strength - all seems lost - but then the wights drop to the ground like piles of laundry. Bran is able to use a hitherto unmentioned spinning-thing supermagic on a weakened NK to reverse time and/or fix the wall and/or warg into Viserion and roast the fucker and/or remove the splinter from the NK's heart, or somesuch.

Post-battle, Melisandre and the red priestesses turn up and bring Jon back to life again. Jaime dies in Brienne's arms after hearing that the NK has been defeated. Much poignancy. She places the golden hand on a clunky chain round her neck. Tormund declares his love, asks if there's a chance, and she professes her admiration and gratitude but cannot return his affection, leaving in deep mourning to travel south with Jon, dragon Rhaegal and the shattered forces. Heartbroken but unbowed, Tormund decides to head northwards with the last of the freefolk.

Following the defeat of Cersei, Euron and mad Queen Dany, the melting of the Iron Throne and the institution of a Parliamentary system of representative democracy under First Maenaester Davos Seaworthy, brave Ser Brienne is reunited with her ever-adoring Tormund.

Forced into retirement due to their injuries, Brienne and Tormund shack up happily together to run a martial arts training school for Westerosi and freefolk orphans at [insert northern castle] and have four kids, all fearsome girls of more than six foot. He never stops being cute and slobbery.

But we shouldn't expect any happy endings... Huh.
posted by doornoise at 3:50 PM on April 22 [14 favorites]


My impression was that the Night King reanimates those he has killed

I'd say its not clear. We've seen skeletons attacking (some of the undead that attacked Bran/etc in the "Hold the Door" scene).

So either those were undead who were reanimated long enough to lose all their skin/organs/etc, or they were long-dead skeletons animated by the Night King.

It certainly seems possible he can reanimate skeletons, given that we've seen skeleton creatures moving/attacking.
posted by thefoxgod at 3:56 PM on April 22 [2 favorites]


Just off the top of my head, the dead people next episode:

Gendry, because it’s a horror movie, and having sex means you die.

Brienne, because she got what she wanted most, so she can literally die happy.

Tormund, because Brienne will be brought back as a wight, and he won’t be able to fight her.

Theon, because something something redemption.

Lady Mormont, because we need a body count, and even if she’s a minor character, she’s a fan favorite, and her death will have an impact.

Grey Worm, which is going to suck.

Beric, possibly in an epic fashion, flaming sword and all.

Davos, and it’ll be sad.

Varys is probably a goner.

I would be stunned if Arya dies, but I think that would be the point.

The Hound can’t die, because Cleganebowl must happen.

I think Jaime is toast, meaning he doesn’t get to be the valonquar.

I have doubts about Jorah making it out of the episode, and Samwell, too.

For Samwell, storyline wise, what does he have left to do? He’s figured out dragonglass, Jon Being Aegon, and he gave his family’s sword to someone that can use it. What more does he need to do? I don’t think they’d kill both Sam and Jorah in the same episode, though, and plot wise, that sword is about to be more important than Sam.
posted by Ghidorah at 3:59 PM on April 22 [2 favorites]


Keep in mind that some of these people will probably need to survive the battle with the Night King so we can get a false sense of security and they can die in the last two episodes.

My prediction is that everybody on the battlefield dies, but not before they kill the Night King. Then, Melisandre shows up and brings them all back to life. But the effort of reanimating them all kills Melisandre.

Then everybody is killed a second time over the final two episodes.

Then Thanos has to bring half of them back to life to restore balance.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:17 PM on April 22 [7 favorites]


My unoriginal predictions, based on Plot Armor Level (PLA):
PLA 4: Jon, Dany, Tyrion, Arya, Sansa
PLA 3: Cersei, Jaime, Bran
PLA 2: Sam, Brienne, Tormund, Gray Worm, Missandei, Theon, Davos
PLA 1: Everyone else
Episode 3 "We all gonna die". The NK mostly wins, most of PLA 1 die, 50% of PLA 2 die.
Episode 4 "Some people save the day". Most the remaining PLA 1-2 die (some survive). Some PLA 3-4 kill the NK and the wights go poof, thanks to the Keystone Army trope, unless they subvert it. Melisandre has to do something here.
Episode 5: "Oh yes we forgot about King's Landing, let's fix that". The only way to get rid of Euron's fleet is with dragons, so if the NK doesn't solve the problem first, Jon or/and Dany have to do it. Several PLA 3-4 dead, at least Cersei. Bronn has to do something there before dying. Cleganebowl would be fanservice but why not. To be fair, fixing the KL situation after the fixing the NK one in Winterfell would not be satisfying at all, so I hope that the writers have something smarter in stock.
Episode 6: "Goodbye everyone". At leat 2 PLA 4 alive, lots of loose ends to tie up, lots of people weeping and saying goodbye like at the end of LOTR:ROTK. Some PLA 1-2, like Gilly, Lyanna Mormont or Yara, will be alive for that. There should be a bittersweet coda showing that the whole crap could begin again. I don't think that the Iron Throne will survive though.
posted by elgilito at 4:20 PM on April 22 [4 favorites]


everybody on the battlefield dies, but not before they kill the Night King. Then, Melisandre shows up and brings them all back to life. But the effort of reanimating them all kills Melisandre.

*mind blown*
posted by skewed at 4:21 PM on April 22 [6 favorites]


LET IT BE KNOWN:

I hereby swear a solemn vow to favorite any shipper fantasy whatsoever, provided it is written lovingly. Because shipper fantasies are among the few wholly good things in this benighted world.

also i watched the episode again and the knighting made me cry. so let that be known as well.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 4:46 PM on April 22 [4 favorites]


Yeah the whole Crypts thing. Wouldn't a Walker need to be in there to reanimate anything? That seems like a lot of effort for little pay-off.
posted by Brocktoon at 5:06 PM on April 22


I think Varys' plotting is still very important to the story but I don't think the story ends "...and Varys was right, benevolent dictatorship is the best we can hope for!" so I think he survives just long enough for either a Daenerys heel turn to blow up in his face or long enough to reveal one more plot within a plot by cutting down the final winner of the Iron Throne himself to really break the wheel.
posted by jason_steakums at 5:15 PM on April 22


I think Bronn will shoot down Viserion with the golden crossbow while the two dragons are fighting.

Arya takes out Viserion with her special Gendry-made spear/javelin.
posted by scalefree at 5:19 PM on April 22


What more does he need to do?

He has to write the Red Book of Westmarch the history of the War of the Five Kings and the Night King's War and so on!
posted by Justinian at 5:25 PM on April 22 [4 favorites]


Break the wheel by dividing the world into regions ruled over by equivalent female powers—Sansa as the Queen of the North, Brienne in King’s Landing (after her Hand Jaime slays Queen Cersei), Yara of the Iron Islands, Arya in Braavos, Missandrei in the Summer Isles, and Dany...flying around supervising on the surviving dragon?
posted by sallybrown at 5:26 PM on April 22 [3 favorites]


The general theories about the KL fake-out seem to be pretty accurate to me. The Night King sends a portion of his forces south to KL, building momentum by picking off undefended holdings in the Riverlands along the way (where he could potentially run into Bronn, who might then try to sneak into Winterfell to warn them), and uses the dragon there to destroy fortifications and turn the most populus city in Westeros into his personal army, newly fortified by a whole battalion of Golden Company soldiers. He then also has a fleet of ships to press his cause across the Narrow Sea. While his partial force was stalling at Winterfell, he could then march North and pincer them with a far superior force (whereas right now I'd imagine they're relatively evenly matched). This Cosmo article has a pretty good summary of it, along with some evidence from earlier flashbacks / visions in the show. That seems like a decent way to avoid having two separate endings to the show, and to bring together the human and supernatural threats into a single force.
posted by codacorolla at 5:27 PM on April 22 [3 favorites]


if I'm writing the show I have Arya try to kill Viserion with her special Gendry-made spear/javelin and then get extremely ice-barbequed, just to prove that I, the show-writer, didn't go soft when I outpaced GRRM.

Arya is the coolest sickest dopest fighter in Westeros right now. But Oberyn Martell was the coolest sickest dopest fighter in Westeros a few seasons back.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 5:28 PM on April 22 [10 favorites]


Immortal Jon out beyond the wall, his watch never ending seems fitting.


I wonder if it’s like the mumps/measles ... immortality but sterility. So he and Dany are the last two Targs and they save things but are sterile so the line terminated.
posted by tilde at 5:38 PM on April 22


So the fighter who gets a bowl of soup?

Former CIA deputy director makes cameo on ‘Game of Thrones’
posted by scalefree at 5:49 PM on April 22


The general theories about the KL fake-out seem to be pretty accurate to me

Hard to see how else it could play out. It's just bad storytelling for the night king battle to be the next episode. There's no way the big bad that introduced the show is dispatched with 3 episodes to go. I assumed the Siege of Winterfell was going to be delayed while things in the South play out (Cersei's undead baby conceived with The Mountain, for example), or maybe we'd have an episode here of Intrigue in Dorn Which is Pretty But Seems Pointless.

No way this battle next week even kills off any mildly Plot-armored characters.
posted by dis_integration at 5:50 PM on April 22 [1 favorite]


Regarding Sam’s fate: I feel like he has a higher level of plot armor than one might expect because he is the author’s self-insert. At the same time, I found the shot of him and Gilly and baby Sam on the bed to be extremely reminiscent of a shot from Titanic, the overhead shot of an older couple (Isadore and Ida Strauss, maybe?) lying on a bed and holding each other close as the water comes up around them, and that similarity kind of makes me think that Sam and Gilly are toast.
posted by ocherdraco at 5:51 PM on April 22 [3 favorites]


sam is the only character I consider to have like perfect valyrian plot armor, because I believe the "wait but if sam dies who writes the chronicle of the wars that gets turned into ASoIaF" line of reasoning.

Therefore, by the "everything I predict is wrong" rule, he probably gets shanked by ned stark's headless corpse midway through the next episode.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 5:56 PM on April 22 [9 favorites]


Is there a ship configuration that gets all the main houses combined in one couple?

Daenerys: Targaryen, Martell (or whatever is left), Tyrell (or whatever is left)
Sansa: Stark, Tully, Arryn, Baratheon.
Both: Lannister, Greyjoy.

Daenerys is the Southern queen, born of fire, with the icy complexion.

Sansa is the Northern queen, from the icy North, kissed by fire.
posted by asteria at 6:09 PM on April 22 [6 favorites]


I can't remember, did they have some ceremony or anything whereby baby Sam was legitimized as Sam's heir? I can't think of when that would have happened. If it had, I'd think Sam would die but would be truly shocked otherwise. Of course, a post-mortem scene with Dany or whoever is left in charge legitimizing Sam and Gilly as Lord and Lady of Tarly and making baby Sam their heir and owner of Heartsbane would be pretty poignant. Damn, now I've convinced myself Sam's done for.
posted by skewed at 6:16 PM on April 22 [3 favorites]


I kind of gave up on the idea that Cersei's pregnant because wasn't she drinking wine this episode?
posted by triggerfinger at 6:29 PM on April 22


There is no doubt in my mind that Arya is using that spear to take out the Night King.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:30 PM on April 22 [5 favorites]


I'll put odds 2/3 that the NK is at Winterfell next week. We still have the dragon shadow over Kings Landing from one of Bran's visions - is it the night king doing the fake out, or marching on KL after having rolled up the rest of Westeros? Or Dany? Or Jon? Regardless of how the winterfell battle plays out I see Dany breaking with everyone and attempting to 1v1 everyone left in KL with her dragon; she has zero allies in Westeros beyond Jon, and she's going to tank that given his more-legitimate claim to the throne, even when he doesn't want it, and her army will be playing for the other side after the battle of Winterfell. And she's too committed to winning the iron throne.

Melisandre is in season 8 based on interviews with Carice van Houten, I would guess a late arrival to the battle dues ex style and maybe some resurrecting.

If Arya dies in this series my walls and laptop are in danger. Everyone else I will be sad about, but it's expected. And other than the NK plot this show reminds me of how I felt toward the end of Mad Men in the sense that I love all these characters who I have "gotten to know" over the years; both shows could run forever since they're dramas, but the show ends eventually, and therefore character endings have to be handed out. If it's done well it's going to feel at least somewhat random.

No killing Arya or I'm going to break D&D's laptops too
posted by MillMan at 6:56 PM on April 22 [3 favorites]


I've seen enough war movies to know that the young, likable male character who sings a sad song before the battle is certain to snuff it. So that's it for Podrick Payne, and his Magical Cock*. On the other hand, this show has turned tropes on their heads more than a few times before. But nah, singing character -> done for.

* add to band name list
posted by _dario at 6:57 PM on April 22 [5 favorites]


does anyone else think GRRM’s usage of “Ser” over “Sir” was a build up for Ser Brianne all along?

It was the 90s. Everyone was Ser.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 6:57 PM on April 22


Someone I certainly _don't_ think will die next episode is the Night King. (Or, if he dies after all, expect him to be replaced by one of his generals immediately, because he just isn't that strategically important. People seem to assume he was to one who created all the others, so if you kill him, it's game over, but I see no reason at all why the children of the forest wouldn't have created a whole batch in one go when they made him.)

Lots of people have mentionnend that everything points to the zombies making it to King's Landing (the wildfyre that still has to be used up, the vision of the burnt throne-room, carmic come-uppance for Cersei for being so blasé about the zombie threat, etc.). At the same time we have learned that killing Bran is the top priority for the Night King. (Which makes a lot of sense! Bran has the best access to all the knowledge how the Night King was defeated last time around, Bran is most powerful magic user in the land, the only who's really a threat). So no, I definitely don't think the march towards Winterfell was a faint.

I also don't think that battle of Winterfell will be postponed, or last for several episodes, or result in some sort of stalemate-siege situation. I just don't see the zombies doing sieges. The battle will be next episode, and it will be lost, and at the end there will be enough zombies left to take King's Landing.

You don't make a multiple book/season story/show about people being willfully obtuse about a potentially apocalyptic threat only to have that threat turn out to be not so apocalyptic after all, and be replaced by a last-act surprise big bad. Yep, there're tensions with Dany, she just had her whole worldview, the entire basis for her identity, shaken to the core, and she´s not taking it well. Could she turn mad like her Dad? Right now, the show certainly wants us to consider the possibility. And I think there will be some plotting and treason, and some more misteps from Dany potentially making her so tremendously unpopular in Westeros that she could never hope to rule without an iron fist, which, in the long term, she wouldn't have the stomach for. Dany likes some initial shock and awe, but she also like the idea of being loved by her people. I don't necessarily see her ending up on the Iron Throne (in her own vision of the burnt throne room, she turns away from it herself).

But if you think the last stand is going to be anything other than humans versus Undead, I think you're dreaming. The books are called A Song of Ice and Fire, not a Game of Thrones. You don't have a recurring theme about people getting so distracted by the usual plotting and scheming that they completely sleep on the greater threat, only to resolve that threat in the third episode of the last season, and have the big climax rest on the usual plotting and scheming after all. (Although expect the plotting and scheming to start again the moment the zombies have been dealt with, in the epilogue at the lastest).

So I'm sure the Battle of Winterfell will be lost, but some of our heroes will make it out to fight another day. Which is also why I don't think they're necessarily being cute about the crypts. Sure there are probably going to be some zombie shenanigans in there as well, but surely there's some secret passageway leading to some sort of temporary safety at least. Otherwise I really see no way for any human character who can't ride a dragon to survive the next episode. The last-minute safe, with the Nightking dying and all the zombies turning to dust, won't happen in the third episode. And Melisande probably won't be back in time either.

It may be time to say goodbye to Bran. I don't think we'll see the Night King move on to King's Landing before he's dealt with Bran. Unless Bran can somehow get rid of the mark and fake his death, he'll probably die for real. Having that last fireside talk chat with Tyrion also spells doom for Bran, especially since we didn't get to hear any of it - must be because the show is once again being coy about something that would kill too much suspense if revealed at this point. Bran has presumably passed on that last crucial bit of info the human won't know how to use yet, and with all that praise for Tyrion*s cleverness this episode that seems a bit unwarranted right now, he'll probably be the one to put the pieces together, not Bran. To me, having that talk with Tyrion means that Bran*s day as exposition device are about to come to an end.

So Bran might bite it (or transfer his lifeforce to the weirwood or something; at any rate, leave the Bran-shell behind in some way), but probably not before pulling some serious magic. He'll be conveniently placed right next to a weirwood tree, which is a good place for all sorts of rituals. (Eg. the one you need to create the thinking sort of zombie). Whoever ends up sacrificing themselves to defend Bran (probably Theon, but possibly also Jaime, and potentially both), might end up a zombie on the Humans side, like Coldhands.

If Jaime dies, I think the chances of Brienne and Tormund surviving are quite good, along the same logic I wouldn*t expect both Missandie and Greyworm to die in the same episode. For maximum heartbreak, someone has to be left alive to grieve.

Of course people Jaime still has an appointment in King's Landing with Cersei, and you know, maybe. But I doubt it would play the way people have been imagining all this time now, with Jaime strangling Cersei out of righteous fury (this episode Tyrion reminds him that, bad as Cersei is, Jaime's the last person who'd get to view himself as her victim, and Jaime accepts that - was my second favourite part of the episode next to the knighting) or nobly killing yet another monarch before they can burn down King's Landing (unless Jaime's fighting on the side of zombies at this point I guess. - But it's pretty unlikely that it would happen like that, because all signs point to King*s Landing getting burnt this time around).

If Cersei gets killed by one of her brothers, I don*t think they*ll be alive at this point. Tyrion said it himself - if they zombies get to him in Winterfell, he can still march to King*s Landing and rip apart Cersei. Sounds like forshadowing to me, although my bet is more on Jaime.
posted by sohalt at 7:13 PM on April 22 [10 favorites]


I hear you, buttttt I don't buy it, sorry. The Night King isn't even verbal! He's not a very interesting villain. To be honest, I think that's why the existential threat he poses has largely been ignored; there are just so many more exciting things going on in Westeros. The White Walkers may survive next week, but I think the battle between the North and King's Landing is the finale. That's the conflict we started out with, that's the conflict everyone cares about, and that's what will happen at the end. GoT's storytelling instincts aren't always 100% but I'm pretty sure they're that solid.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:28 PM on April 22 [5 favorites]


After an apocalyptic battle with the undead I don't see a second, probably similar battle with (ugh) Euron Greyjoy and a squad of nameless 4th act add-ons in golden armor to be all that exciting. But then again my expectation is to be disappointed by the writing, so you're probably right.
posted by codacorolla at 7:33 PM on April 22 [4 favorites]


Hmmm. Zombie Jaime ripping apart Cersei has possibilities...

Crypt talk: Dany disbelieving Jon's parentage. It would've been a good time to point out dragon-riding as another proof but neither one mentioned it so now I'm wondering if this is one of those book tropes that didn't carry over to tv.

Tyrion learned something from his talk with Bran. In the fireside scene, everyone was shruggingly accepting that they would die, pretty sure he said something like, "Not all of us."

Is Gilly, or rather the actress who plays Gilly, pregnant in real life? She seemed so in the soup scene (say that fast three times). Or Gilly the character could be pregnant but you'd think they'd mention it in this episode.

Ser Davos must survive so he can go back to his wife and onions.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 7:38 PM on April 22 [1 favorite]


That's the conflict we started out with, that's the conflict everyone cares about

... and was recklessly wrong to care about that much, which is kinda the whole point? And yeah, I also don't think you can make a mercenary vs dothraki and unsullied vs Northerners or whatever battle (with probably one measly dragon, after the next episode) particularly exciting after the whole zombie thing.

Even on the interpersonal side .... Jaime and Tyrion are over Cersei, they just had this beautiful scene reckoning with their own accountability in these matters ; Jaime has also just escaped his own punishment by Starks and Targaryans, clearly the characters have grown since the first book and their priorities have shifted considerably. Yes, it*s a bit too early for all that harmony and goodwill, and we*ll certainly still see some interpersonal conflict on the human side and I fully expect plotting and sheming for the next round of the game of thrones to be hinted at in the epilogue, but the final stand is going to be zombies vs humans. Doesn*t mean it has to be all action and no more "human heart in conflict with itself" - I*m sure defeating the zombies will require some heart-breaking sacrifices and it will be interesting to see who's ready to sacrifice what.
posted by sohalt at 7:49 PM on April 22 [1 favorite]


Tyrion learned something from his talk with Bran. In the fireside scene, everyone was shruggingly accepting that they would die, pretty sure he said something like, "Not all of us."

He is preoccupied with this throughout the episode (understandably). When he and Jaime are hanging out in the yard he says “So, we’re going to die, at Winterfell. Not the death I would have chosen.” Then later, sitting by the fire with Jaime he says (about Tywin), “I wish I could see the look on his face when he realizes his two sons are about to die defending Winterfell.” Later, when the knights are gathered around the fire Brienne says “At least we’ll die with honor.” And Tyrion responds, “I think we might live...I do! How many battles have we survived between us?”

Something is going on with him in his episode—as much as he talks, there’s a lot more on his mind that he’s not saying. He has a lot of pregnant pauses and meaningful looks, watching others react to things. And Dany is not picking up on the signals he’s laying down. In the battle plotting scene she cuts him off and kind of belittles him, acting like he’s just a great mind in a jar. I wonder if he’ll do something rash and self-sacrificial? Or if his fate plays into the issues with the crypt?
posted by sallybrown at 7:55 PM on April 22 [6 favorites]


Even on the interpersonal side

I think the interpersonal side is where it's all going, though. The big battle stuff is fun and memorable, but it's never been the heart of the show. It's a show about people fucking each other over in horrible ways. The Night King is a force of pure evil and, as such, he's kind of on the lame side. He's not manipulative, he can't be seduced or betrayed, he can't seduce or betray. That's boring! This is a soap opera.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:58 PM on April 22 [10 favorites]


The Night King is a force of pure evil and, as such, he's kind of on the lame side. He's not manipulative, he can't be seduced or betrayed, he can't seduce or betray.

Yeah, I agree that there*s preciously little time for seductions and betrayals with everyone being so focussed on mere survival pretty soon (although I*m optimistic they*ll still manage to fit it in somewhere; I do think that Varys will probably still try something until all is said and done), and I agree that this is going to be more boring, but I don*t really see a way back with that sort of storyline. When you had "will humanity survive"-stakes, you can*t really go back to "who*s going to sit on a chair"-stakes, even if they're more engaging to a lot of readers/viewers, because of the greater potential for soap opera stuff.

(Which is why I'm personally pretty against this obsession with ramping up the stakes as the story progresses in long-running fantasy stuff - I often get bored by final stands. I also like the Harry Potter novels better as boarding school stories than as epic battle against wizard Hitler, but that*s not how the story was laid out.)

But as I said, sacrifices will have to be made to defeat the Undead, that might involve a fair bit of betrayal too (people are probably not just going to sacrifice _themselves_ that would be too easy), and I*m optimistic that you can still make enough soap opera out of that.
posted by sohalt at 8:14 PM on April 22 [2 favorites]


I would end the Night King in the next battle. An hour and a half of the most epic battle ever filmed. Then the next episode would be nothing but picking up the pieces. The horrors of the aftermath. A little bit of discussion of the future, but no real planning yet. What does it mean, for example, to have killed the Night King. No more Whitewalkers, ever. No need for the wall or Castle Black now. Etc. The penultimate episode would be the gathering of armies and the last bit of strategeries. The final episode would include some fighting, which would focus not on scale but on interesting combinations of combatants for drama. But the results wouldn't be determined by the battle, but by intrigues. And there would be no iron throne at the end.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 8:17 PM on April 22 [1 favorite]


What does it mean, for example, to have killed the Night King. No more Whitewalkers, ever.

Yeah, way too early for that in the fourth episode, if you want it to have any narrative weight at all. The better half of Westeros still thinks the Withewalkers are old-wive tales. Cersei is pretty unconcerned.

If you kill the Night King next episode, it just won*t mean much at all.
posted by sohalt at 8:23 PM on April 22


I will now post the prediction that I have been making to friends for years: in the final episode, the last two living creatures left standing in Westeros (probably a human and a white walker) stab each other simultaneously and die. Nobody wins the throne because the Seven Kingdoms are now empty. The end.

(After the Red Wedding I almost quit watching and vowed not to get attached to anybody again, but dang, I actually do care about a few of these characters. I secretly hope everybody gets put of this ok)
posted by Monster_Zero at 8:43 PM on April 22 [1 favorite]


Not that this is likely, but it would be sort of hilarious if all the talk of how expensive and massive the battle is in the next episode, if they just didn’t show it.

After all, so much of the books was a build up into a large crisis point, or battle, or whatever, then cutting away from it to another character’s perspective, leaving the reader to learn the outcome from a different, often uninvolved source. After all, how much of Rob Stark’s story was presented by others who weren’t even there? The whispering wood battle was never “shown” in the books, after all. I’d be hella impressed if the next episode was Cersei and Enron talking about the battle, or survivors escaping to Pike to tell what happened.
posted by Ghidorah at 8:51 PM on April 22 [3 favorites]


I've pretty much been on board with the idea that either Jon or Dany will survive, but not both, because No Happy Endings. But in light of the way things are going, I am revising my predictions. Both will survive; Jon will swear up and down that he doesn't want to be king, and perhaps Dany will even melt down the Iron Throne as a nice but ultimately meaningless gesture.

Ruling from her new, 'humble' throne as a 'queen of the people', she will propose to Jon - but Jon, not being as down with incest as the Targaryen cool kids, declines to bone his aunt in perpetuity, and they part on tense terms. Jon goes north to help rebuild; maybe he stays on as Warden of the North, or maybe he goes to hang with the wildlings/do Night's Watch stuff and Dany is obliged to name Sansa Warden of the North because the north won't accept anybody else and still see the Starks as their true kings.

The series ends with Dany on her wooden throne, a contentious queen; staring at her maps and brooding ever more deeply over the fact that there is still a true Targaryen heir out there - and that the north is absolutely loyal to him and/or Sansa, and doesn't much care to be ruled from King's Landing.
posted by jurymast at 9:10 PM on April 22 [2 favorites]


Hard to see how else it could play out. It's just bad storytelling for the night king battle to be the next episode.

I agree with kittens for breakfast that the undead storyline and even the undead battles are... kinda boring at this point, and I think the showrunners understand that this isn't where the real drama is except as a way to sort out who lives to the end.

The Night King plot was somewhat more interesting, when it was still mysterious - and when there was the tension of characters not even believing in it - but now it's just a bunch of CGI guys lining up for an expensive fight scene.
posted by atoxyl at 9:44 PM on April 22 [2 favorites]


But I do kinda feel like Cersei's indifference to the undead army is going to have to come back to haunt her in some way.
posted by atoxyl at 9:47 PM on April 22 [2 favorites]


This story has been real unfriendly to anyone who thinks they deserve a crown, the real action is the lessons in power and honor and duty, and the limits and consuming allure of each, highlighted in Ned's doomed quest in King's Landing. So the most fitting end is Sansa Ascendant since she's learned these lessons better than anyone.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:47 PM on April 22 [3 favorites]


I will now post the prediction that I have been making to friends for years: in the final episode, the last two living creatures left standing in Westeros (probably a human and a white walker) stab each other simultaneously and die. Nobody wins the throne because the Seven Kingdoms are now empty. The end.

I believe this has essentially been GRRMs answer for some time when asked how it ends - "everyone dies."
posted by atoxyl at 9:53 PM on April 22 [1 favorite]


The series ends with Dany on her wooden throne, a contentious queen

So are you saying that, maybe, she’ll wear her crown on a troubled brow? Or would that be a tale for another time?
posted by Ghidorah at 10:19 PM on April 22 [5 favorites]


I know this show often doesn't make logistical sense, but why on earth is the undead army attacking Winterfell? They have two dragons, a ton of dragonglass, and Bran (plus, I guess, a bunch of other characters of mild utility). Just go around and attack King's Landing first, they are basically defenseless on the scale of magics of mass destruction. If the show has any sense, Winterfell is just a feint to draw everyone away while a sufficient sub-army pops down south to boost their forces with a lot of really well-armored corpses. If it has less sense, I can imagine the Pointless Battle at Winterfell repelling the intruders with great loss of life, sending the Night King in retreat down south where he should have gone in the first place, while they race after. But in any case, however terrible the logistics may be on this show, it's hard to see how they can force the Night King to lose at Winterfell when he could just retreat and go around them at any time. I guess the magic of Bran-bait? That makes almost as little sense as the speech about how civilization must fall upon the death of its psychic history-snoopers.
posted by chortly at 10:26 PM on April 22 [5 favorites]


Also, does it make me a bad feminist to end up on team Tormund? "Fuck tradition" is the proper response to this system's past refusal to make women knights and all its myriad ongoing injustices -- not making Brienne part of that tradition. I mean, I support her character and her desires, but I really wanted her to say after the ceremony ended and that wonderful smile, "Thank you, and fuck you, I don't need your knighthood, I'm going to tear down this entire fucking system just as soon as I'm finished killing the climate change nightmare you all created." I know, I know, that's not who she is, and anyway she will die soon enough, but still...
posted by chortly at 10:36 PM on April 22 [3 favorites]


The only way to make the Night King an interesting endgame villain, for this series, is for the Night King to turn out to be capable of intrigue and subterfuge right along with the best of them. Which is why I liked the "Bran is a sleeper agent" theory. Although I'm not 100% convinced this episode ended that theory decisively (something about the way Bran delivered the line to Jaime, "If I let them kill you, you couldn't help us." seemed...odd, not to mention his cryptic/ominous "Who says there's anything after this?" but maybe that's just Bran these days) it certainly did reduce the probability that theory's correct. I still think the Night King's gotta have some schemes up his sleeves though; he clearly has spent a long while planning this affair and seems to have some magical foresight type abilities (he lured in a dragon after all). I do like the notion of him going around Winterfell and south to King's Landing, but I feel like there's gotta be more to it than that.
posted by mstokes650 at 10:53 PM on April 22 [2 favorites]


I really like the idea of them lingering over every Chekhov's gun and then just dropping the threads.

My predictions:
Arya had Gendry make her a lawn dart because she decided she wanted to pick up jarts as a hobby. This has nothing to to with killing the Night King.
The crypts turn out to be safe, like nothing bad happens and everyone just has a boring night.
Melisandre just decided to retire and become an atheist. She is relaxing somewhere down south.
Bran actually doesn't have any special powers, he's just been making things up for attention.
The Night King doesn't want to kill humanity, he's just leading an exodus to the south because they're sick of the long cold winters.
posted by Telf at 11:06 PM on April 22 [18 favorites]


The GoT Fanfare is consistently my favorite part of MetaFilter. It's like this sacred ground where everyone can get along with everybody else and enjoy people's silly theories.

What makes me most sad about the end of GoT will be the disappearance of the Fanfare threads.
posted by Telf at 11:08 PM on April 22 [10 favorites]


The Night King is already flying to King’s Landing, which is why we didn’t see him standing ominously at end of the episode.

Winterfell is going to hold, barely, but then they’ll realize that the great victory they thought they’d won is actually useless because there’s a million new wights down south. Then Bran’s going to do some warging and blow up the lot of them AND King’s Landing with its Iron throne with wildfire.

The little brother in Cersei’s prophecy could be... Bran.
posted by lydhre at 11:09 PM on April 22 [19 favorites]


The little brother in Cersei’s prophecy could be... Bran.

Galaxy brain dot jpg
posted by jurymast at 11:12 PM on April 22 [4 favorites]


I agree with Tormund: They're all going to die.
posted by Pendragon at 12:51 AM on April 23 [1 favorite]


Also, does it make me a bad feminist to end up on team Tormund?

I hope not, because I'm on it. He appreciates her exactly as she is and sees her the way she has always wanted to be seen. Jaime had to gradually understand her worth and have it proved to him again and again. Tormund saw her for real, immediately. I'd like to think that if she explicitly told him to go away, he would. There's a bit of a cultural disconnect, because he's used to rejection looking like weapons thrown at him, while she's trying to integrate to a system which doesn't want her and is therefore extra-well-behaved. But although he's all waggling eyebrows and hanging around her in public groups, he respects her physical space, her workplace and her privacy.

If the writers have him stalk her into a hookup I'll be very disappointed. But if events show him in a new light and she thinks "well maybe you can court me and we'll see what happens ", I'd be thrilled. I don't think she's in a headspace where she can allow herself the vulnerability of sex or a relationship yet, at least in the episodes we have left. But that's what fan-fic is for.

From a storytelling perspective, I'm tired of stories where women fight to earn respect. I've had a lifetime of them. Stories where guys look at a highly skilled woman and think "wow she's highly skilled" are my fantasy now. A bit like Wonder Woman or Fury Road. GoT has been a long road, and my initial "woohoo Arya gets a sword" has changed into "oh for fucks sake you dickheads just get out of the way and let the women fight it out already". Tormund is in that space already, he just needs everyone else to catch up with him.
posted by harriet vane at 1:24 AM on April 23 [42 favorites]


Eh, I like Tormund and would be sad if he dies, and think he has some good ideas about a lot of things (eg. total irreverence for the nobility), but the fact of the matter is the faces Brienne has made at him have mostly been disgusted. What else is a woman supposed to do to discourage a guy?

I guess him not tackling her to the ground yet as he did with Jon Snow has to count for restraint with Tormund, and I'll give him props for that, since the bar in Westeros really couldn't be any lower. But shipping him with Brienne? Nah.

I'm not saying Tormund and Brienne could never happen - this episode Brienne did say something polite about being glad Tormund made it back; I guess that's the show hinting she's warming up to him. But I don't see the next couple of episode devoting enough time to get me on board for this ship, because right now, it's all seeming fairly forced and completely one-sided to me.

Sure, it's nice for Brienne to get a bit of male validation without having to fight for it for once, but I just don't see her as that desperate for male validation to consider that a sufficient basis for a relationship. Jaime and Brienne have the chivalry thing in common - sure, we meet Jaime as a soiled knight, deeply a cyncial, making a mockery of the whole thing and that's why they have all these tension at first. But he used to an idealist just like Brienne and she makes him rediscover that part of himself. In the knighting scene, it's clear that they both deeply believe in this after all. It's a sort of bond she could never share with Tormund.

Tormund may get fighting, but he doesn't really get chivalry - which is something I do actually kinda like about him, strangely enough! You don't need noblesse oblige if you don't have noblesse, and that's one of the great things about widlings! I also love Brienne's chivalry, but since she's the execption to the rule, I'm not sure the whole idea is worth it. I'm mostly with Tormund normally. But it means he just doesn't entirely get a big part of Brienne. (Which might be incredibly unfair, after all he's the one who's the first to suggest her knighting, and it _is_ extremly cute how excited he is for her and how he claps for her. But I just don't think it could ever mean as much to him as it does to Brienne and Jaime).
posted by sohalt at 2:32 AM on April 23 [7 favorites]


the faces Brienne has made at him have mostly been disgusted

The audience knows that, because we've watched her for 8 years. But they are quite subtle (which makes them funnier, Gwendolyn Christie is a gem), and I think in some cases are more her distrust of dudes acting like they're interested in her. She suspects him of mocking her for quite a while. I don't think the giantsbane story was making him any more attractive to her either! But wildling women are more likely to say "fook off Tormund" or throw an axe at his head if they weren't interested. He isn't used to subtlety, and she would rather die than say anything which assumes he's interested in case she's wrong.

But yeah, I'd hate to see a lot of time devoted to any of this. There's an army of the undead and questions of governance to be dealt with.

I do wonder if some of the delay in writing the books has been because whatever solution GRRM had for monarchies back in 1996 doesn't seem as good in the light of recent political history. There's any number of dodgy examples of democracy which might look too close now to what he had planned. And you could have hand-waved that away in the 90s with an author interview about how your characters are going to have to learn democracy and make mistakes along the way. But having a barrage of political scientists dissecting your fictional solutions on Twitter while Buzzfeed posts "21 ways Jon and Dany's Smallfolk Council is doomed to fail" is a daunting proposition.
posted by harriet vane at 3:30 AM on April 23 [22 favorites]


Tyrion learned something from his talk with Bran. In the fireside scene, everyone was shruggingly accepting that they would die, pretty sure he said something like, "Not all of us."

Which is followed by the saddest line delivery I've seen yet, as they're all preparing to leave the room and Tyrion asks them all to stay for just a few minutes more.
posted by Mogur at 5:30 AM on April 23 [8 favorites]


This episode was pretty RP-heavy, so this week's D&D D&D recap will eschew a recounting of Perception and Insight rolls and instead focus on more general observations.

• There is no published rule about fighting with one's off-hand, as Jaime does, but we will house-rule that he will have Disadvantage on all melee attack rolls. Whether or not he could make use of the two-weapon fighting rules to alleviate that is a matter for discussion.
• We see that Sansa is now wearing leather armor. Hitherto we had assumed she had levels in a pure arcane spellcasting class -- Wizard or Sorcerer -- but neither of those classes have proficiency in any sort of armor. Has she level-dipped into another class for an armor proficiency? Rogue perhaps, aiming for the Mastermind specialty? We can't imagine she would resort to wearing armor without any proficiency -- it would prevent her from casting spells altogether.
• Gendry and Co. sure have been forging a lot of undeadbane weapons! They'll need every last one of them. We feel obligated to point out, however, that obsidian cannot be forged but like flint must be knapped. Have the show runners never seen a Clovis point made?
• Arya makes a tight grouping with those thrown daggers. Her attack bonus must be insane. This is why you use your ASIs to max out your primary ability as early as possible, folks!
• Speaking of leveling up, Pod has certainly done some himself. We might presume that he's advanced as far as 5th level in Fighter, giving him an extra attack each round; based on a performance later in the episode, we might also assume he has multiclassed into Bard. Or perhaps he started with a level in Bard and multiclassed into Fighter when he became a squire?
• The Night King has placed a continual scry on Bran. We don't understand why Bran wouldn't cast nondetection in response; is it not on his Known Spells list? For that matter, sequester might be even more useful, though perhaps Bran doesn't yet have access to 7th-level spells.
• Based on previous depictions of them, we can safely conclude that the giants Tormund references were Hill Giants, not Frost Giants, though the frozen north would be far from their preferred clime.
• Jaime knights Brienne. We might thus assume that having multiclassed into Paladin she has now taken Oath of Devotion as her specialty (if she hadn't already). We might further assume that all knights in the 7K have at least level-dipped into Paladin; many inevitably slide back from their Oaths and lose their Paladin status.
• Sam gives Jorah his family sword, Heartsbane, a Valyrian steel (and undeadbane) greatsword. Here's hoping Jorah has the Great Weapon Master feat to make it sing!

Next week promises to be much heavier on the roll-playing than the role-playing. As a refresher, here are the UA rules for Mass Combat.
posted by The Nutmeg of Consolation at 5:55 AM on April 23 [28 favorites]


Not gonna lie, I still have enough summer child in me to hope for some baby steps towards democracy by the end of it all. Of course it's gonna be a bit dodgy (probably no universal suffrage yet, but we might get some Magna Charta/Bill of Rights/type document laying groundwork for a constitutional monarchy or something) to the modern audience , but I don't think Martin would be terribly worried about the ending being a bit controversial/not being perfectly optimistic enough. He's always been about the shades of grey. Heros have done dodgy stuff throughout the series so far, they certainly won't stop by the end.

I think people have been a bit unfair to Dany lately and have become a great Dany apologist as a result - I hate the idea that she's going to be the final big bad - but I don't want on her to end up on the throne either. We probably won't get any hints of democracy with her. She sells herself as an enlightened absolutist (all that breaking the wheel stuff is about abolishing slavery, not necessarily monarchy wholesale), and that's what she'll do if she gets the position.

But Dany doesn't have to tun mad to not end up on the throne - she could die heroically fighting zombies, or relinquish her claim. (There's been a bit of poetic irony in Westeros turning out such a disappointment for her. All this time what she has longed for the most is a home, and all this time she has thought it would be Westeros. Now she's finally there, and her dragons hate it, and Missandei and Greyworm hate it and I could easily see Dany coming to realize that she actually hates it here too. Compare to Jon, who all this time thought his biggest issue was being a bastard, and now he turns out to be true-born, and it's really the most inconvenient thing for him. Careful what you wish for.)

I don't think either Dany or Jon could provide me with my preferred ending for the smallfolk. I will be sad if either martyrs themselves for the cause. But I will lose all hope for my favourite ending if Davos bites it, because he's the best representative of the Westerosi commoner we have in this story. And losing Tormund would be a bad sign too, because he's our only wilding viewpoint character at this point, and the wildlings add such an important fuck-monarchy element that would be a great loss.
posted by sohalt at 6:02 AM on April 23 [6 favorites]


Stories where guys look at a highly skilled woman and think "wow she's highly skilled" are my fantasy now.


#QFT
Clovis point


They simply didn’t want to get caught knapping with the dead on the way.
posted by tilde at 6:02 AM on April 23 [28 favorites]


(Or, if he dies after all, expect him to be replaced by one of his generals immediately, because he just isn't that strategically important. People seem to assume he was to one who created all the others, so if you kill him, it's game over, but I see no reason at all why the children of the forest wouldn't have created a whole batch in one go when they made him.)

Well, he may have been wrong but last season, when they were stuck on that block of ice, Beric told Jon that basically their only chance for survival was to kill the Night King, because if he dies, so do all the others. (This was right after we saw a bunch of wights disintegrate after the White Walker that made them got killed.)

And while I could see the argument that the children of the forest would have made multiple white walkers, maybe they purposefully only made the Night King. After all one white walker with a wight army would be easier to control than a bunch of white walkers plus wights (and easier to kill, and slower to replicate). So what if the Night King was the one who decided he wanted to have other white walkers like him, so he went out and made generals for his army? That might also explain how the army of the dead situation spun so far out of the children of the forest's control.

Alternatively, even if killing the Night King only kills a significant portion of the army of the dead and not the whole thing, it still would even the odds considerably.
posted by litera scripta manet at 6:40 AM on April 23 [3 favorites]




That seems like a Google Drive link, Navelgazer. May want to ask the mods for a URL update. I think this is the correct link.
posted by Alterscape at 7:09 AM on April 23 [2 favorites]


. After all one white walker with a wight army would be easier to control than a bunch of white walkers plus wights (and easier to kill, and slower to replicate)

Easier to kill, also for the COTF enemies, and less effective. The wights on their own are pretty easily beaten and you can't lead, for instance, a two-prongued attack with only one general. But yeah, maybe the CoTF were not as desperate/reckless as I thought and exercised some level of caution. You're probably right that they're going to play this pretty straight. (I've just been blinded by my general dislike for the idea).

Still, I'm willing to bet it's not going to happen next episode. And I'm also pretty sure we don't have all the information needed yet to beat the army of the dead for good, because otherwise the show wouldn't have been so coy about whatever Bran shared with Tyron in that fireside chat.
posted by sohalt at 7:24 AM on April 23 [1 favorite]


[Swapped the right link in]
posted by LobsterMitten at 7:25 AM on April 23 [1 favorite]


Kit Harrington's acting this week: I like how he portrayed his angst by having to dash off at the end of each scene like he really needed the loo but hadn't wanted to interrupt whilst the grownups were talking.
posted by tomp at 7:48 AM on April 23 [16 favorites]


Options for Cersei dying that fit the known prophecy parameters, even if Tyrion and Jamie get iced by the Night King:

1. Cersei dies in childbirth bearing a daughter, the much younger, more beautiful queen who would supplant her. Since Jamie got her pregnant, technically, "he" is the brother who kills her. (Can't die in childbirth without that sperm, y'all)

2. Arya assassinates Cersei in Faceless Man mode disguised either as Tyrion or Jamie.

3. Wight-Jamie or Wight-Tyrion kill Cersei at the Battle of King's Landing (or similar).
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 8:17 AM on April 23 [6 favorites]


The real final battle will be the Dance with Dragons between Jon and Dany.

The Battle for the Dawn ends at Dawn with Bran triumphant, Euron and the Golden Company show up to pick off the survivors. Something happens and the action will move to King's Landing and/or Dragonstone. I say King's Landing based on Dany's vision in the House of the Undying and Dragonstone because it looks like Dany and Jon are back there in one of the previews. Cersei either kills herself like she nearly did at the Battle of the Blackwater or dies in whatever fire that will destroy King's Landing per Dany's vision quest.

No spoilers, just my guesses by all the plots they have to tie up. Dany was my favorite character but I feel like once she landed in Dragonstone they've been distancing her from the audience to prepare for this big turn.
posted by asteria at 8:55 AM on April 23 [1 favorite]


The Night King has flown to King's Landing for a hot date with Cersei, who would totally sell her soul to him for eternal life, and is totally naive enough to believe the NK can be bargained with.

Then Cersei's unborn child will get NightKinged on the way down the birth canal, and kill her once it hits the air, because it will only have (icey blue) eyes for Daddy.

Still looking forward to Jack Gleeson's final scenes, the cherry atop the bulk of the Gregor-sundae.

This episode was what the first should have been. If the whole point of these bottle episodes are cheap fanservice before the final Thrilla in Winterfilla, then why are they so short? (The food here is terrible... and the portions are always so small...)

Also, I don't understand what the point of the Golden Company is. In the books, there's additional background about the GC that ties them into various other plotlines, but in the show, they've just sort of parachuted (black parachutes!) in at the eleventh hour; they may as well be anybody. My only guess is that they'll serve as the Night King's latest recruits, to attack Winterfell from the south... but if that were true, wouldn't they have brought elephants, specifically so we could see zombie elephants?
posted by Rat Spatula at 9:28 AM on April 23 [9 favorites]


Thanks, now all I can think about is Zombie Elephants.
posted by mcstayinskool at 9:30 AM on April 23 [9 favorites]


Because that would be AWESOME
posted by mcstayinskool at 9:31 AM on April 23 [4 favorites]


wouldn't they have brought elephants, specifically so we could see zombie elephants

They used that CGI budget on the zombie bear last season. Or maybe the lack of Direwolves so far means the dragonsex scenes have taken up all remaining rendering cores. Lena Headey adlibbed the elephants line when she found out.
posted by dis_integration at 10:09 AM on April 23


The mumps made me immortal?! Hot damn!
Also, AS+FM=W.
posted by J.R. Hartley at 10:10 AM on April 23 [1 favorite]


Sure the Night King might be on his way to King's Landing, but Cersei is no stranger to controlling the dead. Her power over death could rival his own at this point.
posted by Brocktoon at 10:46 AM on April 23 [1 favorite]


It's possible that Qyburn is already in contact with whatever force animates the NK, since we're still not entirely sure how he made Frankenmountain.
posted by codacorolla at 10:51 AM on April 23 [4 favorites]


It occurred to me earlier that when Brienne is knighted in Winterfell, Ice (the Stark's hereditary Valyrian steel greatsword) is actually fully present in the scene. Ice was melted and reforged after Ned's execution into two smaller blades. One is Oathkeeper, which Brienne is carrying. The other is Widow's Wail (whose name was roundly mocked when Joffrey picked it), now carried by Jaime Lannister. So Jaime knighted Brienne with half of Ice while she was carrying the other half.
posted by Justinian at 11:42 AM on April 23 [47 favorites]


Well, there was no Night King in the vanguard at the end of the episode, but plenty of Wights (is that the right term) with ice missiles.

So either NK is hanging back and letting the lieutenants take down the living dragons and then he'll fly in. Or he's off to Knight's Landing or somewhere else, 'cause he has air superiority. I'm guessin' the former 'cause he really wants Bran dead, that's the only real reason for him to care about Winterfell.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:57 AM on April 23


Thems was white-walkers. Wights are the plain, rotting zombies.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 12:09 PM on April 23 [1 favorite]


Also, Bran the Builder, who made the Wall, was a Stark and his bones might be in the Winterfell crypt and have some meaning or power. But I'm betting NK really wants to kill Bran. And who hasn't felt that way lately?


Though there may be something to "s Stark must always be in Winterfell," thought that hasn't been mentioned at all lately, so who knows?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:11 PM on April 23 [1 favorite]


Turns out the official title for this episode is "A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms" and that's perfect

“A Night of the Seven Kingdoms” also works.

Within the next couple weeks: “A Wight of the Seven Kingdoms”.
posted by Celsius1414 at 1:04 PM on April 23 [3 favorites]


Despite being a longstanding member of Team DNGAHAASORAFT (do not give a hoot about any sort of redemption arc for Theon), I forgave the show for keeping him alive several years too long with his seemingly unintentional snub of Dany with "Oh, I came back for Sansa, that's what I'm doing here." As much as I have adored Dany, she's on a massive power trip and needs to come back down to earth a bit.

I think everything else has been covered above.
posted by ktkt at 1:16 PM on April 23 [3 favorites]


Listen, I just went and watched the scene of Podrick singing 'Jenny of Oldstones' on Youtube, and maybe it's just the mild sleep deprivation talking, but I cried a bit just on account of the look Tyrion gives Pod. Like this whole time, he had no clue Pod had such a set of pipes on him.

[Insert dick joke here.]

So many people are gonna die, y'all. And I talk a big game, but I am not ready for some of those deaths.
posted by jurymast at 1:45 PM on April 23 [3 favorites]


My prediction.

Night King never shows at winterfell, battle ranges on and on, dead rise in the crypts killing some innocents, bran looks all spooky and says "he isn't coming" "he's not here" Etc

Cut the the night king fucking up kings landing and making a second army of the dead there.

Southerners flee north, northerners flee south show ends with show-down as spooky spiral tree from the night king flash backs.

I say this because this story is rife with fake out battle plans
posted by French Fry at 1:53 PM on April 23 [1 favorite]


It's possible that Qyburn is already in contact with whatever force animates the NK, since we're still not entirely sure how he made Frankenmountain.

It's been a while since I read the books, but the impression I got with Frankenmountain is that Qyburn was able to stop the poison from killing him outright, but wasn't able to restore him to full consciousness. Less of a Romero zombie (literal dead flesh brought back to life by weird science/magic) and more of an old-school Voodoo zombie (a living person brought to a deathlike, mindless puppet state by potions/hypnosis).
posted by Strange Interlude at 2:10 PM on April 23 [2 favorites]


It's been a while since I read the books, but the impression I got with Frankenmountain is that Qyburn was able to stop the poison from killing him outright, but wasn't able to restore him to full consciousness. Less of a Romero zombie (literal dead flesh brought back to life by weird science/magic) and more of an old-school Voodoo zombie (a living person brought to a deathlike, mindless puppet state by potions/hypnosis).

I believe you, but I don't remember that at all. Maybe for the best in terms of consistency, honestly, although I'm not sure that's been communicated in the show so it just seems like Frankenmountain is of the same breed as the wights.
posted by codacorolla at 2:22 PM on April 23


Regarding the NK going South to get to the North, I'm also enamored of RNTP's observation here. It fits in neatly; we could finally meet (present-day) Howland Reed, and close some major narrative loops that open in the very first season, what with Howland's key presence at the Tower of Joy, and the crannogmen's connection to greenseeing and the Children of the Forest.
posted by Rat Spatula at 2:31 PM on April 23 [2 favorites]


I believe you, but I don't remember that at all. Maybe for the best in terms of consistency, honestly, although I'm not sure that's been communicated in the show so it just seems like Frankenmountain is of the same breed as the wights.

I feel like there's a different visual language to the makeups at the very least -- Frankenmountain's Monster is purple all over, while the wights are just dingy grey and the Walkers are pure white. And it's shown that the NK's powers come from deep old magic stuff, which seems out of reach for the more STEM-oriented Maesters, even one who dabbles in forbidden sciences like Qyburn.
posted by Strange Interlude at 2:36 PM on April 23 [2 favorites]


Regarding Tormund, the reveal of his giantess fetish isn't going to endear him to Ser Brienne of Tarth. But I do think that in his last act of love, he'll sacrifice himself to save Jaime for her.

And Brienne is my favorite knight, after Ser Pounce.
posted by carmicha at 2:45 PM on April 23 [12 favorites]


Agree that the reanimation of Frankenmountain vs. the wights are different in kind. The Mountain's revivification seems... 'scientific' is pushing it, but at least physical/biological in some sense. Whatever Qyburn stitched together and pumped him full of, it's working to keep his heart beating (?), keep his muscles and tendons flexible, keep his flesh from putrefying any further, etc. etc. - even if that's a fight that decomposition will ultimately win.

The wights are... something else. They're held together and animated by pure magic, and nothing else. It's not clear if/how much they continue to decay and decompose after being raised by the Night King, but I don't think that really matters - we've seen wights that were wholly skeletal pop up out of the ground and stabbinate poor Jojen Reed to death. Even if that particular depiction counts as a certain degree of artistic license, we can probably surmise that once raised, a wight will at the very least keep on truckin' so long as there remains the slightest amount of tissue to hold its bones together.
posted by jurymast at 3:12 PM on April 23 [1 favorite]


We see that Sansa is now wearing leather armor. Hitherto we had assumed she had levels in a pure arcane spellcasting class -- Wizard or Sorcerer -- but neither of those classes have proficiency in any sort of armor. Has she level-dipped into another class for an armor proficiency? Rogue perhaps, aiming for the Mastermind specialty? We can't imagine she would resort to wearing armor without any proficiency -- it would prevent her from casting spells altogether.

I think it's technically not armor, as she's used a house-ruled seamstress ability to craft leather clothing that gives her a bonus to certain intimidation and persuasion checks instead of a defensive benefit.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 3:28 PM on April 23 [12 favorites]


For the actors, part of the poignancy of filming this episode must be knowing that this adventure-workplace is coming to an end, regardless of whether they know their characters’ fates. And for some of the characters who haven’t seen each other in awhile—the Hound and Arya most obviously—these episodes are reunions for the actors playing them as well. That will be especially true if the likes of dead Ned and Hodor are resurrected. In 20 years we’ll be reading Vanity Fair-commissioned oral histories about GoT from the actors’ perspective.
posted by carmicha at 3:44 PM on April 23 [4 favorites]


• We see that Sansa is now wearing leather armor. Hitherto we had assumed she had levels in a pure arcane spellcasting class -- Wizard or Sorcerer -- but neither of those classes have proficiency in any sort of armor. Has she level-dipped into another class for an armor proficiency? Rogue perhaps, aiming for the Mastermind specialty? We can't imagine she would resort to wearing armor without any proficiency -- it would prevent her from casting spells altogether.

I know we're having fun here, but seriously, Sansa is a CHA-Based Rogue and I hope we all understand this.
posted by Navelgazer at 5:05 PM on April 23 [15 favorites]


I think it's technically not armor, as she's used a house-ruled seamstress ability to craft leather clothing that gives her a bonus to certain intimidation and persuasion checks instead of a defensive benefit.

Um, I think CHARISMA BONUS is the term you're looking for!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH (etc)
posted by clockzero at 6:10 PM on April 23 [1 favorite]


I've been thinking about it some more and want to record my prediction for the rest of the series:

Ep 3, Winterfell gets wiped. All those characters who just got two episodes of satisfying fan service are going to bite the dust.

Eps 4-6, the characters everyone hates will finally be forced to face the Night King. They'll squabble and fuck each other over and get crushed by a zombie tsunami.

People who loved the ending of Far Cry 5 will eat it up. Everyone besides me will be pissed off till the end of time.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 6:42 PM on April 23


My predictions (following both threads of a believable turn of events and the need for drama) after this episode (which I enjoyed) that I want to put out there because I don't see anyone else offering them:

(1) The next episode will see the loss of Winterfell, but without the extensive character death list most folks are predicting. Varys will die horribly though - like Littlefinger, his role as a character in court intrigues is done, as will a few minor characters like Lord Royce. There won't be any northern army left - Unsullied, Dothraki, wildlings and the northern houses will all be decimated.

(2) As part of the rout, there will nonetheless be a meaningful sacrifice by a major character or two to ensure the escape of a range of characters southwards. The trauma of the losing battle will throw up lots of great character moments and connections. Several characters will be unaccounted for at the end of the episode.

(3) There will be at least one surprise death in the following episode while our heroes flee south in front of the Night King's slow advance, trying to find each other and work out what to do next. Hot Pie will feature, as will Robyn Arryn.

(4) Tyrion will puzzle out how to defeat the Night King, putting his emotional insights together with the history of Westeros and the biographies of key figures that he's learned from Bran and Sam. It will involve great decisions and sacrifice by Jon and Dany.

(5) There will be a scene where the Night King prepares to execute either Bran or Jon, to parallel Ned Stark's execution of the Night's Watch deserter in the first episode.

(6) Cersei's irrational actions see her rule collapse around her. Once defeated, Cersei will kill Jaime, and be killed in turn by Arya or Sansa.

(7) In the end, the Seven Kingdoms will be so devastated from the years of war and the Night King's invasion that they will be barely a society. All predictions of 'who will be the next Commander of the Night's Watch', or 'Lord of Casterley Rock' will be irrelevant - these institutions are gone, and there isn't enough population to make large castles and towns a going concern. Survival will be the issue. The closing shots will be a few of our warriors learning how to farm and hunt (with regular seasons - no more long summers/long nights) but happy to be alive and with simpler concerns than the game of thrones, and Sam will arrive with his family at Pyke in a boat operated by Davos, with every book and scroll that remains in existence, ready to keep learning alive until civilisation returns to Westeros.
posted by jjderooy at 7:58 PM on April 23 [10 favorites]


Following up on my previous Go South First speculation, a Cersei/Night King alliance where she gets the south and he gets the north seems like a pretty reasonable outcome if he can't manage to take the south immediately (though of course they would both plan to betray the other in the end). Even if she doesn't convert to undead (willingly or un) I could see her willingly handing over a certain portion of her army to him to convert and head back north with. Basically, it's exactly what a normal three-way conflict would produce if the writers/Night King had anything resembling a basic grasp of war strategy. Plus it would rather neatly send us back to the original status quo of separate kingdoms in the south and north, albeit with a slightly less enlightened pair of dictators than originally.

Oh, and for the record, when I said I was "team Tormund," I was speaking strictly of the "fuck tradition" vs "make me a knight too" dichotomy; in terms of partners for Brienne I think neither are worthy, and certainly Tormund's leering efforts are gross, cultural relativism notwithstanding.
posted by chortly at 8:33 PM on April 23 [1 favorite]


My prediction is Cersei willingly handing over her new baby to the Night King to be turned into the next icy heir.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 9:23 PM on April 23 [4 favorites]


Varys will die horribly though - like Littlefinger, his role as a character in court intrigues is done, as will a few minor characters like Lord Royce.

I assume that Varys will die due to Melisandre's prophesy. But I'm starting to wonder whether it might be Dany that kills him. Recall that Varys is loyal to the realm above all, and has no problem betraying his rulers when necessary. In season seven, Dany warned him that if he ever betrayed her she would burn him alive, to which Varys replied "I would expect nothing less from the dragon queen". I think there's a non-zero chance Dany will take a sudden turn towards autocratic rule during the final episodes, prompting a betrayal by Varys (who is fully aware of the consequences). Dany roasts him alive with dragonfire and he gets a hero's death (of sorts), even though he's always insisted he's not a hero. His hideous death might even prompt others, like Tyrion, to abandon her cause.
posted by dephlogisticated at 9:29 PM on April 23 [10 favorites]


It seems weird to not have seen Melisandre in these two episodes

She did promise she would see Arya again, and while I'm not sure if she still believes Jon is the Prince that was Promised, she did say that her fate was to return to Westeros.

I'd bet some money that the little girl that reminded Davos of Shireen was actually Melisandre with an illusion spell...
posted by xdvesper at 10:51 PM on April 23 [6 favorites]


This season's Arya has been different from the psychopathic killer we've seen in the last few seasons. She embraced Jon, went for a roll in the hay, literally, with Gendry, and chilled out on the wall with two members of her list . It's nice to see her choosing actions that are not motivated by survival or revenge.

Now for some wild, unformed, speculation...

I think that Arya is preparing for death. Not in the let us eat, drink, and merry for tomorrow we die in battle sense that pervaded last week's episode. I think she has a plan that involves her death and that her death is an integral part of her plan. I don't think that she plans her death in some heroic last stand in battle. I think she'll use her death as a step in whatever her plan is.

One more thing, I don't think Arya asking Jon how he survived a knife through the heart is a throwaway line.

I guess we'll see in an episode or two.
posted by rdr at 11:26 PM on April 23 [11 favorites]


Following up on my previous Go South First speculation, a Cersei/Night King alliance where she gets the south and he gets the north seems like a pretty reasonable outcome if he can't manage to take the south immediately

But why wouldn't he be able to manage that? He's got a dragon and the greater army.

That said, Cersei striking some Craster-type deal by sacrificing her baby is an intriguing possibility. Bran's statement that all the Night King wants is "endless night" seems a bit reductionist. Apparently there is a way to coexist with them if you're willing to sacrifice the required amount of babies, since human baby-sacrifice seems to be the only way for the White Walkers to replenish their numbers and they do seem to care about their own reproduction.

(Or did they only care about their own reproduction until they had reached critical mass to breach the Wall and kill everyone? Do they want to colonize and repopulate, or do they want to just destroy it all?)
posted by sohalt at 12:01 AM on April 24 [1 favorite]


I assume that Varys will die due to Melisandre's prophesy. But I'm starting to wonder whether it might be Dany that kills him.

I’m pretty sure Varys will turn against Dany. My guess is that it will also involve winning (or trying to win) the Golden Company for "Aegon", because I find it hard to imagine another reason to introduce them this late in the game, since I don't think the final conflict will be Cersei vs Dany&Jon, and I also don't think they'll accomplish much against zombies.
posted by sohalt at 12:16 AM on April 24 [3 favorites]


My prediction is Cersei willingly handing over her new baby to the Night King to be turned into the next icy heir.

Yep. And then that ice ice baby’s going on the grill.

As noted in the last thread, Dany’s baby (if she happens to have one) will be fireproof, and will be the legit heir to all the the Seven Kingdoms. That’s your game ball right there. Ice King gives that one the frosty boop, and there you go.

Then, in the spinoff series, the Popsicle Prince is running the seven kingdoms, everyone’s totally dead af, and the struggles of keeping all his corpse subjects’ limbs attached will be an allegory for our aging baby boomers.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:24 AM on April 24 [1 favorite]


I think there might be a twist with the Iron Bank. While international banking organizations do tend to favor right wing dictators, Cersei is really too erratic to back. We need a nice steady hand with a fiscally conservative monetary policy. If I were an IB rep, I'd put feelers out to Tyrion to get him next in line. It could be that Tyrion never actually believed Cersei's ruse and has some knowledge that she'd be taken out by something. Then again, maybe the Golden Company will just make good dragon fodder and Cersei's forces aren't a factor.

Similarly, I feel like Euron's forces should be a non issue with Dragons in the mix. I think they've scrapped that whole Dragon Horn plotline and it'd be annoying to introduce a Deus Ex Machina so late into the show.

But yeah, with all the Tyrion has a good brain talk and his off scene chat with Bran, I think Tyrion will have at least one more major manoeuvre.

I think I've been convinced by the southern feint, Winterfell is a decoy crowd. I guess we'll have to wait and see.
posted by Telf at 1:00 AM on April 24 [3 favorites]


One more thing, I don't think Arya asking Jon how he survived a knife through the heart is a throwaway line.

Uh, I could see it. Her above-average comfort with death, her thinking outside of the box, that somber look on her face after sleeping with Gendry - people joke she wasn't that into it, but I think she's looking somber because she knows she's about to break his heart. She would totally look for a way to not make it stick too. (Not today, God of Death!). And Melisandre has promised her they would meet again....
posted by sohalt at 1:03 AM on April 24 [2 favorites]


If the humans do win that battle for Winterfell next episode, I don't think it will mean they've won the war. Maybe all the wights are burnt, but the Night King escapes on his dragon. Or the humans manage to pull off that "kill the Night-King-all-Zombies-drop-dead" stunt, but it turns out the White Walkers did have a back-up Night-King hidden somewhere, who quickly creates a new Army of the Undead. Or the humans only kill a decoy Night King, and the real Night-King escapes. (What if the Night-King is only used as bait for Bran? Two can play at this game...).. At any rate, I could definitely see the battle ending in a way that gives the humans a false sense of security. Bran would be dead or corruped in that scenario, and unable/unwilling to warn anyone.

I'm still willing to bet that the Night King will be the final boss, but I can't really argue against so many people pointing out that this show's meat and potatoes are courtly intrigue and interpersonal drama, and the surviving characters won't have enough leisure for that, if all the remaining episodes are focussed on zombie battles.

The battle of Winterfell ending with a false sense of security would accomplish various useful things: a) give the characters a bit of breathing room to get in another round of plotting and scheming, before it's all zombie slaughter time again, b) pull off one last twist the series is famed for (the false of sense of security would also extend to large parts of the show audience, who are set up right now to suspect that the final battle might be Jon vs Dany) and subvert one last genre cliché (the load-bearing final boss) c) drive home the point that the humans have to look for a more lasting solution this time around - no more compromises, treaties, Walls, etc. And no more dragons and dragon lords. You might have to end all magic in one fell swoop.
posted by sohalt at 1:54 AM on April 24 [3 favorites]


Oooh, I love xdvesper's idea that Melisandre and Co have somehow connived to be in the crypt. The Shireen stand-in's screen time must have some kind of payoff - perhaps a tiny red priestess in faceless disguise - and I'd love to see Mel flexing her powers in battle, rather than slinking in afterwards to reanimate [main character].
posted by doornoise at 2:42 AM on April 24 [1 favorite]


Oh, and for the record, when I said I was "team Tormund," I was speaking strictly of the "fuck tradition" vs "make me a knight too" dichotomy

Oh I see now. And yep, fuck tradition for sure. The job title is no guarantee of honour (as the Hound has known for years) so it's just there to fill in gaps in a hierarchy. If we've learned the lesson from GRRM that there's no reliable way to get a monarch who's both legitimate *and* successful, then why would the supporting power structure be relevant? Either you can do the job, or you can't. If you can, just get on with it.
posted by harriet vane at 4:30 AM on April 24 [1 favorite]


With regards to 'shipping, I harbor (see what I did there?) an irrational hope that Arya and The Hound wind up together given that each is probably the only one who can really get the other on a deep level.
posted by carmicha at 6:40 AM on April 24 [1 favorite]


...an irrational hope that Arya and The Hound wind up together...

Narrative logic demands that one of them winds up saving the other from death.

Or maybe that's just wish fulfillment.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:47 AM on April 24 [2 favorites]


Isn't GRRM* all about upending the fantasy trope? The last two seasons written by television writers instead leaned into it but the author did outline an endgame. There are so many popular characters now, they're not all gonna die heroically. Quite a few will die in ways that will infuriate viewers if the writers follow Martin's lead. They won't be pointless deaths but they will be shocking.

I agree that the battle in the next episode isn't the end of the Night King/whitewalkers/zombies threat like others have posted above, if only because you can't have a battle to get rid of The Greatest Threat to Civilization the World Has Ever Known! and then go back to squabbling over who is king/queen. Seems like the prevailing attitude would be " Here, you do it. I'm going home and sleep for a month."

Love the idea that the little scarred girl was Melisandre. Disguising herself to resemble the girl whom she had burned at the stake would be a GRRM idea. Having her just be a callout to Shireen in a touching scene with Davos and Gilly is a tv writer's idea.

*Haven't read the books; just going by whatever others have said. And him killing Sean Bean in the first season which put me off watching for years.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 7:37 AM on April 24 [1 favorite]


you can't have a battle to get rid of The Greatest Threat to Civilization the World Has Ever Known! and then go back to squabbling over who is king/queen.

I'd argue that most of the series has been about people fighting each other, despite the outside threat. To me it would be a perfect subversive of tropes if the Night King is quickly defeated by combined forces, only to have those forces fight among themselves after the defeat.

The only reason there's an outside threat is that people forgot there was one.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:55 AM on April 24 [4 favorites]


Hell, Ned Stark chopped a young deserter's head who told them what he saw and everyone was like "oh that crazy lad, whatever, he broke the rules so we must kill him"
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:02 AM on April 24 [2 favorites]


I would love a disastrous bummer ending.
posted by French Fry at 8:52 AM on April 24 [8 favorites]


I think there might be a twist with the Iron Bank. While international banking organizations do tend to favor right wing dictators, Cersei is really too erratic to back.
Also, the reason why the Iron Bank supported Cersei is her plunder of Highgarden and the resulting wealth. The IB tends to support whoever they think most likely to win so they can maximize profit, and it actually loaned Cersei the money for hiring the Golden Company. If the alliance defeats the NK, and if Dany keeps at least one live dragon, the whole situation changes: not only the North is no longer under threat, which opens interesting commercial potentialities for the coming Spring, but Cersei's position is considerably weakened. Everyone still alive north of the Reach is pumped up and rushing to fight her, she has no reliable allies of her own, and no fire-breathing flying superfast superweapon. The IB has already lost its investment with Stannis, they may not want to repeat the mistake. All the IB has to do is to send a raven to Harry Strickland from the Golden Company, telling him to throw Mr Douchebag Greyjoy overboard and change sides (it's their money after all). Remember that the IB is run by Mycroft, he's smart. That's at least a potential solution to the KL problem that does not involve fighting, could be solved quickly and - somewhat - ironically, with Capitalism having the last say.
posted by elgilito at 8:55 AM on April 24 [6 favorites]


The show is probably done with Dorne, but it's in a highly defensible desert and (should) have sizable troop reserves. It's actually set up pretty well to deal with whoever shakes out at the end of the Northern wars, whether that's the protagonists, Cersei, or the Night King. A foreign Essos power, like the Bank, could make a very profitable alliance with Dorne.

The show is completely ignoring like 80% of the population of Westeros, which makes sense since they have 4 episodes left to tell the entire rest of the story and have dithered away two of those with reunions, but isn't exactly satisfying.
posted by codacorolla at 9:11 AM on April 24 [6 favorites]


It's possible that Qyburn is already in contact with whatever force animates the NK, since we're still not entirely sure how he made Frankenmountain.

Qyburn to the wight telephone. Qyburn to the wight telephone, please.
posted by invitapriore at 10:26 AM on April 24 [20 favorites]


In the end, the Seven Kingdoms will be so devastated from the years of war and the Night King's invasion that they will be barely a society.

I like your theory, but there's no way Westeros gets to live in peace while the survivors rebuild society. Essos is right there across the narrow sea full of rich lords. But this does continue the cycle of the Children of the Forest being conquered by the First Men, then the Andals and Rhoynar taking over, and then the Targaryens after them. It seems fitting that the future of Westeros is the Iron Bank foreclosing on the continent and selling it off to outsiders.
posted by Gary at 10:37 AM on April 24 [2 favorites]


Jon Snow became immensely more killable when he adopted the man bun.
posted by srboisvert at 10:45 AM on April 24 [5 favorites]


PREDICTIONS

EP 3: Melisandre will show up at the last moment and sacrifice herself to give Beric Dondarrion a Lord of Light supercharge. Then Dondarrion will kamikaze the ice dragon. A poetic end for everyone.

EP 4: Bronn and the Golden Company will arrive together. Bronn will buy the services of the Golden Company with his wagons-full of fratricide gold, and they will join the battle to save the Northerners from the NK army. Afterward, Tyrion will re-purchase the services of the now-penniless Bronn with a single gold coin.
posted by JohnFromGR at 11:09 AM on April 24 [4 favorites]


Jon Snow became immensely more killable when he adopted the man bun.

Indeed. Far better for Jon to have adopted the traditional warriors' hairstyle from north of the wall: the long, thick braid. While the wildlings do not practice the traditions of knighthood as seen in the Seven Kingdoms and do not have squires per se, wildling warriors who have proved themselves in battle are often assigned an assistant who helps to outfit and aid them in battle. One of the duties of these assistants is to tie their master's hair in the aforementioned braid, and this responsibility gave this role its title. In wildling culture, it would be a great honor to be appointed as a man's braider.

Like when the majordomos of Merovingian France accumulated more and more influence until they finally overthrew the dynasty they served, the braiders who attended the elite warriors of wildling country became a powerful organization unto themselves, while the warrior class grew ever more fractured and disorganized. Eventually, it was one of these formerly humble assistants who managed to unite the warring wildling tribes and lead them to launch a massive, organized attack against the Wall and Castle Black.

And that, my friends, is how a man's braider became King-Beyond-The-Wall.
posted by prize bull octorok at 11:12 AM on April 24 [36 favorites]


Melisandre will show up at the last moment and sacrifice herself

Herself, when there's several royal blood donors still breathing? I hope Gendry is keeping his eyes open.
posted by BungaDunga at 11:26 AM on April 24 [3 favorites]


I could see the very end of the series being a definite defeat of the Night King after a bunch of former rivals/enemies band together, and right after humanity collectively takes a breath of relief, some new petty conflict erupts among the survivors—making the point that the circle of fighting over the throne can’t really be broken and the story of these various families and factions will go on and on, because it’s the human story.

(Either that or they give the throne to Brienne as the most honorable person in the kingdom.)
posted by sallybrown at 11:34 AM on April 24 [3 favorites]


And that, my friends, is how a man's braider became King-Beyond-The-Wall.

torn between slow clap and eternal groan
posted by lazaruslong at 11:41 AM on April 24 [13 favorites]


> And that, my friends, is how a man's braider became King-Beyond-The-Wall.
posted by prize bull octorok


torn between thinking prize bull octorok should be beheaded and thinking he should be sent to the Wall.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 12:34 PM on April 24 [16 favorites]


I keep getting the Iron Bank mixed up with Deutsche Bank.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 4:17 PM on April 24 [3 favorites]


it would be a great honor to be appointed as a man's braider.

Or, indeed, as a man’s raider.
posted by Sys Rq at 5:40 PM on April 24


Or, indeed, just slightly less lazy than naming him Siege the Castle Guy.
posted by snuffleupagus at 8:04 PM on April 24 [3 favorites]


That scene in the crypt was magic. First of all, that giant story seemed to take ten years to tell -- it just kept going on and on and on! I loved it. "Suckled on her for three months"?!!! WTF. And the knighting made me cry, 100% on the basis of Brienne's reaction and how all the men reacted to her reaction with applause and cheers. These aren't nice guys but maybe they are good guys. It definitely made me want to root for all of them, anyway. I loved Tyrion begging them all to stay just a little while longer, and I especially loved Pod's beautiful, haunting song. It was like they were holding a wake for themselves.

I also really liked the sex scene between Arya and Gendry, because it was so spooky and unsettling (and, like someone said above, I think it was meant to be). Arya is just so unsettling in general, and everything she touches turns a little strange. These Stark kids, man. They grew up WEIRD.

Jon actually picked a fairly good time to tell Dany about his parentage, I think. They're in the North and about to go into battle, so Jon is in the strongest position he could ever be in. It would have been a disaster to tell Dany after she no longer needed him and while not on his home turf. She might still end up killing him, but at least this way, she'll have to take at least a night to cool off.

If I were Dany, I would just propose to Jon. If they're married, then which of their claims to the throne is stronger doesn't really matter that much; it could even strengthen their claim as a pair that they each have a strong claim in their own right. Dany could get Jon to leave all the ruling to her with only the mildest arm-twisting. And they're ostensibly in love, even though they have the chemistry of a wet noodle. But Dany doesn't think like that, so eh. Besides, maybe Jon would find some moral reason to be against it, like because he took the black or whatever. He's like that sometimes.

Anyway, what I want to happen next episode is for Dany and Drogon to be killed and maybe even made into wights/white walkers. It would shake things up for Dany to just die all of a sudden. And her imperiousness makes me want to knock her down a peg.

That would also leave Jon as the sole dragon rider, which would be interesting. Well, Jon and whoever is riding the Ice Dragon.

This is really weird, but I think Gilly is sort of the Cersei of the North right now. Sort of because, like Cersei, Gilly has a baby by incest that she's calling by her "husband's" name. But mostly because I think of Gilly down there in the crypt with the women and children and it reminds me so much of that battle when Cersei and Sansa were stuck in some room of the Kings Landing castle, and Cersei was sure the battle was lost, and was going to feed her baby (Tomen?) poison before drinking it herself to "avoid" capture.

Anyway, I think that Cersei is pretty likely to kill herself in some kind of "fuck you" gesture, if she sees the game is up but she doesn't want to give her enemies a clean win and/or wants to go out as a kind of martyr. I don't think that either of her brothers is likely to be the end of her (or at least, I hope they're not). The thing I love about Cersei is that she's got this "face God and walk backwards into hell" side to her, and I hope she keeps that through the end.

I think the theory that Arya has a plan that relies on her own death is a very good one. It definitely fits with her mindset and how she was acting. However, isn't she the only remaining Stark at Winterfell? Sansa is technically a Lannister, Jon is a Targeryan, and Bran isn't really Bran Stark anymore now that he's the Three-Eyed Raven (as Bran constantly and creepily likes to remind people). If Arya dies, and there's no longer a Stark in Winterfell, is that going to be a problem? I kind of hope it is, because the "there must always be a Stark in Winterfell" motto always seemed interestingly ominous to me. It sounds sort of like a curse.

Anyway, I have so many thoughts about Theon. In my heart of hearts, I want him to survive all of this, because he's already in a sort of living death, so he fits right in with the wights and what not. I also just like that he's inconveniently just trudging on and on and on. Sometimes death is *too* convenient and dramatically twee on a show like this, so I like that he just keeps kicking even though there's not really any story-based reason for it. I also respect his survival instinct. He and Sansa are survivors above all, and that's what I like best about both of them.

THAT SAID, Theon has been pissing me the hell off ever since he started trying to "redeem" himself. The turning point for me was last season when he was in that ridiculous fight with Yara's first mate. It just feels like such bullshit to me, like he's not even a real character anymore. It used to seem like "Theon" was a mask that he tried to wear all the time but that would sometimes slip, sometimes he'd take off, etc....and I thought that was really interesting. But he's totally one-note now. So on the one hand, I want him to live, because that's like, his one "thing," that he just keeps living. But on the other hand, I am sort of feeling like the show should either have him be himself in all its totally fucked up and layered glory or just put him out of his misery, because this version of Redemption!Theon-Who-Somehow-Isn't-Fundamentally-Nihilistic isn't working for me.
posted by rue72 at 9:52 PM on April 24 [3 favorites]


Sansa isn't a Lannister because her marriage to Tyrion was never consummated. While they seem to have some fondness for each other, there's been no discussion of her remarrying him. At this point, marrying Tyrion would be a huge step down considering how Dany regards Lannisters. Plus considering what happened the last time she left Winterfell for KL, I don't think she would make that trip for anyone.
posted by miss-lapin at 10:00 PM on April 24 [1 favorite]


Oh sorry, I guess she's a Bolton?
posted by rue72 at 10:01 PM on April 24


Well right up until she "divorced" her husband by feeding him to dogs thus ending the House of Bolton.
posted by miss-lapin at 10:05 PM on April 24 [5 favorites]


I am pretty sure she would consider her Bolton “marriage” to be annulled.
posted by janell at 10:05 PM on April 24 [4 favorites]


I actually came here because it seems on a lot of the discussion forums people are dragging out the Qaarth vision Dany has, which seems to suggest a number of things like the Night King's army making it to KL and some have put forward her willingness to sacrifice happiness in order to uphold her sense of duty.
posted by miss-lapin at 10:09 PM on April 24 [1 favorite]


Isn't Sansa Ramsey's widow? I doubt that she would ever introduce herself as Lady Bolton, but isn't that her legal name/title at this point?
posted by rue72 at 10:16 PM on April 24 [1 favorite]


I think Sansa's name and legal status is a lot like who gets to call themselves king- you can do it if no one can say otherwise, so she's Sansa Stark for all intents and purposes and ironically, after she;s been used as a pawn and married off so many times, it's her Stark name, her original name, that has the most weight.
posted by The Whelk at 10:38 PM on April 24 [10 favorites]


If it works anything like in our history she is both Lady Stark and Lady Bolton, but Stark takes precedence as the more senior title. Winterfell is the equivalent of a Dukedom while the Dreadfort is more like an Earldom.
posted by Justinian at 10:40 PM on April 24 [7 favorites]


The proof is in the pudding. She's the Lady Stark of Winterfell, so say them all, and calling her Bolton would probably be a good way of joining Ramsay as dog food.

After all, there's another law in the North: there must always be a Stark in Winterfell.

(And, on the legalistic side, House Bolton is probably abolished now. Refer to our previous discussions of Tarly and whether Sam could have Dany reinstate it.)
posted by snuffleupagus at 10:43 PM on April 24 [8 favorites]


because when push comes to shove all this legalistic dynastic stuff is bullshit cause the concept of a natural monarchy is bullshit. Power comes from the ability to express it (or from the consent of the governed)
posted by The Whelk at 10:58 PM on April 24 [5 favorites]


Well also all that legalistic dynastic stuff is also bullshit when so many of the houses have been obliterated and so many more houses are probably yet to fall.

I mean shit it might be Robyn Ayrnn who sits on what's left of the Iron Throne by the end.
posted by miss-lapin at 11:00 PM on April 24


it seems on a lot of the discussion forums people are dragging out the Qaarth vision Dany has

Do we have any reason to believe that her vision of King's Landing was particularly true? She also sees Drogo and their infant son; I thought that sequence was Pyat Pree trying to seduce her into living in the dream so he could steal the dragons in the real world.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 11:10 PM on April 24 [1 favorite]


Well it could be a sequence to seduce Dany but also be foreshadowing. As I said people are reading into things like the snowy throne room predicting the Night King going to KL and even that her walking away from Drogo and son indicating that she becomes the Night Queen (and therefore not joining them in the Night Lands).
posted by miss-lapin at 11:20 PM on April 24 [1 favorite]


As I said people are reading into things like the snowy throne room predicting the Night King going to KL and even that her walking away from Drogo and son indicating that she becomes the Night Queen

That's the problem with this show, that scene could totally matter or not. There's no strong narrative coherence, so it makes predicting things more difficult and even if you're right, it's not very fulfilling.

Never mind getting into the whole "guess the story" vs "let the story unfold" thing. I've mostly opted for the latter, so that I'm not as disappointed when the awesome theory never comes true, but there's just spectacle.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:11 AM on April 25 [4 favorites]


I am just out of my gourd with anticipation and not knowing what will happen. It could be so many wonderful or terrible things, Martin and the show’s writers and directors have set us up through the years to expect anything, and brought all these characters we love and hate together, and it’s like the pause before the first notes of a song are about to start. People who watch the show in years to come will never have this pure uncertainty. It really must be bittersweet for Martin and people who were drawn into this world decades ago through the books—I imagine he’ll try to preserve some mystery and anticipation for himself by not commenting on what might be different or the same in his plotting.

And given the care shown to the characters last episode, I have faith the episodes to come will be thoughtful, which is all I wanted.
posted by sallybrown at 7:34 AM on April 25 [3 favorites]


Since we're speculating outlandishly... My favorite character is Arya. Following up rdr's theory that Arya has planned some death magic... What if Arya's topping Gendry wasn't just some unasked-for fan service of letting us watch our favorite little sister lose her virginity? What if she has a plan involving Baratheon blood? Or seed? (Or maybe both; I imagine she's comfortable with a little love bite or two.) Arya did seem awfully obsessed with Gendry telling her all about Melisandre and the leeches and the magic king's blood. I haven't quite worked out all the details of exactly what the result is, but I like to imagine it's more in service of the Many-Faced God than the Seven Kingdoms, the North, or R'hllor.

More seriously, Arya is a significant force of Chaotic Neutral in the GoT books, or The Stranger in the Faith of the Seven. I'd hate for her magnificent character arc to be bent to her just being the person with good aim with an obsidian spear and then living out a life of being a dutiful younger sister to her more famous family.

Bran's my other favorite character, again because he's just so weird. Or weirwood, after next episode, I'm pretty sure he's going to upload his consciousness to weirwood.net.

If the last four episodes follow the conventional arc of "defeat White Walkers, three more episodes of anticlimax mopping up human drama" I'm gonna be bummed. I'd love to see some big plot turn / splashout next episode, maybe like folks are saying the Night King just rolling right past Winterfell to take out King's Landing.
posted by Nelson at 7:48 AM on April 25 [4 favorites]


I think Sansa's name and legal status is a lot like who gets to call themselves king- you can do it if no one can say otherwise

The thing is that I don't think whether Sansa is a Stark or not at this point or what people's names "really are" is just legalistic detail. Names mean a lot on this show, because identity means a lot.

Bran saying that he's not really Bran anymore but the Three-Eyed Raven, Theon v Reek (or whether he was "really" a Greyjoy or a Stark), Jon Snow v Jon Stark v Aegon Targaryen, or even Joffrey Baratheon v Lannister, or Ramsey Snow v Ramsey Bolton -- those were all very intense conflicts that had high stakes and big consequences, even though a lot of how they played out in a concrete sense was just in people's names. I think it's arguable that women's names don't have as much power in the story as men's do because women's are expected to change a lot even if they don't have a corresponding internal change of identity. But even Cersei wouldn't be on the throne now if she hadn't become Cersei Barantheon back in the day, and Dany's whole claim to destiny/power/nobility is just based on her name, so maybe women's names still do matter.

Sansa's marriage to Ramsey was horrific, but it changed her -- and maybe she can reclaim her old name after all that (she definitely wants to) but maybe not. This same line of thought is also why I think Theon's story right now is bullshit, but that's neither here nor there.

Maybe Sansa is a Stark because her father was one, because she used to be one -- but one of Jon's parents was a Stark, too, and he was more or less raised as one, but that never made him a Stark no matter how much he wished it. Wanting to be something and actually being it aren't the same.

I think that having a Stark in Winterfell might be a pretty mystical thing, and I just don't know that Sansa is a Stark anymore.

That said, for all I know, the weirwood tree is the "real" Winterfell Stark. Or maybe all the bodies in the crypt count. It just feels like names are more than just names on this show, more like they're curses or blessings or something.
posted by rue72 at 8:01 AM on April 25 [1 favorite]


I think that having a Stark in Winterfell might be a pretty mystical thing, and I just don't know that Sansa is a Stark anymore.

She's a Stark because literally everyone in the North treats her as a Stark and addresses her as Lady Stark when she running Winterfell while Jon was away. Hell, last season even the Lords of various houses in the North admitted they were skeptical of her at first, but that she proved herself.

As to Jon, I think whatever happens, in the long run the North can get behind him in some fashion, 'cause they know him. Jon was raised in the North and even if he moves somewhere else, he clearly has a love the land and its people.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:42 AM on April 25 [6 favorites]


Prophecies are fun and all, but I honestly don't think that GRRM placed a particular prophecy in the story with an intention to fulfill it. He placed enough enigmatic prophecies, likely more in service of a character's motivations, that pretty much any outcome can be fitted into one of them.

It's definitely a mark of his worldbuilding skills that he created multiple religions. but by-and-large we see that his characters are pragmatists, using words and rituals to advance political agendas. Yes, there are "miraculous" events, like resurrection, but that just seems like a thing that can be done in this world, and the religious mumbo-jumbo is then used to get others on board with a plan. Tyrion and Varys pretty much confirm this when they use the priestesses to calm Mereen.

I don't think Mellisandre will play much of a role in the remaining story, nor Dondarrion, other than to have him die a quick and rather meaningless final death.
posted by OHenryPacey at 8:53 AM on April 25 [1 favorite]


I dunno, I feel like some kind of resolution of what the Red God is vs. the Night King etc. and the hows and whys of the resurrection of Dondarrion, Jon etc. has been pretty heavily foreshadowed. And the story thus far is pretty much everyone being brought around to recognize that dragons, the mythical enemy, the supernatural nature of the Targ dynasty etc is real.

Just because it's been a while since Melissandre was spouting prophecy at Dragonstone and in the North doesn't mean it never happened or isn't part of the overarching arc or that the entire magical/mystical/religious aspect of the story can be reasonably discarded from a narrative perspective.
posted by snuffleupagus at 9:08 AM on April 25


I don't think Mellisandre will play much of a role in the remaining story, nor Dondarrion, other than to have him die a quick and rather meaningless final death.

If that's the case, it makes burning Shireen alive roughly 15,000000000000000000 times worse.
posted by joyceanmachine at 9:11 AM on April 25 [5 favorites]


(I choose to believe that that number is in European style and you're measuring badness with extreme precision)
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 9:15 AM on April 25 [10 favorites]


I think Melisandre is coming back because she told us she would, less as a prophesy and more as a promise. As to what she's going to try and do, and whether it will work, who knows.
posted by BungaDunga at 9:36 AM on April 25 [1 favorite]


She's a Stark because literally everyone in the North treats her as a Stark and addresses her as Lady Stark when she running Winterfell while Jon was away. Hell, last season even the Lords of various houses in the North admitted they were skeptical of her at first, but that she proved herself.

Yes, she's a Stark for political purposes, but if there is some magical detail/deal related to 'There must always be a Stark in Winterfell', there's no reason her status re: that magical criterion has to align with what everyone around her thinks.
posted by BlueDuke at 9:48 AM on April 25 [1 favorite]


I don't think GRRM set up a world where married noblewomen lose their identity. Would anyone really argue that Catelyn Stark stopped valuing her Tully ties, or that Cersei Baratheon stopped being a Lannister, or that Elia was any less a Martell after marrying Rhaegar, etc? Northmen were giving Sansa a hard time about reclaiming Winterfell because their ranks had been decimated and they didn't have enough faith in her to fight on her behalf. I mean...she was technically born a Stark. She was always a Stark. If anything, she was briefly considered a Lannister and a Bolton for political purposes.
posted by grandiloquiet at 10:06 AM on April 25 [13 favorites]


If that's the case, it makes burning Shireen alive roughly 15,000000000000000000 times worse.

If it weren’t for the resurrections then I would have thought this was the point of the Lord of Light stuff—that desperate people (including power-hungry Stannis) eat up a lot of bullshit and do a lot of terrible things in pursuit of their desires. But Melisandre showed she was actually able to back up her promises with some results, so I think it would be odd to drop that storyline (unfortunately, for those of us who find it tiresome).
posted by sallybrown at 10:12 AM on April 25 [4 favorites]


My money is with xdvesper on the Shireen-alike kid actually being Melisandre. We know she can glamour herself to look younger, maybe this is her as a child.
posted by BungaDunga at 11:08 AM on April 25 [1 favorite]


I don't think the "There must always be a Stark in Winterfell" idea has been given much of any run in the show. It hasn't been highlighted in a long time and hasn't even been in the "last time on game of thrones" intros. It's a thing reviewers/recappers who've read the book like to bring up a lot.

Sansa is Sansa stark. I mean Have you EVER, EVER once heard anyone say Cersei Baratheon? Which was her actual name for like 20 years. She's Sansa Stark.
posted by French Fry at 11:15 AM on April 25 [5 favorites]


(further evidence for her being Melisandre: her burn scars. Does it make sense that Melisandre had an encounter with fire as a child? Yes it very much does. Does it make sense that she'd troll poor Onion Knight like this? Also yes. Does her going down into the crypts so she can pop out at an opportune moment and demand a bloodletting seem in character? Absolutely)
posted by BungaDunga at 11:39 AM on April 25 [1 favorite]




Yes, she's a Stark for political purposes,

She’s literally the daughter of Ned Stark, there’s zero doubt about that.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:23 PM on April 25 [1 favorite]


Jon, the other men at the Wall and the wildlings, who live beyond the Wall’s protection, all have firsthand experience observing and combating the White Walkers. Yet, much like what today’s climate scientists face, many people in kingdoms far away from the Wall reject these accounts and evidence of their existence.

Not really? At the beginning of the show, the men at the wall do not believe that the White Walkers exist, and are pretty sure they're just a myth. They think the wall is there to keep out the Wildlings. Neither does Ned Stark, or anyone much at Winterfell, who aren't even that far away. The Maesters have nothing to say about them either. The evidence that Jon and others have that the WW exist are: we saw them. That's it. Nobody has evidence of them, nobody has seen them. Even the re-animated wights are only kind of evidence (they're magic, obviously, but evidence of the White Walkers and Night King? only sort of!)
posted by BungaDunga at 1:01 PM on April 25


I would say that being a Stark in the North is like being a Kennedy, doesn't matter who you've married, you're a Kennedy when you need to be.
posted by OHenryPacey at 1:01 PM on April 25 [8 favorites]


That is to say, almost everyone in Westeros has to take Jon &co on faith- or not- because the direct evidence is pretty thin. The evidence for climate change is overwhelming, and most people who aren't embedded in a certain political/cultural climate believe it. It's a pretty big difference.
posted by BungaDunga at 1:04 PM on April 25


If anything we've been shown that it's bloodlines that matter for mystical prophetic purposes. Viz. Gendry.
posted by snuffleupagus at 1:06 PM on April 25 [4 favorites]


now I think about it, there's about as much evidence for White Walkers as there is ISIS terrorists surging across the US border. Can you find groups of people who "patrol" the border who say their cousin found prayer rugs? yes! can you find people who say "we must put our differences aside and fight the real enemy, who I promise you exists but you can't see them"? Yes!

It happens to be that Jon etc are correct, but that doesn't make their arguments particularly scientific. It's all "believe me because I'm trustworthy" and "believe me because it would be a bizarre thing to lie about" and "believe me about the hoards of wights because here's exactly one wight."
posted by BungaDunga at 1:13 PM on April 25 [2 favorites]


Does anyone else think that the battle for Winterfell is going to be a feint? I think the Night King is going south with most of his forces straight for King's Landing and Cersei. Winterfell is just a diversion. The NK didn't show up in the last minutes of this episode, after all, just his generals.
posted by zoetrope at 1:21 PM on April 25


He was out joyriding on his zombie dragon.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:24 PM on April 25


If the last four episodes follow the conventional arc of "defeat White Walkers, three more episodes of anticlimax mopping up human drama" I'm gonna be bummed. I'd love to see some big plot turn / splashout next episode, maybe like folks are saying the Night King just rolling right past Winterfell to take out King's Landing.

I'm hoping for "Don't completely ruin my memories of the earlier seasons" in the remaining episodes. So far it is a bit touch and go .
posted by srboisvert at 1:27 PM on April 25 [2 favorites]


Next episode: everybody is standing around Winterfell going "where is the Night King?"

Cut to the Night King on top of the Meereen pyramid, dancing a triumphant jig

He turns to the camera and says "My gambit worked! I was coming for Meereen all along! All of this was an elaborate fakeout to leave my precious jewel (Meereen) undefended!"

GRRM pops out behind him, slams ADwD down on the table (there's a table on the pyramid) and says "See! Meereen was always important! You should not have skipped those chapters!"

the opening credits roll, and the steampunk table is 100% Slaver's Bay with a focus and finish on Meereen

The entire rest of the episode is the Night King just enjoying Meereen and living his best life

The remaining episodes are the Night King having a Fawlty Towers-esque experience trying to manage Meereen and its wacky cast of characters

The end credits of the final episode roll over a humorous "vacation photos" slideshow of all the other surviving characters visiting Meereen
posted by prize bull octorok at 1:42 PM on April 25 [30 favorites]


The NK didn't show up in the last minutes of this episode, after all, just his generals.

Generals with ice missiles.

Which is really troubling because none of the people who saw NK take down a dragon down seemed worried about protecting the remaining dragons.

I suspect NK is hanging back his dragon, waiting to see what the humans throw at his horde so he can figure the best time to strike at Bran.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:10 PM on April 25


He turns to the camera and says "My gambit worked! I was coming for Meereen all along! All of this was an elaborate fakeout to leave my precious jewel (Meereen) undefended!"

Cue Benny Hill music as the Night King and Daario Naharis chase each other around the great pyramid with an ice javelin and scythe, respectively.
posted by dephlogisticated at 2:58 PM on April 25 [6 favorites]


Generals with ice missiles.

I thought those were lances. They're mounted on zombie ice horses, right?
posted by snuffleupagus at 3:06 PM on April 25


I can't think of a worse fate than having to govern Mereen, so if that's what the dude wants, then he can have it.
posted by codacorolla at 3:28 PM on April 25 [1 favorite]


On rewatch: I just noticed two nice bits of business between Brienne and Podrick just before she is knighted: first, when she says she never wanted to be a knight, she looks over at Podrick then looks away uncomfortably from his steady gaze because she can tell that he knows that she's lying. Second, when Jaime invites her to kneel, she looks over at Podrick first, he gives the very tiniest nod, and *then* she stands and walks over to Jaime.
posted by Mogur at 4:39 PM on April 25 [11 favorites]


Bran wargs into the ice dragon and forces it to crash into a mountain. Bran, Viserion, and the Night King all die. The End.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 5:04 PM on April 25 [1 favorite]


Bran wargs into the ice dragon and forces it to crash into a mountain. Bran, Viserion, and the Night King all die. The End.

A mountain of dragonglass? This does raise the question, can zombie dragons be killed with dragonglass? Seems unfair, tbh
posted by dis_integration at 5:37 PM on April 25 [2 favorites]


At any rate, there had better be a live versus dead dragon fight or I’m requesting a refund for that month of HBO.
posted by Burhanistan at 6:08 PM on April 25 [2 favorites]


I thought those were lances. They're mounted on zombie ice horses, right?

Well, it's what NK used to take down the one dragon, so the generals are probably gonna try and duplicate that.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:09 PM on April 25


How I would feel about people dying next episode:

Sad, but resigned: Beric, Jorah, Jaime, Theon, Bran

Honestly pretty surprised: Jon, Dany, Tyrion, Sansa, Arya, Sam, Gendry, Varys, the Hound,

Not suprised, but devastated: Brienne, Tormund, Pod, Greyworm, Missandei, Gilly, Davos

Also, am I only one who would actually be kinda _disappointed_ if Shireen-looking-kid turned out to be Melisandre? Sure that scene with Davos was a bit maudlin, and the showrunners were entirely too self-congratulatory about it in the after-show debrief (see, it's because both Davos and Gilly were taught how to read by Shireen, and we didn't want to explicitely state that in dialogue, so we used Shireen's leitmotif and the shireen-looking kid instead, how sublte, how brilliant!) - but fact of the matter is, it's pretty much the only scene where smallfolk get lines of dialogue in the entire episode.

I think it's really important to occasionally remind viewers that the people with the magic, and the fighting powers, and the noble birth are not the only ones who matter in this story, so all the scenes with commoners are precious to me, and they're way to few and far between as it is. I think to retroactively make this scene about a plot twist with Mel would diminish it.
posted by sohalt at 12:58 AM on April 26 [14 favorites]


I really expect jamie and tyrion to survive or bron to show up in this episode. Because they spent kind of a while setting up bron heading north, seems unlkely that's a total waste of screen time. I expect that to play out in some way before the super lannister bros kick it.
posted by French Fry at 6:37 AM on April 26


I *really* want to know what Bran and Tyrion discussed. I expected it would come out in some Tyrion-strategy in the upcoming battle but if he's relegated to the crypt and actually goes there, then ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ . That reminds me, Dany came down hard on Tyrion's mistakes as Hand. It's been mentioned a few times and that he's not as clever as he thinks he is. Other than trusting Cersei to send an army north, what mistakes has he made according to Dany? If it was something back in Essos, was it brought up at the time it happened?
posted by TWinbrook8 at 10:48 AM on April 26 [1 favorite]


what mistakes has he made according to Dany?

He made two big mistakes. He didn't predict that the Lannisters would abandon Casterly Rock, and take their army (and all of Casterly Rock's resources) to Highgarden to capture it and take the food. They also didn't anticipate Euron attacking first and devastating Yara's fleet, capturing her. Both of these mistakes seem to have not really mattered, in the scheme of things, but they were painted as big blunders at the time.
posted by dis_integration at 10:54 AM on April 26 [3 favorites]


On second thought, I think the significant outcome of Jaime's feint with Casterly Rock was getting all the gold to King's Landing, allowing Cersei to (along with the Iron Bank), fund the Golden Company.
posted by dis_integration at 11:00 AM on April 26 [1 favorite]


my rewatch hit the Shireen episode last night and I am now remembering that I am extremely anti-everything that has to do with the Red God

right now Jon is 100% powered by evil Red God magic

it's not okay

sorry but Jon has to die for actuals now. Sorry Jon. I like you but I'm not gonna truck with that shit

even Stannis was like "yeah the Red God was a mistake" in the end (it's subtext but he's totally saying it)
posted by prize bull octorok at 12:10 PM on April 26 [6 favorites]


So, I'll join the deadpool.

I said from the very beginning that the only three characters sure to make it to the very end were Jon, Dany, and Tyrion, because Jon is Ice, Dany is Fire, and Tyrion is Us. By "the very end" I mean at least the penultimate episode. To that list I would now add Bran and Cersei. In fact, Bran is the only character at this point that I am 100% sure will be alive at the end of it all. I would even lay money on him having the last line of dialogue in the final episode. Cersei is a bit of a gimme. She almost certainly dies, but everyone who it would make any sense to have kill her is currently in Winterfell (Arya, Jaime, and Tyrion are the obvious candidates. Either Jon or Dany could make sense, though it woudn't be as satisfying. Long shot betting is on Sansa or Varys).

The one change that I would make to that is that I'm actually starting to suspect, based on what they've done with his character lately, that there is a small chance they kill Tyrion early.

So, over the next two episodes, here's my predictions for deaths:

Almost certain to die
Theon
Jorah
Brienne
Davos
Gendry (I'm betting Melisandre shows up and makes use of his king's blood after all)
Melisandre (assuming she shows up)
One of either Missandei/Grey Worm
One of the two surviving dragons

Likely to die
Tormund
Edd
Bronn (assuming he shows up)
Beric
Ghost
A whole bunch of named minor characters that we aren't super invested in

Potential to die (I would surprised if all of these characters survive, but also surprised if more than two of them dies)
Jaime
The Hound
Sam
The Night King
Tyrion
Arya
Sansa
Pod
Varys

Certain to Survive
Jon
Dany
Bran
Cersei
One dragon

I'm also betting pretty strong that we don't see the Night King defeated until episode 5 or maybe even episode 6. Winterfell falls. The survivors flee south. The dead march on King's Landing.
posted by 256 at 12:14 PM on April 26


I could see an extreme ending where everyone with ambitions to rule gets wiped out save the person sitting in the Iron Throne—“when you play the Game of Thrones, you win or you die.”

I also like the theory I saw somewhere that the Iron Throne breaks apart into its swords, ending the concept of one united rule.
posted by sallybrown at 12:22 PM on April 26


Surely there will be a new throne.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:30 PM on April 26


> Melisandre (assuming she shows up)

You know what would be terrifying? Zombie Melisandre would be terrifying.

or White Walker Melisandre.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 12:31 PM on April 26


Ah! if the Winterfell survivors have to retreat south, they can't move faster than the zombies so they will make for the coast and Yara will arrive with her fleet and they head for Dragonstone.

thanks dis_integration
posted by TWinbrook8 at 2:26 PM on April 26 [1 favorite]


Game designer David Sirlin has written up his thoughts on what he expects from the end of the series, and there’s some really interesting stuff in here that I haven’t seen anyone else suggest (particularly regarding the Hound).
posted by DoctorFedora at 8:38 PM on April 26 [7 favorites]


The Hodor/"burn then all" thing is interesting and plausible... but I think more plausible for what would have happened if GRRM had managed to finish the series. I'm not sure there's time left in the TV show for that sort of mindfudgery.
posted by Justinian at 9:07 PM on April 26 [2 favorites]


I like looking at the economic side of things. Here is an interesting prediction dealing with the Iron Bank and the Golden Company.
posted by jadepearl at 11:15 PM on April 26 [2 favorites]


I don't think the Night King can be stabbed to death (sorry Arya). Bran has to defeat him. At the foot of the Weirwood in Winterfell, Bran should be at the height of his powers. What if, when they confront each other, Bran marks the Night's King (in the same way he was marked.) Maybe this is how the battle ends - the NK is marked and retreats, the living survive for now, but the war is not over.

Or what if when the NK touches Bran, they swap bodies. Maybe there's an epic internal struggle, but the Bran opens his eyes and they're blue. The NK's victory is upon us, but then Arya stabs Bran's more-mortal body, killing both him and the NK.
posted by Wulfhere at 5:57 AM on April 27 [1 favorite]


Game designer David Sirlin has written up his thoughts on what he expects from the end of the series

These are interesting theories, but they're premised on the idea that the show is "exceptionally well written" which... Is a tough pill to swallow. He seems to be taking everything about last season that was dumb as shit and supposing: what if it all makes sense actually. I just think we would've seen more evidence of this by now but maybe I'm sorry pessimist.

We shall see I guess.
posted by dis_integration at 6:05 AM on April 27 [7 favorites]


These are interesting theories, but they're premised on the idea that the show is "exceptionally well written" which... Is a tough pill to swallow.

Ha, I think the problem with these theories is rather the other way round - they're premised on the idea that game-design logic constitutes good writing. And that's.... someone's opinion, I guess, but not one going to be universally shared (by me, for instance). So, since I also think that the show is generally not as well written as the books, I think that this questionable idea of narrative quality actually makes such theories slightly more lightly.

Still not terribly likely though, because I expect show and book storylines to somewhat converge again now as the showrunners have said the would generally stick to Martin's original outline for the ending. And the thing is, while the game designer's theories have some nice twists and turns, most of the emotional beats and thematic resonances would be all off. Eg. last episode, which was largely considered a return to form, because it got the emotinal beats right, relying so heavily on what we've come to know about these characters and their relationships to each other, would be seriously undermined, if characters turned out to be other characters in disguise. I've already explained why I wouldn't like that twist with the Shireen-looking kid, and I would not like it any more with the Hound either. I really enjoyed his reunion with Arya, the grudging respect/affection they display for each other, and it would all be meaningless if it's not the Hound but actually Jaqhen in disguise. And even from the shallow "maximize the spectacle"-angle.... sacrificing the idea of Clegan-bowl (which I'm not even that invested in, but other people sure seem to be!), just so you can use Jaquen!Hound as an exposition device for a quick Facelessmen-callback, to remind Arya of something she already knows? I don't think so.

Also "Dany will be easily deposed, her remaining army will abandon her, don't ask me why".....Has this person actually watched the show/read any of the books? I mean, I don't think Dany will end up on the Throne either, and it's quite possible that she'll end up without much of an army after the battle next episode, because they're all dead/zombified. But this idea that her soldiers would just ... walk away? If someone like Greyworm wasn't ride or die for Dany, they wouldn't be here in the first place. I mean, we get why someone like Sansa is not crazy about her, but to the Unsullied she'll always be the breaker of chains; no one can take that away from her.

One thing, where I kinda agree (sadly, because I don't like the trope), is that there probably will still be some business with magic swords and human sacrifices. And I've been worrying for years now that it might involve Jon and Arya, because that's the one emotional beat game designer guy seems pretty right about to me.

I really just hope it won't play out so straightforwardly, someone tells them "the prophecy says you'll have to kill a loved one to get your magic sword" and then, after some internal struggle, they do just that, and it works. Because fuck magic, if that's how it works. I'm with the poster who said that Melisandre must not be vindicated. If it really plays out like that, she totally would be, and burning Shireen, while not quite as effective as planned, would have been worth the try at least.

If the Night-King really is defeated by one of the Starks getting a magic sword after killing a loved one, I hope it just happens more or less as an accident (eg. dying while fighting the zombies, having to be killed by another Stark in wight-form, boom magic sword), and not because someone is dutifully fulfilling a bloody prophecy. I mean, I could totally see Arya pulling some sort of stunt with death and magic resurrection, because I like the theory someone posted above that she's already planning something along those lines. But she doesn't know anything about the magic sword prophecy yet, she has just heard about Jon's resurrection and is exploring all options. And I'm fine with that, as long as it's a plan she comes up with herself, and not something dictated by destiny. If she ends up accidentially fulfilling a prophecy in the process, I hope only the viewers notice and the characters involved never learn about it.

What makes me slightly hopeful is that so far, all the characters overly invested in prophecies, trying to bring them about or prevent them (Rhaegar, Cersei, Melisandre) have been portrayed as rather questionable. I just can't see the story suddenly turning around and rewarding that sort of attitude.
posted by sohalt at 11:35 AM on April 27 [7 favorites]


The possibility I could see on the "kill a loved one" could be someone who had already been ice-zombied, so it's not exactly killing them, but still emotionally wrenching (especially if the stabber didn't know that they'd been killed), while also not being (as) all in on Team Human Sacrifice.
posted by DebetEsse at 1:00 PM on April 27 [1 favorite]


I've quickly scrolled through the interwebs to see if anyone else has this theory, because I really like Sirlin's analysis, with a few tweaks.

Points of Agreement

* Azor Ahai = Arya
* Nissa Nissa = Jon
* Dany ends up on the Iron Throne, deposed by the Starks a hot second later

Tweaks

* Valonqar = The Hound
* Bran is not the Night King (what even???)
* no one is secretly someone else (I agree with sohalt on this - the TV show is consistently straightforward in its characterizations and story arcs, it would be - hah! - uncharacteristic of D&D to pull this type of last-minute gotcha).

To further agree with sohalt, everything is accidentally achieved, instead of people following Beric's calls to the letter.

Process
1) Arya tries to kill the Night King first, it doesn't work ("tempered with water").

2) They retreat to King's Landing, Cleganebowl happens, the Hound kills Cersei, and then afterwards Arya, in a fit of spite, stabs Cersei in the heart (the Azor Ahai theory doesn't require the lion to be killed, just for the lion's heart to be stabbed)

3) Arya then stabs Jon Snow/Nissa Nissa in the heart, and her sword becomes Lightbringer. It won't be because of belief in the prophecy - either she'll do it because Jon becomes a White Walker or because something makes him uncomfortable with his state of "being." Beric says that every time he is brought back to life, he loses more of himself, and he wouldn't wish it on anyone. I can see Jon dying multiple times in a huge battle and Melisandre bringing him back to life each time because she just so believes in him being Azor Ahai, Stannis-style. Either Jon begs for Arya to kill him because he can't stand being alive anymore, or Arya sees that he has lost the compassion and empathy that used to be his hallmark, and he does something reckless, and Arya is compelled to kill him. This might callback to the Battle of the Bastards, where he is terrifying and has almost completely dehumanized himself when he comes for Ramsay in the end.

4) Arya kills the Night King, the living win. I really like Sirlin's conclusion, that Dany sits on the Iron Throne and spits out all the ways that she is entitled to it, but ultimately, she doesn't have the army or the popularity to stop the Starks from deposing her. Assuming Dany's two dragons die in the Night King battle, all she has then is the Dothraki and the Unsullied, which is nothing compared to all the forces already committed to the Starks/the forces who will commit to the Starks because at least they're Westerosi familiar/the Golden Company once Arya puts on Cersei's face.

5) The Starks are the only ones left standing, they have no interest whatsoever in ruling all of Westeros, so they melt down the Iron Throne and go home, "breaking" the wheel.

*** wish fulfillment*** 6) The Starks give the Iron Throne to Varys, who invents democracy in Westeros

TL;DR: Jaime can't die for Arya to put on his face to kill Cersei because he and Brienne need to ride off into the sunset together!!!
posted by facehugger at 4:22 PM on April 27 [5 favorites]


If Arya can wear the faces of the dead, might she be able to obtain and wear the face of a wight, in order to get within harpooning distance of the Night King?

Also, didn’t we see glimpses of the Hound’s post-Arya life in Westeros at the same time as Jaqen H’ghar was training Arya to be a faceless man in Braavos? Unless I’ve misremembering the timing, I just don’t see how Jaqen could be in both places at the same time.
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED at 4:57 PM on April 27 [2 favorites]


Okay, another ragtag group of survivors of the Winterfell battle retreat to the safety of the Vale. I like to think Gilly and Sam are in that group.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 7:08 PM on April 27


Did we get any indication where Sansa's going to be posted during the battle? Surely she's not going to be in the crypt? Seems odd that we got a decent idea where all the major players are headed, but nothing on the Lady of Winterfell...?
posted by torticat at 9:50 PM on April 27


....all she has then is the Dothraki and the Unsullied, which is nothing compared to all the forces already committed to the Starks/the forces who will commit to the Starks because at least they're Westerosi familiar/the Golden Company once Arya puts on Cersei's face.

Oh, I could see the Golden Company switching to Jon (because Arya commands them as Cersei, because Varys offers them a better price, whatever - they're mercenaries, there's some flexibility), but I wouldn't be so sure about the rest of Westeros. I don't so much see much of a reason for instance why someone from Dorne would find the Northerners that much more culturally familiar than Dany - they are traditional Targ loyalists and last time very much didn't join the Stark/Tully/Baratheon alliance against them. Sure, Dorne isn't that big, but it's also the only army that hasn't been engaged and depleted in open battle by the wars so far.

Then there's the army of Rhollor whorshippers Melisande might bring back from Essos. (Why send her back there, if not to bring them into play somehow?) Of course, since Mel's current bet for Azor Ahai is Jon, they might go to him. But in your scenario he would be dead for good at this point. In that case, it would make a lot more sense for them to back Dany - right now, all those Rhollorists in Essos are all-in for her. (Kinda understandably, since most of them were former slaves and it was Dany who freed them. Also, here's a case were the cultural familiarity bonus might definitely apply - they'd probably be a lot more comfortable fighting at the side of the Unsullied rather than Westerosi Knights).

Since the the show as been focussed so much on the North these last episodes, there's a heavy Stark bias right now. But just because Dany's been getting the loser edit lately doesn't mean she still hasn't got her fans.

But yeah, if the North goes for independence, I could definitely see some other Kingdoms follow suit (which is, by the way, the entirely rational reason why Dany's so insistent upon Jon bending the knee - it's costly to play favourites that much in an empire; ask how it worked out for the Austro-Hungarians) and Dany's rule being shaky at best. She might be able to defend it or not, but it would definitely be a struggle. My ideal ending is that Dany realizes that Westeros sucks anyway, and that it's just not worth sacrificing any more Unsullied and Dothraki. About as likely as Jaime and Brienne riding off into the sunset, I know.
posted by sohalt at 10:33 PM on April 27 [2 favorites]


The only thing about the end of the series I feel confident predicting is that it will piss people off.
posted by clockzero at 2:02 PM on April 28 [6 favorites]


Major question no one is asking: Where the hot fuck is Salladhor Saan?
posted by Navelgazer at 3:24 PM on April 28 [2 favorites]


Presumably he fucked off home with his money post-Stannis.

I wonder if Nymeria makes an appearance with her pack in one the remaining ep's crucial scenes.
posted by snuffleupagus at 4:07 PM on April 28 [1 favorite]


I can't remember: is there a way out of the Stark crypts? Like, didn't Bran and Rickon escape from somewhere before?
posted by lauranesson at 4:35 PM on April 28




Things I am wondering: wasn’t there a huge point about how the Starks only bury bones in the crypts? I seem to recall something about either boiling or burning back when Ned’s bones were being returned. It seems really out of character that the Starks, the only ones to take the threat of the White Walkers seriously, wouldn’t have a solution for the reanimation of the dead. I mean, they may well do it, but it doesn’t make a lot of sense.
posted by corb at 8:18 AM on April 29


Ned is bones because he died in King's landing, and you can't transport a body from there all the way to Winterfell with the flesh still on without it being a problem. I don't think that's the general case, though.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 12:08 PM on April 29


Because these are always amazing and well thought out: the LA Book Review piece for this episode.
But violence is strange and estranging and death is the weirdest thing in the world. Death and pain spins you around, both having it done to you and doing it; as Bran observes, Jaime is the person he is because the person he was did the things that he did, and if he hadn’t done those things, he’d still be that person. That’s weird. It’s strange that the people in that room wouldn’t be there to defend the Stark castle if they hadn’t fought the Starks at one time or another, but it’s true: doing a thing, because you are the kind of person that does that thing, can make you into a different kind of person who does different kinds of things. And so, from a show where everyone was evil, selfish, and cruel — where all the good characters died or were scattered — we’re now suddenly watching a show where everyone is good and collected under the roof of the house that was destroyed. Having killed people, they’d all like to see a world with a little less death.

(Not pictured: Bronn, Euron, Cersei.)

It won’t last, obviously. But the show needed a moment to contemplate it, to see how the effect of violence is not to harden but to soften; if you’ve been hurt and survive, you come to learn what being hurt is, and to live with that knowledge, and to connect in new ways to people who share this hurtful world with you. “You were a golden lion; I was a drunken whore-monger,” says Tyrion; in the process of being those things they became different things. Sansa and Arya have both been hurt, but the result has been that under their shells — necessitated by a world that still threatens to hurt them — they are peeled eggs, raw and sensitive; we needed to see that both of them are eager to take off their armor (if they could find a safe place to do it). Everyone is.
posted by corb at 8:33 AM on May 13


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