Faye Marsay and director Mark Mylod discuss Arya, the Waif, the Blackfish and more in “No One”

Waif

The Waif’s actress, Faye Marsay, and Game of Thrones episode 8 director Mark Mylod discuss the creative decisions behind some of the major plot developments in last week’s episode, “No One.”

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Faye Marsay, who played the now-deceased Waif, said that, though she’s sad to be off the show, she’s very pleased with how the Waif’s storyline concluded. “I’m rooting for Arya and Maisie as well. Even though I won’t be able to hang out with everyone again, I think it was done right and done properly. I think Arya deserved to rip off her face and stick it on a wall.”

She discussed the Waif’s backstory, or lack thereof, and her character’s psychology.

“[The Waif’s backstory is] not discussed. I thought it would be a good idea to just play her very present. I wanted to be as mean as possible. I wanted the character to have a dislike towards Arya, and not have much else around it … In my opinion, it wasn’t so much jealousy [that motivated her]. It’s that the Waif has a very one-track mind, and that’s getting the job done, and doing it right and doing it quick. I know it ended pretty nasty … but I think it was easier because I had one objective: ‘I don’t like this girl, and I’m going to do everything I can to teach her a lesson and destroy her.'”

GOT608_082115_HS_DSC_3102[1]Marsay also addressed the fan response to episode 8. She said the (now debunked) fan theory that Arya and the Waif were the same person was “very well thought out. Whoever came up with it, that was a pretty cool idea” and acknowledged that the Waif does disobey Jaqen’s order to kill Arya quickly and painlessly.

“She does go against Jaqen a little bit,” she said. “She makes Arya suffer and bleed out. I guess…I guess that’s a little bit of revenge on the Waif’s part, right?”

She also admitted to The Wall Street Journal that it would have been “nice” to actually see the final showdown between Arya and the Waif, but pointed out that sometimes drama is more powerful when things are left to the imagination.

“I did like how it left the audience to envisage the brutality and how Arya chose to do this … She managed to wrestle this woman, who happens to be a top-grade assassin, if I do say so myself, and she kicked her ass and ripped her face off. That’s cool, man.”

Mark Mylod, the director of “No One,” also weighed in on the decision not to show the Waif’s demise, telling IGN that he felt that it was dramatically satisfying for Arya’s time spent blind to be what gives her the final advantage over the Waif.

“That was a setup from the first episode of this season, and suddenly it comes to fruition eight episodes later … and of course, when the character dies in the dark, unless we switch on night-vision goggles, we’re not going to be able to see that, and we’re not going to stick around to hear a scream in the dark anyway,” he said.

GOT608_101915_HS__DSC6677[1]

He also addressed the controversial decision not to depict Brynden “The Blackfish” Tully ‘s death, either. He said it was a carefully made decision to make the Blackfish’s final scene his conversation with Brienne.

“The emotional focus was really about the final moments between him and Brienne — two warriors, two samurais, facing each other — and Brienne’s acknowledgment that this fellow samurai has chosen his moment, and this is his moment of dignity and choice of his death. So it was really about that moment of choice and the dignity and acceptance between these two great warriors, rather than the actual detail of his actual death. That was actually a tonal choice as to how we saw that character.”

He talked to The Washington Post about Arya’s less-than-vigilant behavior at the end of episode 7 that inspired fan theories that the girl we saw booking passage to Westeros wasn’t really Arya. According to Mylod, Arya’s laid-back demeanor was a simple mistake on her part.

Arya running“She lets her guard down,” he said. “We forget how young this kid is, and she makes a mistake. This is in my head, at least. Having booked passage with the captain, she has a moment of reverie where she’s looking over Braavos and particularly looking forward to making a move toward home to a new adventure. She’s not going to be this assassin, and she lets her guard down and nearly pays for it with her life.”

He explained to The Hollywood Reporter that his primary focus in constructing that final sequence between Arya and the Waif was to convince audiences that this really could be it for Arya.

“We wanted to sell that misdirect as convincingly as possible. Arya is one of my favorite characters, and I wanted everyone watching the episode to think, ‘Oh shit. Arya’s going to die. She’s really going to die.’ I wanted them dreading that, to be on the edge of the couch.”

Lastly, Making Game of Thrones has posted a storyboard of the chase scene between Arya and the Waif. Check it out below.

storyboard

Arya storyboard

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226 responses

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    1. Nice to see Mark say the same thing I thought about Arya letting her guard down.
      Had the exact thoughts, when I saw it and afterwards.

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    2. Directors never seem to own up to a mistake. Graves doesn’t think the scene with Jaime and Cersei was handled badly.. Podeswa thinks the Sansa/Ramsay wedding night was neither problematic nor exploitative, and the Dorne fight scene was incredible! It’s sad when fandom has to go into overdrive to get a scene to make sense, and it wouldn’t be necessary if the creators would simply evaluate their work more honestly.

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    3. Faye Marsay was awesome as the Waif.
      Great job.

      In regards to Arya, I had the same thoughts my self. After episode 7, I was confused as to why Arya would let her guard down. I had two theories: 1) it wasn’t Arya and 2) She is a young naïve and acted too arrogant too quick.

      I was right about #2.

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    4. Grayven Reyne,

      Sansa/Ramsay scene wasn’t problematic or exploitative. I believe it was beautifully directed. It’s one of my favourite bad-things-happening scenes actually.

        Quote  Reply

    5. I like the build up with the Waif chasing Arya and “hoped” she was leading her back to Needle. It was funny after the past episode I was stunned by Arya just strolling around and my unsullied spouse said, “she’s a kid and ready to go home and she isn’t thinking.” He was right.

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    6. Dee Stark,

      For a certain group of people any depiction of rape is bad. Personally I disagree, I’ve written stories where rape was probably the key plot point, and (like slavery) as long as it handled with respect for the deep evil that it is and with proper respect to the survivor then it is a very effective, if horrific, story telling device.

      As horrific as it was the rape of Sansa was very effective. People go “we already knew Ramsay was a bastard” that wasn’t the point of the scene, people go “Sansa went through enough already!” not the point, “Character regression for Sansa!” well that one has some merit, but the scene was for Theon’s character development. It’s one thing to deal with torture of one’s own self, but what brought Theon was back was saying people he cared about- fellow Ironborn, Sansa; go through the same sort of misery he did. It’s why Sansa was far better for this than Jeyne Poole, it would have a deeper effect on Theon seeing this girl he grew up with brutalized in front of him.

      It’s like the people complaining about the (amazing) Riverrun sequence as if it was about the Tully’s, no the whole point of those scenes was Jaime’s development.

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    7. Elizabeth,

      Exactly what I was thinking.

      She just bought passage to home, and she took a moment to watch the city. The city she thought she’ll find a purpose, answers. In the end though, it wasn’t so.
      Or perhaps she did, but not the one she thought she’ll find.

      She isn’t a killing machine, nor a cold assassin, she will never be that, but she IS Arya Stark and she knows she has to go home.

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    8. Some folks loved No One.. and they are allowed to without argument, as their personal enjoyment of an episode is based solely on what they wanted out of it. Not everyone needs plotlines that make sense. But there is a reason that it was the lowest ranked episode of the season, and it wasn’t “excellent directing” and “great scenes”. It had problems, and those problems were noticed by the wisdom of crowds.

      In fact, the last episode to be ranked lower was.. wait for it.. Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken.

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    9. Grayven Reyne,

      Here we go with the insults again……

      We are simply to stupid and not intelligent enough, to realize that it ”doesn’t make any sense”

      Everyone’s free to have their opinion but please, don’t look down on others, if they simply saw things differently.

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    10. You know it’s bad when you have to justify your directorial choices. His episodes seem to consistently get lower ratings when compared to those by other directors too. I hope he does not return next season. Bring back David Nutter and Neil Marshall, please.

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    11. Flayed Potatoes,

      Every director did this with bigger scenes.

      He isn’t the first and nor will he be the last.

      EDIT: on a happier tone, that both of us will enjoy, I believe Nutter will be back, he missed this season do to health issues.

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    12. Bluestreaking,

      Yeah, I remember the discussions regarding this. Plenty of violence in the show, but when it happens to a loved character its not okay.
      In addition to Theon, this also made Sansa stronger, as you can see by her scene with LF episode 5. And shes not taking shit from anyone any more.

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    13. 3 from me. Areo Hotah deserves better than being dropped instantaneously by one thrust of a knife after watching what happened to Arya.

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    14. Mihnea,

      Nah, you can tell it’s different when you look at how the questions are phrased. It’s so different from the explanations Bender or the director who did episodes 3 and 4 had to give for their scenes.

      There’s a bit of criticism carefully hidden in the questions here and even confusion as to some of his choices. I never got that confusion from the other interviews with previous directors.

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    15. I really hope that this wasn’t the last we see of Arya in season 6. I want her to show up at the Twins and kill Walder Frey in the finale

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    16. WalterHarrow,

      Yeah, this something I am looking forward too.

      They could very well end it here, it does look and feel like they could do it.
      But I think will get 1 more scene, at least with her.

      Her on a ship perhaps, sailing for Westeros. It will mirror the final shot of S4 very nicely.

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    17. Lots of damage control coming out from the writers/director/actors for this episode it seems.

      For me, as many have said, this was a weak episode. Even after multiple re-watches. It was just…off for me in several areas. I did like the hound and BwB scenes though. Underwhelmed with most of the rest.

      You know it’s damage control when we hear/read all the justifications for the arc conclusions that, many were left scratching their heads at. Maybe they did the best with the material given? I can give the benefit of the doubt. And to be clear, I am not a hater. I love this show, even the weaker episodes. But to me personally, I felt a bit let down and maybe it was the over hype. I’m fairly certain the last two episodes will blow our minds and for that I say, is it Sunday yet??

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    18. HeHeldThatDoor,

      I just do see it like that, they explain some things and answer couple of question. It happens after every episode.

      But yes I agree, I can not wait for Sunday!……. Or sadly Monday for me……..

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    19. Flayed Potatoes:
      You know it’s bad when you have to justify your directorial choices. His episodes seem to consistently get lower ratings when compared to those by other directors too. I hope he does not return next season. Bring back David Nutter and Neil Marshall, please.

      I agree as mirrored in my comment. You must have posted this as I was writing mine! Cheers

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    20. Dee Stark,

      It’s a popular theory that she’ll kill Walder Frey.

      I doubt it will happen this season though, at most I expect to see Arya on a ship or landing in Westeros, but not more.

      Who knows though, I could very easly be wrong…… and I wouldn’t mind it 1 bit!!!

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    21. biobi,

      ”Not everyone needs stories that make sense, but…..”’

      Perhaps insult is a strong word, if it is, then my English is at fault, but I do see this as a ”jab” if you will..

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    22. There is definitely a section of this fandom that seems to take real glee when there are average episodes of this show. I just get bored with it all to be honest, and even when I have criticisms I do like to move on quickly rather than going on and on about it forever when I can’t change anything.

      As I’ve said before I hope this week’s episode is deemed to be better, because this site is a much more interesting place when we can praise the show rather than an episode that results in read endless whining.

        Quote  Reply

    23. Knight of the Walkers,

      Holy!! Never saw your avatar was a WW, until Dee mentioned it..

      Agreed, though. What bothered me the most this week, to be honest, is when, some people, not many to be honest, kept saying I was in the wrong to like this scene or that I’m still in ”denial” about ”how bad it was”.

      And then of course they started implying I like ”shallow stories”…etc. Or, weirdly, that I must also enjoy video games…

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    24. Just watched the episode for the second time and I have to say it kinda grows on you … I actually even enjoyed the smaller scenes like Tyrion drinking and Danys sudden appearance

      NOW GIVE ME PICS OF EPISODE 9

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    25. Mihnea,

      I believe the quote was “not everyone needs plotlines that make sense” but I guess I’m being nit-picky. That’s not an insult or a jab. The poster was was just pointing out that the show has some plotlines (plot-holes, IMO) that don’t make much sense and that some people don’t mind it.

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    26. Sansa’s Knight,

      Still didn’t had time to do a rewatch, sadly. But nice to hear that. I actually really liked this Tyrion scene.. Much better then the first.

      I can’t wait for the pics!! Think they will show some other locations beside the North?

        Quote  Reply

    27. Dee Stark,

      Without a doubt. Even the set up-the seating etc-it’s like a slightly darker version of Red Wedding to me. And they have been talking about that all season, bringing up Robb and Cat left and right, reminding everyone of the fall out from it in Jon’s story, in Jaime’s story.
      I think someone will finally be killing a house full of Freys.
      Or No One 🙂

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    28. biobi,

      Or that perhaps, to other people they aren’t ”plot-holes”.

      I truly want to avoid using this word though, to many meanings among different people.
      To me character decisions are, almost, never ”plot-holes”.

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    29. Grayven Reyne,

      Not all of us sees those scenes as mistakes. It’s an opinion, not an objective rule, so I dont think the directors have to ‘own up’ to anything. Jamie and ceiceis sexual relationship had been established as violent from the first season. Cercei did not want sex at that moment but Jamie (who had just gone through pain and humiliation, and was an established sociopath) would not take that denial well, so the lines in their violent and complex relationship was understandedly blurred at that moment. I had no problem with the sandsnakes fight either. It was the built-up and coincidences that led up to the fight that was contrived and silly, but since they clearly took a b-movie/caper approach to that subplot from the beginning, I didnt mind it. Neither scene was great by any means, not like sansas wedding night which is a season 5 highlight for me. I cannot see how it is exploitative. If that’s what they wanted, they would have stuck with the book version of that scene. I Think they handled it elegantly. It was horrible to watch, extremely disturbing, but I surprised afterwards how little was actually shown. Again, it’s an opinion, but I dare say that calling it explotitative is bordeline plain wrong, an opinion fueled by dissapointment over book-deviation and shock at the content itself.

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    30. Mihnea:
      Rhaenys Stark,

      The entire wedding scene was amazingly shot and directed.

      One of the reason UUU is so high in my list, it’s in top 20, for me no problem.

      I also agree. An emotionally riveting scene.

        Quote  Reply

    31. Grayven Reyne,

      You know, saying you respect others’ opinions, and immediately after declaring that not everyone needs plotlines to make sense is pathetic. I could reply with ‘sorry that you’re expected to use your brain while watching the show, it must be hard for you’ but there’s no point. Accept it, opinions are different.

      By the way, how does Arya’s plotline not make sense? In case you failed to understand, the director explained it. But I guess that’s the curse of having a show this popular: a large part of the audience is used to simpler things than GoT and it confuses them.

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    32. At least the guy has tried to explain Arya’s odd behaviour but I still think it’s a little unrealistic. She’s not a normal kid after all- she’s been to hell and back for 5 years, has been trained by both SF and the FM to be observant and prepared and still walks around without a care in the world knowing that there will be repercussions (which Jaqen was very clear with her).

      On another note..I think they really missed a trick here in terms of creating suspense with Arya’s fate. I would have left her falling into the canal as the episode cliff-hanger, with resolution this week…it would’ve caused internet breakage easily and huge publicity for the show.

      Also- whilst I LOVED her scenes with Lady Crane (it was so great to see Arya getting some TLC for the first time ever, and Essie was fantastic), I also think they spent a lot of time on the theatrical scenes. It would’ve been great to see Sam and Gilly intersect with Arya in Braavos instead, compare stories which would certainly cause her to re-evaluate her path in life. Sam and Gilly could even have served to provide Arya with refuge/ stitching up (well Gilly could have at least). Would have made for great TV and would have added to her storyline that (for me) was a little unfulfilling- although these events would perhaps have needed to be a few episodes earlier to allow Sam/ Gilly time to get to Horn Hill/ Oldtown.

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    33. Grayven Reyne:
      Some folks loved No One.. and they are allowed to…

      Well, I’m glad we’re “allowed to”.
      Enjoy your high horse.
      I’d say more but I’m afraid I’d channel The Hound and say something about your mouth and chickens…

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    34. I admit I didn’t think anything squirrelly was going on in the episode 7 scene when I first watched it. It was the comments after that had me looking and thinking of something else. Even then the only thing I questioned was how she acted toward the ship captain, but I still thought she was putting on an act for him to take her serious. She made a mistake by walking around like that but what experience did she have of the FM killing people with force in public areas during the day? They typically poison or assassinate covertly. The waif’s technique was about as covert as if Arya walked up on stage and killed Lady Crane during the play.

      I totally support the direction to make her injuries look bad and life threatening. I’m surprised some made such a big deal about her surviving. Every action movie out there would be thirty minutes long if they were over when the hero should have died. I watched The Hobbit: BotFA last night again — everyone should have died many times. By the way, on the small screen I couldn’t help but notice how fake and cheesy everything looks – way too much CGI. It made me appreciate how well they make GoT.

      I also hope they didn’t end Arya’s season with the scene with Jaqen but it feels like they did. We don’t need a ship/travel scene. We know she has the money and how she’d get back to Westeros. Something happening to Walder Frey and it ends up being Arya using a face would be fantastic! He’s earned a brutal end and there isn’t any other character that deserves to deliver it more than Arya.

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    35. I was one among many who thought it could not be Arya in episode 7, I thought he was probably “Jaqen” disguised as Arya. Usually I am not a fan of over complicated theories and switcheroos, but this time the plain, simple option looked even more unlikely. Mostly because of Arya’s careless behavior, and also because those wounds looked too bad -almost certainly deadly- to have Arya jumping off buildings in the following episode. I was not too disappointed with the actual resolution, I can buy Arya let her guard down for a moment and got stabbed. I just wish they hadn’t made the stabbing look so bad, it was a bit harder to buy that she would recover so easily from it. A slash to her arm or a shoulder injury, perhaps caused by a quicker reaction to the attack, would have made this more believable. Nobody really thought Arya was going to die, so there was no need to give her a deadly-looking injury to create a bigger cliffhanger. In a way it was not this episode to be a bit badly written, more the previous, at least regarding Arya’s storyline.
      Overall I enjoyed episode 8 although I was so hyped than it did feel a bit underwhelming. and I think it was well directed by Mark Mylod

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    36. I think because Tyrion has had so much impact over the whole course of this show that people can’t handle a little downtime on his character. What are they suppose to be doing in Mereen? They are literally sitting there waiting for Dany to return. Yes the scenes may be a little pointless but I think its rather refreshing…Tyrion is acting just like he always has – trying to spark a conversation with two people who do not know how to converse. I actually enjoyed this weeks dialog with Tyrion/Messandei/Grey Worm because you finally see Messandei/Grey Worm break out of their shell. All they know is pain and order. And as enjoyable as their moment was together, its quickly pulled out from underneath them when the masters start to attack the city and they snap back into form.

      I didn’t enjoy this episode as much as the rest, but honestly I think thats the fault of the internet and me getting into this show so much. Prior to this season I never came online and read articles/forums. You develop a certain expectation after reading so many comments from people with their theories, beliefs, etc. that when it does not come into fruition you are let down. The only thing that bothered me was Arya’s ability to move so freely after that bad stab wound she endured, but if anyone was to actually take a second and think about a time where you hurt yourself, got into a fight, was fearful for your life (hopefully not), you have so much damn adrenaline running through you that pain subsides. Maybe not on that kind of wound, but I know that if I was being chased by some assassin, I’d be running my ass off to the best of my ability no matter what injury i sustained. I play hockey, you know how many times a guy will play with a broken foot or bone and stay in the game? Can you imagine even walking on a broken foot, let alone skating and putting a TON of pressure on it competitively for 60 minutes?

      Maybe i’m just trying to justify the scene..lol

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    37. I will support the Blackfish thing. I also suspect Clive Russell is not as good with a sword as he needs to be and they just decided it wasn’t worth it to train him.

      The Arya thing still bothers me. I would have far preferred for her to be on her guard and the Waif, who is more experienced and has the advantage of any face, to stab her anyway.

      BUT… every season there seems to be a WTF moment. Last year, it was the whole Lancel/Littlefinger thing – Why did the Sparrow already not know about the affair?

      Best just to move on. Arya is. The nearest port is White Harbor… MERMEN!

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    38. i think complaining about her ‘behaviour’ is taking it a bit far.

      my only complaint about the episode is that Arya was too injured to do what she did in no-one. That was why all the theories were floating around – because most peeps thought it would be impossible for her to be running and jumping around like she did with those injuries.

      i liked all the rest, i liked how the jamie storyline was pretty close to the books.
      liked the setup for the hound and BWB etc

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    39. I don’t think we will see Arya again this season and even as a diehard Arya fanboy I don’t mind that prospect. For my part. the farewell to Jaqen was a good enough sign-off for the season, and if we see her again it has to be a strong emotional moment, not just because they want to give her more screen time.

      We know she’s going to get a boat back, I suppose the only question is when/where will she disembark and how much does she know about what’s happening in the North?

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    40. I enjoyed the episode more second time around but I think most peoples issue was with the lack of realism in the Arya scene. The fact she was able to recover from being severely stabbed, in what seemed a short period of time, and then recover from a fatal fall down multiple steps. Must have been quite the candle to be still burning.

      I think they spoilt the scene by going for the shock value of her being stabbed in episode seven and instead should have had her escaping the waif, then the frantic chase before the fight in darkness.
      Ultimately this would have made her later interaction with Lady Crane irrelevant. They could have instead altered the Lady Crane play scene and had surprised not by Arya but the waif; with the waif taunting Arya with lady Cranes removed face before the final showdown. Or after killing the waif, had a wounded Arya go to Lady Crane for help before going back to Westeros with the troupe.

      I did not mind the Tyrion scene as it was about making Grey Worm and Missandai more human but they should have removed the similar scene earlier in the season.

      I would have liked a bit more padding to the Mereen stuff (damn sight more interesting then Dany’s speeches!) and could have had the peace talks earlier in the season, then a sudden resurgence of Harpy attacks, the fleet being burnt (so they know something was on the horizon) before the Slavers turned up with an armada.

      This was the opportunity to see a siege take place and show a city and it’s residence start to fall apart but instead Dany (who can do no wrong in the writers eyes) turns up two minutes in to the battle. You expect it to be wrapped quite quickly.

      Blackfish was a favourite character of mine and I am pleased not to have seen him cut down. However now wondering how the Freys will get they comeuppance.

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    41. If Littlefinger can travel to Molestown and meet Sansa when he did Arya can certainly reach either the Twin or Winterfell by the end of this season- in fact she doesn’t even need Littlefinger’s teleporter, based on the Maps Bravos is pretty much as close to the Twins as Kings landing was to Riverrun, all she needs is a ship, it doesn’t take long to cross the “Narrow Sea” – its called the “Narrow” sea fro a reason.

      Also earlier this year the producers specifically noted that Arya’s theatre troupe arc took place over a couple of days, whereas the Sansa & Jon tour of the North took place over many weeks.

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    42. Dee Stark:
      Bluestreaking,

      this also made Sansa stronger, as you can see by her scene with LF episode 5. And shes not taking sh** from anyone any more.

      Unless, of course, her hand in marriage is the “reward” for Littlefinger bringing the Knights of the Vale to save the day.

      (Could she tie Margery’s marriage record?)

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    43. Joe,

      Fully agree with you on Tyrion.

      Also loved the sports comparasion. I play football, soccer for you americans, and I remember seeing someone play with a broken arm, he realized it was broken only towards the end of the game, when the pace dropped and he started to feel the pain.

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    44. Apollo:
      Also- whilst I LOVED her scenes with Lady Crane (it was so great to see Arya getting some TLC for the first time ever, and Essie was fantastic), I also think they spent a lot of time on the theatrical scenes.

      That was one of my favorite little moments of the last ep. We have literally never seen Arya be mothered by anyone in the whole show. She was separated from her mother immediately and then has spent the rest of the story with surrogate father figures. It was such a sweet scene. Of course, it didn’t hurt that Lady Crane looked a lot like Lady Catelyn.

      I can’t imagine the pics released today will be anything other than what we’ve seen in the trailer. Speaking of, what scenes from the trailers have we yet to see in the show? Off the top of my head, Baelish being confronted by a hooded figure in the snow, the Sons of the Harpy reacting to something behind them, little birds(?) stabbing downwards, Frey/Lannister celebration… anything else?

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    45. Flayed Potatoes,

      I agree. I’m not at all a fan of his style.

      Neil Marshall must return before the show ends !!
      Depending on what the content of the episode is, I wouldn’t mind him directing the series finale. Nutter is good, but not with action sequences in my opinion. There are always some moments that are staged bizarrely, as well as long pauses where characters stare dramatically at each other while the action mysteriously comes to a halt (most notable example being the very long stare between Dany and Drogon in 5.09 during which the Sons of the Harpy mysteriously stop attacking Drogon).

      In any case, I think Bender, Sapochnik, and Marshall are my favorite directors thus far.

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    46. Flayed Potatoes:
      You know it’s bad when you have to justify your directorial choices. His episodes seem to consistently get lower ratings when compared to those by other directors too. I hope he does not return next season. Bring back David Nutter and Neil Marshall, please.

      I agree. His episodes have been weaker as compared to other directors. High Sparrow was one of my favorite episodes of last season, though.

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    47. Laura,

      On the little birds, was Qyburn in the shot? Because I would very much love to see Varys re-take control (or reveal he was always in control) of them.

      Alas, I think it’s probably Pycelle or Kevan that gets it…

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    48. Mihnea:
      Joe,

      Fully agree with you on Tyrion.

      Also loved the sports comparasion. I play football, soccer for you americans, and I remember seeing someone play with a broken arm, he realized it was broken only towards the end of the game, when the pace dropped and he started to feel the pain.

      And Bert Trautmann the goalie who played for 17 minutes after an injury for Manchester City in an FA Cup Final not realising he had a broken neck…

        Quote  Reply

    49. Damphairintheshowplease!: Jamie and ceiceis sexual relationship had been established as violent from the first season. Cercei did not want sex at that moment but Jamie (who had just gone through pain and humiliation, and was an established sociopath) would not take that denial well, so the lines in their violent and complex relationship was understandedly blurred at that moment

      The problems with this interpretation are manifold:
      1. While Jaime had done band/monstrous things the show had established by this point that he was not, in fact, a sociopath.

      2. Not all relationships are 50/50 partnerships, sometimes partner one is dominant- and Cersei NOT Jaime is the dominant one in their relationship, she’s been established as the one who largely controls what they do (both sexually and not sexually) and when they do it.

      The director basically botched that scene.

        Quote  Reply

    50. ManderlyPieCompany,

      I think Areo took a knife to the spinal cord. That’s why he dropped so easily. Roose took a knife to the heart. Arya got stabbed in the abdomen – it can take hours or days to die from something like that.

        Quote  Reply

    51. Boston Snow,

      It’s true that people’s resilience to injury can be quite amazing (although generally they are not chased by a knife wielding maniac while trying to keep their guts in!).

      The mountaineer Joe Simpson of “Touching the Void” fame who survived a broken leg and a fall into a deep crevasse in a remote part of Peru.

      Read about it at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Touching_the_Void

        Quote  Reply

    52. HeHeldThatDoor,

      Listen, at the end of the day, this show pulls off in a year of production what I find to be absolutely unbelievable – between writing, planning, set design/building, costumes, shooting at multiple locations, CGI, editing, music/scoring.

      The fact that the show is as great as it is is amazing. Is every story line perfect and every episode without fault – of course not.

      GRRM takes how many years to write one book? D&D basically make 5 major motion pictures in one calendar year.

      While I also was not thrilled with the Arya handling in e7/e8, it hardly spoils/ruins anything. The speculation was actually kind of fun.

        Quote  Reply

    53. Mihnea:
      Elizabeth,

      Exactly what I was thinking.

      She just bought passage to home, and she took a moment to watch the city. The city she thought she’ll find a purpose, answers. In the end though, it wasn’t so.
      Or perhaps she did, but not the one she thought she’ll find.

      She isn’t a killing machine, nor a cold assassin, she will never be that, but she IS Arya Stark and she knows she has to go home.

      I literally wanted to cry when she said those words….She’s been through so much, not that the other children haven’t, but she’s been so alone. Rickon had Osha, Bran had Jojen/Meera/Hodor (RIP), Sansa had a bunch of people she couldn’t trust but a few who certainly looked after her, Jon had the wall and company, Rob had Cat. Gentry kind of looked over her as did the Hound but not the same as close friends or family. I’ll be so glad to see her in Westeros, now let’s just hope Nymeria reunion might happen….

        Quote  Reply

    54. Great to see that storyboard! Once the series is over I hope they publish a big Art/BTS book about the show.

      The explanation for Arya’s scenes doesn’t convince me. The change in her attitude is too big, the mistake too silly. Arya is no longer the feisty but naive girl that trained in King’s Landing, and she hasn’t been for years. If she is still supposed to be, the show hasn’t given her enough scenes to establish that aspect of her personality. But it is what it is.

        Quote  Reply

    55. Laura,

      “Off the top of my head, Baelish being confronted by a hooded figure in the snow,”
      Lady StoneHeart!!!
      Just kidding, no idea who he’d be seeing, Sansa again seems a bit too obvious

      “the Sons of the Harpy reacting to something behind them”
      My impression is they were reacting to something behind and above- I assume something with wings that breathes fire

      little birds(?) stabbing downwards,
      I assume this that scene from the very last book

      Frey/Lannister celebration…

      anything else? Dothraki charging with spears out- I’m guessing the Masters’/Volantis forces are in for several nasty shocks while they are besieging Mereen and that will be one of them…

        Quote  Reply

    56. jpwf,

      My speculation.

      The Harpies, are either looking at Drogon or Dothraki.

      LF, who is looking a bit scared, I think is looking at Ghost, because he is about to confront Sansa and Jon.

        Quote  Reply

    57. Boston Snow,

      I agree, It is amazing that this show was so consistent for 6 seasons. I’m sure everyone will find some problematic scenes in S6, but I’m sure you can find a problematic scene in every season.

        Quote  Reply

    58. Apollo: On another note..I think they really missed a trick here in terms of creating suspense with Arya’s fate. I would have left her falling into the canal as the episode cliff-hanger, with resolution this week…it would’ve caused internet breakage easily and huge publicity for the show.

      I don’t think so. She clearly threw herself into the canal. Until she comes back up, we have no idea how bad it really is for her. It’s like cutting to black after Olly sticks his dagger into Jon. Until we see him bleed out in the snow, we just keep thinking “it’s only a flesh wound!”

      Damphairintheshowplease!,
      This. I’m still upset at the self-righteous backlash caused by Sansa’s rape last season. I’ll never understand why people feel they need to second-guess the show’s writing.

        Quote  Reply

    59. mau,

      Yup.

      It was amazing. And the way it was shot, was superb. Jaime’s face being half in dark.. The acting from both actors was just amazing.

      Nikolai really showed how hurt Jaime was by Edmure’s words.

        Quote  Reply

    60. Well done to Faye Marsay, did a fantastic job in the role given to her, more in the Curtain Call

      As for “one track mind”, did that well too, eg the T-1000 comparisons and the one-track mind of the Cyborgs in that franchise are a good sign that she conveyed what she was aiming to do

      I guess I can buy the whole naive kid thing, obviously as ASOIF readers many of us gain a habit of reading so many layers into some things which are quite straightforward that imagination can run away

      Not necassarily in a bad way either, some of those theories after E7 were actually quite good ideas, Fight Club seemed odd to me but it would have actually been quite interesting also

        Quote  Reply

    61. Markus Stark,

      Nutter is great for character driver episodes, I agree. I think we’ll still have some of those before the WW attack. The Dracarys episode has some issues incorporating dragons too (the slavers in the background aren’t reacting either). I think it’s an issue the show has to work on once the dragons are used more in actual combat.

      The directors you mentioned are my favorites as well, though I’d like to see Bender get challenged even more if he returns. I also enjoyed what Sackheim did with Oathbreaker. Arya’s training montage is probably is one of my favorite sequences on the show.

        Quote  Reply

    62. Knight of the Walkers:
      There is definitely a section of this fandom that seems to take real glee when there are average episodes of this show. I just get bored with it all to be honest, and even when I have criticisms I do like to move on quickly rather than going on and on about it forever when I can’t change anything.

      As I’ve said before I hope this week’s episode is deemed to be better, because this site is a much more interesting place when we can praise the show rather than an episode that results in read endless whining.

      I complain as much as the next person. Expectations to be blown away are always high with this show. But when it comes to criticism, sometimes it’s helpful for me as a viewer who will watch an episode multiple times.
      If I have a beef or question direction or plot, reading things from a different pov has helped turn my opinion at times. Not all the time, of course, but sometimes the criticisms and rebuttals will shed new light on things or make me appreciate a scene more.
      Like with Sansa’s wedding night. I hated the end shot. The whole sequence of events up-to the actual bedroom chamber scene was gorgeous, even if the events were hard to swallow (marrying Ramsay). I didn’t like the focus on Theon and felt it spun this horrid moment into another moment where the damage to an already fragile Reek was amplified to 11. But after reading some differing thoughts, I still hate the scene for what it meant for Sansa, I can appreciate that it was well done. There is no way to make a rape “tasteful” on screen but what the direction gave us the horror we needed through Theon’s eyes.
      Constant criticism can be tiresome but on the flip side, constant praise can be too. A hundred posts of “that sucked” can be just as weak as a hundred posts of “the greatest ever”. I love the opinions, followed with speculation about plot and motivations. And that is one thing this site is good for. There are some fantastic posters who will praise, aren’t afraid to criticize and then offer interesting analysis of what it could mean moving forward. I don’t always agree but I love that…
      If I want people who simply recap, without so much as a whiff of things that just might not be working or issues with story-telling, I would watch “After The Throne”.

        Quote  Reply

    63. I can’t imagine the pics released today will be anything other than what we’ve seen in the trailer. Speaking of, what scenes from the trailers have we yet to see in the show? Off the top of my head, Baelish being confronted by a hooded figure in the snow, the Sons of the Harpy reacting to something behind them, little birds(?) stabbing downwards, Frey/Lannister celebration… anything else?

      I think you’ve pretty much captured them all. My thoughts are:

      Baelish being confronted by a hooded figure in the snow- I think this is Sansa. I was convinced that she’d hang him in ep10 but one of my main arguments supporting this fell through: I was convinced Jaime would tell Brienne that LF was despatched by Cersei to bring her Sansa’s head and that she’d send a raven to Sansa to warn her. Why the hell he didn’t is a huge plot hole IMO but that’s another story. Meh.

      the Sons of the Harpy reacting to something behind them- I guess this is the huge Khalasar (although we’ve only really seen about 20 Dothraki riding with Dany in ep6/7 so I wanna see a LOT more).

      little birds(?) stabbing downwards- Pycelle, Kevan or the HS. Although it looks like the crypts under the Great Sept from the background so I’m guessing HS or Septa Unella. My guess is the “rumor” Cersei and Qyburn mention was the tunnels linking the Red Keep to the sept and the LBs found “much more”, i.e. Aerys’ Wildfire stash underneath.

      Frey/Lannister celebration…. retaking of RR, I wonder what the outcome will be though. It’ll take a LOT of men to overcome two armies so I don’t see TBWOB having the manpower for this. One thing to note though- that shot is in the Twins, NOT Riverrun as commonly thought, and there are Lannister soldiers there…what are Jaimes men doing so far north I wonder? Could they be doing a 180 on House Frey?

        Quote  Reply

    64. Mihnea:
      Joe,

      Fully agree with you on Tyrion.

      Also loved the sports comparasion. I play football, soccer for you americans, and I remember seeing someone play with a broken arm, he realized it was broken only towards the end of the game, when the pace dropped and he started to feel the pain.

      Glad to see I can relate with some folk on the sports reference. I think the over analyzation really takes a toll on us all. When I talked to my brother about the episode he loved it…he never even made mention of Arya’s wound when we spoke until I mentioned it. He has read all the books and is a huge fan of the show but doesn’t come online and read forums like I do. I am using sports as a reference again but its the same thing on those forums – everyone becomes an expert and thinks they are smarter than the head coach and front office of their favorite team. Things you don’t seem to notice if you are just watching as a fan become almost an eye sore after reading about it from people online. You see a pattern of people complaining about a particular player…and then the moment you see them make a mistake you find yourself swearing at them under your breath – something you would have never done if you stayed off the internet.

      With that said I really love this site and reading everyones thoughts and comments, even if it sways me one way or the other. I just try to pull back the reigns a bit when I start to overanalyze or become over critical of something.

      I also read a comment from someone saying that the previous dialogue from Tyrion earlier in the season was pointless and should have been removed, only leaving this weeks in. I disagree – as dry as it was, it was meant to show how stiff and uncomfortable Messandei and Grey Worm are when it comes to socializing. Tyrion had to work them into opening up a bit. Its a build up…maybe a dull one sure, but important in showing how inhumane these two characters truly are because of their past. Its quite sad actually. Anyone ever notice how much Messandei bows her head down? Submission – its all she has ever known, she doesn’t know what it feels like to be treated equally, even with Dany. Dany obviously cares for her deeply, but its not like they are hanging out having girl time, Dany is her superior.

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    65. Laura,

      Sansa looking at somebody, alarmed, probably Jon. Her saying” what was taken from me, that’s what I think about.”
      Tyrion saying ” you are in the great game now and the great game is terrifying”
      Tormund : ” I thought he was the one to lead us through the long night. I was wrong” .
      Tyrion in the pyramid with things exploding around him.
      That’s all I can recall .

        Quote  Reply

    66. Kells: A hundred posts of “that sucked” can be just as weak as a hundred posts of “the greatest ever”.

      Positivity is always better than negativity
      It brings people spirits up. it is known
      Not saying don’t share the fact that you thought it sucked

      But I don’t think 100 “It sucked posts” = 100 “It was the greatest ever” posts

      Ok now lets all be happy yay 😀

        Quote  Reply

    67. I had no problem with this episode whatsoever. To me it makes no difference whether characters (certainly minor ones) deaths are shown on or off-screen. GoT has done this so many times now throughout the series its become the norm.

      I presume the details of characters deaths in ASOIF go into great detail, but never having read the books (Yep, I’m Unsullied 😉 I cannot say. I take GoT as it comes and for the most part have enjoyed (Dorne being the low point!) to what the show runners have done. Having to film and then to add the CGI stuff within the time and budgetary restrictions – All in all I think HBO have done an excellent job? Kudos to them 🙂

      TBH, if it wasn’t for a day back in 2011 when I was aimlessly clicking through the UK Sky TV channels and saw that a new series called ‘Game of Thrones’ was soon to be aired, I would have been none the wiser? I read little fiction (and more so tomes of a thousand odd pages!) and until that time I’d never even heard of George RR Martin or his books. Having always liked historical films and costume dramas, I thought I’d give it a try – The rest as they say is history.

      GoT is certainly compulsive viewing with its many colourful characters and their intertwined plots, but nothing that’s happened or will happen in that show (or any other) gets me hyped up. Just occasionally the element of shock/surprise/being pissed off (e.g. Ned’s execution, the Red Wedding, JS being killed in the last scene of S5, etc) to name but a few. This IMHO is what makes GoT stand out from the rest and is a landmark production in TV history.

      Its just simply fook’in great TV so enjoy it as it comes 🙂

        Quote  Reply

    68. You know, I love how an article about the Waif and Arya is somehow all about Sansa.

      Did Arya lose her agency? Was she showing too much agency by wandering around Braavos like a teenager on vacation? What about the Waif’s agency? Was showing the Waif through terminator eyes devaluing the Waif’s death?

      I loved this episode. I certainly wouldn’t have wanted a big battle episode right before a massive battle episode. This was some fabulous character work for Jaime and Arya, fantastic table-setting in King’s Landing and giving us a breather before the Battle.

      Loved it.

        Quote  Reply

    69. Joe,

      People underestimate how much of a difference adrenaline can actually make. There’s a fairly well-known story of a soldier who got stabbed in the head and chased the guy down and captured him with the knife still embedded in his brain. I’ve been in combat. I’ve seen people with extremely ugly wounds not even realize they’re there until much later. Even just in school once, I completed four days of patrol training with a 70 pound pack on my back with a broken foot, thinking it was only a tendon strain.

      The more unrealistic part is if she suffers a wound like that, falls into a canal that must be full of sewage given where it is, and doesn’t develop any sort of infection. But, of course, she can also get an infection, nearly die, but ultimately recover, all offscreen between seasons. They don’t need to show us everything.

        Quote  Reply

    70. Just as a general question

      How much is down to the writers and how much is down to the Directors? Eg it’s hard if E7 for example had a different Director to 8 with respect to injuries and their portray;

      On top of that, a Director can be beginning a season arc or ending it, and not really have any influence over the writing that has led up to that point and as to whether it makes sense or not

      Eg Dany rocking up like that and Tyrion jokes etc may be out of his hands, but small things like the clumsily detached face of the Waif with the blood trails everywhere and of course wound healing aside I did feel the authenticity of the relationship between Lady Crane and Arya and was quite sad for Arya to have to see her killed

      I think if there are changes, it’s in consultation with showrunners, eg watching behind scenes Hardhome they were going to make it action-y over the whole Plain but then decided to make it Horror and based inside the Gates which was obviously a fantastic decision, that may be a consultative decision for example but then having the Thenn guy do the whole thing with the eye and ear to the Gate during an eery silent moment and the mist etc was down to the Director and great

      I have my concerns about the build-up to Battle of the Bastards character development wise but am looking forward to how Sapochnik handles it all and whether we are able to feel it even if one can sense a whole LF Vale Army saves the day a mile off

      Just seeing the Trailer with the Bolton Phalanx taunt to the Wildlings and the panic on Tormund et als face looks pretty cool and seems like a great idea

        Quote  Reply

    71. Joe,

      God, you can’t realize how much I agree with the coach reference.

      My father was a football coach for over 30 years. He always told me:” The moment you listen to the fans or the owner, it’s over”

      That is why, even when I have criticism I never do any ”attacks” or insult the writers/directors, because I know just how hard and painful it is to hear thousands of people insult you and your work, the work you poured your heart into, and most of the times they don’t know the full picture and what happens ”behind the scenes”.

        Quote  Reply

    72. Mihnea:
      Dee Stark,

      It’s a popular theory that she’ll kill Walder Frey.

      I doubt it will happen this season though, at most I expect to see Arya on a ship or landing in Westeros, but not more.

      Who knows though, I could very easly be wrong…… and I wouldn’t mind it 1 bit!!!

      wasn’t there a report that Arya makes it to the riverlands in ep10? Although this could be her arriving by ship. I want something huge for her end of season scenes to make up for the Braavos stuff

        Quote  Reply

    73. Flayed Potatoes,

      I very much enjoyed that too, and you’re correct about the Dracarys episode, though that was Alex Graves who I usually find quite excellent (aside from what was in my opinion very misguided direction during the Jaime-Cersei scene in the sept in episode 4.03, not that I want to re-open that can of worms haha, so for anyone who disagrees with me, I know you’re out there and I respect your opinion, I just don’t share it).

      I just really hope Bender will get another episode before the end of the series !

        Quote  Reply

    74. ghost of winterfell:
      Laura,

      Sansa looking at somebody, alarmed, probably Jon. Her saying” what was taken from me, that’s what I think about.”
      Tyrion saying ” you are in the great game now and the great game is terrifying”
      Tormund : ” I thought he was the one to lead us through the long night. I was wrong” .
      Tyrion in the pyramid with things exploding around him.
      That’s all I can recall .

      Oh yeah….all of those too! 😉

        Quote  Reply

    75. Dee Stark,

      He only had two episodes, but two of the very best : “Blackwater” and “The Watchers on the Wall”.

      He’s terrific with battles, honestly I was surprised they didn’t get him to helm Bastard Bowl, but perhaps they asked him and he simply couldn’t due to scheduling issues, I know he’s very busy.

      And given the magnificent job Sapochnik did with “Hardhome”, I’m certain his work for this week’s episode was terrific.

        Quote  Reply

    76. I thought both off-screen deaths in this episode were valid choices, whether we preferred them or not. I preferred seeing the Blackfish raising his sword and stating his intention to go down fighting, rather than watch him cut down, outnumbered. I also loved the last shot of Arya holding needle before she cut the candle. There’s an argument for other choices that could have been made for these scenes, but in the end, those choices belong to the show, which I enjoy the hell out of. Can not wait for Sunday!

        Quote  Reply

    77. mau:
      Sansa’s Knight,

      I think Jaime’s scene with Edmure was his second best scene in the entire show..

      Best being the bathtub scene with Brienne, yes? I really loved that Edmure/Jamie scene. Tobias Menzies brought it.

      Apollo: I think you’ve pretty much captured them all.My thoughts are:

      Baelish being confronted by a hooded figure in the snow- I think this is Sansa.

      Frey/Lannister celebration…. retaking of RR, I wonder what the outcome will be though. It’ll take a LOT of men to overcome two armies so I don’t see TBWOB having the manpower for this.One thing to note though- that shot is in the Twins, NOT Riverrun as commonly thought, and there are Lannister soldiers there…what are Jaimes men doing so far north I wonder?Could they be doing a 180 on House Frey?

      I think Baelish will meet his end at the hand of whomever that hooded figure is or perhaps her sworn sword. I could see Sansa promising him her hand in marriage for bringing the Knights of the Vale to fight and then out-Littlefingering Littlefinger and having him killed. Especially if she somehow hears he had a hand in betraying her father.

      I’ve read some theories that Manderly will not appear in the North, but will appear at the Frey/Lannister celebration and that’s where he “switches sides” and massacres a whole bunch of Freys and Lannisters. Ok, it would be awesome and could totally incorporate Frey pies but it’s probably not all that likely because why the hell would Manderly be at The Twins? But boy I would love to see it! The likelier scenarios are The Hound/BWB (but why? The BWB have had ample opportunity to avenge the Starks and haven’t so it wouldn’t make sense unless The Hound was doing it for Arya? Still doesn’t make much sense.) or Arya disguised as someone and infiltrating. But that required a lot of suspension of disbelief. No more than her being almost gutted and not only surviving but leading The Waif on a high speed foot chase I suppose though. 😛

        Quote  Reply

    78. jpwf: The problems with this interpretation are manifold:
      1. While Jaime had done band/monstrous things the show had established by this point that he was not, in fact, a sociopath.
      2. Not all relationships are 50/50 partnerships, sometimespartner one is dominant- and Cersei NOT Jaime is the dominant one in their relationship, she’s been establishedas the one who largely controls what they do (both sexually and not sexually) and when they do it.

      The director basically botched that scene.

      Yes Cersei is normally the dominant party, but in all the dis functional relationships I know, at some point roles can be reversed, and characters can’
      act against type. That usually takes one of two things. Finally snapping at the long term behavior of someone, or a singular traumatic event that pushes you. Jaime certainly had not just one but multiple traumatic experiences. It made perfect sense to me, based on real world experience.

        Quote  Reply

    79. Apollo: Oh yeah….all of those too!

      And Ramsay saying “Do you like games little man?” 🙁

      Arya has to be reunited with Nymeria in ep. 10 right? RIGHT?? Good lord, they owe us a direwolf.

        Quote  Reply

    80. Ghosts Lunch,

      Unlike a feature film, for a serial the power lies with the showrunners which in this specific case are also the writers. A director in this case can offer ideas and come up with the how to tell the story (the visuals) and help the actors find different ways to interpret a scene but I don’t think he can decide what story is being told. He needs to follow the blueprint. In film, directors with enough clout often ignore the blueprint or alter it dramatically to fit their vision. The film is theirs. Not so for tv shows. I would also imagine that the showrunners have considerably if not complete say of how their footage gets assembled. And editing is just as important as writing.

        Quote  Reply

    81. HeHeldThatDoor,

      It is completely normal for producers, directors, or writers to discuss their motivations behind certain scenes after the episodes have aired. Nothing to do with ‘damage control’.

      A lot of people just convinced themselves that there was a lot more going on in that story than there actually was and were then disappointed. The show runners can’t be expected to anticipate every fan theory that catches on and plan for them.

        Quote  Reply

    82. Laura:

      I think Baelish will meet his end at the hand of whomever that hooded figure is or perhaps her sworn sword. I could see Sansa promising him her hand in marriage for bringing the Knights of the Vale to fight and then out-Littlefingering Littlefinger and having him killed. Especially if she somehow hears he had a hand in betraying her father.

      Agreed- I’m still pretty convinced it’ll happen but my trump card is gone LOL. I think the Hound is a likely candidate for revealing the truth or even Bran (though that’s a stretch).

      With only 13 eps left we need the board cleared of as many supporting characters as possible, so my feeling is LF, Brienne, Pod, Davos and maybe Tormund will be the Northern casualties..

        Quote  Reply

    83. “We wanted to sell that misdirect as convincingly as possible. Arya is one of my favorite characters, and I wanted everyone watching the episode to think, ‘Oh shit. Arya’s going to die. She’s really going to die.’ I wanted them dreading that, to be on the edge of the couch.”

      I don’t know anyone who really thought Arya would die. But that’s just my own circle, I suppose.

      HotPinkLipstick:
      You know, I love how an article about the Waif and Arya is somehow all about Sansa.

      Did Arya lose her agency? Was she showing too much agency by wandering around Braavos like a teenager on vacation? What about the Waif’s agency? Was showing the Waif through terminator eyes devaluing the Waif’s death?

      I loved this episode. I certainly wouldn’t have wanted a big battle episode right before a massive battle episode. This was some fabulous character work for Jaime and Arya, fantastic table-setting in King’s Landing and giving us a breather before the Battle.

      Loved it.

      You are awesome. 😉

        Quote  Reply

    84. Jenny,

      I don’t think they are. I think it’s been moved to episode 10. What I think happened is they probably realized after filming the battle that they had enough awesome material for it to be a full episode, even though the original script may have included a couple other locations.

      After all a battle episode is probably the most likely type of episode to deviate from the script, since the director, stunt coordinators, VFX guys, etc… will all have a bigger input than usual, and some changes may therefore occur once they actually being filming and start to see how the set-pieces will shape up, and how much time they’ ll take.

      Not to mention that it is pretty frequent for the director, or even the writers, to get a new idea for something that would be cool to incorporate into the battle while they’re filming it. I remember from the Season 4 bonus materials that several awesome moments from 4.09 were only imagined and conceptualized after they had started shooting.

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    85. Tywin of the Hill,

      So that Arya could have the badass reply that she is Arya Stark of Winterfell and she is going home.
      No other reason, since the line really makes no sense. Jaqen knows full well that Arya killing the Waif doesn’t mean she has let go of her identity as Arya Stark, nor does it mean that her shortcomings as a Faceless Man are now somehow gone.

      Arya was unable to carry out TWO missions, the first because personal vengeance distracted her, and the second because she couldn’t bring herself to kill a kind and innocent person.
      It’s not like killing the Waif means that Arya would now be able to kill a Lady Crane type person.

      It’s just a bad line that the writers included so that Arya could have her cool response.

      To all those who disagree : yes, obviously this is my opinion, and yes I know many people here will want to attack this comment and tell me how wrong I am and how the line in fact makes so much sense.
      That’s fine. I respect your opinion, but I will never share it. So feel free to disagree, but barring an unforeseen and brilliant argument for why the line makes sense, I will probably not be responding. Not to be rude, but because there would simply be no point.

        Quote  Reply

    86. The photo of Davos made me smile because his horse is mugging for the camera. “I’M THE STAR!!!”

      God, the only ones I ask to survive this season are Davos and Tormund. 🙁

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    87. Mark Mylod depicted perfectly how I viewed and felt Brynden “Blackfish” Tully’s last scene. Actually, I think the way they did was nice, moving farewell to a character who remained true to himself, refusing to flee once more, willing to fight for whatever was left of House Tully, of Catelyn, of Hoster and of his home.
      The Blackfish wasn’t a big character in the show, I doubt most show-watchers remembered him before his return in season 6. For me, the show managed to do justice to his character and I’m totally okay about not seeing him die onscreen 🙂

      R.I.P. Ser Brynden “Blackfish” Tully !

      Regarding Arya though, I still think the writers made her more naïve and unconscious than she really is in order to create (unnecessary) drama and suspense around her survival. And Mylod kind of confirms it.

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    88. Grayven Reyne:
      Directors never seem to own up to a mistake.Graves doesn’t think the scene with Jaime and Cersei was handled badly.. Podeswa thinks the Sansa/Ramsay wedding night was neither problematic nor exploitative, and the Dorne fight scene was incredible!It’s sad when fandom has to go into overdrive to get a scene to make sense, and it wouldn’t be necessary if the creators would simply evaluate their work more honestly.

      Oh jeez. I cant roll my eyes hard enough at your statement. His and D&Ds creative decisions in this episode were all completely valid and well thought out. You and others just didnt like it.

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    89. I’ve defended show choices in the past and don’t mind deviation from books at all if it makes sense in the show world. However I was extremely disappointed by this episode and especially the choices made for the Arya storyline. Hearing the director say he tries to sell a misdirect makes it all that much worse for me. Things were set up nicely in episode 6, Arya preparing for the confrontation she knows is coming. Then her character totally flips behavior in episode 7 to get brutally stabbed. Sorry but explaining that away as a young kid making a mistake is garbage. This is totally out of character for Arya since season 1. Then she is able to fly through the streets of bravos after a nights rest and ultimately defeat the waif after a pointless interaction with Lady Crane. If you were going to do a straightforward non-twist plot line here it would have been infinitely better to have Arya be prepared for the showdown in episode 7. When the attack comes do the chase seen there so it makes sense Arya is able to carry out those super human leaps without a mortal gut wound to lure the waif to the dark and finish her off. Cut out all the worthless getting stabbed and reminisce with Lady Crane crap. Even with no closure to the faceless men and Jacqen motivations that would have been infinitely better than the stupid, out of character and nonsensical “misdirect” they went with. In fact I would have preferred any of the way out there fan theories that were put out than what they actually went with. Very disappointing…

      And the Blackfish… Ugghh…

      Been so hyped and loved this season up to this episode. This one for me was extremely poorly written and executed although the dialog in the Jaime scenes and everything with the Hound I did like very much. The CGI for the Mereen attack was also very cool. Those were the high points but for me this episode ranks as one of the worst in the series.

      Also I am extremely worried for Tyrion! He talked about his future dreams of retirement! That is a show death sentence! NOOOOO!!!

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    90. Apollo: Agreed- I’m still pretty convinced it’ll happen but my trump card is gone LOL. I think the Hound is a likely candidate for revealing the truth or even Bran (though that’s a stretch).

      With only 13 eps left we need the board cleared of as many supporting characters as possible, so my feeling is LF, Brienne, Pod, Davos and maybe Tormund will be the Northern casualties..

      Ugh. But, I think Brienne now being the rightful owner of Oathkeeper might keep her in the mix a while longer.

      Everyone keeps saying Davos and Wun Wun are going to die – I have a feeling this is spoiler stuff and it makes me sad 🙁

      On the other hand, if there are confirmed Nymeria sightings for the final episode, someone spoiler tag that for me! I would love to know! 🙂

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    91. Don’t worry… That’s not based on any spoilers, merely the fact Liam has done soooo many publicity interviews and the fact we’ve grown to love Davos and Tormund.

      As for Brienne.. The foreshadowing when she mentioned to Jaime that she has fulfilled her purpose is pretty indicative, and also when Bronn says he thought Pod would be dead by now.

      I really hope I’m wrong on all these though (well except LF), but it is GOT 😉

      Laura: Ugh. But, I think Brienne now being the rightful owner of Oathkeeper might keep her in the mix a while longer.

      Everyone keeps saying Davos and Wun Wun are going to die – I have a feeling this is spoiler stuff and it makes me sad ?

      On the other hand, if there are confirmed Nymeria sightings for the final episode, someone spoiler tag that for me! I would love to know! ?

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    92. HeHeldThatDoor: Maybe they did the best with the material given?

      Ha – isn’t that the line Lady Crane said in the dressing room that made Izembaro blow his cork and make the “Ha, you’re full to your tits with ideas … I’ve been doing this all my life” line? It felt so much like an inside “joke” between the actual writers and the actors. Perhaps questions were being raised already on the set and everyone was annoyed.

      Don’t want to read too much into this, a lesson was learned with all the Arya theories that went flat. However, in “No One” Lady Crane did make the script changes that Arya suggested about showing how Cersei would be angry. She got her way … and ended up dead. Is that a message? Ok, enough tin foil, I’m back to staring at those pictures of Kit and Sansa and Tormund.

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    93. Dee Stark: I seriously don’t see a point of showing Frey celebration unless something else was to happen

      I hope you are right. I would love it to be Arya, but that would be jet-pack travel times 10. Somebody is going to mess things up there, though. Somebody has to mess things up, Old Walder can’t be shown to die peacefully. They wouldn’t do that to us, would they?

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    94. Adam: The more unrealistic part is if she suffers a wound like that, falls into a canal that must be full of sewage given where it is, and doesn’t develop any sort of infection. But, of course, she can also get an infection, nearly die, but ultimately recover, all offscreen between seasons. They don’t need to show us everything.

      A good point about the infection. I guess I was just really upset that a child had a bad injury and not enough was done to fix it. But as a point about writing injuries into a script: I just saw that another Bourne movie will be out this summer. I love them and will see it. I can remember several instances in the past movies that showed an injured Bourne going into a store and stealing what he could to dress his wounds. One time he poured Vodka on them. One time he broke into a vet’s office and got painkiller and antiseptics. His wounds weren’t ignored, the writers wrote him as a human intelligent enough to know that he had to take care of them, or he would be no good to himself or anyone else. Bourne is super, but not so super-human he can scoff at knife slices then go jumping and running. I guess Arya is. I won’t say anymore about it, she’s well and happy and on her way home. That, in the end, is the whole point.

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    95. Well I don’t have a problem with Arya letting her guard down. Everybody makes mistakes and I can totally relate to it. But the real problem is, why did they have to stab Arya so severely that her survival would seem so unrealistic. And they didn’t address that at all! I think it’s rather the writers who are to blame, the director was working with the cript he had. Anyway, the conclusion with Arya proclaiming she’s ‘going home’ and leaving the House of Black and White was satisfying to me.

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    96. I found this episode to be better after a second-viewing, knowing I had too much anticipation the first time when I didn’t know what would happen.

      It’s sad she didn’t become the assassin we hoped she’d become, but at least she’s heading back to Westeros, which sends her character back into the fold hopefully as a stronger girl.

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    97. Lord of Coffee:
      HeHeldThatDoor,

      It is completely normal for producers, directors, or writers to discuss their motivations behind certain scenes after the episodes have aired.Nothing to do with ‘damage control’.

      A lot of people just convinced themselves that there was a lot more going on in that story than there actually was and were then disappointed.The show runners can’t be expected to anticipate every fan theory that catches on and plan for them.

      Oh I completely agree with you and I read/watch/listen to every one of them and love them all. I too believe it to be a case of over hype, which I mentioned. My point was more so directed at the fact, you could hear the tone of criticism (the fact that Mark responded to the controversial blackfish scenes). It to me and apparently others, sounded a bit like damage control.

      Still for everything I felt could have gone better, the good scenes were very, very good. That’s what this show gives us. And why I love it so much. Will this rank high on my fav lists? Probably not. Is it the worst episode (and is there really a worst episode? Or just episodes with weaker moments…)? don’t think so.

      I love this community. We can discuss what we love (the show) but debate what we like and what we feel could have been done better. Perfect. I respect everyone of you for that. I don’t expect everyone to agree with everyone else, that would just be boring. Lol.

      Cheers

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    98. I can’t believe Dave and Dan produced such a lackluster ending to this story line. No creativity at all. No suspense or surprises. Nothing else explained about the House of B & W. It was just like, that’s it? It was such a typical ending for a typical show, I expect so much more from Game of Thrones. Very disappointed, this was my favorite story line of the season and one of my favorites of the past couple of seasons. I don’t care so much about the wound or her letting her guard down as I do of the story telling being completely non dynamic.

      I remember not being worried at all when the show had caught up with the books because D & D had done such a brilliantly creative job of adapting the material and making perfect decisions in what to leave out and what to add. I think now it’s becoming proven that we are a bit spoiled by George in the plotting department. Though I really think D & D are capable of doing so much better.

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    99. jpwf: The problems with this interpretation are manifold:
      1. While Jaime had done band/monstrous things the show had established by this point that he was not, in fact, a sociopath.

      2. Not all relationships are 50/50 partnerships, sometimespartner one is dominant- and Cersei NOT Jaime is the dominant one in their relationship, she’s been establishedas the one who largely controls what they do (both sexually and not sexually) and when they do it.

      The director basically botched that scene.

      No, the director did not “botch” that scene, and I would argue that the problems with YOUR interpretation are “manifold”.

      1. Jaime’s actions in that scene are not “sociopathic” at all – he is forcefully making love with his SISTER, his life-long LOVER, it’s not like he’s just snatched some random from the street. The show had established that Jaime and Cersei’s relationship was sick and twisted power dynamic – and it was never shown to be “subdued”, only altered when Jaime disappeared for an extended period. They very much have a love-hate relationship.

      2. Cersei and Jaime are BOTH the dominant ones at different times. However, obviously Jaime is the man in the relationship, and Jaime is a warrior and a soldier so he can easily overpower Cersei at any time – which is exactly what he does, after expressing his profound anger towards her. His fury and his love towards her all converge.
      It’s funny to me because I never, ever saw it as a “rape” scene or as even slightly “controversial” (as if a TV show can actually be controversial… what a joke), it was only once I checked the forums, fansites etc. that I became aware of that view. So ridiculous, in my opinion.

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    100. They should just be honest with us, that this was the least polished episode and needed some refinement. Nothing big, just scenes could have been edited a little more tightly – I think the episodes they prioritize the least are always the ones before the end of season climax – they know they’ll receive the least attention, have a few issues, but the climax will win everyone back.

      And it wasn’t even that bad this time – my only complains were that the Tyrion joke scene and Bronn joke scene stretched out a little too long – didn’t need to be “removed”, just refined and edited a bit more.

      Arya is another big example with this: *we can tell* that that was Jaqen pretending to be Arya, that this was their intention, but it was later abandoned – and maybe it was a good idea to abandon it these things happen.

      It’s the lying I’m upset about. No, that isn’t “entitlement” – they’re the ones who are “entitled” if they think they can run a major adaptation and have no sense of transparency whatsoever with the audience. That isn’t how “TV” works, or just work in general: we’ve all had bad bosses. A good boss admits when he makes mistakes or, when things failed which were due to production issues truly beyond his control even though he tried his hardest. When has it EVER been a good idea to just “bluff our way out of every hard question and pretend the audience didn’t notice mistakes?” — not even books vs TV show stuff, I mean like continuity errors or the Sand Snakes fight scene not turning out well.

      And that’s why I like Cogman and Hill so much more; they actually give “interviews” explaining what their intentions were.

      (sigh)

      It doesn’t “wreck the whole season or Arya’s character arc”, I just think the arrangement of scenes without the episode for Arya were a little clunky.

      But really, I line for line agree with Sue the Fury’s recap review.

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    101. None of the fail wih the Arya stuff was the directors or actors faults. The showrunners/writers decided to have Arya act like an idiot for no reason for the dramas. And the same with Sansa in the same episode which well see the aftermath of in epi 9 (Jons forces being destroyed and LF holding all the cards in the end). Smart people doing stupid things to manufacture drama.

      Same deal with bfish to be honest. Smart guy deciding a pile of rocks is worth more than his niece and nephews lives. Then deciding he wants to die for no reason. It’s the writing not the directing.

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    102. LatrineDiggerBrian: I think now it’s becoming proven that we are a bit spoiled by George in the plotting department. Though I really think D & D are capable of doing so much better.

      Yes. And not using great text from the books when it is available. The disappointments were sparked by botches of the text, not adaptations as some have claimed.

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    103. Queenofthrones: ..Smart people doing stupid things to manufacture drama.

      Same deal with bfish to be honest.Smart guy deciding a pile of rocks is worth more than his niece and nephews lives.Then deciding he wants to die for no reason.It’s the writing not the directing.

      Yes. You can see the down sliding of the plot from ASoIaF level to Hollywood conventions level. All of a sudden we all became stupid.

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    104. Marlana,

      I wouldn’t know cause I haven’t read the books, though I have a fair idea of some of the differences. I’ve heard a lot of people wish for a lot of stupid stuff, like multi-colored hair, Barristan Jorah adventure in the sewers of Mereen, talking Raven’s, Arya weasal soup, LSH, glamouring and switcharoos of certain characters, etc. etc.

      I’m actually happy with their adaptation of the material from what I know, and I think they’ve also made great improvements on the material in certain areas i.e. Tywin – Arya, slave collar catapults, Oberyn / Mountain fight, and a lot of other things that I can’t think of right now.

      Now I’m starting to notice they’re a bit predictable when they create their own original plots. Jon going to fight the mutineers was just going through the motions, we all knew what was going to happen, at the time I didn’t know that it wasn’t in the books and I could still tell it was filler. I actually liked Dorne, but again the ending was anti-climactic. I’m not sure how it will be done in the books, but Jon coming back was anti-cilmactic. Same with Arya’s story.

      Just out of curiosity, what do you think they haven’t included from the book that they should have?

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    105. jpwf,

      Jaime pushes past Cerseis repeated “no” in both mediums. Literally the only difference is whether she actively changed her mind part way through which does exactly nothing to make his earlier actions better.

      Jaimes definitely the one who is shown to be dominant sexually even though she is dominant in every other aspect of their relationship. This is quite common in real life as well.

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    106. LatrineDiggerBrian,

      Several speeches are more powerful in the books than the versions in the show. For example, the full broken man speech, powerful and timeless.

      The emphasis of the Jaime confrontation with Edmure. In the books, it’s just medieval reality, business, not personal. Chilling. Jaime emphasizing his need to return to Cersei weakens the cold reality, and is not credible, because admitting dependency on a woman is weakness, which is not expected of a badass.

      The castellan Blackfish gives the second best trash talk in the books, but less is shown on the TV confrontation with Jaime. The Blackfish is such a warrior survivor, he escapes in the books, not commits suicide.

      These are some examples of what I mean when I say the dramatic power in some book stuff is lessened in the show, often replaced by Hollywood triviality. How do you see it?

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    107. Marlana,

      The siege of Riverrun is one of the storylines I wasn’t too familiar with in the books. In the show, I liked the the siege of Riverrun in episode 7, but not 8 (up until Edmure conversation with Jaime at least). I didn’t buy a couple of things about the resolution:

      -Edmure so easily giving in after being so extremely defiant. He gives in over a wife he only spent one night with and a child he’s never even met. He sacrifices his uncle and his entire house’s history on a whim.
      -The Blackfish’s men following Edmure’s orders without question, and essentially turning themselves into the Frey’s to be slaughtered or imprisoned or whatever. Completely ridiculous.
      -No on screen death of the Blackfish.
      -Brienne waving goodbye to Jaime seemed out of character

      Couple that with Arya resolution, horrible Mereen scenes, and everything else made this the worst episode in the history of the show for me and really put a damper on the season.

      And sorry I didn’t realize in your original post you were only talking about the specific text not the adaptation.

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    108. LatrineDiggerBrian,

      I could be wrong, but my guess is that the contiuing effect of the FM in the books is something that either GWWM did not discuss or that they decided to edit out anyway. I don’t know the resolution of Arya’s arc in Braavos in the books but my guess is that she will end up back in Westeros and may be on a similar arc as the show has her. However, that is not the only FM angle in the books and that is where there may be a continuing impact.

      Just from my point of view, as the FM were formed by former slaves from Valyria, are they anti-dragon for any reason? They do use magic in the books (and maybe in the show) and it is likely blood/fire magic. But they were formed from the suffering of slaves in the Valyrian mines and and firewyrms which fed on the miners (which appear to be worm versions of dragons in a sense). Or is now money their only real concern?

      But in the show to this point I agree they have just been a plot device for Arya.

      plus there is likely a FM with a key to most of the rooms in the Citidel. I think they are greatly truncating Sam’s Citidel arc so they have probably cut this part from the show. We should know over the next few months as they would have to add characters if there are scenes there

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    109. Darkrobin:
      LatrineDiggerBrian,

      Brienne waving goodbye to Jaime seemed out of character

      This to me was to play to the audience.And from the comments, it played well.

      So was Rory’s “I prefer chicken” and I’m sure that played well too.

      Playing to the audience is awful and I never thought this show would do that. Wow people with the story and original things happening, not by winking at them.

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    110. LatrineDiggerBrian:
      Marlana,

      -Edmure so easily giving in after being so extremely defiant. He gives in over a wife he only spent one night with and a child he’s never even met. He sacrifices his uncle and his entire house’s history on a whim.
      -The Blackfish’s men following Edmure’s orders without question, and essentially turning themselves into the Frey’s to be slaughtered or imprisoned or whatever. Completely ridiculous.
      -No on screen death of the Blackfish.
      -Brienne waving goodbye to Jaime seemed out of character

      Couple that with Arya resolution, horrible Mereen scenes, and everything else made this the worst episode in the history of the show for me and really put a damper on the season.

      And sorry I didn’t realize in your original post you were only talking about the specific text not the adaptation.

      -It doesn’t matter if Jaime never met his him/her, it’s still his child. Of course he would give up the castle to save him/her, he could see that the castle would be taken either way.
      -The men of Riverrun are sworn to Edmure. On their honor, they have to follow their liege lord’s commands. Back in season 1, Robb ordered 2,000 of his men to provide a distraction to Tywin’s much larger force so he could attack Jaime. They knew they were going to be slaughtered, but they did it anyway, because their liege lord commanded it.
      -I agree with you on this. I didn’t have to see the fight, per se, but I would have at least liked for Edmure or Jaime to stumble upon the Blackfish’s dead body.
      -Jaime and Brienne are buds. Why wouldn’t she wave bye to him?

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    111. The biggest problem I had with Aryas scene was her being able to move like she did when she was injured so badly. It would have made more sense for Waif to scratch her, not being able to catch her, and then go to the chase. Plus some of the acting in that chase scene was just way over the top

      Even if I disagree with the director choices, I have to hand it to them that they are willing to take interviews and attempt to answer the concerns of the fans. Back in the day, that would never have occurred to most directors. So kudos to them.

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    112. Alexandre Laframboise,

      It’s sad she didn’t become the assassin we hoped she’d become, but at least she’s heading back to Westeros, which sends her character back into the fold hopefully as a stronger girl.

      Oh, I think she’s on her way to be. She’s learned quite a bit at the school of HOBW. I can’t imagine this is the end of her assassin career. Hey, maybe she’ll work for Varys!!

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    113. HeHeldThatDoor,

      I love this community. We can discuss what we love (the show) but debate what we like and what we feel could have been done better. Perfect. I respect everyone of you for that. I don’t expect everyone to agree with everyone else, that would just be boring. Lol.

      hear,hear!

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    114. LatrineDiggerBrian,

      Why Edmure’s surrender works in the books:

      Edmure is Lord of Riverrun as son of the dead Lord Hoster Tully. Blackfish is castellan and subordinate to Edmure. It is the lord’s duty to protect his subjects. Jaime offers generous terms: surrender the castle and all live; else castle will be stormed and all die. The situation is just medieval reality. Jaime has the power; Edmure does not. Jaime’s explanation to Edmure is chilling.

      Edmure goes into the castle and explains it to Blackfish, a warrior of renown who has lived and fought elsewhere and lives to fight another day by escaping into the river. The Freys take over and Edmure goes to Casterly Rock as Jaime’s prisoner. The small folk stay and work for new masters. The men at arms surrender arms and go away, stay and work for new masters, or take the black.

      Realistic. Surely we can expect attempts to recover the castle.

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    115. Darkrobin,

      I expect in the books the FM have some kind of global impact woven into the fundamentals of Planetos. When those reveals will come is anybody’s guess.

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    116. LatrineDiggerBrian,

      -Edmure so easily giving in after being so extremely defiant. He gives in over a wife he only spent one night with and a child he’s never even met. He sacrifices his uncle and his entire house’s history on a whi

      That was no whim. He’s talking about his heir! Plus, well, we are talking about his child, who he didn’t even realize he had. And to be married and not seen your wife in three years – yeah, I can see how that would affect someone’s responses to threats

      -The Blackfish’s men following Edmure’s orders without question, and essentially turning themselves into the Frey’s to be slaughtered or imprisoned or whatever.

      Edmure is actually the lord of Riverun; Blackfish is his uncle. His father died which makes him lord. So it would make sense that in reality, the troops would follow orders. But it doesn’t make sense that Blackfish wouldn’t order his troops not to do so and they’d listen to him. It just killed me that they all put down there swords and removed their armour.. They could have gon to Winterfell! And yeah they needed BF to either go down fighting, or take Briennes suggestion to fight in the North

      Brienne waving goodbye to Jaime seemed out of character

      I almost choked on my drink when I saw her do that Oh please……A look perhaps, eyes connecting, but that toodle-loo wave was not something she’d do!

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    117. Apollo:
      As for Brienne.. The foreshadowing when she mentioned to Jaime that she has fulfilled her purpose is pretty indicative, and also when Bronn says he thought Pod would be dead by now.

      It bothered me, probably more than it should, when Brienne went to give Jaime Oathkeeper back, saying she fulfilled her oath (or Jaime’s part). She didn’t. Well, she did partly but Arya is still out there. She knows this. The work isn’t done. While Jaime sent her to find Sansa specifically, and Arya if she is alive still, I wouldn’t think the oath is over and done with knowing that Arya is somewhere out there. It’s like 1 out of 2 ain’t half bad, so we cool now.
      That moment in the scene, which was great up to that point, was complete fan service. As was the wave. And the Sandor “chicken” line. But we also got a quick penis shot, so it was quickly forgiven.

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    118. WalterHarrow,
      “I really hope that this wasn’t the last we see of Arya in season 6. I want her to show up at the Twins and kill Walder Frey in the finale”

      My thoughts exactly, Walter. Last night I couldn’t sleep and tried to imagine how that could happen, preferably in Ep 10, which is long enough for several stories to be well resolved. Here;s my fan fic:

      Arya is riding towards Winterfell from Saltpans or wherever she lands and overhears some Freys boasting about the upcoming victory feast at the Twins to celebrate their recovery of Riverrrun. She heads to the Twins and gets a job in the kitchen based on her experience at Harrenhal, especially serving Lord Tywin. Walder hears about that and has her serve him. At the feast, she serves him and stands back as he watches his entire family/clan etc drop dead of poisoning. (The blind training scenes showed her learning how to mix poisons by smell.). Then she tells him who she is and stabs him in the heart. The next day, Jon and what remains of his victorious but weakened and reduced army arrive at the Twins and are shocked to find it deserted. (Sansa isn’t there because she’s the Stark in Winterfell now). A hooded woman rides out, dismounts, and drops a sack with Walder’s head in front of Jon. Then she pulls out Needle and pledges herself to Jon and to House Stark. He realises who it is, and they weep joyously as they hug.

      Yes, it’s silly and sentimental, but at least it was sufficiently soporific for me to fall back asleep. Creating fan fiction can be a healthy activity. 🙂

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    119. ash: I can’t imagine this is the end of her assassin career. Hey, maybe she’ll work for Varys!!

      Perhaps she will be an avenger, not an assassin. After avenging and after the apocalypse, will she and the other active women Asha and Brienne find satisfying yet atypical careers? I am looking forward to what kind of lives they will create.

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    120. Marlana: Yes.You can see the down sliding of the plot from ASoIaF level to Hollywood conventions level.All of a sudden we all became stupid.

      And of course, Littlefinger, who is supposed to be one of the smartest of all, had a multi-season plot that was based on him being an absolutely idiot, to the point where the writers had him admit it directly. In GRRM’s world, LF would have had his head on a pike at three different points during that arc (Moat Cailin, King’s Landing, and back in the Vale).

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    121. ash,

      But it was his wife who he knew for one night, and a child who he’d probably never seen. He goes on this diatribe about what an evil piece of shit Jaime is, then all of a sudden he trusts him? Plus we’re talking about him giving up his ancestral home, the men of his house, and his uncle for two people he’s known for 1 day combined? His son is heir to nothing if he gives up Riverrun.

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    122. Young Dragon,

      Still, he gave up all the men fighting for the castle and his uncle just so he could live out his days in Casterly Rock as a loser with a woman (albeit a very hot one) that he only just met and a son he might not even have. That seemed to clash with the guy who was so defiantly yelling at Jaime just moments earlier.

      And the men following his commands when it was clearly a trap was just ludicrous, and handing themselves over to the Frey’s to be slaughtered or whatever. Rob’s men at least knew they were going to die in a blaze of glory. Why would the Tully men care to do this against the wishes of their legendary commander? For a guy who was clearly under the control of his captors. It was silly to me.

      Yes, Brienne and Jaime are buds, but Brienne is stoic. The wave just seemed silly.

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    123. Some Episode Analysis.

      HBOGo Times: These count the little previews on GoT and credits.

      5:00 Lady Crane is acting on stage and it is light outside. I know this may of been on a set and had additional lighting, but probably was shot outdoors. The lighting suggest mid day, particularly at 6:24 into it when they pull out to the crowd applauding. Look at the lighting, the lower right portion of the crowd as it is lit compared to the other side. Not knowing true North, this is either slightly before or after noon. She then walks backstage and finds Arya.

      7:39 Lady Crane and Arya are inside Crane’s room/apartment. They deliberatly show through the window that it is dark outside, then pan to Crane and Arya with a candle lit on the table. SEVERAL HOURS HAVE PASSED. The director showed the window and the candle to point out that SEVERAL hours have passed. That is also assuming this is the same day which is what most everyone assumes since one scene led immediately to the other. What transpired during that missing time period we have no idea and will probably never know. We are left to speculate and break the interwebs as a result.

      7:40 Lady Crane is ‘just finishing up’ applying a bandange to Arya. Arya says, “You’re good at that. Where’d ya learn”. Lady Crane goes into her speach about previous jealous relationships and learning things. Now, the naysayers who hated this episode complain that Lady Crane just slaps a bandaid on Arya and then she goes on an acrobatic escape, blah blah blah. Think about this for just a second. We do NOT know or have any idea what Lady Crane did during those HOURS of missing time. Again, we can only speculate. If Lady Crane JUST put a bandaid on Arya would Arya really ask her where she learned that skill from? With Arya asking that question, I would logically have to presume that in the hours leading up to this moment that she did something which required a lot more skill than just wrapping cloth around her belly. Maybe sewed her up? Maybe some red magic. She is of course fond of and currently wearing red and a fancy necklace. Who the hell knows. But logically it was much more than applying the bandage we see at this moment or Arya wouldn’t of asked that question.

      9:58 Lady Crane gives her Milk of the Poppy and says it is the only way she will heal. Arya drinks it and goes to sleep. Now, who all in the East or West ever seems to have Milk of the Poppy. We see Maesters with it all the time, oh, and Talisa Maegyr who is running around the battlefields as a combat medic. Who else would have that item handy other than people trained in the healing arts? I’m guessing the late Lady Crane had some expertise that we don’t know about.

      52:01 we return to Arya, with her sleeping and you can see daylight thought the window. A second window that we didn’t even notice back at 7:39 previously because it was so friggin’ dark at that time. So what day is it? People that hate the episode assume it is the same day which we’ve proven is incorrect so far. Others say the next day. Rikkon Frikkon Stark can dissapear for 2 years in the show and Arya is off screen for 44 minutes and they assume it is one day or less. She could very well of been recovering for a day or days. We simply do not know.

      52:57 Lady Crane goes back into the other room, gets a stool, and retrieves a vial/bottle of something from on top of a shelf. Something important, tucked away with other vials. When did we last see something similar to this scene? Melisandre was in a hot bath and asked Stannis’ wife to grab some vials from a shelf. So this was most likely some sort of medicine or potion. I think Lady Crane was most definately more educated in other arts than people are assuming. Again, we may never know. The waif, dressed as David Spade, is waiting behind her and kills her.

      53:14 Arya comes in and finds Lady Crane dead with the vial next to her hand on the floor. Short dialogue and the pursuit begins with what everyone is so upset about. Now, consider that Arya has had Milk of the Poppy which deadens pain, and possibly be sewn shut, and possibly had other vials of unknowns at this point. Is the pursuit any more believeable? To me it is.

      55:09 Arya comes out of the steam room with fresh pores, and is on the streets, looking pretty alert, not bent over. Waif is running along the wall just before she jumps down. I think the Milk of the Poppy and/or other things that aided her are still working for Arya at this point. I don’t think she rips her stiches until the big jump coming up at 55:35 which is followed by the fruit roll up, where Arya screams. There is no fresh blood on her tunic till this point. Far overhead shot shows her do an initial fetal pose and then stretches out on her back and we see the blood and her hold her gut. At this point she is close to her lair and needle. I believe the bloody hand prints at this point are deliberate lures for the Waif. Just before she walks into the lair, Arya drags her bloody hand on the outside of the door jam and the inner part of the door jam. I believe she knows she is hurt and her only chance is to get to the lair she setup in a previous episode.

      Now people are even debating that cutting the candle and not the wick would not kill the flame. But if it fell the three feet to the floor it would probably go out or be at Arya’s feet. Are we that petty? Arya is in a narrow room, in the dark with a long pointy stick. Waif has a close quarters weapon. Arya has had training with a sword, we have no idea what the Waif’s experience is with knife vs sword, much less if she has gone through any dark combat experience. Can’t we just give Arya the benifit of the doubt here?

      58:03 Jaqen H’Ghar walks into a room and sees a blood trail leading to a fountain. Is this the same fountain that gave Arya back her vision, healed her eyes? During that eye healing scene he says “If a girl is truly no one she has nothing to fear.” She drinks, she’s healed. Does this particular fountain have healing powers and others hold death? That is how I read it. Jaqen see’s a blood trail to the healing fountain or maybe it has different powers for different people, the gods decide. Now if this fountain has healing powers, Arya would of known this and also known that she couldn’t get back into this building until she killed her assassin, the waif.

      The trail leads from that fountain to the face room. We then have the dialogue between Jaqen and Arya. I personally think that Arya can be the No One Jaqen wanted her to be and Arya Stark as well. 59:20 Jaqen: “And here YOU are, and there SHE is.” I think that line is more important than the following line of “Finally a girl is no one.” Oh, and if the healing fountain theory is true, that might explain why she is not limping out of this scene after speaking with Jaqen.

      During her time there she has learned one of the most important things, confidence. She learned paitence while sitting and waiting for admitance to the temple. She has learned to smell and detect different poisons which we saw while she was blind. She has learned to use her other senses while she was blind. She learned additional fighting styles like the short staff where she only knew sword before. So don’t say her entire two seaons here have been wasted. She learned a lot, though she won’t realize that till probably later. I think Jaqen’s smirk/smile at the end is that she HAS become what he wanted her to become.

      That episode, of course counting the previews and credits was over one hour. If you want all the little details wrapped up in a ‘Pretty Little Bow’ just on Arya we could easily of had an hour and a half of just Arya this episode. Obviously that can’t happen. And then that doesn’t at all help HBO Break the Internet. Talk about publicity. There may well of been more people dwelling on this episode and Arya’s would be demise than the many months of between season Jon is Alive debates.

      I enjoyed the episode and think there is a lot that the nay-say-ers are missing.

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    124. Worth mentioning

      I liked the way theu did the Lannister/Frey troops marched into Riverrun

      Had a good vibe to it

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    125. I only had one major problem with Arya’s scenes, and the thing that makes it worse for me is it was so easily fixed. I didn’t like how she went from bedridden, to running and jumping, to suddenly in extreme pain again. The fixes?

      1) Don’t make her wounds so substantial in the first place. This seemed like a gimmick to make people worry over the week between episodes. A lesser wound would’ve been fine.

      2) If we HAVE to have the multiple stabs and twisting knife, then at least be consistent with pain levels. Show Arya struggling through the whole chase. I can even buy her jumping and sliding and running as long as she’s wincing through it all.

      Then there was, what I personally believe, the inconsistency of the Faceless Men (a minor problem). Or maybe it wasn’t inconsistent, but as the audience, we know so little of how they work and are given secrets upon secrets that some things just appear inconsistent. We never get an explanation of what the hell they’re doing, how many people actually work for them (are there really only ever three in the HoBaW at any one time?), why they insist on Arya becoming no one and being careful about who she kills because the many faced god is particular about it, only to let her leave as Arya, knowing she’s gonna go murder people nonchalantly.

      “You’re finally no one.”
      “Uh, no I’m Arya Stark.”
      “Okay, cool. Have fun in Westeros.”

      It was a cool scene, I loved Arya owning up to being herself again finally, but for Jaqen’s character it made no sense to me. What was all that training and threats for if he’s just gonna let her go? I was fully expecting her to go “Actually, I’m Arya Stark” and then stab him, because why would he not murder her right there and then for betraying the creed of the Faceless Men?

      The problem is, we don’t know the creed of the Faceless Men. I thought we did, but everything changed in this episode. We needed less riddles and secrecy throughout Arya’s storyline over the past two seasons if this was the ending. It felt like it’d been cryptic for the sake of being cryptic just to make us worry that Arya was in danger, when really Jaqen had some Dumbledore-esque intricate plan for her to become herself again, albeit with super assassin powers.

      None of this stuff is plotholes. People throw that word around a lot. It just felt “off” due to lack of explanation and some possible inconsistencies throughout two seasons of this storyline.

      But that’s just a man’s opinion.

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    126. It’s actually quite nice to get the perspective we have just been given on the death of Blackfish and on why Arya had let her guard down. I can understand the Blackfish scenario more though, and, yes, I can relate to that. In fact, it’s quite a nice touch when looking at it that way. We sometimes forget how young some of the characters are actually meant to be in this show, so perhaps it is understandable, as Arya is probably feeling excited at the prospect of going home and forgets how vulnerable she is.

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    127. here is a thought: is it possible that eps 7 and 8 seemed a bit padded out because they have deleted Dorne scenes due to earlier bad reaction?

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    128. Sinequanone,

      No. They would now well in advance what scenes they would film or not.

      Dorne will have as much screen-time as last year, minus of course the scenes with Jaime. Will see it again in EP10 without doubt.

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    129. Fleasome.

      Agreed. Most of the Braavos sequence haters think Arya had an overnight recovery. I’m pretty sure that much more time passed than was obvious; not communicating that, however, is a MAJOR failing on the part of the writers/director. (A similar situation is Cersei’s rape where so many GoT bigwigs said it wasn’t rape, but it sure looked like rape/forced sex to most people.) Thank you for your careful analysis. I think you were basically correct, and there is indeed evidence that Lady Crane had true medical skills or a personal formulary. And that Arya availed herself of the healing pool.

      I find it reassuring that Arya’s going home having passed this test, having acquired skills and knowledge, having met a nurturing person (besides Ned, who was nurturing in a sense), having learned to never let down her guard and to play a long(ish) game to achieve her goals.

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    130. Speculation to save the arya plot line and….

      Let’s accept that Arya was stupid and careless, got stabbed, got sewed up by lady crane and did all the running she did etc,,,,,

      What’s next….

      She boards a ship for westeros, but she is ill, her wound is infected.
      ( we are all just sick about it)
      On the ship she meets a northerner. She tells them she is Arya stark of Winterfell, he knows of and respects house stark. Arya gets sicker and sicker, and before they land, Arya dies. The northerner is determined to return aryas body to winterfell. On his way north, The northerner runs into the Brotherhood with the hound. Beric gives his life for Arya and Arya become LSH…..or Arya Stone Heart…

      It won’t happen, but it would be the logical outcome of the wounds, and would serve up the LSH plot….

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    131. The Dragon Demands:
      They should just be honest with us, that this was the least polished episode and needed some refinement.Nothing big, just scenes could have been edited a little more tightly – I think the episodes they prioritize the least are always the ones before the end of season climax – they know they’ll receive the least attention, have a few issues, but the climax will win everyone back.

      And it wasn’t even that bad this time – my only complains were that the Tyrion joke scene and Bronn joke scene stretched out a little too long – didn’t need to be “removed”, just refined and edited a bit more.

      I’ve supported pretty much every adaptive choice the show has made, but I agree with you that I didn’t need the Tyrion joke scene — they should’ve had the slaver navy arrive as Tyrion was talking about his vineyard. I found the joke-telling excruciating.

      As for Arya, the scene in episode 7 really undermined the scenes here in regards to her intentions (they dumbed her down essentially, to make audiences think she was in danger), but I thought her scenes in ep 8 were altogether good and mainly hampered by her aloofness in ep 7 — as for her wounds, I saw a show where an old man survived a mini-nuke, was blown away by a concussive blast that tore apart boats but not his bones; he survived drowning, burning, and hypothermia, and was luckily washed away from the battle and deposited on a little crag, where he survived exposure and starvation and was luckily saved by a sympathetic party –a friend!– in the knick of time. And no one complained about it, nor the corresponding scene in the books, and Davos is still here.

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    132. Dee Stark,

      How did it make Sansa’s scene with Littlefinger stronger? She was an idiot to refuse his soldiers! That’s why she has to write that begging letter to him to ask for the soldiers! And that’s why they will turn up at the end end of the battle next week to save the day!
      Yeah, excellent high-standard writing all round! Cue applause!

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    133. Tycho Nestoris:
      Valaquen,

      How can you know that “no one” complained?

      It was supposed to be a lighthearted joke (from Napoleon Dynmaite). No offense.

      I can remember pretty much every controversy the show has garnered, from Jaime and Cersei in the Sept, Pedro’s casting, to SansaGate, and even the minor outrages like the lack of Stoneheart at the end of season 3 (which prompted EW to pretty much spoil the whole twist by releasing articles on it) and now, Arya surviving her wounds. I recall the season 3 premiere airing and everyone loving Davos’ survival: nary a reviewer dismissed it as unlikely to the point that it ruined their immersion in the world’s reality, Reddit and fan threads were not overrun with the same complaint — nothing! The only niggle I can find is some ASOIAF fans thinking he was saved by the Drowned God, ie, divine intervention, ie, deus ex. If anyone can find anything to the contrary, and show me that Davos’ survival is a real sticking point for portions of the fandom, to the point that it’s a matter of derision, then please let me know.

      I’ve no doubt that if the Arya stabbing and chase scene happened in the books, we would be doing everything we could to rationalise it (leftover effect of the poppy? Adrenaline?) In fact the groundwork would’ve already been done years ago at Westeros.org.

      Tycho Nestoris:
      Valaquen,

      It was supposed to be a lighthearted joke (from Napoleon Dynmaite). No offense.

      I’m sorry, I totally misconstrued your comment. I apologise!

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    134. Valaquen,

      No need to apologize but accepted of course!

      My brother still thinks Arya should be dead from the Hound’s axe. That Jeyne and Theon should be dead and that Asha should be dead from Justin Massey was it? (I may be wrong, I don’t remember who axed her in dwd). The one that always bothered me was Tyrion on Rhoyne (Blackwater too, I suppose). In hindsight, that is similar to Davos. Although, Davos is a better swimmer. My bias is that Arya is a character I focus on more than Davos or Tyrion. I like Davos/Manderly stuff but otherwise he and Tyrion don’t really interest me so I am not as critical.

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    135. Tycho Nestoris,

      Wanted to add I think the Arya stabbing was an easy target b/c of the similarity to recent stabbing deaths (Robb, Roose, Areo, Doran, Barristan, Jon). My only issue is that I was already invested in Arya, I didn’t need a death tease to enhance the drama. It felt exaggerated so it just rang a little false (to me at least).

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    136. Tycho Nestoris:
      Valaquen,

      No need to apologize but accepted of course!

      I always thought the books had a great kind of ‘blockbuster’ feel to them: they were very gritty and ‘real-world’ in many respects, but also very entertaining and a little over the top when it came to action: as you’ve said, Arya taking an axe to the back of the head in ASOS, Tyrion leaping from ship to ship at the Blackwater, almost anything with the Mountain (who would be severely disabled in our world) and more. But we accept them as part of the books’ reality. The show doesn’t get the same leeway, especially now that we’re potentially seeing events for the first time, rather than seeing them decades after they were written and all the excuses, explanations, etc have already been hashed out by fans.

      Tycho Nestoris:
      Tycho Nestoris,

      Wanted to add I think the Arya stabbing was an easy target b/c of the similarity to recent stabbing deaths (Robb, Roose, Areo, Doran, Barristan, Jon). My only issue is that I was already invested in Arya, I didn’t need a death tease to enhance the drama. It felt exaggerated so it just rang a little false (to me at least).

      I agree: I’m fine with her surviving and bearing her wounds; but the entire set-up was just wrong-headed and the show lost communication with fans, who all thought, rightly, that Arya knew the Waif would come after her. That she was suddenly so uncharacteristically aloof was a failure in the writing (and I very often come to the defense of the show when it comes to issues like these, but I can’t here.)

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    137. Stark Raven’ Rad,

      Thank you for your careful analysis. I think you were basically correct, and there is indeed evidence that Lady Crane had true medical skills or a personal formulary. And that Arya availed herself of the healing pool

      I agree, thanks for that, in particulra for the timeline.. Yes, that needed to be better communicated to the viewers, along with other things….

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    138. I think the Waif showed up at L. Crane’s home to assassinate her, and just happened to find Arya there too. Actually, I think she heard Arya call out “Lady Crane?”.

      I’m still suspicious about L. Crane.

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    139. I think the Waif showed up at L. Crane’s home to assassinate her, and just happened to find Arya there too. Actually, I think she heard Arya call out “Lady Crane?”.

      I’m still suspicious about L. Crane.

      LatrineDiggerBrian,
      I think the magic word for Edmure was his son: The things we do for love!
      And…his uncle did tell the Freys to cut Edmure’s throat. I don’t know why everyone in the Tully family hates Edmure. He seems to love his family, but they don’t necessarily love him! They armtwist him to marry Walders daughter; he spends 2 years in a dungeon because of that stupid plan, then Blackfish says to cut his throat. I think Edmure had had enough of Tully bad ideas.

      He chose the future. He chose life.

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    140. Valaquen: That she was suddenly so uncharacteristically aloof was a failure in the writing (and I very often come to the defense of the show when it comes to issues like these, but I can’t here.)

      But the goal of the writing was to show that Arya is imperfect and can still let her guard down. They communicated that adequately. Now, fans might want to think that these are supermen who do not err: but throughout real history, people “who should have known better” failed because for a brief while they did not pay attention.

      My sole beef was in the production. They should not have shown her getting such major gut wounds unless they subsequently showed that something like a money belt had deflected the worst of it.

      My much bigger beef was the whole Riverrun stuff. OK, it did fine for storytelling: Jaime has made it absolutely clear to anyone and everyone that despite it all, he’s on Team Cersei. And we got the poignancy of Jaime and Brienne realizing that they were choosing opposite sides. However: just like the book, this was kicking a dead-horse from the perspective of plot.

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    141. Dee Stark,

      Sansa’s wedding night was a real problem. We are supposed to be convinced of the awfulness of rape and brutality and yet, unlike Theon’s experience, she showed no ill effects from it in the immediate aftermath. She’s a teenaged orphan who has been left alone in the world, trapped with this sadistic, serial killing monster. It was thoroughly unconvincing. What do you think happens to a girl in that situation in the real world? There are plenty of them and plenty of research into the issue. Imprisonment with constant physical and sexual abuse is such an intense and horrific experience that it cannot be convincingly used merely as a catalyst for a lesser character’s personal development. Sansa’s character should be changed. She looked more vulnerable and like she’d been through the wringer after her escape than while she was enduring whatever Ramsay put her through. Up until she gave Petyr a scolding over leading her into the marriage, I had thought that perhaps he had been rough but, by Ramsay’s twisted standards, actually kind of good to her.

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    142. Valaquen,

      Davos got lucky. He faced a lot of threats, but somehow avoided them. There’s nothing wrong with that from a writing perspective; it happens.

      Arya did not get lucky. She had multiple perforations of some very important internal organs, requiring “off-screen magic” to have had even a chance to survive. There’s everything wrong with that from a writing perspective; it’s lazy.

      So folks who complain about Arya, but not about Davos, understand good writing.

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    143. The Arya experiences in the house of black and white and especially the chase scene in the “No One” episode have drawn a lot of negative comment from fans of the show.
      What I perceive from reading the books and watching the show re Arya is that she is a born survivor who has learned through bitter experience how to mask her true feelings in order to survive or reach an end objective.
      I think Arya consciously makes the decision to play “the long game” the moment she hides needle rather than discard it.
      Arya has had sword fighting technique training with Syrio, she has had harsh life lessons thrust upon her by various circumstance and the cynical Hound on their road trip.
      Arya learned the hard way that if you wear someone elses face before becoming No-One there were consequences (in her case blindness) so she has to become No-One before she can use the faceless mens ultimate disguise tool.
      I found the Arya montage interesting as it showed her improving her fighting skills / mixing poisons etc that gave me the impression that she was progressing through the skill set needed for a top of the range assassin.
      Having that unguarded moment on the bridge prior to getting stabbed is not something that a faceless person would do, but it is something Arya the person would do when she is so close to getting back across the narrow sea and dreaming of home.
      She got lucky when she received 2 stabs and a twist to the intestinal area of her stomach rather than take a fatal hit to the liver or gall bladder, and her period as a blind person paid off by giving her the edge when fighting / killing the waif
      When Jaqen H’gha pronounces that “finally, a girl is no-one” Arya immediately announces that she is “Arya Stark of Winterfell and is going home”.
      Training completed, object achieved and in better shape to finally deal with those that remain on her list.
      I’d like to see Walder Frey get his throat sliced by his young wife and just before he croaks the young wife whips off her face to reveal Arya .

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    144. fozzer,

      Wouldn’t that mean 1) Arya killed Walder’s wife? And 2) that Arya completed her training in FM face swapping?

      The first seems out of character (killing an innocent child). The second didn’t happen, right? She doesn’t have the ability to change faces (on her own in the “wild”).That’s why she said she was Arya.

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