Game of Thrones: Beyond the Wall   Show Only 
August 20, 2017 7:27 PM - Season 7, Episode 6 - Subscribe

Jon and company go beyond the Wall. Arya and Sansa have a chat. Daenerys makes a decision.

Wights, dragons, and bears! Oh my!
posted by gatorae (427 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
 
Jesus Fucking Christ that was terrible and stupid. The plan to go beyond the Wall was stupid to begin with. What they did beyond the Wall was stupid. And apparently Daenerys was like 30 minutes away? Then why the hell didn’t she just fly up herself to see the dead?

Another “dramatic” fall into water only to emerge moments later, then a last-minute save. Drowning just isn’t a problem in Westeros. Or being submerged in freezing water. And after the Night King brought down a dragon they just stood around staring until he grabbed another ice spear? Not to mention Arya and Sansa acting stupid just to create drama. And where did Danny learn that the White Walker leader is the “Night King”?

I know the show has gone downhill in terms of writing since they past the books, but this is garbage. It feels like they’re just moving down a checklist.

At least the zombie dragon was cool. Good thing the White Walkers had a bunch of giant chains handy.
posted by Sangermaine at 7:28 PM on August 20 [38 favorites]


WHERE DID THEY GET THOSE DRAGON-DRAGGIN' CHAINS YA’LL?

1. They shoulda just sent a dragon to fetch a ice zombie in the first place.
2. I think I am ready for Arya to die, now. She officially joined the villain’s gallery for me in this episode. She’s a creepy little murderer that enjoys her cruelty.
3. Zombie. Dragon.
posted by Windigo at 7:28 PM on August 20 [12 favorites]


If you don't want people to question distances within the world of the show maybe don't start each episode with a map.
posted by guiseroom at 7:29 PM on August 20 [60 favorites]


Holy shit I didn't know plot magic covered hypothermia AND drowning. Jaime could have really pushed the envelope a bit more.
posted by gatorae at 7:30 PM on August 20 [2 favorites]


ffs
posted by juiceCake at 7:30 PM on August 20 [3 favorites]


"They are going to see you for who you truly are... my auntie"
posted by lydhre at 7:31 PM on August 20 [8 favorites]


Well someone's down one privilege dragon because Dany failed to learn a Very Important Lesson About Ballistics.

That plot was completely fucking dumb and essentially a waste of an episode (and the battle really felt like they wanted to reuse the rendering/choreography from the Battle of the Bastards) but I would totally watch Tormund and The Hound Are Grumpy on the Road as a spinoff.

I'm predicting that the zombie dragon will turn on the Army of the Dead at the last minute when it recognizes its mother still...

(Also, where the fuck was Bran and why hasn't he been useful for ANYTHING except being a dick, our grumpster's new favorite word?)

(Also also, someone remind me what's up with Uncle Benjen?)
posted by TwoStride at 7:31 PM on August 20 [10 favorites]


The Hound is heading back to King's Landing. We know what that means. CLEGANEBOWL confirmed!

Yeah, the timeline in this episode is completely nonsensical and cannot even be handwaved like the rest of the season. There's simply no way to make it wor... look, a shiny rock!

Re; Jon, I'm gonna go with him being mostly immune to cold just like Dany was mostly immune to hot.
posted by Justinian at 7:31 PM on August 20 [21 favorites]


Also, why exactly did Sansa send Brienne away? Just to be contrary to Little Finger?
posted by Windigo at 7:31 PM on August 20


The undead Verserion's new name is "Not Dany".
posted by Burhanistan at 7:31 PM on August 20 [1 favorite]


* sustained high pitched scream*
posted by The Whelk at 7:32 PM on August 20 [7 favorites]


Ok so Gendry runs fast, ravens fly fast, dragons fly fast, and all of that was so fast that the fucking Night King, the bringer of winter, could not freeze that pond in that time span? Ok.
posted by gatorae at 7:32 PM on August 20 [13 favorites]


HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.... FINALLY. I foolishly watched the leaked episode to avoid spoilers ... but the episode was just spoiled. SO MANY BAD DECISIONS! SO MANY.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:32 PM on August 20 [1 favorite]


Presumably Bran sent Benjen to the rescue.
posted by Zonker at 7:32 PM on August 20 [6 favorites]


Well someone's down one privilege dragon because Dany failed to learn a Very Important Lesson About Ballistics.

How was Danny to know that White Walkers have surface-to-air ice missiles, apparently?
posted by Sangermaine at 7:32 PM on August 20 [2 favorites]


tfw he bends the knee
posted by yellowbinder at 7:32 PM on August 20 [3 favorites]


(Also this one was really too ridiculous in terms of the fanfic service between Tormund's joke about "making do" when Gendry complained there were no women around, and Jon trying to be all smooth upgrading from Cave Etchings to Cute Nickname for his pickup routine)
posted by TwoStride at 7:33 PM on August 20


My first reaction was also wtf about all that perfectly made chain. Probably stolen from giants.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:33 PM on August 20 [1 favorite]


That's how we know it's lurve...

Re: bending the knee
posted by Windigo at 7:33 PM on August 20


Also, what fucking good are you, Bran? A nice, pointed raven: don't go north, you chucklefucks. It's the stupidest idea.

And Arya needs to dial the psycho down juuust a tad, jesus christ.
posted by lydhre at 7:34 PM on August 20 [5 favorites]


Now you know how to train for a winter marathon, row for three or four seasons.
posted by sammyo at 7:34 PM on August 20 [41 favorites]


s Danny to know that White Walkers have surface-to-air ice missiles, apparently?

She doesn't need to know that to train her babies to SWERVE when shit comes flying at them!
posted by TwoStride at 7:34 PM on August 20


Is Tormund not going to King's Landing? I am Very Upset that he won't see Brienne again.
posted by Justinian at 7:34 PM on August 20 [1 favorite]


Someone run a quick probability analysis on 50 critical 1 failures of D100 intelligence checks in a row.
posted by codacorolla at 7:35 PM on August 20 [3 favorites]


Notice that her main mount did finally figure it out at the end!

(Also, I did rofl when The Hound appeared to have staked their captive wight on one of the dragon spikes for flight....)
posted by TwoStride at 7:35 PM on August 20 [3 favorites]


This entire season reminds me of a term paper written after your friend reminded you it was due tomorrow after you had just done a bunch of shots.
posted by Automocar at 7:36 PM on August 20 [37 favorites]


Someone run a quick probability analysis on 50 critical 1 failures of D100 intelligence checks in a row

At this point I think Jon has to critical success to avoid stupid decisions. It's not like it's inconsistent. He does dumb shit every time he gets a sword in his hand. That boy ain't right.
posted by Justinian at 7:36 PM on August 20 [5 favorites]


Well, I guess we learned wth the grab-a-zombie plan was all about. It was all so they could give the night king a dragon.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 7:37 PM on August 20 [16 favorites]


And why did the zombie army stop and form a ring around the little island Jon & Co. were on again? The frozen lake broke in an exact perfect circle around them on every side?

Then why, when it refroze, did the zombies only conveniently attack them from the front while the zombies on the other side conveniently hang back until the camera panned over them?
posted by Sangermaine at 7:37 PM on August 20 [2 favorites]


Pretty soon they're going to call it Benjen Ex Machina.
posted by drezdn at 7:38 PM on August 20 [7 favorites]


If you don't want people to question distances within the world of the show maybe don't start each episode with a map.

PREVIOUSLY ON FANFARE
posted by speicus at 7:38 PM on August 20 [5 favorites]


Is this a cross-over with Futurama, and did the evil sentient brains who make everyone on the planet stupid invade Planetos off-screen? Did that happen in a webisode? Maybe a DLC comic on the back of a car parts magazine?
posted by codacorolla at 7:38 PM on August 20 [2 favorites]


The Hound is heading back to King's Landing. We know what that means. CLEGANEBOWL confirmed!

GET HYPE AGAIN, AGAIN!
posted by tclark at 7:39 PM on August 20 [10 favorites]


Here's a problem: Gendry runs the distance from lake stupid to the wall in a day, maybe less. That means that, at the very very most, the walkers are two to three days march from the wall? Right? That has to be correct, right? Please don't skip two months in between that happening.
posted by codacorolla at 7:40 PM on August 20 [5 favorites]


Drowned the Dragon is the new Jumped the Shark.
posted by Mick at 7:40 PM on August 20 [14 favorites]


Also, why exactly did Sansa send Brienne away? Just to be contrary to Little Finger?

So she can murder Arya without interference from Brienne, which is why they had the whole previous discussion about Brienne being sworn to protect both of them.

And where did Danny learn that the White Walker leader is the “Night King”?

One of the billion episodes where Jon was on Dragonstone trying to convince her to fight the White Walkers, presumably.
posted by LionIndex at 7:41 PM on August 20 [5 favorites]


10 zombie bears and the south is finished
posted by dis_integration at 7:41 PM on August 20 [5 favorites]


They traded a dragon and a guy who can resurrect people for one zombie. Great plan, everyone.
posted by Sangermaine at 7:41 PM on August 20 [61 favorites]


No but really, which are we supposed to take as the case... that it only took like a day for Gendry to get to the Wall, the raven to get to Dragonstone, and the dragons to get to Jon & co... or that they were supposedly on that island for at least 3-4 days?

I'm not saying it makes sense either way, but I'd like to know which it is?
posted by Justinian at 7:42 PM on August 20 [2 favorites]


Where did they get the chains?
posted by drezdn at 7:42 PM on August 20 [1 favorite]


Jon: "Fall back!"
The Hound: "We're on a rock in the middle of a lake. Did you not see the fucking establishing shot? Fall back where?"
Jon [LOOKING AT THE ROCK THEY'VE BEEN ON FOR APPROXIMATELY A DAY]: "Oh, raspberries, I done goofed again!"
posted by codacorolla at 7:42 PM on August 20 [27 favorites]


It would have been a good time for Jon to ride the other dragon, though, instead of spiriting Benjen out of thin air once again. That would have, you know, made narrative sense.
posted by lydhre at 7:42 PM on August 20 [18 favorites]


And Arya needs to dial the psycho down juuust a tad, jesus christ.

Yeah, okay, but ya gotta admit that Maisie Williams gives gooooooood psycho.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:43 PM on August 20 [11 favorites]


why, when it refroze, did the zombies only conveniently attack them from the front while the zombies on the other side conveniently hang back until the camera panned over them?

Duh the director told them to. See also how they marched out one by one instead of all at once, giving our heroes just enough time to fight them off until Dany arrived. It was so choreographed it took me completely out of the episode.
posted by gatorae at 7:43 PM on August 20 [2 favorites]


I just can't even...

The charcter bits were good, but the plot was so fucking stupid. Sansa is stupid again. Arya is weirdly psycho scary.

The pacing was all fucked, they could have cut 5-10 minutes from this episode, at least.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:43 PM on August 20 [1 favorite]


Christ, these people are stupid. And this dialogue is terrible. And nothing having to do with physics makes sense.

I actually thought last season was an improvement over the one before (which I despised) so I was hopeful they could pull this out but lol no. Let's just get to the part where Jon and Daenerys bone, Jamie kills Cersei, and Sandor dies while defeating the Mountain (who is of course about to do something very terrible) and then dies, thus earning true redemption and vengeance all at the same time [fire will be involved] and then take this show out back and shoot it.
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:44 PM on August 20 [12 favorites]


The charcter bits were good,

I think if anyone is watching for anything but characters bits they are making a grave error. The writing was on the wall regarding the plot ending up in a reasonable state when GRRM failed to finish the story 15 years ago.
posted by Justinian at 7:46 PM on August 20 [14 favorites]


Well, it finally happened. My wife said that GoT has become too stupid for her to waste her time watching it. I'm inclined to agree.

This show is like the old high school friend who keeps fucking up and letting you down. You know you shouldn't trust them anymore, but you've shared such good memories together. One more chance...

It's amazing that the writers have no idea what made the show good in the first place. Now that they're untethered from GRRM, they've completed jumped the ice dragon.

One of the most interesting parts of the books/show was that even the badassess in the universe were still human. Nobody, no matter how good they were, could take on an entire army. Jon Snow spends most of his time teleporting directly into armies and somehow surviving.

Another almost drowning?

Another last minute cavalry save?

You hide your collection of faces in your backpack under the bed? At least treat your magic faces as well as a secret weed stash.

Gendry, you're the fastest... You're an urbanite blacksmith I met yesterday. You're probably fast. Run back, write a note, send a raven and lets hope for the best.

They're not even trying. On the bright side, in another 10 years maybe they'll remake the series since the last 3 seasons will have been embarrassingly bad.
posted by Telf at 7:46 PM on August 20 [19 favorites]


So she can murder Arya without interference from Brienne, which is why they had the whole previous discussion about Brienne being sworn to protect both of them.

That's just...ridiculous and out of character for Sansa.

More in character would have been to send Arya with Brienne as her companion to King's Landing. It'd give her some distance, Brienne could watch and learn about Arya, and Arya might actually be useful in King's Landing.
posted by Windigo at 7:47 PM on August 20 [9 favorites]


I'm getting a little tired of the "all is lost and then the cavalry shows up." plots.
posted by octothorpe at 7:47 PM on August 20 [14 favorites]


This one telegraphed everything very far in advance. Heroes trapped and surrounded? OF COURSE dragons.

I'm going to give the producers at least a bit of credit for the repetition between Bronn's scorpion (totally doesn't kill dragons) and the zombie spears (totally kills dragons). I wonder who they want us to think is the threat here?

That said, yea, oi, the headshake is real.
posted by Alterscape at 7:47 PM on August 20 [1 favorite]


Will the zombie dragon breath ice?
posted by sammyo at 7:49 PM on August 20 [9 favorites]


Sometimes stuff gets included in trailers that doesn't make it to the screen. So that's also a possibility.


Sure but has that ever happened with GoT? Especially since their trailers aren't very talky so it's usually only a couple of iconic lines per trailer.
posted by asteria at 7:51 PM on August 20


Still, you gotta admit the reveal of the Ice King and his generals on their dead horses glowering at them is a pretty impressive sight without needing any context.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:51 PM on August 20 [2 favorites]


And why did the zombie army stop and form a ring around the little island Jon & Co. were on again? The frozen lake broke in an exact perfect circle around them on every side?

Why did the zombie army stop at all? I mean, they don't need to breathe or stay warm and dry since they're, you know, DEAD ALREADY, so why not just fall in the water, walk underwater to the Band o' Brothers stone, pile up enough layers to climb up, and kill the humans?
posted by FelliniBlank at 7:51 PM on August 20 [12 favorites]


Ugh those chains. How did they tie them around the dragon underwater to haul him out? I thought this episode and Hardhome established that wights can't go in water. Not to mention it is unfathomable how they just happened to have access to magic ice dragon fishing chains. Whatever, it happened, we are all dumber for it.
posted by gatorae at 7:52 PM on August 20 [17 favorites]


I still like it! ICE ZOMBIE DRAGON!
posted by something something at 7:52 PM on August 20 [8 favorites]


Will the zombie dragon breath ice?

Oh it's totally gonna breathe ice.

And there will be a scene where a living dragon shoots fire at it in a mid-air battle and then we will get a shot of the fire and ice smashing into each other. Because of course.
posted by Windigo at 7:52 PM on August 20 [42 favorites]


I saw you, Longclaw. You and your eye. I saw you.
posted by rewil at 7:52 PM on August 20 [7 favorites]


Also, not to get all airspeed velocity of a European sparrow carrying coconuts here, but...

A. Does it make sense that dragons can carry like 7 people? (Fine they're magic dragons, that's fine.)
B. Does it make any sense that the dragons would allow everyone to ride them? (Except for the one actual Targaryan who's too busy killing a few more zombies.)

Also, I liked to completely unnecessary double cavalry save:
1. Just in time dragons.
2. Uncle Benjen. He also combos it with the act of getting off the horse, putting Jon on the horse then sacrificing himself because "There's no time!", to get back on the horse and ride away. There's just no time for me to get on that horse Jon. I'm going to light up my Censer of death and just a whack a few zombies instead.
posted by Telf at 7:53 PM on August 20 [11 favorites]


More in character would have been to send Arya with Brienne as her companion to King's Landing. It'd give her some distance, Brienne could watch and learn about Arya, and Arya might actually be useful in King's Landing.

Unless she wants Littlefinger to think she is doing as he would - getting rid of Arya's only other ally in Winterfell.

Also, Jon is totally going to knock up Dany and their baby will be the Prince that was Promised.
posted by asteria at 7:53 PM on August 20 [3 favorites]


Why did the zombie army stop at all?

They knew that they wouldn't get a dragon unless they waited around. I feel like the night king can see the future like bran or something, after bran encountered him in his vision
posted by dis_integration at 7:54 PM on August 20 [5 favorites]


I think the most charitable read of the Arya/Sansa thing is that Sansa sent Brienne away because Littlefinger pointed Sansa to Brienne and Sansa knows something is up, while Arya handed her the dagger (the one used to cripple Bran?) because it's going to be a shocking reveal next episode that Arya knew LF was trying to play them all along.
posted by Sangermaine at 7:54 PM on August 20 [6 favorites]


Damn, no wonder Bran is so checked out: he's seen the leaks of the last season.
posted by codacorolla at 7:56 PM on August 20 [34 favorites]


Some will be redeemed if Arya takes Littlefinger's face next episode.
posted by TwoStride at 7:56 PM on August 20


If that's the case, then Arya is just terrorizing Sansa and mentally playing with her for the fun of it.

I don't like her at all at this point.
posted by Windigo at 7:56 PM on August 20 [3 favorites]


I think Sansa thinks she needs Little finger to control the Vale knights but Arya is trying to say "I know another way."
posted by drezdn at 7:56 PM on August 20 [7 favorites]


The last two-thirds of the episode being stupidly plot-inept was worth it just for the dialog between Tormund and everyone else for the first 15 minutes. I LOLed.
posted by danapiper at 7:56 PM on August 20 [18 favorites]


I think Sansa thinks she needs Little finger to control the Vale knights but Arya is trying to say "I know another way."

Maybe the shitty writer should have the character say "I know another way" instead of this melodramatic bullshit.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:57 PM on August 20 [8 favorites]


80% of the bad decisions made in the last two seasons could be negated by Sansa saying, "Hey! Long time no see. Let's crack open a bottle of wine and catch up."
posted by Telf at 7:59 PM on August 20 [6 favorites]


2. Uncle Benjen. He also combos it with the act of getting off the horse, putting Jon on the horse then sacrificing himself because "There's no time!", to get back on the horse and ride away. There's just no time for me to get on that horse Jon. I'm going to light up my Censer of death and just a whack a few zombies instead.

I took this to mean that two riders on one horse couldn't go quickly enough to outrun the wights, not that Benjen didn't have time to get back on the horse.
posted by devinemissk at 7:59 PM on August 20 [12 favorites]


Also, did it feel to anyone else like the writers couldn't keep track of how many people set out on the idiot ice expedition? I swear it ranged from 8 to a dozen-plus.
posted by TwoStride at 7:59 PM on August 20 [39 favorites]


The last two-thirds of the episode being stupidly plot-inept was worth it just for the dialog between Tormund and everyone else for the first 15 minutes. I LOLed.

Excellent point. Tormund and the Hound (oh god, "Pinky and the Brain" theme song now stuck in head) would make an awesome buddy picture.
posted by FelliniBlank at 8:00 PM on August 20 [8 favorites]


80% of the bad decisions made in the last two seasons could be negated by Sansa saying, "Hey! Long time no see. Let's crack open a bottle of wine and catch up."

In D&D speaking in unison voice: "Women talk to each other!?"
posted by codacorolla at 8:00 PM on August 20 [36 favorites]


Ok, I guess I'm the only one who cried when Viserion died. Here's a . for you, poor thing.
posted by longdaysjourney at 8:01 PM on August 20 [25 favorites]


Also, did it feel to anyone else like the writers couldn't keep track of how many people set out on the idiot ice expedition? I swear it ranged from 8 to a dozen-plus.

I believe the number was revised upward every time they ran into yet another "Nope, can't kill a fan fave and/or principal" situation.
posted by FelliniBlank at 8:01 PM on August 20 [12 favorites]


I took this to mean that two riders on one horse couldn't go quickly enough to outrun the wights, not that Benjen didn't have time to get back on the horse.

Yes, that's a logical interpretation, but we have words in our language to communicate that.

"Too slow!"
"Too heavy!"

Something like that. That being said, I'm going to agree with your generous take on the situation because it makes me less angry.
posted by Telf at 8:02 PM on August 20 [1 favorite]


Like, they got time for the band of bros to talk about pussy and homosexual rape, but they don't have time for Arya and Sansa to talk about the major life events since the last time they met.
posted by codacorolla at 8:02 PM on August 20 [27 favorites]


Nightking: "See, I told you we should keep those long, big chains stored in a nearby mountain. Who's laughing now, General #3?!"
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:03 PM on August 20 [20 favorites]


I don't care how realistic or notionally in-character it is, I absolutely fucking hate that Arya and Sansa are set against each other like this, I hate it so much. They could be so fucking great together. They have so much to teach each other. They could be the friends and sisters now that the world wouldn't allow them to be before. But instead, this. It's boring and shitty and disappointing and frustrating and I hate hate hate hate hate it.
posted by Sokka shot first at 8:03 PM on August 20 [36 favorites]


I asked my husband, "omg who did the bear kill?" "Oh some sled pulling extra." 10 minutes later, "omg who are the wights killing? " "Another sled pulling redshirt."
posted by gatorae at 8:03 PM on August 20 [14 favorites]


Ok, I guess I'm the only one who cried when Viserion died. Here's a . for you, poor thing.

Indeed you are not. The dragons are the most sympathetic characters at this point.
posted by FelliniBlank at 8:03 PM on August 20 [11 favorites]


Also, did it feel to anyone else like the writers couldn't keep track of how many people set out on the idiot ice expedition? I swear it ranged from 8 to a dozen-plus.

It would have been easier if they just had them wear red shirts or tabards or something.

"Hey you! Yeah you, new guy with the hood and the spear. You're on point. What does that mean? It means you just kind of walk 20 feet ahead of us... What? No, you'll be fine!"
posted by Telf at 8:04 PM on August 20 [3 favorites]


Ok, I guess I'm the only one who cried when Viserion died.

Oh, yeah, no, that was rough. Esp. because he was dying because of everybody else's fucking idiocy.
posted by Sokka shot first at 8:06 PM on August 20 [12 favorites]


Also, Jon is totally going to knock up Dany and their baby will be the Prince that was Promised.

It would only make sense that the plot begins and ends with a little spot of incest. This also holds true if Cersei and Jamie's spawn #4 is the P that was P.
posted by FelliniBlank at 8:06 PM on August 20 [2 favorites]


I can actually see logical plots where Sansa and Arya, after talking with about their post-beheading history, dislike each other. But we didn't get that. We got the barest possible animosity couched in something that's just a very barely disguised misogynistic portrayal of female relationships. It doesn't even matter if they're pulling a long con (like, there are no establishing shots of them doing this as part of an act, so we have to assume that if it's a con then only one of them is in on it), it's sloppy, bad writing, and it would be laughed out of an undergrad fiction workshop.
posted by codacorolla at 8:06 PM on August 20 [12 favorites]


I agree that the night king was deliberately waiting in order to lure rescuers into a trap. I think he knows about the dragons. Definitely had my doubts about the various time and space navigation but did people not think that was an amazing sequence of pulse pounding action? I was on the edge of my seat the whole time.
posted by freecellwizard at 8:08 PM on August 20 [6 favorites]


Not to be all Pollyanna, but the thing about a shitty episode is, it's way more fun to talk about than a good episode.
posted by FelliniBlank at 8:08 PM on August 20 [8 favorites]


Also, did it feel to anyone else like the writers couldn't keep track of how many people set out on the idiot ice expedition? I swear it ranged from 8 to a dozen-plus.

I actually think they did ok with this. Last week's episode show the extras pulling a sled as the group left the wall, it was 4 of them. I think i twas that many who died stupid deaths this episode.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:08 PM on August 20


No, but seriously, how the fuck does warging into a sword work?
posted by rewil at 8:08 PM on August 20 [1 favorite]


I believe the number was revised upward every time they ran into yet another "Nope, can't kill a fan fave and/or principal" situation.

And at the end of the battle scene, the way the camera swung around, so we could see each of faces of the characters, just so we'd know exactly who was still alive – well, that was some really fine cinematography.
posted by devinemissk at 8:09 PM on August 20 [2 favorites]


Can you warg into a chair? What are the rules?
posted by rewil at 8:09 PM on August 20 [2 favorites]


It's season 7. This is when our characters show us the culmination of what the story has done to their personalities, etc. Arya seems like she has a long way to go unless her entire story was just a Westerosified Breaking Bad.
posted by gatorae at 8:10 PM on August 20 [2 favorites]


That Cersei's high-tech mega-bow failed while Ni'king's ice javelin scored is a lovely metaphor, tho.

(Still sniffling over Viserion.)
posted by FelliniBlank at 8:10 PM on August 20 [3 favorites]


It would only make sense that the plot begins and ends with a little spot of incest. This also holds true if Cersei and Jamie's spawn #4 is the P that was P.

Of course the big twist is that Planeteros is just another planet in the Dune universe and the Red Priestesses are just Bene Gesserit planting mythologies about the Prince that was Promised in case they generate a Kwisatz Haderach. (I predict Bran, Jon or Varys)

Wait til they do the big ice zombie shai hulud reveal next season.
posted by Telf at 8:11 PM on August 20 [18 favorites]


I cried actual human tears when Viserion was killed. I haven't been so devastated over the loss of a character since Ned Stark. I am NOT OKAY AT ALL with the idea of a zombie Viserion.
posted by little mouth at 8:12 PM on August 20 [12 favorites]


Zombie dragons are dope af. It's reason enough to keep watching.
posted by dis_integration at 8:14 PM on August 20 [4 favorites]


Jon, I'm gonna go with him being mostly immune to cold just like Dany was mostly immune to hot.

Jon Targaryen, First of His Name, the Unfroze, Father of Prince What Was Done Promised.
posted by FelliniBlank at 8:14 PM on August 20 [7 favorites]


How did you all know it was Viserion? I've been terrible at telling the dragons apart this whole time.

I did LOL at this image from Awesomely Luvvie, though.
posted by TwoStride at 8:15 PM on August 20 [3 favorites]


Jon is totally going to knock up Dany and their baby will be the Prince that was Promised

It would definitely by GRRM for this whole thing to be a never-to-be-finished prequel to a never-to-be-written sequel.
posted by gatorae at 8:15 PM on August 20 [1 favorite]


That Cersei's high-tech mega-bow failed while Ni'king's ice javelin scored is a lovely metaphor, tho.

I wouldn't get too attached to that metaphor. I have no spoilers to base this on, but it's looking increasingly likely to me that the reason there are three dragons is so that Viserion gets turned to the enemy, Drogon gets killed by Cersei, Daenerys dies somehow, and then the climax of the series is a dance of dragons between Jon on Rhaegal and the Night King on Viserion.
posted by gsteff at 8:15 PM on August 20 [3 favorites]


Do you guys think Ramsay and Euron are part whitewalker? Is that where they get their ability to conjure armies from thin air, and their plot convenient super-powers?
posted by codacorolla at 8:16 PM on August 20 [6 favorites]


I literally do not care about trave, times or chains or ships

MORE ZOMBIES MORE DRAGONS MORE MAGIC MORE CRAZY ICE SHIT less conversations in drafty stone rooms and more FUCKING SHIT UP WOO

Also someone write the Gendry/Hound own a pub slashfic I need
posted by The Whelk at 8:16 PM on August 20 [11 favorites]


Sure looked like Viserion, but if it's Rhaegal, I'll feel at least a little less sad.
posted by FelliniBlank at 8:17 PM on August 20


Can be summarized as: MORE TORMUND.
posted by lydhre at 8:17 PM on August 20 [18 favorites]


How did you all know it was Viserion?

Subtitles.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:18 PM on August 20 [10 favorites]


One dragon flies everybody back, one dragon is a zombie now. Where is the third dragon? I thought we only saw one back at the wall after they returned.
posted by chimpsonfilm at 8:18 PM on August 20 [4 favorites]


How did you all know it was Viserion? I've been terrible at telling the dragons apart this whole time.

His wings are gold. It's most clear when he's about to crash into the lake. :(
posted by longdaysjourney at 8:19 PM on August 20 [2 favorites]


MORE TORMOND SEXUALLY MENACING GENDRY
posted by The Whelk at 8:19 PM on August 20 [5 favorites]


I wouldn't get too attached to that metaphor. I have no spoilers to base this on, but it's looking increasingly likely to me that the reason there are three dragons is so that Viserion gets turned to the enemy, Drogon gets killed by Cersei, Daenerys dies somehow, and then the climax of the series is a dance of dragons between Jon on Rhaegal and the Night King on Viserion.

Which holds up the metaphor just fine, thanks. Magic and Old Ways beat that newfangled modern machinery and invention.
posted by FelliniBlank at 8:19 PM on August 20


Hang on, what was up with that Long Claw eyeball blink? Is that sword warging? What? Who knows more about this?
posted by Telf at 8:20 PM on August 20 [3 favorites]


I can actually see logical plots where Sansa and Arya, after talking with about their post-beheading history, dislike each other.

Possible, but I think it could go the other way.

Sansa and Arya never liked each other as kids. Fine, but Sansa admitted to Jon that she treated him like shit as a kid and asked for his forgiveness. Which worked. Their relationship hasn't been seamless, but they're at least reading the same book, if not on the same page. But it all started from them sitting down and having a meal.

Sansa's the one who wants to work with others, Arya isn't. To me, Sansa would realize that and attempt to sit down Arya and find out who she is now. Maybe explain that yeah, she was shitty to Arya as a kid, just as she was shitty to Jon, because she loved the idea of power. But then she found herself on the wrong end of power and sees the use of it differently now. That's why she wanted to take Winterfell back and keep it in the Stark family, because the Starks always cared for the vassals, aka the little people without power.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:20 PM on August 20 [8 favorites]


The other dragon flew off to hang out with Ghost.
posted by kira at 8:20 PM on August 20 [4 favorites]


Anyway the wall is coming down next week right?
posted by The Whelk at 8:21 PM on August 20 [2 favorites]


Even bet that we don't see zombie dragon until next season.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:22 PM on August 20 [1 favorite]


but did people not think that was an amazing sequence of pulse pounding action? I was on the edge of my seat the whole time.

I don't mean to dampen your enthusiasm, but no. The problem is the writing was so bad, and has been so bad, that's drained all of the excitement out of this. The show undercuts at every turn this episode.

You know they're not going to kill Jon and his crew. They reinforce this by, as people note above, having a swarm of faceless drones get taken down in the fight while none of the important people get hurt. They get trapped on the island? Undercut because the army just stops, and you know something's going to charge in to save them. Oh look, dragons, of course. And they've done this last-minute-save (or surprise attack!) thing so many times this season that its lost all power to shock. Jon drops into the water? Well, they did that to Jaime a little while ago and he was fine. Hey look, Jon's fine too. Jon was submerged in freezing water for minutes? Nah, he's just a little cold, some blankets have him good again in a little bit.

On top of that, the whole reason they're even out there is so dumb and contrived that you just can't give a shit about what happens.
posted by Sangermaine at 8:23 PM on August 20 [10 favorites]


Anyway the wall is coming down next week right?

Zombie dragon will probably breathe fire on a part of it, yeah.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:23 PM on August 20 [1 favorite]


Previous seasons have had the big shit in the penultimate episode, although next week's is another long one. I really have no idea what to expect. The writers have broken my expectations.
posted by codacorolla at 8:23 PM on August 20


It's probably more satisfying to watch this episode with the sound off while listening to music anyway.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:24 PM on August 20


Sansa would realize that and attempt to sit down Arya and find out who she is now.

Or sit down and talk at all like others have said:

"Hey Arya, you have some crazy fighting abilities now. What's up with that?"

"Hey Sansa, you were Queen and then married to the Hand of the King and then you recaptured Winterfell and now you seem to command the loyalty of the Vale. What's up with that?"
posted by Sangermaine at 8:26 PM on August 20 [5 favorites]


I dunno, I'll be very unhappy if it turns out that Arya DID actually fall for this shitty Littlefinger manipulation. After all the elaborate mindfucking she went through with Jaqen H'ghar, Littlefinger really is amateur hour, and she should know better. Hopefully, she's just playing Sansa to get him where she can expose him.
posted by FelliniBlank at 8:26 PM on August 20 [16 favorites]


Okay but for real that zombie polar bear scared the shit out of me.
posted by hapaxes.legomenon at 8:27 PM on August 20 [16 favorites]


Dany needs to teach her remaining dragons how to dive bomb. Her current tactics this season yield a 1:1 dragon casualty rate per engagement.
posted by Telf at 8:27 PM on August 20 [3 favorites]




If Arya is not playing Littlefinger then her character is beyond help. I really don't see how she can come back after this crap with Sansa, it is just to much betrayal and awfulness. Let her go fight the Night King and steal his ice face or whatever.
posted by gatorae at 8:30 PM on August 20 [11 favorites]


Jon's going to independence day the White walkers. That's the worst way to end this.
posted by FallowKing at 8:30 PM on August 20 [4 favorites]


but did people not think that was an amazing sequence of pulse pounding action? I was on the edge of my seat the whole time.

Nope, guessed that it would bring dragons from the beginning and that one dragon would die at some point, only to be reanimated. Plus the plan was so fucking stupid, there was nothing pulse pounding about it. If the writers had demonstrated an ability write themselves into corners that they could brilliantly write themselves out, then yeah it would be exciting. Your mind would be racing, trying to figure how they're going to do it THIS TIME and then explode with glee and wonder as you seem them to the narrative magic trick.

But the current writing staff does not inspire that sense. One watches only to see if they're really going to sink that low, AGAIN and then there's the gaping wound of disappointment as you see the bar lowered even further.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:35 PM on August 20 [11 favorites]


This show is getting more unrealistic about how much can happen in one day than Wet Hot American Summer.
posted by dfan at 8:37 PM on August 20 [20 favorites]


Why didn't they bring bows with dragonglass arrows? Too obvious?
posted by gatorae at 8:37 PM on August 20 [22 favorites]


They're going to pull a Phantom Menace here. All the A-team really has to do is destroy the (orbiting battle station/white walkers), and the army of (droids/ice zombies) will just fall over dead. (Or de-animate or whatever.)

I imagine there'll still be a big ice zombie battle (complete with flying ice zombie dragon), since the A-team will have to fight their way through the army to get to the walkers and the Night King. In the end though, I figure they'll prevail, kill the walkers, and end the war.

The zombie war seems like it's become the most uninteresting thing about this show. But we're going to get a bunch more war instead of the interesting character interactions and wrap-ups that were the lifeblood of the show to begin with.
posted by kira at 8:38 PM on August 20


When Jon fell through the ice I knew it would take something extra to save him, was betting on a dive bomb by the third dragon grabbing him and flying off but no, just the combined super human effort with a duex ex machina, ah twist.
posted by sammyo at 8:39 PM on August 20


Dany's winter coat is dope tho, amirite?
posted by zakur at 8:39 PM on August 20 [62 favorites]


Yes to what Brandon Blatcher said. Their is no Draco Ex Machina too predictable or too lazy at this point.
posted by Telf at 8:39 PM on August 20 [2 favorites]


Well. That was bananas.
posted by zarq at 8:41 PM on August 20 [2 favorites]


Why is Tyrion so interested in succession? Where is that leading? So many references recently to Dany not being able to have kids must mean she'll get pregnant.
posted by soakimbo at 8:41 PM on August 20 [11 favorites]


Also, it's lucky that Jon was attacked by the hugging kind of evil zombies and not the ones with weapons or teeth.
posted by Telf at 8:41 PM on August 20 [4 favorites]


And why did the Night King decide to chuck his dragon-killing ice missile at the dragon flying in the air hundred of meters away instead of the dragon sitting on the ground right in front of him with the people he had cornered on its back, including two of the only people in the world who can control dragons?
posted by Sangermaine at 8:42 PM on August 20 [27 favorites]


Why didn't they bring bows with dragonglass arrows? Too obvious?

THANK YOU.

Jon: Let's depart from this island we came to solely and specifically to mine great piles of dragonglass to forge into weapons. Let's go up north of the wall to havaheart-trap a wight so as to haul his bony ass down to King's Landing to show Cersei. But though we are knowingly going where the whitewalkers live for the purpose of engaging with whitewalkers, let's just NOT TAKE ANY DRAGONGLASS.

Oh, the stupid, it stings!
posted by FelliniBlank at 8:43 PM on August 20 [32 favorites]


Nope, guessed that it would bring dragons from the beginning and that one dragon would die at some point, only to be reanimated.

Next episode will have Cersei being shown a Wight and just not giving a damn, and quickly betraying everyone. Since Brienne is going to Kings landing (No Brienne, I don't want you by side, you who swore an oath, you have to go to King's Landing, you who've shown not a ounce of poilitical smarts. No, you can't leave the one person you trust to defend Sansa, the plot demands you go South, so go), that probably means Cersei will have her imprisoned or killed, which will freak Jamie out.

Anyway, Cersei will wind up killing someone, probably several someones in Dany's army and then I dunno what bullshit will happen.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:44 PM on August 20 [6 favorites]


So we knew what keen eye-hand coordination he has and could be impressed by his range?
posted by Windigo at 8:45 PM on August 20 [2 favorites]


In their defense, Jorah does seem to be using dragonglass daggers. They don't seem especially useful against regular zombies though.
posted by Telf at 8:45 PM on August 20 [5 favorites]


And why did the Night King decide to chuck his dragon-killing ice missile at the dragon flying in the air hundred of meters away instead of the dragon sitting on the ground right in front of him

He was gonna but then the plot intervened
posted by dis_integration at 8:47 PM on August 20 [3 favorites]


Also, Arya met Little Bear and we didn't get to see that interaction?! What is wrong with these writers?!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:50 PM on August 20 [9 favorites]


But we're going to get a bunch more war instead of the interesting character interactions and wrap-ups that were the lifeblood of the show to begin with.

Jesus Christ this.
posted by AdamCSnider at 8:51 PM on August 20 [7 favorites]


I figured I'd wait before saying it last week, but now it's so damn obvious: the writers are so clearly done with this show, and have been all season. They've moved on in their heads and now have to finish telling a story they're no longer interested in. You think we've seen perfunctory narrative moves so far? Just wait until they really have to wrap things up. The best we'll get out of them now is a good heartfelt death scene or two, the Dany-Jon fucking scene, which I'm sure will involve all of the writers' best skills, and some "wow that was pretty cool but would have been so much better without all the stupid leading up to it" CGI moments. Like Brandon said above, it's been quite the experience lowering my expectations for a show week after week after week.

Sure looked like Viserion, but if it's Rhaegal, I'll feel at least a little less sad.

Just curious: why? Has the show ever had any characterization of the two lesser dragons that differentiates them in any way? Maybe I missed it or forgot it or something.

(Also, on rewatch that moment when the eye on the wolfhead of Longclaw seems to blink is just a drop of water accidentally splashing on it during John's ridiculous escape from under the ice. The writers probably thought it made a provocative effect or something.)
posted by mediareport at 8:51 PM on August 20 [4 favorites]


Jorah's dragonglass dagger is what finally killed the ice zombie bear, though. Doesn't seem to work too terribly well against the skeletons, but great against the bear.

And I'm right there about how did NO ONE think to bring a bow and a quiver full of dragonglass-tipped arrows?! You're on a stealth mission and you don't think a single ranged weapon might come in handy?

Also — those chains: in strongman training, I have pulled five links of anchor chain, with each link weighing 75#. It is NOT EASY to pick up anchor chain and drag it, let alone shoulder it. If skeletons fall from the impact of a warhammer, then the weight of the chain alone would make the skeletons collapse. And where exactly is all this anchor chain stored? Who attaches the chain to Viserion underwater?

#chaintruther
posted by culfinglin at 8:54 PM on August 20 [13 favorites]


Fuck you, Arya.
posted by Sangermaine at 8:55 PM on August 20 [29 favorites]


Guys. Guys. GHOST HAS BECOME THE POMMEL ON LONGCLAW. That's where he's been all this time!
posted by TwoStride at 8:55 PM on August 20 [4 favorites]


Just curious: why? Has the show ever had any characterization of the two lesser dragons that differentiates them in any way? Maybe I missed it or forgot it or something.

I have no real idea. I just feel attached to the idea of Viserion. I mean, Drogon is mama's favorite and already has enough attention. Rhaegal is named after Rhaegar, who has always seemed like an asshole. God knows Viserys was King of Assholes, but I always found it poignant that Dany named Viserion after him despite everything, like the dragon was a version of Viserys that she could love. The End.

(sniffle)
posted by FelliniBlank at 8:56 PM on August 20 [14 favorites]


Since Arya handed Sansa a blade, after acting all psycho, maybe she's testing Sansa? To see if she's still that scared girl? And if Sansa kills Baelish and cuts off his fact, that'll prove to Arya that Sansa is ok sister and then they can hang out?

It makes not damn sense, does anyone have a clue what the writers are intending there?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:56 PM on August 20 [4 favorites]


I want a spin-off where they document the building of Euron's thousand ship armada. The logistics of that would be fascinating. Lumber drying would be more exciting than the final battle (just kill the Night King), imagine trying to prepare massive quantities of lumber in such an exacting way that it won't unexpectedly bend or crack. My province tried to build a replica schooner and its taken 8 years and 25 million dollars, ships of any sort are immensely complicated, and when you're building 1000 of them everything is in short supply. Everyone involved needs to be a skilled craftsman.
posted by FallowKing at 8:56 PM on August 20 [4 favorites]


And I'm right there about how did NO ONE think to bring a bow and a quiver full of dragonglass-tipped arrows?! You're on a stealth mission and you don't think a single ranged weapon might come in handy?

Especially since even in close combat, you're not going to get near enough to the Night's King to take him out hand-to-hand. Wouldn't you want to have some arrows around just in case you got a decent shot? [sigh]
posted by FelliniBlank at 9:01 PM on August 20


And why did the one wight not drop down like all the other ones when Jon killed the White Walker? GAAAAHHHHH
posted by Sangermaine at 9:02 PM on August 20 [10 favorites]


Yeah, you've got two dragons left. Pull a quick U-turn and just torch the geriatric prog rocker-looking dudes on the horses.

All the zombies will power down and then Jon and Dany can bone on a dragon. The series could end and HBO could take the leftover money to invest in a new fantasy series.

Just end it. There's no way the writers can produce anything that will be even remotely faithful to the early show's potential at this point.
posted by Telf at 9:03 PM on August 20 [4 favorites]


(just kill the Night King)
"The target area is only two meters tall. It's a small blue man with an unfortunate skin condition, riding atop the zombie dragon."
posted by xyzzy at 9:04 PM on August 20 [4 favorites]


And why did the one wight not drop down like all the other ones when Jon killed the White Walker? GAAAAHHHHH

Oh, I got this one. The internet suspects that wights only die if the white walker that sired them is killed. That surviving wight was from another dad zombie. He was just hanging out with this particular shamble at the time.
posted by Telf at 9:05 PM on August 20 [14 favorites]


Why do Whitewalkers wear clothes? Re-watched the dragon raising scene to see how the chains were attached and became fascinated by the amount of buckles on the Night King's outfit.

They all have matching boots and outfits like a Eurovision group. Some of those little buckles would require someone else to help you dress. The Whitewalker help each other get dressed.


Think about it.
posted by Telf at 9:13 PM on August 20 [34 favorites]


They don't need to wear clothes, the choose to because one of their powers is an awesome sense of style.
posted by Sangermaine at 9:14 PM on August 20 [12 favorites]


Agree with every single criticism in the thread (jesus christ that was stupid, most especially Gendry's/the raven's/Danaerys's gold-medal-winning relay race from beyond the wall and back), but--
You know they're not going to kill Jon and his crew.
...I actually didn't. I figured Tormund or Gendry might die. Or Jorah, probably in the middle of a dramatic dragon-rescue scene. I like all those characters (well, Jorah not so much), but don't see how they are essential to the endgame. And it was just incredibly stupid that they all survived (except the priest dude).

The editing was awful, too. It looked like three or four of them bit it, during the bear fight alone.
posted by torticat at 9:16 PM on August 20 [10 favorites]


Where did Jorah come up with a dragonglass dagger anyway (actually it looked like he had two)? Were those the ONLY two dragonglass weapons from Dragonstone that anyone thought to bring along on this mission, or something?
posted by torticat at 9:20 PM on August 20


My favorite explanation for Longclaw's eye opening is that Bran was watching through the sword and then messaged Coldhands somehow.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:25 PM on August 20 [7 favorites]


This piece from The Ringer sums up my frustrations nicely: The Show is Conventional Fantasy Now.
posted by Telf at 9:28 PM on August 20 [5 favorites]


Can we talk about how much of a betrayal of Sansa's character it is for her to even be listening to Littlefinger at this point, let alone fucking *confiding* in him about her feelings? When she turns to him and earnestly asks, "where ever could she have gotten that letter?" I just hung my head in my hands. It's like those few great early scenes this season with Sansa seeing right through Littlefinger never happened.

At this point the only way this damn show has not turned Sansa into a feeble doll (again) would be if the private Sansa/Arya and Sansa/Brienne scenes are actually being staged for Littlefinger's benefit. Which would be hilariously absurd, of course, but no more so than Sansa turning to Littlefinger for counsel in the first place.
posted by mediareport at 9:30 PM on August 20 [23 favorites]


She doesn't need to know that to train her babies to SWERVE when shit comes flying at them!

Because this is HBO, and on HBO kids don't know how to swerve away from arrows. RIP Rickon. Not-Quite-RIP Archery Kid from the Sopranos.
posted by Gary at 9:34 PM on August 20 [5 favorites]


If Arya didn't want her sister peeking at her facebook she should've logged out
posted by oulipian at 9:44 PM on August 20 [52 favorites]


SO MUCH TORMUND, SO SATISFYING. I love Tormund mocking Gendry. I love "Gingers are beautiful. We were kissed by fire." (Like, I might make that my username.) Tormund loves him some Brienne, which I love. And I loved, "How did a mad fucker like you live this long?" (TORIENNE FOR LIFE, I will consider the many hours spent on this show well-spent if they have one glorious night together.)

The Hound has the strongest grasp on reality on this show and I appreciate it. "This one's been killed six times, you don't hear him bitching about it." OTOH he's pretty close to a nervous breakdown north of the Wall here which is not a great moment for a nervous breakdown. (I also LOLed when the Hound staked their captive wight, he has a strong grasp on reality.)

When Jorah said Longclaw should stay with Jon and "your children after you" I felt like pretty clearly he is predicting Jon's children WITH DANY. (Also I might be shipping Jon and Jorah.)

The big battle: It did create in me adequate dread, although I'm considering becoming an icy lake truther. Like probably most of the rest of you when they retreated to the rock I was all "Oh, what a conveniently-located dragon-sized landing rock!" I may have shouted at my television, as the zombies overwhelmed Tormund, "Oh don't you fucking dare, you fuckers! DON'T YOU FUCKING DARE!"

I don't really remember the rules for Arya's faces, but I briefly wondered if she was wearing Sansa's face while sending Brienne away? But I guess people have to be dead for her to wear their faces? I don't really remember. Anyway, never send away Podrick, he is my second-favorite, plus he has a lot of dumb luck.

Part of the problem with the last couple episodes for me is that they're making all the subtext text, and it makes things feel dumb.

Costuming: DANY'S COAT, Y'ALL. DANY'S. COAT. Girl has never done winter before but she is doing winter RIGHT. I assume the internet will be all over it tomorrow, pls to link to costume recaps, thanx.

Night King's lieutenant seems like a pretty sweet job, you get to be relatively handsome for the undead, you get to wear sweet armor, you don't have to go into battle, you just get to stand there and hold the ice missiles, but nobody's really gotten serious about killing you. If I can't be a Westerosi grayscale picker, I'll take Night King's lieutenant.

At the very end, did Jon grab Dany's hand first or vice versa?

And when they started pulling the chains I went, "Oh balls" because there was only one thing that big to pull with chains.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:51 PM on August 20 [22 favorites]


I don't really remember the rules for Arya's faces, but I briefly wondered if she was wearing Sansa's face while sending Brienne away? But I guess people have to be dead for her to wear their faces?

Yes, the faces come from corpses, after the body's been washed and prepared — remember all those tedious scenes of Arya complaining she was tired of washing corpses?
posted by culfinglin at 9:56 PM on August 20 [1 favorite]


At the very end, did Jon grab Dany's hand first or vice versa?

Vice versa. Quality h/c scene, btw. I'd click the kudos button on it.
posted by rewil at 10:00 PM on August 20 [7 favorites]


Eyebrows McGee: If I can't be a Westerosi grayscale picker, I'll take Night King's lieutenant.

I was going to respond to some things upthread but then I hit this... WTF? You are a strange person. I really wonder what kind of a fiction you would write. I mean really. Post links.
posted by yonega at 10:01 PM on August 20 [3 favorites]


That Gendry sure is good at running. Through trackless snow-covered wilderness. Without getting lost. Hmm... Maybe it's all downhill towards the wall. And ravens move at the speed of night, and dragons move at the speed of imagination! So it makes sense that they were only on that island for a day and a night. They didn't even need to make a shelter.

I suppose the Night King is mostly doing drills and training his army of the undead. It's important to have a well trained army, after all.

At least we got to see one of those evil dragons die for a bit.
posted by surlyben at 10:16 PM on August 20 [1 favorite]


Maybe I am not a feminist character, but I totally bought Arya and Sansa's interactions, as someone who . . . has been an Arya. She's a 17 year old girl who has thrown off all conventionality when it comes to performative femininity and who has pretty much defined herself in the most "not like other girls" way possible for her universe (mass murder and wearing the FACES OF OTHER HUMAN BEINGS???!) and I totally believe that she would see Sansa as emblematic of all things that are wrong with the way gender is worked out in her world, particularly when Sansa was formerly such a shit to her specifically about her lack of physical beauty and failure to perform femininity, completely missing the point that Sansa has moved on from that to actual things that matter, like making sure the lords don't turn on her or her brothercousin before he returns.

I actually find it the most believable plot right now. The plan to capture the wight was sooooo dumb. Still not buying Danny and Jonny, though at least Emilia Clarke is selling it better. Kit is still a turnip.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:17 PM on August 20 [11 favorites]


I mentioned my desire to be a greyscale picker before, but Night King's lieutenant just seems like a job where there's not much danger, you don't have to do much, but your clothes are still dapper. It's like the Westerosi version of a Victorian-era British detective sidekick -- follow the important guy around, wear dapper clothes, don't do anything too strenuous. I'd be good at that!

"I really wonder what kind of a fiction you would write. I mean really. Post links."
Link.

posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:17 PM on August 20 [12 favorites]


Sindragosa!

Man, that bear just telegraphed it completely, but still fun to see.
posted by los pantalones del muerte at 10:41 PM on August 20 [2 favorites]


Still, you gotta admit the reveal of the Ice King and his generals on their dead horses glowering at them is a pretty impressive sight without needing any context.

When did the additional general show up? At the end of the last season there was a rather pointed tableau referencing the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
posted by fuse theorem at 10:45 PM on August 20


Who is the guy, btw, who was killed by the bear; and why didn't they burn his body? I'm not talking about Thoros, I'm talking about the man whose body is lying in the snow, and Jon and Tormund stop briefly to look at it before continuing on?
posted by torticat at 10:45 PM on August 20 [2 favorites]


Daenerys dies somehow

Dany will die in childbirth like her mom and Jon's mom, their child will survive to be the Prince that was Promised, and Sansa will live out Catelyn's fate by raising Jon's bastard (and maybe being Queen of Westeros/the North).
posted by asteria at 10:48 PM on August 20 [3 favorites]


I do miss original GoT where characters you loved just died. Even Viserion is still hanging around. At this point, Jorah or Dany or Jon or Jamie should have been shuffled off the board. This is just . . . boring, conventional.
posted by jojo and the benjamins at 10:49 PM on August 20 [4 favorites]


For my money the strongest sexual tension in this episode was between Tormund and the Hound.
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:51 PM on August 20 [25 favorites]


Emilia Clarke is selling it better. Kit is still a turnip

When he was supposedly giving her a very meaningful look, I honestly thought Jon had died. Like maybe he fulfilled his purpose for the Lord of Light and it was over.
posted by zerbinetta at 10:52 PM on August 20 [30 favorites]


When he was supposedly giving her a very meaningful look, I honestly thought Jon had died. Like maybe he fulfilled his purpose for the Lord of Light and it was over.

Same! What kind of direction do they give him??? "That was great, Kit, but remember, you're just getting over pneumonia and near drowning, try to dial back the movement. Maybe hold your breath a bit, and for the love of god, do not blink or move your eyeballs!"
posted by skewed at 10:57 PM on August 20 [7 favorites]


If Arya is not playing Littlefinger then her character

My thought was that maybe Arya was playing Littlefinger—like, literally—when Sansa asked him, "Where did she get the letter?"

And he was all, /shrug "Who knows?" He seemed awfully nonchalant about the chance of her simply asking Arya and her sister in turn simply telling the truth.

"I found it hidden in his mattress. Where else, you idiot."

I like the idea that he's already dead at her hands, completely off-camera.
posted by los pantalones del muerte at 11:06 PM on August 20 [8 favorites]


Todd VanDerWerff managed to boil my whole relationship with the show down to a single tweet:

"Game of Thrones is now a show about the impossibility of making Game of Thrones a show. It’s most interesting as meta-story, to me at least."

I've never been invested in the show on most levels, just interested in seeing how they pulled off the seemingly impossible with a ridiculous budget and a cast that has mostly been incredible.

Which makes my feelings about tonight's episode ... odd? relative to how this thread has been going. This didn't feel like a particularly bad episode. The seams were showing more than usual but none of them burst, but some here and on my timeline on the bird hellsite have been pretty down on it and I can't tell the difference at this point between notionally "good" episodes (meaning they get a positive reaction from people who care) and this.

It's a very weird way of watching a show that is if nothing else unique in my experience.
posted by sparkletone at 11:10 PM on August 20 [5 favorites]


DRAGON POPSACKLE
posted by poffin boffin at 11:17 PM on August 20 [4 favorites]


So aside from all of the stupid ....

ZOMBIE DRAGON

That is the most terrifying thing. Sad though that the plot to get to that was so dumb. Like seriously if Dany had just decided to do a reconnaissance flight to learn about the army of the dead (no dumb capture a wight plan) and was taken by surprise and lost a dragon, that would have been more than fine. So much better and does not require dumb "it's a trap" battle with red shirts.
posted by R343L at 11:21 PM on August 20 [1 favorite]


(no dumb capture a wight plan)
To be fair, capturing the wight was mostly meant to convince Cersei to chillax while we deal with the army of the dead breaking through the wall. Cersei was not about to be convinced by dragon reconnaissance.
posted by xyzzy at 11:24 PM on August 20 [1 favorite]


I'm so late to this but I just finished the episode and I'm so annoyed. It's probably all been said up there, but seriously??

- Jon is the dumbest. When he was standing on that island in despair it's like he's thinking "why am I here again? Why am I such a dumbass?"
- Deus ex Benjen is just lame
- idiot plan is idiotic...what did they think would happen?
- manufactured Jon and dany romance is ridiculous...like...200% fan service
- love that Dany seems to care way more about dumb Jon show than one of her children that she just lost.
- Arya and Sansa storyline is just ugh ...though it's not done yet so maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised. I guess it's kinda good that they addressed Arya practically being a sociopath, though.

I enjoyed all the bromance banter, but this is the first time I really couldn't enjoy the cool action because I was so distracted by all the poor writing/decision making. It made everything ridiculously predictable. GEORGE RR MARTIN COME BACK!!!
posted by sprezzy at 11:28 PM on August 20 [6 favorites]


It's kind of interesting to me that some of us here see Kit Harrington as the turnip. I actually can't read Emilia Clarke's face at all. I can tell she's emoting but I can never tell what. So, Daenerys always just looks vaguely bemused or disgusted to me and I end up inferring her feelings from the context.

Since I can read Jon, this is the first episode I've believed he was into her although.. him bending the knee on his recovery bed, I can't accept it. Is he just going to make whoever saves his life his overlord? Whatever happened to the north knows no [monarch] but the [monarch] in the north whose name is [currently Snow].

Someone could steal my loyalty if she'd stop beefing with her sister right about now.
posted by yonega at 11:30 PM on August 20 [1 favorite]


I feel like given my relative remove from the show that I should state my groundless, wild-ass theory about where we're headed: Via some means or other, Winter King and his dragon winter south, turn basically all of King's Landijf and Cersei becomes Winter Queen. And the rest is just a big fight between Dany and Jon and co and them.

I really don't think that's how it'll go but it's the most ridiculous thing I can think of right now so it seems as likely as any other thing I can think of.
posted by sparkletone at 11:33 PM on August 20 [2 favorites]


Jon was submerged in freezing water for minutes? Nah, he's just a little cold, some blankets have him good again in a little bit.

I thought that there was maybe a little bit of a what-is-dead-may-never-die thing going on with Jon? They made a point of showing Dany -- and us -- his wounds today, and they have not healed. Compare to Beric: he's gnarled and scarred, yes, but he's not still carrying gaping unhealed mortal wounds. Jon's resurrection seems a lot less complete: like he's still partly undead.

They do really need to stop doing the sinking, sinking, sinking deep underwater ... WAIT NO HE'S OK trope though.

I also found the editing of the fight scenes confusing. Wait, who died now? Oh, never mind, another anonymous befurred redcoat.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 12:14 AM on August 21 [8 favorites]


I did enjoy the A Very Special Episode feel of the first half: all our most grizzled characters hiking in the snow and Talking About Their Feelings.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 12:19 AM on August 21 [21 favorites]


I liked the last couple of episodes, personally, although they certainly weren't without problems. This one not so much, although some of the banter between the ice mall walkers was fun. Also, it was very satisfying to see my zombie dragon prediction come true. But, yeah - lots of dumb plot contrivances this time. Like, Euron was totally rolling his eyes at the whole episode.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:29 AM on August 21 [1 favorite]


At the very end, did Jon grab Dany's hand first or vice versa?

Vice versa. Quality h/c scene, btw. I'd click the kudos button on it.


On watching again, he does grab her hand first, right after waking up. Then they talk a bit and she returns the favor after he mentions bending the knee.
posted by rewil at 12:45 AM on August 21


Also, where's Theon? Three episodes ago he came back to Dragonstone to ask Dany for help in rescuing Yara.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:52 AM on August 21 [2 favorites]


The Stark sisters have to conspire to be the end of Littlefinger, it's karmic payback for Littlefinger messing with the Tully sisters Catelyn and Lysa.

They've been banging on about Dany's distrust of Varys and Tyrion so hard this season, she has to be betrayed somehow at the big showdown next week, leaving it an open question which of the two is responsible - is it Tyrion trying to win back favour with his estranged family? Or Varys realizing Dany's gone mad king and deciding to throw in his lot with a northerner?
posted by aiglet at 1:00 AM on August 21


Ugh ugh ugh, so fucking irritating. The only thing that was really good was the Beyond The Wall Field trip, but even that I kept being taken out of by these goddamned time differences.

Like: "we'll freeze to death!" Okay, how long does it take for you to freeze to death? Wouldn't you have done some of it by the time Gendry has fucking RUN ALL THE WAY TO EASTWATCH? And then the raven FLIES ALL THE WAY TO DRAGONSTONE, on the OTHER END OF THE WORLD, and Dany flies back with all three dragons, and Jon and Company have only had, like, what, one night's sleep? NO NO NO NO NO.

Also, Arya just leaving faces out for funsies? Again no.

I do love how amused the Hound is about Tormund's Brienne of Tarth crush, and have written my own fanon about how the reason the Hound saved Tormund is because even though he fought her, he kind of respects Brienne, and empathizes with her, and wants her to go have babies with that giant hunk of ginger man-meat.
posted by corb at 1:32 AM on August 21 [11 favorites]


WHERE DID THEY GET THOSE DRAGON-DRAGGIN' CHAINS YA’LL?

They sent a raven to Iron Islands Ironworks - "your order guaranteed overnight because time's a little flexible around these parts".
posted by scalefree at 2:03 AM on August 21 [12 favorites]




Just watched the ep. Observation: Well that was hot garbage. It's not even worth being enthusiastic enough to be passionate about any more, it's just a bin bag full of stale rolls behind a bakery in an alley in the gutter in the rain.
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:48 AM on August 21 [9 favorites]


I liked the Lord-of-lightsabres. They were fun. Super goofy, but fun.

I would dearly hope that Sansa has taken some levels in political schemer, but maybe she's going for a glower based build instead of building it around Leaning Proficiency and Skulking Proficiency.
I really liked early on there were characters that were deadly fighters and also equally skilled political characters.
Like, Margaery was a valerian steel weapon wielded by Oleanna.
It's time Sansa used her experience and joined their ranks.

Viserion was the bad dragon because he was named after the on-screen prince of sulking.
He was always going to turn evil, it was baked in.

Also isn't Jon like, a fire zombie now?
So maybe that's why he didn't drown?

Actually, that's a point, If Dany represents fire, and the night king is ice, is Jon somewhere in between?
Luke warm water?
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 3:52 AM on August 21 [4 favorites]


I'm on Team Dany Can Die, now. All these seasons of 'they are my children!' and having them faithfully follow you around (once they got over their teenage rebellions) and do what you ask, then Viserion dies in front of her and her reaction is, quite literally, nothing. I thought for a shot she was looking stricken but it turned out she was actually emoting at the sodding puddle Jon fell into.

Ditto when she was standing on the wall in tears. I thought she was taking a moment to mourn and react to that but... just having Feelings about Jon.

It's utterly bizarre to have this character not react or speak a word in this episode about her self-proclaimed child dying. (To the extent of Jon himself seeming to attach more emotional importance to it than she does.)

The writers are terrible. I vote for Drogon and Rhaegal to go reunite with Viserion and between the three of them, burn the whole thing down.


...Ghost can come too.
posted by pseudonymph at 4:10 AM on August 21 [21 favorites]


The writing is bizarre. I don't buy what is happening between Dany and Jon for a moment, and wtf is going on with the Arya and Sansa stuff? It's so forced and hammed in.
posted by yueliang at 4:42 AM on August 21 [6 favorites]


This season is definitely reminding me why I generally--having been burned long, long ago as a young nerd with the Wheel of Time books--avoid beginning any book series that hasn't been finished yet. Because time and time again, the plots will just turn to garbage as we all realize a thin plot has been milked too far and someone else is now trying to wrap things up. This served me well when I realized that tv shows like Lost had no idea where they were going or how to finish up and I bailed in the first season, but GoT snuck past my defenses anyway. Sigh.
posted by TwoStride at 4:45 AM on August 21 [11 favorites]


I thought that there was maybe a little bit of a what-is-dead-may-never-die thing going on with Jon? They made a point of showing Dany -- and us -- his wounds today, and they have not healed. Compare to Beric: he's gnarled and scarred, yes, but he's not still carrying gaping unhealed mortal wounds. Jon's resurrection seems a lot less complete: like he's still partly undead.


Yes. This is what I got out of the episode. Especially the part where Jon is stumbling around zombie like and none of the other zombies pay any attention to him until he raises Longclaw in the direction of the big bad zombie leader.

Westroes morality might be flexible enough for a little aunt/nephew action but how well the citizenry feel about live/undead couplings?
posted by rdr at 5:02 AM on August 21


Sometimes stuff gets included in trailers that doesn't make it to the screen. So that's also a possibility.

Right, like when Balki paints Larry's face with the roller.
posted by lkc at 5:03 AM on August 21 [33 favorites]


Fun fact. Thanks to GOT I now know avunculate marriage is legal in Australia. Dany and Jon, move it down under if you know what I mean.

Given the current discourse on marriage equality in this country. Sheesh. Westeros looks progressive by comparison.
posted by arha at 5:14 AM on August 21 [2 favorites]


Night King's lieutenant just seems like a job where there's not much danger, you don't have to do much, but your clothes are still dapper.

Another selling point: you could plausibly rock a Flock of Seagulls hairdo.

They sent a raven to Iron Islands Ironworks - "your order guaranteed overnight because time's a little flexible around these parts".

Excuse me, I believe you meant to say zombie raven.
posted by FelliniBlank at 5:15 AM on August 21 [3 favorites]


Oh , and Summer zombie direwolf? Could it happen? I'm calling it, season 8.
posted by arha at 5:16 AM on August 21


In addition to book and show only threads, can we make a separate "haters only" one?
posted by about_time at 5:38 AM on August 21 [19 favorites]


Still, you gotta admit the reveal of the Ice King and his generals on their dead horses glowering at them is a pretty impressive sight without needing any context.
posted by Burhanistan
Gunter! Where did you get that skull? I thought I made the rules perfectly clear!
posted by DoctorFedora at 5:59 AM on August 21 [7 favorites]


I still think it's impressive, and fitting with the "anyone can die" ethos of this show, that this season they decided to kill off our collective suspension of disbelief.

also most of the writers room I'm guessing
posted by mrjohnmuller at 6:09 AM on August 21 [13 favorites]


💭, as the kids emoji these days:

- Having Benjen save Jon, rather than Rhaegar, is such a missed narrative opportunity. It would have made such perfect sense, especially since Rhaegar is so totes MIA and doesn't do anything onscreen after Viserys (RIP you shiny gold winged beauty)

- The show decided to use how much time showing us what was essentially pointless, fan service locker room talk, rather than anything that would, y'know, HELP MAKE SENSE OF THIS FUCKING NARRATIVE AND CHARACTERIZATION TRAINWRECK. It's storytelling malpractice.

- That said, I think it's important to separate out the following:

A. What we want narratively for characters because we like them (Sansa and Arya become friends and murder Littlefinger)
B. What should happen narratively as a consequence of the characters and what has happened O them
C. What should happen narratively as a consequence of the things that have happened before
D. What actually does happen

In good storytelling, B and C drive D, which results in us getting A even if the things that happen aren't what we oroiginally want. It strikes me that a lot of the frustration with the Sansa/Arya storyline is the result of clumsy storytelling, but part of it too, is that this show in this season has been all about immediate gratification. See the locker talk. See putting the big battle in the first part of the season. See all the fun people have been having with the show. And it led us to believe that A (immediate bonding and trust and fun stabbytimes) rather than what makes sense for Sansa and Arya, as two victims of intense, sustained trauma who didn't like or trust each other to begin with, working in a patriarchal system while being manipulated by a dude who had their far older, shoulda-been-far-smarter dad AND mother dancing like puppets.

Tl;dr: I would have been deeply disappointed if Arya and Sansa had immediately forgotten their pasts and their history and not spent most of the season at loggerheads against each other. Remember that the theme of this entire SEASON has been how hard it is to let go of the past -- Jon and Danerys, Danerys as individual and as Targaryen, Tycoon as Hand to Dany and as a Lannister, Jaime and his history as the Kingslayer and his history with Cersei, etc., etc., etc.,
posted by joyceanmachine at 6:26 AM on August 21 [8 favorites]


Watching this with my wife last night, and our comment when the dragon died was, "If he kills it, can he KEEP it?" (guess so!)

The editing was really sketchy there, though - I wasn't completely sure whether one dragon got away or two. I guess they didn't want to animate both dragons flying away at the same time as a distance shot?

The time scale was really fuckin annoying.
posted by rmd1023 at 6:31 AM on August 21 [2 favorites]


Also, I really REALLY want to watch this episode again with Leslie Jones. BRING ME 'GAME OF JONES', TELEVISION PEOPLE!
posted by rmd1023 at 6:33 AM on August 21 [7 favorites]


Was I the only one who LOLed when Arya intimated that she could steal Sansa's face and impersonate her? Because she'd have to figure out how to grow at least a whole foot taller in order to pull that off.
posted by Strange Interlude at 6:45 AM on August 21 [5 favorites]


We need someone to go back across the snowy wastes. Should we send Tormund or another wildling, someone who's spent his life ranging this terrain while dodging white walkers? Or should we send the city kid whose never seen snow? Good grief.

When the Hound was standing round with that hammer, my wife and I were going smash the ice smash the ice, make a moat. And then he did smash the ice! Once. Then threw the hammer away.

I really liked the bit where the Night King threw his ice spear - that was cool.
posted by OrderOctopoda at 6:45 AM on August 21 [7 favorites]


The ending will be both dragons and all armies killing each other in unison

Then Bran wargs into Rhaegal after Icerion and Drogon are both dead and flies off, we see the entire continent of Westeros bathed in ice, no living creature stirring

Bran forever warged into the last living dragon, alone, forever = A Song of Ice and Fire

That or he wargs into the Night King trying to stop the war and gets stuck in there forever, killing everyone he ever loved while human

Bran is totally ASOIAF, all this shipping we do over possible couplings and legacies is just a sea of red herrings!
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 6:50 AM on August 21 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I figured making a moat would be a smart thing to do. So of course they didn't do it.

Although, completely unrelated, man, they've done a great job dressing Danaerys this season but that coat was absolutely top notch. *fabulous*
posted by rmd1023 at 6:53 AM on August 21 [1 favorite]




Tl;dr: I would have been deeply disappointed if Arya and Sansa had immediately forgotten their pasts and their history and not spent most of the season at loggerheads against each other.

I don't care that they're fighting. I care that they're fighting for such incredibly contrived, artificial reasons. Like, we had an actual scene of Littlefinger skulking in the darkness and leaving a letter around for Arya to pick up--it's just so artificial. The reason that Arya/Sansa storyline bothers me is two-fold. One is that it's obviously stalling. It's not authentic character development, they just have nothing else for the Stark kids to do until Jon gets back, so they made up some silly drama to keep them occupied.

And the second is that the way it's written conforms so much to misogynistic tropes of how women relate to each other. I could totally buy Arya and Sansa getting to know each other as adult women who have been through a lot of shit and not liking each other. They have very different personalities. But the conflict they've written seems to be so based in cattiness and jealousy, which strikes me as absurd. Practically every time Arya talked to Sansa this episode, she mentioned "pretty dresses." It's just so stupid. Arya may have always been a tomboy but she was never portrayed as despising femininity and I hate that so much of her dislike of Sansa on the show seems to be rooted in this. I also feel like after five years of rape, torture, murder, the slaughter of their entire family, etc., there would be some more complexity and substance to their disagreements than "pretty dresses." These are two complex, fascinating young female characters and they've turned their dynamic into something really stupid and simple and tired.
posted by armadillo1224 at 7:08 AM on August 21 [32 favorites]


The U.S. Olympic Team on Twitter: Anyone have the Night King's contact info so we can recruit him to throw javelin? #GameOfThrones

That had to be a magic, spell-enchanted, self-propelled, dragon-killing ice-spear, right? Apparently the Night King has superstrength in addition to greenseeing and ability to raise the dead. Which cool but I wish now that they've gone full-sword-and-sorcery they would do some explication. Like maybe one episode this season of Bran travelling through time again.
posted by dis_integration at 7:11 AM on August 21 [1 favorite]


I really liked the bit where the Night King threw his ice spear - that was cool.

Dude was totally using his other hand like a proper targeting reticle. Also, what is the name of the organ thingy in dragons that generates their flames? Looks like he scored a hit right on it.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:17 AM on August 21 [1 favorite]


Was I the only one who LOLed when Arya intimated that she could steal Sansa's face and impersonate her? Because she'd have to figure out how to grow at least a whole foot taller in order to pull that off.

My impression is that the magic involved in the face dancing or whatever includes height and voice and hair and alla that. Arya successfully impersonated Walder Frey, remember.

(Also was not expecting actual literal bag full o' faces.)
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:22 AM on August 21 [6 favorites]


So one thing I keep thinking about still this morning is Brienne. Sansa and Littlefinger have a conversation which boils down to "Brienne has to protect both of you, maybe even from each other", and then Sansa sends her away? And is kind of bitchy about it, to boot? Is this Littlefinger somehow plotting to get her out of the way so that he can try to assassinate Arya? I'm so confused.
posted by tryniti at 7:29 AM on August 21 [3 favorites]


And I'm on Team Arya and Sansa Are Pulling One Over On Littlefinger. Just because their feud has become so over-the-top obnoxious with Arya menacing Sansa and telegraphing so obviously I Am Totally Going To Kill This Bitch And Wear Her Face. That has to be for Baelish's benefit, no? It's going to be the big HA HA FOOLED YOU opener for the final season. So, to sum up:

Danaerys and Jon: Will bone, produce miraculous demi-god child
Arya and Sansa: Will wreak vengeance upon Littlefinger
Cleganebowl: Will happen, will end in Cleganedeath all around, but with the Hound redeeming himself in the process
Brienne and Tormund: Never going to happen, ficcers start your fix-it engines
Jamie and Cersei: Fratricide oncoming
Jamie and Brienne: Reunited and it feels so good, if you know what I mean and I think you do
Dragons: all dead by the end because fire-breathing death-chickens is a shitty foundation upon which to build a new more enlightened dynasty
Tyrion: Forever Alone
Bran: Who the fuck even cares
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:31 AM on August 21 [15 favorites]


And the second is that the way it's written conforms so much to misogynistic tropes of how women relate to each other. I could totally buy Arya and Sansa getting to know each other as adult women who have been through a lot of shit and not liking each other. They have very different personalities. But the conflict they've written seems to be so based in cattiness and jealousy, which strikes me as absurd.

It seems zero contrived or misogynistic to me. I heard friends speculate that Sansa was trying to lead for exactly the same reasons Arya cited this episode, particularly seeing her as power hungry or evil because her hair styles looked like Cersei's and because she was so, so mean to Arya early in the books and show that they have continued to dislike her.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:34 AM on August 21 [2 favorites]


One of the earliest comments in this thread suggested that the Night King can also see into the future, like Bran.

That actually makes a lot of sense. It might be the only interpretation that isn't infuriating. It sort of explains having chains around. This was all part of his plan to get the dragons over the wall.

It would also explain why a dude who can make ice spears and throw them with perfect accuracy at 1,000 FPS didn't just pick off the people surrounded on the island.

Maybe it's all planned out.... Probably not though. The writers have just given up. They've made their money and want to get it over and done with.
posted by Telf at 7:42 AM on August 21 [7 favorites]


Oh I totally think that Valerian steel knife Bran gave Arya will be used on Baelish and that Bran knows this.

The problem is why is it taking so long to do? Arya can impersonate him, so why the wait?

Why is Sansa able to hand out killer burns to Baelish earlier in the season, but now just crumbles under questions from Arya? Sure, sure, it could be because there's truth to what Arya is saying and Sansa is uncomfortable with that. The same Sansa that pointedly told Jon not to try and save Rickon (her brother) at the beginning of the battle of the Bastards, he was already dead, don't get emotionally attached at this critical moment, etc.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:50 AM on August 21 [1 favorite]


My impression is that the magic involved in the face dancing or whatever includes height and voice and hair and alla that. Arya successfully impersonated Walder Frey, remember.

Yeah there are apparently no limits to face-magic which is why it's totally baffling that faceless men aren't actually in control of all the great houses. I remember the last few seasons of DS9.
posted by dis_integration at 7:53 AM on August 21 [9 favorites]


I also feel like after five years of rape, torture, murder, the slaughter of their entire family, etc., there would be some more complexity and substance to their disagreements than "pretty dresses."

There are a lot of complex reasons for them to fight. What I really wish is that we had gotten scenes of them telling what had happened to them and fighting over /that/. Like - Yoren got Arya out through loyalty to Ned, but left Sansa to her own devices. Sansa was a vehicle to kill Joffrey - taking away Arya's vengeance - but did so only unknowingly. Arya having deaths granted her by a Faceless Man and failing to kill anyone important. Sansa playing house with Littlefinger and Robin Arryn in the Vale. So many reasons that aren't "lol you like nice things".
posted by corb at 7:58 AM on August 21 [12 favorites]


It's pretty typical of someone Arya's age to say dramatic things and then stomp off without finishing the conversation, though. She's what, fifteen or sixteen at most? Even teenagers who didn't witness their father's execution and spend much of their formative years training with a bunch of insane assassins are not very pleasant and reasonable. To me it's completely believable that Arya would be annoyed with Sansa's whole thing, and that when Sansa tries to explain and ask rational questions Arya dramatically flounces. This is exactly what life was like in my household growing up. Except my little sister never pulled a dagger on me and threatened to take my face, but you know.

I think Sansa does know what Baelish is trying to do and I hope she's able to convince Arya of it soon, because I hate that slimy dude worse than anyone else on the show.
posted by something something at 8:07 AM on August 21 [5 favorites]


I bet that Arya/Sansa scene was staged for Littlefinger's benefit to see what he does when he thinks the sisters are at each other's throats...
posted by Automocar at 8:15 AM on August 21 [3 favorites]


Arya v. Sansa without all the teenaged/shitty writing dramatics is basically the left in the US right now. Yes, we all acknowledge that we are in the midst of a serious national crisis. But Sansa is like, "Look, we have to work within the system we've got and that means someone has to be Lady of Winterfell and someone has to keep the bannermen from wandering off, and someone has to keep the Knights of the Vale from fucking off back to the Aerie and that someone has to have a title and look the part for any of those people to care. Shit's complicated, dude." And Arya is all, "BURN IT THE FUCK DOWN, EVERY LAST STICK. I can't believe you're sitting here playing Important Noblewoman when THERE ARE MOTHERFUCKERS TO STAB and none of this nobility means shit because everything is shit and you're shit and it's all shit, we're drowning in shit!"

But, I still think a lot of the more histrionic elements of this argument are for show, for Littlefinger's benefit.
posted by soren_lorensen at 8:17 AM on August 21 [11 favorites]


I just wonder what the White Walkers and the army of the dead do all day. Do they spend all their time standing perfectly still with menacing aspect? That's what they're doing whenever we see them. Is there a whole White Walker society? They've got those huge chains so maybe they can forge things which takes a lot of skill. Maybe in fact it will turn out that there is a thriving, egalitarian White Walker society built on the ethical use of zombie labor (undead, uncaring, basically automation) instead of the exploitation of regular people and so what seems like aristocracy to people who are deeply a part of Westeros society are actually just normal guys. If you're used to Westeros where everyone's constantly fighting to get ahead, you might be completely incapable of looking at a meritocracy and understanding what it is, but maybe this is like a bunch of aldermen from a representative democracy and every White Walker over the age of something gets a vote and they just keep voting in the Night King because they believe he is truly the best person to lead them (or maybe the terms limits are really long so like he's only been elected to the post of Night's King twice but each term is 6,000 years). Also possible that there's been more than one Night's King and this is just the person currently occupying the office but if winter had come six months ago it would have been a Night's Queen. Perhaps the original Night's King turned his back on the human world in disgust because he saw the way people were treating each other, the war and the madness and the suffering and the slavery and the misery, so he decided to build a new, better society from the ground up. I feel like there's a lot to support this theory; the army of the dead doesn't have feelings so they won't mind working and maybe everyone who is sentient has a respected role in White Walker society and everyone else just literally can't comprehend this so they assume that the White Walkers are evil. Maybe the White Walkers have healthcare and a good social safety net and they want the ice dragon to help run the ice treadmill that powers their ice homes. At the end of the day the Night's King 's lieutenants (or aldermen or whomever, I'm figuring this out as I type) go home to their ice families and their kids run up to them being like "daddy daddy daddy" (or "mommy mommy mommy", they might be women, hard to tell with the armor, they do have long hair) and the White Walkers hold their beloved children close and think about how it's hard and scary but they're proud to be fighting against the evil humans with the cruel, class-based system that is threatening their way of life and it will turn out they were the good guys all along.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 8:18 AM on August 21 [48 favorites]


So on top of all the other complaints, here's one of mine from last night. The costume design has been pretty cool in previous seasons. Then last night Dany goes from her black leather outfit to a beautiful perfect snowy grey travel up North outfit.

Who made it?

We haven't seen a single servant in Dragonstone and even if she brought some from MEreen, would they know how to make north of the wall wear?

It just seems like more backsliding into "typical fantasy." Suddenly the perfect outfit materializes without any indication of how it could happen.
posted by miss-lapin at 8:23 AM on August 21 [5 favorites]


I'm hand-waving it as magic non-heavy ice chains (that are dark coz sometimes ice is dark)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:35 AM on August 21 [1 favorite]


it will turn out they were the good guys all along

They've already sort of done this once with the Wildlings, right? Everyone thinks they are bloodthirsty barbarians that the Wall protects civilization against, but it turns out they are... well mostly bloodthirsty barbarians, but cool and nice ones.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:38 AM on August 21 [2 favorites]


So the zombie dragon shouldn't be able to fly, right? It looked like it took severe injuries to one side of its body including a wing, and human wights retain whatever injuries they had when they died.
posted by Sangermaine at 8:41 AM on August 21 [3 favorites]


the White Walkers hold their beloved children close and think about how it's hard and scary but they're proud to be fighting against the evil humans with the cruel, class-based system that is threatening their way of life and it will turn out they were the good guys all along.

And every once in a while they're out for a stroll in the forest and they find a human baby and are like "What the fuck, humans, your babies can't live out here" but when they try to go and talk to the humans about this the humans just freak out, so they kindly take the baby and turn it into a White Walker so it won't die.
posted by Sangermaine at 8:46 AM on August 21 [20 favorites]


A back story on the White Walkers would be nice, for character development. As it is now, they don't make sense. Cersei at least makes sense. WW? Nah.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:48 AM on August 21 [1 favorite]


Watching How Game of Thrones Made a Zombie Polar Bear Might Be the Best Part of Last Night's Episode

Lines of the day (paraphrasing):

"Fuck you, you can't afford a zombie polar bear"

"Goddamnit, no, we're going have the zombie polar bear this year."
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:59 AM on August 21 [4 favorites]


True story, one of the Wildings extras has more lines here than at in the episode.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:06 AM on August 21 [1 favorite]


WHERE DID THEY GET THOSE DRAGON-DRAGGIN' CHAINS YA’LL?

The people from The Scar were done with them?

Is there any real-life historical precedent for "reinforcements arrive from hundreds of miles away just in time to join a battle already in progress"? We've seen this at least three times in GoT.
posted by kurumi at 9:14 AM on August 21 [2 favorites]


The GoT wiki page on this episode has notes regarding plot holes and other issues. The frustration from the person writing it is almost palpable.
    Dragons traveling to the Wall
    • It is utterly implausible and outright absurd that Daenerys and her dragons could reach the Wall in the one or two days, at most, that Jon's group was trapped by the White Walkers. The distance from the Wall to Dragonstone is half a continent – Cersei even stated in dialogue that Westeros is "a continent" two episodes ago in The Spoils of War. The Title sequence of the TV series itself even visually depicts a map indicating the vast distance between Dragonstone and the Wall. There is no possible in-universe explanation for this. Given that the showrunners have admitted that the Wight Hunt doesn't even happen in future novels, it appears that they just wanted to have Daenerys swoop in to save Jon, without thinking out the logical repercussions - i.e. something as simple as, without a raven, Daenerys changed her mind and decided to head North to help Jon, in which case she could have spent over a week flying to the Wall catching up with them. Instead, the episode clearly establishes that Gendry had a raven sent from the Wall to Dragonstone, and then Daenerys flew her dragons to the Wall after receiving the letter, in enough time to save Jon's party while they were trapped on the island in the frozen lake.
      • Utterly ignoring, for the sake of argument, that the top flight distance and speed of dragons has never entirely been confirmed, the speed of the messenger-raven network across Westeros has been established. Even giving the over-generous assumption that Jon's group survived at most two days on the island in the ice lake (and it seems more like one, until the ice refroze), and that dragons can fly from Dragonstone to the Wall in a single day, this would be claiming that a messenger-raven sent from the Wall could reach Dragonstone in at most a single day. Prior seasons have repeatedly shown that the messenger-raven network isn't nearly the fast, with messages taking days or sometimes weeks to cross large distances – particularly, the distance of half a continent from the Wall to Dragonstone (Dragonstone is roughly about as far from Eastwatch-by-the-Sea as King's Landing was from Castle Black in prior seasons). Even this is assuming that it wasn't one raven in a direct flight, but fresh ravens spreading the message to new castles in a chain (i.e. like a human messenger switching to a fresh horse at each new castle he passed so he could ride for two days in a row, instead of staying on the same horse and tiring him to death).
    • Earlier in Season 7, writer and staff loremaster Bryan Cogman was repeatedly questioned by fans over Twitter that certain characters are moving around too fast in Season 7, rushing to get them where they need to be for plot points without thought to realism. Cogman countered that these were still plausible movements, given that they avoided saying how much time passes between episodes (i.e. for all we know, it took Grey Worm months to reach Casterly Rock from Dragonstone, and ships travel faster than land armies). The week before this episode aired, however, he quit Twitter and closed his account, so he can't field any new questions about this major time compression.
    • Linda Antonsson, co-author with George R.R. Martin of The World of Ice and Fire sourcebook, commented on this after the episode. She calculated (based on flights from Dragonstone to King's Landing) that it would take a dragon about 28 hours flying continuously at top speed to travel from the King's Landing/Dragonstone region to the Wall - which she regarded as implausible, because a dragon can't fly continuously for that long. This is comparable to saying a horse could plausibly reach a destination if it ran at a full racing-speed gallop for 28 hours straight: mathematically it could, but it can't physically maintain that speed for even remotely that long. She went on to say, however, that the raven network is so much slower than this (as confirmed by better citations), that there is no plausible way one could carry a message from the Wall to Dragonstone in enough time for Daenerys and her dragons to react to it, then fly to save Jon. She concluded, "This would be the Game of Thrones episode where they broke the plot so badly that suspension of disbelief is well and truly dead."

posted by zarq at 9:19 AM on August 21 [28 favorites]


I want to see Ghost. :(
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:21 AM on August 21 [4 favorites]


BTW, there's a lot more on that linked wiki page. Including sections on Winterfell, Dragonstone and the Wight Hunt/Battle
posted by zarq at 9:22 AM on August 21 [1 favorite]


Arya v. Sansa doesn't strike me as being misogynistic, at least not in the sense of being based on false gendered stereotypes that are harmful and hurtful to women. Instead, it seems pretty accurate for how women have conflict within misogynistic systems -- like, yeah, Arya is focusing on these little details, like Sansa taking over their parents' rooms, or how Sansa is dressed like the Queen in the North she basically is with furs and a chatelaine while Arya is dressed in , like a fucking leather apron or wtfever. But it's because those are things that a misogynistic, patriarchal system teaches girls to focus on and channel all their pent-up emotional rage into. Social signaling. You-think-you're-better-than-me. Who wears what dresses. Re-litigating the fact that back in the day, Sansa was hurtfully dismissive of Arya's interest in non-feminine things, and that Arya's primary sources of affection and validation were her dad and Jon, and that if they could understand why Arya was the way she was, why couldn't Sansa????

Even the escalation struck me as pretty realistic from that POV. Arya has spent the past couple years basically murdering her way out of everything. Does a problem appear? She murders. Like, this is a girl who, every night before she goes to bed, recites a list of the people she is going to murder. Frankly, it would have been surprising to me if she hadn't threatened violence against Sansa at some point this episode.

But maybe, y'know, I'm Littlefinger or something, and easily swayed.

(Side note: I assumed that Arya knew Sansa was going to be sneaking into her room, and that she left the faces out because it would SCARE THE SHIT OUT OF ANYONE WITHIN TWO STANDARD DEVIATIONS OF NORMAL.)
posted by joyceanmachine at 9:24 AM on August 21 [4 favorites]


Watching How Game of Thrones Made a Zombie Polar Bear Might Be the Best Part of Last Night's Episode

The last line of that kind of says everything about the angst over the plot of this episode: "flaming garbage can puppet."
posted by Burhanistan at 9:25 AM on August 21 [2 favorites]




I want to see Ghost. :(


Ghost is on a farm upstate with Ser Pounce and Ser Ilyn Payne.
posted by drezdn at 9:26 AM on August 21 [12 favorites]


Just shared my theory with a coworker and he said "Yeah, a lot of people think that" so he can go straight to hell.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 9:34 AM on August 21 [5 favorites]


There is indeed some awesome snark at the wiki.
On the other hand, such speculation occurred all too frequently in past seasons to try to explain what turned out to simply be plot holes or inconsistent writing: i.e. all of the fan theories that Talisa's behavior with Robb Stark seemed odd because she was really a Lannister spy. The TV writers later admitted that they rewrote the Robb Stark/Talisa relationship into a romance (which it isn't in the books) primarily for the out-of-universe reason that they wanted to show off Richard Madden (Robb) as an actor. Therefore it is equally possible that Arya is uncharacteristically making dark speeches threatening to kill Sansa in this episode…purely because the TV writers wanted to show off Maisie Williams, the actor, chewing the scenery in a dark speech scene, with no thought to the character repercussions.
posted by corb at 9:38 AM on August 21 [14 favorites]


Given that the showrunners have admitted that the Wight Hunt doesn't even happen in future novels...

I know people think the money he's getting softens the blow considerably, but I still can't help shedding a small, icy tear for George Martin when I think about him watching this episode.
posted by mediareport at 9:43 AM on August 21 [7 favorites]


Arya v. Sansa doesn't strike me as being misogynistic, at least not in the sense of being based on false gendered stereotypes that are harmful and hurtful to women. Instead, it seems pretty accurate for how women have conflict within misogynistic systems -- like, yeah, Arya is focusing on these little details, like Sansa taking over their parents' rooms, or how Sansa is dressed like the Queen in the North she basically is with furs and a chatelaine while Arya is dressed in , like a fucking leather apron or wtfever. But it's because those are things that a misogynistic, patriarchal system teaches girls to focus on and channel all their pent-up emotional rage into. Social signaling. You-think-you're-better-than-me. Who wears what dresses. Re-litigating the fact that back in the day, Sansa was hurtfully dismissive of Arya's interest in non-feminine things, and that Arya's primary sources of affection and validation were her dad and Jon, and that if they could understand why Arya was the way she was, why couldn't Sansa????

Honestly, I think this is a very well-reasoned and subtle theory but after seven seasons of this show, my faith that the writers have this much insight into and capacity for introspection about gender roles and femininity and women's relationships with each other is zero. I'm sure this is a possible interpretation but I very much doubt the writers of this show wrote the scenes between Arya and Sansa with any of this in mind. I'm pretty sure they just thought, oh two girl characters, of course they would be petty and jealous and vindictive and fight about pretty dresses.
posted by armadillo1224 at 9:48 AM on August 21 [8 favorites]


Re: the accusation of misogyny in the Arya/Sansa fight, it's worth re-linking Sarah Mesle's take about last week's episode in the LA Review of Books (she and Aaron Bady have been collaborating on episode reviews and they're some of the smartest critics of the show). Sarah admits what she wants is in large part wish-fulfillment, but then goes on:

What I would like, at this moment in history, is for some of my viewerly wishes to be fulfilled, and my viewerly wishes include, at this late date in the show’s narrative, letting the women who have suffered and learned have some chance to triumph, together.

Why not? Is it so impossible that we could have some beautifully made television where the ladies got the super impossible fantasy plotline? Is it so impossible that maybe Arya actually is smarter than Baelish, while also being a virtuoso fighter?

Why do the makers of this show think it’s fun, or in any way entertaining, to sit with the dread of Sansa and Arya hurting each other?


Note: that last point remains even if the show does a gotcha turnaround that has Arya and Sansa fooling Littlefinger and the show's viewers all along.
posted by mediareport at 9:56 AM on August 21 [10 favorites]


It's lonely here at this table for one, but I really don't feel any desire to see Arya and Sansa form a loving duo and "triumph" together.

Why would Arya and Sansa ever even like each other? They've never been on the same wavelength and their priorities and values are at odds, too. That's become more rather than less true as they've gotten older and gone their own ways in life.

I find it weird that just because they're both women of around the same age and have a blood tie, they're supposed to be buddies.

Their interests are aligned because they're both pro-Stark. But that's pretty much it. So I basically expect lots of miscommunication and distrust between them, as ever, but also a commitment to some kind of alliance based on their shared interests.
posted by rue72 at 10:09 AM on August 21 [6 favorites]


I'm curious about why Sansa sent Brienne away, though.

Personally, if I were Sansa, I would be ready to send Arya to Jon. Let him deal with her shit. Nobody else in the North has time for that. Don't think that's even on Sansa's radar as a possibility, though. Maybe she thinks Jon is dead?

And I'm very curious about what the hell Arya meant when she gave Sansa the knife as though Sansa had won the game of faces. I figured that was Arya saying that Sansa had fooled her, but I don't know what Arya thinks Sansa's true nature is at this point. Of course she was also trying to intimidate her, so...Confusing.
posted by rue72 at 10:14 AM on August 21 [2 favorites]


What would be great is if the Ice Dragon breathes ice instead of fire. The White Walkers take it to the wall -- but it breathes ice all over it and makes the wall even stronger. Oops! FOILED AGAIN!!1! says the Night King.
posted by rue72 at 10:17 AM on August 21 [11 favorites]


Now I have a dragon
Ho-ho-ho
posted by monocultured at 10:17 AM on August 21 [20 favorites]


Oh my gods, a dragon is trying to eat the sun! Must be Viserion.
posted by homunculus at 10:32 AM on August 21


>Now I have a dragon
>Ho-ho-ho

This was my exact thought too.


As for the whole logical inconsistencies about raven and dragon travel, I figure that somehow Bran helped things along. He'd only have to see it happening and then warg into a raven at dragonstone and let them know.. somehow? Although I think it works better if Dany just takes off on her own with no prompting, but they didn't write the scene that way.

I also think there must be thermal vents or something so that lake water was slightly warmer than just a regular lake would be, which is why it took days for it to freeze again.

But undead dragons really should be the name of the trope for writing massive plot holes into your episode which can only be explained by the desire to show something cool onscreen. As in, "of course it makes no sense, but look -- Undead Dragon!"
posted by Catblack at 10:33 AM on August 21 [1 favorite]


Why would Arya and Sansa ever even like each other?

Because they've grown from the people they both were six seasons ago, when they last saw each other?

I mean, I get it: there's a sustainable interpretation of the continued rivalry that mostly depends on Arya being an inflexible emotional child, while Sansa is at least trying to grow from her tortuous history. What would be nice is if the side defending that interpretation also acknowledged there's an equally sustainable interpretation of the two of them working together - as previously rival sisters, sure, but also as fucking sisters who've been through the mill and are surprised they both survived - that the show's writers have decided not to explore.

If it turns out that they've been conniving together all along (a ridiculously clumsy narrative twist), I'll look forward to the response from the current "but they've always hated each other!" folks.
posted by mediareport at 10:34 AM on August 21 [1 favorite]


Is it so impossible that maybe Arya actually is smarter than Baelish, while also being a virtuoso fighter?

Yes. But luckily there's no need for that: Arya can be the virtuoso fighter and Sansa can be the brilliant tactician and manipulator after having learned from her many experiences, and can best Baelish who clearly underestimates her.

Why would Arya and Sansa ever even like each other? They've never been on the same wavelength and their priorities and values are at odds, too. That's become more rather than less true as they've gotten older and gone their own ways in life.

I find it weird that just because they're both women of around the same age and have a blood tie, they're supposed to be buddies.


That's an odd way of saying "they're sisters". They should learn to work with each other because they live in a shitty, awful world full of uncertainty and death. The one and only rock both of them have to cling to right now is family: each other. Being able to rely on each other, and settle into Winterfell, is vital to both of them. They're both finally home, really home, after enduring terrible abuses. It's just silly to throw that away over petty squabbles.
posted by Sangermaine at 10:39 AM on August 21 [9 favorites]


Is there any real-life historical precedent for "reinforcements arrive from hundreds of miles away just in time to join a battle already in progress"? We've seen this at least three times in GoT.

Sure, all the time, Waterloo for example.
posted by nicolas léonard sadi carnot at 10:44 AM on August 21 [2 favorites]


Arya and Sansa fighting this way makes no sense, not because they can't conceivably hate each other, but because THERE IS NO POINT TO IT.

Both the threat of revealing the note and the fear of the note being revealed are... nonsense. That note is not pivotal to anything, it was written by a child held hostage in an attempt to save her father's life. Whatever leverage Arya thinks she has is entirely because of Sansa's own insecurities about her role in Winterfell and she is using that leverage to do what, intimidate Sansa so she won't steal the throne from Jon? All the while ignoring the fact the THEY BOTH mistrust Littlefinger and therefore would be on high alert for scheming and treachery. Why send Brienne away, at that point? WHY?

It only makes sense if they are playing Littlefinger but, and this is the HUGE but, I have zero trust in the writers to make sense at this point. They are just cutting corners and making the characters act stupid in every conceivable circumstance to advance the plot. I have no trust in the writers not to write shit, which is at this point very very disappointing.
posted by lydhre at 10:50 AM on August 21 [3 favorites]






What would be nice is if the side defending that interpretation also acknowledged there's an equally sustainable interpretation of the two of them working together - as previously rival sisters, sure, but also as fucking sisters who've been through the mill and are surprised they both survived - that the show's writers have decided not to explore.

That is not true at all to my experience of being a tomboyish younger sister to a beautiful older sister where there is also other trauma. In fact, continued dysfunction and rivalry is a lot more believable, especially considering they're--what? 17 and 19?

I don't know. Consumers of fiction often want to fast forward through trauma and the healing of trauma and the realistic results of trauma* but Arya is a character who has mired herself in toxic hatred of perceived enemies and given the fact that she and Sansa have been apart for years, that the last time they saw one another, Sansa was still being a shit to her, and that Arya's grown more ruthless and hardened since then, this feels pretty grounded in the actual characters and the things that have happened to them.

I think they could still figure out how to work together--in fact, I think they will. But given the text of the show, this is honestly one of the more realistic plots of the show right now. Yes, they could be friends. But that would be a fairytale.


*This is totally my own personal bugaboo, too, with a lot of fiction and my own experiences in publishing. But man. They haven't had anything resembling therapy at all, they're teenage girls who have been through hell, and their relationship wasn't healthy to begin with. In real life, these stories are not uplifting. And in a way, it feels comforting to not have it be, not right away. Like, oh, I've been there. I've been Arya. It's not a nice place or person to be but it's very real.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:26 AM on August 21 [12 favorites]


I'm sure this is a possible interpretation but I very much doubt the writers of this show wrote the scenes between Arya and Sansa with any of this in mind. I'm pretty sure they just thought, oh two girl characters, of course they would be petty and jealous and vindictive and fight about pretty dresses.

Frankly, I don't give a shit what the show runners and writers intend. They didn't intend to have Jaime raping Cersei by the body of their dead son a couple seasons back. That doesn't change the violent assault that showed up on screen.

I mean, I get the feeling of anger at seeing how Sansa and Arya are treating each other. When Mr. Machine and I did our re-watch, we saw the part about Sansa and Joffrey by the river, and how Sansa acts when Joffrey starts to bully Arya and the commoner boy she is playing with. It's horrifying. I actually got super-angry with the show, because I had such a hard time accepting that's how Sansa would actually have acted if she had been actually as deeply traditionally "feminine" and into ballads and shit as the canon wants us to believe, and also thinking that's how misogyny leads dude creators to think that a "pretty sister" and "tomboy sister" would act to each other.

And that's totally possible. There is a deep and ugly thread in GOT/ASOIAF of the male writers and/or showrunners having contempt for traditionally feminine women, and/or no idea of how women have historically resisted or actually responded to a brutally patriarchal society.

But on measured response, on actually honestly asking myself how much of my response is because of how I feel about my little sister in 2017, and what I was actually like as a teenage girl who was generally more like Arya, and how I felt for many, many years about girls that I perceived as being more Sansa-like, and how I acted in those situations where I perceived myself to be the Sansa in a situation with an Arya -- yeah, no, it's plausible for Sansa to treat Arya that badly. Similarly, it's plausible for Arya to treat Sansa as badly as she has now.

If you wouldn't expect the Hound to team up or reconcile with his older brother, even if he weren't, ah, how we say, zombie-fied, it may be worth interrogating why your response to Arya/Sansa is different -- and if the answer comes down to, "But I want a different story for ladies just once!", I get that. I want happy endings for ladies, too.

From my point of view, though, demanding it here in the compressed-so-we-get-dick-jokes season means depriving both Arya and Sansa's arcs of their weight. And all joking aside, that's what I want most for those characters, even more than I want, idk, for them to hug it out over the bleeding-out body of Littlefinger.
posted by joyceanmachine at 11:58 AM on August 21 [11 favorites]


[sniffle] Every time people talk about Summer and Ghost, it makes me think about Shaggydog. Poor little Shaggydog! [sob]
posted by FelliniBlank at 12:01 PM on August 21 [8 favorites]


Poor Grey Wind, too.
posted by tomboko at 12:23 PM on August 21 [1 favorite]


And Lady! This would be something real for them to resent each other for, what happened to their wolves.
posted by tomboko at 12:24 PM on August 21 [3 favorites]


That's an odd way of saying "they're sisters". They should learn to work with each other because they live in a shitty, awful world full of uncertainty and death. The one and only rock both of them have to cling to right now is family: each other. Being able to rely on each other, and settle into Winterfell, is vital to both of them. They're both finally home, really home, after enduring terrible abuses. It's just silly to throw that away over petty squabbles.

Because they aren't sisters in any sense beyond having a blood tie. They're essentially strangers, and they never had a loving or constructive relationship even when they were children. Now that the stakes are higher and they're even more set in their (IMO fundamentally incompatible) perspectives, they're probably going to have an even harder time working together than when they were kids, not less.

I also don't think that their problems are petty squabbles. They're not just trying to settle into Winterfell, they're trying to govern it, and they have very different ideas about how that should be done and even about who has the right to do it. Arya evidently thinks that diplomacy is weakness, and that the use of force legitimizes a leader's right to rule. Sansa evidently thinks that political relationships are valuable assets, and that a leader's right to rule (and even ability to rule) is obtained through mutual agreement. Those political differences and some good old resentment/ambition are why Arya is threatening to use that old note to trigger an insurrection against Sansa, as far as I can tell. All of the major houses -- including the Starks -- have had major power struggles like this earlier in the series, and I don't know why Arya and Sansa should be immune. I don't particularly want them to be immune, frankly.
posted by rue72 at 1:01 PM on August 21


What I find obnoxious about how Arya is dealing with this is mostly how macho she's being in throwing her weight around with Sansa. Like how she's trying to weaponize this old note that is basically a symbol (to both her and Sansa) of Sansa's helplessness and weakness as a woman (bride-to-be), AND she's combining that with what to me basically reads as tons of pissing contest bullshit. "Pissing contest bullshit" as in: that story about the (phallic symbol) arrow that Arya kept shooting at the target and that finally got a bull's eye, and how their father applauded her shooting and "knew" that Arya was different. To me, that sounded pretty much the same as Euron's speech at the Kingsmoot about how he should rule because he had a big cock and knew how to use it. Like, "I'm more of a man than you so I should have the power." The confrontation between Arya and Sansa over the "faces" also had that big phallic symbol of a knife -- but I didn't entirely understand what Arya was trying to say in that scene, to be frank.
posted by rue72 at 1:18 PM on August 21 [9 favorites]


The more I think about it, the more I believe this season could have used another episode, composed mostly of Sansa and Arya hashing their shit out. Or at least trying to.

In my mind the episode wouldn't necessarily end with them becoming friendly or even close, but acknowledging that they're at Winterfell for a mutual purpose, to rebuild the Stark home and cement their family as the leaders of the North. That could be the basis of them working together and in time, maybe becoming closer. I could Sansa going out her way to try to do sisterly things to and for Arya, such as having her favorite food made or giving her a hug outta the blue.

Kudos to Maise Williams though. She managed to project a lot of menace one moment and then when Sansa called her out on not saving Ned either, you could ripples of the scared child in denial moving across her face. Williams is a hell of a talent.

I'm hoping Arya being such an asshole about everything will be resolved as she comes to terms with why she did nothing against the Lannisters, even when she had the chance. That's what's driving a lot of her attacks on Sansa, her own guilt in being ineffectual. But the writing hasn't shown itself to be up to that quality of nuance, so I'm not getting my hopes up.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:25 PM on August 21 [3 favorites]


soren_lorenson: I can't believe you're sitting here playing Important Noblewoman when THERE ARE MOTHERFUCKERS TO STAB

Well, when you put it that way... GO TEAM ARYA! Count me as a solid "yes" on motherfuckers getting stabbed in Westeros.
posted by invincible summer at 2:25 PM on August 21


How did you all know it was Viserion?

For me, it was because I read some of the pre-season leaks so I knew Viserion would die and also everyone online is saying it's Viserion. Theoretically, Viserion should be white/gold and Rhaegal should be green-ish and I think Drogon is supposed to be black, but apparently they decided it would be more fun to make the two smaller dragons indistinguishable from each other.
posted by litera scripta manet at 2:32 PM on August 21 [2 favorites]


I like how Kylo Ren turns up right in the nick of time at the end, efficiently mows down about a dozen zombies with his fat censer, gives Jon a horse, doesn't get back on the horse, doesn't have time to explain anything, then immediately dies while flailing pathetically. I was writing shit like that when I was thirteen.
posted by turbid dahlia at 2:33 PM on August 21 [13 favorites]


Even knowing it was going to happen, I was still really sad about Viserion's death, and it was surprisingly brutal to watch him bleed out in mid air. And the worst part was seeing his eyes close right before he slipped into the water.

But actually, I started crying tears of joy when Dany showed up because I knew it meant Tormund and the Hound were finally safe, and I was so afraid that they were going to kill off Tormund.

I was a nervous wreck starting from the moment when the Hound asks Tormund how a "mad fucker like him is still alive" and Tormond is like, "because I'm good at killing" and I was like, "Nooooo." Because that kind of dialogue is equivalent to the the "reminiscing about dead Targaryans" (RIP Selmy) or "we'll talk when I return" (RIP Ned and Benjen) curse of death.

And then Tormund lived! And so did almost everyone else! So that was a relief, but at the same time, having Thoros be the only named character (other than Viserion) to die in this episode makes about as much sense as Bronn not being burned to death in episode 4.

(Okay, now I have to finish reading this thread. Just had to get this off my chest first.)
posted by litera scripta manet at 2:37 PM on August 21 [4 favorites]


Theoretically, Viserion should be white/gold and Rhaegal should be green-ish and I think Drogon is supposed to be black, but apparently they decided it would be more fun to make the two smaller dragons indistinguishable from each other.

Yeah that was good. Even the arcade game Golden Axe was able to apply different colour palettes to the exact same characters.
posted by turbid dahlia at 2:37 PM on August 21 [2 favorites]


Sansa evidently thinks that political relationships are valuable assets, and that a leader's right to rule (and even ability to rule) is obtained through mutual agreement.

The show really hasn't examined this at all, and they've been pretty busy playing up the Sansa/Cersei connection, but she was clearly influenced by Margaery, too, who knew that political alliances and being liked are valuable.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:48 PM on August 21 [5 favorites]


Why is Tyrion so interested in succession? Where is that leading? So many references recently to Dany not being able to have kids must mean she'll get pregnant.

I loved this part of the episode, actually. In one of my long Dany rants in a previous episode thread, this is one of the things I brought up, so I was glad to see Tyrion bring it up, and also annoyed but not surprised that Dany shot it down.

If her supposed reason for taking over Westeros is to break the wheel and take back the throne from the usurper line and look out for the small folk, who comes after her is a super important question given the fact that she can't have kids (as far as she knows. Like most people, I assume she can and will have kids with Jon, but she doesn't know that). She could win the throne and die the next day and it would be total chaos. Or even 5 years into her reign.

Even Jaime brought this up to Cersei in the first episode when she started talking about launching a dynasty. Of course, Cersei's answer was, screw it, who cares what happens after us, which makes sense for her character, especially since Jaime and Dany are essentially fighting a war for their own survival. But Dany chose to come to Westeros and claims to want to do more than just be another spoke on the wheel of power, so they absolutely should be working these issues out.

I also loved how Tyrion mentioned her "losing her temper" at times, and she responds by getting pissed off at him for suggesting such a thing.

Sorry, I swore I would tone down the Dany rants both because as a women I feel guilty about singling out a female character and also when Dany flew in on a dragon and saved my precious ginger muffin Tormund, she suddenly became my favorite character ever. I guess that's worn off now, though.
posted by litera scripta manet at 2:54 PM on August 21 [5 favorites]


One of the biggest idiocies in the Arya plotting to me is that she had A List. Sansa is not on the List. The fact that Arya's raison d'etre, killing the people on the List, has somehow been channeled into hatred of Sansa is stupid. I'm fine with them not getting along. I'm not fine with the stupid way in which Arya now looks like a crazy person instead of a wounded, vengeful person. She fucking worked for Tywin Lannister in order to save her own ass AND because of the List. She should understand going along to get along in order to survive. She chose the path of Family vs. Revenge and now she's at Winterfell being manipulated into insane fighting with her sister. Apparently there's something in the water at Winterfell that makes both a trained shapeshifting assassin and a politically savvy associate of Petyr Baelish suddenly very gullible and easily led.
posted by oneirodynia at 3:00 PM on August 21 [6 favorites]


I should probably mention that I actually enjoyed this episode, despite there being a number of things that made no sense whatsoever. I'm a sucker for seeing charatcers I love talk to each other, and there were a lot of great "beyond the wall" conversations, especially between characters who never interacted before now.

We've all been waiting for a long time to see Jon and Jorah have that talk about Longclaw, and my heart broke for poor Jorah when he mentioned Jon's children having it, because I think he's assuming those will also be Dany's children. Poor Jorah has resigned himself to never having his romantic affections returned, and seems to have made his peace with spending the rest of his days serving Dany. Jorah is a very tragic character.

On a lighter note, I love the Hound and Tormund, especially their discussion of Brienne. But also Tormund showing a combination of strong empathy but also no verbal filter when he talked about the Hound having "sad eyes". And it's a sign of the Hound's character arc that he restrained himself from strangling Tormund on the spot. And then they even had that mutual "bro nod" at the end of the episode when the Hound was heading off to King's Landing.
posted by litera scripta manet at 3:03 PM on August 21 [5 favorites]


So when Jon and Dany were having their heart to heart at the end of the episode and Dany says, "These dragons are the only children I'll ever have. Do you understand?" was anybody else thinking that she was implying "We can have sex without worrying about me getting knocked up!"

I mean, I don't actually think that was what she was going for, but it's the first thing that occurred to me when she said it.
posted by litera scripta manet at 3:16 PM on August 21 [7 favorites]


From a character perspective, the one thing that bothered me the most wasn't the Arya/Sansa bickering, it was a conversation between Jon and Tormund at the start of the episode when they talk about Dany wanting Jon to bend the knee.

Tormund says something like, "How maybe people died because of Mance Rayder's pride?" which feels like a total retcon of all these character arcs. Neither Jon nor Mance are doing this out of pride, and Mance says as much to Jon. Both of them believe that their people won't follow them if they bend the knee to a Southern king/queen, and I think both of them were right about this. Jon's already facing a possible mutiny just for going to visit Dany, even when his reasons make total sense.

Tormund of all people should understand this. After all, he was one of the free folk her worked closely with Mance. It's ridiculous to have him say something like this.

Also, I'm pretty sure Mance is the only one who died because of "Mance Rayder's pride" since Jon became Lord Commander and decided to bring the free folk to the other side of the wall, which is the best Stannis could offer. And even then, a lot of them didn't want to come until the wights attacked the camp. A huge number of wildlings did die at Hardhome, but that seems unrelated to whether or not Mance decided to bend the knee.
posted by litera scripta manet at 3:27 PM on August 21 [13 favorites]


Was I the only one who LOLed when Arya intimated that she could steal Sansa's face and impersonate her? Because she'd have to figure out how to grow at least a whole foot taller in order to pull that off.

Yeah, just to second that I don't think the faces are, like, Scooby-Do style rubber masks. I assume that the same magic that lets one put on a face also projects the appropriate body-type that went with it.

And unrelatedly, another brief moment of joy for me in the show was when The Hound was tossing rocks at the wights and missed with the second, bigger rock and was all, "oh fuck" as that seemed to be the signal to start the charge, for whatever reason. Like, I just love the idea that the wights are there rotting away and taking forever to march and can't fix any of their fancy buckles anymore, but by god they are still gonna get pissed if you throw a rock at them.
posted by TwoStride at 3:41 PM on August 21


TwoStride: not to ruin your moment of fun, but I think what the second rock did was signal to the wights that the ice was once again solid enough to attempt an assault across.
posted by Navelgazer at 3:44 PM on August 21 [15 favorites]


Can someone give me one good reason why Jon fucking Snow would, in that moment, call her Dany? It makes no goddamn sense that he would, no one calls her Dany and besides he would never presume or take that liberty. What the hell, the more I think about it the sillier it is.
posted by lydhre at 3:53 PM on August 21 [23 favorites]


Yeah the Dany thing pissed me off. Jon was raised around nobles and would not presume to call a queen "Dany".
posted by oneirodynia at 3:59 PM on August 21 [3 favorites]


Jon's bad at flirting and it's clear they are in a different kind of interpersonal situation by that point. It didn't bother me at all, particularly in that her objection wasn't to the lack of formality (showing that the familiarity itself was fine) but in the associations that nickname had for her (which feels like more realistic early awkward flirtation than this show's had for a while.
posted by Navelgazer at 4:20 PM on August 21 [2 favorites]


One of the things that was so frustrating about the human/raven/dragon relay race was that there is a more plausible way to get the message to Dany that's consistent with previous story elements: the former Three-eyed Raven used to communicate with Bran and Jojen by sending them visions, so presumably Bran has the same power now and he may be even better at it since it's been implied that Bran has more raw power than ordinary greenseers had. From his bird's eye view Bran could have seen that the Brotherhood Without Brains was heading towards the Army of the Dead shortly after they left Eastwatch (or before, if Bran has precognition), and he could have started sending visions to Dany to get her to start moving earlier. It could have also been an interesting way for Bran and Dany to meet. It'd still have been a stretch, but it would have been better than throwing out the map entirely.

> They knew that they wouldn't get a dragon unless they waited around. I feel like the night king can see the future like bran or something, after bran encountered him in his vision

Has that been established about Bran? I don't remember him ever looking into the future, but maybe I've just forgotten.
posted by homunculus at 4:24 PM on August 21


The only explanation I came up with for this awful Sansa-Arya dynamic is this: They both are independently plotting against Littlefinger, and each is worried that the other will interfere with her scheme before its fruition. As much as I'd want it to be so, I can't believe they're acting together against him. Some of their disagreements have been in private, presumably away from eager (paid) ears, so I have to conclude that some of the animosity is genuine and not for Petyr's benefit.

Do I have faith the writers can pull even this off? No.
posted by The Nutmeg of Consolation at 4:28 PM on August 21 [3 favorites]


a monstrous she wolf: What you missed on 7x06 of Game of Thrones

ALL THAT ROWING HAS PREPARED ME FOR THIS DAY
posted by homunculus at 4:32 PM on August 21 [1 favorite]


The only explanation I came up with for this awful Sansa-Arya dynamic is this: They both are independently plotting against Littlefinger, and each is worried that the other will interfere with her scheme before its fruition.

yes splendid I was hoping GoT would become more like Three's Company
posted by prize bull octorok at 4:35 PM on August 21 [11 favorites]


It is utterly implausible and outright absurd that Daenerys and her dragons could reach the Wall in the one or two

It's a pretend fairy story, with the tiniest inspection little holds up in any variety of science, fairy rules or anything. Cartoon beach book, don't think too hard no just don't think, let the scary were-polarbear scare a boo. It's being taken way too seriously. It's a ghost story for the home theater set. Boo. Let the dragons and costumes wash over.


Now a serious question: Why did Danerys suddenly decide to wear white for the flight to the north?

 
posted by sammyo at 4:42 PM on August 21


Now a serious question: Why did Danerys suddenly decide to wear white for the flight to the north?

Camouflage




(ignore the black dragon... and all the blokes in black)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:49 PM on August 21 [2 favorites]


Ah, logical, thanks. ;-)
posted by sammyo at 4:54 PM on August 21


I was hoping GoT would become more like Three's Company

I fear this might be the best outcome we can hope for in Winterfell. Oh, the comedy of Sansa and Arya laughing off the situation while standing over Littlefinger's headless and be-stabbed corpse! They can even do a freeze-frame shot of them laughing together while they roll the credits.
posted by The Nutmeg of Consolation at 5:27 PM on August 21 [4 favorites]


In the season finale, I want to see Brienne grudgingly riding south towards King's Landing, sounding off to Pod, when he says something about Bears or Pits or Jamie's golden hand or something that makes Brienne flash back, and so she turns and gallops back to Winterfell to take out Littlefinger her damn self because dammit she's pledged to protect both Catelyn's daughters and LF is a threat to both of them.
posted by Navelgazer at 6:13 PM on August 21 [3 favorites]


So one thing I keep thinking about still this morning is Brienne. Sansa and Littlefinger have a conversation which boils down to "Brienne has to protect both of you, maybe even from each other", and then Sansa sends her away? And is kind of bitchy about it, to boot? Is this Littlefinger somehow plotting to get her out of the way so that he can try to assassinate Arya? I'm so confused.

Yes, this was very confusing, yet I feel like we should be able to figure it out. Littlefinger notes that, should Sansa or Arya try to hurt each other, Brienne would be honor-bound to step in. Sansa agrees. Then she sends Brienne away (with a calculating look after Brienne's back is turned).

So: Littlefinger's motivation--Continue to drive a wedge between the sisters. And get Brienne out of the way--I think that was the purpose of what he said to Sansa. I doubt he expects Sansa to kill Arya, but maybe lock her up or something?

Sansa's motivation--this is obviously the hardest. Maybe she does want Arya locked up. That doesn't work, though, because if Jon returns and she has Arya in a cellar, there will be hell to pay. Also, she watched Arya flip the dagger, handle toward Sansa, so I don't think she ultimately distrusts Arya. So why does she want Brienne out of the way?

Sansa clearly doesn't want Brienne intervening between her and Arya. So, why? Does she think Arya might take Littlefinger's face, and that Brienne might then harm Arya trying to protect Sansa? This actually might make the most sense of her a) understanding Littlefinger's motivations; b) trusting Arya while knowing her capabilities; and c) moving Brienne and Pod out of danger's way and also out of the way of harming her sister in case her sister takes Littlefinger's face.

I have no idea, though, really. Just speculating.
posted by torticat at 6:15 PM on August 21


NB: I don't really think anything I suggested above is going to happen; it would be too complex for the showrunners to contemplate. In show-world, Sansa probably really IS pissed at Arya, barely even registered the dagger flip, and is sending Brienne away so that she can stick Arya in a cellar because the sisters are just so estranged like that. And Arya will escape somehow, since she is a magic ninja, and rescue Sansa from something or other (presumably LF) proving their eternal love and unbreakable family ties.
posted by torticat at 6:21 PM on August 21 [3 favorites]


I also loved how Tyrion mentioned her "losing her temper" at times, and she responds by getting pissed off at him for suggesting such a thing.

I miss Dany and Tyrion having their good Ruler/Hand talks. I thought she'd be a little warmer to him as she was leaving Dragonstone because it was obvious that he was concerned about her, not just the kingdom.

So when Jon and Dany were having their heart to heart at the end of the episode and Dany says, "These dragons are the only children I'll ever have. Do you understand?" was anybody else thinking that she was implying "We can have sex without worrying about me getting knocked up!"

I actually thought she might be saying, "You'll never be a father if you fall in love with me."

The idea that you'd write an episode of GoT where Dany loses one of her dragons and not include a scene of her mourning the dragon is absurdly bad writing. It betrays everything we know about the character.

I detest the Arya/Sansa tension, but I do have faith that they're not going to leave those characters at odds. I just want it reconciled in some way where they reach an understanding of one another, even if there's no familial love regenerated.
posted by gladly at 6:23 PM on August 21 [4 favorites]


I figured that Sansa was sending Brianne away because she can see that littlefinger has a plan to use her somehow, and wants to thwart it by taking her off the board.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 6:26 PM on August 21 [2 favorites]


Well, I think also that her stated reason for sending Brianne is pretty legit also. I wouldn't go to KL if I were Sansa. No way.
posted by Golem XIV at 6:44 PM on August 21 [1 favorite]


No--no way does Sansa go to KL. Still, you have to explain the look on her face after she turns Brienne away.

Maybe she just totally ships Jaime & Brienne!!
posted by torticat at 6:48 PM on August 21 [5 favorites]


I thought it was even odd that Brienne would be urging Sansa to go given the history. Brienne could've been written a bit more stronger and sharper, alas.
posted by Burhanistan at 6:58 PM on August 21


> Maybe she just totally ships Jaime & Brienne!!

Here's hoping, but I imagine that Brienne is the only person she trusts (and to do a competent job) so she's the only resource she feels comfortable committing to parley with Cersei - the deficit to her personal physical safety be damned.

Or maybe she trusts Arya to fill that role (as in, knowing more than she lets on, from the shadows - which is an unreasonable conjecture given what we've seen). Add-on to this is that publicly Brienne is acknowledged to be Sansa's physical defense, but they aren't super close (emotionally).

Thinking about this from Brienne's point of view; Jaime's on the losing side and might be saved if he's willing to be traitor to his side, Tormund is on a suicide mission on the rational side (which she might not be cognizant/aware). What is the rational/emotional pick, in her boots?

If I was Sansa? Depends on how much I know about my kid sister Arya.

Baelish might not have a lot of people avenging his premature death, but plausible deniability can be milked for sympathy from skeptics/fence-sitters.
posted by porpoise at 7:16 PM on August 21 [1 favorite]


The idea that you'd write an episode of GoT where Dany loses one of her dragons and not include a scene of her mourning the dragon is absurdly bad writing.

This one thing didn't bother me that much, but now that you mention it, this would have been a great Dany/Jorah scene. Even more than with Jon Snow, I feel like Jorah is the one person she feels most able to open up to, because of everything they've been through and how devoted he is to her. The only other person who fills this role is Missandei, but obviously she's not around right now.

In fact, I think Jorah's betrayal of her really marked a turning point for her character, where she hardened herself even more than before, and refused to open up with other people.

You could have even worked it into the scene where they're standing up on the tower at Eastwatch.

However, I also totally buy that Dany has learned how to bury her feelings, and she probably feels like she needs to maintain this front until she gets back to Dragonstone and can grieve privately. She also may still be somewhat in a state of shock. So yeah, of all the things that bugged me about the episode, this was the least of them, but I think it's a valid complaint.
posted by litera scripta manet at 7:43 PM on August 21 [2 favorites]


So one thing I keep thinking about still this morning is Brienne. Sansa and Littlefinger have a conversation which boils down to "Brienne has to protect both of you, maybe even from each other", and then Sansa sends her away? And is kind of bitchy about it, to boot? Is this Littlefinger somehow plotting to get her out of the way so that he can try to assassinate Arya? I'm so confused.

I have a hard time coming up with a motive that isn't too convoluted for what the show is going for or one that doesn't have Sansa going in a direction I don't want her to. Although I do like torticat's idea that Sansa doesn't want Brienne to kill Arya as Littlefinger.

I mean, if Sansa is really afraid of Arya, then sending Brienne away was a terrible idea. I still think it's not a great idea because I worry about Sansa's safety, but I also think Brienne is the best person to send, since she's the one person Sansa can really trust and Brienne's relationship with Jaime should help protect her. And we know Brienne is one of the only people other than maybe Tyrion who can at least temporarily break Jaime out of his Cersei trance.

(As much as I love Tormund's infatuation with Brienne, I have to admit I'm still shipping Brienne/Jaime, although I think Brienne and Tormund should hook up at least once just because he clearly thinks she's the hottest thing ever.)
posted by litera scripta manet at 7:50 PM on August 21 [1 favorite]


I did read a theory somewhere that maybe Arya has already stolen Littlefinger's face, so Sansa's conversation with Littlefinger was actually Arya with Littlefinger's face, which is an interesting twist, although you'd think Arya would have mentioned that before handing over the dagger, since Sansa would either use the dagger on Arya or Littlefinger.

Of course, Arya probably isn't too concerned about Sansa succeeding in killing her, but I could see handing over the dagger as a sort of test to see where Sansa's loyalties really lie.

If Sansa did try to sneak up and kill Arya, then obviously she's an enemy and Arya needs to get rid of her. If Sansa tries to kill Littlefinger, well then that tells Arya that she can trust Sansa on some level.

And if Sansa somehow improbably tried to kill Arya (or vice versa), that might finally be enough to make me rage quit this show.
posted by litera scripta manet at 7:52 PM on August 21


Cogman countered that these were still plausible movements, given that they avoided saying how much time passes between episodes (i.e. for all we know, it took Grey Worm months to reach Casterly Rock from Dragonstone, and ships travel faster than land armies)

This is my feeling as well; prior to this episode you could make the timelines work if you assumed that there were days and weeks passing both within and between episodes. Things like Jon traveling to Dragonstone would take roughly as long as Sea Ramsay making it around via sea to Casterly Rock. They didn't include any nice Indiana Jonesesque red lines on a map with time passing to indicate this but it could work... but not in this episode. There is literally no way the timeline as presented in this episode works.

So we're left with two options, to give up and ragequit watching or to decide that no, the timeline broke this episode, and to just rewrite it in our heads and move on. Obviously having waited to find out how the story ends since the mid 90s (and with even this episode containing some very fine character beats) I'm going with the latter. But they better get the timeline under control pronto.

It's amazing how much the progression of the TV series has mirrored the progression of the books in terms of losing control of various aspects. The difference, of course, is that you have hard deadlines on a TV show so instead of just not finishing it they throw what they've got on the page up onto the screen and pray.
posted by Justinian at 7:56 PM on August 21 [6 favorites]


All of the above said,

"This would be the Game of Thrones episode where they broke the plot so badly that suspension of disbelief is well and truly dead."

Elio Garcia and Linda Antonsson have never really been on board with the TV adaptation so I take anything they say with a grain of salt the size of Antarctica. Remember when the entire series was utterly ruined because of something having to do with Dany's visions in the House of Somethingsomething over in Whateverville? Yeah, I'm a book/show fanatic and I can't even remember the names of the places that apparently ruined everything for them!

posted by Justinian at 7:59 PM on August 21 [2 favorites]


House of the Undying! That's it! House of the Undying in... Astapor? No... uh, I guess we'll stick with Whateverville.
posted by Justinian at 8:00 PM on August 21 [2 favorites]


I remember the last few seasons of DS9.

Glory to you... and your HOUSE!
posted by juiceCake at 8:05 PM on August 21 [4 favorites]


(sorry for spam posting but I think this is on point enough...)

The director for this episode, Alan Taylor, addresses the timeline issue as well as makes some other comments in a brief interview with Variety. TL;DR - yeah the timeline is bullshit but we hoped the excitement of the plot would overcome that.

*Ron Howard Narrator Voice* It Didn't.
posted by Justinian at 8:06 PM on August 21 [12 favorites]


Given that every voyage seems to be much quicker than we expect, is it possible that Show Westeros is just much smaller than Book Westeros? I remember reading somewhere that it would all make sense if Westeros was a large island (like Great Britain sized) instead of a continent. That's the headcanon I've adopted to let me breathe a little easier.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:12 PM on August 21


It seems about the size of Greenland, and maybe there are six more similar sized island-continents, each with seven fucked up kingdoms and insane gods and GRRM will live to be 300 and will tell the story of all of them.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:22 PM on August 21


she was clearly influenced by Margaery, too, who knew that political alliances and being liked are valuable.

I think that the show has dealt with this somewhat, in that Sansa has been pretty open that she thinks that political power lies in alliances.

She's been very preoccupied with the bannermen and keeping their loyalty, and she's very conscious of just what everyone brings to the table in terms of the overall alliance between the Northern houses. I mean, she's the one who brought up this episode that she was the one who won the Battle of the Bastards because she was the one who got the men from the Vale, she's the one who has brought up that it's the Stark family/mythos that these houses are loyal to, etc. Arya was initially misreading that as Sansa saying that she's the one with the power because she's the one with the Stark name and the Vale alliance, etc, but really, I think Sansa is saying that there is power in the alliances themselves, and that her priority is therefore to preserve those alliances.

It's also interesting because that's in such contrast to Dany or Cersei, who have been willing to wipe out whole houses without a thought and have done little to nothing to nurture alliances. Tyrion was calling out Dany about that in this episode -- I think that was part of his point about succession.

But then Dany did make an alliance with Jon in this episode, so maybe her priorities are changing a little.
posted by rue72 at 8:31 PM on August 21 [1 favorite]


My issue this week in terms of Dany and Jon's comings and goings was pretty much the same as last week in terms of Jaime and Tyrion's. Why not just have Dany go up with the Zombie Squad in the first place, if she was going to have to go up there like ten minutes later anyway, especially since having her go up ten minutes later was way more convoluted and silly? Just like, why not have Jaime just be taken prisoner and create the space for a Tyrion and Jaime tete-a-tete that way, instead of doing the thing of having Jaime miraculously wind up back home and Tyrion have to sneak in to chat?

But I am also a little bitter because I was hoping last week that Theon would fish out Jaime and trade him to Euron for Yara (likely without Dany's say-so but maybe with buy-in from Tyrion).

So sue me, but I weirdly like the Greyjoys. I miss them. Was assuming that we'd see more of them this season, but it's looking like nope (no spoilers, just kind of bewildered that they've all been MIA since episode 4 or so).
posted by rue72 at 8:37 PM on August 21 [5 favorites]


Tyrion was calling out Dany about that in this episode -- I think that was part of his point about succession.

But then Dany did make an alliance with Jon in this episode, so maybe her priorities are changing a little.


Yeah, honestly, I think Tyrion's calling out Danaerys on that point was all about whether she could have babies. It went right along with Jorah's telling Jon that he hoped the sword would serve him well... and his children as well*.

And, of course, along with the conversation at the end of the episode between J & D, when D says the dragons are her only children, and asks if he understands that.

*Jon looks taken aback by that comment. Because he had been a crow, and had given up the idea of ever having children? Because at this point he's kinda undead? Who knows? Anyway, it seems both he and Danaerys are being pushed to rethink procreation (tho Danaerys clearly still sees such as an impossibility).
posted by torticat at 8:41 PM on August 21 [1 favorite]


What I thought was weird about Dany's baby comment was that I couldn't tell if she was trying to warn him that she couldn't give him heirs or if she was trying to reassure him that she wouldn't give him bastards.
posted by rue72 at 8:44 PM on August 21 [1 favorite]


But in general, I think "babies" = legacy, and they were all talking about legacy.

I mean, in addition to talking about actual literal babies, of course.
posted by rue72 at 8:45 PM on August 21


yeah the timeline is bullshit but we hoped the excitement of the plot would overcome that.

That's a concise summary of one of the big problems with the writing of the show at this stage.
posted by atoxyl at 9:10 PM on August 21 [8 favorites]


House of the Undying in... Astapor? No... uh, I guess we'll stick with Whateverville.

Qarth
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:34 PM on August 21


If you wouldn't expect the Hound to team up or reconcile with his older brother, even if he weren't, ah, how we say, zombie-fied,

The Mountain is a rapist who murders for sport and caused his brother's disfigurement. Arya and Sansa are in a better place, relatively.
posted by ersatz at 12:02 AM on August 22 [3 favorites]


The idea that you'd write an episode of GoT where Dany loses one of her dragons and not include a scene of her mourning the dragon is absurdly bad writing.

When she was at The Wall and looking out into the forest, I thought she was sadly thinking about Viseryon and then a minute later Jon came through on the horse and I was really annoyed that she was actually waiting to see if he was going to make it.
posted by like_neon at 1:55 AM on August 22 [4 favorites]


> Because at this point he's kinda undead? Who knows? Anyway

!!

Can the raised still spawn children? Are zombie gametes (sperm, eggs) viable with non-zombie eggs/sperm? What about zombie-zombie eggs/sperm (assuming the gestational mechanisms are still present and functional - but this could be bypassed with in vitro/ex vivo/surrogate incubation)?
posted by porpoise at 4:01 AM on August 22


I think it's plausible that Arya and Sansa would have this fight, and I think it's plausible that Littlefinger would be able to outsmart them both. He's much older, and this is what he does, what he's been doing his whole life. And since he can't have Catelyn, Sansa is the best prize he can reach. I think we should believe that he has put as much consideration and care into his actions as he is capable of, and that's a lot. I really enjoy Littlefinger but the show has made him into an idiot on several occasions. I hope they don't do it again this time.

Arya seems like she has a long way to go unless her entire story was just a Westerosified Breaking Bad.

Yeah... Unfortunately, BB still had me interested in Walt at the end, even after he had consciously committed to evil. Arya has become so one-dimensional now that it's much more difficult for me. She was one of my favorite characters in the beginning. Somehow that Faceless Man training turned her into someone that I don't really give a crap about, though. She has the power to be an almost unstoppable assassin, and it's made her into a bully. I hated her this week, for threatening Sansa in the same psycho way that Sansa was threatened by Joffrey, then Ramsey.

When she handed Sansa the knife at the end of the scene, I didn't think it was meant as a helpful suggestion of any kind; I thought it felt like the gaslighting icing on the bullying cake: "oh, did you think I was going to hurt you?"

Storywise, I guess I'm ok with this being Arya's character arc, because vengeance often comes with a price, and that girl had a long list to get through. It makes sense. But I don't enjoy her anymore. Her character, when she's recognizable, is not readable to me. I blame the writing. They want us to question her intentions, so they're not giving her honest and open dialogue, and what do you do with that, as an actor, when you're not supposed to be readable? The answer seems to be 'act like that irritating waif.'

[Semi-sarcastic disclaimer: Everything I say about this show lately turns out to be wrong, so probably everyone is actually Arya in masks and she turns out to be completely emotionally healthy and will win.]
posted by heatvision at 4:41 AM on August 22 [6 favorites]


[One deleted. Quick reminder: for first-watch threads there are a lot of people who avoid trailers because they don't want to see any spoilers at all, so please avoid referring to stuff that hasn't yet happened even if it has been included in trailers. Thanks. ]
posted by taz at 6:48 AM on August 22 [2 favorites]


And I'm very curious about what the hell Arya meant when she gave Sansa the knife as though Sansa had won the game of faces.

I want to think it was like, "You think I'm an enemy, but I'm actually a weapon in your hand, idiot." I'm not sure if that fits. (Sansa really needs to have a family meeting where she hints that maybe those Starks who have acquired magical powers lately might help out around the kingdom.)

Or maybe, "Now that you know what I am, if you want to kill me, give it your best shot sis."

Or maybe, "We just said some words. Now here, let's do something with this dagger that is a lazy symbol of this shitty cloak and dagger makework Winterfell trust/betrayal subplot---whose back is gonna get the knife being the question here---plus our set for Winterfell is so goddamn boring that we need some item of visual interest."

I'm a little annoyed by the dagger being the one from way back when. It probably would have worked better when the show was low fantasy, when it was exciting that somewhere underneath all the false hopes and foolish wishes getting stomped down by GRRMs cankerous boots, there were some symbols and meanings that were magical and real.

But the dragons are all growed up. The children of the forest are revealed (and are alas more Dragonlance than Ghibli). It's high fantasy now. It's time for things to do their stuff.
posted by fleacircus at 6:53 AM on August 22 [4 favorites]


(Sansa really needs to have a family meeting where she hints that maybe those Starks who have acquired magical powers lately might help out around the kingdom.)

I feel kind of bad for Sansa. All her living siblings have been reunited and they all came back super weird (even the least weird among them is a fucking revenant). She's like the one person in the group of friends who didn't go away to college and now it's Thanksgiving break and all her old friends are dropping acid and talking about Kierkegaard and playing D&D and she's like, "Okay guys, let's go to the mall! It'll be just like old times!"
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:17 AM on August 22 [19 favorites]


Or maybe, "Now that you know what I am, if you want to kill me, give it your best shot sis."


That's how I read it, mixed in with a certain amount of Arya getting back at Sansa for the YOU SUNK MY BATTLESHIP hit about how Arya didn't do anything to save their Dad. Like, Arya is making very clear that she couldn't do anything then, but she could do shit now.

Sansa might be the Lady of Winterfell in pretty dresses, but in a room alone with Arya, that means fuck and shit and nothing. Arya could 100% have Sansa dead on the ground in seconds, but Sansa doesn't know what to do with the dagger even when it's handed to her.

Which is to say that I was not particularly upset by the lack of a specific scene where Dany mourned her dragons. I mean, look at Clarke's face. Dany is fucked up about it. She has tears in her eyes. She's barely keeping her shit together. We already know she loves her dragons -- that's the conflict from earlier in the series, when she was trying to figure out how she felt about her babies burning children to death for afternoon snack. I'm not sure what having her cry on Jorah's shoulder would add, except for a lot of shots of Jorah looking sad that he's never gonna have Dany.

tl;dr: i like my ladies HARD romulan shoulder pads for EVERYONE
posted by joyceanmachine at 7:22 AM on August 22 [8 favorites]


I really think we're seeing GoT move into a Twin Peaks Season 2 territory that's going to be meta-analyzed for a while now. Beloved, well-received show moves into narrative flailing when ket creative forces are no longer directly connected to the writing? We've totally been here before. The bad news, then, is that the movie's going to be very divisive. The good news is that in 25 years the revived GoT will be a widely loved return to form, I guess.
posted by the phlegmatic king at 7:51 AM on August 22 [3 favorites]


I feel kind of bad for Sansa. All her living siblings have been reunited and they all came back super weird (even the least weird among them is a fucking revenant). She's like the one person in the group of friends who didn't go away to college and now it's Thanksgiving break and all her old friends are dropping acid and talking about Kierkegaard and playing D&D and she's like, "Okay guys, let's go to the mall! It'll be just like old times!"

Sansa's been given the crash course world tour of how Westerosi politics work. She knows secrets, she knows fears, and she knows how people operate (aside from Dany, which... that'll be a fun meeting.) She might not have gotten any supernatural hoodoo like Jon, Bran or Arya, but she's gotten actual acumen, which I'd say is a lot more valuable in the end.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:18 AM on August 22 [4 favorites]


my preferred explanation for the otherwise bullshit timeline stuff is that, as magic returns to the world, it increasingly interferes with the fabric of reality, so you start getting weird space-time distortions that dilate and compress subjective experience. The closer you are to the magic - any magic - the more severe the effects. Gendry was part of a ritual to the Lord of Light, and immediately got caught in a time-dilation pocket in the middle of the ocean. The zombie-raiding party subjectively spent a night on the outcropping of rock, but that was only because of the proximity of the night king; outside the time bubble, weeks were passing.

yeah i got nothing
posted by logicpunk at 8:55 AM on August 22 [10 favorites]


Here's where I am on Sansa / Arya: There are exactly two socially sanctioned ways that women can have power in Westeros, and those are 1) to marry it 2) to give birth to it. At the beginning of this story, Arya had rejected these options wholesale, while Sansa had embraced them. But Arya has always resented Sansa, because she knows that it is easier to get power in a socially-sanctioned way than not, and she has been laboring under the belief that Sansa's willing participation in that game has meant that she's had power which she has chosen not to use. Sansa, meanwhile, is tearing her hair out because whatever power she has within that structure is dependent on the structure granting it to her, and until she is married and pregnant, any such grant can be easily reversed. So Arya sees Sansa's letter as a refusal to use her power, while Sansa sees it as the only possible way she could have used what meager power she had.

Sansa, meanwhile, thinks that since Arya has cut her ties with that power structure, her actions are completely unconstrained. Arya doesn't have Sansa's constraints -- she doesn't have to maintain allegiances and legitimacy and marriageability, she can just go around stabbing whoever. She's angry because Arya hasn't capitalized on that, to her mind. She doesn't recognize that Arya is still constrained by the fact that she DOESN'T have the backing and power of a major House behind her actions, that she IS just "a girl", and that by cutting herself out of the complicated web of alliances and expectations as the daughter of a named House she has also cut herself out of that power and support.

Sansa is right that Arya couldn't have endured what she's endured. Arya would have murdered Ramsay, or tried to, and died in the process. Arya would have murdered Tyrion. For that matter, Arya would have refused to marry Tyrion at all and would have been dragged off to the dungeons. But Sansa never, ever, ever would have become No One, because she IS Lady Stark, in her bones.

The most interesting stories in this world are the stories about how women try to find their power in a world that would forever deny it to them. I wish the writers would remember that.
posted by KathrynT at 9:12 AM on August 22 [32 favorites]


Beloved, well-received show moves into narrative flailing when key creative forces are no longer directly connected to the writing?

While there's still a lot I've enjoyed this season, so much has taken a turn for the awful that I can't help but feel that the writing team spent the summer at a workshop run by, among others, Damon Lindelof and the writing teams for The Walking Dead and BSG.

I think one of the days at the workshop was titled somewhat like your phrase above -- "How to Handle Narrative Flailing When the End Approaches" -- and they spent the afternoon going over the following bullet points:

1) Who cares? You got your paycheck for the final season, plus you've already inked four more deals with the studios.

2) Disregard the previous time, distance and travel constraints you painstakingly established in earlier arcs. See rule #1 for more information.

3) Similarly, disregard previous characterizations that you painstakingly established and that your actors threw themselves into. See rule #1 for more information

4) Let "Wouldn't it be cool if...?" and "I've always wanted to see $character do $thing!" be the guiding lights for the final half dozen episodes. Again, see rule #1.

:-(
posted by lord_wolf at 9:15 AM on August 22 [11 favorites]


What would be nice is if the side defending that interpretation also acknowledged there's an equally sustainable interpretation of the two of them working together - as previously rival sisters, sure, but also as fucking sisters who've been through the mill and are surprised they both survived - that the show's writers have decided not to explore.

Or, which makes much more sense, just have them as sisters who are rivals, but aren't necessarily actively working against each other when they have enormous external enemies. Have them crashing into each other because they're both trying what they're convinced is the Way To Save House Stark, but they're at odds and it's fucking all their plots up.

Like: Arya hears someone expressing temporary disloyalty to Jon, and kills them - but it was all part of a Sansa plot to find out who is disloyal to Jon by having that guy be a stalking horse. Or there's an actual threat in Winterfell, but Sansa sees Arya prowling around it and thinks she's just being childish and sends the person out of Arya's reach, which winds up giving an opportunity for that guy to screw stuff up. Sansa makes a marriage alliance with Arya! Arya kills one of Sansa's enemies!

Like, even if you're leaving them as rival sisters who kind of hate each other, there are plenty of ways to have them at odds without them actively fucking with each other for no reason.
posted by corb at 9:26 AM on August 22 [11 favorites]


I think the Arya/Sansa/LF storyline is also suffering from lack of external forces right now, to piggyback off of corb's comment. Like, I'm sure it's very stressful and trying for Sansa, but turtling up for the Winter and keeping the Houses in line isn't a dramatically dynamic or compelling quest and we all know that as much as they might be expecting some blowback for being in rebellion against the crown, not even Cersei is shortsighted enough to send her remaining forces marching into The North in Winter while other kingdoms are also in open rebellion and dragons are wrecking her supply lines.

So we've got the two sisters backbiting and spying on each other, but without any real pressure in the background, and that makes everything seem pettier.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:01 AM on August 22 [2 favorites]


Am I missing something?

aren't Arya and Sansa plotting to off Littlefinger and wear his skin to get the Vale, like total murder queen and magic catspaw? wasn't that the whole point of "Lets play a game of faces, I wear dudes' skins, for example, dudes who we all hate and give out knives like this one hint hint hint"?
posted by eustatic at 10:02 AM on August 22 [4 favorites]


As is tradition, The LA Review of Books recap. I enjoy Sarah Mesle's writing so very much.
posted by Sokka shot first at 10:08 AM on August 22 [2 favorites]


Costume recap, as requested! Covers the entire season basically, but inspired by Dany's coat.
posted by rewil at 11:06 AM on August 22 [4 favorites]


... but turtling up for the Winter and keeping the Houses in line isn't a dramatically dynamic or compelling quest and we all know that as much as they might be expecting some blowback for being in rebellion against the crown

Oh I totally disagree that this can't be a dramatic dynamics. Hell, Lord Glover openly turned his back on Sansa when she requested it and now she's the Lady of Winterfell who made it clear what she thought of traitors? What's going with the Dreadfort, who runs that now? Surely several of its neighboring Lords are jockeying for power over that.

But ooooooh, we got a zombie polar bear instead.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:37 AM on August 22 [5 favorites]


This was potentially a prime moment for Sansa to put everything she's learned into practice but instead she's having weird fights with Arya, while being manipulated by Littlefinger.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:41 AM on August 22 [1 favorite]


TwoStride: This season is definitely reminding me why I generally--having been burned long, long ago as a young nerd with the Wheel of Time books--avoid beginning any book series that hasn't been finished yet.

But on the plus side, we got Brandon Sanderson to finish WoT, which lead to three new novels by Brandon, and they were a delight. Seriously, if nothing else there's a great bit where Mat Cauthon develops these elaborate back-stories for the group he's with, so no one questions them when they come into this town together. Then everyone goes ahead and ignores him, but he gets upset because he spent a lot of time creating those back stories, and ... I don't know, it was wonderful. Oh, and no pulling or tugging on braids, crossing arms beneath breasts, or other ridiculous things that Robert Jordon was rightfully mocked for writing, repeatedly.


dis_integration: Yeah there are apparently no limits to face-magic which is why it's totally baffling that faceless men aren't actually in control of all the great houses.

While the official line would likely be that they get paid a ton to kill, and they serve the Many-Faced God (of death), and as such have no particular need to rule, I can also see a parable of the faceless men being when 3-5 of them got greedy and wanted to try ruling as others, they ended up killing each other (not knowing that the other was a fellow faceless man and all), sending the lands into turmoil, requiring more quick thinking (and more killing) from other faceless men to fix the whole mess.


Mrs. Pterodactyl: Just shared my theory with a coworker and he said "Yeah, a lot of people think that" so he can go straight to hell.

Did he happen to have his phone out while you told him? Was he tweeting or live-blogging your comments? Because people might think that because he posted it elsewhere. Just sayin'.


rue72: It's lonely here at this table for one, but I really don't feel any desire to see Arya and Sansa form a loving duo and "triumph" together. Why would Arya and Sansa ever even like each other?

They've never been on the same wavelength and their priorities and values are at odds, too. That's become more rather than less true as they've gotten older and gone their own ways in life.


For me, there's a difference between triumphing together in a shared goal (House Stark ruling) and being a "loving duo." I can see that they might not be fast friends, but I can't imagine that Arya was oblivious to the rumors in the streets that Joff beat Sansa, and what was probably widely know that Ramsay was a sadist. Yes, I can accept the grudges of the far past, rekindled by finding that raven letter that Littlefinger planted, but as Chrys Watches GoT said for Sansa: why the everloving fuck does this family keep referencing my sartorial choices during peak trauma moments? It seems that Arya should have learned to overcome grudges for the greater good, or at least the task at hand. That seems like the lesson that she was supposed to learn when she went blind in the House of Black and White.


joyceanmachine: If you wouldn't expect the Hound to team up or reconcile with his older brother, even if he weren't, ah, how we say, zombie-fied, it may be worth interrogating why your response to Arya/Sansa is different -- and if the answer comes down to, "But I want a different story for ladies just once!", I get that. I want happy endings for ladies, too.

The Hound's face is badly disfigured and he has a traumatic fear of fire because of his brother (GoT wikia):
In his youth, Gregor nearly burned off half of Sandor's face because he found Sandor playing with a toy that Gregor had discarded. Sandor didn't even "steal" it, he was merely playing with it and assumed he didn't need Gregor's permission. Without warning or uttering a word, however, Gregor grabbed Sandor and "punished" him by holding his head into a burning brazier. Gregor was only forced to stop after half a dozen servants managed to pry him away from his brother. The incident left severe burn scars over the right half of Sandor's face.
In comparison, Arya's dislike of Sansa seems pretty petty. Arya knows Sandor's story first-hand (Season 4 Episode 7 transcript), so it's not like she lacks a point of reference for what counts as serious shit in a relationship.

Yes, they're still kids, but in medieval/fantasy settings, they're adults (Medieval law-makers tended to place the boundary between childhood and adulthood at puberty, coventionally 12 for girls and 14 for boys), so modern assumptions of their duties and maturity could be tempered through that lens, assuming D&D care about this more than pitting two of the remaining main women in the show against each-other in a petty sibling rivalry, but with threats of betrayal and death. At least, that's my reading of the situation.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:48 AM on August 22 [3 favorites]


If you wouldn't expect the Hound to team up or reconcile with his older brother, even if he weren't, ah, how we say, zombie-fied, it may be worth interrogating why your response to Arya/Sansa is different -- and if the answer comes down to, "But I want a different story for ladies just once!", I get that. I want happy endings for ladies, too.

Yeah, I'm sorry but I also really don't buy that the relationship between the Hound and his brother and the relationship between Arya and Sansa are remotely similar. The Hound was violently abused and almost murdered by his brother. Arya and Sansa bickered. The Hound and his brother's story will almost certainly end in a violent fight to the death. I suspect this is not how Arya and Sansa's story will end. The Hound's brother is a one-note sociopath with no lines. Arya and Sansa are both complex major characters. I just completely have to reject the validity of this comparison and it's not just because I want a "happy ending" for female characters.

I just think that the unhappiness we've seen so far between Arya and Sansa has been woefully badly-written and out of character and when their fighting inevitably ends in some dramatic fashion with Littlefinger's death (as I'm pretty sure it will), it will feel very unearned.
posted by armadillo1224 at 12:20 PM on August 22 [1 favorite]


Yeah there are apparently no limits to face-magic which is why it's totally baffling that faceless men aren't actually in control of all the great houses.

Or maybe they already are...
posted by drezdn at 12:59 PM on August 22 [1 favorite]


Uh, I'm totally aware of the Hound's face being badly disfigured because of his brother. They've made the point multiple times on the show, including a reminder in the episode this thread is about. Your mansplaining is unnecessary.

And let's be very, very clear here. Arya's reasons to hate Sansa are not petty, even when compared to what happened to the Hound. Remember, even setting aside their childhood rivalry, over the past few episodes, Arya has articulated the following (blinkered, trauma-informed) case against Sansa:

1. Sansa stood next to Joffrey and did nothing, meaning she was OK with the murder of their father.
2. Sansa wrote a note to Robb and their mother, saying that she believed Ned was a traitor, and pleading to Robb to bring him to King's Landing, where he would almost certainly murdered, never mind that Robb was never going to go, and Robb and Catelyn and everybody else immediately knew what had happened
3. Sansa is now preparing to backstab Jon, the family member who Arya loved next best after her father.
4. Sansa has been doing this allllllllllllllllllll in the name of the same power and status and being the pretty best, and has been out for that since Day 1.

For the record, that's one actual murder, and two attempted murders. In fact, Sansa is 3 for 3 on adult male family members who were kind to Arya. Let's note, too, from Arya's POV -- that list of deaths isn't even complete. Remember the scene by the river, with Sansa and Joffrey and Arya and her friend? Lannister soldiers murdered Arya's friend and forced Arya to drive her direwolf away. And what did Sansa do? Continue to moon over Joffrey. Continue to follow him around. Continue to defend him.

Of course, Arya is wrong, and has her perspective warped by coming from a place of horrific trauma. But she genuinely believes that Sansa is complicit in their father's death. We could make a similar case about the brutal murder of her friend. And if you genuinely believed these things about someone, how would you feel about them? How would you treat them? And remember that this lies on top of the existing, toxic relationship, in the context of them being actively pitted against each other by a canny manipulator.

So yeah, no. Sansa didn't shove Arya's face into the fire. But from Arya's POV, Sansa is complicit in some seriously, seriously bad shit, all in the name of what Arya feels to be absolute nothingness. Remember the sneer in her voice when she talks about pretty dresses? That's some prime A+ internalized misogyny there, and totally typical of how a lot of tomboys treat girly-girls. Mix that toxic-ass stuff with ice in a shaker, and you have cold, refreshing brew of it being super-plausible that while Arya maybe thought she had made her peace with Sansa's role in dad's death and her friend's death, she is furious all over again in light of the note/impending betrayal of Jon that pushes on her sorest points. If anything, your argument about when people count as adults only underlines why Arya might believe that Sansa is fully to blame.

tl;dr: I'm happy to yell about D&D for misogynist nonsense, but I know sisters in real life who have cut each other off over waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay less.
posted by joyceanmachine at 1:05 PM on August 22 [6 favorites]


I still have (probably naive) hopes that one or both of the sisters are playing Little Finger. Because otherwise, ugh. Why bother with character development if you aren't going to let your characters develop? I get trying to keep characters true to their natures, but arcs that don't arc are flat. The sisters both survived because they adapted. Sansa has outright stated repeatedly that she doesn't trust Little Finger. Arya is supposed to be a bad-ass assassin. Having them both revert to pre-teen tropes would just be sad from a story-telling side. It's like, okay, so why did we bother following these characters, again?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:29 PM on August 22 [1 favorite]


I mean, I'm not arguing that the show is doing it well. Just that its portrayal is not, as people assert in this thread, necessarily misogynistic.

If we want to talk about the misogyny involved in the directors choosing to cut actual development between Sansa and Arya in favor of dick versus cock, Tormund's stalking fantasies, and grayscale removal the extended lengthened extra director's cut, all so that D&D can move onto sexposition with additional racists -- sign me the fuck up.
posted by joyceanmachine at 1:30 PM on August 22 [5 favorites]


Tormund's stalking fantasies

Yes! Can we talk about this? Am I the only person not shipping them because it seems really really unreciprocated right now!!! My husband is like "they're going to be such a cute couple" and i am like, wat.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 3:30 PM on August 22 [8 favorites]


Not just you, Pho. Brienne seems not at all into him
posted by DebetEsse at 3:36 PM on August 22 [3 favorites]


I will be very disappointed if they wind up together. She doesn't seem to like him, so him basically calling dibs on her may be in character for him, but should have nothing to do with whether they wind up together.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:37 PM on August 22


I kind of ship them, but in my sober moments I know it's not real. I think it's mostly because they've dropped the good ship Brienne/Jaime pretty definitively, and while women do not need to be paired off, so much of Brienne's story is about those Westerosi fuckers not seeing her as beautiful and making fun of her for being ugly. So I just want someone good and brave and strong to love Brienne and offer to be her house husband and tend the babies and raise them into little warriors.
posted by corb at 3:46 PM on August 22 [13 favorites]


It's such a comparably small thing, in the face of all the other idiocy happening with this show, but dropping Brienne/Jaime might be the thing that disappointed me the most.
posted by dogheart at 3:52 PM on August 22 [3 favorites]


But maybe if he got Sansa to put those penmanship skills to use, she could help him make up some Love Actually note cards he could hold up:

"Say it's carol singers performing the Rains of Castamere--
With any luck, by next year
I'll be going out with one of these...
[Pictures of Gendry & zombie polar bear]
But for now let me say,
without hope or agenda,
just because it's the Festival of the Mother--
(and at the Festival of the Mother you masquerade as a mad fucker)
to me, you are perfect,
yellow hair, blue eyes, tallest woman I've ever seen.
And my wasted heart will love you
until you look like this...
[picture of Sandor Clegane]
MERRY FESTIVAL OF THE MOTHER"
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:58 PM on August 22 [5 favorites]


I don't want Brienne to wind up with Jaime or Tormund. She's too good for either of them, and their appreciation of her is too incomplete. I'm not even sure Jaime sees her as a whole person. (This is probably less sexism than his own habitual self-absorption -- I mean, how well do we think he knows Bronn even after all they've been through together? -- but still.) She represents this chivalric ideal he has failed to embody; them getting together would feel like Jaime trying to vicariously reclaim the purity of his youthful ideals. Tormund, meanwhile, is infatuated with her ferocity and her fighting prowess, but he doesn't seem to have given much thought to her context -- you know, all the non-physical fighting she has to do to exist as a knight in Westeros -- let alone all the person she is when she's not in armor.

I DO harbor a secret hope that she and Tormund could become friends, or at the very least that she will enjoy the validation of a dude genuinely appreciating her skills. Obviously this is not because she needs a man's validation, but considering how much shit Brienne has put with from shitty Westerosi men, it would be nice if for once in her life she got to bask in the sincere admiration she so richly deserves. Ideally they would have this moment where she says "Thanks, but I'm really not interested in hooking up with you" and Tormund answers "That's totally cool, but you should know that you are amazing and whomever you deign to bestow your hand on would be goddman lucky to have you, and also please hit me up anytime you are interested in a truly, totally Platonic sparring session."
posted by Fish, fish, are you doing your duty? at 4:15 PM on August 22 [19 favorites]


I think Tormund's more crushing on Brienne than stalking her, but that's probably not much of a distinction when you're the recipient of it.

Anyway. I was struck on the commute by how much less visceral Drogon burning a bunch of wights felt than him incinerating a bunch of soldiers and wagons a few episodes ago. Is it because those scenes had more practical effects -- as in, they actually blew things up and set people on fire, while this presumably was all CG? Or because this time the stakes were lower?

Also: we've seen the Night King walking through, and extinguishing, fire a few times now. Does that extend to dragonfire? Could Dany have ended the whole thing right here, right now, had she directed Drogon to burn the NK's group?
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 4:59 PM on August 22


If I was feeling churlish, I'd say that the (apparently improvised) Tormund/Brienne relationship is about the only thing in the last couple of seasons that could be described as character-driven. When Tormund first leered at Brienne it was unexpected, but exactly right. Of course he'd react to her that way! Everybody else's actions have been plot driven nonsense for so long that this little throwaway character moment really jumped out. I think that's a big part of why people ship them.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 6:09 PM on August 22 [6 favorites]


Anyway. I was struck on the commute by how much less visceral Drogon burning a bunch of wights felt than him incinerating a bunch of soldiers and wagons a few episodes ago. Is it because those scenes had more practical effects -- as in, they actually blew things up and set people on fire, while this presumably was all CG? Or because this time the stakes were lower?

It's probably because you've seen it before, at the Lannister battle. The dragons did essentially the same thing this time around, but with a lot less excitement (no explosions). Had the dragon landed on the island and spun around, spewing fire from one end while his tail slammed into Wights on the other end, that would have been something visually different. Or included some of those zombie polar bears trying leap up and attack the dragons would have been different and exciting.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:23 PM on August 22


Hey, some of us want HBO to spend that CGI money on season two of Westworld! You kids and your dragon bear brawls.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:25 PM on August 22 [4 favorites]


And let's be very, very clear here. Arya's reasons to hate Sansa are not petty...

No, they're extremely petty, because the reasons you cited could be applied to Arya and/or are so over the top, that Arya has to be insanely naive to say any of them.

They're extremely petty because she's naively trying to tear up what's currently working in the North. Arya came back to Winterfell because she heard it was in Stark hands, that Jon had taken it back. But the Battle of the Bastards was won because of Sansa making a very uncomfortable alliance with a very dangerous person. But she did it, because she wanted her home back.

Meanwhile, Arya's done exactly two things to get Winterfell back in Stark hands, jack and shit. She left Kings Landing after watching Ned beheaded, but blames Sansa for staying, when she was captive. She had Tywin Lannister within knife striking distance on multiple occasions, yet did nothing.

Meanwhile, there's army of the dead come to take over all of Westeros, Sansa is trying to prepare Winterfell for a long winter and the coming battle and Arya's stomping around placing idiotic and yes, petty, blame.

Sure, it's understandable from her point of view as a trauma survivor. But she ain't right in what's she doing and her concerns are extremely petty in the big picture. She may have master assassin skills, but she's severely lacking in maturity or knowledge of how her world works. Hopefully that's the overall point here and she'll learn to forgive herself and Sansa.

But the quality of the writing doesn't seem like it can handle that.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:45 PM on August 22 [1 favorite]


...and not only where do they get the damn chains, why are the damn chains apparently 20-21st century Terran heavy ship chains, predominantly used for anchors?
posted by mwhybark at 8:18 PM on August 22 [1 favorite]


They got the chains from Euron.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 8:20 PM on August 22 [9 favorites]


Both the LARB and Ringer pieces nail it.

This show is not Game of Thrones anymore. It stopped being GoT sometime around Battle of the Bastards for me. There were earlier hunts, but that's when the characters we knew, stopped acting like themselves. Character motivations have been stripped from their behaviors and all that matters is that to plot makes it to the final set piece.

As had been said above, the creators spent so much time creating a plausible, character-driven universe and are now just living off of the goodwill from the first few seasons. Nothing that made GoT compelling has really been exhibited this season. We can sort of pretend it's still here, but if season 7 were season 1, I wouldn't continue watching this show. I had been watching out of loyalty, but I'm not sure that's enough.

They've embraced all the tropes that GRRM set to subvert. This is just a big budget by the numbers fantasy at this point.
posted by Telf at 8:55 PM on August 22 [12 favorites]


Oh damn it. I thought my above thought was an original thought, but I totally stole it from the LARB article, forgot about it, and passed it off as my own. Dang it.

But there is no more show itself, it’s only extra. This show is no longer Game of Thrones; it’s now a tribute to Game of Thrones, like the point in classic rock band’s career where you really, really, really don’t want to hear any new songs (Euron) because the only reason anyone is paying for tickets is to hear retreads of the old favorites. Season seven is every Rolling Stones tour after Steel Wheels. Or maybe it’s a spin-off series where we get to see all of our favorite characters inhabiting an imaginary timeline where George R. R. Martin actually finished the damned books. Wouldn’t that have been nice? Just imagine what could have happened!
posted by Telf at 8:59 PM on August 22


well, too bad no one wrote that series, then, innit?

i imagine it's hard to re-configure, but not re-write, a series, just in case the books get written. what are weird moments now have to seem like loving tributes to the plot if that empty future occurs. but you can't really do too much or you will confound the books.

seems harder to adapt a nihilist book series written to be unending and unfilmable, then stretch a budget over whatever misfit skeleton of a plot was demanded of them.

sit back and enjoy the ice king and his javelin, man. Borges' knife in the court of two sisters. attack dragons bursting with blood off the shoulder of orion. slaves of dead valjeans salvaging a dread terror from bottom of the icy lake. drowning after drowning after drowning of each hero, baptisms again and again. the night errant, charging at the grounded queen, soldiers bursting into flame, the thousand warships colliding in the night. demon wolves in the icy mist, ripping into fleeing horses

Like David Lynch's Dune, it's going to make lots of people unhappy. but i hope they go full on surreal-fever-dream cinema. let's get weird, game of thrones.

can you make a tv series that is un-scriptable? as like, revenge?
posted by eustatic at 9:49 PM on August 22 [9 favorites]


Also: we've seen the Night King walking through, and extinguishing, fire a few times now. Does that extend to dragonfire? Could Dany have ended the whole thing right here, right now, had she directed Drogon to burn the NK's group?

For a while I thought a failed attempt to flambe the NK would be how Dany lost a dragon, right up until nobody even considered it and they lost a dragon anyway. In a more generous mood I'd say the dragons just wouldn't go near them because animals recognize and avoid evil and uncanny things, and that Dany didn't even need to say dracarys because the dragons were all like HOLY SHIT WALKING DEAD THINGS KILL THEM WITH FIRE.

It looks to me like fire shrinks from the NK because he's a Cold Elemental, but I surmise that his "aura" of cold wouldn't act as a force field against a full-on Tarly-melting blast. (Also dragons are Fire Elementals so their fire is fire+magic the same way White Walker spears are ice+magic, yeah?) Of course, this hasn't really been explained and we know the writers aren't going to be consistent, which reminds me: Didn't Hardhome demonstrate the NK's control over the weather in his vicinity? Wasn't there a shot right before the battle was joined where it got visibly colder and snowier? Because if so, dude totally could have refrozen the lake. Also, how do they know the wight will stay reanimated as far south of the Wall as King's Landing? Does the magic in the Wall that keeps the dead from crossing* allow their magic to cross? Does reanimation magic not have a radius of operation?

*The NK touching Bran broke the wards that protected the Raven's cave, so it's safe to assume Bran has doomed everyone by crossing south of the Wall, right? And also that he has failed to consider this, because Reasons?

I seem to have reached the point where quibbling about in-world mechanics is the least irritating means of considering the show.

posted by Fish, fish, are you doing your duty? at 10:01 PM on August 22 [4 favorites]


in twenty-odd minutes it will be wednesday, and I am still randomly blurting out complainy things regarding miscellaneous suspension-of-disbelief issues to my cat, my dog, my wife, my lawn, my shoes, and so forth. It's not the big beats so much - the travel timelines and why the FUCKITTY FUCK dint Dany just fly Jon up on a scouting picnic - but the small ones, the chains, as cited above: lazy. Chains? wights don' need no stinkin chains, they can just walk underwater as any number of underwater baddy zombie movies have established. Well maybe it's both. The night is dark and full of AAARGH.
posted by mwhybark at 11:35 PM on August 22 [2 favorites]


Here's one that'll really bake your noodle: How'd they get those chains around the dragon?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:57 AM on August 23 [1 favorite]


The Night King did not re-freeze the lake for the same reason he didn't kill Jon's party in any of a hundred ways. He's waiting for idiot Jon to summon a dragon so that he can pick up an ice dragon.
posted by rdr at 4:00 AM on August 23 [6 favorites]


Everyone's talking about fast-travel, but I'm not discounting the possibility of wyrmholes.

I'll be here all week, burrowed under the toasty, toasty mound of IKEA rugs
posted by lesser weasel at 4:14 AM on August 23 [6 favorites]


I feel kind of bad for Sansa. All her living siblings have been reunited and they all came back super weird (even the least weird among them is a fucking revenant). She's like the one person in the group of friends who didn't go away to college and now it's Thanksgiving break and all her old friends are dropping acid and talking about Kierkegaard and playing D&D and she's like, "Okay guys, let's go to the mall! It'll be just like old times!"

I love this analogy, and also, it made me think of something else:

I know this has been discussed before, but now, with all these recent Stark reunions, I'm reminded of the event that almost had me rage quit this show in the second episode: Lady's death.

It's been pretty well established that the direwolves' fates are closely bound to the fate of each of their respective Stark children. Rickon's arc being a literal Shaggy dog story, the parallel paths of Arya and Nymeria, etc, and of course Summer died in the cave, just like the old Bran.

But even though Arya has been separated from Nymeria for as long as Lady has been dead, Sansa is the only one whose direwolf died so early in her story. She's also the only Stark to survive for a significant length of time after her direwolf was killed (if we count Bran "dying" in the cave as Meera said a couple episodes ago).

I read a comment either on here or the av club that referred to the direwolves as the Stark's magical heritage or something like that. If we look at her story arc in that context, Sansa never had a chance to become her own version of a magic tree raven or a face stealing assassin or whatever, because she lost that potential when her direwolf was killed so long ago.
posted by litera scripta manet at 8:52 AM on August 23 [8 favorites]


You're not the only one still plagued by questions about this episode: Game of Thrones season 7: we have 27 questions about the White Walker battle in “Beyond the Wall”
posted by gladly at 11:54 AM on August 23 [1 favorite]


I can't help but feel like this is the most meta-GRRM season ever, in which the writers unexpectedly kill off the entire story.
posted by jamaro at 12:10 PM on August 23 [9 favorites]


So yeah, I mentioned camouflage a bit back... it's a while since I read the books but I'm sure it's not covered in the show... is there any reason while the Watchers On The Wall all wear the most impractical colour if you are fighting people in the snow and ice, black?
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:12 PM on August 23 [1 favorite]


is there any reason while the Watchers On The Wall all wear the most impractical colour if you are fighting people in the snow and ice, black?

I don't remember them going into it, but I'm sure it's because of unity-of-uniform and being-able-to-identify-comrades issues.
posted by corb at 12:18 PM on August 23 [1 favorite]


It's also symbolic -- "taking the black" is offered as an alternative to the death penalty because you are effectively dead to your previous life. In its heyday I imagine the Night's Watch functioned (and felt) like a religious order. Like the maester's gray robes and chain, the black is instantly recognizable and removes the wearer from politics. Plus, symbolically, white is taken -- only the Kingsguard wear white.

As a purely practical matter, the laundry situation probably makes keeping white camo stuff clean enough to be viable as camo untenable anyway.
posted by Fish, fish, are you doing your duty? at 1:01 PM on August 23 [2 favorites]


This is my feeling as well; prior to this episode you could make the timelines work if you assumed that there were days and weeks passing both within and between episodes. Things like Jon traveling to Dragonstone would take roughly as long as Sea Ramsay making it around via sea to Casterly Rock. They didn't include any nice Indiana Jonesesque red lines on a map with time passing to indicate this but it could work... but not in this episode. There is literally no way the timeline as presented in this episode works.

So we're left with two options, to give up and ragequit watching or to decide that no, the timeline broke this episode, and to just rewrite it in our heads and move on. Obviously having waited to find out how the story ends since the mid 90s (and with even this episode containing some very fine character beats) I'm going with the latter. But they better get the timeline under control pronto.

It's amazing how much the progression of the TV series has mirrored the progression of the books in terms of losing control of various aspects. The difference, of course, is that you have hard deadlines on a TV show so instead of just not finishing it they throw what they've got on the page up onto the screen and pray.


I agree. Up until this episode in my head I could make the timelines work. I grumbled that it would be so easy to just show some sort of red line type scene but whatever.
There is a third option. Over the past few days, I just re-wrote the episode in my head.

They did not end up in the middle of a lake on a low rock. They ran and ended up trapped in alcove in a rock face on the other side of the lake where it was harder for the army to reach them. The army surrounded them. The lake still busted and the army stopped. Then there were some scenes where they debated what to do. Jon said, ' I've sent a raven we must hunker down, survive until help comes. It's going to come!' They talked about rationing. They talked about lost causes yadda yadda. They had some awesome preparing for the end relationship talks. They used fire guy's sword for warmth. They cuddled and pondered wondered why the army just stood there and waited. (To foreshadow the idea that the Knight King was waiting for something on purpose) Why? It was super, duper creepy.

They were shown suffering. All seemed lost.

Then guy got frustrated, help is not coming and threw a rock. Army starts attacking and trying to get up the walls. They start piling on each other and finding a way up. It doesn't look good. Then whamo DRAGONS to the rescue. And then then it became clear why the Knight King waited.

In the scenario it is at least somewhat plausible that they could have been there for the required amount of days. Not totally realistic but at least plausible.

This is what actually happened. Feel free to borrow my headcannon if it helps.
posted by Jalliah at 2:10 PM on August 23 [17 favorites]


My prediction is that now that we know that javelins kill dragons, Sam is gonna show up with a dragonglass jav and bring down the ice-zombie dragon.
posted by OHenryPacey at 2:13 PM on August 23 [4 favorites]


They ran and ended up trapped in alcove in a rock face on the other side of the lake where it was harder for the army to reach them.

Your description is similar to what I thought was going to be the book version of this, assuming anything even remotely similar happens in the books. Being surrounded on an ice island makes for better action sequences and that's the priority of the show at this point. Making things look good on TV is also why they don't wear hats and there's still only a light snowfall north of the wall.

But in the books they'll be stuck in a cave long enough for the timelines to work out. There will also be long descriptions of all the kinds of cave slime they eat. How many times will Jon Snow flex his sword hand while being stuck in the cave? Many, many times.
posted by Gary at 3:17 PM on August 23 [5 favorites]


We still don't know for sure if Littelfinger recognized Arya at Harrenhal back in season 2 (I think he did). I was expecting him to approach her and imply that she owes him for not exposing her identity to Tywin. I wouldn't expect her to respond positively to that.

You know, that scene mentions that, after the Lannisters and the Starks, the Tyrells commanded the largest host. You'd think they'd have put up a wee bit more of a fight at Highgarden.
posted by homunculus at 3:22 PM on August 23 [3 favorites]


Lili Loofbourow at The Week:Game of Thrones has become a terrible show
posted by larrybob at 11:07 PM on August 23


Tyrells commanded the largest host

In my head, it's like when Robb Start musters an army to go south, it wasn't just the Stark army - it included all their bannermen as well, the Karstarks, Umbers, etc.

In the case of the Tyrells, what if the Tyrells themselves weren't militarily strong. The Tarlys were the legendary fighters (the only ones to defeat R. Baratheon during his rebellion) and they did say that the other houses look to Randyll Tarly for direction. It's plausible that once the house with the strongest military chose their loyalty to the queen, the other military oriented houses would follow as well, which would leave the Tyrells without any defense.
posted by xdvesper at 11:24 PM on August 23


I want Euron to be burned to death by the dragons, PURELY so someone, maybe Theon, can say, "Euron, fire."
posted by tracicle at 1:34 AM on August 24 [17 favorites]


I want Euron to be burned to death by the dragons, PURELY so someone, maybe Theon, can say, "Euron, fire."

That's a Bronn line for sure.

Speaking of which, what on earth are the writers going to come up with to wrap up Theon's storyline? Euron should've killed him on that boat it would've been a much simpler ending than whatever they've got planned, I'm sure.
posted by dis_integration at 6:54 AM on August 24 [1 favorite]


Theon's story/arc is another that's just following standard fantasy tropes instead of subverting them. The writers will have him save Yara somehow, maybe even by sacrificing himself, thereby giving him redemption. GRRM would just have had Yara and Theon killed, maybe in a horrible way, maybe even Theon goes back to being Reek but for Euron. No one gets redeemed. Fan favorites don't get saved.
posted by LizBoBiz at 7:06 AM on August 24 [1 favorite]


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

Taking this to the books-included thread :)
posted by rue72 at 8:27 AM on August 24 [2 favorites]


GRRM would just have had Yara and Theon killed, maybe in a horrible way, maybe even Theon goes back to being Reek but for Euron.

Theon should have escaped overboard, same as we've seen, but then he should have just remained floating at sea, maybe clinging to some wreckage. Every few episodes, we check back in with Theon, still floating at sea. Theon tries to catch a fish, but fails. Two episodes later, Theon slurps about a teaspoon's worth of rainwater off of his makeshift flotation device. Two episodes later, Theon, looking like a drowned rat, spots an actual drowned rat floating on another piece of wreckage. He tries desperately to paddle over to it, but weak as he is, he can't reach it before waves push it out of his reach. He passes out. Two episodes later, we see him floating, nearly dead. His face slips below the water line, remains below the water for several long seconds, then he raises his head, sputtering weakly. Cut to the series finale. After all of the other action is complete, the theme music swells as we fade to black, then suddenly the music stops, and we hear water lapping. Cut to Theon's dead body still floating, snagged on the wreckage, but head completely submerged, a seagull picking at his corpse. Suddenly, the prow of a small boat enters the screen and we see Gendry rowing into and then across our field of view and then back off screen. Gendry takes no notice of Theon as he passes. Fade to black, to the sounds of water lapping. Theme song starts back up, then stops again. Cut to King's Landing, where we see a close-up of a raven, outdoors, perched on a white surface, facing away from the camera. The camera pulls out, and we see that the raven is perched on top of a bleached skull. The camera continues to pull out, and we see that the skull is sitting on a pike. It is unrecognizable by now, but this pike is sitting in the same location we have previously seen Ned Stark's severed head on a pike. The raven ruffles its feathers, and then takes off from the skull as the camera continues to pull back. The raven turns back toward the camera at the last second, now far enough away that it's hard to make out. Were the raven's eyes milky white? Was that Bran? The Internet argues this point for a generation. Cut to black, theme music plays us out.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:51 AM on August 24 [6 favorites]


> Meanwhile, there's army of the dead come to take over all of Westeros, Sansa is trying to prepare Winterfell for a long winter and the coming battle and Arya's stomping around placing idiotic and yes, petty, blame.

I wish the writers would clear up whether or not Arya even knows about the Night's King and the Army of the Dead, and if she's heard about it, does she actually believe it? If not then that makes her behavior a bit more understandable.
posted by homunculus at 10:58 AM on August 24 [1 favorite]


> In my head, it's like when Robb Start musters an army to go south, it wasn't just the Stark army - it included all their bannermen as well, the Karstarks, Umbers, etc.

In the case of the Tyrells, what if the Tyrells themselves weren't militarily strong. The Tarlys were the legendary fighters (the only ones to defeat R. Baratheon during his rebellion) and they did say that the other houses look to Randyll Tarly for direction. It's plausible that once the house with the strongest military chose their loyalty to the queen, the other military oriented houses would follow as well, which would leave the Tyrells without any defense.


Right, the two things that would explain it are mutinies amongst the Tyrell forces and Randyll Tarly's sheer military brilliance. The Tyrells did have a big military of their own, the rulers of the Reach made sure of that, but it would stand to reason that some of their own people would have defected too once Olenna threw in her lot with the Dragon Queen and her Dothraki heathens. The problem is, nobody actually trusts Cersei, so if Olenna had publicly accused Cersei of blowing up the Sept of Baelor back when that happened, many of the lords would have taken her word over Cersei's and the Lannisters should have been facing mutinies amongst their own bannermen too. But now we're back to the lack of consequences for the destruction of the sept, which also left a big smoking hole in the plot, imo. Regardless, the fall of House Tyrell deserved a lot more effort than what we got and should have at least shown off Randyll's tactical skills, which would have made his death later more poignant.

The word 'bannerman' always makes this song start playing in my head.
posted by homunculus at 10:58 AM on August 24


At this point the Game of Thrones video game I'm playing has better writing than the show does.
posted by homunculus at 11:05 AM on August 24 [1 favorite]


"I wish the writers would clear up whether or not Arya even knows about the Night's King and the Army of the Dead, and if she's heard about it, does she actually believe it? If not then that makes her behavior a bit more understandable."

There's no time for that, look at this zombie polar bear that adds nothing to the story!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:34 AM on August 24 [5 favorites]


it's looking increasingly likely to me that the reason there are three dragons is so that Viserion gets turned to the enemy, Drogon gets killed by Cersei, Daenerys dies somehow, and then the climax of the series is a dance of dragons between Jon on Rhaegal and the Night King on Viserion.

Oh lord. I think this is probably right. Daenerys is going to get straight-up fridged, which will give Jon a nitro-like burst of manpain that will spur him to triumph over the Night King.

UGH. I do not want this, but I really can't see this falling out any other way. Especially now that the writing staff has essentially checked out.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 3:31 PM on August 24 [4 favorites]


....whoa
posted by The Whelk at 3:58 PM on August 24 [7 favorites]


....whoa

Season 8 finale: cut to the future, who sits on the Iron throne? A head slowly turns, it's GRRM.
posted by dis_integration at 4:09 PM on August 24 [3 favorites]


Madly typing away. Cut to his laptop: He still hasn't finished the book.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:13 PM on August 24 [7 favorites]


UGH. I do not want this, but I really can't see this falling out any other way.

NO NO NO NO DO NOT WANT.
posted by corb at 4:31 PM on August 24 [1 favorite]


UGH. I do not want this, but I really can't see this falling out any other way.

Ugh. It also explains why the writers would have Tyrion bring up succession. Plant that seed in the viewers mind for when it comes up later.
posted by Gary at 5:28 PM on August 24


"It's looking increasingly likely to me that the reason there are three dragons is so that Viserion gets turned to the enemy, Drogon gets killed by Cersei, Daenerys dies somehow, and then the climax of the series is a dance of dragons between Jon on Rhaegal and the Night King on ..."

So what happens to Cersei in this situation?

Totally doubt your speculation will happen. Can't have a song of fire and ice with no fire.

If anything, i expect Dany will get pregnate by Jon.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:40 PM on August 24


Is every character going to come to an unsatisfying but definite standard fantasy resolution n eight episodes but we STILL won't know why magic came back into the world?
posted by shothotbot at 8:50 PM on August 24 [1 favorite]


Speaking of bannermen, I think the silly plan to bring a wight to Cersei would make a little more sense if the wight wasn't really for her benefit, but rather for that of all the lords and bannermen who are sworn to her. If Jon and Dany can convince them that the Night's King and the Army of the Dead are real, then some of them might decide that serving the queen with the dragons and the mounted horde might be their best chance of survival and switch sides.
posted by homunculus at 10:49 PM on August 24 [3 favorites]


If anything, i expect Dany will get pregnate by Jon.

I was briefly excited, because I was like, "Hell yeah! Dany will impregnate Jon! She can't bear children, but there's no reason he can't! Jon's innards are already magicked up, there's no reason the Lord of Light or whoever couldn't arrange for some sort of temporary uterus analog! Maybe even a permanent uterus analog! And Sam could help! If that's how we end up getting the Prince Who Was Promised, I'll be so there!"

But then I realized that I just over-read a typo, and now I am sad.

But you know, if we really do end up getting some kind of horrible, fridging/manpain climax to this thing, maybe, as a protest, I'll have to write a gigantic, sprawling, several-hundred-thousand-word John Snow MPreg epic. (There will be no stakes and no actual plot-- really, it'll just be Jon going around doing the same kind of grumpy, dreamy, ill-thought-out shit he always does, only while pregnant, and in a more-or-less peaceful Westeros. Periodically Sansa and/or Varys will show up unannounced and be like, "Hey, so are you, like, okay? Do you need anything?" and he'll be like "Manpain! Leave me alone! And also my feet hurt and I'm constipated! MANPAAAIN!" And then they'll go back to the Warden of the North, Lyanna Mormont, and be like, "Well, what do we do now, he looks really f-ing close to giving birth and we don't think he's even figured out how that's going to work?" And she'll be like, "Bitches, Winter is here, and thanks to all the idiot wars, we have, like, two-and-a-half cups of grain and a packet of Teriyaki Oberto to get us all through, we can't be chasing his ass all over the known world trying to be his damn nursemaids. Just let him be, and if he comes back at some point with a weird, fire-breathing, albino baby and a new, giant, unhealing hole in his torso, we'll deal with it then.") (And I'm going to emphasize speed and quantity over quality, readability, or sanity here. If it comes out like this, that'll be 100% fine with me. )

And then I'll self-publish it, and I'll launch a GoFundMe campaign so that I can try to slime it onto the NYT best seller list. And then, in the unlikely event that there are "proceeds" of some kind from this, I'll donate all $3.75 of them to one or more of GRRM's favorite organizations, like Meow Wolf or Con or Bust, so that he can't say shit about any of this without feeling at least a little bit like an asshole.

97% of me knows that this would be a doomed and asinine waste of time. But 3% of me is ready to start laying in a supply of Adderall, Kinesis keyboards, and wrist braces so that the minute the series ends, I can DO THIS THING.

Help me.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 11:58 PM on August 24 [14 favorites]


I want to help you, but I also want to read this fic. halp.
posted by corb at 12:06 AM on August 25 [3 favorites]


Sorry, I'm with corb on this one. In fact, I just emailed HBO begging them for a fridging/manpain ending to GoT so you'll be forced to move on this.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:42 AM on August 25 [3 favorites]


Yep. Told 'em to make sure that Jaime ends up killing Cersei, as well, and Jaime & Jon wander the world in manpain together. (The killings will happen at the end of this season, the last season will just be manpain).
posted by Pink Frost at 2:23 AM on August 25 [2 favorites]


If you don't edit it, can I have the Aderall?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:39 AM on August 25 [2 favorites]


Oh FYI, I'll be out at a GoT party for the viewing, won't be home in time to make a post the second the episode ends, so if someone else wants to do it, go for it!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:49 PM on August 25


Sometimes I doubt your commitment to Sparkle Motion.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:51 PM on August 25 [7 favorites]


Too bad let's find a wight to convince the maesters wasn't the actual plan, because that would make a hell of a lot more sense. I still think that might end up happening, but why that wasn't the actual plan I don't know. Sure, the maesters are pretty stuck in their ways, but a) Jon has a connection to them via Sam, and b) they're not Cersei Lannister.
posted by BungaDunga at 2:55 PM on August 25 [2 favorites]


I don't think Sam carries much wight with the maesters.

Thanks... I'll show myself out.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:57 PM on August 25 [3 favorites]


So, a thought that I don't think I've seen elsewhere. It's been mentioned above about the stupidity of not taking bows with dragonglass arrows north of the Wall. In this same episode we see Arya talking about her bow practice as a child.

What chance Arya kills the Night King? I would endorse that ending.

(Actually would endorse most endings that don't end with something as obvious as Jon and Dany get married and everyone lives happily ever after, or the above discussion where all the female characters turn out to be plot devices for the dudes - we also left out Yara and Theon).
posted by Pink Frost at 4:02 PM on August 25 [1 favorite]


With only two dragons you only need two dragon riders: Danny and Jon.
posted by shothotbot at 5:18 PM on August 25


Can faceless men (and faceless short women) take the face of the night king?
posted by rmd1023 at 6:31 PM on August 25


I think I want Sam to wind up on the Iron Throne, with Gilly as his queen and Hot Pie as his hand. Actually, scratch that. I want Gilly on the Iron Throne and Sam as Prince-Consort. Hot Pie should still be Hand, though. It's high time the government of Westeros stopped focusing on war and aggression and adopted more sustainable, pastry-oriented policies. Missandei and Grey Worm can be on the Small Council, I suppose, but only if they're prepared to get fully on board with the baked goods.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 9:31 PM on August 25 [5 favorites]


I don't THINK anyone's posted this Vox piece yet:
It’s this strategic lack of strategy that’s allowed Sansa to keep Littlefinger in her sights and in check for most of Game of Thrones’ seventh season. Sansa uses traditionally feminine traits of passive acceptance, appeasement, and tactics of mediation in order to stall her enemies, delay action, and divert attention from herself. In the game of thrones, Sansa plays by refusing to play, again and again. [...] Sansa’s mode of self-protection has given her a unique perceptiveness that Arya has struggled with in the past. Sansa’s passivity has allowed her to learn from her enemies, including Cersei and Littlefinger — the two people whose manipulation she expertly sidesteps in “Beyond the Wall”: When Littlefinger urges her to use Brienne as a weapon against Arya, she appears to listen to his advice, then promptly sends Brienne away from Winterfell. Where? To meet with Cersei as Sansa’s emissary, because she has no intention of walking into one of Cersei’s traps. And, crucially, she deliberately leaves herself open to whatever attack or confrontation Arya might be planning. [...] Sansa’s faith in Arya is, at least for now, proven justified: Instead of attacking her, Arya passes the dagger Bran gave her into Sansa’s hands.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:42 PM on August 25 [9 favorites]


Yeah, but Arya seems to be hitting her in her weak spots, curious to see how that goes.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:58 AM on August 26


I'm toying with the idea that Arya kills LF and takes his face to find out if she should kill Sansa too, and then Sansa kills Arya thinking she's finally killing LF.
posted by OHenryPacey at 10:13 AM on August 26 [4 favorites]


That Vox piece is interesting, but I'm struggling with whether the show creators have written her that smart.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:21 AM on August 26


I'm toying with the idea that Arya kills LF and takes his face to find out if she should kill Sansa too, and then Sansa kills Arya thinking she's finally killing LF.

A bit Romeo-and-Juliet but strikingly, disconcertingly plausible.
posted by clockzero at 11:30 AM on August 26 [1 favorite]


" I'm struggling with whether the show creators have written her that smart."

Yeah, me too. I think it's a fair reading of book Sansa and probably of the actress's intentions, but I'm just not sure I have faith in the show writers to have deliberately taken this tack.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 2:15 PM on August 26 [2 favorites]


Remember last season when everyone had all these theories about Arya and the Waif and their final fight? And how it turned out to make not a bit of sense, was all spectacle?

Expecting same.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:08 PM on August 26 [6 favorites]


I just don't understand why they didn't make the Arya/Waif fight better. We kept assuming that Arya was only pretending to be stupid or that she was leading the waif on. In actuality her character had no master plan. I remember fan theories about why she was handling the money with her right hand instead of her left hand or why she was standing in the bridge making herself a target. What was her plan? In the end she survived through blind luck. Just as Jon has been doing for the last 2 seasons. Why have they robbed all the characters of agency and planning ability? Surely it would be more satisfying for the writers to craft moderately clever characters with plans that span an entire season arc. Last minute saves by cavalry and uncle Benjen get old fast.
posted by Telf at 1:23 AM on August 27 [4 favorites]


Yeah, the example is why I've stopped speculating about the show. I remember a theory about the Arya/Waif fight that speculated that Syrio Forel would be returning, based on a shadow behind the Waif in an episode trailer. I was so excited about that and hugely disappointed when it turned to be, well, just a shadow.

So while that Vox article about Sansa is very interesting and I can see how the author got there, I'm just not betting on it being true, one way or another. Time and time again, the show has displayed an acute disregard for logical plot developments or consistent character portrayals, preferring spectacle. That's fine, but gives me little hope that I would like to see will actually happen.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:19 AM on August 27 [4 favorites]


Watching several of the early episodes today and it's really amazing to see how much Sam changed.

He was literally a sniveling coward, but not because he is one, but because his father told him that for most of his life. Once he was out from under his asshole dad, he's managed to grow into a helluva an adult. Sure, he's not sword fighter, but he's brave as hell. If his dad had seen Sam for what he is, rather than force him into a rigid mold, Sam just might've become a decent warrior.

But it's ok, I like the character as he is now. Kudos to John Bradley-West for his portrayal of Sam. In these early episodes his entire demeanor is that of beaten soul, but all that's changed now, he walks with confidence and pride.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:51 PM on August 27 [2 favorites]


> Storywise, I guess I'm ok with this being Arya's character arc, because vengeance often comes with a price, and that girl had a long list to get through. It makes sense. But I don't enjoy her anymore. Her character, when she's recognizable, is not readable to me. I blame the writing. They want us to question her intentions, so they're not giving her honest and open dialogue, and what do you do with that, as an actor, when you're not supposed to be readable? The answer seems to be 'act like that irritating waif.'

I remember a fan theory that the Waif won the fight and has been masquerading as Arya ever since. Not very plausible, but I prefer it to what's happening on the show now.
posted by homunculus at 1:21 PM on August 27 [4 favorites]


Oh god, that would actually make more sense than what's happening now.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:23 PM on August 27 [1 favorite]


As long as we're doing headcanon show endings, in mine Brienne and Tormund found a school open to *everyone* where they teach knight and wildling combat tactics. They are good friends; after surviving the Long Night together, Tormund remains awed by her talent and Brienne has grown to enjoy his bluffness and reliability. He's still kinda crazy about her, the way Matt Groening is still kinda crazy about Lynda Barry, but it's not super obvious and it doesn't affect their friendship or teaching partnership. When she's old enough to continue the Mormont line, Lyanna sends all her kids there and runs a Bear Island scholarship to send over any local girls who couldn't otherwise afford to go. Pod is a favorite with the kids, a thorough but kind teacher who "dies" dramatically any time a student gets inside his guard and who is not above engaging in the Westerosi equivalent of spitball or squirt gun battles.

Davos finally reunites with his wife and remaining children. He falls out of touch with everyone for a while -- until his youngest, a girl Shireen's age, expresses an interest in becoming a knight and is duly enrolled in Brienne and Tormund's school.

Hot Pie caters the school's annual graduation ceremony.
posted by Fish, fish, are you doing your duty? at 5:06 PM on August 27 [5 favorites]


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