Curtain Call: Art Parkinson

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I watched Rickon Stark die, and I was angry. A half-hundred wonderful, eye-popping, nerve-shattering moments from last Sunday’s Battle of the Bastards, and all I could think was…

They did that lad a serious injustice.

This is Art Parkinson’s curtain call. Here you’ll get the good (his multi-season performance) along with… what, in my view, is maybe’s not so good (the way the show sent him off). This is perhaps not your traditional curtain call. But it sums up the joy we had in being reunited with the actor and his Stark, as well as the horror– and anger– we felt at Rickon’s loss.

It’s a little like life.


Admittedly it’s hard to separate personal feelings from professional critique. People that work on the show, people you know– people you have met, people you like and get along with– tend to work their way into your heart. You want what’s best for them and for their characters. A month ago, I wrote Kristian Nairn’s curtain call, and that was difficult for a different reason, because even though I was sad to see Hodor pass into the Night Lands, I knew the show had given him the ultimate, most glorious sendoff.

For that reason, this curtain call was harder still.

MV5BMTgzNTE4NTA5OF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNzg5MjE2OA@@._V1_SY540_CR45,0,630,540_It’s hard to separate nerd rage from real, critical anger. I had so completely tricked myself into believing the show had set up a House Umber betrayal (#PrayForRickon) (#Trickon) (#ThatDirewolfHeadWasTooSmall) that when that particular aspect fell woefully short of expectations, the remainder of the episode tasted like ashes on my tongue. Which is sad, really. BotB had some fantastic, cinematic, groundbreaking moments. Plus, as Sue reminded me, this is the very epitome of a “shaggy dog” story. (Google it, people!) If that’s what George has in mind, trolling us with some vague hope, then why shouldn’t the show?

I was so irritated that I was irritated with myself! Grow up, Axey! Geez…

But it plagued me. Why would they do that? Why take the most stubborn, determined of all the Stark children and make him a casual casualty in their continued, episodic quest to remind us that Ramsay Bolton is a real stinker? They’ve robbed Peter to pay Paul before, lessening the realism of a character’s decision-making in order to ensure a more dramatic payoff; you need only look as far as Arya’s blithe walk through the Braavos canals a few episodes ago for that, or Littlefinger’s sudden weird need for Sansa to rescue him in front of the Lords Declarant back in season 4, or… Well, we could all list our WTF moments. The show loves its Big Moments. And sometimes the price of a Big Moment is a previously-crafty character behaving in an exceedingly stupid fashion.

(Hell, it’s a horror genre staple.)

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Granted, we don’t know if Rickon’s ultimate fate in A Song of Ice and Fire will be akin to this: a pawn used by a northern house (whoever lives on Skagos, I suppose) to further their own ends, ending in his demise, perhaps. Anything is possible within the mind of George R.R. Martin.

And of course as my logical mind began to take over the argument, I settled in and was able to enjoy the whole of it on second watch. Here’s the thing: After tonight, they only have 13 episodes left to tell the entirety of what remains of the story. If Rickon had survived, if Smalljon Umber had turned on the Boltons, you’d still have two more characters (and their quasi-heroic arcs) to play out onscreen in the remaining episodes.

1e0913ac9797a971f1e931629e026666Could they have pulled off #Trickon and still managed to kill off Rickon and Smalljon? Yes, of course, but that’s a … quibble, I suppose. I would have been satisfied if Rickon had bitten the dust whilst violently gnawing on Ramsay’s kneecap, but most people would have still just been pissed he’d died. Could Rickon have, I dunno, zig-zagged instead of running straight across the field? Sure. But by that time, he was Marked for Television Death, and I could imagine Ramsay’s inevitable smirk as he drew back an extra arrow or two: “Thank you for giving me a few more shots, little man…”

So yeah. Rickon was dead either way. And of course Art Parkinson played it for all it was worth.

And that, ultimately, is what this is about. This song is for Art!

art-parkinson-201109240105His first spoken interaction with Bran was all doom-and-gloom (“No, they won’t.”), so it should be no surprise he was slated for the grave. Most Starks are. But Art showed what a impact he could make with minimal screen time and lines. (Hell, he had ZERO lines this season, and Rickon’s death still rocked the fandom.) Whether by expressive eye or sullen word, Art made Rickon Stark his own. When he began with the show, what was he, seven years old? Eight at best. He probably didn’t even realize it was a job. Shooting television probably just seemed like an exceedingly cool way to spend the day.

In truth, Rickon had so few scenes when compared to his other on-screen siblings, any other actor playing Rickon could have been forgotten, shucked off to background actor status once the pilot aired.

Instead, Art Parkinson carved out a career. The Anomaly, Dracula Untold, San Andreas… Hell, this summer he’s STARRING in the animated feature Kubo and the Two Strings— as Kubo!– with Charlize Theron, Matthew McConaughey, Ralph Fiennes, and Rooney Mara! Bloody brilliant.

The kid’s come a long way. And he’s all of what, fifteen now? Barely getting started.

So yes, we mourn the character. But we’re still happy for all that Art has been able to accomplish– and for making us love Rickon so much. That’s all Art.

Me, I’m just glad I met ‘im. Twice!

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(Yes, two TitanCons. This is why y’all need to go to TitanCons.)

True story: At one particularly dull moment during one of the lovely TitanCon (Belfast) feasts, Art got it into his head two particular fans deserved to be together– and by Be Together I mean married. (I shall withhold the names of the not-actual-couple for their protection.) So Art dragged them both beneath the feast table, proclaimed himself a pastor, and wedded them together.

Yes, Art Parkinson performed a secret medieval wedding ceremony under a feasting table.

No, I have no idea if the “happy couple” then went and had a honeymoon.

TitanCon gets crazy, y’all.

And so does Game of Thrones. We’re gonna miss Rickon– even while Art continues to rock on.

Give the lad your love, Gatewatch!

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(And Go, Arsenal!)

126 responses

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    1. I felt it was a waste of Rickon. I would have rather him gnawed on ramsey too! He was such a wild and crazy child, he should have had a bit more to do in that last episode, and should have gone out in some crazy bang of a way. He was raised by a wildling for craps sake. And he was no marshmallow to start with.

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    2. It’s so strange to think that the sad little boy in the crypts in season 1 is back this year to be buried there. Art has really grown up and I’m sure we’ll see him do more amazing things with his career.

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    3. it would have been much cooler to see him on the island of cannibals next season or the season after surrounded by unicorns. bummed the showrunners thought their way was better. most of the retcons i am cool with, but the way they handled his character was disappointing. It’s a bummer to me kike it was a bummer how Peter Jackson handled the hobbits returning to The Shire in Return of the King. Instead of liberating The Shire like they did in the books they get relegated to having a pint and shrugging. Disappointing to say the least.

      Best of luck to this dude.

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    4. You got robbed, kid. I like that they were going with the dour “Rickon the Silent” sort of feel, but everyone knew you could have handled more.

      The scenes you did have, you rocked, and I was genuinely upset to see such an untimely end for the goth-iest of the Stark kids.

      Good luck in the future; take this chance and run with it.
      … But remember to serpentine.

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    5. I think you missed the opportunity to share what is (undoubtely) Art’s best performance in the show : his departure scene from Bran in 3×09 !

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    6. I don’t often criticise the show’s decisions when adapting the books; their job has got to be near-impossible, fitting those epic tomes into just ten hours of TV per season, but with Rickon I feel quite upset. In the books he is wild and fierce, is probably a warg and has a mind of his own even though he’s what, three at the start? Though he was mostly silent throughout the first three seasons, Art gave him such a great presence and though I’d have liked the direction to make him a little wilder like his book character, I was generally quite happy. I liked how they kept him around longer too instead of sending him off with Osha as soon as they escaped Winterfell. The way they have brought him back to die after only a few minutes of screen time in the last few years with no lines, is a big shame for me. The episodes mostly fell under 60 minutes and though I know their filming schedule has been intense, I do not think that a few indoor scenes between Ramsay, Osha and Rickon, would have been impossible to fit in (but what do I know?). It would have made his later death so much more poignant and tragic had they developed him more upon returning.

      I too am a bit annoyed over the Umber non-double-cross. I still feel that Jon allowing the Wildlings in was a very flimsy reason for Umber to betray the Starks in so terrible a fashion as to hand over Rickon and then watch him be butchered so savagely. I loved last week’s episode, but I do feel bad for Art/Rickon that his death was just a very obvious narrative tool without much development put into it. He seems a great actor; it’s a shame we didn’t get to see more from him this season.

      I have loved loved loved season 6, but my only real criticism is the way they are bringing back characters to die so suddenly without developing them further. Yes, I know they are massively restricted and barely managed to get through what they did this year and that’s why they’re doing fewer episodes next season, but at the same time, as I mentioned before, a few indoor shots surely don’t take up days and days of extra time? And many episodes had plenty of room for a few more scenes to establish these returning characters before offing them.

      Well done Art, you did an amazing job as Rickon!

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    7. Such a great young actor who did so much with so little. So sad to see him go. Wish him all the best on his future endeavors.

      And now his watch is ended.

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    8. Arkash,

      That scene made me cry! Art, you were spectacular in that scene, just as you were great portraying your stubborn little Starkiness to the end. The resigned squinched eyes when Ramsey raised the knife; the distrustful glance back over your shoulder as Ramsey encouraged your run; and the desperate little brother hope on your face as you saw Jon galloping toward you. You broke my heart-in a good way-dude! Best of luck in your future as an actor!

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    9. Ah Rickon, we hardly knew you…..and you were gone. Yeah, I was disappointed too, Axe. I wanted to see the same switcheroo that you did. Or at the very least some lines to tell us what his life was like with Osha for those three years. Was he treated well? Did he have moments of pure joy? Well we will never know. What I do know is that his performance with Isaac, and his last run was spot on. You did what needed to be done, Art, and did it well. Im thrilled to pieces that your career trajectory is climbing. You are so young; looking forward to seeing you as you grow as an actor. Best of luck to you.

      PS loved that picture of all the kids. Still amazed by the casting decisions this show has taken, how lucky we are that they picked these amazing young tikes, who have grown into such splendid actors!

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    10. Even with minimal material to work with, wee Art definitely conveyed a strong impression of being the wild child amongst the Stark kids. He had the ‘wolf blood.’ Here’s to a long and disinguished acting career ahead!

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    11. I suspected that Rickon would be a casualty but I wanted him to get a great, ferocious death. Ahhh…but we rarely get what we want with this show. At least Rickon gets to rest among his ancestors – and Ned, apparently – in the crypts of WF.

      Art seems to be a busy young actor. I am sure that he will have a fabulous career. He broke my heart in his scene with dying Maester Luwin. Wishing him much success.

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    12. Well written Axey… A great curtain call. I had a gut feeling Rickon would be killed in this season. Great acting from Art though (and without a word spoken), but his future career looks secure.

      I echo the comment Ozzyman made in his video? “Fuck sake Rickon – Have you not seen Apocalypto’ – zig zag you dickhead !” Good advice which Rickon should have followed, but this is GoT and things like that don’t happen…

      RIP Rickon (in the Crypts of Winterfell) but good luck to Art Parkinson.

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    13. Awwwww!!? Loved your Curtain Call Axey!! I too thought they did an injustice to Rickon and his non-existent part in GoT these past few seasons! He was a Stark! He needed, NO, deserved a better death! We were not emotionally attached to his death and that makes me sad as a fan of GoT! And as you have pointed out, he is establishing a film career and hopefully will have a better purpose served in that future! Thanks Axey!

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    14. It was obvious #Trickon was never going to happen because nothing, nothing, would ever compel a Stark to sacrifice their direwolf for a mere feint. There are some ideas you can just dismiss on the face of them if you use logic, like Cleganebowl, the Waif being Arya’s split personality, or Daniel being Starbuck’s father in BSG. That made no sense even before Ronald Moore said it wasn’t true.

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    15. Hate to see him go. Between his flat-out telling Bran in season one that no one is coming back, his reaction Maester Luwin’s death, and his defiance when Bran sent him away (“we’re not southerners and I know how to swing a sword”), Art had minimal lines in this entire show but arguably made more of them than any other actor, playing a small part as well as I could ever imagine it being played. Seeing him leave this season with zero lines is extremely disappointing. Art was criminally underused. As busy as he has been, I hope he gets a role worthy of his obvious talent some time in the near future.

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    16. I was so sad about Shaggydog… then Rickon! I wanted Rickon to ride back into the show on Shaggydog all fierce and vengeful. It’s a shame Art didn’t get any lines at the end. They could have done more with that. As if they needed another reason for us to really hate Ramsay. Oh well, it is what it is. Art did a great job with what he was given. The emotion in his face was heartfelt. Good luck to him! 🙂

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    17. Thank you for pointing it out! I agree with you. Killing Rickon was an injustice. But Art made the best of what little he’s had.

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    18. The casting directors are superb…… It’s a shame the little birds introduced this year will not have many years on the series to grow, having seen them on set, some are superb. Arthur is very good! (Black eye) the edit for Ep. 3 could be better as he did better than what was shown. The small girl -Frances, likewise very good. Hopefully they may have more to do in Season 7/8.

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    19. Rickon is only 6 year old in the books now. That kid is a goner. All i hope is Davos survives Skagos. (And returns to Jon, because Stannis will lose already when Davos returns…if.)

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    20. Well done Art!

      To be fair to poor Rickon, I feel like if the books had been fully written when D&D started – he would have been cut from the show. So I’m quite grateful for what we got.

      The Windmill parting-ways scene way back when was painful to watch, thanks to Art more than anything.

      Stupid crappy Direwolf prop-head. The lighting was so bad in the original reveal, I watched it 3 times with various people and not a single person realized what it was supposed to be. And more than one person in my watching group noted how tiny it was when we saw it in BofB. Poopy.

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    21. I was one of few people who didn’t enjoy Battle of the Bastards all that much, and it was solely because of Rickon’s death. I said for weeks “Don’t kill him off, don’t kill him off, don’t kill him off” and then they did it without even giving him one line to speak in the whole season.
      Rickon seemed to be build up as an ace in the hole for the endgame. Pretty much no one knew about him, he was the last male Stark to become the new Lord of Winterfell and it was hinted at that he also has similar powers like Bran (at least he had the greensight as well, like we learned from the conversation in the crypts).
      And then all they do with him is that! Here he is agai… ups, I guess he died. Whatever…
      I’m sorry, no! That is mindblowingly bad storytelling and a complete waste of a character. His death wasn’t necessary to anything, there was allready sufficient motivation for Jon and Sansa and we well knew by now that Ramsay is a dick.
      The way Rickon’s story ended, you could just write him out of the entire show and nothing would change. Then way even bother with the character?
      I’m mad Art Parkinson didn’t get anything to do this season. I’m mad Rickon is gone without any plot significance. I’m mad about shitty writing!

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    22. I think Art did very well for one so young – as the series was originally supposed to have 7 seasons rather than 8 maybe the showrunners thought they needed to wrap up the Rickon subplot. Unfortunately GoT does delivery these kicks in the stomach – Ned the decent lord who was totally unsuited to be a courtier being killed in season one being the start. Maybe the showrunners felt that it would seem too good to be true if the Starks regained Winterfell without any setbacks and decided that Rickon and Wun Wun were to be the casualties. I’m glad Art seems to be making a career for himself outside GoT. The show has cast some very good young actors (Art and Kerry Ingram who played Shireen being but two) – of those who have featured in season 6 alone I was particularly impressed with the young girl who played Lyanna of Bear Island and the lad who played young Hodor but to be fair they were given the more meaty (if short) roles.

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    23. Art was amazing with the little time he had. Keeping him with Bran until S3 was one of their best decisions.

      batfan,

      If you think Rickon will play a huge part in the endgame I think you are in for a huge disapointment.

      All of those things are your personal theories and speculation. It isn’t bad storytelling if you happened to be wrong.
      Look up on google what a ”shaggydog story” is.

      ladywolfsbane,

      This. If they knew how the story would end from the very beginning, I doubt they would even cast him.

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    24. I for one wasn’t bothered at all how Rickon died.

      He wasn’t a character anyway but rather a plot-device or in nicer terms a symbol. And I fully think this was a deliberate choice. I thought it was done well enough.

      Of course I am also one of those who thinks Rickon won’t play any part in the larger story and always thought he was a non-character in the books. If anything the show made him seem more important by keeping him with Bran all of S3, kinda like they did with Robb.

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    25. Poor Rickon. I loved him as a little boy, he was soooooooo sweet. Very upset about him and Shaggydog and Osha. She loved both those young lads. It’s a shame they all didn’t get a better end. I had clung to hope they would all survive.
      Art is a great little actor although not so little now 🙂 I fell in love with him from the very start. Good luck in your future acting career Art. xxxxxxxxx (blowing you kisses)

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    26. Thank you, Art, for your performance! Well done! I was so hoping for a really clever twist that would have saved you, Osha and Shaggydog. I’ll just pretend that you had warged into Ramsay’s lead dog and ate his face off at the end.

      Looking forward to seeing you again.

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    27. So….shaggydog story – thats a thing. Makes me wonder about the other Stark wolves. Does their names predict the future of their owners too?

      Grey wind – gone with/like the wind
      Ghost – undead
      Lady -a female leader?
      Nymeria -a warrior?
      Summer – the future og westeros after the long night/winter? Or simply the opposite of winter/WW?
      Shaggydog – a long, unfullfilling story with an unsatisfying end

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    28. Ahh. Thank you for this. I thought you wouldn’t do one for him since there were fans who dismissed him as a minor character anyway. I love all the Starks (and their dire wolves) so obviously, I was saddened he had to die. I was (foolishly) holding out hope that he’d survive until that arrow hit him.

      Here’s one of my favorite scenes from season 3 – when Rickon/Osha/Shaggydog (RIP the three of you!) left Bran and co. I cried buckets when I watched this back then (still get teary-eyed up to now). “I’m coming with you. I’m your brother. I have to protect you.” Aww, Rickon.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VVlRkEqI2T0

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    29. Could Rickon have, I dunno, zig-zagged instead of running straight across the field? Sure.

      Actually, there was an amusing comment to this effect by a former military who had been in combat situations. He pointed out that absolutely nobody would zig zag in that situation: when your life is actually on the line, even veterans of combat simply run as fast as they can to a point of assumed safety. And if they did think about it: then they still would do the same because zig-zagging would hugely delay how long it takes to escape: it more-or-less doubles your escape path AND you cannot run as fast because you are constantly changing directions.

      So, it basically turns out that the whole “zig zag” thing is a Hollywood creation!

      Parkinson did fine with a limited role. I know that a lot of people were hoping that Rickon would suddenly turn into an important character or start making important contributions to the plot, such as warging Ramsay’s dogs. However, that would have been horrible storytelling! Instead, he was used for some important character evolution for both Sansa and Jon. I hope that he is so useful in the upcoming books! And I probably will see Parkinson if we do encounter Rickon again: I doubt that I ever had any kind of image for the character before.

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    30. Art did an amazing job. It is too bad they gave him so few lines but his facial expressions throughout all the seasons were stellar. I’m glad we got to see Rickon’s greenseeing potential in S1, how he interacted with Bran, and him and Shaggydog! Great job, Art!

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    31. I was re-watching BotB last night for probably the 6th time and during the parley I remarked to my husband that Umber really looks like he’s thinking “Hey, I’d rather follow this guy (Jon) than this kinslaying fuck next to me.” That lead me to start wishing the show had told us a little something about what happened to Rickon/Osha once Bran sent them to Last Hearth. Then I started thinking about how what Umber did made no sense at all.

      When he first brings Ramsay Rickon and Osha, Umber tells him that his issue is that Jon brought wildlings south of the wall and his house is going to be the one to fight them all off because they’re furthest north. Ok, so that didn’t really happen until far after Rickon and Osha would have arrived at Last Hearth. So when Rickon arrived at Last Hearth originally, the Umbers would have taken him in as their liege lord and treated him as such. So after X amount of time, they find out about Jon and the wildlings and what? Turn on this innocent kid whom they’ve taken in, whose house they’ve been sworn to for likely hundreds of years, the true Lord of Winterfell? All because his bastard brother did something they don’t like? What?!?

      It would have made far more sense, in the context of what we were shown, for the Umbers to turn on the Boltons. Granted, it still would have been dicey with them surrendering their liege lord to a madman to play out the double cross, but it would have been an easier suspension of disbelief than what actually happened.

      I give D&D credit for their mostly phenomenal job with this beast of a show but it’s treating the audience like we’re dummies that really sticks in my craw. I also would have really liked him to say something, anything this season. Even if it was just a desperate “Jon!” before he met his demise. I have to assume his voice has changed and they were trying to conceal that but still…

      Having said all that, Art Parkinson was a great little Stark. It was fun to have this adorable little muppet doing creepy things like wandering the crypts with his vicious wolf and smashing walnuts like Orson and his beetles. Like Aimee Richardson, he was also a lot of fun on social media and seemed like he was really proud of his association with the show. As a fan, it is enjoyable to me when actors on the show seem just as in awe of it as we all are.

      Good luck to Art who seems to have a wonderful career ahead of him. The North Remembers!

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    32. What a little cutie

      Wish we had more rickon. Any stark is a fave in my books

      His ending was so tragic. It’ll be hard to rewatch the seasons from now on

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    33. Wimsey,

      Zig-zagging is stupid, agreed! An arrow is not a big moving thing like a charging bear that cannot turn on a dime – just get out of range ASAP.

      Mihnea,

      I got my silly dreams crushed last year – long-term dreams of Shireen and Rickon’s children frolicking and teasing an old grizzled Shaggydog, with Osha babysitting on Skagos. A new generation that was perfectly happy, safe and learning to warg unicorns. OK so it wasn’t quite that extreme but to sum up hilariously optimistic dreams died. So – I was ready for Rickon to bite the bullet(arrow) – I was properly back to the reality of GoT. But they live on in my mind, making Stag/Wolf babies. Bringing that Robert and Ned friendship back full-circle, and the desire to join their houses…

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    34. Laura,

      It’s very possible that even after years of taking care of rickon , the recent return of the wildlings is enough to anger smalljon and use Ramsay to defeat the wildlings
      Also don’t forget that smalljon said his father died so it’s likely his father would not have done the same

      It made tons of sense to me

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    35. Laura: It would have made far more sense, in the context of what we were shown, for the Umbers to turn on the Boltons.

      No it would not have done, at least until after all of the Wildlings are dead. The show emphasizes hugely just how much the northerners hate the Wildlings: and as we learned, the Umbers have suffered more than other Wildlings.

      And that is why Rickon paid. What Sansa told Ramsay was simply a reflection of her own experience: the hounds are loyal only if you remember to take care of them. The Starks stopped taking care of their liegemen, and Jon letting the Wildlings invade Westeros was just another example of that. Indeed, that is worse than not feeding your dogs: that is actively threatening them! So, Rickon’s death was essentially a parallel to Ramsay having his face chewed off: some of the Starks “loyal” vassals bit off a part of the Stark tree because the Starks had forgotten to care for them.

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    36. I would have loved to see more of Rickon. Like everyone else said he did a wonderful job with so little to work with.
      I have also seen Art in Dracula untold where he was also great.
      I hope we hear and see more of him in other series/movies.
      Good luck Art!

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    37. ladywolfsbane: Zig-zagging is stupid, agreed! An arrow is not a big moving thing like a charging bear that cannot turn on a dime – just get out of range ASAP.

      heh, the one part that the ex-soldier did say was ridiculous was Ramsay being able to hit Rickon: he noted that long range weapons do not aim at targets, but just try to hit an area with as many projectiles as possible. That’s why long bows were so devastating: the rain of arrows could not help but to find targets. But contrary to what they often show in the movies, the bowmen were not aiming at particular targets. (Sorry, Legolas!)

      However, he also noted that military veterans had long since given up on convincing novelists or movie directors that this was the case! And, given what he said and given what we saw, had Ramsay just unleashed a volley of arrows towards Rickon, then Rickon would have been hit. Of course, zig-zagging would have just made that easier, as it would have taken Rickon much, much longer to get out of the range of the long bows.

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    38. Sam: Thanks! I also read a lot of comments about zig-zagging but wondered if that would only make one tired/slow one down.

      In combat situations, people do not get tired until it is done: and then they completely crash. The adrenaline that one gets when one thinks one is going to die is huge.

      Where it would slow you down is that you have to start and stop. Indeed, if anything, then it would greatly increase your chances of badly slipping and hurting your legs: running as fast as you can while trying to cut and pivot is a really good way to hurt yourself. Professional athletes who have to do that often train really hard to get good at that: and they always do it on much more even surfaces. But they also have to train to make it a reflex: you cannot think about it while you are trying to do it. We have seen that young lords train with sword, spear, riding, etc.: but we’ve never seen that they train at running obstacle courses!

      Heh, it almost would have been funny if Rickon had zig-zagged and Ramsay had just gotten an exasperated look and shouted: “Archers! Notch!” Well, as funny as anything ever is in Westeros…..

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    39. I agree with every word of this.

      “They did that lad a serious injustice”

      Rickon didn’t even get any *speaking lines* this season.

      The only reason THIS specifically isn’t causing me to revolt is….yes, “Shaggydog” may have been a clue that he was always going to die in the novels. And maybe they shifted around the *manner* of his death, but fair enough.

      What I’m more upset about with the Umbers and…”Trickon”? (ha)….is they spent so much time setting up “Ramsay’s forces only serve him out of fear”, even had Roose yell at him for flaying Lord Cerwyn last season, have Jon Snow even *remind* everyone right before the battle that this is a major flaw in Ramsay….then they have his forces fight to the death. No Northern mutiny happens, even….even when the castle gate is blown open, the remaining guards fight to the death for Ramsay instead of abandoning him.

      But that’s more of a criticism of how they handled Ramsay than the simple fact that Rickon dies at some point – that specifically I’m going to hold off on judging at all (Shaggydog).

      But again, this writeup Axey is more eloquent than anything I could ever say and re-affirms my sanity for being disappointed.

      “There are only 15 episodes left” isn’t an argument for “might as well start haphazardly killing off characters”….it’s an argument for “we should push for 20 episodes”.

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    40. ygritte,

      “Umber doesn’t like wildlings.” This is pretty paper thin in terms of a GoT character’s motivation. Smalljon shows up like he just found Rickon? Or has he had him the whole time? Notice the clothes Rickon had on (wildling-y?) Despite what others write, the time between Rickon separating from Bran and appearing as Smalljon’s hostage was important. Filling in the blanks becomes so subjective. Sorry Rickon! We’ll speak again in the land of unicorns and cannibals??

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    41. Hey, well I was drinking a few beers when I came up with my thoughts above. Haha. Anything to save my Starks!

      Have fun watching tonight everyone! I hope we’re in for some shocks and surprises. I’ve got all of Season 6 playing in the background today while I tidy up around the house. On episode 3 now. I really was pleased with this season, despite a few missteps.

      I wonder if we’ll hear confirmation sooner rather than later about the shortened seasons and potential delay of the start of season 7. Are they confirmed for Comic Con next month? I’m having a hell of a time finding any info on the SDCC site.

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    42. Tycho Nestoris: “Umber doesn’t like wildlings.” This is pretty paper thin in terms of a GoT character’s motivation.

      No it is not. One of the things that separates SoI&F from standard fantasy tripe is that characters often have very realistic motivations, such as deep hatreds for groups of people due to years of strife and violence. The Northerners nearer to the Wall have suffered hugely due to constant Wildling reaving for centuries: as is stressed, a big reason why the lands close to the Wall are uninhabited is because of the Wildlings. “Selling us out to our enemies” is reinforced-concrete-thick for motivations, not paper-thin.

      What would have been “paper-thin” (but a definite fantasy trope) is the Umbers being loyal to the Starks despite all of this. That would have taken three or four carefully hung guns off of the wall and just tossed them aside. Bad storytelling does that routinely, but good storytelling does not.

      And one of the other things that is very realistic in the character motivations is that the people (like the dogs) remain loyal only if they are receiving loyalty in return. The Starks failed the Umbers hugely: and Rickon’s death is what they got in return.

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    43. That picture of the Stark babies oh my!!! Just got emotional.

      I know when you criticize the show you’re considered a troll, but there’s been an unevenness to the show that has sometimes been a detriment.

      Kings Landing in particular to me just felt like it dragged and dragged before it reaches – presumably – a conclusion tonight. Even that scene with Tommen and Marg on the steps, it just felt way too long.

      I can’t help think, we couldn’t have been give two minutes from all that time in Kings Landing to give Art/Rickon ONE scene? One minute from Arya getting beaten by the Waif? One minute from watching that play? ADD a minute to shorter episodes?

      Ultimately, the show only gave us the importance and devastation of Rickon’s death by watching Jon’s crazed attempt to rescue his little brother. In the end, if they weren’t going to give Rickon any time, at least they reminded us that he’s a Stark and that he was very much loved by his family and a brother that would risk everything to try and save him. If for that reason alone, I can never ever criticize Jon’s actions.

      (and why I’m even more annoyed that the show, or maybe just Sophie’s acting, made Rickon’s death a complete afterthought to her need to get revenge for herself).

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    44. Tycho Nestoris,

      Um, that’s a huge motivation?

      The show gave us over and over a development of this motivation, that for generations it has been the Wildlings that are Westeros’ real enemies. They gave us the Wildling raids, the battle with Mance, the Night’s Watch being willing to kill Jon over the Wildlings.

      How is paper thin, considering the Wildlings are considered THE enemy in the North?

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    45. Wimsey,

      You are going to have to remind me what the Boltons did for the Umbers’ loyalty? Robb STARK failed the Umbers. Their loyalty (to the Starks) lasted long after that until Jon SNOW (LC and no Stark) let Wildlings through. What did Rickon have to do with any of Smalljon’s motivation? We don’t know because the show gave of us nothing from the time Rickon separated to now.

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    46. Oh, that photo of young, naive Stark kids!
      Once again, it’s a tribute to Nina Gold and the producers that GoT is so well cast in practically every role. Art made the most of his limited screen time and we’ll never forget him.

      I knew in my gut Rickon wouldn’t survive the BotB. At the risk of sounding like a monster, I thought his end would be even worse. Having seen the burning men on crosses, I had this vision of Ramsey hoisting Rickon up on a cross to taunt Jon exactly as we saw him do, only to more horrific effect. Davos coming across Shireen’s pyre would have played as even more nightmarish foreshadowing, reminding us all that even the most innocent in Westeros are doomed to be swept up in the folly of war.

      I wonder sometimes, if any of GRRM’s characters will make it out alive.

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    47. Wimsey,

      Oh, yes that is also true – that was quite silly. There should have been a wave of arrows to take Rickon out in the end. When I hunt specific deer with a crossbow I’m shooting at 25-40 yards for example. But they put a lot into “Ramsey the super-hunter” on the show, so I was more forgiving for that piece of supevillian magic. Or – maybe Ramsey got very lucky, and he was 100% GOING to command that action next. Let’s pretend that was it.

      It might have also made it seem more visually suicidal of Jon if a wave of arrows took Rickon out – of course only Ramsey the supervillian could do what he did, so Jon had a better chance of survival as he charged?

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    48. Nadia: If for that reason alone, I can never ever criticize Jon’s actions.

      What Jon did was tactically stupid. However, anyone who won’t do something completely stupid to save a little brother is not much of a person! As such, it was strategically a great move: what Wildlings and Northerners survived will consider Jon a man of great “heart”: and that would be important in this sort of society. (Heck, it still is important in our societies.)

      Sansa was in a different situation. She’d seen the monster, and it was beyond her ability to believe that someone else could escape it. Her reaction also is very human: the former captive will often greatly overestimate the capacity of her captors and torturers. What could cause her problems is that people often are very slow to understand just what torture does to you: we all believe that “I would resist it and remain unchanged!” (And, of course, what Ramsay did to her was just a husband doing what he wanted to do with his wife: and in that sort of society, that is his business, not hers.)

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    49. All I want to say is that I’m sad that we didn’t get to see him act as in talk more. He is a very handsome young actor, and I would have liked to see more of him. Best wishes to him. I think he did a very good job with the little onscreen time he had.

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    50. ladywolfsbane: Or – maybe Ramsey got very lucky, and he was 100% GOING to command that action next. Let’s pretend that was it.

      True: but it would have been like that in any film or TV show, regardless of the setting. If there were not dragons or magic in this show, then it would have happened. If it had been a gun rather than a bow, then it would have happened. This is just a story-telling trope that transcends any genre or medium: the “lone gunman” always finds his target. (And the scientists always find a “cure,” etc….)

      Now, what would really have cracked me up is if they had pulled a Firefly later: if, when Jon was moving on Ramsay and using his shield to save himself, someone had said: “This is something Jon has to do for himself” and Jon had said: “No, I really don’t!” and then they had filled Ramsay with arrows. I would have loved that! 😀

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    51. I’m mostly just glad we got to see Art again in GoT. I was thinking Rickon and Osha were just disappeared. A scene or two with them together in Winterfell would have been nice though.

      His season 3 was exceptional with the screen time he got.

      An additional note about the marriage episode mentioned by Axey was that during the previous day’s panel he’d been asked what he would do if he didn’t act, and he’d answered that he was going to run his own dating service called Art Harmony. Apparently he did a good job because the two people he married off still call each other wifey and hubby. Having met him twice at TitanCon (go to TitanCon people!) I can confirm that he’s a very open and giving young boy (I suppose he’s a teenager now) and I’m very glad he seems to be in for some successful years to come.

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    52. Dee Stark,

      It has some name, but I forget it and I’m too lazy to google it. It’s not Stockholm syndrome, where one comes to sympathize with one’s captors, but some other one where you begin to view your captor as superhuman.

      And, to be fair: Sansa was not entirely wrong. She just lives in a world that does not understand the concept of psychopathy: when Ramsay plays games, he goes entirely by his own rules. An FBI profiler might have been in better shape to understand Ramsay: but even they find psychopaths difficult to anticipate. And, somehow, I don’t see the Maesters as having a Profiling Department….. 😉

      Hmmm, we are off topic. Well, could Parkinson play a sociopath or a psychopath in the future?

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    53. Wimsey,

      I don’t disagree. I’m just saying, in lieu of the choice the show made to not give Art ANY scene to develop his character – which, again, I question based on screen time allocation for stories like Kings Landing and Arya’s training – I am 1000000% glad that we see Jon’s visceral and emotional reaction to see his little brother die.

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    54. Art wuz robbed. It’s total utter injustice to deprive Art of a few lines and Rickon STARK a chance to say something significant. Perhaps they didn’t want to pay Art the extra cost of having lines…but considering the GoT budget, that is miserly. More likely, they could not think up something appropriate, but that’s a load of rubbish–the actor and character deserve it. By the way, Sullied by Knight mentions losing Shaggy, Osha, and Rickon. Add Hodor and Summer and it turns out everyone accompanying Bran from Winterfell is now dead. Of his later associates, Jojen, Three-Eyed-Raven, and several Children of the Forest are too. I fear for Meera and especially Benjen (a Stark, gods love him). Remaining Starks–avoid Bran if/when he comes south.

      And a quibble about the North and the Wildlings. Randall Tarly utterly hates them and I think he said he had fought them a lot. He’s quite far south–why would he have been up in the borderlands fighting Wildlings? It makes no sense.

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    55. Wimsey: What Jon did was tactically stupid.However, anyone who won’t do something completely stupid to save a little brother is not much of a person! As such, it was strategically a great move: what Wildlings and Northerners survived will consider Jon a man of great “heart”: and that would be important in this sort of society. (Heck, it still is important in our societies.)

      Well said Wimsey. I’ve been thinking a lot about what StimpyStark and Jared said a few threads back, about empathy, about putting ourselves in Jon’s position. He’s not just having a dry conversation about the likelihood of his brother’s death in the relative emotional isolation of a pre-war council. He’s seeing his little brother run towards him, desperate and frightened. It’s a completely different scenario, and I think Sansa herself would have been hard-pressed to refrain from running to Rickon.

      I’m not best friends with my two siblings, but I would *absolutely* do the same as Jon. Shit, when I was seven years old, I kicked a much older and bigger girl off her bike because she was teasing my brother. Damn straight I would charge down any other bastard who tried to hurt him or my little sister. Yep, I’d be a shitty military commander. And so is Jon. But his tactical ability is not why people will follow him. It’s his virtue and bravery that draws people to him. We’ve seen that with the NW (ok, pre stabbing), Davos, Tormund, Karsi and the other Wildlings. I truly believe the North will forgive Robb’s transgressions and will bend the knee to either him or Sansa.

      (or maybe I’m just desperately holding out for another glimpse of Ian McInnerny. Please!!)

      Edit because I left off the most important part of my post, which is to thank Art for a lovely portrayal. He was a delight as the young Rickon, and as a youth, he communicated so much despite his lack of lines. I was very impressed with him in this episode. In amongst some incredible performances, his quiet desperation was palpable. Kudos, Art, and all the best for the future.

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    56. Stark Raven’ Rad,

      Tarly said ”WE fought them for hundreds of years”.

      When he says that he doesn’t mean that he went North to fight them……….
      ”WE” means the seven kingdoms. The civilized people. It is rather obvious honestly….

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    57. Art did a really great job with what he was given. I don’t mind the way they killed him off I just wish we had seen more of him and Osha beforehand. They could’ve done what they did with Sam this year, give him one or two shortish scenes in season 4 or 5 with the Umbers and then a speaking scene with Ramsay or Osha this season. It would have made his death so much more impactful!
      Anyway I wish Art the best, I’m certain he has a great career ahead of him!

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    58. It was that scene from Ep 3, when Bran told Osha to take Rickon to the Umbers, that gave me hope for Rickon being revived as a viable Stark character. I was sure that the feisty little guy was going to grow into a fierce Stark, taught by Osha and the Umbers. This was his last scene before coming back in season 6:

      Rickon: Me? I’m coming with you!

      Bran: No, you and Osha and Shaggydog head for the Last Hearth. The Umbers are our bannermen. They’ll protect you.

      Rickon: I’m coming with you. I’m your brotha. I have to protect you.
      Bran: Right now, I have to protect YOU. Robb’s at war, and I’m going beyond the wall. If something happens to us, you’re the heir to Winterfell. You know how to find the Last Hearth?

      Osha: You Southerners build your big castles and you never move. You’re easy to find.

      “You’re the heir to Winterfell.” Not anymore. Damn. When I saw Art in “San Andreas” last summer, saw how he had grown so tall and still conveyed the mischief and determination that he had brought to his portrayal of Rickon, I was excited that he was coming back.

      Axey, thank you for letting us know that his career is going on quite well without GoT. Loved the pic of the two of you. This was a great article

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    59. Congratulations to Art for his magnificence performance as Rickon. I’m sure he will go on to many more successful projects in the future,. and I wish him all the best.

      It is a shame that this Curtain Call had to be another opportunity for the perpetual moaners to moan (anyone who seriously thought that the Umbers would turn on Ramsay after killing Shaggydog aren’t worth listening to), but I’m glad that so many people enjoyed Art’s performance.

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    60. Everything was so out of character regarding rickon. I honestly though it was a ruse in the beginning because of his reaction when he saw shaggydog’s head. I expected much more of a fight from him, and although still pissed as he was, he seemed weirdly collected. I also fell like we were robbed big time. With rickon, osha, ramsay and SJ dead we wont ever know where rickon and osha were and what they were up to since they parted ways with bran in season 3. But I made my piece with it all and i’m looking all this on the bright side: we didn’t have to deal with torture scenes, which is also ooc for ramsay. Rickon having lines would mean that we would’ve to watch him interacting with ramsay and we know what ramsay liked to do with his prisoners. Instead, ramsay gave osha a quick death and disappeared until last episode where we saw a rickon without a scratch on his sweet face. So yeah, I liked better that way than having to watch rickon stark turn into another reek.

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    61. I had always wondered how they would reintroduce Osha and Rickon and what part they would play in the remainder of the story. Now I know the answer: they really had no idea how to reincorporate them so they just killed them off abruptly. Maybe it is the case that they need to consolidate the story and characters as we head into the final 13 episodes, but I still think they could’ve done better than what they did.

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    62. … and make him a casual casualty in their continued, episodic quest to remind us that Ramsay Bolton is a real stinker?
      THIS!!
      Frustrating for me too!

      If Jon in the crypts for his burial is where the big reveal happens (v unlikely) then i can maybe forget it slightly

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    63. What, where and when is TitanCon? You are making it sound so interesting. The pic Axey showed was outside. Is it a mostly outdoors venue?

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    64. Mihnea,

      I pretty much acknowledged the point you make in my post. Don’t know why you always refer to the books with me, I have not read them I don’t care what happens in them.

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    65. jdtargstark,

      It was out of character for Rickon to not have a scratch on him. If Ramsey was going to kill him anyway, he probably would’ve done bad stuff to him. But alas, if you’re OK with them making decisions in the writers room to spare the feelings of over sensitive audience members, I don’t even know why you bother watching Game of Thrones. It’s a dark show. Well, it was up until this season.

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    66. Art Parkinson is just adorable! He was just the cutest widdle Stark and I just wanted to squeeze his widdle cheeks every time he was on screen. He absolutely killed the goodbye scene with Bran. Very talented young actor. I remember watching San Andreas and I was like “that’s Rickon Stark!” He stole the show. I look forward to seeing him in many more projects. Cheers to Art!

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    67. Mihnea,

      Osha got a lame, predictable one off scene where she was murdered. Rickon didn’t even speak a line of dialogue. They were pointless. Just thrown back into the story to be eliminated so no one ever wondered “whatever happened to them and why weren’t they reintroduced?”.

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    68. LatrineDiggerBrian,

      Actually roose made a comment about how ramsay treated his last two prisoners so that probably cause Ramsay to hold of on any of the torturing and stuff until he knew what he was going to do with him

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    69. Dee Stark,

      Please…he always knew he was going to kill them both. Rickon is the rightful heir to Winterfell with them thinking Bran is dead. What else was he going to do with him?

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    70. Wimsey: Heh, it almost would have been funny if Rickon had zig-zagged and Ramsay had just gotten an exasperated look and shouted: “Archers! Notch!”

      Hey Wimsey, nice to see you.

      How do I put this so that it doesn’t sound like I’m praising Ramsay? Let’s see … During that scene of Ramsay shooting the arrows at running Rickon, I was once more stunned by the workings of that creep’s mind, and rather impressed by his skill with the arrows. He didn’t accidently miss Rickon on those first few shots, he missed on purpose. You can see that he’s making a game of it. He wanted to mess with everyone’s mind by letting Rickon get oh-so-close to Jon, and snatching the rescue from Jon’s grasp at the last possible second. Jon never got to say good-bye to Rickon. It was timed perfectly. Ramsey reveled in that type of action, playing “keep-away” with everyone around him. He’d almost perfected it, but that nastiness was ultimately what got him killed.

      He stood there and watched, bow in hand, as Jon reached toward Wun Wun to say goodbye. He had the option of shooting Jon with that arrow, but chose instead to snatch that bit of humanity from Jon, by shooting Wun Wun in the eye. His perverse need to deprive Jon of anything that Jon wanted is what got his face bashed in, eventually to be turned into dog food.

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    71. I feel somewhat guilty for feeling almost nothing when Rickon died. Had we spent more time with the character this season, even a small scene or two in the six episode gap between his only two appearances this season, then his final moments might have had more of an impact on me.

      Art can’t be faulted with that though. He had a role and he played it perfectly in my opinion. Just wish D&D had given him more to do instead of just waiting to die.

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    72. Knight of the Walkers:
      Congratulations to Art for his magnificence performance as Rickon. I’m sure he will go on to many more successful projects in the future,. and I wish him all the best.

      It is a shame that this Curtain Call had to be another opportunity for the perpetual moaners to moan (anyone who seriously thought that the Umbers would turn on Ramsay after killing Shaggydog aren’t worth listening to), but I’m glad that so many people enjoyed Art’s performance.

      I’ve never moaned in a Curtain Call before but the tenor of this particular one seemed to invite it. Sorry bout it.

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    73. Mihnea,

      The thing is, I don’t think we can say that stories “have no purpose” if they don’t choose to depict it on the show. This kind of characterization bothers me a little.

      What we’re seeing on the show is not a complete depiction of GRRM’s books. It’s an adaption of portions of it.

      They may not have chosen to include Aegon, for example, but I don’t believe he had “no purpose.”

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    74. Ramsay is an expert marksman. Would a zig zag of even mattered?

      I can’t believe he got the Olly treatment though and had no dialogue this season.

      That interview with Art after “Oathbreaker” was a complete farce.

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    75. Thronetender:
      What, where and when is TitanCon? You are making it sound so interesting. The pic Axey showed was outside. Is it a mostly outdoors venue?

      TitanCon is usually in September in Belfast. This year it’s the 30th of September to the 2nd of October. It’s a joint GoT and fantasy/SF literary convention. So far no guest has been announced… I’m hoping Phil has some good literary guests lined up and a couple of GoT guests.
      The first day is mainly just registration and a chance for the author guests to read excerps out of their books. Saturday is the main convention day with GoT and literary panels, workshops, masquerade, karaoke etc. On Sunday it’s time for the original GoT locations coach tour (tickets sold separately) as we fill up two coaches and go on a tour around Northern Ireland and finish off with a medieval type feast.

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    76. Arkash:
      I think you missed the opportunity to share what is (undoubtely) Art’s best performance in the show : his departure scene from Bran in 3×09 !

      That scene was what cemented my love of Rickon and Art. “You’re my brother. I have to protect you.” D’awww, so adorable and brave. I know Rickon was the superfluous wild Stark but that scene showed me a little boy that understood family love and loyalty – he wanted to protect his paralyzed older brother. Right in the feels.

      I knew Rickon was doomed this season, but I as hoping against hope that the spoilers might be wrong and he’d survive Ramsay’s arrows. Robb & Jon enjoyed a stable home life into their teens, Sansa & Arya into their pre-teens, but Rickon (and Bran) got the short end of the stick. At least Bran might be some immortal God, but poor Rickon died young because no one ever taught him how to zigzag. Sigh.

      Art Parkinson is a great young actor who made an impression with a small role & little screen time, and I wish him much success in his career.

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    77. Jack Bauer 24: Ramsay is an expert marksman. Would a zig zag of even mattered?

      Possibly, as the flight of an arrow over the distance depicted takes a few seconds. It’s not like a bullet. Total accuracy requires being able to anticipate where the target will be, not knowing where it is at the instant that you release. So moving in a path that is not predictable – even occasionally halting or feinting for a second, without necessarily changing direction – should be able to foil a single archer, no matter how skilled.

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    78. Johan Sporre: TitanCon is usually in September in Belfast. This year it’s the 30th of September to the 2nd of October. It’s

      Oh, thank you for the answer, Johan! – September in Belfast. Wouldn’t that be lovely? I’m so used to hearing about the “Cons” in North America, dumb me didn’t even compute that there would be some of those in England and Ireland. So, Axey went all the way to Ireland to get his GoT fix. Love it. Now I’m all wispy with a another reason to dream of maybe getting to Ireland someday.

      BTW, Axey, You have a totally young-at heart vibe, even though I’ve seen you describe yourself as “old.” There’s nothing “old” about your writing though, dear, except maybe in its wisdom and understanding of the human condition. I always appreciate a well-written piece, and yours never disappoint.

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    79. Did anyone find it strange that Jon Snow’s first comment towards Rickon Stark’s dead body was to talk about where he’s going to lay him to rest. Shouldn’t he have asked his Red Woman to attempt to bring his little brother back from the dead.

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    80. batfan,

      The reason they killed Rickon was so Sansa would be first in line for Winterfell ……. they can then have Littlefinger and her plot together or her play him before killing him….If Rickon stays alive he’s the heir and ruins the Littlefinger and Sansa power couple story they want to play out….Jon had better hope Bran or Ghost help him with Sansa’s betrayal surely coming soon (see not telling him about Littlefinger and Vale troops).

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    81. Art, I loved ya in San Andreas! I hate to see another Stark go down but am so glad to have had ya on the show. Sometimes characters who have few speaking roles nevertheless, speak volumes. I always felt that way about you playing Rickon. Best wishes for a bright future and thank you for your performance and presence. Once a Stark, always a Stark!

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    82. Art certainly convinced me with his fierceness in the few scenes he had. I would have enjoyed more of that on the show. Too bad.

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    83. As usual, Rickon was one of the characters I never paid attention to in the books and Art Parkinson brought him to life, especially in seasons 2 and 3.

      First, I have to say that I’m glad he wasn’t recast as some expected due to the actor’s rapid growth and maybe that was one of the reasons he wasn’t given any lines this season (his voice is probably much deeper now). Second, I’m glad we were spared any Ramsay/Rickon scenes in WF. Judging by his looks, he wasn’t particulary harmed.

      I agree that he was underused this season but I also agree with Mihnea that he is probably not as important to the story as some people think. Yes, I was bothered by Umber betrayal as well but on the other hand, it was nice to see that Jon’s decision about the wildlings had some negative impact as well. I don’t agree that he was killed for “shock value” – he is not a part of the end game and the writers tied up the loose end.

      The most praise goes to the scene in the episode “The Rains of Castamere” – a moment that surpassed the books and the moment of good writing by Beinoff and Weiss. And now that both him and Osha are dead, that moment is even more sad. I’m glad for those scenes.

      Well, that concludes it. Tonight (or tomorrow) is the day when it ends. Expect my review in “book readers recap” tomorrow and again, it would be a bit earlier than usual. With best regards from Lord Parramandas.

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    84. The problem with the whole Umber double-cross theory, along with Cleganebowl and Syrio-isnt-dead, is that it is just fan speculation. But we as fans get so obsessed by it that it almost becomes the truth and thus are really shocked and disappointed when it fails to materialise.

      I’m bummed they killed Rickon after all that. And Shaggydog. And Osha. Quite literally for nothing.

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    85. I love the picture of Sophie, Maisie, Isaac and Art together. So cute. When the show ends the four of them should take another picture together in the exact same poses. 🙂

      Along with Arya’s stabbing/recovery, Rickon’s return was my only other personal gripe with S6. I would have liked a Rickon scene with Osha before her death, and one with Ramsay before the bastard battle. Two scenes like that would have updated the audience on how Rickon has changed during his exile and give Art something more to do.

      Still, it was nice to see Art again, however briefly. (And he’ll have a nice career I think; I thought he was one of the best things in San Andreas.)

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    86. If you didn’t know Rickon was toast the moment that bag came off his head, then you need to be watching Once Upon a Time.

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    87. KG:
      If you didn’t know Rickon was toast the moment that bag came off his head, then you need to be watching Once Upon a Time.

      It is entirely possible to *know* something is inevitable but to still wish there was a different outcome. 😛 I wished for a different outcome not only because I wanted to see if there was any more the character had to offer (Short answer: No.) but also because I wanted to be surprised. I wanted them to zag but they zigged (RELEVANT!).

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    88. Hear, hear. Seeing Rickon die put a damper on the whole episode for me. Plus, I feel like Rickon and Osha were wasted this year. I’m glad we didn’t get any scenes of torture, but it would be have been nice to see those promised scenes of a “feral” Rickon.

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    89. Rickon should have had one more scene where osha and him talk in Ramsay’s dungeon something before his death.

      Rickon died along with the northern lord’s importance. Smalljon was a waste, great actor great performance ultimately pointless. It’s too bad that we didn’t get more scenes with the youngest stark.

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    90. *unlurks*
      Sigh…another “the show sucks fest” disguised as a Curtain Call. I remember earlier curtain calls where they solely praised the actor and his/her performance. I miss those days.
      *goes back to lurking*

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    91. Firannion: Possibly, as the flight of an arrow over the distance depicted takes a few seconds.It’s not like a bullet.Total accuracy requires being able to anticipate where the target will be, not knowing where it is at the instant that you release.So moving in a path that is not predictable – even occasionally halting or feinting for a second, without necessarily changing direction – should be able to foil a single archer, no matter how skilled.

      I think he was just fixated on Jon. Jon was charging straight forward and Rickon was obviously she scared, so he just charged straight forward to Jon.

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    92. I agree wholeheartedly that Art and Rickon deserved a better sendoff. Given the increasing disregard for both the details and the overall tone of the source material at this point, I wonder if the character would have been omitted entirely if the writers had it all to do over again.

      Regardless, Kudos to Art for making us care about the character of Rickon so much.

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    93. I’m so glad they brought him back, even as it was for him (and Osha, and Shaggydog) to die. Art Parkinson was great in San Andreas, which I was forced to watch, and pretty much made it worth it for me (Sorry, The Rock).

      I can’t quite understand the zig-zag furor. Did you SEE how far he had to go? If he’d been zig-zagging about, he’d have been about 50 feet away in the same amount of time. It would have just meant more arrows, same eventual results. Ramsay knows what he’s doing with that bow. I do wish that Jon had been able to say a few words to him before he died, but glad he didn’t suffer long.

      I’ll miss him. Little Rickon and his enthusiasm. Great job, Art. 🙂

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    94. He was terrific in 3.09; a scene which surprised because he’d hardly spoken.

      Umber betraying Ramsay always seemed pretty silly to me. Not sure why some people were hoping for it.

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    95. Art Parkinson is a remarkably talented young actor who, even with relatively little screentime, brought a great amount of depth to his role as the youngest member of the Stark family. Rickon was a character towards whom I was mostly indifferent on the page, aside from his last name and symbolic significance. But Parkinson’s performance helped me cultivate a sense of investment in Rickon specifically, to the point that his first name became more important than his last.

      Parkinson first truly registered as more than a background player in “The Pointy End” when Robb leaves Winterfell and Rickon ominously – and accurately tells Bran that their family will never return. It was a remarkably powerful delivery, especially for a child actor, and spoke the young man’s talent for making the most of his lines. A few days ago, I went back and watched the scene where Bran finds his brother hiding in the Winterfell crypts and Rickon declares that he saw his father there – “last night, when I was sleeping.” Seeing that scene in such close proximity to Rickon’s death makes his all the more tragically poignant. When I re-watched “Battle of the Bastards” yet again, an echo of that scene played through my mind when Jon gave the order for Rickon to be buried in those same crypts, next to Ned. The room got more than a little dusty.

      But Parkinson’s signature scene, of course, is Bran and Rickon’s goodbye in “The Rains of Castamere”. It’s a quietly heartbreaking moment, and even more so now because we know the fate that awaits Rickon and Osha after they make their way to Last Hearth. But even without that knowledge, it’s still remarkable to see the depth of emotion that Parkinson and Isaac Hempstead-Wright layer into that conversation, especially when Rickon declares “I’m your brother. I have to protect you.” That was the episode when we all collectively realized “Damn, Art Parkinson can act, and he’s really good at it!”

      Others in the industry have clearly noticed that as well. It’s great to see that Parkinson has managed to assert himself so prominently in Hollywood over the past few years, including the leading voice role for Kubo and the Two Strings. His career is just beginning, and if his current resume is anything to judge by, it will be a long and successful one. In fact, he’s busy enough that I had been worried that he might not be able to reprise his role when the time came. I’m very glad that he did, even if that return was brief. I want to thank him for his contributions to Game of Thrones, and for bringing Rickon Stark to life –for the first time, in many respects. I wish him all the best, and I look forward to seeing his future work!

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    96. OK, I just read through the comments. I wish I could refrain from wading into the debate about the method of Rickon’s death, because I’m extremely disappointed that it has taken up so much of this particular thread (though I see how the door got opened). But I have to say that I could not possibly disagree more strongly with those who thought that Rickon’s death was wasteful or poorly handled. I found it to be an incredibly powerful scene, and that sacrifice provided the “Battle of the Bastards” with the emotional cost such a monumental required (especially since other notable characters like Davos and Tormund survived). Losing yet another Stark was crushing, but it made complete sense to me in the moment.

      Cruel as it is to say, this was necessary and inevitable. Rickon was a trueborn male heir to House Stark, and unlike Bran, he did not have a special destiny. There was never any chance that he was going to survive (As for the Umbers, I had a hard time accepting their decision to ally with the Boltons when I first heard about it during the offseason. But once “Oathbreaker” aired, I never believed in any of the theories that they were playing a long con. Calling the evidence for that conspiracy flimsy is generous. It was more wishful thinking than anything).

      I don’t know how Rickon will die in the books, or if he will die at all. Maybe he just gets lost on Skagos (which I am very glad was not in the show – this may be a fantasy story, but a sidequest to an island with unicorns is a bridge too far for me). But I absolutely, unequivocally do not believe that he will be the Stark in Winterfell in the end. The show and the books may be taking different paths, but they’re en route to the same destination. The fate of the Stark family is an inextricably critical element of that endgame. If Rickon were truly important to that narrative, he would have lived. His death all but confirms for me that his path in the novels will not lead him anywhere near a position of power.

      I do not think Parkinson was robbed, or that Rickon was done a disservice. All actors and characters must serve the greater story, and Rickon’s death had a clear narrative purpose, both logically and emotionally, as all good deaths must. Furthermore, the execution of the scene was perfect (no, zig-zagging would not have saved him – Ramsay is a master archer, and was clearly toying with him. He never would have released him if he wasn’t certain he could make the shot regardless of Rickon’s movements).

      The injustice, such as it is, lies in the fact that Rickon was an innocent child who never truly got the chance to forge his own path. I’m not sad that he didn’t get to hang out with unicorns, or because Parkinson didn’t get to speak any lines this season. Rather, Rickon’s death upsets me because he was betrayed by those he trusted, his family was torn away from him, and he died in fear as part of an evil game while someone he loved tried desperately to save him, but was powerless to do so. That’s emotionally gripping drama, and I see it as a credit to everyone involved in the show, and that sequence in particular. I had accepted that Rickon was dead as soon as he fell into Ramsay’s clutches. I didn’t expect to still be so devastated when the arrow struck home. That’s a testament to the writers and the actors doing their jobs effectively.

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    97. Jared,

      The injustice, such as it is, lies in the fact that Rickon was an innocent child who never truly got the chance to forge his own path. I’m not sad that he didn’t get to hang out with unicorns, or because Parkinson didn’t get to speak any lines this season. Rather, Rickon’s death upsets me because he was betrayed by those he trusted, his family was torn away from him, and he died in fear as part of an evil game while someone he loved tried desperately to save him, but was powerless to do so. That’s emotionally gripping drama, and I see it as a credit to everyone involved in the show, and that sequence in particular. I had accepted that Rickon was dead as soon as he fell into Ramsay’s clutches. I didn’t expect to still be so devastated when the arrow struck home. That’s a testament to the writers and the actors doing their jobs effectively.

      As usual, spot on comments I still say that they could have shown a few scenes of him with Osha, or with Smallon…but in the end, it was a very powerful scene, and he played it very well

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    98. ash,

      It usually is, and it should be, but in this case the curtain call that was written was full of complaints about how the character was handled on the show. I hope that doesn’t become a habit, it’s not very professional and detracts from saluting the actor.

      Farewell Art and good luck in your future career.

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    99. I enjoy the people who agree with me… and the people who do not!

      There are some well-thought out arguments. I enjoy different perspectives, and can even learn a thing or two myself. (Wimsey on fire!)

      And I am glad that, despite any differences, we’re all pretty much in the same camp that says “Art Parkinson rocked it.”

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    100. I had pretty much decided that Rickon was going to die in BotB but the filming and direction during his last scene had me thinking he would survive. Art was so good for what few lines he had. I also think kudos to the casting director again who seems to find so many child actors who continue to impress as they grow up and take on more challenging material. Rickon’s death and Art’s acting had me on the edge of tears.

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