Brush-up for Episode 8 with Dame Pasty’s Recap and Review of “The Gift”

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Can you believe it?  There’s only three episodes left!  As you breathlessly await Episode 8, come re-explore Game of Thrones Episode 7 “The Gift” with me, Dame Pasty.  I guarantee at least one laugh but sobbing is strictly prohibited. Spoilers are back in this week and they’re at the very end for the Unsullied.

Video after the jump.

As always feedback is appreciated, especially your thoughts on where it’s going (or you THINK it is going). Please remember to use spoiler tags since this video is for the Unwashed….er….I mean Unsullied, not just us dirty, dirty readers.

Enjoy!

102 responses

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    1. Umm, mistake in the title of the post. ‘The Gift’ is episode 7 (as the video correctly states).

      Now on to actually watching it.

      (Also first, so: Highgarden!)

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    2. Enjoy your videos very much, especially the little typed comments parallel to the words you’re speaking. Another great one this week. 🙂

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    3. We really need an episode that is all Arya and nothing else – that’d send this place to DEFCON 1

      Nice work Dame Pasty.

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    4. TOIVA,

      Oh snap, I misunderstood the title. Apparently there’s no mistake.

      Btw, a nice recap. I like your view of Littlefinger’s gift to Olenna. It wouldn’t literally be bringing a young man to Olenna, but merely informing her of what the Sparrows know and plan with Cersei. That way she can get first to Tommen and finally bring some sense to his ruling (Tommen would be clueless, anyway, there’s just about Pycelle left there who knows anything).

      Though frankly, I’m still wishing for say Gendry or some other surprise there.

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    5. Thank you for another great review, I’m looking forward to them every week, I too love hearing your views about the episode.
      I’m so hyped for ‘Hardhome’! Bring it on!

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    6. Hoyti Von Totiy,

      It’s a fan-made trailer based on all the Hardhome-related footage released in trailers, featurettes and the promo for the episode. Well, except for Selyse on the ground and the High Sparrow’s narration… I’m not so sure what they’re doing there.

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    7. Luka Nieto,

      Probably the author of the video mistook Selyse for a wildling or something. Anyway, it’s a great promo, I can’t get more excited for this episode, I hope I won’t get disappointed.

      Do you guys think there’s any chance we could see some ice spiders?

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    8. Balerion The Cat,

      well i for one hoping that is what jon seeing in the trailer
      Nights king on top of the cliff riding a giant spider and it will be a nice parallel with dany and drogon next episode ..they always do these parallels like Spiral design and all

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    9. Balerion The Cat,

      What a great promo indeed! As for the

      ice spiders that would be insane, I would lose my mind completly… If not, well I’m still counting at least to see an undead giant, wouldn’t that be a sight?

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    10. Hoyti Von Totiy,

      wow i never believed in stannis is Nights king theory …but what if

      jon kills the nights king with the obsidian when he is on the ground and when stannis has lost shireen and everything ..the white walkers recruit him and turn him as the nights king

      yeah i know thats ridiculous and insanely crackpotbut just a thought

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    11. dragonbringer:

      wow i never believed in stannis is Nights king theory …but what if

      yeah i know thats ridiculous and insanely crackpotbut just a thought

      Dunno but i noticed someting in the mist that picture of Jon on the ground, does anyone else see it?

      Its in the right side of the screen in the mist looks like a giant spider to me like in the old tales Old Nan used to tell:
      http://s11.postimg.org/yex9s7g0j/image.jpg

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    12. Hoyti Von Totiy: Looks bad: http://s3.postimg.org/rnewst1gz/image.jpg

      And all those corpses rise again in 3…2…1… run!

      ——-

      Dame Pasty

      Thx again for the recap. Always a pleasure.

      LF is stretching himself a bit thin, imho, and a bit of whiplash is coming. The Lancel “gift” seems a bit forced. Do you think Lancel really told that story only recently to the HS, based on LF’s coersion? Lancel’s story should be independent of LF, right? Something doesn’t quite link up there.

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    13. I’ve been watching usually in the day after when it airs in Portugal, but I don’t think I will be able to wait for this episode, the hype is to strong with this one… I’ll watch it again after in hd when it airs obviously, anyway, here goes my question:
      Does anyone here now a streaming website to watch game of thrones live??

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    14. Balerion The Cat,

      Well I don’t think it is, anyway I’m doing erasmus in Venice, Italy this year so I have no idea what’s going on back on my tv channels in portugal, And the access to tv series here in Italy is even worse than in Portugal, And everything is dubbed, we don’t do that in my country, thank god!
      Anyway as for the streaming, I’ve searched and found lots of them but they don’t work that well, lots of lag with the image and sound, sometimes you can’t see anything for minutes, so I was wondering if any of you knew a better one?

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    15. Durrandon’s Fool: Is that just Jon with Longclaw in the foreground of the first picture? It almost looks like someone carrying an ice sword, but that’s probably just because the image is so blurry.

      That does NOT look like Longclaw the hilt is missing … ur right it looks like an ice sword.

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    16. Hodor’s Bastard,
      Yes, the LF / Lancel connection did feel forced. At a minimum I figured his gift to Olenna was just the info that Lancel was telling the High Sparrow and that Olenna could now have exclusive access to Tommn because Cersei had been or would be arrested. Its pure speculation that he had a hand in pushing Lancel to the church though.

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    17. TOIVA,

      Its an interesting reading of what Littlefinger meant. I generally like Grantland’s Watch The Thrones podcast, but their resident expert, Jason Ask The Maester Concepcion was so annoying last week when he was talking about that. He insisted that Littlefinger’s line meant Lancel, which he said some of his readers were confused about and how that was just the show screwing up. I kept screaming, “How do you know definitively its only about Lancel? A lot of people think it has multiple machinations.”

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    18. Ravyn,

      The “Previously On” clip before the episode showed you the scene where LF ran into Lancel when he first got back to King’s Landing. There is absolutely no other reason to show that clip in context with this episode unless they want you to remember that LF met Lancel and saw he was with the Sparrows.

      People would like to have more complicated theories but it’s really as simple as that.

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    19. Ravyn,

      It’s generally a bad idea insisting it happened any particular way when it is only alluded to in the show. The only way to be sure would be Littlefinger grasping behind a wall, pulling out Lancel and saying: “Here is the man I wanted to show you.”

      I’ll be looking forward to what Littlefinger and Olenna do next. And what happens with Tommen. That could clarify what exactly Littlefinger meant.

      (That said, it’s entirely possible the show did screw up and that podcaster was right.)

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    20. Dame Pasty,

      I think that you might have over-extrapolated on LF sending or directing Lancel to the Faith. All that is required is that we are not “shown” is that LF be aware that Lancel had had an affair with Cersei: and that is easily within the range of things that we are shown LF would learn.

      The interaction between Lancel & LF when LF returns suggests that LF had nothing to do with Lancel joining the Faith. Lancel is very hostile towards LF, and LF in turn is underwhelmed by Lancel’s decision. LF’s seemingly incredulous statement that the Lannister name is a hard one to leave behind is LF is telling us and Lancel that he doesn’t think that Lancel has dropped all loyalty to his family. Add to this that betraying your family is considered to be the worst of sins among Westerosi nobility, particularly among the Lannisters.

      All of that sets up the fact that Lancel’s initial confessions would have been “incomplete.”

      So, all we need here are what we get: 1) LF knows about Lancel & Cersei; and, 2) LF does not think that Lancel would completely leave “Lannister” behind so easily.

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    21. By the way, this was another good podcat/tubecast/whatever-cast. I like how you focus on the primary points: it is like a well-done “viewer’s guide.” The speculation certainly is reasonable: it might not happen, but it’s certainly would not make for any major “plot holes” if it does turn out in those ways.

      You do nail one inconsistency that I’d missed: “Little Sam” should be about 1.5 now, and thus toddling. It is funny that they would make this error given the TV tradition of having infants become 6 year olds after one season!

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    22. As far as the question as to why we didn’t actually hear LF make the Lancel offering to Olenna and why we didn’t see the intermediate steps from Olenna to the HS: the easy answer is by showing the audience any of these things, it ruins the reveal for the audience when Cersei is cornered by the High Sparrow. There is supposed to be retroactive realization by the audience that Olenna used that info provided by LF to either prod Lancel or go directly to the HS to question Lancel on this.

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    23. King Tommen: the easy answer is by showing the audience any of these things, it ruins the reveal for the audience when Cersei is cornered by the High Sparrow.

      Yes, this is a big difference between story and documentary (or “art” and “reality.”) In a documentary, you would make it clear from the start specifically who LF means. After all, he gives her information about Lancel: we just do not see it. In a story, you leave the audience hanging just a bit. After all, “drama” requires things like “reveal” that documentation does not.

      Really, this was all very Chekhovian: Lancel’s reminding the audience that the had an affair with Cersei (back when he looked like Legolas) and then LF’s reminding the audience that one does not just completely leave a family like the Lannisters (re-)hung two big guns on the wall. That scene fired them.

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    24. TOIVA, The title is correct. Dame Edna’s videos offer a ‘brush-up’ for Episode X by recapping Episode (X-1). They are released shortly before Episode X airs, so that people who’ve had a busy week will be refreshed in their understanding of the Thronesiverse in time to view the new ep without confusion. This schedule also allows her to do a better job than would be possible if she rushed to complete the review by Monday as some others do.

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    25. Meant to post this a while ago, major kudos on the Ollie prediction, you spotted it way before it became obvious, love your recaps too!!!

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    26. Wimsey: Really, this was all very Chekhovian: Lancel’s reminding the audience that the had an affair with Cersei (back when he looked like Legolas) and then LF’s reminding the audience that one does not just completely leave a family like the Lannisters

      I’ll accept that LF is puppetmaster, but the story that HS told Cersei about “a regretful lad that came to him” is at least a year in the making, wouldn’t you say? If HS was clued in on this revelation only recently per LF manipulations of Lancel and hence depicted the timeline falsely to Cersei, I wonder about the integrity of the HS. What am I missing here? Is there something exploitable about the HS that LF/QoT know of? Am I over-thinking it?

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    27. Hodor’s Bastard: I’ll accept that LF is puppetmaster, but the story that HS told Cersei about “a regretful lad that came to him” is at least a year in the making, wouldn’t you say? If HS was clued in on this revelation only recently per LF manipulations of Lancel and hence depicted the timeline falsely to Cersei, I wonder about the integrity of the HS. What am I missing here? Is there something exploitable about the HS that LF/QoT know of? Am I over-thinking it?

      The assumption is that Lancel has been confessing certain sins over time to the HS (“as he noted to Cersei”) but the ones involving Cersei only came out now. It stands to reason that if the HS had known about all this Cersei stuff, he would have acted much more quickly. It isn’t really in his nature to be devious about holding off on that kind of revelation. The audience is supposed to infer that the Lancel info that implicates Cersei came about recently and it was a result of some final prodding from Olenna after she learned about it from LF, which was his gift to her.

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    28. Hodor’s Bastard,

      A young man came to us not long ago, broken in body and spirit. He had so much to strip away, so much weighing him down. But piece by piece, he unburdened himself. Let go of vanity, pride, sin. Now his soul is so light, he will float through the Seven Heavens like a bird…. And he has much to say about you.

      I personally saw the “piece by piece” as another way of saying “one piece at a time,” implying that everything was not confessed at once. I do see how this isn’t an overt telling but a breadcrumb telling that it was Lancel, requiring us to make a couple of deductive leaps.

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    29. Dame Pasty,

      Crackpot theory:

      The other ‘handsome young man’ is…

      Tommen!

      I know, I know… But he does seem eminently indictable via the evidence Ned shared with Littlefinger in Season One. Margaery weaseled out of two royal marriages unscathed. Why not another? This would put her back on the marriage market for Season Six.

      Lancel is just icing on the cake and a bit of a red herring. The Sparrow already knew. When is unclear, but he did tell Cersei Lancel unburdened his soul bit by bit.

      The High Sparrow wants to clean the birdcage completely! And Littlefinger gets to take down another member of the old guard while endearing himself to the new one. Just a thought.

      If Maggie the Frog’s prophesy indeed bookends the show, Tommen (and Myrcella, I guess) don’t have much time.

      What says the Watcher’s Court?

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    30. Two comments:
      First, why would anyone put slow-acting poison on a weapon? In a goblet, sure. But on a hand-to-hand combat weapon? Wouldn’t it make a lot more sense in combat to cut ’em with a fast-acting poison and have ’em drop dead a heartbeat later?

      Secondly, they are talking up Sam’s daddy as the only general that beat Robert Baratheon. So he was fighting for the Targs. Do we know anyone who might be able to use an excellent, Targ-loyalist, general in the coming fight for Westeros?

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    31. King Tommen,
      Ginevra,

      I don’t know why I was thinking that there was a longer time-frame involved (even after jentario similarly informed me immediately after the show aired!). Thank you kindly! I have adjusted the knobs accordingly.

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    32. Rodrik the Reader: The other ‘handsome young man’ is…

      Tommen!

      I know, I know… But he does seem eminently indictable via the evidence Ned shared with Littlefinger in Season One.

      I thought Tommen is a possibility too! A longer game than Olyvar and Lancel. Olenna may not use this piece of info re: this young man immediately, because …. Margaery is married to him and her being queen would be in jeopardy. But if the situation was desperate? Most definitely! I think long before LF and Lady Olenna had their chat, the High Sparrow knew all about Cersei/Lancel and was only biding his time till his power grab was more complete, thanks to Cersei’s total lack of intelligence.

      Rodrik the Reader: Margaery weaseled out of two royal marriages unscathed. Why not another? This would put her back on the marriage market for Season Six.

      The great mystery of the series: who is going to be Margaery’s last husband? 😀

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    33. Dame Pasty,

      I would think that all of Westeros and half of Essos would know of Tommen’s parentage by now. After all, that’s what began the War of the Five Kings, directly motivating two of the five to rise up. Surely House Tyrell received a copy of Stannis’s letter, as well.

      As others have said before in various places, the last thing Lady Olenna wants is for Tommen to be declared illegit. Margaery has consummated this marriage and thus tied her fate to Tommen’s, unlike with her last two husbands, and so it would be extremely unlikely that any other king or prospective king would wed a queen who was known to not be a virgin. Even if this was possible, it wouldn’t be likely, and so Olenna would be risking everything she already has on a chance that she might get it back. Or at least that’s how I see it.

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    34. Ginevra: I would think that all of Westeros and half of Essos would know of Tommen’s parentage by now.

      Given both books and TV, it’s pretty clear that most of Essos doesn’t pay much attention to Westeros: the Westerosi are viewed as backwards savages by the Essosi, after all.

      As for Westeros, they have all heard the story. However, they seem to have rejected it for the most part. After all, isn’t Stannis under the influence of a foreign witch who worships a demon? That sort tends to lie: every religion says so!

      As for Olenna, she certainly strongly suspects that Tommen has zero Baratheon genes. However, you nailed the reason why she won’t share that information: her granddaughter’s claim to power lies in pretending that Tommen is Robert’s son.

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    35. Ginevra,

      I concede your points. I already have my head in Season Six perhaps and am trying to get the Tyrells back to High Garden for the mayhem hinted at in the casting calls.

      Tommen does remain a liability though. Everyone might ‘know’ (wink, wink), but the High Sparrow is the only one currently on the scene who will act on it if he gets the evidence (Ned’s evidence) before him. Everyone knew about Loras too.

      We know via prophecy that Tommen will likely die. He might not die soon, but I don’t see him holding onto the crown if the High Sparrow sticks around. Something’s gotta give.

      Margaery would ally herself lickety split with the next best choice available, and she will do it with Olenna’s blessing. There remains a chance that she won’t be completely exonerated by the Sparrow, and that the price of contrition could be… what, exactly?

      Littlefinger’s hand has to be in there somewhere, and I don’t see him missing a chance to get rid of the remaining Lannisters, weaken the Tyrells, and pave the way for a possible Sansa reign with him by her side. Or so he might wish.

      Or he might just burn everything to the ground to be king of the ashes.

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    36. Rodrik the Reader: Margaery would ally herself lickety split with the next best choice available, and she will do it with Olenna’s blessing.

      It takes two to tango. Whoever is Robert’s heir (once Tommen & Myrcella are taken of the list, and assuming that the Westerosi will use the excuse of Stannis’ attaintment and becoming a demon worshipper to keep him off the throne), why would he marry Margaery? At any rate, neither GRRM nor B&W have introduced an “Harry the Heir” character: and that is what they would do if that was going to be a possible plot direction. (At this point, it would be utterly gratuitous world-building filler, so let’s hope that they don’t!)

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    37. For all the people bashing the Memorial Day GoT Ratings… The Live +3 ratings just came out and GoT viewership was exactly where the previous episodes where at. People just didn’t watch it live.

      The sky isn’t falling. lol

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    38. The Bastard,

      Business Insider did a story on the MD ratings and they cited two possible reasons. Obviously, continuing backlash against the Sansa story. More interestingly, they cited HBO sources about an overall bump in streaming numbers due to HBO GO and NOW. The thinking is that many live viewers are gradually moving platforms.

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    39. Kay,

      Oh, boy, so many possibilities. Littlefinger plays the game on so many levels. We are assuming that he told Olenna about Lancel and she told the Sparrow. Even our renegade interpretation that he meant Tommen assumes he told Olenna.

      What if he took ‘the gift’ directly to the Sparrow, bypassing Olenna completely. It was a gift to her, information to the Sparrow, and a win for himself, as he now made nice with both Olenna and the Sparrow, who will absolve him of his whore mongering past for the greater good and with the blessing of the Seven (another wink, wink).

      Either way, the Lancel accusation takes out Cersei, and the Tommen reveal will eventually take out the Tyrells.

      As was said of another character: ‘His gifts are poisoned.’ Aren’t Littlefinger’s as well?

      Or not. The show has only so many shenanigans it can juggle.

      As for Margaery’s next husband, I would enjoy seeing her wrap some Ironborn brute around her little finger!

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    40. Ravyn,

      That makes sense for a show like GoT. It gets a tech savy, younger demographic. It is only natural that they would be some of the earlier adopters…

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    41. evenwind,

      I definitely wouldn’t wanna fight with a poison that could kill me before I could take the antidote. And fights get messy, the chance of harming yourself with your blade or losing your blade to your opponent aren’t negligible.
      Besides, Oberyn used a similar poison (don’t remember if they called it ‘Long farewell’ too). It didn’t kill the mountain after he cut his leg.

      Another thing would be arrows. For those I can see using fast acting poisons.

      Shagga of Sheep,

      Yep, I conceded that in my second post up there. I basically saw ‘brush-up on’ while the title says correctly ‘brush up for’. It sorta confused me for a while.

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    42. Wimsey,

      We may be past the point of talking about heirs and lines of succession. The shit is about to hit the fan.

      Robert based his legitimacy on conquest. The later War of Five Kings was called such because five claims were made, legitimate or not.

      And Stannis is no longer a real factor. If he survives at all, his mission will be in the North, as Mel foretold. There is zero chance, in my opinion, that he’ll ever get anywhere near the Iron throne.

      There might not be any need for ‘legitimate’ claimants to marry Maergery, or there might be some concocted reasons why they might. She is still highborn even if she is no longer THE queen.

      The Dornish and Dany might make a play. If the former, Margaery is out because of Myrcella. If Myrcella is out because of the twincest reveal or some other misadventure, there’s always Trystane as a possible groom. If Dany arrives on the scene, Margeary will be out no matter whom she marries.

      The Tyrell’s destiny is to just be characters in someone else’s history.

      I typed the above so fast I’m not sure it makes any sense! My Meereenese Knot has somehow become Margaery and her romantic entanglements!

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    43. Rodrik the Reader: Or not. The show has only so many shenanigans it can juggle.

      Well, there is a reason why my icon is such a famous person! Reverend Bayes would be another good icon here: the vast majority of the time, when fans try to insert complicated conjectures on top of the obviously explanations offered in books or shows, it turns out to be completely wrong.

      Rodrik the Reader: The Tyrell’s destiny is to just be characters in someone else’s history.

      More important, they are secondary character’s in other peoples’ stories as GRRM is telling it. They’ve made Margaery a lesser protagonist on the show: but in large part they’ve done that to expand the narrative scope.

      Rodrik the Reader: And Stannis is no longer a real factor. If he survives at all, his mission will be in the North, as Mel foretold.

      I would not say that Stannis is a non-factor. Oh, true: he has no chance at the Iron Throne. However, I think that this season might be showing us something that the books should have made much more clear: the fact that religious “purists” from different religions rarely (if ever) can get along means that there cannot be a united front between the followers of R’hllor and the Church of the Seven against the White Walkers. Melissandre’s views probably are ubiquitous to her religion: the Seven either are demons working for the Other (and thus likely ready to become allies of the White Walkers) or they are fairy-tales of no importance.

      This High Sparrow will take the exact same view: but flipping the roles. He’s already shown that he will not compromise morals for the sake of political expediency: after all, the Father will judge them on how they fight the White Walkers (once that threat becomes clear), and surely He will not let his Faithful win if they ally with demon worshippers.

      And what that means is that Daeny, Tyrion and Jon will probably have to juggle sides that refuse to be allies against a greater enemy, and they might even have to decide if R’hllor and/or the Faith are equally great threats (in the long run) as the White Walkers.

      But, in the end, that is what is going to be important: what choices the struggle between “higher powers” forces on Daeny, Jon, Tyrion and Arya (and, to lesser extents, Sansa, Davos, Theon, etc.: even Jaime and Cersei if they still are around).

      Here is another way to put it: the Scouring of the Shire is going to happen before the Quest for Mordor in this series! (Weak analogies, I know, but they are the best I’ve got.)

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    44. TOIVA,

      Okay, point taken. But I’d have to question how often an experienced swordsman cuts himself with his own weapon. On the other hand, knowing that the nameless guy you were fighting – assuming he survived the battle – is going to keel over the next time he sees a nekid woman has got to rate fairly low on the satisfaction scale. I think the real use of poisoned weaponry is to shake the morale of your enemy. But to do that, you got to advertise that your weapons are poisoned ahead of time. Aren’t the Dornish weapons just rumored to be poisoned? So even the morale thing isn’t going to work as well as it might. I just think the whole thing is a heroic fantasy trope that doesn’t stand up very well – or we’d have heard a lot more about them in Real Life…

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    45. Wimsey,

      Thank you for your very thoughtful response. Given GRRM’s fertile imagination, book Margaery will likely have more options than show Margaery post-Tommen. Given your earlier point that her potential TV suitors are probably limited to characters who have already been introduced, I must conclude that her Harry the Heir of the books will be none other than… Sweetrobin!

      Perhaps aged up and quite the little stud from all that boot camp in the Vale, I think he’d take quite a shine to Marge. She’s had ’em young (eww!), and he likes ’em older (double eww!), so I think those two could really hit it off!

      ASOIF karma could also mean our little minx becomes a septa and lives a life of quiet contemplation. Either way, or in an all-together different way, her days as a player are coming to an end.

      As to your other points regarding the Faith and R’Hollor and the White Walkers, my goodness, that is way above my incorrigibly flippant pay grade. I’m sure you’ve read all the theories. Mine is that Ice and Fire, Jon and Dany, will cancel each other out, Tyrion will flame out in self-sacrifice but never get the credit, the Wall will come down, and the seasons will be restored. Planetos will be back in balance, the children of the forest will fade away, and a new mercantile class of Littlefingers will usher in a post-feudal and parliamentary order.

      And the White Walkers aren’t evil. Rather, they are… well, I’d best keep that to myself till Season 7.

      Sometimes, these posts spin way past the next episode!

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    46. Rodrik the Reader,

      I agree: the White Walkers are not “evil.” They probably are not good for humanity, however: their agenda is for themselves, just as human agendas are for human-benefit (and usually only some humans’ benefits.) Similarly, R’Hllor (whatever it is) also is not “good” or “evil” but something with its own agenda. Figuring this stuff out probably will be the impetus of the final story.

      As for LF ushering in parliamentarism, well, I have a hard time seeing that! Whatever else he is, Lord Petyr is not a man-of-the-people. He is almost (for lack of a better word) solpisistic in nature, it seems!

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    47. evenwind,

      I’d look at poison on your blades as an insurance that no matter how the fight ends up, your enemy won’t win in the end. (That works if he doesn’t know your weapons were poisoned.)

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    48. Wimsey,

      No, it won’t be Littlefinger himself. It will be all the Littlefingers to follow. The moneychangers and influence peddlers and grubby little lawmakers who will nip and tuck and hoodwink the crown into a mere echo of itself. Heavens, this makes me sound like a monarchist!

      But little men (and women) dreaming big always chafed under the feudal yoke. One school of thought says the industrial revolution might have kicked in a thousand years earlier had the notion of intellectual property rights been in existence. Why invent something when only your liege lord would profit?

      Looked at this way, Littlefinger is the unsung hero, taking down all who wronged him and all those like him, using chaos not only as a ladder, but as an avenue to progress. Creative destruction. The man’s a fuckin’ genius.

      As for the Walkers, who’s to say they aren’t human or, rather, used to be? My personal hope–and this is not a spoiler, as no one really knows–is that their current condition is a result of an ancient betrayal involving the ancestors of the Starks, the Boltons, and the children of the forest who are currently sheltering Bran.

      The past is the parent of the present, as it were.

      I think what we both might be getting at with all this is that our notions of good and evil will be sorely tested by the end, but just as night leads to dawn, we must endure winter before we can dream of spring.

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    49. Rodrik the Reader,

      Ah, but LF doesn’t use chaos to better *society*. He uses it (or at least he intends to) in order to better himself. That is the main difference between LF and someone like Varys, who truely schemes only for the “good of the realm.”

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    50. Lion of Night,

      I didn’t say he’s doing it for the betterment of society. I’m saying what he’s doing might ultimately lead to the betterment of society.

      Show Varys dreams of a better way, but his only route to that now appears to be Dany, another agent of destruction. She wants to break the chains, break the wheel, and then… what? Nuclear proliferation via dragons is not only not progressive, it’s positively primordial and atavistic.

      Littlefinger is malevolent, but his perfidy is rooted in extreme class consciousness and childhood insecurity. Vowing to take the whole thing down, even if it means he’ll just be king of the ashes, levels the field for the other Littlefingers out there.

      Cockroaches like Littlefinger will find a way to scuttle about and get things going again, for their own profit, of course, but with the smallfolk limping behind them and with the royals only nominally in charge.

      Varys says the horrors continue because people can’t imagine another way. Imagining another way should not involve putting another nincompoop on a spikey throne.

      That’s the big blind spot of almost everyone in this story. They don’t realize the age of kings is over.

      Or, my glass candle could be off by a couple hundred years…

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    51. Rodrik the Reader: As for the Walkers, who’s to say they aren’t human or, rather, used to be? My personal hope–and this is not a spoiler, as no one really knows–is that their current condition is a result of an ancient betrayal involving the ancestors of the Starks, the Boltons, and the children of the forest who are currently sheltering Bran.

      That possibility already has been spoiled on TV an in the books. The First Men came to Westeros and found the White Walkers in the far north. The WW (like the Children and the Giants) had been there before men were: which (logically) makes it impossible that the Starks, etc., had nothing to do with their origins. Given that the Children and Giants are opposed to the Walkers, it would seem that their issue is with the “normal” living, not with “Men.”

      If they somehow evolved from humans, then it was long, long ago and long before the Starks.

      Rodrik the Reader: Show Varys dreams of a better way, but his only route to that now appears to be Dany, another agent of destruction. She wants to break the chains, break the wheel, and then… what?

      How is Daeny an “agent of destruction”? She certainly would push more for the welfare of the common people more than any of the other claimants for the throne. Of course, that is strategy: the issue is tactics: but didn’t Tyrion drop a very telling line to that effect in the last episode? Moreover, that is very much the point of her Meereen storyline: the clash between tactics and strategy is essentially includes the clash between politics and principles.

      At any rate, given that LF is not one of the main characters in the story, it is not going to be the case where he is the primary influence on the future; those people will be Jon, Daeny, Tyrion, Arya, etc. And none of them are considering ending monarchy.

      Rodrik the Reader: That’s the big blind spot of almost everyone in this story. They don’t realize the age of kings is over.

      Or, my glass candle could be off by a couple hundred years…

      It cannot be both a “blindspot to everyone in the story” and in the story at the same time! The story is about how all of the protagonists evolve in response to analogous crises. If none of them are aware of a thing, and if it is never a source of crisis for anyone, then it’s not in the story. If GRRM suddenly introduced it, then it would be a very arbitrary plot shift and absolutely horrible writing.

      Now, if there were some republican protagonists and if republicanism vs. aristocracy was an issue in this story, then this could happen. However, both statements are false, so it really should not.

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    52. evenwind:
      Two comments:
      First, why would anyone put slow-acting poison on a weapon? In a goblet, sure. But on a hand-to-hand combat weapon? Wouldn’t it make a lot more sense in combat to cut ’em with a fast-acting poison and have ’em drop dead a heartbeat later?

      There are two reasons I can surmise. One is safety. The world’s deadlist poisons (batrachotoxins from dart frogs) might immediately numb your opponent’s wounded area, but would be so difficult to handle that you’d likely end up poisoning yourself. It is deadly by mere contact and has no known antitode. I am a chemist myself, and one of the most difficult “exams” I ever took was in my Organic Synthesis lab. Our last experiment was to synthesize a red dye, and a significant portion of the grade was based on turning in our latex gloves and the big sheet of white paper that had been placed across our lab bench prior to the experiment. Trust me, there was red everywhere by the end of the day, despite our best efforts to the contrary. Working with any toxin at this level is very dangerous and would be especially challenging in a medevial world or the chaos of a sword fight.

      A second reason is that a slower-acting poison gives you time to save yourself if you screw the above point up, which is not unlikely. The poison in E6/E7 kind of sounds like ricin, which has an onset time of hours to a day and is lethal at the ~1mg quantity consistent with a blade wound. It is also not terribly dangerous by contact and thus would be easier to handle. However, there isn’t a magical antitode in the real word (the US military has something, but thankfully it hasn’t had much testing in humans).

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ricin

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    53. Slow acting poison instead of fast acting?

      Sure, why not if your aim is to capture and interrogate, not kill? Though I grant that doesn’t really gel in this instance.

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    54. Wimsey: If GRRM suddenly introduced it [the age of kings being over], then it would be a very arbitrary plot shift and absolutely horrible writing.

      I don’t think it would be an arbitrary shift at all. The Targaryens united the realm with dragons. The dragons died. The Targaryens were eventually ousted. Barring new dragons or some other similar force, the natural state for Westeros is division, not unity, and I think this has been pretty clear since the first book. The “end game” may very well no butt on the Iron Throne, rather than some member of the three-headed dragon or Stannis capturing it.

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    55. King Tommen: The assumption is that Lancel has been confessing certain sins over time to the HS (“as he noted to Cersei”) but the ones involving Cersei only came out now. It stands to reason that if the HS had known about all this Cersei stuff, he would have acted much more quickly. It isn’t really in his nature to be devious about holding off on that kind of revelation. The audience is supposed to infer that the Lancel info that implicates Cersei came about recently and it was a result of some final prodding from Olenna after she learned about it from LF, which was his gift to her.

      That would be an obvious conclusion but also relatively boring. I have a feeling that the HS played a longer game from the beginning an knew everything about Cersei. He just waited to use the information for maximum effect. That would also give his character the needed twist beyond the honest, devout fanatic, which is too simple to be true. If they have honest intentions in some way Lancels warning to Cersei at the beginning of the season might have been her chance to repent, before they used that information against her.

      Also what control would Littlefinger have over Lancel? He can’t make him confess, he wouldn’t even know whether or not anyone knew already. And Olennas primary concern is to free her grandchildren and only after that to fuck up Cersei. Cersei being in prison doesn’t do much to rescue Margaery and Loras. It’s not like she could release them. So that plan alone doesn’t make too much sense.

      My first thought was that the “handsome man” Littlefinger mentioned was really also Olyvar. Sacrificing Olyvar would make sense, because he’s the only witness the Faith has. Destroying his credibility or just plain killing him would take pressure of the Tyrells. And we can assume Littlefinger definitely has control over him.
      But Littlefinger said the “same kind of gift” that he made to Cersei, which leads me to believe that it can’t be the exact same. So for me it’s not at all clear who that might be.

      If we don’t get an explanation I guess we have to assume it was the Lancel thing, but that would be a little disappointing.

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    56. In the real world there aren’t really fast acting poisons that will have an immediate impact on a melee battle although some would be useful for hunting. There are some examples of slow acting what we would now call CBW in warfare in the ancient and medieval world though, and quite crudely we are talking shit here.

      The most effective poisoned weapons were used as part of hit and run tactics, guerilla warfare, and generally making a total pest of yourself.

      And the simplest form was simply to put shit on the pointy bits. And in an army, shit was frequently available from the latrines.

      The Scythians, were a central Eurasian nomadic people who were around from about the 9th century BC up until the 4th century AD. One of their specialties during warfare was the use of poisoned arrows which, according to the book Greek Fire, Poison Arrows, and Scorpion Bombs: Biological and Chemical Warfare in the Ancient World, were tainted with a mixture of viper venom, viper corpses, human blood, and shit. The arrows, if they wounded a person, could cause gangrene and tetanus (from the blood and shit), as well as other infections from the vipers. “Even people who are not wounded by the poison projectiles suffer from their terrible odor,” noted Strabo, the Greek geographer.

      Not going to do much in a single fight, but in the battle three days from now where attrition and morale could be important?

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    57. Wimsey,

      That the White Walkers in some form existed before the First Men and the Andals does not preclude the Night King we saw as being the product of ancient intrigue involving the players I made reference to. By now, we must surely understand that the Walkers are metaphors for winter itself, and the Starks and Boltons are vague analogs of werewolves and vampires respectively (as, in another locale, Gregor is Frankenstein).

      All of ASOIAF is a grand critique of the feudal system, its folly, and its unsustainability. I would be sorely disappointed if Dany (or anyone else, for that matter) ushers in a thousand year din-asty of nothing but a somewhat kinder, gentler status quo.

      I would be further amazed if Dany, who has killed thousands and has burned people alive on a whim as part of her learning curve, will be the great redeemer of the Divine Right of Kings.

      Nnte the visual text of Dany reviewing her Unsullied troops in Season 4 like Hitler at Nuremberg. Dany is a very appealing Aryan Superwoman if one is inclined to extend that comparison. And half or so of Targaryens, it has been explained, are quite mad. The jury’s still out on Dany.

      We have, however, been shown the ruined throne room in that House of the Undying vision, so even Dany must know deep down that her quest is likely to end the only way it could.

      A leader whose slogan is ‘Fire and Blood’ is not a candidate I would vote for, no matter how attractive the package, and how sympathetic the origin story.

      Bringing down the monarchy would not be horrible writing just because the characters can’t imagine it. Before Dany brought down the Harpy, the Meereenese couldn’t imagine a life without it either.

      The change came. Boom. The Doom came. Boom.

      ‘How can this be happening?’ people always ask when their world is turned upside down. They NEVER see it coming, even if a thousand Cassandras shout warnings in their ears.

      But yeah, in fairness to your reasoned analysis and druthers, my timetable and analysis could be off. Fans might want a happy-ish ending, and D&D might give it to them, despite Ramsay’s exhortation to the contrary.

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    58. Just wanted to say it’s a pleasure reading your discussion of a possible future of Westeros.

      The only little point I might have: Petyr ‘Littlefinger’ Baelish is definitely not a secondary character to what’s going on in the kingdoms. Yes, he doesn’t get much screentime (and no clue how much he’s represented in the books), but we keep being reminded that he has his hands in almost everything that’s happened since Robert’s rebellion. Also he’s not only reacting to those events, he’s actively starting them. And so far, he’s the definite survivor.

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    59. I actually think they were discussing how LF is going to have his whore house boy lie on trial that he lied about Lancel and Margary thus making them innocent.

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    60. TOIVA: The only little point I might have: Petyr ‘Littlefinger’ Baelish is definitely not a secondary character to what’s going on in the kingdoms.

      Baelish provides issues for the protagonists (particularly Sansa, but also Tyrion and Ned & Catelyn when they were still alive). That is what secondary characters do! However, the story will never be about how Baelish grows/responds/thinks in response to issues.

      (Another key is that although not all PoV characters need be protagonists, all protagonists need to be PoV characters: and in the books, Baelish is not; on TV, he’s basically a 3rd party PoV in several scenes.)

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    61. Chad Brick: I don’t think it would be an arbitrary shift at all. The Targaryens united the realm with dragons.

      It is arbitrary if it does not stem from the development of the primary characters. (That is the definition of arbitrary, after all!)

      What the Targaryens did hundreds of years before is irrelevant: that is not part of this story, but a faux history for the story. History can be (and is) very arbitrary.

      So, having this down to some feud started by characters that were not at least known to the protagonists would be very arbitrary!

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    62. Cock Merchant: Also what control would Littlefinger have over Lancel? He can’t make him confess, he wouldn’t even know whether or not anyone knew already.

      LF can tell the HS with whom Lancel committed his sins. At this point, Lancel would not lie and deny it. Remember, there is a big difference between dissembling (telling the truth but omitting key parts) and lying (telling untruths). Because the Lannister name is a hard one to leave behind, and because Westerosi nobility consider it extremely immoral to do anything to hurt your family (and thus moral to do otherwise immoral things like lie, kill, etc.), LF knows that Lancel probably would not have volunteered this information. LF also can figure out based on the HS that if Lancel had included Cersei in his confession to some septon, then the HS had not learned of it: the HS has absolutely no respect for authority!

      So, what it comes down is this. LF knew about Cersei & Lancel; he knew that Lancel (probably) would not immediately hurt the Lannister family name; and he knew that the HS (probably) would get the information out of Lancel if the HS was told about Lancel & Cersei. Basically, he had three dominos lined up and told Olenna which one to push.

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    63. Chad Brick: I don’t think it would be an arbitrary shift at all. The Targaryens united the realm with dragons. The dragons died. The Targaryens were eventually ousted. Barring new dragons or some other similar force, the natural state for Westeros is division, not unity, and I think this has been pretty clear since the first book. The “end game” may very well no butt on the Iron Throne, rather than some member of the three-headed dragon or Stannis capturing it.

      Just as long as it doesn’t involve invading spaceships, or end with a comet hitting planet GRRM it should be acceptable…

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    64. Rodrik the Reader,

      Right. I suppose it comes down to a monarchy vs. anarchy debate and which type of political system we think will better serve the realm. I can’t really see any LF-driven revolution ultimately being productive, but then again who knows: we haven’t seen it happen yet!

      Rodrik the Reader:
      Lion of Night,

      Littlefinger is malevolent, but his perfidy is rooted in extreme class consciousness and childhood insecurity. Vowing to take the whole thing down, even if it means he’ll just be king of the ashes, levels the field for the other Littlefingers out there.

      Yeah, I just assume that opening the door for other LF types won’t be productive because people like LF (despite their individual backgrounds and prejudices) will only serve themselves at the cost of anyone and everyone.

      Rodrik the Reader: Or, my glass candle could be off by a couple hundred years…

      Hey, at least that’s a start. I’m still figuring out how to ignite mine 😉

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    65. Arya Havin’ a Larf: Just as long as it doesn’t involve invading spaceships, or end with a comet hitting planet GRRM it should be acceptable…

      Oh, a much wider range of things than this will be unacceptable!

      I think that we can look to the Harry Potter series and fandom for expectations and disappointments. HP fans were (as with SoI&F fans) in it for very different reasons. Those who were big on “world-building” and fantastic plot were way off on what Rowling delivered in the end, and the ones who were most vocal in their complaints. (These were the ones that wanted Harry’s eyes to have magical properties, or to have the books be mostly about Harry learning the histories of Hogwarts, the magical world, his parents, etc.) They were also the ones banking on arbitrary plot devices (Hermione being Harry’s secret sister was one that I distinctly remember) being critical.

      On the other hand, the people focusing on the character development (particularly Harry’s, as he was the only protagonist) were generally satisfied with the ending, and got what they expected in general (if not always specific) details.

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    66. Lion of Night: Right. I suppose it comes down to a monarchy vs. anarchy debate and which type of political system we think will better serve the realm.

      What we think is completely irrelevant: it comes down to what GRRM (and B&W) have the lead characters thinking. None of the main characters question whether monarchy is a good/bad thing: they only think that it is good/bad for particular individuals to be monarch.

      The closest we come to a debate on the proper merits is when Ned & Renley discuss who should be king instead of Tommen: Ned insists that it has to be Stannis because he’s the 2nd son whereas Renley says that it should be him because he is more capable of being a good king. We might well see this debate resurface in

      Aegon Jr. vs. Daeny.

      However, GRRM (and B&W) have never introduced a republicanism vs. monarchy conflict in any of the lead characters: and, at this point, it’s really too late in the series to do so.

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    67. Maybe they will just end the monarchy with a Russian style leap from Tsarist autocracy to communism.

      “Break the wheel” sounds like an exhortation to revolution

      I reckon Dany = Lenin 😉

        Quote  Reply

    68. Wimsey,

      Littlefinger is not an important character for this rendition of the story, but for the story itself (the history of Westeros), he’s even what I’d describe part of the setting. Like the coming and going of seasons or the awakening and disappearance of magic. In other words extremely important.

      He’s part of what the protagonists of our story have to respond to in some manner. And that is our story: watching how those protagonists manage (or don’t manage). Perhaps they will manage well enough to keep the status quo, feudalism. Perhaps they’ll succumb to some degree paving way for the rise in power of middle classes.
      I’ll be happy to wait and see.

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    69. Lion of Night,

      Good points one and all. Should the time come, I won’t mind being proved wrong. Like the Thenns, I like eating crow!

      I’m at the Tyrion-in-a-box stage of life, where–

      The future is shit,
      Just like the past,
      It’s not that the wine glass,
      Is half-empty / half-full,
      It’s just that there is no,
      Fucking wine glass!

      Last word for the moment on Petyr: no, we won’t see the Lords of Parliament–that comes much later, perhaps way past the time of our story.

      However, will we see the Age of Exploration? Perhaps there’s a whole New World to impede an escape west of Westeros. I can see it now, all our favorites on board, dropping anchor in a place no one new existed. A ‘Native American’ appears on the beach, and Tyrion says–

      ‘What now?’

      Fade out, final scene, Season 7, Episode 10.

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    70. evenwind,

      Cause it’s gonna be a plan to get Bronn to kill Marcella in exchange for he saving his life so he’ll prolly fuck her and that’s when the plan will be revealed than I think will see hotah vs Bronn episode 9

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    71. Has it been confirmed that Dragonglass cant kill wights? I remember Sam stabbing at one in the books, but he wasn’t able to penetrate its flesh due to it wearing chainmail.

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    72. Dan,

      And he knew a out the mark cause he undressed h. , that what squires do. If I was a westerosi lawyer if get em both to walk and I’d convince em that renley was just a scared boy and childhood friend of renlys and his hand so that’s why the spent so much time together. I’d sue the faith for pain and suffering and settle outside the sept for 10,000 silver stags

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    73. TOIVA,

      Ooh… ooh! My ‘enough about Petyr’ stance lasted about five minutes.

      Do we know just absolutely when Petyr went Iago? We know he had an ‘Aha!’ as well as an ‘Ouch!’ moment when Brandon Stark skewered his guts over Cat.

      We know from the crypts conversation with Sansa that he was at that tournament at Harrenhall, and that his little smirk confirms that he knows Rhaegar did not kidnap and rape Lyanna, so–

      Can we not imagine a scene of schoolboy short pants Petyr and Robert with this dialog:

      Robert: Where is my beloved Lyanna?
      Petyr: Rhaegar Targaryen dragged her off kicking and screaming.
      Robert: What?!?
      Petyr: She seemed pretty upset. She kept yelling ‘Save me Robert, save me!’
      Robert: Gods be damned, I’m starting Robert’s Rebellion!

      No, I don’t think this really happened… how many hours till Episode 8?

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    74. Grand maester giz:

      Do you really think Bronn would turn on Jaime like that? For a booty call? I know he’s said he’d kill a baby if the price was right but that’s really not the way they’ve shown his character. They’ve written him as a lovable rogue, maybe like Davos’ less-reputable cousin. The kind of “honest crook” who once bribed, stays bribed.

      On the other hand, I’d like to see Hotah in action. There’s too many “great fighters” that we rarely (or never) get to see in combat.

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    75. Grand maester giz: If I was a westerosi lawyer if get em both to walk and I’d convince em that renley was just a scared boy and childhood friend of renlys and his hand so that’s why the spent so much time together.

      You are assuming that this is a “innocent until proven guilty” system. Historically, religious justice has been very much guilty until proven innocent.

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    76. TOIVA,

      That makes what LF does important to the plot. That is very different from making LF important to the story. At any rate, as republicanism vs. monarchy has not been any source of debate or conflict for the main character, and as we are 4 stories into a 5 or 6 story series, we should not expect it to become a big source of internal conflict for the lead characters in the final story(ies). (We don’t know if Winter and Spring will be two stories, or two parts of one, but even if the former, then they probably will be closely linked stories.)

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    77. Wimsey,

      There is a sound academic basis to the points you make. I have endless frustrating debates with a friend where I take essentially your position (the rules of cinema) versus his position (no rules art-house cinema).

      Where should the balance be?

      I think so many of us respond so strongly to ASOIAF because it stretches to the breaking point the ‘rules’ we’ve all internalized. In commercial cinema, what happened to Sansa wouldn’t have happened. There would have been an escape or a rescue. With the acclaimed art-house director Michael Hanecke (sp?), for example, there is no cavalry to the rescue–ever.

      In my conversations with that friend of mine, I keep arguing that we need and expect the fiction we consume to make order out of chaos. He keeps asking ‘Why?’

      I suspect the lively exchanges of so many of us around here revolve around the distance we think D&D and GRRM can jump out over the line of conventions and rules before they can’t jump back again and go crashing down the cliff.

      Their Wile E. Coyote moment, so to speak.

      Aside from trifling differences, most of us are not that far apart in recognizing where that line should be, I think, except some seem more conservative in this regard, and others more daring (reckless?).

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    78. Rodrik the Reader,

      It is amazing that a comment about Haneke (one of my favourite directors) reached a discussion about GOT! You are right it would have been much more intriguing if the material of ASOIAF could be a starting point in order to reflect over the possibility/ies of radical political transformations instead of a constant digestion of a dead-end condition of politics. I mean what the politics of Westeros have done so far is to be able to constantly detract us from seeing the reality of the social world something that the discussion between Olenna and High Sparrow reminded us. But while the one-eyedness of the fandom desires for the weekly dose of pleasure principle, which for me is the ultimate sign of nihilism, what makes this show still attractive and challenging in a political level is that its characters and their depiction does not exclude the possibility of the political taking over the politics.

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    79. dothrakian raven,

      Thanks, Raven. And I’d have never known about Haneke had that friend of mine I mentioned not introduced me to him. He was a hard pill to swallow at the time, for I was in the middle of my John Ford phase. Two more unlikely film directors I can’t imagine.

      All this goes to show that ASOIAF is indeed a Many-Faced God, and we worship the one we most need at that moment in our lives.

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    80. evenwind,

      I deffinatly do think Bronn would turn on Jaime but not Tyrion . Jaime treated Bronn like shit the whole trip and him leave his happy situation ?

        Quote  Reply

    81. Wimsey,

      The squire knowing we’re a mark is in commen knowledge , they undress em
      And in some cases ready the. Baths for them
      And wash there hair even . That was a real shaky charge in the first place , I thought it was a lil dumb

        Quote  Reply

    82. Wimsey,

      Of course its irrelevant. We were only discussing which political systems we thought might better serve Westeros as it is known to us, *not* predict what GRMM/D&D are more likely to write.

      Speaking of, you’re still watching the fAegon shadows on the wall, eh? I won’t rule out a Dany challenger but I’ve been unchained and Aegon is not alive.

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    83. dothrakian raven,

      Yes, you make an intriguing point. Traditional drama is structured along the lines of introduction, exposition, inciting incident, rising action, crisis, climax, resolution.

      That’s what most audiences expect, that’s what D&D provide, and that was GRRM’s approach in books 1-3. With AFFC he seemed to get a little bored with the narrative pulse and became more interested in examining the social and religious consequences of the War of Five Kings.

      He was a little lazy in structuring Brienne’s tour as ‘I’m searching for a girl of 3 and 10 with auburn hair,’ and the introduction of new Iron Islanders in lieu of Tyrion and other favorites cost him a lot of good will.

      Much the same continued with ADWD, and who knows where things will go from here. Many academic types are fascinated with the historical, political, and social ideas within ASOIAF, and they expound upon it endlessly on their blogs.

      There’s not that much time for this on the show, of course, so those inclined have to read between the lines a little.

      And: the Michael Haneke version of GoT would be a scream! (Expect lots of flaying.)

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    84. Rodrik the Reader,

      I haven’t read the books yet but I will do it at some point. I cannot even imagine what Haneke would have done with characters like Ramsay or Cersei not to mention the way he would have handled his relationship as director with the viewers. If you liked Haneke then the next step is definately Béla Tarr…

        Quote  Reply

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