Brush-up for Episode 9 with Dame Pasty’s Recap and Review of “Hardhome”

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This past week was fantastic and it feels like we’re back on track.  Join me in reviewing last week’s Game of Thrones episode, Hardhome.  There was so much to review and analyze it was a real struggle to keep it concise.  So come join me, why dontcha?!

Video is after the jump. 

As usual I scattered funny comments throughout (at least they seem funny in my small stunted brain) and I left speculation/spoilers for the end with plenty of warning.  I want to hear your thoughts on my speculation so my fine feathered friends, tell me what you think.

63 responses

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    1. Nice review! Everyone I talked to at work, both casual watchers and hardcore fans LOVED that episode..

      OMG found a real treasure on YouTube… Michael Jackson Thriller dancing and everything!

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    2. I don’t get the whole “malaise” about the previous two episodes. I bring this up because it isn’t the first time I’ve heard it. It seems after the last 10 minutes of Ep 6, there seems to be a lemming like revisionism among recappers that the entire season was terrible (despite reviews saying the first 5 episodes pointing to it being one of Thrones best seasons – seriously, they’re online. Google them). Yes, I thought the Sansa scene was hard to watch (though, everyone forgets that it was emotionally tough, not visually hard, to stomach, but I digress). The episode itself wasn’t great, with the Dorne fight, but it was far from the worst 60 minutes Thrones has ever put out. Then Ep 7 rebounded nicely, I thought, and it gave us a pretty great last 20 minutes, with Tyrion-Dany and Cersei storylines. And I think the audience agreed. The reason Hardhome blasted through the ratings roof wasn’t because people turned into see a WW massacre (that wasn’t even brought up in the trailers), but because they liked Ep 7. I just don’t get this idea that Ep 6 and 7 were just so godawful, they were going to bring the entire Thrones series down with them. Past seasons have had far rougher periods (especially S3 with the endless Theon stuff). Every show – Thrones included – has seasons where there are rough spots. Every one of them. Seriously, try binge watching Breaking Bad again, and see if you don’t find yourself asking, “How many times are they going to go to the ‘Jesse has a relapse’ story arc again?” Anyway…rant over.

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    3. Great analysis! I think that you raise one of the big questions that’s been there for the series since the first chapter/scene: just what is the White Walker’s (Other’s) endgame? And I completely agree that they cannot be able to deal with water: otherwise, this is a colossal Knight-esque idiot plot!

      Regarding the steel or the swordsman, doesn’t the fact that the first sword Jon grabbed shattered tell us that it was the steel? (Unless you meant that it had to be V. Steel + AA.)

      Regarding the need for “special” fire, I think that there might be two other sources. One, wildfire: but that might be associated with dragons, too. Two, R’Hllor-based magic. That might well prove more difficult for the Walkers to handle. Also, I really suspect that the R’Hllorites are going to prove as dangerous as the Walkers (albeit in different ways).

      Finally, Sansa as the third head? My thought is that it will be either one of the chief protagonists OR a third party. Besides, don’t the books suggest that

      the “Promised Prince” will be descended from Daeny’s parents? If the Promised prince is a trinity, then shouldn’t all three heads be descended from Aerys & Wife?

      At any rate, given that Sansa is a 2nd tier protagonist and given that there are not even tin-foil hat ideas connecting her to the inferred ancestors, I’m very skeptical about that one!

      But I basically think everything else you suggest is completely plausible! (I really like your little jibes on how much they’ve shown Cersei drinking this year and last….)

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    4. Wipe that malaise away, DP! Turn that frown upside down!

      Things Jorah should have said (if he could) before being banished:

      “Um…where are Selmy and Grey Worm?”
      “By the way, I saw Drogon hanging out in Valyria.”
      “My father was Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, which you need to know something about before invading Westeros.”
      “My father was saving a Valyrian sword for me.”
      “I was working with Varys!”
      “I won’t leave Slaver’s Bay again without a kiss!”

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    5. Again an awesome review. I agree with what you said about the NW people who were at Hardhome being in Jon’s camp.

      My fear is that after FTW, the NW is going to be so deeply divided that it will stop functioning, leaving the wall undefended.

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    6. I love your thoughts about the sea and the White Walkers, Dame Pasty! I think I speculated about that while reading, ages ago, but I’d forgotten about that after others were talking about Hardhome. Of course, it might just be that Bran the Builder assumed the WW wouldn’t be able to build ships. The Wall may be at spots for making it difficult to swim around, else that’s what Mance and other Wildlings before him may have done – although I seem to recall that the Wildlings were sometimes precariously able to get around not the western castle, which I thought would be a big problem eventually.

      Luka had mentioned that Karsi was slated to appear in Episode 10, and then she became a wight. I’m wildly wondering if the WW will be desperate for another to join their ranks to replace the one Snow ended, and I’m wondering if they not only need live humans but live human babies. Now that their human baby supplier has closed up shop, I wonder if they won’t come for Baby Sam.

      I am fairly sure that Jorah will sacrifice himself in the pit to save his Khaleesi. I’m bracing myself for a possible curtain call by the end of the season.

      So, by the third head of the dragon, did you think Tyrion was a dragon? Can one ride a dragon if not Targaryen? I’m wholeheartedly of the belief that Tyrion is Tywin’s, but I also think he’ll be critical to the Targaryen cause.

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    7. Kit did an interview for Nylon mostly to promote “Testament of Youth”, but I thought his quotes about bits in the “Hardhome” script were really funny, if this is really what was on the page: “Yeah…well, I remember in the script it said, “These undead are running, god damnit, they’re not fucking zombies.” They put little bits in the script like that. When I was coming up in the boat it said, “Like George Washington crossing the Delaware…but with much better hair.” And I was like, “Fuck off, guys!”

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    8. Ginevra,

      It’s funny because you couldn’t write a regular script like that. You’d be considered unprofessional. But these guys have been together so long, its gotta be like family now, and they probably drop snarky stuff in there all the time just as in jokes.

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    9. Ravyn:
      I don’t get the whole “malaise” about the previous two episodes. I bring this up because it isn’t the first time I’ve heard it. It seems after the last 10 minutes of Ep 6, there seems to be a lemming like revisionism among recappers that the entire season was terrible (despite reviews saying the first 5 episodes pointing to it being one of Thrones best seasons – seriously,they’re online. Google them).

      Haha, yeah, I agree. The season was chugging along quite nicely for the first five episodes. Then internet loses its collective easily outraged shit over the last 3 minutes of Episode 6 and after that GoT produces 2 excellent episodes once more. But somehow, in some bizarro alt-universe those 3 minutes rewrite the entire season into “bad” and “problematic” and whatever else you’d like to call it.

      Your quote that I bolded is just perfect: lemming-like revisionism. Indeed.

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    10. Arthur,

      Why is Harrington staring at Bradley’s chest? That’s rude….

      Ravyn: t’s funny because you couldn’t write a regular script like that. You’d be considered unprofessional.

      Well, you cannot write a de novo script like that. At this point, it is all about communicating what they are envisioning as much for the director as for the actors: and pretty clearly this sort of “cheeky” scripted directing works with the people involved.

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    11. Mr Fixit: Haha, yeah, I agree. The season was chugging along quite nicely for the first five episodes.

      True. However, there is one alteration that I would add to the narrative. Hardhome did not put Thrones back on track. Hardhome took Thrones to new heights. The series climax can be a hell of a lot less good than this episode and still be outstanding.

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    12. Good recap! Daeny, Jon and Tyrion are the three heads; I am positive. Tyrion has already seen Drogon flying over Valyria! Also, I very much agree about your speculation re: WWs and water in any form; I think that just became very clear after the last episode.

      About the Daeny and Tyrion conversation, I took away a rather different interpretation; she wants to end the feudal system and the monarchy, and for me, it’ll be very interesting when Tyrion finally realizes that. As of now, he is very much part of the feudal system himself, discussing the importance of the rich men and of course, thinks she is the same.

      Ravyn: I don’t get the whole “malaise” about the previous two episodes. I bring this up because it isn’t the first time I’ve heard it.

      Speaking just for myself, I liked 1-4 a lot, I didn’t like 5 (which was very much liked by book readers, I noticed) except for the superb Valyria sequence, I totally disliked 6, and then loved 7 and 8. So no general malaise for me, but just a blip in the middle when the show focussed too much on the Boltons and treated Dorne as a joke.

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    13. Ravyn:
      They put little bits in the script like that. When I was coming up in the boat it said, “Like George Washington crossing the Delaware…but with much better hair.” And I was like, “Fuck off, guys!”

      Hoyti Van Totiy comment about Kit Harington’s hair in 3…2…1 😀

      GW crossing Delaware.Spot on. 😀 D&D have a good sense of humor.

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    14. Ravyn,

      Your right. Most people are judging this season as bad just becsuse of the last scene in episode 6.
      Some people are saying this season is awful but i wouldnt agree. I liked episode 1-4, loved episode 5, episode 6 wasnt the best but certainly not the worst episode of the series. Episodes 7 and 8 are maybe one of the best back-to-back episodes of the entire series.
      Many people are saying this season is slow but thats because we’re now in the middle act and in a buildup phase for next season.

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    15. Ravyn,

      Carice van Houten (Melisandre) said something similar in one of her interviews in USA at the start of the season. In the scene where she’s trying to seduce Jon, when he said that he had made a vow, a note at the margin stated that she had to give him a look like “Really, bitch? C’mon!”

      By the way, I totally agree with you about season 5. Episodes 7 and 8 are among my favorite of the season, and we still have to more to amaze us!

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    16. GhostCR,

      The good news is that James Hibbard at Entertainment Weekly, who apparently has more access to new episodes than anyone else in the media, stated that the final two episodes continues “the pace and drama set by Hardhome”.

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    17. winterisntcomming,

      I think w hat people who think the season is slow (not me) don’t realize is that S4 in many ways was the first climax of the series, in that old story arcs were resolved (Jon and Ygritte, Sansa and Tyrion flee Kings Landing), and, more importantly, crucial characters who had driven S1-3 were killed (Joffrey, Tywin). S5 in many ways is the beginning of the Final Act, and necessitated a new set up of the playing field. It’s not surprising that the latter episodes are coming together as well as they have, but they needed that slow build up in order to make them as effective as they’ve been. Then again, I’ve never seen GoT as an episode by episode experience. I always try to hold opinion about where a particular arc is going (even Dorne, in this case) until I’ve seen all 10 episodes (one of the reasons I found the Theon stuff in S3 so disappointing is that where it ended up was pretty much where it started). I always think of each GoT season as one long story, not 10 individual stories that can be judged on their own.

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    18. Ravyn,

      I thought S5 started slow. I think other seasons have done a better job at throwing in thrills, even on a smaller scale, early on, even when we weren’t at the climaxes yet. S1 definitely had a slow period is episodes 2-4, but that twist with Bran being pushed out the window I think makes up for it. Season 2 has my least favorite beginning string of episodes but at least Renly’s death pushed the plot forward. Season 3 had Jaime’s hand slicing and Dany’s taking of Astapor and the Hound’s trial by combat in the first half of the season. And of course Season 4 started off with a bang with the Purple Wedding, but in between the wedding and Tyrion’s trial there was the taking of Mereen and the confrontation at Craster’s Keep adding in some thrill.

      I liked the first half of Season 5 but it was definitely less eventful than the first halves of most other seasons. That’s not to say it was bad…pretty much every storyline was at least solid and most of them were very good, it’s just that none of them had mini-climaxes around the halfway point the way some have had in previous seasons.

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    19. Ravyn,

      So far in my minds it’s somewhere ahead of 2 unbeaten 1-3 with 4 bein the best 3rd bein the second best and 1 bein the third best after the first 6 episodes I felt like this was worst season of thrones but 2 now after 7-8 I have it high in the ranks and it’s keeping last seasons momentum will see maybe it’ll be the best season no one reader would admit it

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    20. Ginevra,

      Luka had mentioned that Karsi was slated to appear in Episode 10, and then she became a wight. I’m wildly wondering if the WW will be desperate for another to join their ranks to replace the one Snow ended, and I’m wondering if they not only need live humans but live human babies. Now that their human baby supplier has closed up shop, I wonder if they won’t come for Baby Sam.

      Well thats scary as hell! Hopefully the three of them are far enough south that it isn’t an issue – yet.

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    21. Ravyn,

      I fully agree that season 5 so far has been mostly mis-judged by one or two scenes. It is an excellent season from beginning to now – I even think that after the decision to bring Sansa to WF they could not have done the WF part any better. I understand that some people do complain about the relatively slow start of this season and now are all excited by the hardhome massacre. While hardhome was expertly done and visually phenomenal I mostly enjoyed the fighting in terms of developing the plots for the WW, the NW and Jon. For the same reasons I also enjoyed all the slow parts so far as we are really substantially moving forwards for all characters (yes, even with Arya’s floor scrubbing).

      Dame Pastry, as always very nice to see these brush-ups. Your first question can be answered potentially looking at the books:

      where UnGregor will become one of the KingsGuard and is planned to be Cersei’s champion against the faith in a trial by combat (and a few people believe that Gravedigger could be the champion of the faith in a Clegane-bowl)

      I am still curious if your last week’s prediction about the corkscrew is right. It never occurred to me before you mentioned it but it could entirely be true.

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    22. Ravyn:
      S4 in many ways was the first climax of the series, in that old story arcs were resolved (Jon and Ygritte, Sansa and Tyrion flee Kings Landing), and, more importantly, crucial characters who had driven S1-3 were killed (Joffrey, Tywin). S5 in many ways is the beginning of the Final Act, and necessitated a new set up of the playing field.

      Well said! It’s hard for me to wrap my head around how monumentally awesome George’s series is. Patrick Rothfuss once said that there are three big elements you want to look at when judging books: prose, characters, and story. I’m not sure anyone can beat ASOIAF when it comes to the number and complexity of characters. The prose, for me, is A if not A+, even when comparing it to some of the best writers in the world, although I’m sure that there are a handful who are better at prose. And the story is all sorts of wonderful except for one thing: each book does not follow the traditional story arc that we naturally love, which is driving toward a climax and actually reaching that climax. The only book that really does this well is Storm of Swords. Both A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons had nothing even resembling a climax, and that was so frustrating because you can feel the stories (especially in Meereen) building toward one and then we just stop, mid-story. The first two books had small climaxes, but they weren’t even as epic as one would expect for books in a series, and they certainly weren’t as epic as the climax for Storm of Swords.

      But the fact that we have this epic climax means that the story needs a complete reboot and we have to start rebuilding – sort of like the first three chapters in a new book that are always the hardest to get through. In truth, I am amazed that D&D were able to create such definitive climaxes in Seasons 1, 2, and 3, albeit not always in the penultimate episode – but that’s fine. I am beyond amazed at what they’ve been able to do with Season 5 even though it is a rebuilding season. Yeah, I could live without the rape scene, but everything else has been surreal. I’m almost as impressed with D&D as I am with GRRM.

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    23. Arthur,

      That was lovely! Thank you, Arthur. John Bradley is so freaking hilarious.

      Jstoru:
      I wanted to be a warg – Kit

      Two words “Season Six” – D&D

      Oh! In all of the giggling about Kit wanting to “put himself into a wolf,” I completely missed that! I thought they were totally joking about the implied bestiality. But I’m certain you’re right! Is that a spoiler? Like a major one? In other words, this would seem to imply that we won’t see

      Jon warg into Ghost during FTW at the end of Season 5, though FTW will surely happen in the last two episodes.

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    24. Dame Pasty–a terrific job as always. Your fearlessness in going out on the limb of prediction is awesome.

      Now that Tyrion is–thank the gods–finally with Dany, there’s much talk of the three heads of the dragon. I think dragon-riding is beyond Sansa’s role, ability, and inclination. Besides, she has to be the Stark in Winterfell. Even if she escapes, I think she’ll march back there the minute it’s been de-Boltoned.

      While she’s holding the fort, some time soon (early next season?) Dany and co. will finally journey to Westeros. Presumably she’ll ride Drogon, but will Rhaegal and Viserion meekly fly behind? Surely they won’t be pulled in cages. So I think it’s possible Tyrion will indeed be a dragon rider. Perhaps the third rider might even be Arya, who is already in Essos and is bold enough and experienced enough to have a go. Of course, she’d have to hook up with Daenerys first.

      I have never thought Jon would become a dragon rider. Even if he has Targ blood, he can’t lead ground troops (the Nights Watch and wildlings and any other Westerosi soldiers) from the air. It’s impractical. He may be the field marshal or supreme commander of the combined forces, a role nobody else is suited to. (Stannis is capable of it, but will he still be alive? Besides, would the Wildlings follow HIM?) Another reason Jon probably has to stay on the ground is that he seems destined to go hand to hand with the Night’s King at the climax. On the other hand, Bran, who wanted to be a knight and was told by Bloodraven that he would fly, might be able to warg himself a dragon. So maybe he’ll be the third ‘rider’.

      I hope you don’t mind a little speculation. This is my first post.

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    25. Ginevra,
      Hi again *waving again*

      That clip was posted on here earlier this year (before this series started) and the point was raised then. I seem to remember the conclusion, after some debate, was that “Season 6” was a joke rather than a spoiler (I have no idea I haven’t watched it).

      If you’re interested in what others had to say try the archive of posts on the right and you should be able to find the thread fairly easily, she said optimistically. Not sure exactly when it was but think the discussion was quite soon after the clip was filmed, so if there’s any date mentioned in it, or perhaps looking at when it was first uploaded to You Tube, that should narrow it down quite a bit. 🙂

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    26. i dont think anyone is going to ride the dragons other than dany …

      we will see i think when dany is in dothraki sea i hope she will be with all three dragons which will put an end to this theories about dragon riders

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    27. Lulu’s Mum,

      Thanks! I feel like I missed so much in the jump from WinterIsComing, which I totally missed until Episode 1 aired. In truth, I’d have missed most of the discussion, anyway, since I stay so busy in the fall and winter and early spring. But I’m going try to hang out more often next academic year.

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    28. Thank you, Ma’am, for your fine, precise but concise recap. As always.
      I agree with your analysis of the White Walkers characteristics, at least as much as we know now. Your suggestion of the water limitations and the insightful conclusion you made about the Wall’s position at that point in the North makes good sense.
      And it made me think of that geographical blip on the Westeros map that shows the lake called God’s Eye with its island, The Isle of Faces, where historical pacts were made between The Children and the First Men. This place may be significant in the future battles given what we’ve seen in episode 8.
      Please keep up your good work. It prepares us for the Sunday evening Big Freakin’ Deal. And just because we don’t comment doesn’t mean we’re not reading (and smirking right along). I can only speak for myself, but I’m a lazy lurker.

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    29. Finally watched the video. Great as always. Still, Dame Pasty, you seem to be confused about Robert Strong’s role in the book, as well as the purpose of the infamous walk:

      Cersei confesses and does the walk of atonement in order to be freed until her trial; it doesn’t nullify the need for a trial. She will have a trial, which will be by combat as she does’t believe she could win otherwise. Upon learning that one spot is free in the Kingsguard (Arys Oakheart in the books, probably Meryn Trant in the show), Cersei has Kevan tell Qyburn to arrange Gregor’s ascension to the Kingsguard. Just at the end of the walk of shame, Qyburn introduces Rober Strong/FrankenGregor as the new member of the Kingsguard and her champion for her upcoming trial by combat. I imagine it will be similar in the show.

      dragonbringer,

      I find it baffling that people believed that. Why would they do that? Daznak’s Pit has no point at all without the climax.

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    30. dragonbringer:

      we will see i think when dany is in dothraki sea i hope she will be with all three dragons which will put an end to this theories about dragon riders

      I wish you are right about this.I have a bad feeling tyrion will be responsible for freeing viserion and rhaegal.They will like him and those theories will be even more stronger.I fully agree with you about dany as three-headed dragon.Really hope this is true.Can’t wait for tonight’s episode.

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    31. Luka Nieto,

      exactly the ending is what the pit is about

      but people had doubts because in the episode rating there was no mention of graphic violence
      and thought they thought show ill end on a cliffhanger like WOTW episode and dany will be surrounded by sons in episode 10 (strangers from the synopsis)

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    32. Geralt of Rivia,

      i dont think we will be having tyrion or darrio or jorah releasing them ..either they are getting out because of the sons like what quentyn did except the sons of harpy are there for killing instead stealing them

      or stay chained until dany returns

      they had this scene in season 4 episode 1 where the dragon fight over the meat which was the first hint the show showed us she is losing control

      what better way to show that she has gained control of them by sharing the hot horse meal with her dragons

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    33. Mr Fixit: Haha, yeah, I agree. The season was chugging along quite nicely for the first five episodes. Then internet loses its collective easily outraged shit over the last 3 minutes of Episode 6 and after that GoT produces 2 excellent episodes once more. But somehow, in some bizarro alt-universe those 3 minutes rewrite the entire season into “bad” and “problematic” and whatever else you’d like to call it.

      Your quote that I bolded is just perfect: lemming-like revisionism. Indeed.

      I think its a defense mechanism that reviewers are using to try and keep the social justice warriors at bay, a disclaimer of sorts, like: “okay okay the whole season was terrible let’s talk about this episode”.

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    34. Thank you all for your comments ! I am in the hinterlands fishing with my family. It’s 4 am, I’m in our hotel bathroom trying to respond to as many of you as I can using my cell phone and a crappy connection. Please forgive any typos and shorthand replies below.

      Ginevra,

      In regards to non-Targs riding, IDK. I don’t think any wargs have been given the chance to ride dragons so perhaps it will be Arya who is on that side of the sea and not Tyrion. Perhaps only wargs can ride and the Targs are simply uber wargs with an affinity for dragons.

      Raoul_Duke,
      Luka Nieto,
      Thank you both re: comments about Qyburn’s monster.

      You were right. I was thinking that her confession would obviate a need for a trial and I had forgotten how it was in the books. Her story in TWOW will include the trial by combat I guess. Fingers crossed for Cleganebowl!

      Stark raving rad,
      I like your reasoning a lot! But why did GRRM make

      Jon a Targ then? To give him some claim to the throne? Also everyone assumes only Targs can ride but I think Wargs can too and that Targs are simply a type of warg. You must believe this too if Arya will be one of the three.

      Ravyn,

      My personal malaise wasn’t because the show isn’t awesome. I wouldn’t spends so much time on these videos if I didn’t like the show. I’m not a hate watcher by any means! I just had a hard time getting over Sansa’s trauma due to my own personal baggage, which I won’t get into here. I actually think that this is the second best season yet, with S4 being the best.

      Arya Dunyett,
      Lurk and smirk away, my friend! 😉

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    35. Dame Pasty,

      It’s relevant to this issue exactly what charges she confesses:

      Cersei confesses to the most inarguable and inescapable charges —that she bedded Osney and Lancel. And it is for those crimes of fornication that she has to perform the Walk of Atonement (which, by the way, is why many of us criticize the Faith —yes, from a sort of “universal retribution” point of view Cersei had it coming; but she isn’t shamed for anything that we would consider a crime; she is shamed for being a woman who “sleeps around”.)

      However, and this is crucial, Cersei doesn’t confess to regicide, deicide or treason —she claims she didn’t kill the last High Septon, or Robert before him. And she certainly doesn’t confess to incest with Jaime, since it would completely destroy the legitimacy of Tommen as the rightful heir. All those charges, which are the most damning, are still on the air and to be decided by a trial —Or a trial by combat, were she to choose to go that route (which she does.)

      I’m pretty sure the show will play it exactly this way, except only confessing to bedding Lancel, as Osney doesn’t exist, and only denying Robert’s regicide and the incest with Jaime, as in the show she imprisoned the previous High Septon instead of killing him.

      In summary: Qyburn told Cersei she will be tried for “fornication, treason, incest, the murder of King Robert.” She will admit to fornication and deny the rest, which will be decided by a trial by combat between FrankenGregor and… someone else.

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    36. Dame Pasty,

      Thank you!

      I have theories I love about tons of things, but I can honestly say that there is no theory I love about the third head of the dragon. I agree that wargs powerful enough to warg into the mind of a dragon, which I’m going to assume would be significantly more difficult than most animals or else several folks could’ve beaten the Targaryens, would be able to ride. But “the dragon has three heads” would be more poignant if each head were a “dragon,” a.k.a. Targaryen.

      I think Jon being Targaryen is most critical because that makes him the rightful heir to the throne and the prince that was promised. I also see Jon, in many ways, as the song of ice and fire itself, with his blood being half ice (Stark) and half fire (Targaryen). Of course, I think that song will also refer to the war between the Others and wights and the wildfire, dragonglass, dragonsteel, and dragons.

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    37. It seems D & D have their work cut out next season. Either other characters will be combined or killed off. In total we will have:

      Tyrion/Dany (possibly splitting for a while)
      John Snow (assuming FTW and then return)
      Arya
      Kings landing (Cersei/Tommen/Margery)
      Sansa
      Stannis
      Brienne
      Dorne/Sunspear (Jaime/Myrcella/SS/Doran)

      And then potentially:
      Old Town (Sam/Gilly)
      Randyl Tarly and family
      Euron and Iron Islands
      Bran making a comeback
      LSH (possibly combining Brienne/Jaime back together but doubtful)

      Rumoured:
      Riverlands (Blackfish/edmure?)
      Casterly Rock
      A certain hound returning? Becomes part of KL/Riverlands plot?

      This season will be big. I’m wondering how they will fit all that in a season and get deep enough into stories for them to have narrative and series progression. What I hope we dont get is another Bran is training season and this happens to other characters. I doubt it will happen but its questionable. I count 14-15 storylines but with combining characters this is less (e.g Sansa/Brienne). It also makes me worried about Stannis!

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    38. Hodor Targaryen:

      I liked the first half of Season 5 but it was definitely less eventful than the first halves of most other seasons. That’s not to say it was bad…pretty much every storyline was at least solid and most of them were very good, it’s just that none of them had mini-climaxes around the halfway point the way some have had in previous seasons.

      Sure, you could say it was a bit slower than usual, but that’s how it was with AFfC/ADwD. Read the first halves of those two books in the Boiled Leather combined reading order and see how it goes. Extremely little happens there. It is what it is.

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    39. Ginevra,

      Jon is

      not the heir to the Iron Throne unless it can be demonstrated that Rhaegar married Lyanna. Otherwise, Jon remains a bastard and thus no more Aerys heir than Gendry is Robert’s heir.

      As for the 3rd head, my money has been on Aegon for 15+ years, and I’m not moving it!

      That does not preclude Jon from dragon riding, however. Dragons seem to care only about genes, not about human concepts of legitimacy.

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    40. Luka Nieto,

      heheh, in other words, classic religion: even when they do the “right” thing, then it’s for the wrong reason!

      Along these lines, I think that it is no coincidence that B&W rearranged things so that the key here is the Faith’s persecution of homosexuals. Given what a major sociopolitical issue this has become in the last few years (particularly in the US, but also in Europe), this is much more “topical” than what the book does.

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    41. dragonbringer,

      If you look at one of the trailers Dany, Missandei, Jorah, Daario and Unsullied are there in the Pit.Tyrion nowhere to be seen. I think they will even push into a+j=t area.I’m not a big fan of it.

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    42. Geralt of Rivia,

      No he is there he is been edited out from the trailer to keep the surprise of tyrion meeting dany ..
      if you look at that shot they have replaced an unsullied soldier in his place but forget to put a shadow for him

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    43. Ginevra,

      being Targaryen alone does not make one person a dragon …only handfull of people are called dragons

      Aegon the Dragon ., Rhaegar the Last dragon and dany the Last Dragon and Mother of Dragons ..

      Only targ or Valyrians can ride a dragon but even if you are a targ or Valyrian you need the right drop of the dragon blood to ride a dragon …so not all targ and valyrian can ride a dragon ..

      it was mentioned by Elio who co wrote TWOIAF at westeros.org

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    44. Mr Fixit: Sure, you could say it was a bit slower than usual, but that’s how it was with AFfC/ADwD. Read the first halves of those two books in the Boiled Leather combined reading order and see how it goes. Extremely little happens there. It is what it is.

      Agreed, it ties into what Ravyn said. Feast/Dance are the start of the finale.

      Most of what happens is set-up, even the “events” that happen are even are set-up for bigger events down the line, such as the Kingsmoot/Queenmaker-plot are ‘events’, but they are set-up for the likely involvement of the Martell-family in KL and the Greyjoys invasion in the Reach in WoW. Tyrion, Vic and Quentyn going to Meereen is in essence the same as Ned going to Kings Landing in aGoT, it’s GrrM’s way of bringing characters physically to where they need to be to get the story rolling in the following books. The fact that Ned died in KL doesn’t matter as much as I’m trying to argue the movement of characters is akin to the early stages of the “first act”.

      As for my biggest annoyance after having watched the episode five times, is: Jon knows that at least the wights are prone to death by fire, and he has an entire fleet with him. The ENTIRE army of the Night’s King is right there, and they seemingly have no intention on crossing the water to reach them. What in the world stopped him from attempting to set fire to the coastline? Fear? They weren’t even wading into the shoals! Cannons can provide the safety of distance needed. Most of the Wildlings beyond the Wall were at Hardhome – and are dead and wighted – the amount of what the Night’s King can add to his army is therefore limited to small portions. If Jon had set fire to that coastline, he would irrevocably turn quite a bit of the largest part of the army of the Night’s King into unusable ash. Perhaps drastically diminishing the threat as a whole. I’m sure they could’ve lit a few cannonballs and shot them from Stannis’ fleet from a safe distance to burn at least a decent portion of coast + those wights, until the NK would arguably retreat to save numbers.

      And as for next season.. There are indeed many more plotlines opened up, similar to how Season 2 sprawled storylines. Season 1 essentially had 5: KL, Wall, Winterfell, Tyrion’s travelguide to Westeros and Dany’s travelguide to Essos. Season 2 added Beyond the Wall, Stannis, Robb’s Conquest and Theon’s return to Pyke, thus having 9 storylines to juggle.

      Season 5 essentially has 7:
      – Wall
      – Winterfell (including Sansa, Brienne and Stannis’ move towards it).
      – KL
      – Braavos
      – Meereen
      – Tyrion’s Roadshow
      – Dorne

      What will likely happen is that Euron and the Oldtown plot will coincide, meaning two plot-lines being interwoven into one. The sooner D&D can accomplish this the better. I’m also betting that a chunk of the Dornish-plot will coincide with what will happen in KL and Dany’s turn to Westeros by the end of the season. Randyll Tarly is also a character that will likely glue storylines together, first Brienne (after succesfully “saving” Sansa, will be on route to Arya again), then to KL, then perhaps jumping to the Oldtown-storyline. So he isn’t a separate story-arc that D&D need to establish, he just jumps like Littlefinger.

      So, because a lot of storylines will converge, that leaves me with:

      1. Wall
      – The shiz is getting heated.
      2. Winterfell
      – Dunno what’s going to happen, but I’m doubting Stannis’ survival rate. Probably some Sansa rallying the North business involving Davos and Rickon. The heat will die down a bit I’d reckon.
      – Will the Nightswatch have to retreat all the way back to Winterfell?
      3. KL
      – Cersei, Marge, Loras, Faith, Mace, Varys, Qyburn, Nym Sand, and eventually Randyll Tarly.
      – Basically, the small council would slowly morph into Pro-Targ by the time Dany arrives (Varys (duh), R-Tarly (Targ-supporter during Rob’sRebellion), Nym Sand (Dorne), and Qyburn (Into everything the Citaldel is not into, magic and dragons.) at the end of the season/beginning s7.
      4. Brienne’s Arya Hunt + Arya’s Return to Westeros, ending with Walder Frey’s death.
      – This includes Brienne trying to find Arya by looking for the Hound. Duskendale, thus Randyll Tarly introduction and Quiet Isle and thus Meribald and Gravedigger. She’ll get some bogus clue that informs her where to find Arya in Westeros. Perhaps even see her returning on the ship with Mace Tyrell.
      – Arya’s return to Westeros. She’ll cross paths directly or indirectly with Brienne and head for Walder Frey first. After which, the Mtn and Cersei will be the only ones left on her list.
      5. Battle of Oldtown
      – This includes Sam’s training in Oldtown
      – Euron’s rise and assault of Oldtown
      – Perhaps Randyll Tarly or Loras returning to the Reach.
      6. Dany’s Return to Westeros
      – Dany and Tyrion might split briefly, but they’ll be on the same page most of the time. Since there’s no Siege of Meereen.
      – Will converge with part of Dorne’s arc
      7. Bran,
      – I doubt he’ll have much screentime, but rather have influence through trees and warging.

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    45. Ser Oromis Locke: What in the world stopped him from attempting to set fire to the coastline? Fear?

      How in the world do you set fire to a coastline? You would need tons of oil or something else highly flammable well soaked into timber or straw or something like that. Even then, in the cold and wet conditions on a coastline, the fires still might get smothered.

      If setting a frozen corpse would be difficult (and it would be extremely difficult), then this would be nigh un impossible.

      Ser Oromis Locke: They weren’t even wading into the shoals! Cannons can provide the safety of distance needed.

      That would provide incentive for somebody to invent cannons! However, in this canon there are no cannons. (Sorry, but I could not resist.)

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    46. Wimsey,

      Yes, I know Jon’s parentage must be official and verified for him to be considered royalty, but in my opinion this is quite likely. I doubt such a secrecy would have been made of his parentage without it being a big deal. This isn’t proof, but in my mind it makes his prince/king status more likely than not.

      Wait. Which Aegon?

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    47. Ginevra,

      Ned would have kept Jon’s parentage secret for fear of Robert not suffering even Rhaegar’s bastards to live, and to avoid people possibly learning that Lyanna eloped with Rhaegar rather than was abducted by him. Besides showing that Robert’ Rebellion was waged on false premises, it also would have dishonored the Stark name for a long time.

      And as for Aegon, I mean Young Griff. I have thought he was out there since 1997 and the scenarios making him an imposter all invoke what Damon Knight called a second order idiot plot. Also, for literary reasons, I expect the third head to be a non-protagonist.

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    48. Wimsey,

      I think he is legitimate son of Rhaegar, because what’s the point of being secret a Targ bastard? He’s already bastard.If he is indeeed a legitimitate heir…game changer.

      Kingsguard presence at ToJ is one of the strongest clues pointing towards them being married.They swore a vow and that is to defend the king.They should’ve been atz Dragonstone in this case to defend Viserys.I doubt they stay at ToJ just to defend Rhaegar’s bastard and his mother.Rhaegar’s personality.I would be very shocked, if he is simply a Targ bastard.I remember one part in the books how bastards aren’t allow to damage young princes…when Jon wanted to practice with Joffrey.Ironically, Joffey was a bastard and Jon the other way around.

      Who till testify in the show or proof of it? It looks Howland will be cut from the show.

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    49. Wimsey,

      He will be a different kind of bastard.

      He embraced his bastard status and if he is legitimate.Well that put things in different perspective.It’s out of Rhaegar’s personality to dishonour Lyanna like that, and Kingsguard presence just smells something fishy.Dany’s claim would be weaker with this, but there is currently no way to prove any of that.

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    50. Geralt of Rivia,

      Rhaegar had to make sure that prophecy was fulfilled. From what little we know about him, he would have put that above personal honor. (That is not without precedence in these stories!)

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    51. I love your posts and look forward to them. I did think that there was a problem that the White Walkers had with water. Perhaps they will melt like the Wicked Witch of the West if water touches them? There is so much we don’t know yet about the Others, the Children of the Forest, the Crannogmen and The One Who Shall Not Be Named. Mel is still finding her way and doesn’t understand the true meanings of what she sees in the flames. We don’t know that much about the Red God either or how the Great Battle in the end will turn out. Maybe nothing else in between the Far North and the Far South matters and that is why there are so many deaths. Perhaps everyone in between the Walkers and the Red God will perish except for those with special dispensations: the Targaryens with their dragons, Starks (with their connections to the Night King and the North) and perhaps even the Ironborn because they practically LIVE in the water (which the White Walkers seem allergic to). What is dead may never die! A small point: in the books (book five) a red priest cures a man’s greyscale by BURNING IT OFF. It seemed to work! The arm in question was practically burned to a crisp but the greyscale fell off! Well, what about Shireen? Jorah? Okay, this is the show and the show seems so far VASTLY DIFFERENT from the books. But in the end will all the side stories matter?

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    52. WImsey,

      The fact that he was a Targaryen bastard rather than a Stark bastard might explain why Ned would promise to keep secret from the world Jon’s parentage but would never explain why Ned would keep or promise to keep it secret from his wife – at least not in my opinion. Think about what this man who valued duty and honor above almost anything else had to give up to deceive his wife for 15+ years into thinking that he’d betrayed both her and their marriage. If Jon were only a bastard of his sister’s, he could have surely trusted Cat to keep the secret and not worried about Cat’s attitude toward Jon making it excruciatingly obvious she thought him her husband’s bastard. It would’ve been okay for people to speculate because a bastard doesn’t bring the same danger that a true born prince would. And a bastard wouldn’t have changed Lyanna’s story at all since everyone believed her to be raped.

      Additionally, GRRM went through a lot to hint at the parentage but never tell the reader, which is really the part I was getting at about secrecy. I don’t think he would have built it up so much if it weren’t critical, but I could be wrong.

      I guess I dismissed Young Griff too quickly as the mummer’s dragon. Perhaps not. I admit he’s much more plausible in my mind than Arya and Tyrion, who are tied as my favorite characters, but they aren’t dragons.

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    53. Ginevra,

      The mummer is Varys!

      As for why Ned would not

      Catelyn, that is because Ned had Catelyn read correctly. She would never have approved of Ned endangering her children by harboring Rhaegar’s bastard with them. Also, Catelyn could never have understood or accepted Lyanna’s actions: even if Lyanna did marry Rhaegar, then Lyanna still broke a betrothal vow and broke a marriage. Catelyn would not want any approbation of such behavior around any future daughters that she might have.

      Moreover, Catelyn’s inevitable hatred and scorn would provide a further smokescreen to protect Lyanna’s son.

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