Jon’s revelation explored, meaning behind White Walker symbol revealed by Game of Thrones Season 8 premiere writer Dave Hill

Lord Umber burning Winterfell episode

If you were wondering about what the Night King’s spiral-like symbols signifies, especially after its last startling appearance during the season eight premiere, the writer behind the episode is here to tell all—and it really appears to be all. Also, there’s that small matter of Jon learning the truth about his parents and royal status…

At the New York Post, Lauren Sarner interviews the writer behind “Winterfell”, Dave Hill, who admits “there’s always a lot of pressure” writing Game of Thrones, though it was especially challenging to write Jon learning the truth about his parentage:

“This scene was trickier than many because Sam is conveying information that we the audience already know, and that Jon has to hear pretty much in its entirety to get the full effect,” Hill explains. “But it’s tough to balance so much necessary exposition and rehashing (for the audience) with the emotional charge that makes the moment actually land with the audience. Luckily for me, John Bradley and Kit Harington could perform the words of a phonebook, and David Nutter would win an Emmy for directing it.”

Speaking of another key scene in “Winterfell”, Hill opens up about the spiral symbol we have seen the White Walkers use many times, though never as gruesomely as in Last Hearth. The symbol has been described before as a way to show they have a culture, distinguishing them from their mindless thralls, but there’s more to it than that:

“As we saw with Bran and the Three-Eyed Raven,” Hill begins, referring to one of the most consequential yet oft-overlooked visions in season six’s ‘The Door’, “The spiral pattern was sacred to the Children of the Forest, who created the Night King by sacrificing a captured man in a spiral ‘henge of stones.’ The Night King then adopted the symbol as a sort of blasphemy, like Satan with the upside-down cross.”

That’s simply fascinating. Honestly, I don’t know how it never occurred to me that recreating the Children’s Stonehenge-like art with body parts may have been a purposeful perversion instead of just an honest replica. Thankfully, others in the fandom have been more astute than me. In fact, Watchers on the Wall’s own contributor JoeMagician advanced this theory on his Youtube channel just a few days ago!

Before you go, be sure to check out JoeMagician’s whole video and to read Lauren Sarner’s complete, in-depth Dave Hill interview, which you can find here.

79 responses

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    1. The only connection I can see is maybe Aegon the Conqueror adopted a similar looking symbol as his house sigil because he had visions involving this. We know Rhaegar was obsessed with the Prince that was Promised prophecy and maybe his ancestors had some inkling of the eventual family destiny to join with House Stark to become the song of ice and fire, but that’s still pretty out there and doubtful.

      The Night King himself definitely doesn’t give a crap that some family he probably doesn’t know exists made their flag look vaguely like the Children’s stonehenge monument 10,000 years after he was made in it.

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    2. I’d also point out that the White Walkers did to Ned Umber and the Wildling Girl in the first episode of the series mirrors how the Night King was created.

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    3. Joe Magician’s video is really good. He also raises an interesting theory about the “Prince Who Was Promised…” to the Night King?

      The symbols telling us nothing useful about the White Walkers remains frustrating. I’m getting Lost deja-vu.

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    4. “Now people can stop saying it was a Targaryen symbol lol.”

      He didn’t say it wasn’t. 😉

      Just for fun, let’s look at some apparent similarities between our favorite dragon-rider and ol’ blue eyes:

      – Spiral symbol;
      – lifelong desire to rule Westeros;
      – magical babies;
      – disciplined, unstoppable armies;
      – Dany’s striated white coat, ol’ blue eyes’ “snow-white tan.”

      What’s the title of the book series, again? 😛

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    5. I found the following 30 second summation of GOT by Kit interesting considering other things I’ve read.

      There was one king. He died. There were then multiple kings who fought. To disrupt that, the ultimate king himself, the Night King, came and attacked Seven Kingdoms which forced the rest of those kings and remaining power imbalances to unite and go against him. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3YcbpZZuOYk

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    6. Rygritte,

      So he’s pulling a Code Geass? Interesting, though I don’t know if the NK is that altruistic.

      I was leaning towards the NK’s use of the spiral tying into the religions, but also briefly thought on Sunday that it reminded me of the Nazi co-opting of the Jewish swastika. The swastika was original a symbol of good luck and prosperity. Ads in Jewish newspapers would be bordered in them.

      The question now is, what did the spiral mean to the Children. Is it a representation of the old gods? Does it reveal that the different faiths are really worshiping one force? Is it a key to stopping the NK? We’ve seen it in the “spiralhenge” and in the Dragonstone cave. It has a bigger importance than the NK’s f u. Sidebar: if the NK is angry at being turned, then he is more than a force following his programming.

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    7. NinaD,

      I was leaning towards the NK’s use of the spiral tying into the religions, but also briefly thought on Sunday that it reminded me of the Nazi co-opting of the Jewish swastika. The swastika was original a symbol of good luck and prosperity. Ads in Jewish newspapers would be bordered in them.

      Im Jewish and never heard of this. I remember learning that the symbol was from India (Hindu perhaps), and it was turned around by the Nazis

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    8. ash,

      The swastika appears in many cultures, including Native American ones, always as a positive, life-giving symbol. It’s a solar wheel, representing the beneficent rays of the sun as it crosses the sky. The failed Austrian visual artist simplified his party’s symbol into just four arms, a visual play on the letters “N” and “S” for “National Socialist.” In his racist mythology, the Aryans in their Northern homeland of Thule would have seen the sun “rolling” across the sky, spinning clockwise as it traversed the sky from left to right. His use of that symbol by his criminal regime has forever turned it into a sign of death and destruction.

      B&W share your faith. If they had their northernmost king employ a solar wheel as their symbol for the embodiment of death, they may have intended a very deep historical comparison indeed.

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    9. The swastika was never a specifically Jewish symbol. It originates in the religions of the area that is now India and is still used as a symbol in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism (at least).

      It was indeed used as a good luck and general decorative symbol in Europe (including by Jews) up until being coopted by the Nazis in the 1930s, but was never something specific to the Jews.

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    10. ash:
      NinaD,

      Im Jewish and never heard of this. I remember learning that the symbol was from India (Hindu perhaps), and it was turned around by the Nazis

      You remember correctly. The symbol originates in the Indian subcontinent (not only Hindu, but Jain etc) but it has spread everywhere, from the Chinese to the Celts or the Proto-Germanic people (representing Thor’s hammer!). It was particularly used in the eastern Mediterranean region (check out all the Greek gammadions) and it is even found in the Navajo culture. No particular links to the Jewish people though, other than the occasional findings dating from when it was used by everyone.
      However, after Schliemann found Troy (where the swastika was used a lot), it became short of an en vogue symbol of good luck particularly in Germany so it may have been used by the German Jewish as well, until of course it was horrifically appropriated by the Nazi Party. A “Jewish swastika” coopted by the Nazis does not sound accurate though.

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    11. ash,

      Well, swastica was very widespread in pre-Christian Europe and therefore it was perceived as an “Indo-Arian” or “Indo-European” symbol (although other cultures used it as well). Anyway, in the early 20th century swastica became very popular and was used by everyone from nationalists to communists including Jewish organisations of all sorts.

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    12. Tensor the Mage, Polishing His Tinfoil Dome To A Bright Sheen,

      This might not be so tin-foilery after all. I have been wondering about this possibility- we still have more to learn about he NK, presumably, and one question is whether he is looking for a NQ. Most people have sort of assumed that would be Cersei. But now he already has a dragon…. and didn’t Dany make a comment to Jon about how important dragon-riding was, if she was going tonremain interested? We could stay here for a 1000 years…

      Emilia Clark has said in interviews that she hopes people like her character after all is said and done.

      I’m not going to put too much faith into this, but if Dany were to die and become the NQ- I wouldn’t be completely surprised at this point.

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    13. Sister Kisser,

      I hope that doesn’t happen, because to become a supernatural creature like the Night Queen would be such a stupid, B-movie ending for a major player like Dany. I’d rather that she commit a horrible deed such as executing a well-loved character (Tyrion, Sam, whoever), and then have to live with her conscience afterwards. Something similar to Michael Corleone’s ending in the second Godfather movie.

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    14. Off topic, small theory: I’ve watched Jon-Arya-reunion scene a couple of times and I’ve wondered why they were talking about Sansa. Is it possible that Jon didn’t remember anymore that Sansa was part of his family and Arya somehow gave that memory back to him? I remember when Beric said in S3 something like “pieces of you get chipped away”. And Jon was in the godswood, so perhaps he gave some memories away just before Arya came. Because I think that Jon’s speech about Sansa was a little bit out of character, especially because Jon left her in charche of Winterfell in S7. What do you think?

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    15. The Book Thief,

      I think that it was Jon’s reaction to Sansa undermining him and acting rude. Like seriousily: he comes home with armies, dragons, dragonglass – the dragon queen comes in a package but still he comes back with major assets and expects at least some gratitude; instead all he gets is criticism, and it’s not a ractional cooperative criticism – it’s a straightforward attempt to undermine him both publicly and privatly. So, Jon has a full right to be concerned on whether Sansa still sees him as a family.

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    16. Inga,

      Thanks! This was how I interpreted the scene when I watched it at the first time, too. Then I started digging it too deeply apparently 😀 I just like analyzing movies and tv-show’s drama-aspects.

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    17. Inga,

      Because of the Stark family history with Robb, I do think Sansa was right to ask “did you bend the knee because you love her?” Sansa wasn’t present when Robb decided to marry Talisa, however, she has to be aware of it. Arguably, Robb’s marrying Talisa out of love instead of keeping his oath to the Frey’s was a HUMONGOUS error that led to so many tragic events. No matter how much fans get annoyed with Sansa’s attitude, I do think it makes sense that she at least make him think about his actions.

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    18. Sister Kisser,

      My tin foil theory is that Jon and Co aren’t going to beat the NK but he will offer them away of saving the humans by someone else becoming the new NK they will be given the chance to choose unlike the present NK who seems to have been forced into the job. Why do they need a NK, balance the whole story seems to be about creating balance with no one Monarch having the upper hand, no one family in total charge. And maybe Jon will choose to be the new NK hence the bittersweet ending. Dany may choose not to take the throne she thought she wanted but settle for raising her child at Winterfell to be near Jon. However I think I might have just overdosed on the romanticising pill.

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    19. Tron79,

      She may have had the Robb/Talisa relationship in the back of her mind. But I think she will be smart enough that when she thinks on it she will see that Robb LOST a major ally by his decision (not to mention the whole Red Wedding thing) while Jon GAINED, or at least cemented a major ally by his decision.

      I hope and think that Sansa will come around. She usually does and ends up doing the right thing.

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    20. Tron79,

      I am not a big fan of Sansa and must declare myself a Jon fan but she told him in the last series that Jon must not make the same mistake as Ned or Robb and she evidently thinks he did make Robbs mistake of falling in love with ‘a foreign whore ‘

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    21. The NK was turned into a WW at a weirwood tree. Does that have any specific significance to all this? If so, which weirwood tree was it?

      I’ve heard theories that the weirwood tree where the NK was created is the source for his power and it was at the God’s Eye near Harrenhal. The theory suggests that the weirwood tree has to be burnt down in order to kill the NK, but I have no idea how much stock to put into that theory.

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    22. Traci:
      To be honest, I strongly dislike this reasoning.It’s not subtle or complex.I doubt GRRM will be as bumbling.

      This specific symbol doesn’t even exist in the books, so… what even?

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    23. Carole H:
      Tron79,

      I am not a big fan of Sansa and must declare myself a Jon fan but she told him in the last series that Jon must not make the same mistake as Ned or Robb and she evidently thinks he did make Robbs mistake of falling in love with ‘a foreign whore ‘

      Yes, I am a Jon fan as well, and you’re right. Sansa did tell Jon that he needed to be smarter than the other Starks and not make the same mistakes. As Dolorous Methuselah said, Jon did gain an alliance where Robb lost alliances.

      I don’t think Jon’s bending the knee was totally out of love, so it was different than Robb. It was more because of what he saw Dany do for him. She risked her life and the Iron Throne by coming to rescue him. She could have done the safe (and probably smarter thing as Tyrion suggested) by doing nothing. Instead she ended up losing her dragon for Jon. I think Jon felt how much she was mourning the loss of Viserion. He wanted to comfort her, and also don’t forget he wasn’t really in his right mind after all of the hypothermia! I’m sure he was blinded some by her beauty with her sitting on the bed with him too. Jon can’t really explain all of his reasons very well to the Northerners and Sansa. He doesn’t have the words to communicate as well as Tyrion or Davos or even Lady Lyanna. It’s a pattern that time after time, others have to step in and talk for Jon when he has trouble getting his point across. He’s much more of an action guy that a word guy. I recall the scene with Sam where Jon tried to explain what it was like the first time with Ygritte and they both agreed Jon’s no poet!

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    24. NinaD,

      The spiral shape could be alluding to a “circle of life” or going back in time type pattern. Wasn’t there a prophecy to Dany telling her to move forward you must go back? And in the opening credits some pointed out that event placements are reversing instead of proceeding forwards as it has in the past seasons. Plus an interview (I forget with who) where it was stated some keys to the ending are in season 1. Couple that with the last episode trying to make some parallels to the first one….I have no clue what it all might mean if anything.

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    25. Wolfie,

      I don’t expect many complexities in who the NK is or how he will be defeated in the show. I think they just kill him after a long battle and a lot of deaths. And I think it will happen fairly early in the season. I doubt all of a sudden the NK will suddenly start speaking and become a full fledged character. D&D said they view the WW as just representing death to them. I think they will want to wrap up the story with the humans at the forefront.

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    26. Tron79,

      There’s not much issue with Sansa questioning Jon in private (questioning is a kind word for how she actually handles it), the problem happens when she does so in public. The only way that type of behavior makes sense is if her goal is to chip away at Jon’s leadership. But in doing that she’s also creating division for a House that needs to show a united front. Let’s remember that she didn’t just act this way in reaction to Daenerys (I get Sansa’s distrust), Sansa has been “questioning” Jon in public for a while now. Remember her fuss about pardoning Lord Umber and Lady Karstark?

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    27. Danny,

      Yes I agree. I have served on boards of organizations. I was once on an executive board. We would often say it’s ok to fight in private but it was important to show a united front when we presented to the full board.

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    28. I am a long time reader from WOW and love this page and the ideas and opinions in the comments.-I think the weirwood tree is the one by the arrow head and in Brans vision they look different.In spring,when they made the WW,the tree looks goog.But in winter when Bran see the NK,the tree looked burnedLike the magic the children did on the tree let him die .And the Umber kid is killed in the same way like in the 1 episode the girl on the tree.
      Mr Derp,

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    29. Dany’s braid arrangements have at times echoed more than one of the design archetypes that have been repeated (spiral, circle with vertical line, etc).

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    30. Why can’t the NK just be evil? Why does he have to have in depth characterization and motivations? Sometimes evil is just evil. He’s a killing machine. Our main villain seems to be Cersei. She’s the layered villain with complexities and motivations.

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    31. Jack Bauer 24:
      Why can’t the NK just be evil? Why does he have to have in depth characterization and motivations? Sometimes evil is just evil. He’s a killing machine. Our main villain seems to be Cersei. She’s the layered villain with complexities and motivations.

      Exactly. There are five episodes left and if they had intended the NK to have any depth whatsoever, they’d have woven it into the story before now.

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    32. Jack Bauer 24: Why can’t the NK just be evil? Why does he have to have in depth characterization and motivations? Sometimes evil is just evil. He’s a killing machine. Our main villain seems to be Cersei. She’s the layered villain with complexities and motivations.

      I’m reminded of this great line in True Blood by Jason Stackhouse.

      Evil is makin’ the pre-medicated choice to be a dick.

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    33. Danny,
      Tron79,

      I don’t think there is a justification for Sansa’s behavior. She was straightforwardly offensive with Jon and not for the fisrt time. There were many ways to make her point in a normal way instead of treating Jon like and idiot and implying that he was thinking with his man’s parts. That’s not Jon. Sansa grew up with him, she must know that he has never been careless o irresponsible and that he has always been thinking with his head and his heart first. If he fell in love with Dany… isn’t a good ruler supposed to inspire love? And if someone like Jon fall in love with Dany, that alone should be taken as a proof that there’s more to her than the rumors say.

      IMO, Sansa is judjing Jon based exclusively on her own experiences and mistakes, for it was she who used to have a habit to run after pretty boys – first Joffrey, than Loras – without thinking twice. And Joffrey showed her what a piece of shit he was very early on, but she turned a blind eye and totally melted when he presented her that pendant.

      As for Robb, his main mistake was relying on Walder Frey, not marrying Talissa. He made other mistakes, too: namely, he continued to hang in the Riverlands without any good reason even after the Ironborn gave him a perfect excuse to return to the North and entrench there, etc. But as for the Freys, no-one can persuade me that the old piece of shit Walder would have remained a faithful ally, even if Robb had married his daugther. At best, Robb would have ended rotting in a cell, instead of being stabbed but old Walder would have sold him one way or another.

      In general, it’s one of the themes of the show that the words shouldn’t be taken for granted. Absolute majority of the charracters (if not all of them) are liars playing self-righteous and virtuous martyrs, never acknowleging their true motivations and putting the blame on the others. Lord Frey or Lord Glover or Alliser Thorn were simly selfish game-players who simply did what was best to themselves, but each of them found a noble justivication for their actions: avenging Robb for breaking his word, protecting the Night’s Watch, protesting against yelding the Northern independence, etc. People always tend to tell good stories about themselves taking the roles of heroes and martyrs. I wonder how this theme will play with our main protagonists: Jon, Dany, Tyrion, but Sansa, so far, seems to be failing the test.

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    34. Inga,

      Interesting take that Walder may have betrayed Robb anyway.
      Jon has stayed true to his word a number of times when it would have made more political sense to do otherwise. I can think of keeping his oath with the Night’s Watch when Stanis offered him the Stark name as an example. And, he told Cersei he had bent the knee when even Dany thought he should bend the truth instead of telling Cersei he bent the knee.

      I can justify Sansa’s speeches mainly because she is channeling her mentor Cersei. She believes that Cersei’s way of looking at the world is the way to retain power. I mentioned in another post that Sansa even talks like Cersei now (in her inflections). Hopefully just as others have hoped that Arya will get back some of her humanity this season, Sansa will learn she doesn’t have to be just like Cersei to survive. I think it’s likely she will make at least a little peace with Dany. Once the AOTD arrives, much of the bickering will have to take a back seat just for practical reasons. Once the fighting is over, we’ll see if Sansa can grow this season to admire Jon as much as she admires Cersei.

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    35. Inga,

      I’m glad you wrote this. I had a “WTF?” reaction to Arya’s assertion that Sansa was “the smartest person I’ve ever met”, but I didn’t want it to be misconstrued as Sansa-bashing. I may still post what I wrote after softening it a bit. Still, I am not sure I have actually seen much evidence of this super-intellect we’re being told about, by Arya of all people.

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    36. Luka Nieto: This specific symbol doesn’t even exist in the books, so… what even?

      If I recall, then the books only state that the White Walkers left bodies in decorative patterns without describing those patterns. This is definitely a case where books cannot communicate things as well as film.

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    37. Ten Bears: I’m glad you wrote this. I had a “WTF?” reaction to Arya’s assertion that Sansa was “the smartest person I’ve ever met”, but I didn’t want it to be misconstrued as Sansa-bashing. I

      People are pendulums. Arya is simply over-reacting upon learning that her prior over-reaction was wrong. But, then: Sansa really was an idiot early on! I do find it almost ironic that lessons from Cersei are part of why Sansa is “smarter” (really, wiser): I suspect that Sansa’s harsh lessons have given her a much stronger realization of her own limitations than Cersei ever has had.

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    38. Tron79,

      If we have to believe the scripts of Beyond the wall (Which I think we can believe because D&D wrote that script xd) Jon did bend the knee because he loved her, it was written in that script.

      “Jon has truly never seen a girl like this before. Her beauty, her strength, her grief and the pain it makes him feel . . . they all push him to the realization that he loves her.”
      after that he bend the knee to her.

      Mr Derp,
      Sounds interesting, and I think for a book very good, but how will they depict something like that on screen without feeling like a cop-out.

      Danny,
      My big question is if Jon would answer with a good answer if Sansa would dislike that or if she is finally happy that Jon stepped up.

      I personally think Sansa is just afraid of losing everything again, and with everything I mean her family and winterfell. I think her bad behavior comes from that.

      Jack Bauer 24,

      +1 The only thing that made the NK good was probably before he turned (and even that we won’t know). He is just a killing machine now. The only argument that we can make for the NK is that he was created in an evil way, that makes the children of the forest also a bit evil.

      But still he could have a plan outside of his destruction.

      *now playing the song “behind blue eyes” while looking at the picture of the NK*

      Ice Hunter,

      I don’t think that will happen in this show, I think we learn more in the prequel about that. But still it could, it could be a scene of max 15 minutes and we could know the whole truth.

      Inga,
      Sansa was young, Jon an adult.

      But besides that, something hit me. Dany talked about something about her character in season 8 that we will look different at her.
      And we know of the scripts Jon fell in love with her. Jorah did in season 1, we know from the scripts that Tyrion is in love with her.
      Many men fall easily in love with her, this could be good of course but my strange feeling is that that strange thing dany talked about was maybe something like she is a “siren”like person. Maybe when she stepped into the fire at the end of season 1, the lord of light did something to her.

      We know Mel knows something.

      I know probably just bullshit, but still it has a little chance (winning lottery higher).

      And about Mel, when can we expect to see her, episode 2, 3? or later?

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    39. Tron79,

      Yes. The way Sansa speaks with Jon reminds me so much of how Cersei spoke with Tywin or Tyrion. Lena Headey really did make that character her own, aided by D&D beginning to write her as more nuanced. Book Cersei was a loon who nobody would mistake as being one of the most intelligent people in the series. She had a certain level of cunning, but completely overestimated her own intellect. I also don’t believe she loved her children in the books, at least not the way she professes to love them in the show. I can’t imagine there being any advantages to having Cersei as a mentor in the books. It’s not much better in the show.

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    40. Ten Bears,

      I think the problem is that in the books she will go that route I think, she is learning there a lot and play the game better and better with each chapter. I even think she is planning the death of LF in the books we already read, and is waiting for the right moment.

      The show keeps her somehow dumb for the sake of “what do we do with Sansa this season? and why do we need to add another character, Yes she could be the bride of Ramsay”, “LF needs something to this season? And so is Arya once back to winterfell, what can we do? Yes make Sansa dumb again so that Arya can outsmart her and of course we need shock value so keep Sansa dumb till the final then she is smart forever”

      They could have made her smart in season 7 but then we wouldn’t have that shock value at the end of episode 7. They should have let Sansa outmanipulate LF in season 7 not the other way around.

      I think if they played that right, Arya’s words would feel much truer, and thinking back on it, after 4×08 we all though Sansa was going the smartest-girl route. How she outsmarted everybody there.

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    41. Sister Kisser,

      You know, when Dany said that, We could stay here for a thousand years, it just seemed to me such an unusual thing to say. Maybe they’re just trying to echo back to Ygritte and that cave, and are making the waterfall their special place. I’m sure it’s lovely to get away from all the bickering and sniping for just a bit. But still….

      Anyway, I hope taking Dany is not what the NK has in mind. Although, IIRC, wasn’t there a Stark at one time who lived in one of the castles on the Wall who was married to a female WW?

      Just for what-ifs….what if the NK does want Daenerys, and makes a proposal to exchange her for peace? What if she agrees to it? What if Jon (or Jorah) has to kill her by putting a knife through her (Nissa-Nissa) heart?

      And if Dany’s pregnant, maybe he’ll want the baby. The Prince that Was Promised…..to the NK.

      I could get carried away with theories all day.

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    42. kevin1989,

      Yeah, I got fooled twice. First, after Sansa descended the stairs in S4e8? in her Cat 2.0 getup and asked confidently, “Shall we go?”
      And then after the lovely battlements reconciliation with Arya at the end of S7e7.
      Each time I thought we’d see the little bird shed her down feathers and fly – and stop with the self-centeredness.
      But I was wrong. And I still have no clue how Arya concluded Sansa was the smartest person she’d ever met.

      It’s not a Sansa-only problem though. The sharpest, wittiest character in S1-S5, Tyrion, has been reduced to a dullard with ridiculous plans and lame eunuch “jokes” since S6.
      I’ll have to give Sansa credit for almost laughing in Tyrion’s face for believing Cersei would actually keep her word to send the Lannister army north. (She could very well have said, “Only a fool would trust Cersei.”)

      But no worries. l’ll just keep rewatching Gendry crushing on ASNAWP.

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    43. Wimsey: People are pendulums.Arya is simply over-reacting upon learning that her prior over-reaction was wrong.

      Ooooo, I like that. Makes her comment easier to swallow!

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    44. Ten Bears,

      Tyrion certainly has lost a bit of his wit, which was an unfortunate casualty of the show outpacing the books, but Tyrion only really showed his intelligence in seasons 2 and 6. In the other seasons, he didn’t really make any clever plans.

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    45. Wolfie,

      You may very well be right. The Uncle Benjen shard to the heart treatment is arguably a “gun” that could still be fired. Based on Jon’s track record, I could envision a self-sacrifice on his part by willingly undergoing that treatment to assure a cessation of the Great War. I mean, he’s already cheated death from a knife to the heart because he considered the Wildlings as members of the Realms of Men, so why not undergo a dragonglass cardiac implant procedure for the good of all of humanity?

      Then he could brood by himself in the frozen north – half dead, half alive – in perpetuity. Or play shuffleboard with NK for the next 8,000 years.

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    46. Ten Bears:
      Inga,

      I’m glad you wrote this. I had a “WTF?” reaction to Arya’s assertion that Sansa was “the smartest person I’ve ever met”, but I didn’t want it to be misconstrued as Sansa-bashing. I may still post what I wrote after softening it a bit. Still, I am not sure I have actually seen much evidence of this super-intellect we’re being told about, by Arya of all people.

      Jon and Arya are my top 2 favorite characters and I was so looking forward to their reunion. It was beautiful. Arya’s smile, and then her run to Jon… my heart melted. (Maisie is such an amazing actress.) However, I was a bit disappointed that they had to insert the “Sansa is the most intelligent” in their reunion conversation. I thought there were so many things they could talk about first!

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    47. Young Dragon: Tyrion certainly has lost a bit of his wit, which was an unfortunate casualty of the show outpacing the books,

      I think that it has a lot more to do with dynamic development and circumstances. The latter are particularly important: Tyrion has not often been in situations that encouraged any levity. But the former is equally important: post-patricide Tyrion is not the same man as he was. (The change happens in the books, too, and it precedes when the show started working without the books.)

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    48. Ten Bears,

      I think we need to believe now that Sansa is the smartest person Arya know and that’s where it’s headed. And I think the writers wants us to believe what Sansa believe. At least I think that’s it.

      And Arya can read a person very well.
      And what’s smart, is it playing the game. Is it like Sam good with numbers and words. It all depends on what Arya meant with smart. And even the smartest can be out witted.

      About tyrion. I’m wondering if this is bad writing or actually very good writing. We all know what alcohol can do to a person. Maybe his dumbness comes from overuse of alcohol.

      Young Dragon,

      I still don’t get the hate for the show when it comes to outpace the books. The best written episodes of the show are in the later seasons.

      The problem is not that d en d are lesser writers than George. Because they are not.
      The problem is that George gets 9 years to write one book. Or 10 or 11.just what he needs. D&D get 6 weeks for the whole bunch. Maybe more with this season.
      Season 1 till 4 it was easier. They could use George template and use that. It was just clever rewriting.
      Season 5 had the problem that parts weren’t in the books. Or were do stretch in the books they couldn’t use the same template for the story lines. Lots of cuts. It couldn’t be done in 10 episodes. Making it harder because it needed to be done in 1 season.
      Season 6 till 8 the whole dialogue etc needed to be written by d en d. Where George could take his time. They could not. If they got the luxury of writing 1 season double the time it would even be better. And that’s just 3 months instead of 9 years.

      Wow is just an exemple of how well those 2 can write dialogue and an episode.

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    49. Ten Bears:
      Wolfie,

      You may very well be right. The Uncle Benjen shard to the heart treatment is arguably a “gun” that could still be fired. Based on Jon’s track record, I could envision a self-sacrifice on his part by willingly undergoing that treatment to assure a cessation of the Great War. I mean, he’s already cheated death from a knife to the heart because he considered the Wildlings as members of the Realms of Men, so why not undergo a dragonglass cardiac implant procedure for the good of all of humanity?

      Arya asked Jon, “How did you survive a stab in the heart?” He answered, “I didn’t.” It was a weird answer but maybe, Jon does know something finally? 🙂 Yeah, I imagine him “dying” again in the end in a bittersweet way. 🙁

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    50. The first White Walker pattern matches Drogo’s funeral pyre, circle with a line through it. The funeral pyre has a second circle around it, which is only partially there in the pattern, but hey only so many body parts to work with. So I always thought they were predicting the future in Dany’s arc. The spiral kind of matched the way the crowd swarmed around Dany in Mhysa, but that was more of a stretch.

      I like my explanation for the first one better than it doesn’t mean anything at any rate.

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    51. Ten Bears,

      Hmmm, yes, only a fool would completely trust Cersei, that’s true. But besides the fact that the one thing Tyrion knows about Cersei is that she loves her children, so one might presume that she would want to protect her unborn child from the AOTD after coming face-to-face with a screaming wight, what choice did he really have but to hope she was being honest? They ALL stood there in the dragon pit and listened to her proclaim that she would send her army to Winterfell. I didn’t hear one single person doubt her, not even Jaime who also believed her completely. So I can’t blame Tyrion for hoping she was being truthful. He showed quite a bit of courage sneaking into KL to meet with Jaime, and in volunteering to go in alone to try and convince Cersei to change her mind. Everyone at the dragon pit was there because they know that they desperately need the help of the Lannister army, and when you need help that badly, you will grasp at any hope you are given.

      Tyrion’s main role on the show since joining up with Daenerys seems to be attempting to temper her impulsive and bloodthirsty tendencies. In fact, we’ve been shown this over and over, what a good person he is deep down and how much he dislikes violence. That, in my opinion, is not a bad thing.

      As for the High-and-Mighty-Sansa, who finds it so easy to talk down to everyone, I think all the abuse she suffered at the hands of Joffrey and Ramsay has turned her into the cold person she is now. She’d make a perfect WW. I wonder why there aren’t any female WWs?

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    52. I think the Arya telling Jon Sansa is smart and they are family is dramatic foreshadowing; the writers are telling Jon, and us, he needs to listen to Sansa, hard for a stubborn big brother with a bickering sister.

      Sansa speaking truth to power will probably occur in a disagreement between Dany and Sansa at Jaime’s trail, judging by the pictures.

      If only they had been playing LF from the beginning of s7, Arya’s comment would make more sense.

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    53. kevin1989,

      Sansa isn’t stupid. Sansa as a child was sweet and naïve, and her fantasies reflected her desire to live in a world of warmth, beauty, and storybook chivalry. A child’s desires. Her journey has been one of discovering that physical warmth (the South’s) might be merely a mask for mercurial sentiments (the common people’s); that physical beauty (Cersei’s, and others’), is nothing more than a shell that conceals unspeakable ugliness; and that storybook chivalry is but a sham, as people with titles (e.g., Ser Gregor) prey upon the weak, while the deformed and the tortured (e.g., Tyrion and the Hound) reveal themselves as better people, given an ounce of love and consideration, than those elevated by mere title and birthright.

      /end inebriated rant

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    54. I love this fandom love for Got/asoiaf and all the nitpicking and analysis, which are mostly fair and fun and lovely but sometimes when it comes to judging young female characters all i think is none of (Martin, D&D ) and most of you have ever been a teenage girl. And it shows.
      I dont get all the sharp/ bitter criticism abt characters like sansa & now lyanna, critiscm i have never seen expressed for most of the male characters.
      We get it people Will never forgive her for her behavior in the beginning, but at this point she is nothing but a survivor, all i see is a girl who made it to the very end so if people still wanna call her stupid/cold/arrogant, thats on them really.

      For all the good GoT storytelling conveys, we see the hole the lack of female writers leads to, and the general population is just not used to understand female characters all that well.

      I rest my case for today!

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    55. Ten Bears,

      I think Arya’s statement about Sansa being the smartest person she’s ever met isn’t supposed to tell us, the audience, that that’s how we should also view Sansa from now on. Instead, it’s meant to reveal to us how strongly prejudiced Arya now is in favor of Sansa and the rest of her family, and how this may cloud her judgment later on. It’s similar to how Jorah, several seasons ago, said that Dany has a good heart. We may not view Dany the way he does, but his statement helps explain why he continues to be on Dany’s side. So maybe if Arya, later in the season, acts on advice/orders from Sansa and does something questionable, we can at least understand why she does it, because we know how highly *she* esteems Sansa’s intelligence.

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    56. Kevin1989,

      Oh, I wasn’t trying to knock D&D’s writing, which I’ve always found to be superb. Tyrion is just a very difficult character to write. I don’t blame them in the least for having trouble writing him. Even Martin struggled writing Tyrion. In Dance, I found his character and dialogue to be far weaker. I agree that the writing of the later seasons has continued to be excellent, and Winds of Winter was my favorite episode.

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    57. Northstar:
      I think the Arya telling Jon Sansa is smart and they are family is dramatic foreshadowing; the writers are telling Jon, and us,he needs to listen to Sansa, hard for a stubborn big brother with a bickering sister.
      Sansa speaking truth to power will probably occurin a disagreement between Dany and Sansa at Jaime’s trail, judging by the pictures.
      If only they had been playing LF from the beginning of s7, Arya’s comment would make more sense.

      I agree – Sansa’s advise will become handy once the NK will be finally dealt with and if when one has to deal with political things. Were I Jon or Dany I would closely listen to what she says then.

      But Sansa is making points which are irrelevant and kind of ..off topic at the moment – like what the Dothraki and co will eat.. That will be easily solved once NK comes and wights the hell out of whoever he finds. I don’t think that she’s being clever – she doesn’t believe in Jon or BRAN or what Jon (and all who have seen the NK and army) say. It’s a pity that she’ll have to see real horror, before she comes to her senses. The only smart thing she said was about them trusting Cercei – which at the moment is rather irrelevant as well – Cercei and Gold Co are not even close of a threat as NK and co.

      A smart person is the person who can set their priorities straight according to what’s happening and anticipate the enemy’s moves and Sansa has not – ie she has neither provided for the army Jon declared he would bring, nor done anything to prepare people for what’s coming. She just thought of Northeners and placing leather on their uniforms.. Sorry but to me, the ‘smart’ thing about her has not been earned. I would accept the smartest person for Bran, I would accept it for Arya because they have earned that, and they have skills to back that up and they have been doing useful things for the great war. Sansa didn’t earn it: not even on last season. If Arya and Bran were not there, Sansa would have been involved heavily in political games, being manipulated by LF and manipulating whoever she thought to get on a place of power – and she would have hit a wall soon, with NK at her door.

      Now with NK coming on ep 3, I hope that these stupid things will finally end, having people like Sansa seeing the true enemy Jon’s been talking about all along.

      Warsha:

      I’m pretty sure I have been a teenage girl – it was sometime ago, but I can recall how that was 🙂 Talking characters…Arya was a teenage girl too. Dany as well. They didn’t act like Sansa or Little Bear. The writing for Sansa has been problematic for a long time to me, and I feel especially now, at the last season, that the writers are imposing Sansa to us as important, while other characters are actually having much more ‘meat’ arc wise. If Sansa plays an important role in the end that’s OK, but they didn’t have to impose a cleverness that wasn’t there to begin with, that it wasn’t earned and especially shooting themselves on the foot making her say the things she says now which are supposedly clever but they don’t make any sense if she tells them now if she were clever in the first place. Timing is of essence. What a character says now and it is irrational to stupid, could be insightful, clever and useful at another point. Not with the NK at your front door.

      I hope I made my points clear, I’m not a fan of Sansa, but not a hater either – well except if that strange writing continues. In that case, I hope the NK does us a favour and makes her a wight, or the Dragons have her for breakfast – oh, that would have a nice symmetry!

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    58. The purposeful perversion of spiral symbols makes sense for me

      CoTF are interested in the upward spiral and expansion of life, eg spread of Forests and other life that grows from the earth, and life is somewhat eternal and lives on in the trees and ravens etc in their case

      A perversion of this is a downward spiral of death and destruction, and the expansion of death (expansion on NK’s Wight army). Life can be perversely eternal as a re-animated Wight in this instance

      As for the symbol made of Horses and Fist of the First men, it looks like Greek alphabet Pi or perhaps in terms of numbers and more appropriately the Golden Ratio. This is found through nature and has extensive meaning, eg Golden proportions and divine harmony reflected in nature, music, Classical architecture

      In terms of nature and CoTF, presumably this has to do with the proportions found in stems and leaves and so forth, so in the case of the NK a perversion would be the opposite so “Leaden proportions” and undivine disharmony in his case?

      I’m not sure how much thought the Showrunners have really put into it all though, unlike GRRM who is singing a song they may have just randomly scrabbled a few things together to look pseudo philosophical at the time

      The show has done well in getting some twin themes going at times, eg the Tully banners lowered at Riverrun and the Stark banners being raised at Winterfell. I actually do wonder if Dany and the Dothraki are the twin to the NK and Wights from a certain angle (eg Khaleesi Dany treatment of Tarly’s was on a par of NK treatment of Ned Umber) and in a sense Jon/Aegon is the synthesis between the two just as he has been the synthesis between Nights Watch and Free Folk, there’s Melisandre and Val amongst others

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    59. SiriuslyStarkTarg,

      Yeah it sounded like they were trying to balance out last season with the “Pack survives” and so Arya was defending Jon to Sansa and Sansa to Jon. Saying Sansa was the “smartest” person doesen’t hold up to scrutiny in terms of the Show though

      She allowed mutinous sentiment to brew with Glover and Royce last season and now Glover has detached himself. Meanwhile she openly criticised him at Court for the decision but the Karstarks and Umbers are still faithful….but hey let’s give crap to Jon for bringing in major reinforcements that more than outweigh Lord Glover

      I do think Sansa’s Alayne arc will see her develop a lot of clever wit and I reckon she will take power in the RL and Vale and be quite formidable operating out of Harrenhall.

      The show has muddled her arc a bit and they are trying to juggle her leadership arc with Jons instead of taking us to 10 seasons where all of this could have been better fleshed out.

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    60. Inga,

      I’m a big fan of Sansa, and not such a fan of Jon despite his brooding handsomeness. He tries to reconnect with Arya by reference to their mutual childhood dislike of silly Sansa, but he is oblivious to the fact that both Arya and Sansa are now adult women, who have experienced and survived at least as much horror as Jon has. He is a one big step behind both Arya and Sansa, and yet has that entitled-male arrogance. Does he really think Arya carries Needle as a toy? How idiotic was it to throw himself behind Dany, without any groundwork or preparation for the people he left behind? He is not a good leader, and he is a little bit stupid. Of course, we all love him and his curly locks and his earnest heart, but he is not half the person Sansa is. Anyway, I’m pretty sure they all die. This is going to be a such grim season, don’t you think so?

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    61. The Book Thief:
      Off topic, small theory: I’ve watched Jon-Arya-reunion scene a couple of times and I’ve wondered why they were talking about Sansa. Is it possible that Jon didn’t remember anymore that Sansa was part of his family and Arya somehow gave that memory back to him? I remember when Beric said in S3 something like “pieces of you get chipped away”. And Jon was in the godswood, so perhaps he gave some memories away just before Arya came. Because I think that Jon’s speech about Sansa was a little bit out of character, especially because Jon left her in charche of Winterfell in S7. What do you think?

      Of course he remembers, they were first to get reunited

      The Arya conversation where “we are your family too and don’t forget it” is a thematic lead-in to Jon moving more towards being the illegitmate bastard with Stark blood to the legitimate Targaryen Crown Prince. We have this scene, and then Jon riding Rhaegal and then Sams revelation to him within the Episode

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    62. Warsha,

      If you read the threads/comments here, you’ll notice that it’s not only Sansa that’s being criticized. Most of the main characters have been criticized – Jon as stupid, ignorant, impulsive, thinking with his p*nis, etc.; Dany as mad queen, entitled, etc. The only immune one, I think, is Arya. (I mean, how can anyone not love that girl/woman?)

      So, I don’t think those who are criticizing Sansa are doing so because they have not been teenage girls. The character has been criticized by both males and females.

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    63. mary: He tries to reconnect with Arya by reference to their mutual childhood dislike of silly Sansa, but he is oblivious to the fact that both Arya and Sansa are now adult women, who have experienced and survived at least as much horror as Jon has. He is a one big step behind both Arya and Sansa, and yet has that entitled-male arrogance. Does he really think Arya carries Needle as a toy?

      1. Jon and Arya haven’t seen each other for, what, seven or eight years? That’s one of the few references he has. Of course he’s surprised by the change in the young women’s relationship. That’s just human nature.
      2. I doubt Jon would have left Sansa in charge of the North—the North, for crying out loud—had he been oblivious to the fact that she is now an adult woman.
      3. I also doubt Jon would have stopped himself from killing Ramsay had he been oblivious to the horror Sansa has endured. He left Ramsay for her to deal with however she pleased.
      4. To paraphrase Luka in another thread, Jon doesn’t get to watch Game of Thrones. How could he possibly know what Arya has done with Needle?

      Yes, Kit is lovely to behold, but we’re not just a bunch of besotted fangirls here. We love the character for far more than his brooding handsomeness and curly locks, and stating that “he isn’t half the person Sansa is” is beyond harsh.

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    64. mary,

      I don’t think Jon thinks that Arya carries Needle as a toy: when she said she used it once or twice, you could see it in his eyes that he could fully imagine how it had been in reality (unless you have been watching a different show). And when it comes to Jon’s knee-bending… you know, I come from small and poor country which has reestablished its independence only 29 years ago and being in my late teens back then I saw many compromises and knee-bending situations (as well as power petit power plays). I had to make personal desions, too. Theredore, I epmhatize with Jon, not because of his looks, but because his choices match with the choices I made, although up till this day I am not sure, whether they were right, or wrong, and how different choices would have played out. Actually, it wouldn’t harm to ask one or two questions about people’s motivations and arguements, instead of offending them based on your prejudices;) Althow I can fully see why you find Sansa so appealing;) One way or another, I can fully see Sansa’s self-entitled smartness playing a positive role (as well as negative) and I can fully see her ending on the throne, cause she’s that type of person who reaps the fruits of idealists’ labours. After all, idealists never last, but it’s the legacy of idealists that remains in history. So, I’m would be OK with any ending.

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    65. Inga: After all, idealists never last, but it’s the legacy of idealists that remains in history.

      Beautifully phrased, Inga.

      We are almost the same age—I’m 49. Those were heady days, when the Wall was torn down and the map re-drawn.

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    66. mary: He is a one big step behind both Arya and Sansa, and yet has that entitled-male arrogance

      But Jon is not one step behind them on what he sees as the most important issue: what to do about the Night King. To Jon, this dwarfs the issue of Northern politics. However, neither Sansa nor Arya see it that way; but, then, they’ve never seen the Army of the Dead.

      That is the recurring pattern underlying all of the tensions right now: incomplete knowledge. If Sansa & Arya knew what Jon knows, if Sam knew what happened before Daenerys executed his father & brother, etc., then everyone would be holding hands and singing kumbaya. However, they do not: unlike us, they were not watching the show.

      On the other hand, we cannot completely fault Sansa, Arya, etc., for not taking the Army of the Dead seriously enough. To them, it’s just a childhood story come to life, whereas the Lannisters and the political landscape are adulthood nightmares give life. Until they actually see it themselves, they are not going to appreciate what a danger they face. (And, no: Jon telling them is going to have no more effect than scientists showing climate data to businessmen does.)

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    67. Boudica: Tyrion’s main role on the show since joining up with Daenerys seems to be attempting to temper her impulsive and bloodthirsty tendencies. In fact, we’ve been shown this over and over, what a good person he is deep down and how much he dislikes violence. That, in my opinion, is not a bad thing.

      It’s been much more than that: he’s been central to each story. The first story after Tyrion got to Meereen concern the compromises one will make for the sake of alliances; and we saw Tyrion spend much of the season trying to find some way to forestall the slavers. Ultimately, it failed: but, on the other hand, he fortuitously bought enough time for Daenerys & the Dothraki to arrive.

      The next season told a story about what one does when fighting a war on multiple fronts. Tyrion contributed not just to the plot, but also to the story there: he’s waging a war against his own family, and Tyrion has a serious love-hate relationship with his family. (And, of course, he’s getting out-foxed by Jaime: which Tyrion did not expect because Tyrion is the Smart Avenger!)

      The groundwork for this year’s story seems to be dealing with misunderstood motivations. Tyrion has dealt with that he whole life, as his motivations were always misunderstood. That almost certainly will be pivotal to his contribution to this year’s story, and to the over-arching story.

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    68. Interesting so it’s not the Targ symbol then. The night king actor said he had a target so it must be either Bran or baby Sam then,

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