Game of Thrones: Stormborn   Show Only 
July 23, 2017 7:00 PM - Season 7, Episode 2 - Subscribe

Daenerys receives an unexpected visitor. Jon faces a revolt. Tyrion plans the conquest of Westeros. Euron makes gets Cersei a gift. Arya faces a decision, as does Theon.

Directed by Mark Mylod
Written by Bryan Cogman
Full cast and crew credits

Publicity photos from the episode.
posted by Brandon Blatcher (345 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
 
Oh Theon.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:03 PM on July 23 [7 favorites]


Ok, was that Asha hanging from the bowsprit at the end?
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 7:03 PM on July 23 [3 favorites]


Ugh, the return of Reek. :(
posted by gatorae at 7:04 PM on July 23 [1 favorite]


Oops, this is supposed to be a Show only thread!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:04 PM on July 23


Is this the book thread or the non-book thread?

In any case while I welcome the elimination of a couple of the Sand Snakes, that still leaves one too many. Also, Theon sucks.

This episode was okay. It wasn't bad or anything but I feel like with so few episodes left every episode needs to bring the magic! And this seemed like a regular episode from the middle of any of the seasons. Except I'm sure it was much more expensive with the explody ships and all.

I knew it was Nymeria and I knew she was gonna turn and walk away.

QUEEN IN DA NORF.
posted by Justinian at 7:06 PM on July 23 [6 favorites]


Ah, show only, gotcha.

But still QUEEN IN DA NORF.
posted by Justinian at 7:06 PM on July 23 [1 favorite]


Oh Theon

I just said that out loud five minutes ago.
posted by octothorpe at 7:06 PM on July 23 [2 favorites]


From a showrunning standpoint, the nighttime naval battle was a clever choice. Chaotic, you couldn't tell who was who since it was all Iron born anyway, and gotta be cheaper to produce than daytime.
posted by gatorae at 7:07 PM on July 23 [2 favorites]


As a Ship Truther someone tell me how they found Yara's ships in the middle of the night without radar.
posted by Justinian at 7:08 PM on July 23 [47 favorites]


Oh and Missandei + Greyworm 4evah
posted by gatorae at 7:09 PM on July 23 [11 favorites]


Q: What do you call 2 sand snakes at the bottom of the ocean?

A: A good start.
posted by mama casserole at 7:10 PM on July 23 [14 favorites]


I feel like Jon and the Greyjoys got to pass around the idiot ball in this episode.
posted by drezdn at 7:10 PM on July 23 [3 favorites]


Radar schmadar, Euron's penis points to danger
posted by gatorae at 7:11 PM on July 23 [11 favorites]


OH I was disappointed. The Nymeria "psyche" (if that's what it was being just a show watcher). Uh Jon? when you're king you send emissaries to do your shit. You don't go into unknown territory like "hold my beer!" theon you disappointing jerk.

Missandei and Greyworm finally getting together was the highlight but the rets of it? I wish I hadn't watched.
posted by miss-lapin at 7:12 PM on July 23 [2 favorites]


Before this is all over, I'm going to need to see Arya riding her direwolf Nymeria into battle. I mean, that's all I really want in this show, it's all I've ever wanted.

Stray thoughts and observations:
• Dany should learn from Lady Olenna, we all should: BE A DRAGON!
• Unsullied just got his sullied on.
• Paging Doctor Tarly.....paging Doctor Tarly....you're needed in the burn unit.
• I'm so glad we got to check in with Hotpie. I've been very much concerned with his story-line and it's good that we're tying up loose ends.
• As much as I hate Jon Snow's logic when he plays the "game". I do appreciate his consistency in choosing the course of action that everyone else insists is wrong and still forging ahead.
• Queen Sansa has a nice ring to it.
• Foolish Jon, it's not wise to threaten Littlefinger, just ask Ned how well that worked out, oh right....
• Neville Flynn: I HAVE HAD IT WITH THESE MOTHERFUCKING SANDSNAKES ON THIS MOTHERFUCKING PLANE! SHIP!
• Theon became Reek and then became Theon again and now Reek has reappeared. The wheel turns.
posted by Fizz at 7:12 PM on July 23 [8 favorites]


Nymeria!!! I was so excited, but sad that she turned away. What does everyone make of Arya's final comment to her?
posted by TwoStride at 7:13 PM on July 23 [2 favorites]


The Nymeria "psyche" (if that's what it was being just a show watcher).

I'm pretty sure that was Nymeria? I think Arya is in denial.
posted by Justinian at 7:13 PM on July 23 [4 favorites]


Is everyone happy that they found a use for the battering ram?!

I loved seeing Hot Pie again, it works that he's there and can see the change in her, perhaps remind her of a few things. Also great to see Nymeria again and she is so Arya's wolf, because she goes and leads her own life, not the one that is expected of her.

Nice to see the Sand Snakes go, but sorry it had to be at Invincible Euron's hands.

Then there's Theon. A wonderfully acted scence, you can can see Yara expecting her to come and at least try, she's ready to die in that situation. and then the look of disgust that crosses her face and the self loathing that bubbles out of Theon. He make not still be Reek but he still lurks within him and itsn't going away ever.

I've seen army's destroyed on this show, but none of that was as painful as seeing Theon fall, yet again.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:14 PM on July 23 [12 favorites]


A hurricane should have swept in and wiped out both fleets. If Asha's dead I don't want any survivors, let alone reek and bargain bin pirate of the Caribbean.
posted by ghost phoneme at 7:15 PM on July 23 [3 favorites]


What does everyone make of Arya's final comment to her?

According to the "About the Episode" bit, apparently it was a call back to a Season 1 episode, where Ned was trying to convince her to be a good little noblewoman. Her response was "That's not me".

So, something about neither her nor Nymeria being domesticated/tamed/what have you.
posted by damayanti at 7:16 PM on July 23 [25 favorites]


reek and bargain bin pirate of the Caribbean.

Please stop talking. Jerry Bruckheimer is probably listening and already has this in post-production.
posted by Fizz at 7:17 PM on July 23 [5 favorites]


Ok, so we checked in with Hotpie, that means Gendry is next week, right? He's got to have arms like pythons, I mean he's been rowing for 6 seasons.
posted by Fizz at 7:19 PM on July 23 [29 favorites]


Missandei and Greyworm finally getting together was the highlight

No! I mean that was fine and all but the highlight of the episode was clearly

H O T P I E ! ! ! ! !

Still I am calling the end now: the Iron Throne is taken jointly by Ser Pounce and Nymeria, who totally doesn't eat him, and the land prospers forever under their just rule.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:19 PM on July 23 [13 favorites]


I am already bored of Sea Ramsay
posted by French Fry at 7:19 PM on July 23 [54 favorites]


Watch him pickup Theon.
posted by drezdn at 7:19 PM on July 23 [1 favorite]


Nobody's going to comment on Jon giving Littlefinger what I think Littlefinger's been cruising for for several seasons? I mean, I know that likely means Littlefinger is now even more predisposed to scheme Jon around to Death Round 2: The Actual Deadening, but still! I cheered a little bit.
posted by Alterscape at 7:20 PM on July 23 [3 favorites]


Varys 2020: The Bernie Sanders of Westeros
posted by Fizz at 7:21 PM on July 23 [12 favorites]


obody's going to comment on Jon giving Littlefinger what I think Littlefinger's been cruising for for several seasons?

I was too annoyed that they clearly cut corners on filming but just reusing the footage of Littlefinger's Leaning And Scheming Smirk (tm) during Jon's announcement.
posted by TwoStride at 7:22 PM on July 23 [7 favorites]


Nobody's going to comment on Jon giving Littlefinger what I think Littlefinger's been cruising for for several seasons?

I think Jon was usual smart/dumb self there. He wants to trust Sansa, and believes in her for this role. But he's aware of Baelish and probably means for this situation between Sansa and Baelish to be solved one way or the other while he's away.

It'll be good for Sansa too, so she can find her own way and hopefully it's the "right" way.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:24 PM on July 23 [3 favorites]


You're not wrong there, TwoStride. Then again, it's sort of efficient reuse of resources -- I mean, does Littlefinger do much beyond Leaning And Scheming in Winterfell anyway?

Agree completely as far as a diagetic take, Brandon. I was more thinking about it as viewer wish-fulfillment than anything, reference prior Leaning And Smirking and general Littlefinger Punchability.

Other thoughts: the climactic sea battle was basically unfollowable to me. I had no idea what was going on up until the last bit with Euron, Theon and Asha, but I'm not sure if that was due to the visual storytelling or me being basically over Big Setpiece Battles at this point.
posted by Alterscape at 7:29 PM on July 23 [2 favorites]


Sorry not sorry I love all the books at the Citadel. First the one that had a map of Westeros with just like an arrow pointing to Dragonstone all HERE BE DRAGONGLASS. And now the Greyscale Instructable with all the drawings of the dude and the procedure is just to carve him up and apply a salve.
posted by mama casserole at 7:30 PM on July 23 [22 favorites]


Hotpie: "I'm a survivor, like you Arya!"

I'm genuinely surprised that nobody put a knife through his head at that exact second.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 7:31 PM on July 23 [39 favorites]


He make not still be Reek but he still lurks within him and itsn't going away ever.

For all of my snark I did actually appreciate the realism here: he found himself in one of Ramsay's unwinnable situations. Of course he broke rather than watch his sister die because he failed her. He wasn't exactly stalwart before being put through hell.
posted by ghost phoneme at 7:31 PM on July 23 [10 favorites]


"I am already bored of Sea Ramsay"

I'm on a sea ramsay diet.
posted by komara at 7:32 PM on July 23 [3 favorites]


or me being basically over Big Setpiece Battles at this point

I got some bad news for you about the coming 11 episodes.
posted by Justinian at 7:33 PM on July 23 [17 favorites]


I'm on a sea ramsay diet.

His dogs certainly were.
posted by leotrotsky at 7:34 PM on July 23 [16 favorites]


While I appreciated Daenerys being somewhat wary of Varys, I don't think threatening to burn him alive is the best way to ensure he's vocal when he finds her policies to be against the best interest of the little people. How many monarchs have found open disagreement to be disloyal?

I wonder what Varys is going to think of Jon Snow.
posted by ghost phoneme at 7:40 PM on July 23 [5 favorites]


Same as us; great hair but dumber than a box of rocks.
posted by Justinian at 7:44 PM on July 23 [36 favorites]


Also, I'm down with the Stark sisters running Winterfell for a bit, with Brienne as head of security, heh.

I've been wondering about this episode only having 7 episodes, but D&D have gotten much better at pacing. A lot happened this episode, but it didn't feel overwhelming, it crispy and smooth as it went from one narrative to another. Well, except for the Jorah's "operation" and then pie. That was the one juvenile streak that the D&D can't quite seem to shake.

But the overall arc of the story seems pretty straightforward: humans work out their petty disagreements, one way or another, then they join forces to fight the Night King's army. The only surprises will be which characters will survive to reach that final battle and how will their stories individually and as a group at that point.

While I appreciated Daenerys being somewhat wary of Varys, I don't think threatening to burn him alive is the best way to ensure he's vocal when he finds her policies to be against the best interest of the little people.

Loved that scene. They clearly set their boundaries and terms with each other, especially Varys making clear what he wouldn't tolerate and would betray her for. I think he would have been insulted if she anything less that threaten to kill him, because a great leader sometimes needs to make the situation very clear.

Each began to respect the other a bit more at that point and it'll only make for a stronger small council.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:46 PM on July 23 [7 favorites]


Ext. at sea, close-up:

A broken, miserable THEON floats amidst wreckage.

Sound: rythmic splashing grows louder

Pull Back:

Rowboat, with a determined GENDRY at the oars, passes by.

THEON: Hey

GENDRY: Hey

Cut to:

Opening credits
posted by BitterOldPunk at 7:46 PM on July 23 [85 favorites]


I'm pretty sure that Varys will scheme behind Dany's back if she doesn't live up to his vision as the People's Queen. Now he's just fully aware of the risk he's taking. He actually seemed mollified by her demand to hear his honest appraisal of her performance.

I'm a bit upset that Tyrion still does this irritating supercilious thing with Dany when it's very clear that she doesn't have patience for it. Still, I actually appreciate his desire to prevent needless suffering, and the Queen of Thorns' "BE A DRAGON" speech annoyed me. She may be right, but in the end the Game of Thrones is only played by assholes with primogeniture and free time. Occasionally a Queen steps in to shake things up, but Dany has an opportunity to make real changes. I doubt it will all work out, but I'd rather see her make the effort and fail then just hop on a dragon and lay waste to the countryside. There's a middle way, I think.

Edited to add a word I dropped.
posted by xyzzy at 7:48 PM on July 23 [4 favorites]


from r/asoiaf

"Nobody knew that invading Westeros could be so complicated."

Somewhere Ned is smiling after seeing Jon choke Littlefinger exactly the same way he did all that time ago.

SER HOT OF HOUSE PIE
WHAT IS BREAD MAY NEVER FRY

Episode 3 opens on Theon still floating. A small boat slowly rows into view. A hand reaches out and Theon grasps it, and Gendry pulls him aboard.


I can't wait to see how Cersei treats her gifts. Ellaria is totally effed; if Septa Unella got the Mountain target for her actions, then I cannot even imagine what is in store for the murderer of Myrcella.
posted by lalochezia at 7:50 PM on July 23 [12 favorites]


I find Ellyria totally annoying, but I will be very disappointed if she doesn't have some poison stashed somewhere to take out someone besides/in addition to herself.
posted by TwoStride at 7:52 PM on July 23 [5 favorites]


Unfortunately, Greyworm and/or Missandei will assuredly die now, because Puritanical bullshit.

Hopefully Jaime will kill Ellaria himself to spare her from Cersei's Tower of Terror. I dislike her but I don't want to see her... whatever Ser Gregor does.
posted by gatorae at 7:58 PM on July 23 [4 favorites]


God I fuckin hate how this show gives such an enormous narrative luck advantage to whoever it currently thinks is The Worst Dude in the World. We'd just gotten rid of Ramsey, for Christ's sake.

How did Euron just FIND them? How did he raise an apparently VASTLY superior navy in like...a week? How come Ramsey literally never misses with a bow? Jesus Christ. I fuckin hate this show's bull shit sometimes. The good guys always slip or flinch and the bad guys never ever do.

I swear to God if they fuck with the beautiful pure thing that is Missandei and Grey Worm I will....... be IMPOTENTLY ANGRY FOR DAYS.
posted by Sokka shot first at 8:05 PM on July 23 [36 favorites]


A raven arrives for Jon Snow every 5 minutes but he doesn't seem to have heard about Bran yet?
posted by oulipian at 8:07 PM on July 23 [42 favorites]


I found the Nymeria scene very sad and well done, or at least well placed narratively. I thought it played well after last week, where Arya questioned whether the enemy is really an enemy. Here she faces whether she can truly go home again or if she is too wild at this point to ever go back. I think that's a important question for her that is hard to convey on screen and they did a good job.
posted by gatorae at 8:10 PM on July 23 [14 favorites]


I need to rewatch. I think that was Yara hanging from the front of the ship, and Ellaria speared onto the wood behind her. I hope I'm wrong!
posted by Lossewen at 8:13 PM on July 23 [3 favorites]


How did Euron just FIND them?

Does Daenerys have a spy on her side?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:14 PM on July 23 [3 favorites]


I feel like spam-ravens would have been a good business back in the day. "LORD SNOW, THERE IS NEWS FROM THE SOUTH. ATTACH A PROMISSORY NOTE FOR TWENTY GOLD, ADDRESSED TO 'RAVEN FACTS', BY RETURN."
posted by turbid dahlia at 8:16 PM on July 23 [31 favorites]


That's what it looked like to me too, lossewen, but i think they left some wiggle room.
posted by ghost phoneme at 8:16 PM on July 23


I blame the show for having to make me explain, out loud, to my mother in law sitting three feet away from me, the different degrees and results of castration.
posted by joyceanmachine at 8:16 PM on July 23 [18 favorites]


I blame the show for having to make me explain, out loud, to my mother in law sitting three feet away from me, the different degrees and results of castration.

I would be interested in the explanation. I was wondering what-all he's got to work with.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 8:20 PM on July 23 [2 favorites]


I could swear at one point they said "root and stem".
posted by Night_owl at 8:20 PM on July 23


Plotwise it makes the most sense for Yara to be the one hanging. Cersei has no use for her as a prisoner and Euron would definitely want to kill her himself. Hanging her from the ship like that is basically a desecration, especially for an Ironborn, which would fit how Euron would feel about her, a perceived traitor. The fact the camera settled on the body several times felt significant, so I'm fairly sure it was her.
posted by gatorae at 8:26 PM on July 23 [1 favorite]



Varys 2020: The Bernie Sanders of Westeros


That was the High Sparrow.
posted by asteria at 8:29 PM on July 23 [2 favorites]


Castrati were considered preferred lovers for society ladies, as they couldn't get you pregnant.
posted by leotrotsky at 8:29 PM on July 23


Plotwise it makes the most sense for Yara to be the one hanging.

No, it was the two sand snakes. Whip girl hung by whip; sword girl impaled by sword.
posted by leotrotsky at 8:34 PM on July 23 [20 favorites]


Also this show needs to cool with with the Jon as Ned and Sansa as Cat parallels unless it wants me to ship Jon/Sansa. Which I'm pretty sure it does not.

And that was Obara hanging from the ship, with her whip and Nymeria impaled. Tyene and Ellaria will probably wish they had died too as they are probably the gifts he has promised Cersei.
posted by asteria at 8:34 PM on July 23 [4 favorites]


Cat parallels unless it wants me to ship Jon/Sansa. Which I'm pretty sure it does not.

I'm pretty sure Jon's gonna wind up in an even more incestuous relationship than that one.
posted by Justinian at 8:37 PM on July 23 [17 favorites]


Is this season being written by grad school dropouts?
posted by srboisvert at 8:39 PM on July 23 [4 favorites]


Targs gonna Targ, man.
posted by asteria at 8:39 PM on July 23 [4 favorites]


Meh... being with who you believe is your halfsister but who is actually your first cousin vs being with a stranger who is actually your aunt.. at some point isn't it six of one incest, half a dozen of another?
posted by gatorae at 8:45 PM on July 23 [10 favorites]


The whole Jorah surgery scene kept expected one of those pustules to squirt right in Sam's face. They wear full smocks and heavy gloves but can't cover their faces like it's the end of the superhero movie
posted by thecjm at 8:56 PM on July 23 [6 favorites]


Here's a little explanation of the "that's not you" line from Arya--expanding on what damayanti explained upthread. Note: it includes some comparison of how the books treated Arya's relationship with Nymeria, but I didn't consider it spoilery, FWIW...
posted by TwoStride at 8:58 PM on July 23 [5 favorites]


Is this season being written by grad school dropouts?

Wait 'till you hear about their next project!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:59 PM on July 23 [26 favorites]


I read - probably wrongly - Theon winning the battle against Reek. He jumps because he knows the rescue is a lost cause, and he must play witness (as he does again and again).
posted by hapaxes.legomenon at 9:05 PM on July 23 [5 favorites]


I'm not as bothered with Euron finding Yara's fleet. If he's correctly guessed they're going from Dragonstone to Dorne of even around Dorne to Highgarden, he'd be looking to head her off. And if Yara doesn't know he's around with a fleet, she'd take the most direct and therefore obvious route.

I picture it less him hunting her down and more her sailing right into his ambushing fleet.
posted by thecjm at 9:06 PM on July 23 [6 favorites]


Oh and those octopus tentacle details on the back of Euron's axe are gorgeous btw.
posted by thecjm at 9:08 PM on July 23 [3 favorites]


Oh my lord, that took me forever to watch, Child #1 would NOT stay in bed.

HEY THOSE ARE SOME PRETTY STUPID SHIPS THAT HAVE NO PLOT JUSTIFICATION, HAS ANYONE MENTIONED THAT? /shiptruther

The Varys situation escalated awfully quickly now that they're back in Westeros. I dig Missandei's winter wardrobe. But what ... what exactly are Grey Worm's clothes held closed by? Snaps? Velcro? Maester magic? Missandei should have to unbutton or unhook or untie something, not just rip it open! It's been kind of while since there's been much sexy nudity, hasn't it? Dragonfire nudity, yes, but not much sexy nudity.

OMG I want grayscale peeler to be my new job and also my new youtube bodyhorror obsession. I HAVE FOUND MY WESTEROSI PROFESSION.

Jon needs to stop springing shit on Sansa. Littlefinger was hard for me to read this episode with his various smirks and whatnot. I thought I saw a real "oh shit" face when he heard Tyrion was working for Dany. But much of the rest of the episode, smirkery.

I think the first thing to disappear in the wars here has been makeup, lot of nearly-bare faces tonight, many more than usual -- except for Theon who stayed super-pretty during a battle where everyone else was covered in blood. In general I had a very hard time telling what was going on in the sea battle, like other people mentioned, but I'm not super-sorry the sand snakes are dead.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:08 PM on July 23 [12 favorites]


In the recap, there are about 40 Ironborn ships at least 6 rows back (generously) giving a minimum of 240 ships (which are much to close together), as Jaime and Cercei look on. The actual count may be a bit south of 200.

Would need to be 18 more rows behind what we can see for there to be "1000 ships" (unless they extend significantly to the left, conveniently behind a rock outcropping.
posted by porpoise at 9:13 PM on July 23


Two more things -- Nymeria reminded me that ... wait, where is Ghost? Did he die and I forget? Or did he just go to where expensive CGI things to when they're not plot-crucial even if it seems odd for them to disappear?

Also, I'm glad that while the shipwrights were high-speed cranking out a thousand ships out of imaginary wood, they took the time to build, carve, and decorate that weird-ass dragon? sea serpent? gangplank for Euron's knockoff Johnny Depp pretensions.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:14 PM on July 23 [5 favorites]


Sam's new instagram is Dr. Greyscale Popper
posted by gatorae at 9:15 PM on July 23 [10 favorites]


......that yara smirk tho when she's about to do ellaria....
posted by lalochezia at 9:16 PM on July 23 [13 favorites]


WHO WAS SAILING THE SHIPS

NO ONE THERE WAS NO ONE IT WAS JUST DUDES SHOOTING FIRE AT SHIPS THAT LOOKED EXACTLY LIKE THEIR OWN SO HOW COULD THEY EVEN TELL THEM APART

IM EXPERIENCING BOAT RAGE
posted by poffin boffin at 9:24 PM on July 23 [36 favorites]


The hate is swelling in you now. Give in to your anger.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:26 PM on July 23 [10 favorites]


Two more things -- Nymeria reminded me that ... wait, where is Ghost? Did he die and I forget? Or did he just go to where expensive CGI things to when they're not plot-crucial even if it seems odd for them to disappear?

I'm pretty sure Ghost is alive. We never saw him die, anyway. I assume we're not seeing him because of the cost of CGI.

Since Jon is leaving and Ghost probably won't be going to Dragonstone with him, I really hope we get a scene with Ghost and Sansa bonding. Ghost is part of the Stark family, after all.
posted by homunculus at 9:34 PM on July 23 [2 favorites]


Ghost is hanging with Gendry. Chillax.
posted by Justinian at 9:39 PM on July 23 [2 favorites]


The greyscale scene was a bit too similar to youtube videos of people popping zits, so a i had to nope right out and stare at Magikarp Jump until it was over even though I'm not normally squeamish.

The sea battle was briefly exciting just because we haven't really gotten a fight with ships since the attack on King's Landing I don't think? But then it became clear it was just going to be another instance of The Villain Du Jour Wins So We See Bad Things Happen and I kinda checked out. Any idea that this was really a fight that could go either way drained the moment the daughters started losing and it was implied Ellaris was going to be raped before she died.

On a more positive note, I really enjoyed the stuff with Arya this week. Hottie! And Nymeria who doesn't seem to think she's really a Stark anymore (sadface).
posted by sparkletone at 9:42 PM on July 23


"Don't get killed, Hotpie," Arya says, echoing all the viewers at home.
posted by RobotHero at 9:49 PM on July 23 [4 favorites]


I liked Grey Worm's prop dagger more than his speech/scene; the costume peeps must have had fun bashing and stabbing stuff to wreak the piece (dagger), then use old-tech to try to repair it.
posted by porpoise at 9:56 PM on July 23


I'm so tired of my heart being broken over the direwolves stories. I want ecstatic reunion, hugs and loping off to the wild North together. I truly got so happy when they met again followed by so unhappy when Nymeria left. I'm a sap.

The red queen actor is so very good. In a tiny scene she shows so clearly how much she has changed from her former blown up, cocky self. She's so tentative now, almost fragile.

Loved the gigantic dragon skulls! All in all I think this was one of the strongest episodes; every scene was well paced and engaging.
posted by soakimbo at 9:58 PM on July 23 [7 favorites]


Also between the pie in this episode and the soup in the last episode, someone on the show really likes their gross match cuts.
posted by RobotHero at 9:58 PM on July 23 [11 favorites]


Red witch? Well you know who I mean.
posted by soakimbo at 9:59 PM on July 23 [1 favorite]


I feel kind of like giant ballistae to fight dragons doesn't take Lex Luthor level genius to come up with. But good on Qyburn for taking an interest in something besides freakish zombifications.
posted by Justinian at 10:10 PM on July 23 [12 favorites]


I discovered... something about myself when I can watch a throat get slashed or someone impaled without flinching, but the popping of the greyscale ZOMG falling off my couch cringeing in horror and waiting for it to be done and yelping at that jumpcut to the food.
posted by TwoStride at 10:11 PM on July 23 [2 favorites]


I feel kind of like giant ballistae to fight dragons
When do they call up Bard the Bowman?
posted by TwoStride at 10:13 PM on July 23 [5 favorites]


I am already bored of Sea Ramsay

I love this description!

I'm actually kind of enjoying Euron, though. He's like GoT's version of an overgrown frat boy, Good Ole Boy type. It's funny to me to see that kind of guy in this kind of world.

He's not a lunatic like Ramsey, just an asshole whose asshole-ry has been carefully nurtured since infancy and who is a little too smart for his own good. It's only luck that Yara and Theon, or even Jaime and Tyrion and Cersei, didn't turn out just the same. Because that kind of sociopathic, violent competence is what all of them were supposed to be brought up for. It's the ideal in their families/world.

He'll probably be horribly killed and/or maimed pretty soon anyway. Nobody that violent and bold stays alive and intact THAT long.

As frustrating and sad as Theon's betrayal of Yara was, it made sense. He's always been weak, and I think it would have been a toss up whether he would have been willing to sacrifice his life out of loyalty to Yara and to preserve his own dignity even if Ramsey had never done a thing to him. He might have been MORE willing under those circumstances, but Theon is also the man who chose survival over loyalty or dignity or anything else again and again when he was under Ramsey's thumb (and even before). I think there's always just going to be that strong survival instinct in him that makes him choose survival, every time. I guess sorta like Hotpie! ;)

But I think the difference between pre-Ramsey Theon's hypothetical decision to save his own skin, and Reek doing that in this episode, is that Reek didn't seem like he really had a choice. It seemed to me like he just got lost in all the mayhem and wasn't really thinking clearly at all, just was out and out panicking. And I mean, I don't know how much violence Reek is even capable of, at least against someone in "authority" (or claiming authority). He's defended himself some, but this is also the guy who safely shaved Ramsey with a straight razor. He didn't even stand up to Ellaris a few minutes earlier, when she was telling him to get her a drink or "inviting" him to have sex with her and Yara -- Yara had to stand up for him. Put some bass in your voice and Theon craps his pants (not that I blame him).

I was kind of perplexed about what he was thinking/feeling when he was hanging out in the water afterward watching all those dead bodies hanging everywhere, though. Had he come to his senses? Or is he just going to be full blown Reek for a while yet? If he's still Reek, will he stay that way forever now (or at least, until he dies)?

Anyway, I think that Sansa is probably the person in the world MOST capable of handling Littlefinger (and using him as need be), so if I were Jon, I would just leave them to it. It's also been obvious from jump that Sansa is a lot more suited to ruling the North and has a stronger claim to the throne than Jon ever did, plus she wants it a whole lot more than he ever did, too. Jon needs to be her #1 whitecloak or whatever. I think he's not really suited to running around as a political emissary, but...

The council of Queens was OK, but the part of it that I really enjoyed was when Ellaris was getting in Tyrion's face about how no Lannister is innocent and that she had no regrets about murdering his niece. Tyrion's reaction was so huffy and indignant, and I love when the "spoiled little rich kid" part of him rears its head like that. I love that even after going to Hell and back, Tyrion still has that (pompous, pretentious) side to him, and especially that he himself is clearly blind to it.

I also liked that he didn't like the idea of how deadly the battle would be, too. The characters on this show can get so wrapped up in their personal ~dramas~ and shenanigans, and it's nice that at least Tyrion is down to earth enough to register and care about all those lives -- that they're people and not just chess pieces.

Meanwhile, Arya is trying to learn that lesson, but I doubt she really will. She might have been touched by the Lannister soldiers talking about their babies and singing their songs and stuff, but she'd murdered maybe a hundred+ people just the previous day. I can't really connect with her, because that kind of thing just blows my mind. It made sense to me that she and her wolf can't have a relationship anymore, either. Being feral sure is isolating!
posted by rue72 at 10:21 PM on July 23 [6 favorites]


I thought Nymeria backed away because although she could tell that Arya was the person in front of her, she could also sense that Arya also wasn't herself anymore, that something of her Arya-ness was diluted or fragmented in a very fundamental way that a person (e.g., Hot Pie) would not necessarily sense so directly. Arya was like a wolf when she interacted with Hot Pie: she grabbed the food he had and just devoured it, and when he talked to her about the past and mentioned that she was pretty, she either ignored him or responded with confusion; when she interacts with Nymeria, she is too human, containing (I interpreted) multitudes of people just below the surface; and there is again a connection that seems possible, but the two parties are once more too far apart somehow. I feel sad for Arya. She seems lost between worlds and identities.
posted by clockzero at 10:24 PM on July 23 [35 favorites]


I kept waiting, tense and nauseated, for Nymeria to tear Arya's throat out. We're out of the books! Anything can happen!
posted by KathrynT at 10:30 PM on July 23 [8 favorites]


someone on the show really likes their gross match cuts

honestly it's so infantile and tedious that it just kicks me right out of the scene every time. if i wanted to watch a bunch of dumb gross-out poop jokes i'd rewatch merlin.
posted by poffin boffin at 10:34 PM on July 23 [9 favorites]


also there is no force in the known universe strong enough to compel me to care about theon at any time for any reason so ideally he will drown rather than waste any more precious screen time
posted by poffin boffin at 10:36 PM on July 23 [8 favorites]


TEAM NYMERIA
posted by adept256 at 10:36 PM on July 23 [4 favorites]


Nymeria - so heartbreaking.

Forget the sandsnakes, but I'm fully behind a close allegiance between Asha/Yara Greyjoys and Dorn.
posted by porpoise at 10:44 PM on July 23 [3 favorites]


Aw fuck.
posted by porpoise at 10:52 PM on July 23 [3 favorites]


I thought Nymeria backed away because although she could tell that Arya was the person in front of her, she could also sense that Arya also wasn't herself anymore, that something of her Arya-ness was diluted or fragmented in a very fundamental way that a person (e.g., Hot Pie) would not necessarily sense so directly.

So I was actually for reals crying at the Nymeria scene, and here's my read on it which may not be what the actress thinks, but:

When Arya threw stones at Nymeria to make her go away to "protect" her, that was an example - tiny, early on - of both her belief that the ends justify the means, and also that she wasn't yet ready to leave being Arya of House Stark behind, to go live on or with a direwolf and say "fuck it" to her family. Yes, she was young, but she still chose to sever her bond with Nymeria.

Nymeria, in the meantime, found a wolfpack - a new family. She is wild and violent and free and living essentially Arya's best life, maybe. I think that Nymeria and Arya could have connected again. Even with Nymeria still leading a wolfpack, they could have connected.

But even with Nymeria - who she CLEARLY LOVES HEARTBREAKINGLY AUGH AUGH AUGH - she starts off not with feeling sorry for the consequences of the choices she made - there's no "I'm sorry I hurt you, I'm sorry I abandoned you." It's all about Arya's need, Arya's choices, the ends justifying the means so much in her head that she doesn't even think she's done anything wrong. Even though we know why she desperately wants something for herself, something to love who she loves, even though she is in a sense chasing those she loves by going after Jon - she still doesn't know what it is to love anymore. The closest thing to love she's experienced in years was the Hound before he reformed. That's why this scene comes so soon after the Hot Pie one - she just doesn't know how to care about people anymore.

And Nymeria rejected her. Nymeria rejected her, with love, but didn't let Arya so much as touch her before she turned to walk away. Because Arya right now is a roiling ball of hate and murder and that's not what wolves are. Wolves kill to eat and they love within their pack and right now Arya is poison who can't even accept that she fucked up once years ago, let alone all the poison that got added on.

I think the "That's not you" is Arya justifying it to herself, telling herself a story where her wolf would have come but just wants to live wild and free just like Arya is totally doing! Arya's not poisoned and twisted and broken at all! Yeah!

And that's why I cried so hard and so long and also show I know that you can't CGI the direwolves often but damn I want to see more of that.
posted by corb at 10:53 PM on July 23 [33 favorites]


Yeah, I was also waiting for Arya to apologize to Nymeria for throwing rocks at her and forcing her away… and then that didn't happen, and I got the sense that Nymeria was like, 'Human, you are WAY too fucked in the head to be part of my pack anymore.'
posted by culfinglin at 11:03 PM on July 23 [7 favorites]


Yeah, this is where the ships coming out of nowhere has really bad results for the believability of the story.
posted by sagc at 11:05 PM on July 23 [2 favorites]


I could swear at one point they said "root and stem".

That was Varys's phrase when he was telling Tyrion his back-story.

So Dany's plan for blockading Kings' Landing is already half-scuppered, right? Assuming that the Sand Snakes were on their way back to Dorne to raise their troops. And the other half has Olenna urging her to be more dragony.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 11:18 PM on July 23 [2 favorites]


Who here is excessively annoyed at how Jon doesn't bother to talk to like anyone before making his big announcements?! Like maybe get a few lords on your side first eh?
posted by R343L at 11:26 PM on July 23 [26 favorites]


jon hufflepuff snow
posted by adept256 at 11:27 PM on July 23 [6 favorites]


So I rewatched the episode. After Arya says "that's not you" if you look at her face she sort of smiles. It's a heartbreaking scene, but Arya understands Nymeria's choice. As much as I want them to be together, I think this was right. Nymeria can't go back to who she was and neither can Arya. What this means for Arya is uncertain. I expect it means, to some degree, Arya may have "no home" anymore. That she will find her pack and travel with them. (Maybe the dothraki? I can see her getting along with them.)
posted by miss-lapin at 11:42 PM on July 23 [4 favorites]


R343L-Jon's leadership style annoys me beyond belief. He wants Sansa to trust him but doesn't believe in actually TALKING TO HER ABOUT IMPORTANT DECISIONS. She survived two sadists which is more than his father or brother did. As much as he wants girls to train with weapons, listening to an experienced woman is still beyond his ability and Dany is NOT gonna put up with that. But I really wish he would respect his sister. I do hope Sansa is able to show her abilities. Personally I think she's probably one of the people most qualified to rule at the moment.
posted by miss-lapin at 11:47 PM on July 23 [7 favorites]


I thought when she said "That's not you" she meant "That's not Nymeria, that's some other wolf". Iunno.
Yeah that meeting scene with Jon and Sansa was infuriating. He really made her look weak in front of everyone with that reveal, not the right setup for a new Queen. The Stark men are dumb as shit.
posted by bleep at 11:58 PM on July 23 [1 favorite]


I read the "that's not you" as her recognition that it was too late for them to be together like they were before. You can't go home again. Sad. I had originally thought that Arya would reunited with Nymeria, sort of as a dramatic "reward" for reclaiming her identity as Arya Stark. But maybe since she's now Arya Stark, super-ninja assassin bent on finishing her vengeance quest, rather than regular old Arya, she can't reconnect.
posted by skewed at 12:02 AM on July 24 [2 favorites]


Sea Ramsay, indeed.
posted by codacorolla at 12:36 AM on July 24 [1 favorite]


They're like... Really bad writers.
posted by codacorolla at 12:39 AM on July 24 [2 favorites]


I don't think the writing is that bad. I really enjoyed the first episode of this season. This one? I felt more "eh" about it, especially compared to last week, but I'll watch it again to see if I feel differently on the second viewing.

One of my co-workers (a fan of the books, of course) complained about the writing, comparing it unfavorably to GLOW. So yeah, by all accounts that's a great show (I haven't seen it yet), but it's a weird comparison. GLOW is a contemporary period piece/comedy-drama; GoT is epic fantasy. I've never seen any epic fantasy TV shows that haven't been abjectly terrible. (I can hardly think of any at all-- indeed, the wiki list for high/epic fantasy TV shows is super short.)

The fact that this has a plot that holds together pretty well, with characters having character arcs, and for the most part pretty good world-building, makes me far more forgiving of it not living up to some imaginary hypothetically great epic fantasy TV show that only exists in my personal headspace. One could say that the earlier seasons were better than the later seasons, in part because the showrunners were going on the books, but once they went off book and had to blaze their own trail, based on GRRM's outlines, I'm not sure how things could have gone any other way, especially since winding up this ridiculously huge story is like sewing back together a dissected animal.

I think one thing people should remember is that GoT is a trailblazing show. I've never seen another epic fantasy TV show with such a huge cast, epic scope, intricate world-building or such a wide range of plotlines. It's different from any other show I've ever seen, and that's what makes it so refreshing to me, even with all its issues.
posted by suburbanbeatnik at 1:48 AM on July 24 [9 favorites]


You knew Yara was doomed the moment she said Theon was her protector.
posted by Zonker at 2:51 AM on July 24 [15 favorites]


Re: Greyworm. In season 4 Dany asked Missandei if they take "pillar and stones" when the Unsullied are castrated. Missandei said she didn't know.
posted by mama casserole at 4:06 AM on July 24 [1 favorite]


It seemed like one of the original messages that the GOT books tried getting across was the brutalness of war. Now, we have Tyrion telling Dany to take it slow so she isn't just ruling over ashes, but that decision leads to the Good-Greyjoy fleet getting wrecked. So, is the show saying, "if you're going to war, go all out!"
posted by drezdn at 5:30 AM on July 24 [1 favorite]


My ship-truthering, why didn't the Dany's Greyjoy fleet have anyone on watch when they were close to King's Landing?
posted by drezdn at 5:31 AM on July 24 [6 favorites]


I dunno, I dont find the message to be warmongery so much as acknowledging that war is hell and it can create a prisoners dilemma where restraint can be exploited.
posted by gatorae at 5:36 AM on July 24 [2 favorites]


Are the Dothraki horsing across Westoros or boating to Casterly Rock?
posted by drezdn at 5:38 AM on July 24


Who here is excessively annoyed at how Jon doesn't bother to talk to like anyone before making his big announcements?! Like maybe get a few lords on your side first eh?

Not only that, but the fact that Littlefinger was rubbing his still sore neck when Jon left with a wave to Sansa means that there was no time for Jon to tell Sansa what just happened down in the crypts. Even if she replies with a "I know" she'll know that Jon knows, Jon has her back, and that Littlefinger is feeling cornered and to be extra ready if he tries something soon. Geez Jon talk to your sister!
posted by thecjm at 5:48 AM on July 24 [10 favorites]


X marks the dragon glass? The cure to greyscale was picking your scabs?

Next episode Samwell finds White Walkers for Dummies.
posted by srboisvert at 6:35 AM on July 24 [20 favorites]


Are the Dothraki horsing across Westoros or boating to Casterly Rock?

I don't think anyone on Team Targaryen is boating anywhere at this point.

This episode kind of bored me. I'm completely inoculated against misery, death, and greyscale popping. Euron is still The Worst, the Sand Snakes still irritating as fuck though now mostly dead, Reek's still gonna Reek, Jon Snow still doesn't discuss his boneheaded decisions with anyone prior to announcing them to an entire hall filled with bannermen, Dany still tries to do the right thing only for it to immediately go pear-shaped. The ships are still stupid. (Also I noted that Pyke was in the credits but we did not actually spend any time in Wet Dorne the Iron Islands, did we?)

I'm ready to get on with the Shocking! Revelations! and the meetings of various characters who have never met before so we can all roll around in the "Oh no she didn't!"ness of their repartee.

Or, as Dr. Johnson said, when one is tired of impailments, one is tired of life.
posted by soren_lorensen at 6:42 AM on July 24 [5 favorites]


I feel like they're trying to escalate tensions between Sansa and Jon, and I just don't find that particularly plausible. Sansa knows Jon and she knows Littlefinger (probably the only person in Westeros besides Varys who does). She knows one of them is naive and the other is completely merciless. If there's anyone immune to Littlefinger's honeyed words and machinations it's her. It's implausible she'd choose the latter over the former unless it's literally the only way she can stay alive, and she's not in that position.
posted by leotrotsky at 6:49 AM on July 24 [4 favorites]


I'm just really annoyed that Littlefinger is still even in the north. Go back to the Vale dude, why hasn't Sansa made him leave? I can acknowledge that it may be better to keep Littlefinger where you can see him, but don't let him hear all your plans at least!
posted by LizBoBiz at 6:53 AM on July 24 [2 favorites]


Uh Jon? when you're king you send emissaries to do your shit.

Captain James T. Kirk Syndrome.
posted by fuse theorem at 7:04 AM on July 24 [6 favorites]


I think it's that they need the Knights of the Vale for the coming war with the Army of the Dead. They need all the doodz they can get, and Littlefinger has doodz.
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:06 AM on July 24 [4 favorites]


Littlefinger is Lord of the Vale, who army saved the North. They need him and have to play nice.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:06 AM on July 24


But who is running things in the Vale right now?
posted by TwoStride at 7:07 AM on July 24 [1 favorite]


No idea, probably some middle manager who still has to send hourly ravens to Lord Baelish. I believe one of the older who protested Jon going to make Daenerys is one of the higher ups of the Vale's army, so Sansa should definitely be making nice with him too.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:09 AM on July 24


Also, I'm again confused about how time is running in the North v everywhere else. How much time has elapsed between Jon's pronouncements? Shouldn't his bannermen (and bannerwomen) be returning to their own properties to start up their war training, etc? Is Winterfell just feeding everyone while they sit around the great hall waiting for Jon to make another grand announcement?
posted by TwoStride at 7:09 AM on July 24 [7 favorites]


Thinking too hard about plot logistics and time on this show is recipe for disappointment and frustration, avoid at all costs!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:11 AM on July 24 [20 favorites]


mama casserole: Sorry not sorry I love all the books at the Citadel. First the one that had a map of Westeros with just like an arrow pointing to Dragonstone all HERE BE DRAGONGLASS. And now the Greyscale Instructable with all the drawings of the dude and the procedure is just to carve him up and apply a salve.

Kind of like browsing a library in a video game -- all the books are fake, except for the 3 you really need to read, and those are only 3 pages long each, if that. That, or they have an awesome cataloging system, which may totally be a thing.


clockzero: I feel sad for Arya. She seems lost between worlds and identities.

A girl is no one.


miss-lapin: So I rewatched the episode. After Arya says "that's not you" if you look at her face she sort of smiles. It's a heartbreaking scene, but Arya understands Nymeria's choice.

damayanti: According to the "About the Episode" bit, apparently it was a call back to a Season 1 episode, where Ned was trying to convince her to be a good little noblewoman. Her response was "That's not me".

Thanks to the comments in this thread, particularly damayanti's addition, my take is that Arya realizes that offering Nymeria a place as a kept animal inside a big castle isn't who she is any more -- she's the alpha of a pack of (to her) lil' wolfies. What does she have to gain from being back inside a castle? Nothing, and she loses her freedom.

And I don't think Nymeria is angry at Arya for sending her away, in part because I imagine Nymeria's like a doggo -- past minor wrongs aren't held as grudges, like people do. If you were generally nice and kind then, and you're nice and kind now, that's all that matters. Everyone makes mistakes, so don't obsess over mistakes, but try to be a better person.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:13 AM on July 24 [11 favorites]


Brandon Blatcher: Littlefinger is Lord of the Vale, who army saved the North. They need him and have to play nice.

Meh. There's so much turnover of management in Westeros that no one would bat an eye if he died.
"Oops, Littlefinger was ... uh ... tossed by a horse and broke his neck."
"Doesn't it look like his throat was slit?"
"Eh, probably due to how he was thrown ... by the horse. Onto rocks. Sharp rocks."
"Yeah, you're right. Who's in charge now? Sansa? OK, three cheers for Lady Sansa! Huzzah! Huzzah! Huzzah!"


Brandon Blatcher: Thinking too hard about plot logistics and time on this show is recipe for disappointment and frustration, avoid at all costs!

I want to make this into a pre-episode warning screen, like a "this program contains violence, younger viewers are encouraged to close their eyes" type of thing.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:15 AM on July 24 [7 favorites]


A girl needs a books included thread.
posted by corb at 7:19 AM on July 24 [5 favorites]


A girl is encouraged to create one
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:20 AM on July 24 [7 favorites]


Thinking too hard about plot logistics and time on this show is recipe for disappointment and frustration, avoid at all costs!
posted by Brandon Blatcher


One of my frustrations with the show is that, for his faults, Martin seems to have made an attempt to write the books in such a way that thinking about logistics would actually get you some insight, while the storytelling needs of the show strip that away.

Like: Given the sizes of the landmasses involved, isn't Dany's grand Kings Landing/Casterly Rock strategy roughly the same as having an army in Havana and attempting to have one force lay siege to Miami (OK, sort of doable) while sending another force- on sailing ships - through the Panama Canal to attack Los Angeles?
posted by the phlegmatic king at 7:27 AM on July 24


Things that I liked about this episode:

- GREYWORM AND MISSANDEI MOTHERFUCKERS M O T H E R F U C K E R S

- NYMERIA DOES NOT GO HOME WITH ARYA. I mean, first of all, it's a fucking great character beat -- like, the underlying emotional truth that even if Arya gets back to Winterfell, things will never be the same again. Jon has already left for the south. Arya, who was always going to be married off to another family, is now Stark in Winterfell. Dad is dead. Robb and Catelyn are still dead, Arya's revenge on the Freys notwithstanding. I love, love, love the idea of Nymeria serving as a the symbol for this. You can't step into the same river twice. You can't go back to being the little girl that you were.

- Missandei rolling out with the Valyrian, and the brown girl whose linguistic expertise was learned under pain and suffering and fear and as a survival technique -- her getting to WELL ACTUALLY all the white folks? *kisses fingers*

- Greyworm's speech to Missandei -- do you remember the other significant Greyworm speech, where he talks about being given a puppy and how you have to kill your puppy once it's grown? I believe there's also another bit about having to kill a newborn baby in front of its mother in order to get your cap and gown at Unsullied U. There is this repeated theme of having to kill anything that might love you, to strangle your own humanity, to meet your fear with emotional brutality.

In fact, I think Greyworm's fear with respect to Missandei should actually be separated from the standard BUT I DON'T WANT TO LOVE YOU AND LOSE YOU. Up until a pretty recent point in his life, he has had to not just deny what makes him human, but actively trample it down as a condition of survival. So when faced with having to open that would with Missandei, yes, there is an element of him not wanting to love her because who knows what's going to happen? But also because for decades, Greyworm has had to destroy anything that could make him human.

And you'll remember that when we've seen this speech before, he tries to skirt around it, then breaks down, and Missandei offers him comfort. Here, again, initially, he tries to avoid having to confront his weakness. But when push comes to shove, this time, when he sees how he has hurt Missandei, he responds with tenderness. With physical contact. With an attempt to be with Missandei in the way that she wants, but also the way that he also feels capable of giving her.

I FUCKING LOVE GREYWORM AND MISSANDEI SO MUCH YOU GUYS, and only wish this show gave us more of them just hanging out, laughing, or Missandei frowning down at some translation while Greyworm sighs about duty rotas for the Unsullied, but like, instead, we have 2839074298374 stupid bits about Greyscale surgery that nobody really wanted to see.

(also when did he learn about going down on ladies, did, like pod, sail south for lessons, did jon snow visit him in a dream, or more seriously, WHO DID HE TALK TO ABOUT THIS??? I HAVE A VAGUE MEMORY OF SOMEBODY WHO WAS AN EUNUCH SITTING DOWN WITH A LADY SEX WORKER WHO INITIALLY THOUGHT HE WAS THERE TO BONE, BUT WAS THAT GREYWORM?)

- Littlefinger getting choked. Is it, like, a right of passage for every male Stark to choke the fuck out of Littlefinger? I approve, although admittedly, my commute in this morning was made 45x better by realizing that we're being set up for Arya and Brienne both at Winterfell with Littlefinger, and well, do I want him murdered by the big lady who is Sansa's adopted family, or the little lady who is Sansa's birth sister, and with whom she has now reconnected? I mean, Arya killing somebody who isn't on her list! Killing for some other reason than her personal hatred! That's healthier, right?????

- Cersei's fake news (tm) about the furriners, and Tarly stepping up and being immediately like YO THOSE DRAGONS. Though for the record, I will note that it is one fucking thing to fire a giant-ass crossbow at a skull that's been chilling around in the dust and drying out for hundreds of years, and entirely another thing to fire a crossbow at GIANT FUCKING LIVING DRAGON that IS COMING AT YOU FROM A FUCKING DIVE and PS HAVE WE MENTIONED THE FACT THAT FIRE COMES OUT OF ITS MOUTH?

Plus, let's say you do nail that first dragon. How many of those crossbows do you have? How long does it take to wind back up? Better hope, motherfuckers.

- Sorry guys, I just like thinking about Tarly senior getting verbally smacked around by Olenna, and kinda liking it. Nothing will convince me that they did not bone.

- I am, in part, completely thrilled that we did not get Theon Redemption. Because I hate Theon, and I want anybody who believes Theon can or should be """redeemed""" to suffer.

Things I Disliked:

- Jon is the worst at politics. The worst. And I hate that the show is writing him in a way that could be read as thinking he's good at it. He's not. He's terrible.

- I hate that the show isn't writing Sansa as having learned a lesson about confronting Jon/managing Jon.

- JAMIE IS NOT VERY GOOD AT BEING SUBTLE. For a Peak Lannister along with somebody who has been close to the heart of intrigue in Westeros for almost his entire fucking life, you'd think he'd be better at bribing people. I mean, sure, Tarly is probably not a guy to approach subtly, and would probs take offense, but STILL.

- Us getting a long (and wonderful!) heterosexual sex scene AND THEN BEING CRUELL FUCKING ROBBED OF EVEN ONE ACTUAL LESBIAN SMOOCH? COME ON, WHERE IS MY WLW REPRESENTATION YOU COULDN'T EVEN DO A CUTAWAY AND THEN HAVE EURON SHOW UP AFTER

- Look, OK, I love Danerys, and I'm fond of Emilia Clarke, particularly given the things she has pushed for re: NOT BEING NAKED in the full sexposition seasons of the show, but I think her acting was not nuanced in that scene -- the camera work was also shitty, and I am Not Here for Missandei and Greyworm, the only two visible POC in the room, being used as background props for speech-ifying.

- Once again, for everybody in the back: Greyscale surgery, ew. How many minutes do we have left for Game of Thrones? And how many did we waste on this shit I couldn't even watch?
posted by joyceanmachine at 7:28 AM on July 24 [15 favorites]


A girl has a teenager who claims to be using the computer for her summer project, which as far as I know includes sadly no direwolves, but that is a valid point and I probably will later.
posted by corb at 7:28 AM on July 24 [4 favorites]


I'm so sorry about that wall of text.
posted by joyceanmachine at 7:29 AM on July 24


Plus, let's say you do nail that first dragon. How many of those crossbows do you have?

I'd think they could whip up about 1,000 pretty much instantly.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 7:31 AM on July 24 [35 favorites]


Joyce, I loved that wall of text, do carry on!

One of my frustrations with the show is that, for his faults, Martin seems to have made an attempt to write the books in such a way that thinking about logistics would actually get you some insight, while the storytelling needs of the show strip that away.

Honestly, I had a braingasm when one of the background characters mentioned that Kings Landing was 200 miles away from where Hot Pie's restaurant is. WHOA, actual distances!!!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:32 AM on July 24 [5 favorites]


Given the sizes of the landmasses involved

Given the sizes of landmasses involved, it would take months for anyone to get anywhere. Martin is admittedly terrible with distance, size and scale and it makes everything easier to comprehend by pretending Westeros is the size of the British Isles, not the size of North America.

I mean, look at this and tell me how anyone pre-steam age could get around this continent in a scale not measured in months and years.
posted by thecjm at 7:36 AM on July 24 [4 favorites]


I FUCKING LOVE GREYWORM AND MISSANDEI SO MUCH YOU GUYS, and only wish this show gave us more of them just hanging out,

This is a totally valid opinion and I actually love the wall of text, but have to note it is so interesting how people divide on the Missandei/Grey Worm relationship! I think I usually like it, but with only seven episodes left found myself giving it the stink-eye for taking up valuable conclusion time, but of course they need a conclusion too and maybe this was it? I don't know.
posted by corb at 7:38 AM on July 24 [2 favorites]


corb: A girl needs a books included thread.

A girl is no gets one
posted by filthy light thief at 7:39 AM on July 24 [4 favorites]


Once again, for everybody in the back: Greyscale surgery, ew. How many minutes do we have left for Game of Thrones? And how many did we waste on this shit I couldn't even watch?

We had to have another build-up to "life in medieval fantasy times are gross, and so is the food!" visual joke.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:41 AM on July 24


A little surprised by all the pro-Sansa, anti-Jon remarks in here. Sansa hasn't really done anything ever. Her actions and counsel aren't even that consistent. She writes littlefinger because they need help and Jon is too stubborn to accept help, okay that made sense. But now? She seems to be about geting revenge, telling everyone to go fuck themselves, holing up, and waiting to die. They can't survive on cynicism alone.

Jon thinks they will absolutely all get killed if hey don't get the dragonglass. He needs to get it and whatever method he tries to get it with has to have the highest chance of success possible, because they may not get another opportunity, that's why he's going himself.

Personally, I'd rather he didn't. I spent years not knowing if this guy was dead or alive and now he keeps throwing himself back into mortal danger every chance he gets. Why can't he stay just stay home?
posted by yonega at 7:46 AM on July 24 [8 favorites]


I also just realized we have never really seen Dorne's military other than a few patrols when Jamie and Bronne were singing by the seaside. It could be a neat budget trick to sideline them so you don't have to CGI yet another army.

Also what about Tryion's band of hill warriors?
posted by srboisvert at 7:51 AM on July 24


Did I miss it, or did they neglect to mention what Dany is going to use the Dothraki for?

Also, where is Rickon Stark? I have literally forgotten.
posted by mzurer at 7:54 AM on July 24


Ramsay Bolton killed Rickon Stark, I think?
posted by Windigo at 8:01 AM on July 24 [4 favorites]


OK I looked it up, he was shot by Ramsay on the battlefield as he walked toward Jon to kick off the Battle of the Bastards.
posted by mzurer at 8:04 AM on July 24 [3 favorites]


My guess is Arya doesn't end up a Winterfell anytime soon. Melisandre can't return to the North or Jon will have her hanged as a murderer. Yet she and Arya will meet because Melisandre made that prophesy when she and Arya met in an earlier season (when she abducted Gendry). So, since Jon is en route to White Harbor and Arya is headed north, I expect they may meet up there, and take a boat trip to Dragonstone together. Between Davos and Arya, I think Melisandre's days are probably numbered.
posted by tempestuoso at 8:05 AM on July 24 [1 favorite]


The Dothraki and the Unsullied were both supposed to go and fuck up Casterly Rock, because Yara and the Dornish were going to lay siege to King's Landing. Whoops.
posted by soren_lorensen at 8:08 AM on July 24 [1 favorite]


No, I think just the Unsullied were going to Casterly Rock? Dammit, I wish I had a transcript. My impression was that Tyrion didn't want Dothraki screamers being sicced on the smallfolk.
posted by corb at 8:09 AM on July 24


My memory is that Tyrion didn't want any foreigners laying siege to King's Landing because it plays into Lannister propaganda about Daenarys being queen of a bunch of foreigners, rather than a Westerosi queen for Westerosi people (Make Westeros Great Again!). But he's more than happy to unleash the hordes on Casterly Rock to break the back of Lannister power from whence it emanates.
posted by soren_lorensen at 8:15 AM on July 24 [3 favorites]


Cersei's fake news (tm) about the furriners,

So apparently that vibe was intentional? It took me out of the show the whole time she was talking, especially since her audience was not a bunch of poorly educateds who'd be highly susceptible to demagoguery.

it is one fucking thing to fire a giant-ass crossbow at a skull that's been chilling around in the dust and drying out for hundreds of years, and entirely another thing to fire a crossbow at GIANT FUCKING LIVING DRAGON that IS COMING AT YOU FROM A FUCKING DIVE and PS HAVE WE MENTIONED THE FACT THAT FIRE COMES OUT OF ITS MOUTH?

Yep, the dragon would pretty much have to be sitting still for the crossbow thing to work. Maybe they'd incapacitate or distract it in some other way first? I'm just glad it was only a crossbow because for a minute I thought there'd be some kind of Jurassic Park stuff going on and they'd be making new dragons from the old skulls and bones.
posted by fuse theorem at 8:15 AM on July 24 [5 favorites]


Qyburn definitely not bringing his necromancy A-game here, for real.

I was expecting Dragonnip or Fool Proof Dragon Explodifying Magics, or something. But nope. Just a crossbow of unusual size. Alrighty then.
posted by soren_lorensen at 8:18 AM on July 24 [20 favorites]


Also that's just a Ballista, this is a world with armored knights, and hand held crossbows etc. The Ballista in our world predated those technology by over 1000 years.

A Ballista does not a convincing anti-dragon maguffin make.
posted by French Fry at 8:34 AM on July 24 [10 favorites]


Yeah, but if you take out a Dragon, that's a huge victory along tactical and mental grounds.

Frankly, what choice do they have? Yeah, it's a long shot, but Cersei is going to try something to even the odds.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:37 AM on July 24


Oh, so one thing I wonder - so the ArchMaester gives him a day, because he's a knight, before he joins the stone men, with the implication being "so you can kill yourself." Sam wants to cure him - hilariously, in part for the honor and love of Lord Mormont (I can't remember if Sam knows exactly why Mormont and Jorah didn't speak anymore?) - but like, how precisely does he think it's going to go in the morning? Or is he also helping Jorah to escape? Otherwise, couldn't they just see him in the morning and say "welp, time to join the stone men!" Or is the suggestion that because they're all into the science they would rather observe this progress?

I have to say though, I kind of love how they're all about scholarship and progression. Sam thinks - everyone has thought - that Sam is destined for a Maester because he loves books and sucks at combat, but I feel like they're showing us that Sam really, really isn't - he's constantly impatient and hates the actual process of scholarship and science-monk ethics.

Does Sam still think of himself as a coward? Him sneaking out to treat Jorah was warrior as hell.
posted by corb at 8:37 AM on July 24 [18 favorites]


Also that's just a Ballista, this is a world with armored knights, and hand held crossbows etc. The Ballista in our world predated those technology by over 1000 years.

A Ballista does not a convincing anti-dragon maguffin make.


Yeah, they should have at least tipped it with idk dragon glass or something. I mean, even assuming ballistas were of Valyrian invention (if we need a correspondence to the Greeks) if *any* Valyrian tech survived, it would have been weapons of war.

Apparently the decline of the ballista in the middle ages was a resources problem:

"With the decline of the Roman Empire, resources to build and maintain these complex machines became very scarce, so the ballista was supplanted initially by the simpler and cheaper onager and the more efficient springald.
Though the weapon continued to be used in the Middle Ages, it faded from popular use with the advent of the trebuchet and mangonel in siege warfare. The crossbow supplanted it as a precision weapon. They all were simpler to make, easier to maintain (no anointment) and much cheaper."

posted by leotrotsky at 8:41 AM on July 24 [5 favorites]


"Yet she and Arya will meet because Melisandre made that prophesy when she and Arya met in an earlier season (when she abducted Gendry)."

Didn't Melisandre have some quote in just this very episode about prophecies?
posted by komara at 8:42 AM on July 24


Yeah corb I didn't think of that. I was too fixated on why the archmaester would not allow Sam to try the treatment, if he is convinced Jorah is going to die anyway (and suggests he kill himself)? He even needles Sam about "well what is YOUR background and training with greyscale, huh?" to get him to shut up. Isn't the Citadel about learning and scholarship and shit? This guy wants to test something, the patient is a dead man walking anyway, let him try. That all fell flat for me. The only thing I can think is maybe there's a subtext of the Citadel doesn't want to get a reputation for killing its patients--but everyone pretty much considers Greyscale a death sentence anyway.
posted by mama casserole at 8:44 AM on July 24 [4 favorites]


Sam thinks of himself as a coward because that's the identity his father has constructed for him, and because he feels no affinity for the kinds of things that his family and culture value as Brave and Manly. But the reality is, Sam is brave af, all the time -- when he rescued Gilly, when he slew the White Walker, when he made the big speech that got Jon elected Lord Commander, when he presented Gilly and the baby to his father (!) as his side-piece and bastard son (!!), when he broke in and stole the books, when he argued with the archmaester about climate change ^H White Walkers. Sam is brave as hell, and he doesn't even have three dragons or a legendary blade to back him up.
posted by KathrynT at 8:45 AM on July 24 [38 favorites]


mama casserole, I think the danger is to the practitioner, not the patient.
posted by KathrynT at 8:46 AM on July 24 [12 favorites]


Strongly disagree about Sam. It's clear that he's done some research and is willing to try new things, while the Citadel clearly doesn't.

But yes on the whole "You have a day" thing. The best hope is that Sam can show some progress in the morning, to buy a few more days. 'Cause my guess is that he's gonna need Jorah to save him from some warriors at the Citadel, eventually.

A Ballista does not a convincing anti-dragon maguffin make.

On further thought, it does, if Cersei plays it right. She could ask for to see a dragon, say out in a Courtyard? Asking to have Daenerys command it land and sit, to demonstrate that Dany really has control of them.

That's exactly the sort of thing Cersei might do, not thinking that there are two other Dragons. She's never been good at thinking far ahead.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:46 AM on July 24 [3 favorites]


A little surprised by all the pro-Sansa, anti-Jon remarks in here. Sansa hasn't really done anything ever.

I mean, it helps that Sansa is articulating sensible positions and criticisms directly rooted in her experience -- reward those who help you, punish those who betray you, consolidate your strength, don't alienate allies, don't do stupid shit like Dad and Big Bro did, don't run off down south as soon as Danerys crooks her finger because we need you to hold the north, etc.
posted by joyceanmachine at 8:46 AM on July 24 [4 favorites]


mama casserole, I think the danger is to the practitioner, not the patient.

Ahh OK, that makes more sense. Still, they didn't recruit Sam, he came to them--why not let him decide if he wants to take the risk?
posted by mama casserole at 8:47 AM on July 24 [1 favorite]


Well, it's insanely contagious, right? Maybe the idea of having their poop-scrubber and soup-ladler infected with a fatal and virulent disease is unappealing.
posted by KathrynT at 8:54 AM on July 24 [3 favorites]


But yeah I'm feeling kind of foolish for not picking up on that, the archmaester even said that the guy who wrote the book died of greyscale.
posted by mama casserole at 8:55 AM on July 24 [3 favorites]


So Sam's quip about the history of the wars after Robert's Rebellion needing a catchier title is a prelude to him writing that chronicle, and it being called "The Game of Thrones", right?
posted by codacorolla at 8:55 AM on July 24 [29 favorites]


I mean, it helps that Sansa is articulating sensible positions and criticisms directly rooted in her experience...

That's the problem, they're rooted in her experience, which lacks any contact with the Wall or Night King. For all his faults, Jon has the right idea, i.e. the Walkers are the big issue, full stop. Yes, he has has to go to Daenerys because he's a King and she's a Queen and they don't have much time for back and forth. It's a risk, but knowing that Tyrion is there (which he asked Sansa's advice for when they were talking privately) swings things for me.

Jon and Tyrion clearly bonded in their time together. With Sansa's advice proving that Tyrion probably hasn't become a typical Lannister, Jon's doing the right thing, IMO. They need Daenerys and that Dragonglass and they need it quick.

But yeah, Jon could stand to seek Sansa's advice more often. Just as she could stand to not challenge him so openly in front of others. She's not wrong about Cersei, but doesn't see the larger picture. Luckily Jon isn't totally stupid and while he clearly doesn't like Sansa challenging him in open court, he isn't openly stopping her and put in her in power. How she handles that will determine how well they work together in the future.

So in the end, neither of them have behaved perfectly, but they're on the road to a good place in terms of working out the power dynamics.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:58 AM on July 24 [9 favorites]


I mean, it helps that Sansa is articulating sensible positions and criticisms directly rooted in her experience -- reward those who help you, punish those who betray you, consolidate your strength, don't alienate allies, don't do stupid shit like Dad and Big Bro did, don't run off down south as soon as Danerys crooks her finger because we need you to hold the north, etc.

First off, what experience does she have? Being a hostage? Her positions are what could have have won the last war but they won't win the next win. As Jon pointed out, those who betrayed their family are already dead. Sansa is advocating collective punishment.
posted by yonega at 8:59 AM on July 24


I was too fixated on why the archmaester would not allow Sam to try the treatment, if he is convinced Jorah is going to die anyway (and suggests he kill himself)?

I think it's actually bigger than the possible contagion to Sam. Because remember, the Citadel thinks in the long term. Not, "What's the harm if we try this treatment on greyscale, these guys are going to die anyway?" But rather, "What's the harm in letting our maesters try experimental treatments on people who are desperate for a cure and will die in ten years? What about ones who might die in twenty? What about ones whose quality of life is impacted?" There's actually a whole host of precedent for why the Archmaester should not let Sam - a guy who is still essentially an apprentice - make decisions on his own based on his reading a book that may or may not be accurate from centuries ago and decide on dubiously ethical medical treatment in the meantime. I mean, we like it because we're pretty sure it will work and is Jorah's only chance, but that doesn't make it a good idea more broadly.
posted by corb at 9:02 AM on July 24 [6 favorites]


I feel like they're going overboard on the Sansa-Cersei comparisons. I mean, imagine if Arya and Sansa actually get to reunite, and Arya's all, "I poisoned scores of people, btw" and at this point Sansa would be all, "excellent! Let's add to your kill list and how do you feel about maybe blowing people up beause that seemed cool when Cersei did it!"
posted by TwoStride at 9:03 AM on July 24 [1 favorite]


Also, Grayscale is an immediate death sentence, is passed along by simple contact (even second-hand contact with objects), and may even have an incubation period. Having a novice maester get infected would be a potential vector of disease that could wipe out all of The Citadel. If you view The Citadel as being the final store of human knowledge and memory, then it makes sense to not want to risk that to save a few people that you probably view as sub-human, anyway. The Maesters are being portrayed as cold and conservative utilitarians, so it fits with that characterization.
posted by codacorolla at 9:04 AM on July 24 [11 favorites]


I don't have a problem with the ballista, and I wouldn't mind if the first dragon at King's Landing gets absolutely porcupined from a barrage of 1,000 of them.

GRRM seems to really like setting up fantasy cliches and trashing them. Showing that dragons are, after all, mortal animals would fit that pattern well.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 9:08 AM on July 24


Grayscale is an immediate death sentence, is passed along by simple contact (even second-hand contact with objects)

On that thought: OH GOD SAM don't grab that skin of rum back from Jorah's scaly hands.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 9:13 AM on July 24 [6 favorites]


Also, Grayscale is an immediate death sentence, is passed along by simple contact (even second-hand contact with objects), and may even have an incubation period. Having a novice maester get infected would be a potential vector of disease that could wipe out all of The Citadel.

But then why are they housing Greyscale patients at all? Jorah almost grabbed Sam through the window in his cell door.
posted by mama casserole at 9:15 AM on July 24 [9 favorites]


Let us note that Davos "Maximum Avuncular" Seaworth talked more sense than anybody in the entire show with his anti-wight dragons observation.

As for the Jon sending an emissary thing, someone claiming to be liege and demanding fealty sounds like basically the least delegatable task imaginable. He absolutely needs to start having small councils with Sansa, though.

It's notable that Baelish didn't look smug or have any quip or angle after Jon half-strangled him. Perhaps that was a moment of learning. Or maybe Jon just has a better grip than Ned did.
posted by The Gaffer at 9:26 AM on July 24 [6 favorites]


For people who asked up above, this is a basic primer into the different types of castration used historically. Since the episode last night had a big thing about eunuchs and sex, here is an article that is not as well sourced, but talks about one specific category of castrated men as lovers, touching on how age at castration makes a difference.

Additional reading: Zheng He, the Ming admiral who commanded voyages as far as the eastern coast of Africa, and was also an eunuch.

Additional, additional reading: Sun Yaoting, the last Chinese imperial eunuch, who died in 1996. Here is an English translation of a book written about him with his cooperation in the 90's. His long life-span may have been somewhat in line the historical lifespan of court eunuchs in East Asia.

Additional, additional, additional reading: Scientific article an analysis of the skeleton of a famous castrati, who had it done to him when he was about 12, so at the end of childhood and pre-puberty. Forbes.com (?!?) article summarizing scientific review of skeleton of another castrati. Both of the castrati were tall by modern standards (6'+), and exceedingly tall by historical ones. The articles indicate that it was mostly in the legs, probably the result of the femur bones fusing later than they otherwise would.

(I grew up on stories of the eunuchs of the Forbidden City, then read the The Persian Boy at a formative time. BUT I NEVER WANTED TO TELL MY MOTHER-IN-LAW ABOUT THIS, LET ALONE LIKE, SITTING NEXT TO HER WHILE GREY WORM GOES DOWN ON MISSANDEI.)
posted by joyceanmachine at 9:31 AM on July 24 [25 favorites]


Having a novice maester get infected would be a potential vector of disease that could wipe out all of The Citadel. If you view The Citadel as being the final store of human knowledge and memory, then it makes sense to not want to risk that to save a few people that you probably view as sub-human, anyway

It's even worse than that. Even if you wait 10+ years for all the infected maisters to die, the entire library is still toxic. You essentially destroy the Library at Alexandria. Which is why it makes no sense to have grayscale folks anywhere near oldtown.
posted by leotrotsky at 9:31 AM on July 24 [9 favorites]


Yes, I agree that putting grayscale patients in the main repository of human learning is a dumb PLOT THING that the writers probably did to get Jorah wherever he needs to be, but the aversion of high-risk treatments being done by novice scholars at least makes a little sense if detached from the overall stupidity of treating grayscale patients in The Citadel.
posted by codacorolla at 9:48 AM on July 24 [3 favorites]


corb: how precisely does he think it's going to go in the morning?

Sam: "Hey, look everyone, his greyscales are gone!"
Jorah: "MrrrarraaaAAAAARRRRR!" (See, he just had a ton of his stone-like skin ripped off, then some salve applied, and he's in serious pain, so he can't say words, just moan and roar in agony)
Everyone (in Sam's imagination): "He's cured! Huzzah for Jorah! Huzzah for Samwell!"
Everyone (in reality): "Oh shit, now we have to banish Jorah and Sam. Oh well, Sam was too impatient to be a proper maester."
posted by filthy light thief at 9:50 AM on July 24 [6 favorites]


(And I'm sure this joke has been made sometime in the last 7 seasons or past decades of the books ... but has anyone considered that Mr. T might be the mightiest of Maesters? Or is he just a specialized Maester in the study of sums and accounts (indicated by gold)?)
posted by filthy light thief at 9:53 AM on July 24 [8 favorites]


First off, what experience does she have? Being a hostage?

Surviving Joffrey, surviving Cersei, surviving Ramsay, surviving Littlefinger--she has had a chance to observe far more politically sophisticated and cunning players than Jon has and as a result, she is much less trusting than he is. She has a different perspective than he has and I don't think we're meant to believe that either one of them is absolutely right or absolutely wrong. They just have different perspectives due to their different experiences.

It's rather insulting to her character arc to imply that she hasn't done anything over the past six seasons. Surviving horrible abuse and captivity is not nothing. Just because she hasn't been leading armies or beheading people or exerting power in characteristically male ways doesn't mean she's stupid and her advice is worthless.
posted by armadillo1224 at 9:54 AM on July 24 [30 favorites]


Going back to the conversation about writing, this show is a lot easier to consume if you watch it dubbed into another language with subtitles. I watched all the DVDs in French and I watch the broadcasts in Spanish. I find that having to hear characters saying the lines in English is unbearable, but reading the subtitles & just hearing the acting itself makes it more like listening to someone telling you a fantastical story rather than watching embarrassing 3rd rate community theater wearing really expensive costumes.
posted by bleep at 9:56 AM on July 24 [4 favorites]


> On that thought: OH GOD SAM don't grab that skin of rum back from Jorah's scaly hands.
I had the same reaction, then double-checked: Jorah grabbed the rum with his right. The scale started on his left; it hasn't made it's way to his right hand yet.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 10:09 AM on July 24 [2 favorites]


Also I was wondering why Sam didn't just knock him out with milk of the poppy but I can only assume that it's nigh impossible to requisition since the big milk of the poppy addiction epidemic that swept the Citadel about 15 years ago.
posted by bleep at 10:19 AM on July 24 [11 favorites]


Surviving Joffrey, surviving Cersei, surviving Ramsay, surviving Littlefinger--she has had a chance to observe far more politically sophisticated and cunning players than Jon has and as a result, she is much less trusting than he is. She has a different perspective than he has and I don't think we're meant to believe that either one of them is absolutely right or absolutely wrong. They just have different perspectives due to their different experiences.

Yeah, her captors were politically sophisticated, her captors were cunning. She was merely their possession. She's spent the entire show a captive. Her only experience is bad experience. Her last four job titles were all "victim". The first thing she wanted to do was enact collective punishment on the family's of her dead enemies. Does that sound familiar?

Surviving horrible abuse and captivity is not nothing. Just because she hasn't been leading armies or beheading people or exerting power in characteristically male ways doesn't mean she's stupid and her advice is worthless.

It's not nothing, neither is it any indicator of leadership potential. She hasn't exerted power in any way. There's no there there with Sansa Stark.

I guess it's her turn to be the one to cause misery to others and petty vindictiveness is the new heroism. I don't buy the new "hard" Sansa Stark. She seems like a brittle low-budget Cersei Lannister-knockoff. She hasn't had one positive thing to say, nothing about her has made me think better days are coming. All Sansa Stark portends is more doom and grief.
posted by yonega at 10:22 AM on July 24


She hasn't exerted power in any way

Well there was Baelish's trial in the Vale, that was some expert courtly deception. And her calling on the Knights of the Vale to literally save the North. Also keeping Littlefinger both close enough and far enough is a delicate and complicated bit of politicking. And she fed that one guy to his dogs.

I think part of the appeal of Sansa is the horrendous and repeated stupidity of Jon Snow. She at least seems smart or at least willing to learn and change. She's had a substantial arch in the show. He seems pretty much the same as he was in season one. Brave, simple, and stubborn.

Like this is like the 3rd or 4th time he declares "Listen up, i'm gonna do something dumb/controversial" and everyone around him says "ooo not only is that dumb, it's so dumb we might betray you" and he says "well I'm not listening and doing my dumb thing because that's what's right, I know you won't betray me" ... everyone in the room looks around at each other.

It has literally gotten him killed, and he has seemingly learned nothing from it.
posted by French Fry at 10:37 AM on July 24 [20 favorites]


She seems like a brittle low-budget Cersei Lannister-knockoff.

I don't see why she's getting compared to Cersei. Her position wasn't cruel or merciless in the slightest. If your family tries to kill us, you lose your ancestral home. Those castles belong to the folks who actually supported our ancient claim to the North and didn't support the murderous psychopath. That's bog standard Westerosi politics, if a little on the nice side (she's not slaughtering the rebel families, is she? The Reynes, Hoares, and Gardeners would happily take her deal.)
posted by leotrotsky at 10:39 AM on July 24 [10 favorites]


I'm sensing a potential conflict in Dragonstone since Tyrion neglected to mention in his letter that Jon will be expected to bend the knee to Dany.
posted by eagle-bear at 10:40 AM on July 24 [5 favorites]


yonega: She hasn't had one positive thing to say, nothing about her has made me think better days are coming.

She hasn't had the opportunity for constructive criticism. Jon says he didn't want to be the King in the North, but instead of convening a small council (which Sir Davos Seaworth might have sought fit to suggest ... but no, not as currently written), she apparently only talks to Jon in public forums.

And I agree with others who see her as learning from her experiences and the experiences of others to see that it's dangerous to let others see you as anything except strong and decisive. Kindness is not a leadership trait that leads to a long and prosperous life in Westeros.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:42 AM on July 24 [3 favorites]


Starks are quite comfortable bending the knee to Targaryens when necessary. Jon doesn't give two shits about anything but defeating the army of the dead.
posted by leotrotsky at 10:42 AM on July 24 [5 favorites]


eagle-bear: I'm sensing a potential conflict in Dragonstone since Tyrion neglected to mention in his letter that Jon will be expected to bend the knee to Dany.

Maybe Tyrion thinks there's the chance that the Seven Kingdoms could be divided, or at least the King in the North could keep the North.

Really, why is there this need to be ruler of All The Lands? The idea that one ruler will ensure peace? As Lady Olenna pointed out, peace doesn't last, so why not let people rule themselves, in that Jon is of the North, and that Dany is more of the South than Jon.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:44 AM on July 24 [1 favorite]


Jon doesn't give two shits about anything but defeating the army of the dead.

This. He couldn't care less about being DA KING IN DA NORF, or Lord Commander of the Knights' Watch, or whatever thing is being thrust at him. If he has to bend the knee to secure the mining rights to the obsidian, he'll do that. If he needs to give piggy-back rides to Tyrion until the end of days while wearing a pig suit in order to rent 3 dragons for a bit, he'll do it.
posted by rocketman at 10:46 AM on July 24 [9 favorites]


Sansa makes decisions based on extensive observation of and learning from multiple intentional and inadvertent mentors, with her hard-earned knowledge steeped in her own suffering and doubted at every turn, despite ample evidence she's pretty goddamned clever.

Jon gets gut feelings and does shit which sometimes works out and sometimes fails horribly, but people mostly have his back and overlook his failings.

I'm not going to insult anyone here by putting a name on that dynamic, but holy shit, you guys.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:51 AM on July 24 [52 favorites]


Jon doesn't give two shits about anything but defeating the army of the dead.

That's his, like, whole thing right now. Who cares what his vassal lords think of him? He's gonna run rough-shod over their opinions and traditions, make no concessions to their expectations with respect to rewards and punishments, and rely on a 10 year old girl to make her intimidation checks against the patriarchy. Who cares what advice from his sister, who is very reasonably worried about the possibility of an invasion from the south? He's gonna ignore Cersei and try to make peace with Danerys to focus on the ice zombies.

Apparently, even his direwolf doesn't matter in face of the ice zombies.

It's total fanfic, bet I really really want Sansa to start hanging out with Ghost. Maybe, like, doing some nice relaxing mending while plotting how she can get rid of Baelish, but keep his knights, and warming her toes on a Ghost who is snoozing in front of the fire?

COME ONNNNNN.
posted by joyceanmachine at 10:52 AM on July 24 [6 favorites]


Fizz: Theon became Reek and then became Theon again and now Reek has reappeared. The wheel turns.

On poor Theon, didn't it seem like he had PTSD? He was freaking out at the scene of battle around him.

Reek was the creation of a psychopath who relished in causing distress in others, often through gruesome, prolonged violence, not some inherent weakness in Theon. And that was after he was a swaggering kid when he was with the Starks, where his machismo may have been more a thin veneer over his understanding that he was treated a half-sibling by his kidnappers, used as a pawn in a larger power struggle.

He's had an awful life. Like Grey Worm said, some people survive being thrown into things they fear and they get stronger, and others break or die. Theon survived, but he's deeply broken. His sister tried to help him find his spine, even bolstering him by calling him her protector (when she clearly doesn't need protection in most situations), but he's become subservient out of reflex.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:54 AM on July 24 [16 favorites]


The jumping into the water bit was probably the smart move, the ship was already totally overrun, and Yara has an axe at her neck. But it wasn't played as the smart move, it was played as the cowardly act of a broken spirit. Like they are playing on the supposed feelings of defeated and helpless.

But it was still probably the right decision in the moment. But not one we're shown is made out of any agency or cleverness. I found it an odd beat.
posted by French Fry at 11:02 AM on July 24 [5 favorites]


I'm not going to insult anyone here by putting a name on that dynamic, but holy shit, you guys.

Go ahead. First of all, we're not talking about a real woman. We're talking about a fictional character and she's been a nothing character all the way through the series, both books and show. Everyone knows she's a nothing character. It's been one of the chief criticisms levied at the series. They're clearly trying to rectify that lately but I just don't see anything there worth investing in. I would be more Pro-Sansa Stark if she hadn't been written as a nothing character for like five and a half seasons and an entire series of books OR if she was off bothering someone other than Jon Snow, who I've been invested in this entire time and I didn't know if he was alive or dead for years.

Maybe I'm wrong, maybe Sansa Stark is a hero, but she's not my hero.
posted by yonega at 11:05 AM on July 24 [1 favorite]


> Sansa is advocating collective punishment.

The Umbers betrayed the Starks by turning her little brother - and their would-be liege - over to Ramsay. They offered her little brother to Ramsay. He didn't even know Rickon was in their custody. And they did it at the end of Ramsay's rule. If they had literally waited a few weeks, they'd be fine.

Now all the guilty Umbers and Karstarks are dead? Great. So why are two literal children defending two of the largest keeps in the North? Do they have retainers? If so, were those retainers among those who sided with Ramsay or somehow, magically, no?

Sansa didn't advocate for their deaths and I'm not sure why people are acting like she did. She just stated the very sensible position that they should not be in control of their castles. They should go to Wildlings and if they really wanted to be smart about it, they could have married the remaining Umber and Karstark off to the Wildings.
posted by asteria at 11:05 AM on July 24 [8 favorites]


A thought:

So, the (or at least, a) Long Night appears to be coming. This is related to the White Walkers in some way, but we really don't know what the nature of the correlation might be. If the world of mortals is successful in defeating the White Walkers, there will still be a years-long winter after that, no? Maybe? After the whole damn continent is totally destroyed from the war and pillaging of the historical aftermath of Robert's Rebellion leading up to the present moment, and then from the war against the WWs, how is anyone going to survive that winter?
posted by clockzero at 11:17 AM on July 24 [1 favorite]


They should go to Wildlings and if they really wanted to be smart about it, they could have married the remaining Umber and Karstark off to the Wildings

*cough* Alys Karstark. *cough*
posted by leotrotsky at 11:20 AM on July 24 [3 favorites]


I'm wondering if they are setting Sansa up to betray Jon. She already half did with the battle of the bastards. Now she can wrestle the north from him. But would she have the Wildlings? Also maybe Jon falls hard for the Dragon Queen.

Euron's victory could mean that Dany and Co. are now cut off from overseas resupply and reinforcement.

Will Gendry pick up Theon?
posted by srboisvert at 11:21 AM on July 24


RE: Theon, I read it as him having been forced into an impossible situation. Nobody seriously thinks that he could have done anything. The reawakened trauma, here, is the thing itself.
posted by Sticherbeast at 11:22 AM on July 24 [1 favorite]


We're talking about a fictional character and she's been a nothing character all the way through the series, both books and show. Everyone knows she's a nothing character.

Huh? This is such a bizarre thing to say. There's a thread full of people here who clearly don't believe she's a "nothing character," whatever that is and Sansa has a pretty passionate fanbase outside of this website too. Why are you stating your opinions as fact and then, contrary to all observable evidence, claiming that everyone shares them?

And did you really not know if Jon Snow was dead or alive? Like, did you seriously believe he was dead for even a moment?
posted by armadillo1224 at 11:34 AM on July 24 [18 favorites]


Those castles belong to the folks who actually supported our ancient claim to the North and didn't support the murderous psychopath.

Seemed like Jon missed a chance to split the baby here. Mercy to the Umbers and Karstarks but, since the Boltons helped coordinate the Red Wedding and the betrayal started from the top (Roose) and involved essentially everyone in the House, strip the Boltons of the Dreadfort and give it to Tormund or whomever. I mean, I assume that's what they're doing so why didn't they say so? There isn't a Bolton left to inherit even if Jon wanted to let him or her, as far as I know.

Seems like a win-win to me. Jon gets to be merciful and Sansa gets to show what happens when you betray your liege.
posted by Justinian at 11:39 AM on July 24 [7 favorites]


And did you really not know if Jon Snow was dead or alive? Like, did you seriously believe he was dead for even a moment?

I agree with you about Sansa, but I don't think this bit is fair, particularly if you read the books. It's possible to have read the books years ago and not know whether Jon survived the Night's Watch turning on him. (Although I do think there was a pretty significant clue in the books about whether Jon survived, it still didn't prove anything until last year.) I can think of exactly one person who was "killed" in the books who survived, and they changed that for the show: until last year, dead meant dead.
posted by nushustu at 11:40 AM on July 24 [2 favorites]




Everyone knows she's a nothing character.

Seems like, an extreme statement. When the threads for this episode and the last is FILLED with people excited, engaged and supportive of that character. It's one thing to ask the rhetorical "are we watching the same show" but I'm now wondering "are we reading the same post?"
posted by French Fry at 11:49 AM on July 24 [6 favorites]


Daenerys will realize before the series is over that her role is to save Westeros but not to rule it, I suspect.
posted by clockzero at 11:50 AM on July 24 [1 favorite]


1. Jon "I never wanted to be King, but fuck it, you guys think I should so I'm doing the damn job to defeat the White Walkers" will totally bend the knee to Daenerys if she stays as reasonable as she has and agrees to let people mine the Dragonglass.

2. Sansa has great potential. She grew up learning to love all the court politics and dreamed of being in the center of it. She's been able to stay alive, while watching and learning. Finally, people love her, she inspires people wanting to help her/ally with her.

But.

She has a lot to learn in terms of actually wielding power. Plus she probably has some PTSD from all the abuse she's suffered, so she may be prone to lashing out and playing politics too hard. We'll see.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:00 PM on July 24 [8 favorites]


Euron is my favorite character on the show, now. He's totally a low-rent Liev Schreiber, playing a third-rate villian in a forth-rate super-hero movie. He's Sabretooth in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. All swagger and snarl in a land of swagger and snarl. But the thing is, he can totally back that up for entire minutes at a time. He totally has a magic fleet of ships that he bragged into existence, and his ghost army is bad-ass. He totally just offed or side-lined a whole series worth of annoying side characters. All while dressing like a 90's era hair band's 2nd touring drummer.

I would pay real money to watch him actually marry Cersei.

Seriously, if they really have to make spin-off series of this world, they are leaving tens-of-dollars on the table if they miss the opportunity that is the marriage of Cersei and Euron.

It would be like The Ropers on steroids. With nudity and murder. You know you'd watch it.

Call me, HBO.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:04 PM on July 24 [25 favorites]


I'm going to cut the Gordian Knot on this one and say that Jon and Sansa (and... Like, everybody) are terrible, weakly developed characters at this point. Jon and Sansa's strife is so boring and manufactured, and doesn't fit well with the trajectory of either character. Also EVERY fucking Winterfell scene is: static dialogue shot establishing tension, tension blows up in council meeting, reaction conversation. Ugh, such lazy, formulaic storytelling. The North has been a massive botch job.
posted by codacorolla at 12:09 PM on July 24 [4 favorites]


2. Sansa has great potential. She grew up learning to love all the court politics and dreamed of being in the center of it. She's been able to stay alive, while watching and learning. Finally, people love her, she inspires people wanting to help her/ally with her.

But.

She has a lot to learn in terms of actually wielding power. Plus she probably has some PTSD from all the abuse she's suffered, so she may be prone to lashing out and playing politics too hard. We'll see.


This is exactly how I perceive Sansa's character and I think she's had a fascinating story arc and I've found her very compelling to watch from the very beginning, primarily because her story line is not a cookie-cutter hero's journey narrative. I do think that the writers have sometimes been confused as to how to interpret her, specifically because it's not a cookie-cutter hero's quest. I'm always perplexed when people act as though her character is self-evidently boring or irrelevant. She's a very different kind of fantasy character, sure but I don't see why this makes her boring. Or "nothing."

With Jon and Dany, there's always been an element of predetermination in their stories--the exiled princess, the hidden prince. They are the types of characters that are usually the heroes in these kinds of stories. They manage to be interesting despite this but they are very rarely unpredictable. I've always enjoyed Sansa and Arya and Cersei and Tyrion and Jaime and even Theon's stories more because they aren't the typical fantasy heroes and it is difficult to say where their arcs will take them.
posted by armadillo1224 at 12:10 PM on July 24 [11 favorites]


She grew up learning to love all the court politics and dreamed of being in the center of it

Did she, though? We've been re-watching the first episodes, and my impression was that Sansa dreamed about the Great Romance, Westerosi Noble Lady Style, where she'd be engaged to a great lord who loved her and she'd have lots of babies and live happily ever after, without ever thinking about the kind of jockeying and power positioning required. And it's true that she imagines a role for herself at the center of court life, but from what I can tell, the court stories that S1 Sansa loves are, like, the knight who rescues his liege's daughter from a dragon and gets to marry her.

Not how Tywin Lannister kept his family in power after the fall of the Targaryens, for example.
posted by joyceanmachine at 12:15 PM on July 24 [1 favorite]


Everyone knows she's a nothing character.

She's currently Queen of the North. That ain't nothing
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:16 PM on July 24 [5 favorites]


It would be like The Ropers on steroids. With nudity and murder. You know you'd watch it.

Call me, HBO.


It would be called The Lannisters, by the way. Ser Bronn would be the comic side-kick, who would totally blow up and gradually steal the show.

Call me, HBO.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:23 PM on July 24 [4 favorites]


Today she's (Acting) Queen in the North. In this thread people are excited about her. How many threads in here and blog posts have featured criticism of her total lack of agency? Her job for most of the series has been just to be unhappy and in the books she's completely underwritten (bordering on unwritten, given how little she's given to do there).

She rarely even gave voice to her own thoughts. Throughout most of the show every scene she's in could be summarized as 'So-and-so does wicked thing, Sansa looks unhappy.' That's what I mean by she's a nothing character. Even her relationships are all about other people. Brienne's devotion to her is based on a promise she made to Catelyn Stark. Littlefinger's creepy obsession with her is an extension of his creepy obsession with his mother.

Who even is Sansa Stark? I guess we're going to find out.
posted by yonega at 12:43 PM on July 24 [1 favorite]


FFS, just show Greyworm's mutilated little worm. Why didn't they show that?
posted by Burhanistan at 12:47 PM on July 24 [2 favorites]


Although revelling in sexual violence for the sake of water cooler buzz is indeed the show's MO, I'm glad they showed restraint there in not sexually humiliating a likable character for a cheap thrill.
posted by codacorolla at 12:50 PM on July 24 [10 favorites]


...and in the books she's completely underwritten (bordering on unwritten, given how little she's given to do there).


Completely doesn't matter, this is a show only thread. The books and show are completely animals. Seriously, the show obviously uses the books as source material, but you can't cite books as proof of Sansa being a nothing character, when she given more to do on the show.

Today she's (Acting) Queen in the North.

Tomorrow too. Seriously, she's risen from being a captive to being publicly and purposefully appointed (temp) Queen of the North. That speaks well to how Jon sees her, we'll see how it goes.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:57 PM on July 24 [3 favorites]


In this thread people are excited about her. How many threads in here and blog posts have featured criticism of her total lack of agency

Uh.

There's a huge difference between a character being inherently uninteresting, and an interesting character being poorly written on the show. Notably, it's totally possible to criticize how a show handles a character, and still think the underlying character is worthwhile.
posted by joyceanmachine at 1:04 PM on July 24 [7 favorites]


Also, Sansa isn't a nothing character in the books either, and when I get out of work I will totally cite my sources in the other thread. (Thanks again, filthy light thief!)
posted by corb at 1:05 PM on July 24 [6 favorites]


Okay, I still cannot let the goddamn MAGICAL SELF-SAILING SHIPS go.

So, Euron manages to find Yara's fleet:
1-at night,
2-in the fog,
3-without any crew to manipulate the sails,
4-without any rigging for the nonexistent crew to climb to get to the sails
5-completely silently — not only does Euron manage to find Yara's fleet, he does so without a single command being shouted on his own boat, let alone to other ships in his fleet…
6-without any of Yara's crew noticing the *1000 SHIPS* behind them

And he somehow manages to pull off a perfect surprise attack anyway.

Have any of the writers of this show ever been on a ship of that tech level? Hell, have they even watched Master and Commander?
posted by culfinglin at 1:10 PM on July 24 [17 favorites]


Have any of the writers of this show ever been on a ship of that tech level? Hell, have they even watched Master and Commander?

Yeah, I imagine the creators of Black Sails (HIGHLY recommended) gather to watch GoT sailing seas ala Mystery Science theater.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:16 PM on July 24 [11 favorites]


5-completely silently — not only does Euron manage to find Yara's fleet, he does so without a single command being shouted on his own boat, let alone to other ships in his fleet…

Also, wouldn't there be massive issues with, like, ships running into each other if they really are close sailing in the dark, without lights, without calling to each other, in a fleet composed of ships of different tonnages and keels and configurations? Especially if the bigger ships are all mysteriously going around with their balls studding sails out?

In some ways, I'd feel a lot better if Euron just had a throwaway line at some point about how he has the favor of the Drowned God or some shit like that, but they don't even throw the sailing ship pedant community even that. :(
posted by joyceanmachine at 1:27 PM on July 24 [4 favorites]


Yeah, I imagine the creators of Black Sails (HIGHLY recommended) gather to watch GoT sailing seas ala Mystery Science theater.

Ha! Probably so. :)

Also, fellow ship-truthers, we are not alone!
posted by culfinglin at 1:28 PM on July 24 [4 favorites]


In some ways, I'd feel a lot better if Euron just had a throwaway line at some point about how he has the favor of the Drowned God or some shit like that, but they don't even through the sailing ship pedant community even that. :(

Yes, I would've been happy with like 30 seconds of Euron in a shipyard, overseeing construction of said ships. Or a quick scene in which he sacrifices some crew to the Drowned God to get the wind to always be in his favor. A scene in which he does an interpretive dance while covered in seaweed. SOMETHING!
posted by culfinglin at 1:31 PM on July 24 [12 favorites]


Smells like magic to me. I'm pretty sure Euron really just has the one ship. All the others are illusions. Yara's ships end up shooting and sinking each other, leaving Euron free to pile all of his best fighting men in the one huge ship.

#HEADCANON #HEADCANNON
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:33 PM on July 24 [8 favorites]


culfinglin: I would've been happy with like 30 seconds of Euron in a shipyard, overseeing construction of said ships. Or a quick scene in which he sacrifices some crew to the Drowned God to get the wind to always be in his favor. A scene in which he does an interpretive dance while covered in seaweed. SOMETHING!

If nothing else, I think intrepid fan editors can make this happen.

I actually look forward to seeing faneditors take on the series. It looks like someone has already taken a razor to the first season, cutting it down to an 89 minute long "feature length narrative following Lord Eddard Stark becoming the Hand of the King. We don't know what is going on with the Lannisters or what happened to Jon Arryn until the end of the second act."
posted by filthy light thief at 1:43 PM on July 24 [8 favorites]


I was also thinking that Euron only having a dozen ships, but having some grand illusory power would be incredibly cool. I do not think that is the case.
posted by codacorolla at 2:05 PM on July 24 [2 favorites]


Illusory ships would be very cool indeed! Alas, that means we probably will not get them.
posted by culfinglin at 2:14 PM on July 24 [1 favorite]


I have other cool plot tricks for sale. Here's a taste - The 3-Eyed Raven gets tired of all the politics in Kings Landing interfering with preparations for the great war, so he wargs into the Mountain and removes Cersei's crown. And head.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:58 PM on July 24 [3 favorites]


I guess I'm a bit of a Jon apologist, but I really don't think he's as bad as a lot of people in this thread are. I mean, I think both Jon and Sansa have at times acted in ways that are really contradictory or make little sense, and that seems likely to be due to the writing. For example, Sansa not telling Jon about the Vale army, which sure, you can rationalize, but I really think it just comes down to the D&D wanting suspense/surprise/whatever, or Jon not telling Sansa ahead of time that she'll be in charge, which again, I'm sure they thought would be more of a "twist" if we didn't see them discuss it beforehand. I also think the North storyline could use a little bit more room to breathe, and right now it feels like we're just jumping from point A to point B so that we can get to the parts where things happen.

But anyway, I liked that Jon did in fact ask Sansa about Tyrion and conceded that she knew him best, so at least he is making more of an effort to consult with her. And yeah, it would have been harder to rationalize going down there just to discuss allying with Daenerys, but he didn't decide to do it until Sam told him about the Dragonglass.

I think if I had watched the army of the dead massacre thousands of wildlings in a matter of minutes, and then saw the Night King raise the dead wildlings, I would be doing everything possible to fight them. And Daenerys has fire breathing super weapons plus a literal mountain of dragonglass, plus a gigantic army. How could you not go down there and try to get her help, especially when she has someone who you already trust (Tyrion) as her number one advisor? That doesn't seem like a stupid decision to me. Like at all. It is a risk, but what else are you going to do?

My big fear at this point is that they're going to spend the next couple episodes making it look like Sansa is listening to Littlefinger and preparing to betray Jon which will be a huge disservice to her character. So I'm pretty sure that's exactly what they're going to do.
posted by litera scripta manet at 3:03 PM on July 24 [9 favorites]


Also, can I join the ship truthers/the anti sea-ramsay league? Because ugh, my first thought was, WTF how did he find them? And how did he build hundreds of super weapon ships? And why can we just kill Euron off already?

But seriously, I know it's pointless to start obsessing about timelines, but it must only be a matter of months since the kingsmoot happened last season. Not only did he make "1000" ships, but he made ships that are vastly superior to the best ships that the Iron Islanders had before? Because I'm pretty sure Euron's posse said that Yara and Theon stole their best/fastest ships. How is that possible???

Also, I totally believe that Theon would freeze up and not attempt to save Yara, but I really love Yara, and I'm super bummed that we're now going to see her get killed or tortured or whatever. And we didn't even get to see her hook up with Ellaria Sand.

Despite all this ranting, I liked a lot of the parts of this episode, especially HOT PIE and Missandei/Grey Worm hooking up. I love those two. And it was nice to have a Nymeria cameo, and the scene between the two of them was poignant, but I fear that this was the entire direwolf budget for the season, so I wouldn't be surprised if we don't see Ghost for the next 5 episodes.
posted by litera scripta manet at 3:12 PM on July 24 [3 favorites]


HOT PIE: - You've been making pies?
ARYA: - One or two.

posted by _dario at 3:35 PM on July 24 [12 favorites]


Also, have they permanently given Littlefinger the idiot smirk-and-be-useless ball? One of the things he used to actually be reasonably good at was getting people to trust him or at least listen to him, despite his obvious untrustworthiness. The smart play would be to try to win over Jon and win back Sansa's trust, but reminding Jon of his creepy obsession with Cat and Sansa is so very much not the way to do that.

Although at this point, I don't know what he can do to get Sansa back on his side. Hopefully nothing, because I will be super pissed if the show betray's Sansa's character by making her forgive him or trust him or listen to him ever again after he sold her off to Ramsay, which was the ultimate idiot ball move. Sure, why not sell of the key to the north and the woman you're obsessed with to a sadistic psychopath? Great plan?

Based on interviews, I actually think D&D likes Sansa as a character, but that hasn't stopped them from really fucking up her storyline. And I hope they stop trying to make it look like there is tension between Sansa and Jon because that was super annoying last season, and it didn't make sense narratively then or now. I really like both Jon and Sansa a lot as characters, so this is super frustrating.
posted by litera scripta manet at 3:43 PM on July 24 [8 favorites]


I really hope we see Sansa feeding Littlefinger to Ramsay's dog some time very soon. Like, say, the opening scene of the next episode.

And I hope the second scene of the next episode is Dany hopping on Drogon, rescuing Yara from Euron's grubby little hands, and then burning him/his fleet.

And maybe Yara could give her some thank you sex, since we were deprived of an Ellaria/Yara hook up in this episode. After all, since they bothered to make Yara explicitly bisexual, it would be a shame if the only time we see her actually act on that is the scene with a prostitute in season 6.
posted by litera scripta manet at 3:45 PM on July 24 [3 favorites]


And Daenerys has fire breathing super weapons plus a literal mountain of dragonglass, plus a gigantic army. How could you not go down there and try to get her help, especially when she has someone who you already trust (Tyrion) as her number one advisor? That doesn't seem like a stupid decision to me. Like at all. It is a risk, but what else are you going to do?

Yeah, Jon himself has to go. The first reason is because Daenerys literally asked him to come meet her, full stop. You don't try to gain an ally and her powerful weapons and army by sending a raven or an emissary, even if it is Davos. This is not a time to messing around with politics or protocol. As army of dead people is marching towards them and it's growing larger. They need to everything Daenerys has to literally prevent the end of the world. Sansa's and the other Lords concerns are understandable, but they don't matter. Jon's told them all about the army of undead, but they haven't seen it, so they haven't really bought it. They're working about the petty stuff and have no clue that the petty stuff could get them killed.

Remember when King Robert rode all the way North simply to ask Ned to be the Hand? He could have sent a raven or emissaries, but it was too important. Robert needed to be there in person to convince Ned, in case he said no.

Jon feels like he has the weight of the world on his shoulders, BECAUSE HE DOES. Almost no one else has seen what he's seen. One of them who has is Tormund and when Jon merely hinted that he needed the Wildings to go shore up that castle to help delay the Walkers, Tormund was like "I'm on it," no question, "We're leaving ASAP". Those two have seen exactly how their world ends and they are not fucking around with petty shit when trying to save it.

Everyone else needs to get to that frame of mind, but it's gonna take a while.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:46 PM on July 24 [22 favorites]


it would be nice to tone down the misogyny about a fictional female character, maybe if you hate women you could talk about that somewhere else.

If that was meant for me, I don't think Cersei should or will be killed because misogyny. Quite the opposite, I think she'll be killed for the exact same reasons the last several men who sat on the iron throne were killed. Because she holds the highest power in the 7 Kingdoms and has wielded that power irresponsibly and made enemies of everyone around her. And because defeating her may be the only way to unite the 7 Kingdoms against the Night King's zombie hordes.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:47 PM on July 24


Just want to say I appreciate these two (telling) lines, from Brandon Blatcher and Litera Scripta Manet, respectively:
The books and show are completely animals.
and
I guess I'm a bit of a Jon apologist, but I really don't think he's as bad as a lot of people in this thread are.

posted by torticat at 3:53 PM on July 24 [6 favorites]


I think she'll be killed for the exact same reasons the last several men who sat on the iron throne were killed.

I mean, she already did the thing that Jaime killed the Mad King to prevent. Which is why it really annoys me that we haven't had any good justification for why Jaime didn't check off the final bit of that prophecy the minute he set foot back in King's Landing, especially after Cersei's talk of how Tommen betrayed her and so who cares that he's dead. And you know, blowing up the sept. At the very least, I hope he's doing something about getting rid of the rest of the wildfire that's under King's Landing. Come to think of it, why didn't he tell Robert to do that years ago?
posted by litera scripta manet at 3:56 PM on July 24 [3 favorites]


Just want to say I appreciate these two (telling) lines, from Brandon Blatcher and Litera Scripta Manet, respectively:
The books and show are completely animals.
and
I guess I'm a bit of a Jon apologist, but I really don't think he's as bad as a lot of people in this thread are.

Ha! I guess this is why you shouldn't watch an episode and then come and immediately post long comments/rants without at least doing a better job of proofreading.
posted by litera scripta manet at 3:57 PM on July 24 [3 favorites]


I'm definitely worse than Jon.

As for Jaime, he did just give the speech about how he didn't care about anyone or anything other than being with Cersei, so if we take him at his word, I would expect him to take a long time - if ever - to get to a point where he would act against her. The series did start with him shoving Bran out a window to protect his relationship with Cersei. The things we do for love!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:01 PM on July 24 [1 favorite]


For a show that's supposed to be about how medieval feudalism is a shit and tearing down Lord of the Rings style fantasy tropes, I really hope they do not end up with a Return of the Queen taking back the throne that's hers by dynastic right and ushering in a golden age.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 4:24 PM on July 24 [3 favorites]


Man, I love Sansa's arc (and haven't read much past the first book). I feel like her political positions have been really nuanced this season and I've kind of been waiting to see where she'll end up. If her entire arc is "girl wants to be beautiful and loved because it's how women gain power and prestige in her society and then is mercilessly punished for it" then I will be sorely disappointed. I've read that story a million times. Jon leaving her in power is something new, something different, and I'm eager to see where she ends up.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 5:00 PM on July 24 [4 favorites]




I don't know if you mean that to me but I was thinking of Daenarys, not Sansa. For me the Mother of Dragons is just another world-conquering psychopath, a Genghis Khan with flying nukes...
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 5:08 PM on July 24 [1 favorite]


No, I was responding to the idea that Sansa was a "nothing" character, discussed upthread.

Dany is superduper boring and I still struggle against mentally tuning out every time she's on screen.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 5:24 PM on July 24 [1 favorite]


If her entire arc is "girl wants to be beautiful and loved because it's how women gain power and prestige in her society and then is mercilessly punished for it" then I will be sorely disappointed.

Martin's original outline for A Song of Ice and Fire (here) is basically this, when it comes to Sansa's storyline. She exists to be a foil to Arya: the contemptible, spoiled girly girl princess to the cool, fun, adventurous tomboy. And she ends up betraying her family and basically being the 'bad' Stark and allying herself permanently with the Lannisters. In the series as it is, this storyline plays out in its entirety in season/book 1 and then, Sansa goes in a different direction or in a lot of different directions.

I think a lot of the problems with Sansa's storyline comes from the fact that she originally conceived as this very shallow, one note, rather misogynistic or anti-feminine trope. I don't think Martin really has a coherent idea of who Sansa is, compared to other major characters, like Arya and Jon. And I think that the showrunners have a completely different idea too. This may be a big part of why Sansa is such a controversial character--no one really knows who she is, including her creators.
posted by armadillo1224 at 5:27 PM on July 24 [9 favorites]


One can't name-drop Black Sails and fail to point out that Billy Bones is Lord Tarly's son.
posted by The Nutmeg of Consolation at 5:28 PM on July 24 [2 favorites]


The direwolves are just normal wolves at 200% zoom. It's like fifty bucks worth of CGI at most to get them in every single scene of every single episode, but no.

Also naturally King's Landing has a barista ready to serve up hot arrows to the dragons. Of course. That is such a DB&DB thing to do. We've been building up to these awesome dragons laying waste to everything for nineteen seasons, and I guaran-fucking-tee they will be seen for about two seconds next episode before they all get crossbolted out of the sky. LAME. YOU GUYS SUCK.

Also how come with its cumulative fifteen square kilometers of sails the HMS Squidward didn't suffer fire damage from any hot embers? Literally the rest of the world is on fire around it and it just sails off no problem. Just...just stop.
posted by turbid dahlia at 5:58 PM on July 24 [4 favorites]


I believe one of the older who protested Jon going to make Daenerys is one of the higher ups of the Vale's army, so Sansa should definitely be making nice with him too.

That's Lord Royce, whose son was killed in the first scene of the series (though I have no idea if his character knows that).
posted by homunculus at 6:07 PM on July 24 [2 favorites]


I actually like the tension between Jon and Sansa -- not sexual/romantic tension -- but the public quarrels about how to rule. It's open and messy, but Sansa has her say and speaks her mind. It's a lot more modern than a single ruler and a small council. I hate Littlefinger smarming around trying to provoke Sansa.

Is there a reason other than a spy that Cersei would know everything that's happened to Dany and what's happening at Dragonstone? And that Euron would know how to intercept the fleet? I really don't want the spy to be Varys, but I'm still uneasy that Varys' little birds sing to Qyburn just like they did to Varys.
posted by gladly at 6:32 PM on July 24 [1 favorite]


corb: "What's the harm in letting our maesters try experimental treatments on people ..."

Do you want Qyburns? Because that's how you get Qyburns.
posted by RobotHero at 6:46 PM on July 24 [13 favorites]


The direwolves are just normal wolves at 200% zoom. It's like fifty bucks worth of CGI at most to get them in every single scene of every single episode, but no.

Yeah, I don't know CGI from a Big Mac personally, but I've often wondered about the "saving CGI budget" argument when it comes to the dearth of direwolves on the show. The scene with Arya is about as lengthy and upclose a direwolf encounter as we've had, and Nymeria was amazing, but really just looked like a Super Big Wolf (which, yeah, can't you do that with zoom?). I'm a sucker for movie magic, though, so I'm most likely just displaying my ignorance here.

Haven't really been participating in this conversation, but a couple of "stray observations" as the recappers like to say...

Olenna and Samwell. These two blow me away every time they are on screen, both character- and actor-wise. I've always loved John Bradley as Sam, but he's grown into the part so well that now there is never a false note (I would not say the same for some of the more prominent roles, such as Cersei or Danaerys or even Tyrion, much as it pains me to say it). I just love all the expressions Samwell runs through, some of which the camera catches only for a quick second, but he's always there for them.

And Olenna--I mean what can you say about Diana Rigg. One thing that strikes about her performance, and I have no idea if it's intentional or not, is how much she sometimes looks like Margaery. Similar facial expressions; it's eerie! But apart from that--just WHAT a kick-ass "old woman," as she calls herself; and again never a false note in the portrayal.

I am a bit ambivalent about Theon's ptsd/reek moment. I can buy that that's what was being shown (and I think the showrunners have said as much?); but on the other hand, he had been in the middle of the melee, fighting like a demon without apparently thinking twice about it, and taking out a fair number of Euron's men. Is it just the being faced again with another sadistic "master" figure that makes him break?

Or is it possible that he doesn't actually break, but takes what he sees as the only realistic option (you can't fight the fire from inside the house), even though it might mean the sacrifice of Yara?

In any case it is interesting to think of his perspective from the water, watching the fleet set aflame by other Ironborn. Those seamen were all his people, his family, his heritage--all bent on destroying each other. Kinda crazy that that entire set piece (except for the four Dornish women) was an intrafamilial battle.
posted by torticat at 6:59 PM on July 24 [3 favorites]


Dany's I DEMAND LOYALTY is disturbingly Trumpish to me these days. I never liked her but I like her even less now. I wouldn't mind it if she just acknowledged that she is conquering Westeros, gently or otherwise, but the whole savior queen rubs me the wrong damn way.
posted by lydhre at 7:19 PM on July 24 [6 favorites]


Question: who is going back with Euron to Kings Landing as a gift for Cersei? Assuming Ellaria and Tyene, as it was made clear that Euron has designated some role for them.

What about Yara, does she make it out of that alive? I assume she does, since we didn't see her die, and her character can't have an off-screen death.
posted by torticat at 7:23 PM on July 24 [1 favorite]


I imagine the creators of Black Sails (HIGHLY recommended) gather to watch GoT sailing seas ala Mystery Science theater.

This!, Brandon Blatcher!

If anyone likes GoT for the combat and scenery/costuming, Vikings is a freaking treat. There's slow burn politics stuff, too (and mostly done very well), but the naval warfare, personal and mass combat, and the quality of the scenery/costuming consistently blows GoT out of the water like Euron's phantom 1000-ship-fleet against Yara's.

Also features strong women (both warrior class and political - sometimes both!), and good looking men.

In fact, there is an almost-Sandsnake-equivalent; almost-equivalent because they aren't annoying, just seriously badassed and interesting.

Also follows character growth - literally, the show spans about a couple of decades and looking like it might cover one more. The show stalls/stutters here and there, but the quality remains consistent/continually improves and the next season continues to be promising.

As a big fan of Black Sails, I'd have to say that Vikings is a lot more approachable (there's a huge cast of characters, too, but is better focused and there is less plot meandering).

Both shows at least acknowledge logistics of reality and in-era technological limitations, mostly, but shit actually makes sense the vast majority of the time.
posted by porpoise at 7:23 PM on July 24 [3 favorites]


Here's my take on Sansa (I know you care)

I disliked her initially. But she serves a similar purpose to Ned STark in the first book. She's supposed to be the perfect daughter who weds Joffrey and has a fabulous life and raises little blonde kids. That's HER vision. She looks down on her "tomboy" sister.

And then...

She experiences the real world. She encountered the REAL Joffrey (sociopath) and the reality of what it is be a lady of court. How smart and delicate you have to be. And she's evolved. She's learned from Baelish and now can manipulate him TO SAVE HER BROTHER. that's a pretty intense arc and clearly not nothing as without her Jon's resurrection wouldn't be all that meaningful.

So to me Sansa is a tremendously satisfying character unlike Dany who honestly I am SO OVER.
posted by miss-lapin at 7:35 PM on July 24 [12 favorites]


I'm going to cut the Gordian Knot on this one and say that Jon and Sansa (and... Like, everybody) are terrible, weakly developed characters at this point.

Dude. Drink the cod liver oil, or don't drink the cod liver oil. But don't decide to drink the cod liver oil and then do so half a teaspoon at a time with five minutes of droning about how terrible it tastes between every sip. If you can't gulp and grin give up, the taste won't change because you moan about it.

The Jon/Sansa scenes are rather predictable and static. It's all tell and no show; It makes no sense that they'd be having these arguments so openly, in front of all their subordinates. It'd be far better to play out these conflicts in hints and half-spoken thoughts and side conversations with third parties. Hell, if Book 1 GRRM were writing it he'd have most of it play out in background action barely noted by the POV character (or the reader) at the time, until the penny dropped at just the right moment.

Of course, it'd be easy for GRRM to slip relevant character development into the background because about 700 pages of every 1200 page tome was descriptions of imaginary heraldry and banquet menus. The books are so well padded the actual plot got lost in the couch cushions for like two books.

The show's got seven episodes this season. Subtle ain't happening no more. Subtext ain't happening no more. Every line of dialogue is going to be pure motivation, stated plain. Action, movement, fire, blood, cut it, print it.

So, the Jon and Sansa scenes are kind of terrible. But they're also some of the best scenes, because at least with Jon and Sansa you have two characters with different but legit interpretations of the best course of action to take in the situation they're in, whose differing opinions are both firmly rooted in their experience. I do wish we had a little more time with them, because with a bit more time I think you could make a strong case that Sansa would have reason to distrust Jon and lean Littlefinger. The bones of that are there --- she never liked him much back in the day (took after her mother) and he's essentially usurped a throne that should be hers, as the last Stark. All the shit she's been though has been because of her presumed claim to the North as the last full-blood Stark alive, and Jon took that away from her without even seeming to notice, because he was brave and he won, fool though he was to fight in the first place.
posted by Diablevert at 7:37 PM on July 24 [7 favorites]


The direwolves are just normal wolves at 200% zoom.

Yeah, and once you've noticed it once you just can't stop seeing how obvious it is every time.

The direwolves' screen time isn't limited because they're expensive; it's because they look so cheap.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 7:39 PM on July 24 [6 favorites]


She experiences the real world. She encountered the REAL Joffrey (sociopath) and the reality of what it is be a lady of court. How smart and delicate you have to be. And she's evolved. She's learned from Baelish and now can manipulate him TO SAVE HER BROTHER. that's a pretty intense arc and clearly not nothing as without her Jon's resurrection wouldn't be all that meaningful.


For me the telling moment was when she said Rickon was already dead and then just sat and watched him be killed. That's insight plus the cold calculation of someone who is fighting for survival even without an immediate threat. Quite different from the spoiled princess who miscalculated and got her own doggo killed. [also telling that Joffery had Lady killed and now you have Sansa whose "lady" was killed in a more metaphorical sense.]

It's an arc rather than a right angle though because a strong core of selfishness still seems to run through her actions. Sansa has always been willing to throw others under the bus but now she does it with some forethought and for strategic gain.
posted by srboisvert at 7:52 PM on July 24 [5 favorites]


I don't generally like to give the show writers credit for deep and powerful characterization, but I will say that all it took was a single, brief shot of one word to instantly reveal that Jorah's letter to Daenerys was the worst fucking thing in the goddamn universe. I can't decide if I'm happy they blurred out the rest of the text to save us all or if I'm sad we didn't get the entire 200,000 words of his pathetic and inane blubbering about how life is so unfair that a woman half his age couldn't be forced into a relationship with him because she happens to also be one of the very few women in that society with a fair amount of agency over her romantic life.
posted by Copronymus at 7:55 PM on July 24 [10 favorites]


Ah yes I hate to say it but I blocked out Rickon's death and more importantly the deaths of Osha and Shaggy dog. I'm glad Osha went out trying to take out Ramsay but man....I really wish she had at least cut him. she deserved that much.
posted by miss-lapin at 8:02 PM on July 24 [4 favorites]


So to me Sansa is a tremendously satisfying character unlike Dany who honestly I am SO OVER.

Yeah, same. I feel like she peaked in the first season. She's definitely had moments since then, but I am super tired of her litany of titles, and also the way she makes these grand proclamations without backing them up. I don't really buy into the who divine right thing, obviously, and the dragons are great, but why exactly should she rule a place she really doesn't know at all? Freeing the slaves was an obvious good, but I think Daario hit the nail on the head when he said that she's a conqueror not a ruler.

She said she wants to break the wheel, but how? So much of it feels like just words. She is way better than Cersei, of course, but I think my ideal end game would be Jon Snow as King in the North or whatever and Sansa on the Iron Throne with Tyrion as her hand. And Hot Pie can be like Lord of Casterley Rock or something. Or maybe the Reach with all of it's harvests and grains would be a better bet. Of all the likely candidates for the Iron Throne, the Starks (and I'm including Jon here as well) seem least likely to burn everything to the ground.

Of course, once Jon's actual lineage is revealed, he'd be the more likely candidate for the Iron Throne, but I think he's far more suited for ruling the North, and Sansa is better suited to ruling in the South.

#TeamStark

Is there a reason other than a spy that Cersei would know everything that's happened to Dany and what's happening at Dragonstone? And that Euron would know how to intercept the fleet? I really don't want the spy to be Varys

It's hard to imagine him spying on behalf of Cersei, especially after she blew up the Sept of Baelor. That would go against everything he says he stands for, and I don't think he's lying when he says he serves the realm, although what he thinks best serves the realm is certainly subjective.

Now, he may still ultimately betray Daenerys, but I would think he'd be more likely to jump ship to the Stark side, particularly if/when he finds out about R+L=J.
posted by litera scripta manet at 8:03 PM on July 24 [6 favorites]


A series about Varys could be interesting, tending to his flock of little birds.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 8:11 PM on July 24 [2 favorites]


Litera scripta manet-

I totally agree with your point on Daario. I feel like Dany may end up being one of the leaders (stationed at dragonstone) but her other two co-leaders (Jon likely to be one) will have to balance her out. But jesus Dany and Jon? Ugh.

There's a part of me that hopes that Sansa and Tyrion see other again and maybe make a go of it as husband and wife. I think she's mature enough now to appreciate him and they would make one hell of a couple.

And man I am totally designing and stitching an embroidery hoop that says "You are a dragon. Be a dragon."
posted by miss-lapin at 8:14 PM on July 24 [5 favorites]


I honestly don't feel much for any of these characters any more, except probably Samwise and The Doge. I used to like Arya, but her constant mouth-wiping while she nibbled tiny little bites of pie crust was outrageous. So that's why I'm all about the zoomed-in wolves.
posted by turbid dahlia at 8:50 PM on July 24 [2 favorites]


The CG wolves were pretty damned cheap - regardless of John Oliver's joking about "the dragon money" at HBO - the budget for this show looks like it was set 7 years ago and hasn't appreciated, even against inflation. Maybe they can only afford 7 episodes this season. Or maybe HBO really likes that "dragon money" knowing that the show's going to keep having viewers even after cheaping out on the CG.
posted by porpoise at 9:11 PM on July 24 [1 favorite]


Have any of the writers of this show ever been on a ship of that tech level?

I'm pretty sure they saw the "I'm Onna Boat!" music video, like, a dozen times.
posted by happyroach at 9:49 PM on July 24 [4 favorites]


"Boats 'N Hoes", surely.
posted by Apocryphon at 10:12 PM on July 24


> I liked that Jon did in fact ask Sansa about Tyrion and conceded that she knew him best, so at least he is making more of an effort to consult with her.

I'd been waiting for that conversation for awhile. Hell, I'm still waiting for Jon and Sansa to talk more and get to know each other better. To me, their chemistry still feels like it did shortly after they first met, even though they've been together for a quite some time now when you consider the distances they (and Brienne) have covered. There are so many conversations they should be having, like has Jon even told Sansa that Bran and Howland Reed's kids crossed the Wall, and has Sansa told Jon the Brienne met Arya? Just a few minutes of them having a genuine personal conversation about the experiences they've been through would help them to really reconnect. And that in turn would make the tensions which the showrunners are so determined to establish more meaningful (as long as it's consistent with who the characters are).
posted by homunculus at 12:37 AM on July 25 [7 favorites]


AND THEN BEING CRUELLY FUCKING ROBBED OF EVEN ONE ACTUAL LESBIAN SMOOCH?

They actually wrote an enormous 30-foot penis to interrupt the lesbian sex, you know?You can imagine the giggles in what passes for a writer's room on this show over that one.
posted by mediareport at 3:19 AM on July 25 [11 favorites]


Were the scenes at the Citadel the only scenes without women in them this week?
posted by heatvision at 4:37 AM on July 25


I'm disappoint.

Mainly because of sea Ramsay and his goddamn boats, because of the Michael Bay destruction that shows up for the hell of it, and because of the fact that any time development hints at something more complex, it is always, always forced ten steps back. I read a critique that the first episode was just talking and no action, where is the action, but damn it that was the most rapt I've been with an episode in seasons and I didn't get distracted once

I started reading a recap of episode 2 and forgot I hadn't actually finished it the night before

The list of characters who are my personal little beacons of light is growing smaller and smaller and I'm in too deep to just quit, please send help

(I honestly thought the battle at the end with all the fire would've panned back to show a dragon in the sky because why not at this point, everyone's backstabbing everyone like an Ouroboros that grew hands to hold a knife)

So anyway, I really loved the Greyworm/Missandei scene and I'm really glad Hotpie didn't get offed by the table sitting behind Arya
posted by lesser weasel at 5:09 AM on July 25


There are so many conversations they should be having, like has Jon even told Sansa that Bran and Howland Reed's kids crossed the Wall, and has Sansa told Jon the Brienne met Arya?

So much this. Because it seems like rest of the story is going to be the numbers for the most part, so it's the character reunions and interactions after so much time apart that would help with emotional ties to the story.

But the creators seem determined to avoid all this, which is a loss in imo.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:12 AM on July 25 [4 favorites]


Came back to propose Euron's arrival be considered a douche ex machina

and also say how hopeful I am for Sam to turn out to be a natural genius at surgery, because that's the actual plot surprise I needed from this episode.
posted by lesser weasel at 6:14 AM on July 25 [17 favorites]


[cw for cissexism]

People with actual knowledge weigh in on the Missandei/Greyworm scene, including sex therapists, academics with relevant expertise, and Missandei's actress.
posted by joyceanmachine at 6:15 AM on July 25 [5 favorites]


What if Jon dies as an usurper with no one but the audience knowing he was a Targaryen? Another subversion of a standard fantasy trope.
posted by shothotbot at 6:38 AM on July 25 [2 favorites]


torticat: Question: who is going back with Euron to Kings Landing as a gift for Cersei? Assuming Ellaria and Tyene, as it was made clear that Euron has designated some role for them.

Honestly, the whole Rebel Alliance was at Dragonstone, which is in the mouth of Blackwater Bay, the most direct access to King's Landing via the sea. If Euron is swift and his unrealistic luck holds out, he could swoop up more than just the Sand Snakes as folks travel off of Dragonstone, either back to the "mainland" to travel on land, or if they choose to sail out to sea and go around the southern end of the continent.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:22 AM on July 25


The list of characters who are my personal little beacons of light

I really miss Bronn, but I also feel that the longer he's offscreen, the longer he survives...
posted by TwoStride at 7:54 AM on July 25 [2 favorites]


One thing that strikes about her performance, and I have no idea if it's intentional or not, is how much she sometimes looks like Margaery.

It's the smirk. They both have a wicked smirk.
posted by leotrotsky at 7:55 AM on July 25 [3 favorites]


It's hard to imagine him spying on behalf of Cersei, especially after she blew up the Sept of Baelor. That would go against everything he says he stands for, and I don't think he's lying when he says he serves the realm, although what he thinks best serves the realm is certainly subjective.

What other motive could he have? Power and Wealth? He's already got plenty. To Rule? He's not only a foreigner, he can't possibly produce an heir. His circumstances have neatly shorn him of any other plausible motives to explain his decisions so far. I'd say he's the most trustworthy person in all of Westeros.*

*Rule may not apply to Kevan Lannister
posted by leotrotsky at 8:05 AM on July 25 [1 favorite]


There are so many conversations they should be having, like has Jon even told Sansa that Bran and Howland Reed's kids crossed the Wall, and has Sansa told Jon the Brienne met Arya?

I'm still kind of unsure as to whether Sansa and Jon know how many of their family members are still alive. Sansa knows about Arya and Jon knows about Bran but they both heard at times when they were pretty distracted, so maybe they forgot? Because if they didn't, I'm not sure why they're not making any kind of active effort to search for their lost family. It made sense in earlier seasons, when there were so many immediate problems to take care of but now that they're in a place of reasonable safety, it's surprising to me that finding their siblings is not something that even comes up.
posted by armadillo1224 at 8:06 AM on July 25 [3 favorites]


Because if they didn't, I'm not sure why they're not making any kind of active effort to search for their lost family

I think the best way you can interpret things in a show with only 7 episodes this season is that if someone seems to be carrying the idiot ball, it's usually because screen time is short.

So: Sansa challenges Jon in front of the lords? Probably didn't have time to write an intimate Sansa scene AND a Jon-talks-to-Lords AND a Sansa-talks-to-Lords scene.

Jon and Sansa don't look for their sibs? Didn't have time for the scene, but it's happening somewhere.

Yara didn't bother to post a lookout? Didn't have time to write the scene where the lookout alerts Yara, then Yara takes sea evasive maneuvers, then we see them almost working because she is a super skilled sailor, then we see Euron having divided his fleet or somesuch revealing the rest of his force and trapping her. Instead we get: balls of fire! Fight!
posted by corb at 8:10 AM on July 25 [9 favorites]


INSTEAD WE HAVE LIKE AN GRAYSCALE REMOVAL: PARTS 1, 2, AND YOU THOUGHT YOU WERE DONE BUT NOPE HERE IS PART 3 THE EXTENDED CUT LOLOLOL THE PUN

NOW A JUMP CUT TO A GUY EATING :D :D :D :D
posted by joyceanmachine at 8:50 AM on July 25 [7 favorites]


Or--and I know I'm in the minority here--I do not give a shit about Greyworm and Missandei's relationship (I like Greyworm but c'mon, the Unsullied are suuuper problematic) and that's screentime that probably could have featured important tactical discussions among other people.
posted by TwoStride at 8:56 AM on July 25 [4 favorites]


GreyWorm and Missandei are the couple falling in love as the end of the world approaches. You want the others to win, so that GW and M can grow old together.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:05 AM on July 25 [7 favorites]


I don't care about Grey Worm and Missandei because they're really thin characters but I did like having a loving, emotional sex scene on this show that focused on a woman's pleasure. There have been so, so few.
posted by armadillo1224 at 9:18 AM on July 25 [5 favorites]


A still frame from Funny or Die's "Gay of Thrones" for this episode.
posted by fuse theorem at 9:58 AM on July 25 [2 favorites]


INSTEAD WE HAVE LIKE AN GRAYSCALE REMOVAL: PARTS 1, 2, AND YOU THOUGHT YOU WERE DONE BUT NOPE HERE IS PART 3 THE EXTENDED CUT LOLOLOL THE PUN

Dude, seriously. Can I please have 30 seconds less of the grayscale removal, and instead use that 30 seconds to spackle over these plot holes?!
posted by culfinglin at 10:23 AM on July 25 [5 favorites]


I'm still kind of unsure as to whether Sansa and Jon know how many of their family members are still alive. Sansa knows about Arya and Jon knows about Bran but they both heard at times when they were pretty distracted, so maybe they forgot?

Stannis told Sam about all the dragonglass on Dragonstone a couple seasons ago, too, but the show at this point is almost entirely unconcerned with continuity or anything else that would cut down on Shocking Revelations and Unforeseen Mayhem, so it's best to just assume that all the characters have Memento-style amnesia and have no knowledge outside of what someone has just told them, what they have just read, or what they said earlier in the episode.
posted by Copronymus at 10:46 AM on July 25 [6 favorites]


Here's a thing I'd like cleared up (and yes i am a ship truther!): Dragonstone is an island, right? a bare as bones island, with no pastureland, so...the Dothraki are still onboard the ships, yes? So were they all killed by Euron? or was this epic sea battle just an ambush of a few of Yara's ships that were taking the ladies back to Dorne? and therefore the Armada is still at Dragonstone...?
posted by OHenryPacey at 11:02 AM on July 25 [2 favorites]


The Dothraki are in Dorne (I think). I believe one of the reasons the ship's were headed that way, in addition to dropping of their snake fare, was to pick the Dothraki up and drop them off in approach distance of Casterly Rock.
posted by vbfg at 11:45 AM on July 25 [1 favorite]


Stannis told Sam about all the dragonglass on Dragonstone a couple seasons ago

Copronymus, do you remember exactly when that was? I mean that is ridiculous papering-over of discontinuity if true.

Did Sam know the value of dragonglass at the time? I guess it could be argued that this knowledge would be what led to his researching Dragonstone at the Citadel in the first place. Although... it sure did seem like it came as news to Jon, which would represent yet another implausible failure of communication.
posted by torticat at 3:15 PM on July 25


To be fair, nobody ever listened to Stannis.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:23 PM on July 25 [14 favorites]


Copronymus, do you remember exactly when that was? I mean that is ridiculous papering-over of discontinuity if true.

Did Sam know the value of dragonglass at the time? I guess it could be argued that this knowledge would be what led to his researching Dragonstone at the Citadel in the first place. Although... it sure did seem like it came as news to Jon, which would represent yet another implausible failure of communication.


I first heard about it from a YouTube recap guy who has a terrifying encyclopedic knowledge of both books and show and was using this to make fun of the show, but it looks like the clip is on YouTube. It's from when Stannis was at the Wall and the context is asking Sam how he killed the White Walker so that they can formulate strategies to fight them when the time comes. Listening to it again, I guess Stannis doesn't make it clear how much of it there is on Dragonstone, but the fact remains that they literally had a conversation about dragonglass being a thing associated with Dragonstone.
posted by Copronymus at 3:46 PM on July 25 [2 favorites]


My read on the Stannis / Sam conversation is that Stannis was giving him a fairly pedantic "yeah yeah I know what dragonglass is we have it at dragonstone" without implying at all that there is weaponized obsidian or a mine. i've seen obsidian in the wild, it's shiny and black and brittle. Stannis was not exactly waving a flag that everybody should rush to Dragonstone to grab some.
posted by OHenryPacey at 5:41 PM on July 25 [1 favorite]


So I was just watching the "inside the episode" segment, and D&D talks about how great Dany's war council is because it's got all these women, which sure, that's great, I love Olenna and Yara (and season 4 Ellaria), but ultimately, it's the women saying some things, and then Tyrion's like, "Actually, we're doing this." And also Dany repeating something Tyrion said earlier (the "ruling over the ashes" bit).

I mean, it makes sense that of those people, Tyrion would be the one to think of this plan (and it's a good plan that makes a lot of sense), but the way D&D framed this, like, "Look, women! Around a table! Talking about war!! How unique and groundbreaking!" really irks me. It would have been way more interesting if they actually all worked this plan out together.

Also, as much as I hate the Sand Snakes, I'd rather have 100 Sand Snakes than 1 Sea Ramsay.
posted by litera scripta manet at 6:36 PM on July 25 [11 favorites]


It would have been way more interesting if they actually all worked this plan out together.

It would have been more empowering, perhaps. I don't see how it would be more interesting. In the context of the show, they just spent about two seasons establishing Tyrion as Dany's most trusted advisor, the one who joined her when her position was much dicier, proved his loyalty, and helped her gain her current power. To put him in a position where his advice is ignored or overruled by the opinions of her newer allies whom she has far less reason to trust could be done, but would require a great deal of character work. I suppose you could write the scene as a pure brainstorming sesh where Dany seeks equal input from all, and have her come to a decision later that incorporates a little something from everybody. But it seems pretty plain that all we had time for on this point was a scene or two, not lots of back and forth mulling while we build up character dynamics and hint at the kind of ruler Dany intends to be. And for Tyrion not to have a plan in this circumstance would be out of quite out of character, for him. Maybe a line or two --- Tyrion wants to unleash the Dothraki on Lannister HQ, Yara or Ellaria or someone suggests they use the Unsullied there instead --- but that's really about it. In which case your criticism would still stand.
posted by Diablevert at 7:11 PM on July 25


Did Sam know the value of dragonglass at the time? I guess it could be argued that this knowledge would be what led to his researching Dragonstone at the Citadel in the first place. Although... it sure did seem like it came as news to Jon, which would represent yet another implausible failure of communication.

Yeah, he killed the white walker with a dragonglass blade in season 3, and does research to find that the children of the forest collected it. I don't really think this means much though, Stannis is just mentioning that they have dragon glass on dragonstone, not that it is super abundant. To whatever extent that it's a screw-up, it's a screw-up not to have had Sam ask then and there when he was talking to Stannis about how much dragonglass they had.
posted by skewed at 8:27 PM on July 25 [4 favorites]


Who the hell is giving the intern access to a super expensive and rare communications system like a raven?

(Missed being part of ship-truth squad, trying to be all in it)
posted by shothotbot at 8:34 PM on July 25 [4 favorites]


the way D&D framed this, like, "Look, women! Around a table! Talking about war!! How unique and groundbreaking!" really irks me.

I watched that too and it really PISSED me off. They were talking about how it could have been "four grizzled old white men" (or something like that) around the table, but this way turned out to be much more "interesting."

YA THINK?

Fucking annoying to have two white men congratulating themselves on that scene and feeling the need to explain to us that a) this happened (yes, we observed.) and b) they didn't even plan it that way! And it was so serendipitous, how c) it actually led to a scene more compelling than they expected! They honestly sound like a couple college kids thinking this through for the first time and being AMAZED that women could actually bring something to the table (literally!)--rather than directors who have been through six seasons of navigating gender politics through a lot of really sensitive scenes on a highly popular show.

Made me withdraw any benefit of the doubt I ever gave them before for how they handled any one of those difficult scenes. They get zero credit.
posted by torticat at 10:07 PM on July 25 [14 favorites]


Oh and that discussion was about four women sitting around a table.

And these men are the ones who carefully, supposedly thoughtfully, constructed the multiple rape scenes (including that one they claimed was not rape) that have decorated the show? I need to stop thinking about this because it's making me angrier and angrier.
posted by torticat at 10:16 PM on July 25 [5 favorites]


They honestly sound like a couple college kids thinking this through for the first time and being AMAZED that women could actually bring something to the table (literally!)--rather than directors who have been through six seasons of navigating gender politics through a lot of really sensitive scenes on a highly popular show.

Perhaps they jotted it down between drawings of cool swords and 'what if civil war but south win' in their moleskin after an epic smoke sesh.

And, honestly, with the way the show has handled the interesting aspects of the book (namely how fantasy is subverted if one gets rid of the assumed white, male body as its center), it's not surprising to get that little peek inside their brains.
posted by codacorolla at 10:21 PM on July 25 [2 favorites]


It would have been more empowering, perhaps. I don't see how it would be more interesting.

Maybe interesting was the wrong word, and like I said already, it makes sense that Tyrion would come up with this plan. I love Yara but I don't know that she's necessarily a great tactical mastermind at least for land campaigns, and I haven't seen a lot of evidence for Ellaria's superior planning skills. Olenna is a great schemer, but not necessarily in military matters. I think if they had just started off with Tyrion proposing the plan he'd already worked out, and then had everyone weigh in it would have bothered me less (like how Jon runs his councils in the North).

And really, none of it bothered me that much until I listened to D&D patting themselves on the back about that scene, especially considering previous decisions they've made about how to handle certain characters' storylines.
posted by litera scripta manet at 5:27 AM on July 26 [5 favorites]


Oh and that discussion was about four women sitting around a table.

Anyone sitting around that table is there because they're powerful or extremely trusted.

I have issues with D&D do a lot of things, but I don't mind them making note of how many powerful woman were at that table. Hell at this point almost every major House is being headed by a woman.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:43 AM on July 26


So I was just watching the "inside the episode" segment, and D&D talks about how great Dany's war council is because it's got all these women

Did D&D discuss why Theon's character development is so tied to the suffering of women? That annoyed me at the end of the episode: Yara's defeat and capture is foregrounded with Theon's escape.
posted by gladly at 6:02 AM on July 26 [2 favorites]


Rewatched the episode last night and nothing specific is said about where the Dothraki are.

Yara and Ellira were headed to Dorne to pick up the Dornish army for attacking King's landing, so that army and the Tyrell's should still be mostly intact. But they're not nearby.

I suspect the Dothraki might be used on a KL attack because they've got to be somewhere nearby. But really Daenerys should just whip out the dragons, have them fly around the city, maybe destroy a single building, breathe some fire in the air. Turn the people against Cersei by demonstrating what could happen if she doesn't surrender.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:47 AM on July 26 [4 favorites]


Turn the people against Cersei by demonstrating what could happen if she doesn't surrender.

Dany's been a lot of things, but never the Wicked Witch of the West before.
posted by Diablevert at 6:59 AM on July 26


Be A Dragon.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:13 AM on July 26


Hell at this point almost every major House is being headed by a woman.

Yes, but again--we've noticed. It's D&D's faint air of surprise that this is where they landed, and that hey it actually works WELL!! that is so grating.
posted by torticat at 9:19 AM on July 26 [2 favorites]


I didn't read it as surprise, but as "hey, look at this amazing thing that's happened." Which is totally fine IMO. D&D are problematic on gender and race issues on a lot of fronts, but here it's worth noting what's going around this table with these women.

The only disappointment to me is their lack of realization that this probably only occurred because of Daenerys, aka a woman. Most men, in this fictional time and now, would have actively tried to prevent it from occurring, despite the obvious skill of all the women.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:41 AM on July 26 [3 favorites]


Dany's been a lot of things, but never the Wicked Witch of the West before.

Now I really really really wanna see a dragon skywriting SURRENDER CERSEI over Kings Landing.of course the only problem worn that is would respond "Yep, fine,sure, sounds good, does she have to be alive?"

What's really probably going to happen is Dany will do something stupidly overconfident, and get pincushioned by a hundred ballista bolts. Or she'll just get punctured for no reason, because evil wins.


it's worth noting what's going around this table with these women. ."

Well, yeah, I guess we can thank God that all those powerful women around the table have a guy telling them what to do.

But hey, none of them are being raped right that moment, so go team!
posted by happyroach at 2:59 PM on July 26 [4 favorites]


> People with actual knowledge weigh in on the Missandei/Greyworm scene, including sex therapists, academics with relevant expertise, and Missandei's actress.
“So much of this is not consistent with biology. Grey Worm would not have gone through puberty. He'd be taller than any of the men around. He would have a larger chest, knock-kneed deformities, no facial hair, no body hair, although plenty of hair on his head, and a loud, high-pitched voice. Historically, eunuchs were warriors — but they were strategists. They planned the war. They were generals. The problem of making the Unsullied into automaton child warriors is that they would not make good soldiers. The lack of testosterone would slow them down. If you castrated them as kids, they would have less muscle mass to use swords and spears..."
Oh my gods yes this. The utter incongruity of castrated warriors drives me nuts. [pun unintended but acknowledged sorry sorry]
posted by desuetude at 11:21 PM on July 26 [5 favorites]


Well, yeah, I guess we can thank God that all those powerful women around the table have a guy telling them what to do.

Or thank god these powerful women around the table are strong enough to suggest one thing and also smart enough change their minds when presented with another, better plan. They clearly weren't impressed with Daenerys seemingly holding back. It was only when they saw that she was willing to truly commit by attacking Chastely Rock also that they got behind her.

But it'll be interesting to see what they have to say now that Ellaria is captured and part of the fleet is destroyed. That'll be a helluva staff meeting.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:04 AM on July 27


Brandon Blatcher: Hell at this point almost every major House is being headed by a woman.

That was a trope-flip that they touted last season (I even thought D&D talked about it, but I can't find a reference). Harpers Bazaar pointed out the role of strong women throughout Season 6 in a season recap (some slight/hints of female nudity, tho -- it's still GoT :\ ), but Vogue pointed out that D&D still suck at making women powerful on their own:
So it goes for the whole of female empowerment this season, an overly calculated response to last season’s controversies. To be a strong woman is to be hard and revenge-driven in a way that can read flat—see the two-dimensional Sand Snakes, or Sansa's story arc. The meeting between Yara and Daenerys so heavy-handedly dealt with the idea of women in power—and yet, they both looked to their male companion for tacit approval before cementing their alliance, which said more than anything.
Has Game of Thrones Lost Its Touch? (Monica Kim, June 26, 2016)
posted by filthy light thief at 8:07 AM on July 27 [3 favorites]


The meeting between Yara and Daenerys so heavy-handedly dealt with the idea of women in power—and yet, they both looked to their male companion for tacit approval before cementing their alliance, which said more than anything.

That's a good thing, IMO, though I understand why others would disagree. Tyrion has proven himself to be a very good advisor, Daenerys would be a complete fool to ignore him. Yeah, can totally see why others would prefer that Daenerys made the decision on her own or had Missandei more in an advisory role.

Theon is more problematic, but he supported and helped her become Queen (at that point), so it's reasonable that she openly support him.

It comes down to whether a powerful woman on her own means she's only surrounded by women or makes all the decisions herself or whether men who have proven themselves to be good allies are in the inner circle. For the viewers, it seems to be personal choice.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:17 AM on July 27


So it goes for the whole of female empowerment this season, an overly calculated response to last season’s controversies

I'm personally of the opinion, we may never know, that this was something embedded in the story from the start. Start with a war of five kings that breaks the Seven Kingdoms, end with a war of five Queens that sews them together again to fight a common enemy. It's too neat to be happenstance.
posted by Diablevert at 8:41 AM on July 27 [4 favorites]


Yeah, I seriously doubt that pandering much, if at all. The production cycle is too long, hell they're probably writing the last season now, if not in pre-production.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:30 AM on July 27


Well, yeah, I guess we can thank God that all those powerful women around the table have a guy telling them what to do.

See, I didn't see it that way at all. Daenerys and Tyrion had clearly worked out the plan of attack together beforehand, and what the scene showed was Dany consolidating her allies and then stepping back to allow her deputy to lay out the battle plan. Which was effective in that it ended with the intent to assault Casterly Rock, which is, after all, Tyrion's home, and the place where they plan to undermine Cersei's remaining authority as a Lannister.
posted by torticat at 10:20 AM on July 27 [1 favorite]


Oh my gods yes this. The utter incongruity of castrated warriors drives me nuts. [pun unintended but acknowledged sorry sorry]

Oh, come on. This is a world where there are dragons, and seasons can last for decades and there's a like 1,000 foot tall continent-wide wall that was build out of...I don't know, magic or something...and ravens seem to be scarcely slower than email and there's a frickin' army of the undead. We can quite easily hand-wave that one away with something like "well, testosterone works differently on Planetos," and leave at that.

I'm just using this an an example of a larger point. I watch GoT because I enjoy the world-building and find it really entertaining. There's clearly some meta-commentary on the fantasy genre baked into it, but I'm not an avid fantasy reader so I don't have skin in that game. Beyond that, I don't think this show has a whole lot to say about our world, or anything else; and if you think about the logistics too hard, it'll make your head spin. It's well-crafted entertainment. That's all it is. People - including the creators of the show, it seems - do not seem to want to acknowledge that.

So here's some discussion of the show....

Jon Snow really should stop going and springing Big, Controversial Decisions on people without consulting anyone first. But in this particular situation, I think what he's doing makes sense.

He knows the North needs dragonglass; he knows the North needs allies. Sure, he doesn't know Dany. But he trusts Tyrion - and has good reason to believe Tyrion is actually on Dany's side - and Dany herself also needs allies. Why would offing Jon do Dany any good? If the North allies itself with Dany, Cersei is surrounded. If she messes with him...well, now she's pissed off the North, and for no particular reason.

Jon could send an emissary. Probably that would be a wise first move. But he is correct that he needs to talk to Dany himself to actually make anything happen and he clearly believes there's no reason to play games here. He's acting with a lack of caution, which he usually does and it has gotten him into trouble before. He's stubborn as all hell. But he's not necessarily making the wrong move here. Sending an emissary would be the prudent first move, and carries little downside, but it likely wouldn't accomplish much. Jon likes to Get Things Done; often he's silly and bullheaded about but this time I don't see the risk as being all that high.

Oh, and Sansa can handle Littlefinger. I'm not totally sure that Jon can, despite their brief melee in the crypt. But Sansa can.

I get the appeal of Grey Worm/Missandei in theory, but I find them both rather undercooked as characters (admittedly there's kind of a reason for this in the case of Grey Worm), so I have a hard time caring much about it. It's fine, though.

sea Ramsay

Seriously? Sure, Euron is uninteresting and cartoonish. But Ramsay was probably the most unwatchable character in television history. I'm not exaggerating. Towards the end of his run, I would just hold my hand in front of my face anytime he was on screen.
posted by breakin' the law at 10:29 AM on July 28 [1 favorite]


> Oh, come on. This is a world where there are dragons, and seasons can last for decades and there's a like 1,000 foot tall continent-wide wall that was build out of...I don't know, magic or something...and ravens seem to be scarcely slower than email and there's a frickin' army of the undead. We can quite easily hand-wave that one away with something like "well, testosterone works differently on Planetos," and leave at that.

Perhaps you can. I think it's an example of distractingly sloppy writing. The people in GOT are represented as human, and we certainly have ample evidence that sexuality works in ordinary human ways in this world. "Testosterone works differently" for this particular plot point makes little sense in light of the fact that testosterone works as expected for sexual drive, erections (or lack thereof), impregnating women, etc.
posted by desuetude at 11:58 AM on July 28 [4 favorites]


> Sending an emissary would be the prudent first move, and carries little downside, but it likely wouldn't accomplish much. Jon likes to Get Things Done; often he's silly and bullheaded about but this time I don't see the risk as being all that high.

Well and also "I'm going to go talk with the other side by myself even though it's probably going to get me killed" is basically Jon Snow's signature move — for example, crossing the wall to negotiate with Mance Rayder when it seemed like the Night's Watch had fallen. It's maybe not the smartest thing, but no one ever accused Jon Snow of being smart.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 2:34 PM on July 28 [7 favorites]


He does know nothing.
posted by LizBoBiz at 2:59 PM on July 28 [3 favorites]


Jon's strategy is exactly what'll work right now, in this time. If it was a different situation, he'd be regarded as a complete foo.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:51 PM on July 28 [1 favorite]


And a fool, too.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:05 PM on July 28 [3 favorites]


The Unsullied/eunuchs thing was always kind of silly. Harem guards (from multiple) cultures were historically 'a thing' but for straight-line reasons, not the cannon reasons given to the Unsullied (castration resulting in lack of bloodlust resulting in ultimate discipline [created through brutal training]).

Also, historical eunuchs trended tall (depends on when they were castrated) although I've seen historical examples that were at extremes of weigh; either very thin (Italian castrati, Imperial Chinese royal eunuchs) or large/fat (many depictions of Ottoman/ish harem guards, also seen in capons [roosters castrated as chicks]).

I've always just chalked it up to GRRM not really being good at researching his writing/thinking things through. "Ok, brutal training makes great soldiers, like the Spartans. Spartans were really disciplined. But what's a gimmick to differentiate them from Spartans? Oooh, I know! Eunuchs! They won't rape and have nothing to live for, perfect!" (I do not agree with the sentiments that I have just attributed to GRRM)

I know it's easier to criticize/pull down than to create so ... I think some religion thing (in conjunction with brutal training) could have been used instead to explain the lack of outward emotion (contradicted by private emotional affect) and supposed unreal discipline. Lots of different religions are already pretty fleshed out in ASoFaI (only lightly referenced in the show).

Or perhaps a political reason, perhaps widowers with sons from elite military units. Sons are guaranteed high position in society (maybe the only landowning class aside from a supreme ruler) - but all revokable if the widower's conduct is ever less than stellar. Mix in some esprit de corps and tradition and stupid vows.

Maybe use the second scenario only swap in a matriarchical society and families with daughters could sell a son into a brutal military program. The sisters would be inducted into the only landowning class aside from a supreme matriarchical ruler but would lose that status if the soldier's conduct is ever less than stellar. Throw in indoctrination, tradition, brutal training (die during, fail training, sister loses status), and brutal punishment (maybe castration?).

None of these would present the "slave" story angle, though.

Maybe just slave warriors (indoctrination, tradition, esprit de corps, brutal training, brutal punishment) who win freedom after, say, 20 years of faithful service (throw in some non-counterfeit-able permanent markings to count each year of faithful service) - and I think that would suffice without having to do the castration thing.

Or more brutally, some kind of primitive brain surgery damage that results in ultimate discipline (while leaving strategic/tactical cunning/imagination) - some rogue maester waaay back when discovered it but the exact method is a closely held secret by a very small group of slavers. And the "surgery" has a very high fail rate and requires that the subject already possess martial skill/training (say, 1/100 potent slave warriors survive the "surgery") to maintain the high cost/scarcity of these types of soldiers.

But then that'd just be fantasy tech Soldier.

yes, Soldier was more predicate on unethically brutal training and indoctrination from infancy with astronomic culling rates than surgery, but it's implied that there's probably some genetic manipulation re: the "new batch"

Geeze, I've given too much though to some silly convention that GRRM cooked up.

/off to rewatch Soldier (I think it actually deserves good movie status, because it is a good movie; maybe not damned good, but good at the very least), and then probably Blade Runner (because they're set in the same universe, and I love Blade Runner)
posted by porpoise at 7:23 PM on July 28 [2 favorites]


"Testosterone works differently" for this particular plot point makes little sense in light of the fact that testosterone works as expected for sexual drive, erections (or lack thereof), impregnating women, etc.

Do we know that the Unsullied don't have balls? (I don't remember). Grey Worm and all the others have apparently gone through puberty and seem like they have "healthy" testosterone now, but I thought they were castrated as children rather than as adults -- so I just figured that "the stem but not the berries" was taken in the first place.

Jon could send an emissary.

I figure that Jon should abdicate in favor of Sansa, and then go to Dany as *Sansa's* emissary. But then, I think that Sansa is a good pick to lead the North, because she's the oldest surviving Stark and seems to have the interest, personality, and even quite a lot of training in how to govern a stronghold like that -- whereas Jon is not really suited to be king of anything (he's too impetuous and doesn't naturally think of anyone's perspective but his own).

To be honest, I also still think it would be interesting if Sansa and Tyrion were to "renew" their alliance. Casterly Rock + Winterfell is a pretty fantastic pairing, especially in terms of war strategy.

Theon is more problematic, but he supported and helped her become Queen (at that point), so it's reasonable that she openly support him.

Theon didn't speak during the council, and he stood way in the back behind everyone. Even Yara didn't bother to speak to him or so much as look at him the entire time. I didn't find his inclusion problematic. He wasn't included in the actual deliberation, he was there as Yara's retainer. Yara has been trying to groom him as her #2, but Theon has been pretty clear to her -- and everyone else seems to recognize -- that he's basically just her valet, and that he doesn't want/can't handle more responsibility than that. Even that level of autonomy and responsibility has been difficult for him to handle.

In any case, I thought that Tyrion made sense as the one to present Dany's "official" plan, since he's her hand. Plus, that it was Tyrion talking about using Dany's personal army to sac Casterly Rock had poetic justice that the other women seemed to like. That's good showmanship on Dany/Tyrion's part, I think. I think it would have come off as too fishy if Tyrion had just stood aside while Dany had presented a plan to sac his ancestral home with her own army. It would have looked like she as doing it at his behest, like he was a puppet master just trying to take Casterly Rock for himself or something.

I think it's interesting that there are so many women on the show in general at this point, since it started off with a more mixed cast. But I guess a whole lot of men have since died. Aside from Euron and Peter, the few that are left have all been pretty significantly mutilated or disabled, too. I guess maybe it sucks more than I would even have thought to be a man in Westros!

Seriously? Sure, Euron is uninteresting and cartoonish. But Ramsay was probably the most unwatchable character in television history.

I think we were genuinely supposed to think of him as Sea Ramsey in this episode. I mean, the climax of the sea battle was more-or-less in Theon's perspective, and obviously he was seeing Euron as Ramsey -- that's why he lost it and abandoned his sister within seconds of having to face Euron, despite more than holding his own in the battle up until then. Thank goodness the show didn't go into full-on hack mode and do that thing of flipping very quickly between a shot of Euron in that position and then a shot of Ramsey in that same position or something!

Anyway, I don't think that Euron is very interesting, but I think that how other characters act toward him can be. I thought Cersei's discomfort with him was interesting, given that she is so weird that she's meanwhile fine with having zombie!Mountain at her beck and call. I mean, Gregor (any version) doesn't give her the creeps, but Euron does? And meanwhile, Yara seems completely indifferent to him as a person, and just seems to hate him as an exceptionally scummy political rival. To be fair, though, Yara really doesn't seem to take a whole lot personally. She's very easy-going, in her own way. (I find her so likeable, I really hope she doesn't die!).
posted by rue72 at 5:48 AM on July 29 [3 favorites]


Theon didn't speak during the council, and he stood way in the back behind everyone. Even Yara didn't bother to speak to him or so much as look at him the entire time.

Theon spoke beautifully in support of Yara at the Council.

Then Euron came along.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:37 AM on July 29 [1 favorite]


I think rue72 meant Dany's council meeting on dragonstone
posted by vibratory manner of working at 10:01 AM on July 29 [1 favorite]


Theon spoke beautifully in support of Yara at the Council.

Oh, true -- but I meant in the council of queens in this episode. I thought that's what you were referring to?

Theon has explicitly thrown his support behind Yara multiple times, including when they had an audience with Dany. I don't think anyone doubts that he supports her leadership. He certainly never questions her authority. That's actually what makes the idea of him being her advisor so questionable -- he's not autonomous enough. He's not comfortable directing even his own actions, so how can he hope to help her direct hers or her fleet's?

The question that other characters always seem to be asking Yara is what role she sees him playing (or what role he's capable of playing) in her retinue. She always more-or-less presents him as her advisor and first mate, but from how they relate to each other, and from his responsibilities (or lack thereof), it seems much more like he's her personal valet.

That's why I think it's notable that Yara didn't even glance at him to see his reaction to Dany's proposal during the queens' council in this episode. He also clearly didn't expect her to, given that he was way back in the corner, and didn't attempt to communicate anything to her, either. I think that's the kind of thing that makes it obvious to the audience and also made it obvious to all the other characters in the room that Theon isn't actually her advisor in any real sense.

What's interesting about how things stand now is that if Yara is captured (or god forbid, dead), then as her second-in-command, Theon should theoretically take her place at the head of Dany's navy (what of it there is). But in practical terms, Theon can't really be trusted as the head of anything; he betrayed the Starks in order to take control of Winterfell, and he just betrayed his own sister in battle. Not to mention that he himself says that he's unfit.

I can only hope that he manages to stage some kind of rescue. Given that Yara did try to rescue him from Ramsey, and almost lost her life in the process, he really does owe her at least that. And given that Yara is one of Dany's key allies, hopefully Dany will be able to help significantly with that, too.

I doubt that Ellaria is getting out alive, because Cersei has a personal vendetta against her. But Cersei wouldn't know Yara from a hole in the wall, and Euron might want to hold off on killing her until he can kill both her and Theon together as some kind of big spectacle, so hopefully they've still got a shot at getting Yara out. My fingers are crossed, anyway :)
posted by rue72 at 12:07 PM on July 29 [3 favorites]


Whoops, my bad!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:15 PM on July 29 [1 favorite]


You know, I am really curious about what's going on in Theon's head when he's floating in the sea at the very end of the episode. He actually hasn't been the type to run before, to the point that his refusal to ever just freaking cut his losses and go has been his undoing more than anything else. He didn't run away from Winterfell as a kid, he didn't run when he knew Winterfell would be retaken from him, he refused to run when Yara came to rescue him, he snitched on Sansa when she was initially trying to run away using that candle-in-the-tower scheme, and even when he and Sansa did successfully escape and he left Sansa with Brienne, he just went right back home again and repeatedly said he had nowhere else to go. So responding to Euron by just leaping off into the night is pretty uncharacteristic.

On the one hand, it makes sense if he just couldn't handle being captured again, especially by Sea!Ramsey, and jumped off the ship in blind panic. On the other hand, his usual response to panic would be to stay put and submit. Also, he's a kraken, the sea is supposed to be his home and where he's strongest. And he did look relatively calm and comfortable floating around there at the end. So maybe there's hope that he's actually got SOMETHING up his sleeve? (I'm hoping against hope that that "something" is a plan to rescue Yara).

It's so hard to tell, because he did genuinely seem to be panicking. But jumping off the ship was actually a pretty smart move, in a way. Doing what Euron wanted and just rushing at him would have been brave but pointless. Remember way back when Robb captured Jaime, and Jaime challenged Robb to end the war by going into trial by combat mano-a-mano against Jaime? Robb's response was that if they did it Jaime's way, Jaime would win -- so they weren't going to be doing it Jaime's way. I wonder if that's kind of what Theon was thinking when Euron tried to goad him into rushing him? That if they did it Euron's way, that Euron would win, so they were going to do it the oblique, secretive, war-of-attrition-y way that's more Theon's wheelhouse?

Theon is also not an especially big picture person, and I think his mission has been and continues to be simply to help Yara become queen of the Iron Born. That's what he agreed to in order to get her to welcome him back home after his escape from Winterfell. So when Yara looked around at her burning fleet and saw that the battle as a whole was probably already lost, she probably was figuring on going out with a bang as best she could -- and that's why she confronted Euron almost immediately afterward. Because she IS a leader and a big picture person. But when Theon looked around like Yara had, his eyes didn't even leave the ship, he just zeroed in on each individual Iron Born killing or mutilating each other and then back at Yara and Euron, and that's when he jumped. Maybe he was thinking that he would do what he could to keep Euron from killing or even cutting Yara right then and there. Buying time, keeping the game going.

I dunno, I'm hoping so anyway. He really could be thinking just about anything right there at the end. I hope that they pick up that story thread tonight.
posted by rue72 at 8:05 AM on July 30 [1 favorite]


But when Theon looked around like Yara had, his eyes didn't even leave the ship, he just zeroed in on each individual Iron Born killing or mutilating each other and then back at Yara and Euron, and that's when he jumped. Maybe he was thinking that he would do what he could to keep Euron from killing or even cutting Yara right then and there. Buying time, keeping the game going.

I hope so, because jumping in the water seemed odd. Had he crumpled into a ball, then and there, ok. Submitting and bending the knew, ok. But jumping in the water? And the look on his face as he watched the ship sail away was also odd, more thoughtful than anything.

So I hope there's more than, if at least only for narrative reasons and interest.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:38 AM on July 30 [2 favorites]


to me Sansa is a tremendously satisfying character unlike Dany who honestly I am SO OVER.

Dany reminds me more and more of Indira Gandhi and not in a flattering way. No matter what the high-minded intended purpose, it's always predicated on "when I am Queen..." and at some point for Gandhi, that became the only thing, to the point of betraying her dead father by suspending democracy because she didn't like the outcome. Both were buffered from the people they "rule" by obsequious advisers with their own agendas and blind spots.

Gandhi never really gained enough self-awareness to see what she had become before it was too late, but I still have some hope for Dany.
posted by vanar sena at 11:40 AM on July 30 [3 favorites]


Dany reminds me more and more of Indira Gandhi and not in a flattering way. No matter what the high-minded intended purpose, it's always predicated on "when I am Queen..."

I'm actually seeing some historical parallels more with Henry Tudor (Henry VII). We know that in a very loose sense, GRRM based some of ASOIAF on the Wars of the Roses (Lancaster/York). While we don't know which and which, the Wars of the Roses were ended by few legitimate claimants, or missing claimants, and Henry Tudor sweeping the field and marrying a York. Similarly, Dany is walking into a situation with few legitimate claimants - all of Robert Baratheon's "children" are dead, and all legitimate Stark sons are either dead or missing/crippled. There has been a lot of speculation about her marrying or becoming involved with Jon Snow - the new "King in the North" - if so, the Tudor parallels could be even stronger.

But Henry VII, historically, while initially hailed well, presided over some stone cold acts of butchery - killing off potential claimants in order to preserve his throne.

So I wonder if the trope that GRRM is trying to subvert - using historical precedent - is not the True Hero Raised In Obscurity Reclaims Throne, but rather the ending half that usually accompanies that, of "And Ushers In A Golden Age." Henry VII is only thought of well because he fathered Henry VIII, who was delighted in as a brilliant, clever, prince. But Dany is barren, her only baby - the Stallion That Mounts The World - dead. Her golden prince that could give her realm stability is gone. So I wonder if we'll start to see her getting madder and madder, with the realm showing cracks that allow the White Walkers to take over.
posted by corb at 11:58 AM on July 30 [3 favorites]


That's fair, though my perspective is unsurprisingly coloured by recent South Asian history, where we've had a handful of these de facto princesses that disappoint everyone, particularly western progressives. (Hooray! Educated, eloquent, confident female leaders on the international stage! Who turn out to be not much different from their male counterparts sigh)
posted by vanar sena at 12:21 PM on July 30 [1 favorite]


On second view, I was wondering, why is Sam so concerned about curing Jorah? Just because his father was Sam's former commander?
posted by skewed at 2:30 PM on July 30


Guys, Theon had no choice but to jump in that water. To think otherwise is strategically insane. That's true not just for Theon, but also the showrunners.

Yara is the rightful queen of the Iron Islands. Theon not only knows this intellectually, it is clear by his unwavering support going back into last season that he also believes this to be true on an emotional and spiritual level. She is his queen, he couldn't protect her from Euron, he needs to survive and find allies to help him mount a rescue attempt.

He is unfit to lead, yes. He cannot sire children. She can.

Theon knew if he took one step towards Euron and Yara, she would be insta-murdered. He didn't want that. He also knew if Euron killed Yara, Theon would he Euron's POW taken back to King's Landing. THIS move, not killing Yara AND Theon (which would've been very counterproductive), helps ensure the full Greyjoy fleet now lies under Cersei's personal control via Euron. That cannot happen, or all Ironborn lose the independence he and his sister just won from Dany after generations of servitude.

He cannot withstand more torture. Theon doesn't want Yara to die for him, and that's because he knows not only that he isn't worth dying for, but that the Ironborn need her leadership to survive any of this.

He jumped to save his sister's life, to thwart his uncle's will, and to give him time to sort out a plan for rescue (or revenge, if he manages to arrive too late). I doubt his thought process went beyond those points, but I absolutely don't believe that was a lightswitch flipping his brain back into Reek mode.

Guess we'll see what happens with our buoy Theon soon enough!
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 3:12 PM on July 30 [6 favorites]


Rewatched the first episode and it's raised my opinion of Jon even more. He quickly dealt with Sansa's completely out of place questioning of him, reunited the bannerman in a way that dealt with the traitors and moved forward and then got Tormund and the Wildings to fix and man the most vulnerable part of the Wall.

He's doing smart things. I'm worried Sansa will undermine him again, but on a larger scale, but I hope not.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:26 PM on July 30


Henry VII is only thought of well because he fathered Henry VIII, who was delighted in as a brilliant, clever, prince.

His contemporaries thought of him as a miserly bastard, and posterity doesn't think of him at all. I don't think Henry VII can be made to fit into any trope of the Prince who was promised; he was the consummate compromise candidate from the off, cold, calculating, and clever throughout his reign.

But in re Dany's legitimacy --- it's funny, a lot of people seem to have this feeling of "why her" about her, and yet the story has provided quite a clear answer on this point: Dany is magic.

It's easy to ignore, in a way: 80% of the show is the-Sopranos-with-swords, and for the most part its depiction of power and how it's attained and maintained is Varys' old formulation, the shadow on the wall, you've got it if people believe you've got it. And yet. Magic is real, in this world. (Some) Gods are real, and intervene in the affairs of men. Prophecies are true, visions show the future, prayer can raise the dead. Dany's real claim to legitimacy is her status as the unburnt and the mother of dragons. Most of the people who follow her do so not out of a shared culture or blood or feudal vows but because they think she's some kind of demigod or messiah. Every time she turns out to be a lousy politician, every time the tactics human rulers can avail themselves of fail her (marriage alliances, negotiation, decrees) magic saves her ass, again. IOW, unlike every other contender on the show, the nature of her claim to queenship is essentially divine. Which has traditionally been the justification of kings; parliaments rule by the consent of the governed, kings because god favours them. The gods favour Dany, we've seen many proofs of this.

This could of course, be the last big genre trope that GRRM has been planning to subvert all along: maybe magic is real but it doesn't matter, maybe Cersei killshots the dragons from the ramparts, maybe Jon never finds out who his parents are and all the endless speculation about princes and prophecy won't mean dick, in the end. Straight nihilism; it would at least be different.

But if it's not --- if magic does mean something in this world, and a character's associations with it does mean they have some destiny to fulfill --- then the fact that Dany is the most magical mofo in this universe by miles must mean she has a purpose, too.
posted by Diablevert at 6:27 PM on July 30 [4 favorites]


I was wondering, why is Sam so concerned about curing Jorah?

I like to think it's just as simple as Sam seeing a sick man and wanting to cure him.
posted by vanar sena at 7:06 PM on July 30


Because Jorah's father saved him.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:10 PM on July 30 [2 favorites]


Real late on this one - I was a couple episodes behind and didn't want to view the threads - but I do want to note that, yeah, despite my not really caring about it they could just have the Unsullied *not* be castrated and it would work just fine. I agree with that.

I kind of like the idea of Jon Snow abdicating in favor of Sansa. He could be her, like, Lord Minister for Fighting the Dead or something. That would work pretty well for both of them.
posted by breakin' the law at 8:07 AM on August 10


Theon knew if he took one step towards Euron and Yara, she would be insta-murdered.

Honestly, I thought it was because Hosts can't harm Guests.

In fact, doesn't that explain the entire fleet battle sequence, as well as Euron's personality?
posted by happyroach at 11:37 AM on August 10


I'm late to this show, nice to see GW & Missandei get together but I have to admit, when she said 'I want to see you', I was less keen.

Note to Sam: The rubber gloves aren't going to do any good if you put your hand to your mouth mid-skinning.
posted by biffa at 8:53 AM on August 30


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