Game of Thrones 5.09 “The Dance of Dragons” Video Recap Roundup

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The ninth episode of season 5 brought its usual gasp-worthy moments and huge plot points. While some swooned, other criticized. Where will our video reviewers fall on the spectrum?


Thumbnail says it all in this week’s HappyCool video.


The Small Council of What the Flick discusses this week’s episode. Preview: Ser Cenk of House TYT was not feeling what they did with Stannis.


Ozzy Man reacts to Stannis, dragons and Harpies, oh my!


Remember how Jonathan of Gay of Thrones is actually Esme Bianco? Watch his reaction to nobody’s favorite Team Dragonstone scene.

More videos:

Grantland podcast does not appear to have posted “Watch the Throne” this week; post links at will in comments

History of Westeros with arguably the most comprehensive recap videos out there: Sullied book to show and Show-only discussion


Post Show Recaps

An *UNSULLIED* review by schmoes Kristian Harloff and Mark Ellis.

Sawyer7mage – Our lone solo review.


Think Hero
– Partially Sullied? Don’t quote me.

The Afterbuzz panel

Which videos handled the sacrifice scene best? Which in general do you find most on-point? Does humor soften the blow?Thank you for reading and see you after the finale!

221 responses

Jump to (and Always Support) the Bottom

    1. KrakenDaughter:
      Cuntbag,

      Ozzy is just being a salty Stannis the Mannis fanboy. He’ll turn around eventually.

      We’ll see. I’m kinda tired from breaking it down any further. He could just get stabbed in the guts by Brienne and all our interpretations, viewpoints, and name-calling towards one another will end up being for nothin’

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    2. I am 100% for Aussie Man (Ozzy Man).

      He is genuine. He is giving his opinion, and I happen to agree with his view on the episode and the illogical decision of D&D to do what they done in that episode with Stannis.

      In that context, in that situation, in my opinion, Stannis would not burn his only daughter and heir. The evidence for it exist both in the show and the books. He’s going out of character and it was a stupid decision.

      It’s fine if you don’t agree with his opinion or mine. No need to attack him. The irony here is that you guys are attacking those who disagree with your opinion for them disagreeing with a certain adaptation D&D made.

      As for the course language. I like it, that’s how we fucking talk with our friends here in Australia. It’s his chilled out attitude. He’s engaging with his audience the way someone from down under would communicate with a friend.

      At the end of the day, if you’re the type of person that says “don’t complain, stop watching the show if you don’t like it“, maybe stop being hypocritical morons and stop watching OzzyMan instead of complaining about him complaining.

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    3. I loved the episode.
      I think the Stannis Shireen scene could’ve been 100x more powerful and impactful if they had built up to it better.
      Stannis needed to be in a far more vulnerable position, like without any options..Then this scene would’ve been genius

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    4. Luka Nieto,

      I don’t know..
      I just felt like the situations around him were rushed to make this happen.
      Like Ramsay conveniently w/o being caught, somehow found ALL the food and supplies among the 100s of tents (which were unguarded?), …
      It just felt like things went to shit way too quickly, and I would’ve liked this scene to have taken place when everything felt as dire as when Stannis was feeding on rats in Storms End.

      Don’t get me wrong, I loved the episode, and I understand what the show was trying to achieve, I just felt the situations were rushed to make it happen, and if you are going to do such a powerful and heartbreaking scene, the buildup to it is just as important as the moment itself.

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    5. jentario,

      Are you channeling Louis CK? 😀

      HelloThere,

      See, that’s what bothers me. You’re ignoring what’s presented in the actual show to make this argument because you didn’t like the scene. But you know how that will be received so you complain about execution… even when it doesn’t make any sense. “The tents were unguarded”? Watch the episode. This is answered in the episode. As well as every one of the typical concerns, such as the fact that Shireen is his heir so he wouldn’t kill her —That’s not the issue that’s presented here: Either they ALL die, including Shireen, or only Shireen dies. That’s the classic “trolley problem” that they wanted to showcase, and they did it well.

      You don’t like it? That’s perfectly fine. But don’t poke holes where there are none.

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    6. Luka Nieto,

      Maybe ur right, lol
      Still thought the scene itself was powerful.

      Its difficult to sometimes understand these characters/situations w/o first having access to GRRMs 1000s of pages of context.

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    7. Luka Nieto,

      He had three options:
      1. Don’t burn Shireen, stay and die from hunger or frost with his army and his legacy. Now THIS, would have been out of character for Stannis.
      2. Take a small group back to Castle Black including his family and Melisandre, essentially leaving his whole army to die and giving up on the game of thrones (because he’d lose everything that made him powerful).
      3. Burn Shireen, and by doing so ensuring his victory and his destiny (this is what he believes, chances are that it’s at least partly Mel’s bullshit) which is to save the world

      So the option really was between 2 and 3. 2 would be admitting defeat and giving up, and it would (in Stannis’s eye) mean he forsakes the entire world along with his personal ambitions in favor of his daughter. His decision was truly tough and terrible… but still unnacceptable.

      He could have given her milk of the poppy at least… Just standing there while she screams in pain and feels betrayed by him, and after having such a terrible life with Selyse… No, Stannis, just no.

      Either way, the show did it well. I don’t see Stannis being in a more precarious position than this when he makes the same decision in the books.

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    8. im with the ozzyman you don’t burn kids on stakes for your own personal gain. Worst scene in GOT history. Stannis is a class A CUNT

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    9. jentario,

      Exactly. I find it amusing people say that was out of character for Stannis. In that situation, that’s what book|Stannis would’ve done, no question, while the alternatives you present ARE way out of character for him.

      Now that you say it, I like the milk of the poppy thing. Though I’m pretty sure Mel would insist on Shireen being conscious (she mentioned the screams as a relevant part of the sacrifice in season three; to Shireen, no less.) Still, it’d have been more… palatable. But, then again, I don’t know if I want the sacrifice of children to be more palatable.

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    10. Moles town bastard,

      Personal gain was the last thing on his mind. Did you even pay attention to his scene with Shireen? It’s all about destiny, and he is certain his destiny is to lead the living against the dead in the Long Night, and can only be achieved through this sacrifice

      This is Isaac and Abraham from the bible

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    11. jentario:
      Luka Nieto,

      3. Burn Shireen, and by doing so ensuring his victory and his destiny (this is what he believes, chances are that it’s at least partly Mel’s bullshit) which is to save the world

      I think I gotta watch the scene again where Melisandre pitches the burning Shireen idea to Stannis. I thought she said it wouldn’t ‘ensure’ anything, just you know, greatly help. So for me it’s an odd decision because if he doesn’t burn his daughter he still will trudge on with as many of the 2,000 blokes as possible and still MIGHT win. He is supposed to be well funded from the iron bank and the only fight they’ve had was taking down some unprepared wildlings. But if he burns his daughter and trudges on he still only MIGHT win. It’s someone making an extreme choice for a might or might outcome that’s probs not sitting well with me either.

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    12. Ozzy Man,

      That’s not how the show presented it. If you want to believe that, fine. But that’s not the dilemma the show presented.

      If Stannis and his army didn’t survive, they wouldn’t be able to stop the Boltons… or the White Walkers. Just a few episodes ago, Melisandre put it plainly: either Stannis is king when the Long Night comes or they all die. If they freeze to death or die of hunger in their march to Winterfell, it’s all over.

      Granted, maybe the writers could’ve had Melisandre give the same speech she gave two weeks ago (yet again!), but honestly, I think people get it by now (except book readers who are obsessed over a romantic view of Stannis, apparently.) Stannis alluded to it while talking to her daughter just before the sacrifice (fulfilling one’s destiny, however much one may hate it, which is very much in line with Stannis’ obsession with duty); and Melisandre made this point explicitly in The Gift, just two episodes before this horrific event, precisely while trying to convince Stannis to burn Shireen:

      “There is only one way. You must become king before the Long Night begins. Only you can lead the living against the dead. All your life has led us to this moment. To this decision.”

      They presented it beautifully, as far as I am concerned. Yes, there is a great deal of ambition in Stannis’ motivations, but it is a kind of messianic ambition, not particularly selfish (though certainly narcissistic —It takes narcissism to believe you are the Second Coming of Azor “Jesus Christ via Greek Tragedy” Ahai.) The choice Stannis sees in his mind, as presented in the episode, is this: either they all die, including Stannis, Selyse, Melisandre AND of course Shireen herself, or only Shireen dies in a sacrifice, saving them all. That’s why the complaints that Stannis wouldn’t sacrifice his own heir are stupid; He didn’t really have a choice there. Shireen would die either way, either by the frost and hunger or the sacrifice.

      As for the idea that it was contrived and written to “shock”… that’s absurd. If it feels contrived to book readers it’s only because they didn’t know it was coming… or they didn’t want to believe, despite the abundant foreshadowing since season two:

      “You will betray the men serving you, you will betray your family, you will betray everything you once held dear… and it will all be worth it, because you are the Son of Fire, you are the Warrior of Light.”

      What did YOU think that meant, if not that Stannis would have to kill members of his own family and people in his service to become the king and save everyone as the Son of Fire and the Warrior of Liht? Did you not see Stannis still allowed Melisandre to service him after she said that? Not only that, but in the show he started believing in that moment, which was after Blackwater, after that speech and seeing a battle in the snow in the flames. What did you think would happen? And it’s not like it’s the first time. Even before his “revelation”, he killed Renly… a traitor, true, but not in battle. Sort of grey, you must admit, at least. And then Edric / Gendry, who he was willing to sacrifice —it’s even worse in the books, where he had known the kid for a long while. And back then his situation wasn’t even immediately LIFE OR DEATH. So… what happens when he, his wife, his witch, his daughter and his whole army are about to freeze to death or die of hunger? Well, what do YOU think he’s willing to do? If you think Stannis, book or show, wouldn’t sacrifice his daughter (who, I insist, while being his heir, would die anyway in this situation) in a situation this dire, I’m sorry but you have completely misunderstood the character.

      The point is, regardless of books, the story here made sense. Ramsay’s sabotage made sense —local people taking advantage of the terrain with guerrilla warfare, using just a few good men to perform sabotage; not exactly unheard of. Many have tired to poke holes in it, just because they hate the scenario so much… rather unsuccessfully. Some have argued Stannis would’ve had guards… ignoring that the episode acknowledges it (either they were incompetent or traitors and Stannis wants them hanged.) The dire aftermath of the attack makes sense. So what’s the problem? That it didn’t happen that way in the books, so you didn’t expect it, which now makes it feel contrived and written to shock… while the Red Wedding and Ned’s death was… what? GRRM could’ve just NOT killed them, but the story was heading that way and there are consequences to their deaths, which there also will be with Stannis’ decision and Shireen’s death.

      So, as for the fact that he’s sacrificing his only child and heir so he can capture a castle instead of a least doing it in the fight against the White Walkers in the future… You’re missing the point. There is NO future if they die there —a point Melisandre, Stannis and Selyse have been explicitly making for a few episodes now. Yes, the writers made the situation shitty so that Stannis would kill Shireen. That’s how writing works —These are not real people or events; D&D are not monsters for planning this instead of arriving at it naturally somehow.

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    13. I don’t appreciate D&D manipulating the audience w/ the Stannis-Shireen afterschool story…and then burning her. I believe it would have served logic’s sake much better to have used all that hearts and kisses time to show Stannis’ and company’s desperate plight instead. Know I will be spat upon but don’t believe George is going to have some kind of Stannis – Shireen bonding. Agree with the Ozzy, context is everything in this story.

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    14. Ozzy Man,

      That is never touched on, you’ll have to watch season 3 to get proof of it. IIRC she says Gendry’s sacrifice will ensure his victory, and that’s why the simple leech sacrifice had such a huge result. Surely, Stannis isn’t sacrificing his daughter for better weather.

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    15. Ozzy Man has become really annoying to me.

      I used to love his videos, but now he is some weird combination of Linda and Preston Jacobs.

      To give episode like this only 5 of 10 is bulshit and everything he is doing in his videos this season is whining about traumatic scenes.

      He said RW made sense? Well, by his standards it didn’t.

      Why would Robb Stark go to the Twins at all? They could organize wedding at Riverrun.

      Meh, nevermind. I’m not angry I’m just disappointed in him. He is acting like a spoiled child.

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    16. It’ll take a while before people’s oppinions settle on this scene.
      It was a huge shock and many will have knee jerk reactions until everything settles down.

      Maybe Ozzy will change his mind, maybe he will not….
      But plz.. comparing him to Lindaaa… thats insane… hes not complaining about the characters not being cast ethnically correct.

      But I will say one thing.. This show is held to a standard in which perfect is an expectation, not an achievement, and I find that frustrating,

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    17. Ozzy’s point about the setup work of the writing lacking and making the decision seem gratuitous is spot-on. It needed more work to sell Stannis’ choice. His reversal feels a little soap opera-y and we needed (and maybe still can get next episode):

      1) the White Walkers as a threat that scares the bejesus out of him and Melisandre
      2) the Kingship as obsession obliterating his love for his daughter (which still seemed too intact as of the earlier scene)
      3) reasons why going back to Castle Black and waiting totally meant losing the war

      As it is, it’s like he went on a car trip, got hungry, and ate one of his companions. “Why didn’t you go to Tesco’s?” “But we were starving!” That kind of thing.

      Dillane and Ingram were still awesome though.

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    18. Felt Pelt,

      Not every plotpoint needs to be reiterated within an episode. The White Walker threat, the incoming Long Night, was set up by Melisandre to Stannis, while discussing burning Shireen no less, just a few episodes ago, in “The Gift.”

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    19. I loved Ozzy man calling out D & D for the dick move of blaming GRRM for the Shireen kill! I agree 100%, cheap and weak by them, also deliberately spoiling the books. Major, major dick move.

      Also spot on with making Trent a pedo seeming OTT (although if he’s taking the Raff part from the books it kind of fits.)

      And again with the Dorne stuff. I can’t say I disagree on anything.

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    20. If anyone doubts how a small group of local operatives can successfully cripple a guarded installation please refer to Operation Gunnerside in WW2

      The little-known Operation Gunnerside began in February 1943, when a small team of British-trained Norwegian exiles parachuted onto a frozen plateau near the Norsk Hydro Vemork plant in Norway. At the time, the Nazi-controlled site was the world’s only significant producer of heavy water—a substance crucial to the development of atomic weapons. The plant had already allowed the Germans to make progress in their atomic research, and Winston Churchill and the Allies were desperate to deny the Nazis any chance at developing an atom bomb.

      On the night of February 27, the Norwegian commandos skied to the Norsk Hydro site, descended a gorge, forded an icy stream and made a perilous climb to the outskirts of Vemork. After bypassing German sentries and minefields, the men entered the plant through a cable duct and planted explosive charges on the heavy water chambers. As the crew made their getaway, the bombs detonated and successfully destroyed the facility. Operation Gunnerside only crippled German heavy water production for some six months, but it wasn’t the last Norwegian act of sabotage against German atomic research. In February 1944, resistance agents used explosives to sink a boat as it tried to ferry a large supply of heavy water to Germany.

      Now I will grant that in the case of GoT Ramsay’s commandos’ delayed action super-efficient pyrotechnics was pushing it a bit but that was for visual effect and the principle of infiltration and sabotage using knowledge of the terrain isn’t that daft.

      It would be easier to swallow perhaps if we’d seen at least some of it from the POV of Ramsay’s band but time constraints probably rules that out.

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    21. Felt Pelt:

      2) the Kingship as obsession obliterating his love for his daughter (which still seemed too intact as of the earlier scene)

      I disagree on this one. There is a long tradition in story and myth on the sacrifice of the ones we love the most (or it’s no true sacrifice). Stannis’ obsession with his destiny doesn’t “obliterate” his love for Shireen.

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    22. With some of these reviews, I am left to wonder: If the Red Wedding had happened in the show before the book came out, what would all the book-reading reviewers’ reactions be? Would their rants have been similar? Many of them are really not watching the show itself, but expecting scenes to be checked off from the books or see scenes unfold that they have built up in their heads from the decades of internet discussions while waiting for the books. Same with certain characters who have not yet reached endgame in the story.

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    23. Ozzy Man: I think I gotta watch the scene again where Melisandre pitches the burning Shireen idea to Stannis. I thought she said it wouldn’t ‘ensure’ anything, just you know, greatly help. So for me it’s an odd decision because if he doesn’t burn his daughter he still will trudge on with as many of the 2,000 blokes as possible and still MIGHT win. He is supposed to be well funded from the iron bank and the only fight they’ve had was taking down some unprepared wildlings. But if he burns his daughter and trudges on he still only MIGHT win. It’s someone making an extreme choice for a might or might outcome that’s probs not sitting well with me either.

      After watching your video and seeing your responses Ozzy Man, I think you said it better than I ever could. Keep doing you. There are many, such as myself, who certainly appreciate what you have to say.

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    24. As much as I like Ozzy Man´s reviews, this one wasn´t that great in my personal opinion, and I`m NOT really referring to the controversial event that occurred concerning Shireen, but rather to the things he left unmentioned.

      No praise or at least a more dedicated mention concerning the Dorne-dialogue? It wasn´t the series best dialogue, of course, but it helped set up what´s to come for Doran, his agenda and Dorne in general. For Jaime and Trystane, it opens up so many new roads and possibilities that could turn out be both crucial and interesting, not to mention that the dialogue per se was beautifully written, shot and executed in general. That event shouldn´t go (almost) unmentioned, it´s not like it´s less crucial than other events just because the immediate impact isn´t clearly visible yet.

      Furthermore, like he says himself, he just completely ignored the splendid acting; concerning acting-skills, this episode definitely ranks among the best of the whole series. Glen, Dinklage, Dillane, Frey, MacKeever(!), even the initially a bit bland Emilia Clarke totally rocked this episode. Ozzy Man reviews isn´t a platform to talk about technical aspects of filming etc, yet still this shouldn`t be left out since Kit Harrington received acclaim by him for his acting in the last episode, too.

      Still, what bothers me quite a bit, actually most of all about this review, is the complete disregard of the dialogue between Hizdahr & Tyrion (& Dario and Dany, if you want to count them in), especially against the background of just last week´s episode. In S5E8, Ozzy couldn´t find enough praise for the conversation between Dany and Tyrion, one of the reasons was because it provided a nice look into the past while still bringing the involved characters forward in the current position they´re in, which quite much was an underlying theme of “Hardhome”. Looking back while looking forward, realizing what was flawed in the past and learning from it. However, even though Tyrion and Hizdahr have a lively discussion this time about a very much alike theme and provide a splendid intellectual debate about the necessities and privations of ruling ( which can serve as an analogy to how Daenerys could or should rule in the future, as well) all while letting us actively think about what we ourselves would consider right in their place, it gets IGNORED completely. Such a top-notch dialogue just shouldn´t be ignored, sorry.

      Besides that, the Stannis-Situation is of course the one thing that will be and is talked about the most, yet still I feel like there was so much else to analyze or to include in the review about this episode, it felt a tad too focused on Stannis and his gruesome decision. Yeah, it was the most important thing in this episode beside Drogon and the Dorne-Dialogue, but scrapping most of the other content to talk about it all the longer doesn´t feel justified and kind of distorts the rather big amount of things this episode did quite well or even great. Stannis´ characterization is left to debate, but besides that, mostly anything else was top-notch in terms of characterization, dialogue, acting and execution of the fighting-scenes. At least in my opinion, of course.

      Only con besides the ongoing discussion wether Stannis´ decision was out of character or not: Meryn Trant´s bad-guy-overkill as a pedophile. However, we can already see that this element was included to provide a reasonable opportunity for Arya to strike, so I´m okay with it, even though it´s a bit inelegant…

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    25. Kay,

      Exactly. Of course, they’ll claim the Red Wedding was set up properly and this wasn’t… ignoring the fact that Shireen’s sacrifice specifically was setup since season four, and Stannis betraying everyone and everything he holds dear to become Azor Ahai was setup since season freaking two:

      “You will betray the men serving you, you will betray your family, you will betray everything you once held dear… and it will all be worth it, because you are the Son of Fire, you are the Warrior of Light.”

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    26. George R.R. Martin is “Innocent until proven guilty” when it comes to Shireen’s fiery death on Stannis’s orders? OK, Ozzy Man. I’ve consistently enjoyed your reviews, even if I’ve disagreed with your opinions on several episodes this season. I take serious issue with this particular claim.

      If you want to critique the execution of the scene and the emotional investment (call it manipulation if it makes you happy) to build it up, fine. Go nuts. But when it comes to the actual decision to have Shireen burned, George R.R. Martin is complicit, if not outright guilty. Even if he hasn’t written the scene yet. Even if he changes his mind. Even if he never finishes his books, and allows the audience to mentally project whatever brilliant ending they can dream up onto what they already know. Why? Because when David Benioff and Dan Weiss sat down with him in good faith to learn the endgame for his story, he told them that this is what would happen to Shireen Baratheon. And they took him at his word.

      Benioff and Weiss have repeatedly said that they intend to bring Game of Thrones to the same endpoint as ASOIAF. They are making a good faith effort to do so, with an eye towards the limitations of television versus the unchecked sprawl of a novel. They obviously can’t include everything. But the major character beats and storylines are there. Clearly, this is a plot point they believed they could not tell the story without.

      I had a visceral reaction to Shireen’s death, but it had everything to do with my sadness at watching a beloved and innocent character burn alive. It had very little to do with the alleged character assassination of Stannis. The death and the decision, brutal as they were, did feel earned to me. Game of Thrones must stand separately from ASOIAF, but there is nothing about the way Stannis has been portrayed, either in the books or on the show, that leads me to believe this was out of character. They’ve been setting this up since Season 2, when Melisandre told Stannis that during his quest for the Iron Throne, “You will betray your family … and it will all be worth it. You will be King.” Furthermore, when Kerry Ingram first joined the cast in Season 3, it was initially only for one season. Then, between writing Seasons 3 and 4, Benioff and Weiss had their much-publicized sitdown with Martin to discuss the endgame of the series. Suddenly, Shireen was back. And in Episode 2 of Season 4 (written by GRRM himself), she’s having a conversation with Melisandre about sacrifices to the Lord of Light. “Women scream when they give birth,” the Red Woman said. “Afterwards, they are filled with joy.” Shireen retorted “Afterwards, they aren’t ash and bone.” In retrospect, that line stands out as a chilling piece of foreshadowing – nearly two seasons in advance.

      I feel very confident that Benioff and Weiss didn’t come up with this on their own. They aren’t living in a bubble. They know what this means for Stannis and what people think of him. They know how it will cause their audience to respond in a visceral and negative fashion, as you have. I refuse to believe Benioff and Weiss’s thought process was “We need a shocking death for Episode 9. I know! Let’s have one of our major characters burn his innocent daughter alive and watch as she screams and dies. We know it will tarnish his character forever, but it will be worth it for the rise it will draw out of our audience. After all, Game of Thrones has a reputation to maintain. And while we’re at it, let’s throw George under the bus and say it was all his idea.” If you believe that, then our opinions of Benioff and Weiss’s moral compunctions and abilities as writers are so disparate that we are likely never going to be able to arrive at common ground. In that case, good day, sir.

      Does the precise context of Shireen’s death on the page versus the screen matter? Of course it does. But here we come back to D&D making a good faith effort to adapt George’s story for the screen. If you want to believe that Melisandre and Selyse will burn Shireen behind Stannis’s back, or that Stannis will only come to the decision under different circumstances (before a battle against the White Walkers, say) that’s fine. But Shireen is still going to burn to death in an upcoming novel. Furthermore, Shireen’s burning happening on Stannis’s orders leads me to believe he will have a role in that decision in the novels as well. That’s going to be brutal whenever and however it happens. I’m personally not going to think any higher of Stannis if and when Shireen burns to defeat the White Walkers or whatever. The act will still be heinous, mitigated only by the fact that Shireen is a far less interesting and prominent character in the novels (which is a separate issue entirely).

      If George changes his mind and decides not to burn Shireen after all, that’s his prerogative. But few things would lower my opinion of him more. Knowing that D&D are listening to you and trusting your vision, you don’t put shit like this out into the world unless you’re sure (Or you’re actively trying to sabotage them, as some crackpots would have people believe).

      Personally, I am immensely glad that they revealed Shireen’s death was something George revealed to them. Why? So the book readers can’t hide behind their denial (not that it’s stopping them from trying. Oh God, are they trying). If they hadn’t said anything, the cries of “fan fiction” and “gratuitous violence” and “shock value” and whatever other nonsense would be running even more rampant than they are right now. Was it a “dick move”? Should have kept their mouths shut and taken the heat on this particular development? Sure, you can argue that if you want to. But where do you draw the line? We know the show is going to surpass the novels and end before the remaining books in the series are released. Starting next season, EVERYTHING that we will see on screen is a potential spoiler. You may key in on the word “potential” there, but that’s a false sense of security.

      When Beloved Character X dies in Season 6 or 7, are we going to assume that the death is pure invention by D&D until proven otherwise … even if we can see the groundwork being laid for that death in the existing novels (as was the case with Shireen)? Benioff and Weiss may stay silent on every character death from here on out, but by acknowledging that they are going to pass the novels and spoil things they wish they didn’t have to spoil, they are implicitly confirming that the actions taken by certain characters and certain character deaths are going to be drawn from future novels. That is going to break many hearts, shatter many theories, and disrupt many images people had drawn up for characters based on their knowledge from the books. If you object to what the show told us about Stannis Baratheon, that’s understandable. If you object to how the show executed this particular plot point, that’s even more valid. But if you object to the show pressing forward and revealing this plot point at all, then that is your issue, not a problem with Game of Thrones.

      You’re angry over Shireen’s death, and upset about what it does for Stannis. Guess what? I am too. I’m certainly not going to forget her screams any time soon, and Stannis has crossed the Rubicon in my eyes to point of becoming irredeemable, if not an outright villain (though I still want him to defeat the Boltons). For the sake of my own sensitivity, I would have been perfectly happy if Benioff and Weiss, upon hearing the news of Shireen’s fiery death, had decided to hold off on showing us this particular event until a later season. I would have been even happier if they had said “That’s too brutal. We can’t show that on TV … ever. We’ll write around it.” But they’re committed to telling the story Martin entrusted them with, and all the consequences that come with it. I respect that immensely, even if I disagree with the execution of that plan at times.

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    27. Ozzy Man,

      How about Option 4: wait for a break in the weather. Eat some more horses, hunt the abundant wildlife in the North, go ice fishing (this was done in the book), seize food and supplies from surrounding small settlements (like those Olly lived in), treat with the Hill tribes (also done in the book); in other words just chill out (yeah, bad pun).

      I haven’t seen any of the review videos yet; perhaps these and other options were debated there?

      As we saw in the previews, the weather did indeed break. Are we sure this was because of the sacrifice? Mel will say yes, but others might say no. Just a coincidence?

      For all the doubters here, there were plenty of options. The Shireen burning could’ve still taken place somewhere down the road, to keep the foreshadowing folks happy, but I remain in the camp that the reasoning wasn’t ironclad to do it in Episode 9.

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    28. ctid:
      I loved Ozzy man calling out D & D for the dick move of blaming GRRM for the Shireen kill! I agree 100%

      When this kind of underhanded nonsense rears its head, I totally get how show lovers get kinda sick of book readers. David and Dan didn’t “blame” anyone; they simply said — a spoiler, true, probably unwarranted — that George informed them of this event. Just as he informed them of countless other things that would come to pass in the books.

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    29. Luka Nieto:
      Felt Pelt,

      Not every plotpoint needs to be reiterated within an episode. The White Walker threat, the incoming Long Night, was set up by Melisandre to Stannis, while discussing burning Shireen no less, just a few episodes ago, in “The Gift.”

      I think the White Walker threat was also pretty much driven home for every viewer just a week ago with the zombie apocalypse at Hardhome. Yes, the show could have reiterated everything once again for more emphasis, but that really would only work right if the show was the Stannis and Mel show and didn’t need to use minutes on a plethora of other events in other locales. Either way, the story beats are all there whether you agree that they were developed as fully as necessary: Mel emphasizing the importance of Stannis to fight the White Walkers, the visual smorgasbord of just what a White Walker invasion actually means to the realms of men, and then the moment where a most terrible choice is forced.

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    30. Knight of Storm´s End,

      They took the pedophile bit from TWOW, in which Raff is Arya’s target (also guarding the Master of Coin sent to Braavos to negotiate with the Iron Bank) and he’s also fond of little girls. Granted, the fact that it was in the books doesn’t mean it’s necessary, but I think it helps —watching the Unsullied’s reactions, they know Meryn Trant is with the Lannisters and that’s about it. Most don’t remember he killed Syrio Forel (we’ll be reminded next episode, by Arya, I’m sure), or that he slapped around Sansa a few times. In other words, they needed to establish him as a bad guy.

      Inelegant? I grant you that.

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    31. Most book readers I know will admit that when they read the Red Wedding (or any of those other infamous books scenes) they hurled their books against a wall and had to take a break. One of my friends had to leave the house, stand outside and have a cigarette. Now, when show watchers saw these events for the first time they flipped their minds, and some even quit the show or accused it of being violent and downbeat for the sake of it. Book readers shrugged, “Well, if they can’t handle this kind of show…” Now we are in a strange position where everyone is on equal footing. We will all be freshly outraged and shocked. It’s interesting that the show will replace the books as a buffer for the story’s tragedic events.

      Some time from now the shocked viewers will have to re-evaluate, just as many did with the books (some shocking events and twists from Book 5 seemed simply gratuitous, but I, and many others, have acclimated to them over the last four years.)

      And of course there will always be people who say, “Well, maybe it’s from the upcoming book, but GRRM will do it better/D&D botched and misunderstood whatever George said” (as though D&D heard about Shireen’s burning second or third hand). Eh.

      Luke Nieto seems spot on to me. Mel has said ad infinituum that Stannis must betray his family in order to fulfil his destiny and save the world, just as Azor Ahai plunged his sword into his lover’s chest. Being an heir is meaningless if there’s nothing to inherit. Stannis doesn’t like these tribulations, but he has to brace them – worse, he has to take responsibility for them, personal and ‘professional’ responsibility. It does a lot for me when it comes to the character. Most heroic figures in fiction today are Pollyanna-esque; this goes back to Greek tragedy, where greatness always comes at terrible costs.

      And it did a lot for Selyse, too. Her wigout during the burning did a lot for the character for me. Looking back at her prior scenes, I now get an impression that her fanaticism is due to her own insecurities and self-perceived failures rather than religious conviction — when we first meet her she is locked away and mourns her stillborn sons, reflecting her failure to give Stannis heirs. She seems to project this on to Shireen, seeing her as emblematic of her own failures and worthlessness. When she tells Stannis that she wept out of happiness when Melissandre told her Stannis had slept with her, it in retrospect seems very disingenuous. Her scenes with Mel say a lot too: Selyse cannot help but look Mel all over. She wants to be Melissandre, who has captivated Stannis.

      Unfortunately these weaknesses lead to her abandonment of her daughter and, eventually, her demise. She only snaps out when it’s too late. Quite tragic. Maybe others won’t feel the same but I thought that did a lot to unravel Selyse’s brief appearances.

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    32. Only way I can see him sacrificing his daughter for duty as AA is not to gain an advantage on a march to Winterfell against other men but if it is relation to gaining an advantage against an Others army for example, eg they are about to get slaughtered and a massive sacrifice to R’hlorr causes a big thaw which critically halts the Others advance for a time allowing human armies or some other critical re-positioning to happen

      I reckon the show for casting reason has delayed the introduction of some characters like Euron, but at the same time are advancing the deaths of others, eg last season we had Jojen and I am starting to wonder if Stannis and perhaps Selyse get killed off next week early to make way for new characters, so they’ve brought an out of context Shireen burning too far forward as well

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    33. As for the setup, they needed to leave Castle Black earlier perhaps and really show it in all of its stages

      In the books he burns some people for cannibalism, they perhaps needed to go through that as well

      Plus tbf it is hard to escape a sense of them knowing there would be outrage, outrage directed at them as this is an adaption of an existing book scene so it’s all “oh when GRRM mentioned this…” which does carry a smell of attempting to deflect and they’ve confirmed it happens in the books whereas it would have been better to leave doubts, eg at this stage in the WoW Theon release they are at the same stage and Asha it talking about Stannis beheading Theon before a Weir Tree as a blood sacrifice which would have opened up the possibility they are swapping the two around

      As for GRRM including this in the books, someone on Westeros.org did a great job of finding the greek mythology that GRRM is likely to be incorporating so I understand it literature wise.

      If Stannis truly believes he is AA re-born they should have had a Mel/Stannis discussion about Nissa Nissa needing to be sacrificed as an analogy to convince Stannis

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    34. I completely agree with Ozzy Man’s take on the Shireen thing. It’s great that he called out D&D for “slipping” that book spoiler. I also agree with Andy Greenwald’s assessment. I really hope George writes Shireen’s death better than it was done on the show.

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    35. HelloThere:

      But plz.. comparing him to Lindaaa… thats insane… hes not complaining about the characters not being cast ethnically correct.

      It is not insane, they had same nonsensical reaction to David Benioff’s coment.

      And to insult D&D like that? That is something crazy book purists on westeros.org or Reddit would do, but I expected more from him.

      But as I said, there are many other reviewers that I respect even when we disagree.

      Cenk on What the flick didn’t like that scene, but he behaved like an adult.

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    36. Ozzy Man,

      Nice review, Ozzy.

      Regarding resourceful options for Stannis, Preston Jacobs presented a few in his own fun, jaded review, primarily noting that Stannis’ camp should have been situated right next to Long Lake. I’ve added a few others too.

      1) Maybe Long Lake is a food source as well as a protective shield on one side?
      2) Why doesn’t he use Red Velvet’s fire power for heat and illumination? Why is she so useless????
      3) The greatest living army/navy commander should have expected sneak attacks
      4) Shireen’s blood is of no value without killing her? Really??

      I’ve accepted Stannis’ decision to put Shireen on the barbie but as others have stated, there were some “temporary” options. He was “all-in” so damn quickly, it seemed. Please note that Mel & Shireen are nowhere near Stannis at this time in the books. Should be an interesting read.

      Oh well, Stannis is doomed, imho. Red Velvet is useless to him. I can’t wait until next week when faux Lightbringer shatters and the delusion collapses.

      Finally, Ozzy……USA:3, Australia: 1 🙂 🙂

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    37. Not to flog a dead horse (or at least a burning one) too much, but it seems there is still some debate over the primary motivator in Stannis’ mind – saving the realm or becoming king.

      If I’m remembering right, in the Inside the Episode bit D&D specifically cast the choice facing Stannis as one between love of his daughter and “ambition”. To me that means becoming King was is foremost goal.

      Sure, you can argue that he wanted to become king to save the realm. But I think his ambition for the office preceded his recognition of the threat. And I think it was his ambition for the office that was the driving factor.

      Now, Mel’s motivation is a whole other can of worms.

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    38. Luka Nieto,

      And, at the heart of the R’hllor system of belief/system of magic, there is the myth of Azor Ahai. To fullfill his destiny and become the Hero the world needed, he had to sacrifice his wife, Nissa Nissa. Stannis sacrifice Shireen with a heavy hearth, but he did what he had to do as Azor Ahai reborn….

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    39. Valaquen,

      And reading the book, and a moment therefrom, is of course a more personal experience which readers do spread out over a period of weeks or even years compared to millions of TV viewers watching it more or less at the same time and going straight onto the internet to vent their spleen.

      I can imagine someone reading ASOS in 2010 (like me!) and being shocked and wanting to talk it about only to find on the forums “dude, that was so ten years ago – we’re all over that now”.

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    40. Went back and watched the scene of Melisandre selling it. Here it is:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ewGmAY56Ktw

      I have to admit it hits both the points of Stannis treating going back to Castle Black as losing the war and Melisandre stressing how important burning Shireen is. He says “I will risk everything” and “We only go forward.” She mentions the Long Night, and says “All your life has lead to this moment, to this decision.” But his kneejerk rejection of burning Shireen then just changes offscreen. We don’t see why he wouldn’t decline the race for the Iron Throne to save his daughter. I want to see that character work. This is a big character turn, a tragic one, and it needed more care.

      Re: other points. The White Walker threat is real to us, but I don’t know how real it is to Stannis. He looked into a fire. He is in thrall to the Red Woman, but he really loves Shireen. “Obliterate his love” may be the wrong wording on my part. How about “overrule his love”? The addition of an unkempt beard is pretty much the visual clue we get to say, “he was worn down on this point.”

      I didn’t like the show’s setup of the Red Wedding either, seemed a bit wonky, though I loved the actual scene of the Red Wedding’s execution. As a scene itself, Shireen’s death was great and affecting.

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    41. I no longer have any interest nor sympathy for the “THEY SPOILED US!!!” routine.

      1) You are not required watch “Inside the Episodes” or the upcoming previews. In fact, you probably did it to get a better idea what’s coming next week. So shut up about being spoiled.

      2) It IS entirely possible that the book circumstances will be different. In fact, it’s almost guaranteed. That still doesn’t mean this was a character assassination. Never forget that in the books, Stannis/Melisandre are trying to burn everything with royal blood they can get their hands on.

      In fact, if you want to talk about character assassination, what Jon does to fool Mel in the books is pretty vile. That won’t happen. Tyrion’s final meeting with Shae goes WAYYYY differently in the books, but that didn’t happen.

      People never seem to worry overly much about character assassination when it’s making characters we like more likeable…

      3) People have to come to grips with the fact that we didn’t just lose Shireen this episode. We basically (unless you’re a sociopath) lost Stannis. He didn’t get beheaded, or stabbed or have his head squished or get burned. But he was lost just the same.

      4) GRRM has thrown the showrunners under the bus time and time again. I don’t mind them giving it back.

      I’ve only had one major problem — the kind that makes me consider stop watching — with the changes over the years. The Cersei/Jaime rape scene last year was pretty hideous, mainly because it is now clear the showrunners had no idea what they were filming.

      Other than that, every single change has been defensible. Every. Single. Change.

      I’m Sullied. There is nothing in those books, especially 4 and 5, that are so precious they need to be protected at all costs.

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    42. Luka Nieto,

      Yeah, you´re basically just backing up what I said about this topic. I do know where they took the idea of pedophile tendencies from, this actually is a part of the reason I deem it inelegant, since there are quite a few other ways to set this up without merging Trant with another character. We defiated from the books quite a bit, to say the least, so why keep in such an obvious tool of branding someone as the “bad guy”? That´s what I don´t like about it.

      Think about it that way: Let´s assumeTrant gets killed by Arya in a fit of rage in one of Braavos´ small alleyways, not because he´s branded as the bad guy and won´t be missed by anyone, but because Arya still isn´t over her past and can´t control her emotions. This would provide a way better character-development for Arya, since it would be obvious that the kill-list may be the one thing that´s dragging her down to the most sinister parts of her soul and she needs to get rid of it to fully become noone. Now that Trant is merged with Raff, many will just say: “Well done Arya, you´ve done the world a favour by sticking to your kill-list.” That´s not how it should work since it defines Arya more as white character, a good guy, instead of the unbalanced and broken girl she really is.

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    43. I just don’t picture Stannis, book or show, burning Shireen whilst Balon Greyjoy still lives. 2 is not 3, something I know both versions of characters would point out. For me that’s why I agree that dumping it on GRRM’s lap saying “oh well he told us it happens”, is pretty lame. He probably also gave them 3 more events that happen to team Stannis before it comes to that tragic event but they couldn’t show that, so they hand-waved the logic away. The show has to cut a lot of the build up to events, it just has to, so when people say George probably did it differently, he definitely did.

      I admit that when the Red wedding happen during my readings, I was certainly upset. However, after about an hour of thinking of all of the events that led to the event I came to peace with it and continued reading. how it made sense for the characters to act the way they did.

      The vitriol some people have against book readers for not enjoying certain aspects of the show is unfair. They want the story to be as good as what they read so that other people can enjoy that story as well. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that.

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    44. I don’t understand why everyone is hating on OzzyMan!

      For those that asked about holes… If you want to talk about holes, let’s talk about holes (these aren’t all ideas of my own, most of them are, but some I’ve heard being argued).

      1. Ramsay + 20 “Good Men” scouted the entire camp, ran around in the middle of the night, found every tent that had supplies, food, and siege material (all unguarded), and burnt it all with perfect timing; and escaped after burning the tents without being seen or heard this entire time?

      ***Crasters Keep, a place full of drunk morons (nowhere near the size of Stan’s Camp, in number or size) who are not even expecting an attack, required more work from Snow & Co, and they lost more casualties than Ramsay did in his attack. Sounds like Ramsay + his 20 Good Men are better than the entire unsullied army that Dany “purchased”, seriously she needs to get a refund on them ASAP.

      2. Now that Stannis has lost all of his supplies/food and his siege material, what’s the point in removing the snow/cold winds, and moving forward towards Winterfell (so they can spot him easier I guess lol), and the castle can likely stand ground for six months as stated in the last episode.

      3. In a similar situation in the books Stannis burnt four men (not as sacrifices) but because they were cannibals (as punishment)… He was advised thereafter to make sacrifices as prayer wasn’t “working”; to which he replied “pray harder”. Not only that, he had King’s Blood with him

      Asha

      And he didn’t burn that individual.

      I made three points and I kid you not there are many more that show not only inconsistency, but illogical decision making by the writers of this episode. I don’t want to make this a long post you can look for them yourselves.

      I can see a reason as to why D&D however went down this road, I’m not saying I accept this reasoning, but it “makes sense” why they done it.

      They know Stannis will down the road, in different circumstances make a sacrifice (maybe even Shireen; but context is bloody important), and at the end of the day it leads to his doom. Knowing they only have seven seasons; and they want to stick to that schedule, they need to rush storylines and combine different situations and different characters together.

      The evidence for them rushing storylines doesn’t really need to be included here, and I won’t go into detail, but you can clearly see it this season across multiple characters, if not all of them; from Mance, to Aemon, to Sunspear, to Jamie, to Ser Barristan, to Sansa, to Loras, to Brienne, to Sam, to pretty much almost every character (and it really messed up the depth and detail for all those characters; and I’m sorry it’s impossible to argue that those characters have “more depth” on the show). They also needed an emotional death for episode nine, and this was just a cheap way to have an “innocent” emotional death, especially with the way they set it up.

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    45. Valaquen,

      This. Obviously, this is too complex for what was going through Selyse’s head as she watched, heard and smelled her daughter burn, BUT…

      What of Selyse now? She’s pretty much barren. Stannis now has no children or siblings. There are some bastard nephews roaming around, but a) no one knows where the are b) That’s not Stannis’ preferred option.

      Let’s say all this works and Stannis takes the North and somehow keeps it. He then moves south to KL. He’ll have to go through the Twins and Walder Frey has plenty of daughters to make more heirs with.

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    46. Knight of Storm´s End,

      Good points and this is why I like to participate in comments. I don’t wanna do 20-30 min reviews, so it’s good to have a chat. It was hard to praise the actors when I feel like the screenwriting quality doesn’t give them a decent foundation to work on. I was tempted to spend more time on Doran because that really was the best amount of Doran we’ve had, and the most we learnt something new about a character for the whole ep. And although we don’t know a heap about his gameplay, we’ve started to get glimpses into it thank fuck.

      Dinklage and Iain Glenn I’ve praised 2-3 times in a row. I didn’t think they had too much to work with really in this ep, so it would’ve felt odd to praise them again. Tyrion had some cutting one liners, that’s cool, and usually expected. The chat with Hizdahr I found to be ok, intellectual dialogue, but not a heap of new info, just Hizdahr spouting views we know he has and Tyrion retorting with views we know he has. It’s hard to praise the actors when their characters are given a lot of scenes where we don’t learn much about them anymore. The best scenes are always going to be when learning new character info e.g. Jorah’s reaction to his Dad’s death gave us a bit of insight into a possible rocky Dad relationship, Brienne’s monologue about Renly saving her from bullying taught us something new about her, Stannis and Shireen in ep 4 is one of the best of the season because we learn more about each character, and Jon has had such a great season because we’re learning more about him and seeing him grow.

      Doran’s moments were strong because we learnt the character is not a dumb, push-over. He is patient and cool-headed. Yes, Dillane et al. put in wonderful intense performances, but it’s hard to like the scene on a character level because I don’t think they reached that point in satisfying/inevitable ways. It’s essentially plot-driven more so than character-driven, I think. It’s not me being ‘hateful’ or ignorant of plot choices, people really need to cool down with how they think I’m on a hate speech crusade. Anyhow, let’s not get bogged down on that scene again.

      Cheers for ya extra thoughts outside of the review!

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    47. I don’t get this “When D&D does [X], it’s awful and horrible, but when GRRM does [X], it will be awesome and amazing.” I love how salty book fans were ranting and raving in the immediate aftermath of the episode about how D&D had BUTCHERED Stannis’ character and didn’t understand ANYTHING about Stannis…until the reveal that this bit came straight from George, at which point those same fans claimed either that D&D were liars, or that when GRRM writes it, it will be 100% awesome and completely in keeping with Book Stannis. It’s pretty hilarious.

      As for GRRM, his silence on Benioff’s statement is telling. Unlike with Sansa’s rape, he didn’t put up a big post talking about how the book is the book and the show is the show, or caution that D&D are even bloodier than he is as he has done in the past. Nope. The only thing he did was say on his Livejournal that he can’t stop anyone from doing or saying anything, which appeared to be a comment about Benioff revealing the spoiler–as well as a dig at Linda–not about the truth of the spoiler.

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    48. All these strong opinions have me wondering – what VP character will relay the burning? Mel? Or will this take place at CB? Now I am intrigued.

      Also – sorry guys, just don’t think the screenwriting has been up to par this season. Of course there are some great scenes – but it has been really spotty

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    49. Mustafa. S.,

      You’re remembering that sacrifice wrong.

      The “pray harder” thing was earlier… and it was later completely undone, as the cannibals WERE sacrificed; Stannis relented to the fanatics and allowed it.

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    50. MM,

      Maybe GRRM can’t stop anyone, but HBO sure as hell needs to tell Linda to knock it off or she loses most favored status, or whatever she has with them.

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    51. Mustafa. S.: 1. Ramsay + 20 “Good Men” scouted the entire camp, ran around in the middle of the night, found every tent that had supplies, food, and siege material (all unguarded), and burnt it all with perfect timing; and escaped after burning the tents without being seen or heard this entire time?

      I also imagine Ramsay doing this shirtless like against Yarra and Co. Just to over-credit his abilities even more for shits n gigs.

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    52. I really don’t get people who claim this moment wasn’t earned (which is some new thing people recently started using when there wasn’t enough build-up. So everything dramatic has to have a build-up?), I really encourage to RE-WATCH the following scenes:
      S02E10: Stannis & Melisandre discuss future (you will betray your family)
      S03E03: Stannis & Melisandre ‘you will sit on the Iron Throne, but first there must be sacrifices’. Obviously AT THIS POINT the stakes weren’t high enough. Compare his situation then to now.
      S04E02: Melisandre & Shireen discuss burning people.
      S04E07: Melisandre & Selyse “your daughter must be with us”
      S05E04: Melisandre: “those scars mean nothing to the lord of light”
      S05E07: Melisandre urges Stannis to burn Shireen
      S05E09: Stannis talks about his destiny with Shireen.

      We are talking about the death of a secondary character death that had four seasons of build up, with direct foreshadowing in 7 episodes. So please.

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    53. WorfWWorfington,

      I can see Selyse killing herself. Maybe even by Melisandre’s manipulations, if Melly thinks alliance by marriage will further Stannis’s campaign as well as give him an heir. Question is, who could he marry?

      I know this is a depressing thought, but Sansa would be a good choice as she could potentially secure the North, whatever remains of the Riverlands aside from the Freys and the Vale for Stannis in one go.

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    54. WorfWWorfington:
      MM,

      Maybe GRRM can’t stop anyone, but HBO sure as hell needs to tell Linda to knock it off or she loses most favored status, or whatever she has with them.

      I honestly think a lot of Linda’s ire stems from the fact that D&D have access to future plot details and the endgame and she doesn’t. She stated on Twitter that she has no inside knowledge of future books. Benioff casually dropping what Linda interpreted as a huge book spoiler was probably salt in the wound.

      From Linda’s perspective, she has dedicated a huge portion of her life to ASOIAF fandom, and these two bozos with dubious CVs and no fandom cred come along, get access to future plot details she would give her right leg for, butcher (in her mind) her beloved story so that millions of unsullied viewers get the wrong impression of the story and characters, and then proceed to drop spoiler bombs left, right and centre.

      …None of that excuses her awful Twitter behaviour, or her misogynistic, racist and ableist remarks, of course. Her hideous behaviour towards Bex in of itself was reprehensible (although Bex can take some comfort in Linda’s meltdown shining the light on her past awfulness as documented by Bex, I suppose). But I can see why she seems so irrationally upset about this book spoiler.

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    55. Ozzy Man,

      Thanks for the “cheers”, much appreciated. Cheers to you in return for answering the comments and complaints us watchers on the wall always write, I guess it´s not always easy reading them.

      Concerning the Hizdahr-Tyrion-dialogue once again: I see the point where you´re coming from, however, I deem this dialogue so great because we may not learn much new stuff about these two themselves, granted, but we surely do about Dany in a very subtle way. This is why I suggested to actually involve Dany & Daario as participants in the dialogue, even though they may not contribute much to it. No, that wouldn´t be right: they actually want to contribute, but they just CAN`T. Remember when Dany wants to talk Hizdahr into a corner, not realizing she´s actually backfiring at herself? This is what this dialogue shows in a brilliantly subtle way; Dany isn´t someone for political strategies, her polemic dictums are more often nice sounding empty threats than really intellectual, well-thought-out arguments. She simply can´t cope with the speed and ambiguity of Tyrion´s and Hizdahr´s discussion, since it´s much more a “grey” thing than the usual black and white she´s used to. Now that Tyrion is there, it gets more evident than ever why her former efforts to control Meereen have failed, it´s because she can not yet think outside the convenient boxes of “good” and “evil”, like her ridiculous speech about the wheel indicated.
      So we may not learn much new stuff about Tyrion & Hizdahr, but we surely can see through Dany´s passiveness that she´s really just the inexperienced girl who crucially needed someone like Tyrion as backup and can´t really decide what´s good, bad or somewhere between those two extremes in the long run. This may not be something entirely new, that´s for sure, but it never got this obvious that all there needs to be is one new intelligent character besides her to let her insecurities and shortcomings shine trough. I thought this scene showed that quite beautifully.

      Yeah, I really don´t want to argue about Stannis, either. There has been so much talk about it in the last couple days, it would just be reboiling of cold soup, to be honest.

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    56. Hey Hodor’s Bastard,

      “I’ve accepted Stannis’ decision to put Shireen on the barbie but as others have stated, there were some “temporary” options. He was “all-in” so damn quickly, it seemed. Please note that Mel & Shireen are nowhere near Stannis at this time in the books. Should be an interesting read.”

      Yeah, I’ve accepted it on an intellectual plot point level and see that it did spawn from other scenes. But yes, the rate at which he was “all-in” so damn quickly is essentially what’s fascinating here. There seems to be a lot of justification over his actions by talking about what’s happening next, which none of us know. I’m thinking it could all end up being pretty funny because the writers may also have the motive of simply making him unlikeable to make Brienne likeable (or at least “not a fucken bitch for killing Stannis the Mannis!”). Besides protecting Sansa that has been stated as another one of her “wants”. This action of Stanno’s is possibly so heavily debated because there’s a lot of birds they may be trying to kill with one stone, more than two birds, maybe like 4-5.

      “Oh well, Stannis is doomed, imho. Red Velvet is useless to him. I can’t wait until next week when faux Lightbringer shatters and the delusion collapses.”

      Yeah, I think he’s doomed too and we’ll all be left around as the fanatics. But we’ll see!

      “Finally, Ozzy……USA:3, Australia: 1”

      Soak it up.

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    57. I think D&D underestimated the power of their own Shireen-scene. Of course Daznak’s Pit should have been THE scene of episode 9, maybe even of the season, but it didn’t work out that way.

      The problem isn’t the Shireen-scene itself, which was in a way maybe the best scene of the season, but it was failing to show the audience some logic in it, within the weird character of Stannis. We, the audience, have to assume that there was no other option left (no leeches in the north? Could he also have sacrificed himself?) and also the way for Shireen to die by BURN THE POOR CHILD ALIVE (not by a huge dragonflame which would have killed her in a second, but with a small flame tickling at her feet and slowly climbing upstairs…) was the only way to sacrifice her. If you don’t give your audience the answers on these very logical questions, you also fail to show Stannis’ desperation. And you destroy the fascinating character that Stannis is.

      I trust GRRM that he WILL answer these questions in his sixth book. He has to. In that way GRRM is still ‘innocent’ and yes, context is everything, I totally agree.

      Which, I have to say, doesn’t approve burning a child alive of course…

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    58. M: I honestly think a lot of Linda’s ire stems from the fact that D&D have access to future plot details and the endgame and she doesn’t. She stated on Twitter that she has no inside knowledge of future books. Benioff casually dropping what Linda interpreted as a huge book spoiler was probably salt in the wound.

      From Linda’s perspective, she has dedicated a huge portion of her life to ASOIAF fandom, and these two bozos with dubious CVs and no fandom cred come along, get access to future plot details she would give her right leg for, butcher (in her mind) her beloved story so that millions of unsullied viewers get the wrong impression of the story and characters, and then proceed to drop spoiler bombs left, right and centre.

      …None of that excuses her awful Twitter behaviour, or her misogynistic, racist and ableist remarks, of course. But I can see why she seems so irrationally upset about this book spoiler.

      Yeah she’s a serious black-eye for the ASOIAF community. Her recent behavior has caused me to swear off their website.

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    59. HelloThere,

      I think it’s refreshing that you admit that. You’re a rarity in fandom and the internet generally.

      When I first saw the episode I viscerally hated that burning scene…but after I calmed down I realized how much it made sense narratibely and for Stannis’ character, and also how tastefully it was directed and how beautifully it was acted. It might be too dark for me personally but that isn’t something I can fault anyone on the show for.

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    60. Jared: Why? Because when David Benioff and Dan Weiss sat down with him in good faith to learn the endgame for his story, he told them that this is what would happen to Shireen Baratheon. And they took him at his word.

      Interesting thoughts in your essay but frankly, given the many reworked ideas for the screen that we have seen thus far, I’m surprised that your conjecture didn’t include the possibility that D&D compromised some of the storytelling for the sake of screentime. All I got from D&D’s comments was that GRRM told them Shireen would be barbequed. As I’ve mentioned before, D&D probably took it from there with their own creative posturing. So they set up some scenes that, in retrospect, seem like they were teasing us with the possibility. Then it happened. They got from point A to point B in their way, for the show.

      To me, the final steps regarding how Shireen comes to her demise do matter. Is it Mel’s initiative to save Stannis or is it really Stannis’ prerogative as part of his Azor Ahai delusion? It is a worthy debate to have and not something that should be discarded.

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    61. jentario,

      Ugh… logically, it makes sense. And I’m certainly not one of the Mary Sues, but if Sansa’s story goes from:
      * engaged to Joffrey
      * Married to Tyrion, a nice enough guy, but her family’s enemy
      * lorded over by Littefinger
      * Married to Ramsay
      * THEN Married to Stannis?

      I may just have to rethink…

      But yeah, that is logical. Littlefinger’s plan was probably to help Stannis win WF and then be proclaimed Warden of the North. But if Stannis has to ahem… burn so many bridges in the process of taking the WF, then he may have to rethink.

      Let’s assume Brienne gets Sansa out of there. Who’s next?

      * Random Frey Daughter
      * Random New Character (Maybe Manderly)
      * They do the Jeyne Poole thing NEXT year (which… WTF???)
      * Yara Greyjoy
      * Margaery – Girl can go from king to king!

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    62. Hodor’s Bastard,

      Well, I would hope the conversation didn’t go something like:

      D&D: We really like Shireen. Great young actress we found. Really has helped with the Stannis character.

      GRRM: She burns.

      D&D: What?

      GRRM: Yup. At the stake. Screaming for daddy.

      D&D: OK! EPISODE 9, BABY!

      GRRM: (with mouth full) But Stannis doesn’t do it. In fact, Mel and Selyse knock him out first. He beheads Selyse and banishes Mel right after he wakes up. Davos later captures Mel and kills her. Great stuff

      D&D: (to each other) He’s mumbling. Whatever. Get the check. We have writing to do!

      I mean, you’d think they would ask a little about context.

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    63. Knight of Storm´s End,

      You’re defs onto something with Dany stuff. And maybe it’s partly what I was trying to articulate in the last review. Her scenes with Tyrion are great because we are probably getting to learn new stuff about her, and on a more personal/trait developing level. She will have a certain level of natural comfort and intrigue around Tyzza because he’s now the closest person like her – noble and from Westeros – so that is what’s exciting about having them together. Dany has been learning her own ‘game’ Meereeneese style, which is probably still based on classic Targaryen command and conquer style, but with Tyzza she’ll learn some subtle modern Westeros style too. I guess he’ll learn about being freakin’ awestruck by dragons.

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    64. WorfWWorfington,

      I’d say aside from Sansa (which is the most logical for team Stannis but just the worst thing ever), he doesn’t really have many options. He could go for some lower house Lady. Margery is not something he’d be up for unless Mel convinces him it’s necessary, but then it could be a possibility given the Tyrells conflict with the Faith…

      On another note, I literally have no idea if Stannis and/or the Boltons survive episode 10, too many variables to make a good guess and too many options for the storyline to go. It’s killing me!

        Quote  Reply

    65. WorfWWorfington:
      Hodor’s Bastard,

      Well, I would hope the conversation didn’t go something like:

      D&D: We really like Shireen. Great young actress we found. Really has helped with the Stannis character.

      GRRM: She burns.

      D&D: What?

      GRRM: Yup. At the stake. Screaming for daddy.

      D&D: OK! EPISODE 9, BABY!

      GRRM: (with mouth full) But Stannis doesn’t do it. In fact, Mel and Selyse knock him out first. He beheads Selyse and banishes Mel right after he wakes up. Davos later captures Mel and kills her. Great stuff

      D&D: (to each other) He’s mumbling. Whatever. Get the check. We have writing to do!

      I mean, you’d think they would ask a littleabout context.

      This is actually sensational fun to act out in my head.

        Quote  Reply

    66. WorfWWorfington,

      Honestly, who knows? It could be as laughable as that. But as we’ve seen many times, D&D get from point A to point B in their own way, and Mel & Shireen are nowhere near Stannis when the WF battle is nigh.

        Quote  Reply

    67. Ozzy Man,

      It helps to think of turkey legs at the table. Lots of turkey legs.

      Point still stands… people are assuming D&D didn’t ASK about the context. Now, maybe they changed it, harshed it, softened it (Tyrion/Shae, anyone?) but let’s not assume they didn’t know it.

        Quote  Reply

    68. It seems like almost all the discussion has been on Stannis. And rightly so because he has been a major character and both his character arc and plot service have been substantial.

      But I think his role as an interesting character is about done. He is, in the end, just a deluded lord with aspirations for the throne and a valid claim on it but without the entire competency to achieve it. He let these factors lead him to embrace untrustworthy advice and to take stupid actions.

      Then again, I subscribe to the position of Maester Marwyn/Gorghan of Old Ghis on prophecy

      – deleted the quote because I lost the spoiler tags on it and can’t get them back.

      I think from here on out Mel herself and perhaps even Seylse will be more interesting characters to watch develop.

        Quote  Reply

    69. Y’all are piling on Ozzy Man this week like crazy. Idk if it’s because you know he reads these posts or what but I put in a range of videos so you don’t have to watch ones you dislike.

      Maybe Westeros History’s book-to-screen vid may be a more pleasing option for some of you.

        Quote  Reply

    70. It seems like Stannis fans have been claiming since Season 2 that D&D had a hate-on for the character and were biased against him…but if GRRM told them way back when that Stannis ends up burning his little girl, that may have coloured their perception of the character somewhat.

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    71. WorfWWorfington:
      Ozzy Man,

      It helps to think of turkey legs at the table. Lots of turkey legs.

      Point still stands… people are assuming D&D didn’t ASK about the context. Now, maybe they changed it, harshed it, softened it (Tyrion/Shae, anyone?) but let’s not assume they didn’t know it.

      I think what it’s all boiling down to for me in the last couple of days is just that I might… I might miss George not being on the screenwriting team. It would be hard for D&D adapting from synopsis’ and chapters and conversations and unfinished drafts, I shit stir and take the piss, but of course I understand it would be a major challenge. Tables bombarded with turkey legs would be a distracting and wonderful indulgence as well.

      Screenwriting is always a role with a lot of tension around it and I am one of those wankers that believes it is the most important department. To have a majorly talented person not working in that majorly huge role…is pretty major. Just riffing. It really is bed time.

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    72. Ozzy Man,

      Yeah, the “Dany in Essos”-stuff really pays off now that Tyrion is at her side. I´m quite intrigued how well everything in Meereen works in the show, it actually raised my respect concerning Dany quite a bit. I could not stand her until this season, so this is actually quite an accomplishment and I thank the writers for it.

      “I guess he’ll learn about being freakin’ awestruck by dragons.” – Most defintely. Me thinks he will even ride one of them into battle. Preferably Viserion, just to mess with deceased Tywin a bit.
      Imagine that: The “Imp” riding a white-golden dragon into battle is maybe the furthest a Lannister has ever come concerning shiny golden things. Tywin will be rolling in his grave.

        Quote  Reply

    73. Ozzy Man,

      Thanks for stating that, Ozzy Man. I have been thinking for awhile that GRRM’s annual episode raised the screenwriting bar for everyone else. But we will see next season.

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    74. Question – is ozzyman the same as Oz of Thrones?

      Regardless, I did agree with much of what he says in the video – but then he complains that D&D are pinning the episode on George Martin. Well, yeah, he did write it and I suspect they did read the draft of the book. D&D are not to blame here if they wanted to keep to Georges story However, there are many times that they did not – so why do so here? I get the idea for the greater good and she’d probably have starved with the rest of them. But that had to be the cruelest thing I’ve ever seen on tv. No Im not done with the series by any stretch. And I don’t expect this show to be happy and light, the books weren’t and neither should the show. But I do agree with ozzy’s anger here; and wish this could have been done in another way.

      One thing I am not sure about – would ozzy be as upset if it wasn’t Stannis who did the deed, but Mel, behind his back? Im not sure how I would answer that question

      anyway, it is a story, and it is fictional, and their are crimes against humanity aplenty in the real world . We’ll see how it turns out on Sunday, then we have a year to take a break. Think I might need to!

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    75. jentario,

      Nah sorry don’t buy it the bible is a fantasy epic just like a song of ice and fire they built shireen up to burn her and shock us but it just repulsed most people. And tell me this how is shireen going to burn in the books when she is 5 hundred miles from winterfell? Stannis wants the throne at any cost so don’t tell me burning his only daughter was not for personal gain

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    76. Cersei’s Brain,

      I know this is sacrilege, but in the interests of the show, which will end before the last book is published, George might’ve done best for all concerned to put his efforts into writing for the show instead of trying to untie the Gordian knots in his books.

      I would think it’s less time-consuming to write and supervise scripts than it is to finish 1,500 page manuscripts. The scripts would then provide the outline for the novels to come; they would be the skeletons he could flesh out at his leisure.

      The show is the show and the books are the books, true, but the show is NOW and the last two books don’t have any deadlines.

      Yeah, I know, conflicting egos (and, no doubt, contracts) prevent this from happening.

        Quote  Reply

    77. Bex:
      Y’all are piling on Ozzy Man this week like crazy. Idk if it’s because you know he reads these posts or what but I put in a range of videos so you don’t have to watch ones you dislike.

      Maybe Westeros History’s book-to-screen vid may be a more pleasing option for some of you.

      Hehe, it’s all good, between YouTube, FB, Twitter, Reddit and WotW it’s turned into an intense week. 108 videos in on my channel and I was bound to run into some tough clashes with folks eventually. I do like chatting in comments as it’s something I would do before starting a channel last year, so I wanna try and keep that up, even if the amount of comms is gettin’ a tad stressful. So many YouTubers just broadcast to people like they’re untouchables, which kinda sucks.

      So, despite all the bloody rage, name-calling, and the endless journey for each of us to feel or be right, I still say CHEERS! Yeah nah I think it’s good people feel like they wanna chat after the reviews, I’ll continue to say what I think/interpret/feel in an honestly erratic and rushed ADHD manner and I’d say majority of folks would want that still… Opposed to just regurgitating step-by-step plot and saying “that scene was really great” to kiss arse. Beer time!

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    78. Ozzy Man,

      I know Worf was joking, but the alternative scenario he came up with is vastly superior to the one we got! (My own wishful twist would have had Davos smuggle Shireen out in an onion sack.)

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    79. Rodrik the Reader,

      This is a helluva thought. I kinda like it, potentially love it. My mind has been inching towards some form of thought where one medium should stop for the other, so you just solidified the thought. I was trying to step off here for the night and you leave me with this while I brush my teeth *shakes fist*

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    80. I have said this so many times, but I’ll keep saying it until at least one person actually gets it through their head.

      D&D do not decide what goes into the Inside the Episode segments. They have no part of it. None. They make the show, and HBO produces the promotional pieces. Those interview bites are from sit-down interviews they shoot during filming.

      They’re just answering questions about material that they are currently shooting and giving off the cuff responses after a long day of working on the show. Stop insinuating that they have some Machiavellian scheme to lay blame for adaptational choices onto George in an effort to save face with the fandom. They’re just trying to make a damn show.

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    81. ash:
      Question – is ozzyman the same as Oz of Thrones?

      No. Oz of Thrones makes funny and interesting reviews. Ozzy is another reviewer.

        Quote  Reply

    82. ash,

      I did think all signs were pointing to Selyse doing it, and possibly being edged into it by Melisandre. I would not have been angry about that because it works with the character logic spot on. It’s not the action or event I’m critical of, I am a big boy, this isn’t about which viewers have a greater fictional pain threshold or tolerance. It’s not a dick measuring ‘I can handle horrible shit on screen’ contest. It’s the character logic behind it. There are arguments on many sides that it’s logical, which I see and accept, and which is another story and makes me kinda pissed at how convoluted all the reasons are, but anyway, no, I do not believe I would have been angry if another character did it.

      There was a dramatic irony to having Selyse be the one that wanted it stopped, which was interesting, but felt jarring and still a bit odd for me personally. I think Stannis has had to do it to potentially serve another plot point or two, which may have something to do with Brienne. Can only speculate right now. If it’s been done not only as a ‘Stannis had no choice’ move but to serve another character’s plot then there is a level of contrivance to that I believe. But we’ll see!

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    83. Rodrik the Reader:
      Cersei’s Brain,
      I know this is sacrilege, but in the interests of the show, which will end before the last book is published, George might’ve done best for all concerned to put his efforts into writing for the show instead of trying to untie the Gordian knots in his books.

      I would think it’s less time-consuming to write and supervise scripts than it is to finish 1,500 page manuscripts. The scripts would then provide the outline for the novels to come; they would be the skeletons he could flesh out at his leisure.

      The show is the show and the books are the books, true, but the show is NOW and the last two books don’t have any deadlines.

      The show is indeed “now.” That’s the problem. Production of the show runs like a well-oiled machine, and strict timelines are not GRRM’s friend, as we have ample proof. One script submitted on time seems to be all he can manage, and I believe he’s made comments in the past about having difficulty making the show’s deadlines for those few scripts. What makes you think GRRM would have any more luck churning out multiple scripts perfectly on schedule than he would getting his novels written? Giving GRRM more responsibility for producing scripts, given the extremely demanding production schedule and his own issues with adhering to strict timelines, would be a recipe for disaster.

      As for GRRM “supervising scripts,” GRRM gives notes on everything D&D write. He’s already supervising scripts in that sense.

      And really, even if GRRM COULD take on the lion’s share of the writing–and I think it’s well established that he could not–would it be the best idea? The show and book versions are so far apart that GRRM trying to match the show version for several episodes would likely result in viewer whiplash.

      Also, I don’t think there’s much evidence for the proposition that GRRM-penned episodes would be so vastly superior to D&D’s, even though that’s the common assumption. 3×07 was awfully weak. The episode that attracted the most praise and plaudits this season was not only written by D&D but featured a non-book sequence (Hardhome). Another much-praised scene was Tyrion and Daenerys’ tete-a-tete, which is completely off-book as well. Both of these sequences stem from D&D’s decisions to condense and speed up the story. How much value could GRRM really add to such a streamlined narrative when he’s so clearly struggling under the weight of all his worldbuilding and side plots in the books?

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    84. Ser RtReader

      I have thought this same thing, maybe Maester Martin would be better serving his audience (book and show) to have kept with GoT’s for the last two seasons and then take all the time in the world on the last two or three books. I think it would have made the fans (both book and show) more comfortable believing that at least he was some part of each episode…..that said…..

      Jared

      You mostly spoke my heart and mind on the issue of Stannisgate. Thanks for writing it much better than I could have.

      Ozzy Man

      Here is the deal that I think everyone viewing your review should remember. It is about YOUR thoughts and feelings. You don’t have to pander to anyone, you just keep on doing you and you will sleep better knowing you are true to yourself. No. I do not agree with your feelings about D & D, but I don’t have to agree to still like your review. I think you are witty and clever and I always enjoy and appreciate the time and effort you put into making the weekly review. *applause*

      Sandrine and Axey

      WOW great vocal improvement for me. I could understand everything and it made me like it all the more. I am sure what I wrote had nothing to do with it, but still…thanks. Also I love your chemistry together. I will miss you until next year doing these reviews.

      Lastly…..I doubt they read these posts, but I do love Gay of Thrones. Too funny. It keeps things light and pokes fun at the characters. Sometimes ya just gotta laugh.

      Like another poster today…..I have been swaying back and forth as great observations and debating is taking place. Ultimately for me, I am a show D & D fan and a book GRRM fan. Both equally and being Sullied…I try very hard not to confuse the two. I guess I think it would diminish my enjoyment of what I am watching OR reading.

      This comes from the #forwhatitsworthdepartment

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    85. Can y’all chill and sing along with me and Mel?

      Barbecue (Melisandre) / Waterloo (Abba)

      My, my, a Barbecue coz the night is full of terrors,
      Oh yeah, We’ll roast a juicy inn’cent, so Rh’llor can show us the way
      The Boltons are holding us back,
      Baratheons want to attack!

      Barbecue – Leeches or Shadows won’t help us here
      Barbecue – king’s meat will bring all you needed to
      Barbecue – Let Stannis conquer the iron throne
      Barbecue – Know it’s his fate – throw the guy a bone
      Barbecue – Finally having a Barbecue

      Up North, they serve some bloody tough good steaks, but ours are better
      Oh yeah, and now my fiery heart tells you to burn this girl
      Check my naked body, I’m hot
      Kneel now, all you hail the Red God!

      Barbecue – Davos can’t bug us, we sent him far
      Barbecue – Shireen is roasting, we’ll win the war
      Barbecue – Sacrifice cleanses the entire realm
      Barbecue – We’ll beat the Great Other now keep your calm
      Barbecue – Finally having a Barbecue

      One princess, a small price to pay,
      Now Lightbringer show us the way!

      Barbecue – Brought to you by Binders from Asshai
      Barbecue – Rh’llor will bring back Azor Ahai
      Barbecue – Finally having a Barbecue

      If you liked this, Previous contributions:
      Episode 6 Ramsay/Reek – Flayin’ Alive (Bee Gees – Stayin’ Alive)
      http://watchersonthewall.com/the-cast-of-game-of-thrones-goes-musical-for-red-nose-day/
      Episode 7 Sam/Gill-Y – Crazy in Love (Beyoncé/Jay-Z – Crazy in Love)
      http://watchersonthewall.com/goo280/#comment-344298
      Episode 8 Night’s King – Don’t Stop me Now (Queen – Don’t Stop me Now)
      (plus some other folks made some fun efforts on Black Raven and can’t hurry George)
      http://watchersonthewall.com/game-of-thrones-5-08-hardhome-video-recap-roundup/#comments

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    86. Luka Nieto:
      HelloThere,

      What options did he have? As presented in the episode?

      Same as he had in the books, take Winterfell or die trying, no matter how many peolpe die, no matter if your people start resorting to cannibalism to stay alive, no matter how dark think are, there will be no burnings of innocents.

      ETA: I agree with Ozzy man, both on his review, and his opinions posted here in the comments.

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    87. I enjoy the Afterbuzz recaps because I’ve been feeling old and out of it lately. To see a bunch of young LA kids enjoying the show makes me feel not totally old and out of it…

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    88. Spidey-Dan,

      Ah, no. On what basis are you saying D&D are just shooting the breeze at the end of a long day’s work? Everything related to GoT is tightly controlled. I find it hard to believe that D&D would have what amounts to final cut of the show but no control as to what is used, not to promote it, but to explain it in Inside the Edition segments.

      Many of those segments appear (I could be wrong) to be shot on the same set on the same day. I highly doubt D&D are speaking completely off the cuff. Why is it wrong to believe D&D put a great deal of thought in what goes into these segments, and that the segments aren’t just put together willy-nilly by some editor?

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    89. HelloThere,

      They began establishing it in Ep 8 with the Davos scene about Stannis hemorrhaging men by the hundreds due to the winter. If you look at it as a singular episode, then yes, they rushed it. But if you take the entire journey to Winterfell in over a few episodes, it was well established he felt he had no choice. If anything, the Ramsay burning seemed unnecessary to me.

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    90. Ozzy Man,

      She did use the word “ensure” in The Gift when Stannis asks if she is sure of the victory.

      I have seen myself walk along the battlements of Winterfell. I have seen the flayed man banners lowered to the ground. But sometimes sacrifices must be made to ensure victory.

      However, after it’s clear she wants to sacrifice Shireen, Stannis says there must be another way. And Melisandre responds:

      There is only one way. You must become king before the Long Night begins. Only you can lead the living against the dead. All your life has led us to this moment, to this decision.

        Quote  Reply

    91. Liked Ozzy’s honest take on the episode.

      Honestly, frustrated with this season. Writing and direction have both been very inconsistent and most of the time uninspired. Is it because of GRRM’s absence? Or are D&D now going for minimum effort maximum effect?

        Quote  Reply

    92. Cersei’s Brain:

      Thanks for stating that, Ozzy Man.I have been thinking for awhile that GRRM’s annual episode raised the screenwriting bar for everyone else.But we will see next season.

      Martin is great and all, I love his books to death, but I don’t know where this idea comes from that he’s absolutely 100% best screenwriter on GoT. Blackwater was spectacular, no doubt about it, the best episode of the season, but I wouldn’t really say that his other episodes were the best (or even one of the best) in their respective seasons.

        Quote  Reply

    93. M,

      All valid points. But George was a TV scriptwriter once, wasn’t he? He knows–or, rather–knew how to do this. Could he still do it now? Perhaps not, by both ability and inclination. He certainly seems not to have any interest in the day-to-day responsibilities and the limitations and deadlines they entail. Heck, that’s why he left TV to begin with and started writing all those doorstop books!

      So, I get you. It’s not going to happen. It was the best-case scenario I could think of to get the two major Houses of Westeros (D&D and George) to work together for the common good. Isn’t that what we want for the characters in the show?

      Yes, it’s true that D&D have written some dazzling scenes. But they’ve always done it with some framework George has given them. Hardhome was great, but George gave them the idea that there even was a Hardhome. We’re at the point where we’re basically asking our intrepid duo to come up with comparable material on their own.

      I want for them to hit it out of the park! I just think it would be best for them to have George as batting coach at least.

      Too idealistic?

        Quote  Reply

    94. Kay:
      With some of these reviews, I am left to wonder: If the Red Wedding had happened in the show before the book came out, what would all the book-reading reviewers’ reactions be? Would their rants have been similar? Many of them are really not watching the show itself, but expecting scenes to be checked off from the books or see scenes unfold that they have built up in their heads from the decades of internet discussions while waiting for the books. Same with certain characters who have not yet reached endgame in the story.

      This, so much this. I haven’t read the books (though I have read the prequel novellas), and I won’t read the books until after the TV series ends. I like coming to a story with no expectations.

      It’s hard for me to understand the people who are saying, “This hasn’t been built up enough,” when it’s been building up since at least the last episode of the second season. (Actually, it’s been building up since we first met Stannis.) I just don’t get the people who are saying, “Stannis wasn’t desperate enough yet.” When you’re presented with the choice, “Either one person dies, or we all die starving in the snow,” that’s as desperate as it gets.

      Do I think that justifies Stannis? Personally, no. But I’m not an ambitious person justifying my own ambition with messianic fundamentalist beliefs in my own world-historical importance. It absolutely makes sense to me that Stannis is the kind of person who’d do this, no matter how genuinely (if stiffly) he loves his daughter. (It wouldn’t be a sacrifice if he didn’t love her.)

      The whole “burning your heir” complaint makes no sense to me, either. When you’re desperate, the world shrinks to 1. Survive this, and 2. Fix everything else later. I’m sure — if Stannis is even thinking that far ahead, which is hard to do when you’re faced with the prospect of starving and/or freezing to death — he thinks he can have another child. If not, well, that’s a problem for another day — after he’s won and become king and saved the world, etc.

      Show watchers aren’t stupid. A few lines of dialogue, a few scenes are enough to establish the problem for us. (The one shot of the dazed, shivering soldier immediately evoked images of the Donner Party in my mind.) We don’t need five thousand pages of context. It’s immaterial whether show-Stannis is reflective of book-Stannis. This isn’t the book. When you’re adapting thousands of pages of material, some complexity has to be sacrificed. If people don’t like that, it’s of course their prerogative, but that doesn’t mean the showrunners are bad writers who love child sacrifice and character assassination. They have a certain vision of the story, and that informs how they adapt it. If their vision doesn’t adhere to your own vision of the story, that’s perfectly fine. But “it’s not for me” strikes me as more honest than “it’s bad” or “it’s stupid” or “it’s lazy storytelling.” A show that includes the Valyria scene (complete with snatches of an epic poem) and the Massacre at Hardhome isn’t a bad, stupid, or lazy show.

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    95. Rodrik the Reader,

      Because that’s the way TV works. HBO develops the promotional material, and “willy-nilly” is frankly a dismissive way to describe the process of producing this material. There are producers whose entire job is to put these things together, which includes writing the script from hours of interviews collected throughout shooting.

      And no, D&D likely have little to do with what goes into them. I’m not saying that they don’t see them before they air, but I seriously doubt that they have final approval. GoT is owned by HBO, not D&D, and the promotional department answers to the network, not to the show runners.

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    96. Mr Fixit: Martin is great and all, and I love his books to death, but I don’t know where this idea comes from that he’s absolutely 100% best screenwriter on GoT. Blackwater was spectacular, no doubt about it, the best episode of the season, but I wouldn’t really say that his other episodes were the best (or even one of the best) in their respective seasons.

      And many remarkable scenes from the Blackwater episode (Cersei’s monologue to Tommen, Hound/Bronn, Tyrion’s battle speech etc.) were written by D&D.

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    97. Rodrik the Reader:
      M,
      All valid points. But George was a TV scriptwriter once, wasn’t he? He knows–or, rather–knew how to do this. Could he still do it now? Perhaps not, by both ability and inclination. He certainly seems not to have any interest in the day-to-day responsibilities and the limitations and deadlines they entail. Heck, that’s why he left TV to begin with and started writing all those doorstop books!

      So, I get you. It’s not going to happen. It was the best-case scenario I could think of to get the two major Houses of Westeros (D&D and George) to work together for the common good. Isn’t that what we want for the characters in the show?

      Yes, it’s true that D&D have written some dazzling scenes. But they’ve always done it with some framework George has given them. Hardhome was great, but George gave them the idea that there even was a Hardhome. We’re at the point where we’re basically asking our intrepid duo to come up with comparable material on their own.

      I want for them to hit it out of the park! I just think it would be best for them to have George as batting coach at least.

      Too idealistic?

      I get where you’re coming from, I do. It makes sense to maximize GRRM’s involvement if possible, especially if there’s a decent chance that the show will be the only ending the story ever gets.

      The problem with GRRM’s background in scriptwriting is that back when he was working on BATB in the 1980s, he wrote 11 episodes…which is nothing to sneeze at, except when you consider that those 11 episodes were spread out over three seasons with 56 episodes total. And that was more than 25 years ago; GRRM has admitted that he’s slowed down considerably. One writer writing most episodes of a show is incredibly grueling. A few have managed it–Aaron Sorkin, for one, who apparently had cocaine to assist him–but I don’t think GRRM could, for the reasons I mentioned, even if he had unlimited time to do so, which he would not under the GOT production schedule.

      From my understanding, though, GRRM already is the batting coach. He gives them notes on everything, and he serves as a consultant for the show. It is true that he doesn’t have veto ability over anything D&D do, and that we know that he’s made some protests that have been ignored–the lack of helmets at Blackwater, Garlan and Willas being written out, etc.–but as I understand it, he does get a chance to put his two cents in; it’s just that D&D have the final say.

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    98. The real ugly truth is that if GRRM, say, tomorrow, had a huge fight with D&D and was all “FUCK YOU, FUCK THE CONTRACT, AND FUCK HBO, YOU’RE NOT GETTING SHIT FROM ME, I’M OUT,” D&D would have enough information to finish the series, and they know it. I’m guessing they like GRRM’s ongoing input and his association with the show–even if GRRM is now throwing shade at the show on his LJ (like that comment about the Outlander adaption that “like with many shows, the books are better” or whatever it was)–but they don’t strictly need him anymore, thus their blase attitude about spoilers.

      Without reading too much into it, D&D seem comfortable with GRRM’s lack of comfort about the show spoiling the books. The show will forge ahead, GRRM had his chance, and there’s nothing to be done for it, the end.

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    99. Spidey-Dan,

      If you have insider knowledge of how TV works, I respect that and will defer to your expertise. As a viewer, though, it never occurred to me to consider Inside the Edition as departmentally separate promotional or marketing work. This is not some ad or poster or GoT coffee mug. It is D&D putting a face on and taking responsibility for what we just saw and why they did what they did. Oh, well, the line blurs between artistry and promotion, perhaps, and the gods they serve and are governed by. Thanks!

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    100. Luka Nieto: ignoring the fact that Shireen’s sacrifice specifically was setup since season four, and Stannis betraying everyone and everything he holds dear to become Azor Ahai was setup since season freaking two:

      Actually, Shireen’s sacrifice was set up last season when Evil Red told Selyse that the “Lord” may have need of her. If one goes back and watches that scene, nude Evil Red bathing and all, one gets a VERY bad feeling in the pit of one’s stomach about Shireen. And Selyse had a bad feeling too; one can now tell. Of course, all STAN FANS would have been quite OK if Mom had sacrificed Shireen. Doesn’t matter if Shireen died, as long as Stan remained The Man. It’s just a shock that the carefully constructed Stan of their imaginations, wasn’t quite who he was, way back from Season 2.
      I anticipate a whole HORDE of very bad shocks coming in the next 21 or so episodes for book readers who have fully constructed certain storylines in their heads from endless chat on the internet.

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    101. Ozzy Man:
      Hey Hodor’s Bastard,

      “I’ve accepted Stannis’ decision to put Shireen on the barbie but as others have stated, there were some “temporary” options. He was “all-in” so damn quickly, it seemed. Please note that Mel & Shireen are nowhere near Stannis at this time in the books. Should be an interesting read.”

      Yeah, I’ve accepted it on an intellectual plot point level and see that it did spawn from other scenes. But yes, the rate at which he was “all-in” so damn quickly is essentially what’s fascinating here. There seems to be a lot of justification over his actions by talking about what’s happening next, which none of us know. I’m thinking it could all end up being pretty funny because the writers may also have the motive of simply making him unlikeable to make Brienne likeable (or at least “not a fucken bitch for killing Stannis the Mannis!”). Besides protecting Sansa that has been stated as another one of her “wants”. This action of Stanno’s is possibly so heavily debated because there’s a lot of birds they may be trying to kill with one stone, more than two birds, maybe like 4-5.

      “Oh well, Stannis is doomed, imho. Red Velvet is useless to him. I can’t wait until next week when faux Lightbringer shatters and the delusion collapses.”

      Yeah, I think he’s doomed too and we’ll all be left around as the fanatics. But we’ll see!

      “Finally, Ozzy……USA:3, Australia: 1″

      Soak it up.

      I think the fact that he took her along, first to Castle Black and then to Winterfell, says that he was already half-way there, but merely not acknowledging that he would need to do so. Every time Davos would bring up leaving Shireen somewhere safe, Stannis practically barks at him and a lot is left unsaid. Davos visits Shireen before he leaves for Castle Black obviously knowing that some harm could come to her, but I think he believes that ultimately Stannis would never do it. He asks many times that she be allowed to leave for a reason. I imagine we’ll see Davos blaming himself at some point for this. But I think the Shireen issue was already in the characters’ minds and something must have gotten through to the audience because for weeks, years even, we’ve been anticipating this.

      Stannis rebuking Mel for suggesting it, well, that’s the first time anyone said anything about sacrificing her out aloud. But I think this has been in Stannis’ head for the entire season, if not the last season too.

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    102. People up in here knighting for everybody & everything – for D&D, for GRRM, for the show, for the books, for the reviewers, on and on.

      Seems like about 98% of the conflict is between readers & watchers, or sullied and unsullied or maesters and hodors or however they get labeled.

      I’ve loved both the books and the series. I’ve thought both have had incredible achievements. Both have also had disappointing portions. I think a lot of the sound and fury is just that the show at the moment seems to be going through something of a low point (IMHO of course) while the books exist as a mass and which has not put out much new to be judged lately. I’m sure the quality will rise again on the show on a consistent basis.

      But the infighting between “book” people and “show” people is actually kind of fun to follow between episodes.

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    103. Balon01,

      I still think one of my top scenes in GoT were the ones between Arya and Tywin in S2. Its really the reason that season worked for me, frankly. Those four or five scenes were so incredibly written and acted, and offered such an intimate glimpse into the characters ( Jamie was dyslexic!!!). And it was entirely original from D&D. I gave them a lot of faith after that change.

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    104. M:
      D&D seem comfortable with GRRM’s lack of comfort about the show spoiling the books

      At this point, GRRM’s comfort level is besides the point. His insane idea of doing flashback seasons, or shutting down production, or whatever he was suggesting last year, to give him time to finish the books isn’t going to happen. To paraphrase Woody Allen, productions are like sharks, they have to keep moving forward or they die.

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    105. Rodrik the Reader,

      Full disclosure, while I do work as a TV editor, I have no affiliation with HBO and no knowledge of their inner workings. I’m speaking purely from the standpoint of how I’ve seen these things work in my own experience.

      Honestly, I think my main pet peeve is when people stop criticizing the content of the show and start lobbing accusations about the creators’ motives. If people think that the scene was out of character or contrived, that’s valid. If they have doubts about whether it’s well adapted from the future source material, that’s completely reasonable. It’s when they start accusing the D&D of having a personal vendetta agains the fans of the books or using disagreement with their creative decisions as pretext to assault their character as people that my hackles start to rise.

      I mean, really, would you look at a table, which was well made but carried design features that you didn’t particularly care for, and say, “Wow, that carpenter’s an asshole. This is a big ‘fuck you’ to table users everywhere.”

      That’s pretty much what fans are doing when they attack D&D’s integrity as producers because of aspects of the show that they don’t like, and it’s growing tiresome, imo.

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    106. Ozzyman review was lame and predictable. What a dissapointment.
      Sounds like Linda raised her hands up and now now Ozzy became a wight

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    107. Ravyn: At this point, GRRM’s comfort level is besides the point. His insane idea of doing flashback seasons, or shutting down production, or whatever he was suggesting last year, to give him time to finish the books isn’t going to happen. To paraphrase Woody Allen, productions are like sharks, they have to keep moving forward or they die.

      I agree. GRRM’s suggestions were completely unrealistic.

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    108. M:

      One writer writing most episodes of a show is incredibly grueling. A few have managed it–Aaron Sorkin, for one, who apparently had cocaine to assist him–but I don’t think GRRM could, for the reasons I mentioned, even if he had unlimited time to do so, which he would not under the GOT production schedule.

      There’s also J.M. Straczinsky that wrote the scripts for all 44 episodes of Bablyon 5 Seasons 3 and 4, a really astounding feat, especially having in mind that those two seasons are widely regarded as B5 at its best.

      Can you imagine GRRM churning out 20 scripts a year AND serving as producer and showrunner at the same time? 🙂

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    109. Hodor’s Bastard: Interesting thoughts in your essay but frankly, given the many reworked ideas for the screen that we have seen thus far, I’m surprised that your conjecture didn’t include the possibility that D&D compromised some of the storytelling for the sake of screentime. All I got from D&D’s comments was that GRRM told them Shireen would be barbequed. As I’ve mentioned before, D&D probably took it from there with their own creative posturing. So they set up some scenes that, in retrospect, seem like they were teasing us with the possibility. Then it happened. They got from point A to point B in their way, for the show.

      To me, the final steps regarding how Shireen comes to her demise do matter. Is it Mel’s initiative to save Stannis or is it really Stannis’ prerogative as part of his Azor Ahai delusion? It is a worthy debate to have and not something that should be discarded.

      Hear, hear

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    110. Mr Fixit: There’s also J.M. Straczinsky that wrote the scripts for all 44 episodes of Bablyon 5 Seasons 3 and 4, a really astounding feat, especially having in mind that those two seasons are widely regarded as B5 at its best.

      Can you imagine GRRM churning out 20 scripts a year AND serving as producer and showrunner at the same time?

      I guess the best we can hope for is TWOW being published posthaste and GRRM being freed up to do more work on the show.

      Let’s assume that those who’ve been speculating that GRRM is tired of ASOIAF and has lost his motivation to finish the series are correct. When GRRM does publish TWOW, I’m guessing the last thing he’ll want to do is devote all the time that has been freed up to working on the show version of ASOIAF.

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    111. Mr Fixit: There’s also J.M. Straczinsky that wrote the scripts for all 44 episodes of Bablyon 5 Seasons 3 and 4, a really astounding feat, especially having in mind that those two seasons are widely regarded as B5 at its best.

      Can you imagine GRRM churning out 20 scripts a year AND serving as producer and showrunner at the same time?

      Aren’t they regarded as the worst? I certainly remember a discussion in Joe Abercrombie’s blog stating just that. In any case, I liked his comic book writing much better

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    112. Spidey-Dan,

      I work in film post production, with some years in production, and I can concur 100%. Fans who think D&D are doing things on the show just to give them the middle finger are giving themselves too much credit, and massaging their own egos.

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    113. They’re not reviews, but I’ve recently discovered Calluna’s videos, and she’s done a couple ASOIF/GOT videos, and is planning more.

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    114. pau: Aren’t they regarded as the worst? I certainly remember a discussion in Joe Abercrombie’s blog stating just that. In any case, I liked his comic book writing much better

      Don’t know what Abercrombie said, but it’s a pretty widespread opinion in fan circles that B5 truly comes into its own around the middle of the second season and goes on to kick ass and chew bubblegum during S3 and S4. Season 1 was pretty bad and campy, while Season 5 also had a noticeable drop in quality. That last bit was at least somewhat excusable since everyone involved with the show thought it was going to get canceled after Season 4 so JMS took care to wrap up the main story arcs by the end of it. Miraculously, the show survived to see another season (on a different network), but now it had little material to spread over 22 episodes… hence, the troubled final season.

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    115. Ozzyman is 100000000000000% correct on all points.

      And he’s the first person I’ve seen bring up the dick move D&D did that was pinning the blame on George, as a sort of back-up safety plan. I’m on the same boat as him, I just couldn’t enjoy this episode that much after Shireen’s unnecessary burning and that behind-the-episode spoiler.

      M,
      This is actually why I’m not looking forward to next season. Because the quality is going to be atrocious. The less they have the books to rely on, the worse the quality of the dialogue and scenes are.

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    116. Mr Fixit: Don’t know what Abercrombie said, but it’s a pretty widespread opinion in fan circles that B5 truly comes into its own around the middle of the second season and goes on to kick ass and chew bubblegum during S3 and S4. Season 1 was pretty bad and campy, while Season 5 also had a noticeable drop in quality. That last bit was at least somewhat excusable since everyone involved with the show thought it was going to get canceled after Season 4 so JMS took care to wrap up the main story arcs by the end of it. Miraculously, the show survived to see another season (on a different network), but now it had little material to spread over 22 episodes… hence, a troubled final season.

      Season 3 was phenomenally good, of course a couple of weaker episodes ( Grey 17 is Missing, urgghh ) but Messages From Earth, Point of no Return & Severed Dreams were three of the best consecutive episodes you’ll get in any series and Z’ha’dum a fantastic season finale.

      I want to get the boxset back out now 🙂

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    117. M: I guess the best we can hope for is TWOW being published posthaste and GRRM being freed up to do more work on the show.

      I actually hope for something like this. For the time being, Martin’s main preoccupation is to publish TWoW before Season 6, but there’s no way to finish ADoS in only a year so he shouldn’t even try. The show will spoil the ending of his great saga; Martin will have to accept that. Why not take a year off then and join GoT’s writing team with a more hands-on approach? Since D&D won’t even have drafts and finished chapters at their disposal (they surely have them these days while writing Season 6), they’ll need all the help they can get.

      Too optimistic?

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    118. Mr Fixit,

      I still think HBO squeezes eight seasons out of the showrunners, but that won’t be enough for A Dream of Spring and until that book ends with whatever ending GRRM has in mind, I won’t believe he’s done at 7 books.

      OK, at the risk of getting into berserker land again, what exactly is the “consulting” relationship between GRRM and the showrunners? I’ve not read it.

      I know that JK Rowling at one point told the movie people, “Well, you can cut that character (in the fifth movie) if you want, but he’s important in the seventh book and you won’t be able to write around it.”

      Does GRRM do that? I mean, if he had said, “Guys, Sansa has to stay in the Vale.” or “Jeyne Poole will be instrumental in the final battle,” would they listen? Do they have to listen?

      Because just the fact that we’ve lost some characters (maybe for good, maybe just until next season) is probably in fact a spoiler.

      Honestly, the only to not be spoiled for Books 6 and 7 and beyond is to stop watching.

      I’ll miss you. Honestly. Really.

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    119. WorfWWorfington:
      Mr Fixit,
      OK, at the risk of getting into berserker land again, what exactly is the “consulting” relationship between GRRM and the showrunners?I’ve not read it.

      I know that JK Rowling at one point told the movie people, “Well, you can cut that character (in the fifth movie) if you want, but he’s important in the seventh book and you won’t be able to write around it.”

      Does GRRM do that? I mean, if he had said, “Guys, Sansa has to stay in the Vale.” or “Jeyne Poole will be instrumental in the final battle,” would they listen? Do they have to listen?

      I remember from the cute Charles Dance-narrated video that GRRM gives D&D notes on the episodes, although I don’t remember if it’s before or after they wind up airing. We also know of a few instances where GRRM warned D&D against doing something–killing off that Dothraki guy in Season 1, writing out Garlan and Willas–and they went and did it anyway. These seem like things that can be written around, though; instead of Dead Dothraki, we get Dothraki #2, and instead of Garlan and Willas, we get Loras or someone else swapped in. Garlan and Willas will assume greater prominence in the narrative according to GRRM, but right now they’re fourth-tier characters at best; Garlan’s almost a nonentity and Willas exists entirely outside of the POVs so far. If they are minor characters, they can be replaced pretty easily or merged with existing characters.

      I think that for the big stuff–the top-tier POVs or the heavy hitter second-tier characters like Stannis and the Hound–GRRM and D&D know exactly how their plotlines will go in a fair amount of detail. For the multitudes of third-tier or fourth-tier characters, I think a lot is still up in the air in terms of what GRRM has told D&D; D&D have mentioned that even GRRM doesn’t know some of the details. When D&D had their week-long powwow with GRRM, I am pretty confident he went over the top 50 characters’ future plotlines and endgames, but the top 500? I doubt it.

      It sounds as if GRRM does explain himself when he tells D&D why they need this character or that character. D&D mentioned a while back that they weren’t even going to include Shireen until GRRM told them to do so. I’m guessing he explained the reason Shireen was so important: Stannis burning her (in TWOW or beyond) is a defining moment for his character. So if he did say “Sansa has to stay in the Vale,” he would have explained his reasons for saying that. That still leaves D&D with the freedom to disregard his explanation, though; they might believe they could write around it.

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    120. King Podrick,

      Lol no need to be so hostile, baby. I ain’t going anywhere yet. <:3
      You people get so worked up over a tv show. Jesus; like fucking children up in here.

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    121. Thanx for another hilarious video! I look forward to them ea week 🙂
      Piss on any wankers who don’t appreciate it.

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    122. Franco,

      How?
      He has no horses.
      His men are sick and dying in the cold.
      The snow storm prevents them from properly marching anywhere, let alone as far as Winterfell.
      And they have no food at all.

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    123. WorfWWorfington,

      Sansa’s arc in the show is an allegory of Winterfell – endangered by the death of Ned, broken down by the actions of a foolish young man (Joffrey/Theon), coverted by the Lannisters, plundered by the Boltons…

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    124. The argument about Stannis having no choice is a good one, but I also think it slightly misses the point.

      Even if you argue he had no choice, one reason he had no choice is because of a bad choice he made earlier.

      When the sellswords left in Episode 8, Davos begged him to go back to Castle Black then, while they still could. Stannis refused. This was before Ramsay took our their food and horses. This was before the snow got worse.

      Now, unfortunately, the show has basically limited the North to the Wall and Winterfell, so we don’t know if Last Hearth or Deepwood Motte were reachable. (In the show, the Greyjoys presumably still hold Deepwood Motte, so there’s a fight there too)

      But Stannis refused to retreat, because he could not be “the King who retreated.” Poltically, there is some merit to that, but at least you have other options besides burning your daughter and hoping for a January Thaw.

      Stannis didn’t have a choice by the time he burned her. He had choices well before then.

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    125. jentario,

      How will burning Shireen bring the starving men food? Or horses? They haven’t even started the siege of Winterfell yet which could last months. R’hllor “clearing up the storm” is also a temporary fix; it’s a blizzard because winter finally came. There will probably be another blizzard in like a week. And the week after that for roughly the next decade.

      I’m just saying. If you’re gonna burn up your only heir, it better be for a better reason than that.

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    126. Renly’s Peach,

      Well, you’re assuming it works. Melisandre might be able to produce nasty stuff that can directly kill Renly, and she may even have future-telling powers that show her Joffrey and Robb are doomed (keep waiting for Stannis to ask about Balon…), but that does not mean burning leeches kills Kings.

      So, she could be figuring — hey, let’s burn the kid. If we get a break in the weather, or if we find some deer out here, or if Ramsay gets cocky and we nab him, I can claim it was me.

      If not, I’m either going to die out here with these idiots, or I’ll slip out on my own and trust in what magic I do have to get me back to the Wall.

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    127. WorfWWorfington,

      Well if the previews for next episode are to be believed, apparently it did work, and the snow storm died away. Good job, I guess? Now you still have to contend with all the other issues I brought up.
      It just comes off as super contrived and senseless, though. I find it unbelievable that a reasonable and unyielding man like Stannis (who went an entire year without food and held his own) would throw away his heir and only child at the very first sign of problems.

      It’s a loooong march to King’s Landing, dude. If this is what you did before you even got to Winterfell, I’d hate to see what else you’ll do by the time you get to the Riverlands.

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    128. WorfWWorfington:
      The argument about Stannis having no choice is a good one, but I also think it slightly misses the point.

      Even if you argue he had no choice, one reason he had no choice is because of a bad choice he made earlier.

      When the sellswords left in Episode 8, Davos begged him to go back to Castle Black then, while they still could. Stannis refused. This was before Ramsay took our their food and horses. This was before the snow got worse.

      Now, unfortunately, the show has basically limited the North to the Wall and Winterfell, so we don’t know if Last Hearth or Deepwood Motte were reachable. (In the show, the Greyjoys presumably still hold Deepwood Motte, so there’s a fight there too)

      But Stannis refused to retreat, because he could not be “the King who retreated.” Poltically, there is some merit to that, but at least you have other options besides burning your daughter and hoping for a January Thaw.

      Stannis didn’t have a choice by the time he burned her. He had choices well before then.

      No, he didn’t, but I blame D&D harshly for making it appear that he did. D&D screwed up at multiple levels on this one

      1: They’ve almost completely dropped the point that Mel has convinced Stannis that he is the second coming of Azor Ahai, and is mankind’s bulwark against the oncoming zombie apocalypse. Stannis reasonably believes himself to be the savior of the world of men, and therefore on a mission that cannot fail. He is fighting for the very survival of everyone, not a chair.

      2: In the books, Dragonstone was captured by the Lannisters and Tyrells. This could have easily been done off-screen in the TV series as well by modifying just a few lines throughout the season (Kevan could have led the Lannister armies in doing this, proving some of his effective / no nonsense chops). This would have cut off any full retreat option.

      3: Since the Northern Conspiracy was cut, D&D needed to get rid of Davos for E9. They chose to do so by sending him to the Wall(mart) to get supplies….supplies that logically cannot exist, as even a year’s worth of food for the watch would only feed Stannis’s army for three days. By making it seem that retreat to somewhere with food was an option, it made it appear Stannis was not at a “last resort” stage when he made this decision.

      TV-Stannis cannot flee to the Wall, as there is no food there and no way to get it with a hostile North at his back. By the time his army made it first to Castle Black and then Eastwatch, most of them would be dead from the cold, starvation, mutiny, and likely further Bolton raids as well (fleeing armies are highly vulnerable). Even if Stannis or his family survived the road to Eastwatch, there would be no safe place to go. The oncoming apocalypse not withstanding, no matter where they went, they would be broke, debt-ridden, friendless, army-less and traitors to the crown. They’d be killed sooner or later, whether by assassins’ daggers or face-munching wights. Any way you cut it, retreat was not an option for TV Stannis….and it certainly won’t be for book Stannis either.

      That makes it all the more frustrating that many if not most fans of the show are percieving Stannis’s choice as “Give up my pursuit of the Iron Throne and go home, or kill my daughter horribly”. Yet in review after review, this is precisely how many are interpreting Stannis’s actions. No wonder people hate him.

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    129. Renly’s Peach:

      I find it unbelievable that a reasonable and unyielding man like Stannis (who went an entire year without food and held his own) would throw away his heir and only child at the very first sign of problems.

      As repeated across multiple threads, I do have to agree with this. The show didn’t effectively communicate that:

      1) Stannis had no choice in the matter. For example, only one episode ago, Roose remarked that Stannis had over half his army on horseback, meaning there are thousands of nice juicy steeds to eat. That should last them for quite a while, wouldn’t you say? Surely enough to buy the army several weeks or more, not to mention they could always supplement food stores by local game, fish, and such. Of course, none of this will last forever, and if the weather doesn’t change for the better, tough choices will have to be made.

      But they don’t have to be made today. Maybe the weather lets up. Maybe some kind of deal could be reached with the local Northern population, requisitioning goods for the war effort, etc. The point is nothing of this sort has even been contemplated. The willingness to sacrifice his only daughter the instance his war campaign gets derailed is simply narratively unsatisfying and shortchanges Stannis’ character who’s supposed to be this unyielding military commander. This is the guy who held out in Storm’s End for a year eating horses, dogs, and rats? And here he is, ready to kill his beloved daughter 15 minutes after his supplies go poof? Nah.

      2) Even if GoT managed to effectively convey the first point, I’d still posit that it’s somewhat of a waste — speaking in meta terms and trying to critique a piece of art and not internal show logic and character consistency — to require a sacrifice of such magnitude at this point in the unfolding drama because, however one may put it, in the end Stannis does the deed in order to win a single castle. It doesn’t come across as the ultimate test of faith or the final barrier to overcome in order to achieve one’s destiny, for Stannis to become what he’s meant to become (in his eyes at least). It’s a castle. A battle like so many others. To those who’d disagree with me on this point, let me reiterate once more that this particular objection isn’t tied to incongruity of plot or character and should not be debated as such.

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    130. It just occurred to me that the justifiers of ‘that scene’ are being a bit Stannis-like in their thought process.

      Is it possible to be technically, procedurally, and artistically correct regarding the justification for the scene (foreshadowing, script construction, Greek tragedy and Shakespearean antecedents) and still be… wrong?

      At least concede that sometimes the groundlings might have a point. An artistic decision might be correct structurally but so offensively, inhumanly wrong from an audience (not art house) perspective, that little or no good can come of it.

      I just wield a remote control, not Lightbringer, so perhaps my priorities are askew. GoT always gives us a lot to chew on, and sometimes its ‘meat is mighty tough’ (Greatjohn, Season One), but does it need to be this tough?

      None of the above should be construed as a rip on any of the extraordinary and stimulating posts up-thread and on other threads. All were a pleasure to read.

      But on the issue du jour I still lean towards Team Ozzy Man. May his banners continue to inspire regular blokes (mates? wankers?).

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    131. I thought it was clear that Stannis had no other choice but to sacrifice Shireen if his mission was to succeed. That mission is to save the world from the White Walkers (a fact Melisandre reminds him (and us) of in s5e7). From Stannis’ point of view, he’s making a huge personal sacrifice for the good of the entire world.

      I am NOT trying to defend his actions in any way. I’m simply saying that, to me, it made sense from both a character and storytelling standpoint that Shireen be burned (as hard as it was to watch), and that Stannis allow it.
      I thought the scene was portrayed, and built-up extremely well, and it deeply effected me while watching it (both times).

      That’s my two-cents.
      Of course, my feelings may change, depending on what they do in the next episode. If Brienne just kills Stannis, it might make me think this scene was only here so we wouldn’t be mad at her…

      However, while some may disagree, I believe D&D have done an excellent job with the show, and I have faith in them going forward.
      If anything, I feel like most of the problems I’ve had with the show have come from their inability to reconcile the book & show storylines (similar to how Theon can’t reconcile his Greyjoy birth with his Stark upbringing), or in other words, the way they’re trying to stay true to the outline of the books, while ALSO going off on their own path. As such, I feel the show may actually improve when they don’t have that outline to adhere to.

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    132. WHAT THE FUCK DUDE!!!! and I don’t drop F bombs lightly!! But seriously….WHAT THE FUCK!!! and I am Sullied and kinda do know, but…..WHAT THE FUCK!!!! I didn’t want to see this, I wanted to see it on the show on Sunday. I wish I could acid wash my brain right now!!!

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    133. Sue the Fury,

      Thanks, Sue! You just saved a lot of people. Is there any way you can make this a more visible policy for the upcoming days? Like something on the home page, or something near the comment section? To make it perfectly clear.

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    134. Rodrik the Reader:
      Is it possible to be technically, procedurally, and artistically correct regarding the justification for the scene (foreshadowing, script construction, Greek tragedy and Shakespearean antecedents) and still be… wrong?

      … An artistic decision might be correct structurally but so offensively, inhumanly wrong from an audience (not art house) perspective, that little or no good can come of it.

      … GoT always gives us a lot to chew on, and sometimes its ‘meat is mighty tough’ (Greatjohn, Season One), but does it need to be this tough?

      If this is the story the writers want to tell, then yes. It “needs” to be this tough. That doesn’t mean people are obligated to like it, to watch it, or to approve of it. The ones it doesn’t work for, the ones who find it too bleak, and the ones who find it too unfaithful to the source material should probably just move on to something else. The showrunners are who they are; their writing style isn’t going to change, and neither is their story vision. The narrative certainly isn’t going to get less bleak, not with an apocalyptic war on the horizon.

      If you like the show, keep watching. If you don’t, don’t. If you have mixed feelings, well, after this weekend, you’ll have nearly a year to decide whether you want to keep watching. But I am tremendously uncomfortable with the idea that something can be so “offensively, inhumanly wrong” that it should be off-limits to writers of fiction.

      If Homer, Euripides, Shakespeare, and Hugo can write* stories that can basically be summed up as “horrific things happen, and then everyone dies,” I don’t see why that kind of tragic storytelling should be forbidden to present-day writers. You’re certainly welcome to dislike tragic stories. You’re certainly welcome to prefer comedy or drama or romance or action/adventure to tragedy. There are fantastic stories in all those categories.

      But that doesn’t make the writers and audiences who find tragedy compelling “wrong.”

      * Or tell, in Homer’s case.

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    135. Ravyn,

      I love that Woody Allen metaphor. I would very much rather have the books from George and the show from D&D. Any adaptation is ridiculously hard to do well. There are absolutely criticisms that can be made of both GRRM and D&D that are well deserved, and I am happy to read and watch respectful critiques, but I think that D&D, on the whole, do as good a job as anyone else could do with this series.

      If we had George as the only screenwriter, that would delay the books for years, and I don’t think the show would be as good, in truth. George is the superior writer, of course, but when the primary writer’s vision is not in harmony with the producer’s vision, the show suffers. My favorite producers are the ones who are directors and writers, too, especially if they are in charge of the writing: Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss (Tycho!!), JJ Abrams, and Joss Whedon. When the writing is completely synchronized with the vision for the entire production, then we come close to perfection.

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    136. Rodrik the Reader:
      It just occurred to me that the justifiers of ‘that scene’ are being a bit Stannis-like in their thought process.

      Is it possible to be technically, procedurally, and artistically correct regarding the justification for the scene (foreshadowing, script construction, Greek tragedy and Shakespearean antecedents) and still be… wrong?

      At least concede that sometimes the groundlings might have a point. An artistic decision might be correct structurally but so offensively, inhumanly wrong from an audience (not art house) perspective, that little or no good can come of it.

      I just wield a remote control, not Lightbringer, so perhaps my priorities are askew. GoT always gives us a lot to chew on, and sometimes its ‘meat is mighty tough’ (Greatjohn, Season One), but does it need to be this tough?

      None of the above should be construed as a rip on any of the extraordinary and stimulating posts up-thread and on other threads. All were a pleasure to read.

      But on the issue du jour I still lean towards Team Ozzy Man. May his banners continue to inspire regular blokes (mates? wankers?).

      I completely respect people saying that a certain event or storyline is not their cup of tea, that maybe there was a moment that was so dark that they just plain don’t like it. Honestly that’s kind of where I’m at…it was extremely well done, but it was a bit too dark for my personal tastes.

      What I have a problem with is saying that the scene was “wrong,” to use your words. It’s one thing to say that it was too dark for you personally, it’s another thing to say that the scene was incorrect.

      And what some try to do is try to justify their negative feelings about the scene and find something that the show did incorrectly.But when it comes to this scene, a lot of the criticisms have felt strained. It’s hard to argue that it was out of character, it’s hard to argue that they didn’t build up to it enough, it’s hard to argue that this was unrealistic for this world or against the tone of this show.

      To admit that it was done narratively, procedurally and artistically well and then say it was “wrong” I think is completely contradictory. You may not like it, but unless you can point to anything that the show did incorrectly, and back up those arguments, then you shouldn’t be saying that something is “wrong.” When all you can say against the scene is that you didn’t like it, you can’t pretend that, objectively, they shouldn’t have done that scene. Pretending that our subjective reactions to a piece of art is somehow telling of some objective truth is one of the most frustrating aspects of these discussions.

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    137. Mr Fixit: When this kind of underhanded nonsense rears its head, I totally get how show lovers get kinda sick of book readers. David and Dan didn’t “blame” anyone; they simply said — a spoiler, true, probably unwarranted — that George informed them of this event. Just as he informed them of countless other things that would come to pass in the books.

      The dick move isn’t that they included the scene. the dick move, as expressed in Ozzy Man’s video is that David went so far as to comment on it being from the future books. And the assumption is that his reasoning was to say “Don’t blame me, blame George!”

      And also intimating that it transpired in the show exactly as it will in the books which is impossible and misleading, another dick move.

      This is schoolyard shite and quite pathetic.

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    138. Ginevra:
      Ozzy Man,

      She did use the word “ensure” in The Gift when Stannis asks if she is sure of the victory.

      However, after it’s clear she wants to sacrifice Shireen, Stannis says there must be another way. And Melisandre responds:

      Ah yep yep she responds with finality ego-stroking talk.

      Hey thanks for clarifying this! I think it’s the leeches trick that’s murky/iffy in its effectiveness, but this type of sacrifice is a gaurantee/ensure. I’ll still wait and see though. It may not ensure anything and could just be a tragic man downfall. She’s still iffy to me that red woman. Thanks again for taking the time to clarify that one 🙂

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    139. Hodor Targaryen,

      I don’t think that Rodrik or I for that matter are pretending that “our subjective reactions are telling of some objective truth”. I stated my opinion; you are perfectly welcome to yours.

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    140. ctid,

      You are perfectly making my point for me, expertly reading D&D’s minds and immediately assuming the worst intentions because it suits your preferred narrative.

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    141. What difference does it make that Dave mentioned George told them about it? They’re obviously going by what George told them happens in TWOW and ADOS anyway, so really the whole show is now just one giant spoiler. Dave is basically just stating the obvious at this point.

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    142. Valaquen: I think the fact that he took her along, first to Castle Black and then to Winterfell, says that he was already half-way there, but merely not acknowledging that he would need to do so. Every time Davos would bring up leaving Shireen somewhere safe, Stannis practically barks at him and a lot is left unsaid. Davos visits Shireen before he leaves for Castle Black obviously knowing that some harm could come to her, but I think he believes that ultimately Stannis would never do it. He asks many times that she be allowed to leave for a reason. I imagine we’ll see Davos blaming himself at some point for this. But I think the Shireen issue was already in the characters’ minds and something must have gotten through to the audience because for weeks, years even, we’ve been anticipating this.

      Stannis rebuking Mel for suggesting it, well, that’s the first time anyone said anything about sacrificing her out aloud. But I think this has been in Stannis’ head for the entire season, if not the last season too.

      This is very, very forgiving of you in regards to interpreting a visual medium. Very internal and secret feelings for a character to have. But I like this idea a lot. I’m going to use it to justify his actions in my own head today in fact. Cheers!

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    143. Mr Fixit:
      ctid,

      You are perfectly making my point for me, expertly reading D&D’s minds and immediately assuming the worst intentions because it suits your preferred narrative.

      Not at all. I have no preferred narrative, I love the show.

      But of all the non book and potential future book things they’ve put in the show that’s the only one he’s said on record that George told them about. He didn’t say “when George told us they make Craster’s babies into white walkers” or “when George told us that Valyrian steel is dragonsteel”. He did say “when George told us Shireen would burn”.

      Now why go on record then? After the Sansa changes and the backlash? Could it possibly be deflection?

      It’s a dick move.

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    144. ctid,

      He was recounting his emotional reaction when first hearing about the scene. It is an emotional scene, the other two examples you mention are not. There are no stories to tell about those scenes that begin
      with “When George first told us…”.

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    145. ctid:

      Now why go on record then? After the Sansa changes and the backlash? Could it possibly be deflection?

      It’s a dick move.

      The Inside segments are all filmed at the same time, before the season airs.

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    146. Tibatonk,

      Mr Fixit,

      Guys,

      I take your points. I still think it’s a shitty move on his part. Not his storytelling at all, which I like as a separate entity to the books, but his calling that out as from George.

      Maybe it wasn’t intended as deflection, maybe it was an unintentional dick move. Doesn’t stop that being what it is.

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    147. Tibatonk:

      He was recounting his emotional reaction when first hearing about the scene. It is an emotional scene, the other two examples you mention are not. That’s all there is to it.

      Pretty much. I understand that some people are irked that D&D spoiled a plot point from a future book and I agree that they shouldn’t have done it (although, let’s be perfectly honest here, the very fact that the scene exists in the first place is a dead giveaway that something like it awaits poor book!Shireen).

      However, there are zero reasons to believe it’s not an honest mistake. These elaborate theories about ass saving and blame deflection reveal more about those advancing them then about Benioff and Weiss.

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    148. Mr Fixit,

      What I have a problem with is saying that a sequence was produced well, written well, built up to well, acted well…but then say that it was “wrong.” It’s fine to say that the scene was too dark for you, personally. It’s fine to admit that you didn’t like the scene, but not have a problem with how it was executed. But to say that, because you didn’t enjoy it, the scene was “wrong…” that’s what is frustrating with some of these discussions. For some people, if the immediate reaction to the scene is discomfort, then the scene MUST have been incorrect or flawed, somehow. And maintaining that despite finding no actual problems with the way the scene was written, acted, etc. I don’t think is helpful to the discussion.

      And I’m kind of speaking from experience. I was viscerally angry after watching the sequence. I tried to come up with all kinds of arguments against the scene, saying it was manipulative, or that it made Stannis a less interesting character…but after calming down, seeing some other responses to the episode, I really can’t fault anyone who played a part in the scene with how it was handled and executed. So even though I admit to not liking the scene, I’m not going to pretend that there was anything wrong about it. I just admit that it was maybe a bit too disturbing for me personally, instead of trying to use facts to back up what was really a completely subjective reaction to the scene.

      Really, I was just reacting to the use of the word “wrong” and talking about the discourse about the scene in general. I think a lot of people see a scene that makes them feel intense discomfort, and because of that reaction, say the scene is incorrect or flawed without really providing any argument as to what the writers, actors or director did incorrectly concerning the scene. I think it is easy to mistake our instant, immediate impression of a scene with objective criticism. Calling a scene that was personally too uncomfortable for you “wrong” I think is a good example of that.

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    149. Mr Fixit: Pretty much. I understand that some people are irked that D&D spoiled a plot point from a future book and I agree that they shouldn’t have done it (although, let’s be perfectly honest here, the very fact that the scene exists in the first place is a dead giveaway that something like it awaits poor book!Shireen).

      However, there are zero reasons to believe it’s not an honest mistake. These elaborate theories about ass saving and blame deflection reveal more about those advancing them then about Benioff and Weiss.

      That’s your personal judgement too.

      I don’t think it does, I think it fits perfectly. I don’t think the theories about blame deflection are wrong.

      Hell GRRM did the same thing himself last year with the twincest rape scene, the only difference was that he explained it and had pages to back himself up.

      D just said “when George told us” and it didn;t need saying really. Felt like a dick move. But you guys might be right. I’ll reserve judgement until it comes out in print and then I’ll see how it’s done in the books.

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    150. So if Stannis is Agamemnon does that mean Selyse will kill him like Clytemnestra did?

      I thought Shireen holding the stag Davos made for her was a nice nod to the version of the Greek tragedy where Artemis accepted a deer instead of Aggies daughter… I am going to hope that some supernatural Old God whisked Shireen away … like Artemis did with Iphigenia.

      I think they have brought up Breinne’s pledge to kill Stannis (if she knew what he did to Shireen it would probably send her into berserker mode right quick) too many times not to have them meet.

      However it would be satisfying for Queen Daenerys to try and convict him for being a kinslayer and feed him to Drogon.

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    151. Hodor Targaryen,

      What I was trying to convey is that multiple scenarios others have posited could have been equally valid and would not have contradicted the foreshadowing you and others cite.

      Consider the Burn Shireen vs. Protective Dad preparatory scenes. Prior to Episode 9, which was the fakout and which was the foreshadowing? In hindsight, you are indeed correct that everything proceeded according to a long-held plan everyone could see coming and was, as such, completely valid.

      But that it was a correct choice does not mean it was the best choice.

      What I find more interesting is what a character MIGHT do, not what Scriptwriting 101 telegraphs. For example, the character Ethan Edwards stepping back from the abyss in the classic ‘The Searchers’ was both emotionally satisfying and artistically gratifying. One suspected he wanted to kill Debbie, a girl about as young as Shireen, but audiences hoped he wouldn’t. When he didn’t, there was relief and catharsis.

      Giving Shireen and Stannis an out, at least for now, would have been just as correct as what D&D gave us–and potentially much more satisfying. Don’t discount reasonable emotional responses and expectations from audiences as being somehow irrelevant to storytelling. Would Qyburn vivisecting Ghost be a welcome addition to GoT if D&D pepper the script with foreshadowing we can congratulate ourselves for spotting? Of course not. Sometimes basic decency has to prevail, even in GoT.

      In any event, digging ourselves into entrenched positions only leads to frustration. I know I’ve learned a lot from everyone here, and I don’t mind having my head handed to me on a platter now and then–as long as I can reattach it.

      So break out the Dornish red and look forward to Sunday night!

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    152. Sue the Fury: DO NOT POST ANY LEAKED MATERIALS.

      YOUR POST WILL BE DELETED AND YOU WILL BE BANNED.

      IS THAT CLEAR?

      Oh, damn! This swell English bloke in archaic clothes and flying a weird blue box just took me to 2061 for the midnight release sales of A Dream of Spring, and I was just about to tell everyone about it!

      😀

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    153. Ginevra: True. The Red Woman is wrong about who Azor Ahai is, IMO, and so she may well be wrong about many other things.

      That is the big issue. Melissandre is never wrong about what she sees; however, she often is very wrong in interpreting the facts. She seems to fit them into the best context that she can: but being limited to only what she knows, she misinterprets things.

      But there really is a huge question here that both the show and books are begging us (and the characters) to ask right now. Just what is in the sacrifices for this R’Hllor thing? What is it getting out of people being burned alive? What does it get from blood sacrifices? I really doubt that it’s rewarding devotion: more probably, it’s being fed in some way. OK, feed it, and it does something for you: that sounds like a swell deal, but I have to think that this really is a deal with a devil. It must be getting something out of this: and I’m betting that once people figure out what this is, they are going to be less than thrilled.

      In many ways, this is exactly the same as the question about why the White Walkers want a zombie army. OK, sure, on one level, who doesn’t want a zombie army? (Revenge against my enemies time! They should die like pigs in hell…..) However, I’m betting that it won’t be quite so mundane as that.

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    154. padaeum,

      Well, let me try another approach then. Both you and another poster focused on my choice of the word ‘wrong.’ There certainly can be such a thing as right and wrong choices, in life and art, and which is which is what I think we’ve all been trying o assess in our analyses.

      In my college days, I recall a discussion with a theater prof about a scene in a classic film that had the lead character triumph, whereas in the book he ended up dead in a pickle barrel. I was so proud at the time to say I thought the film was a copout, but the professor countered by saying the filmmakers made the right call, that audiences needed a payoff.

      So, what is the right or wrong artistic choice?

      The one, my professor argued, that delivered the payoff the audience needed. And such payoffs can, indeed, occur in the classic tragedies you cite and which I have enjoyed. So please don’t resort to the borderline insult of urging me to shuffle off to a romantic comedy more suited to my delicate sensibilities.

      Questioning the contextual prudence of various scenes does not mean we need to be culled from the GoT herd. It merely means we have our own ideas about how certain scenes and storylines could have been done better.

      That’s what we all do around here at various times, right?

      And, by the way, artists can do what they want more in theory than in practice. Ultimately, art (much less show biz) is less about the needs of the artist than it is about the effect of the art upon whatever audience shows up.

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    155. Wimsey: OK, feed it, and it does something for you: that sounds like a swell deal, but I have to think that this really is a deal with a devil. It must be getting something out of this: and I’m betting that once people figure out what this is, they are going to be less than thrilled.

      This is a super duper juicy layer to pull back and think about. Her core agenda is pretty obscured, she appeals to Stan by talking to him about being a big hero saviour for the realm, so that helps us go “oh well he needed to do it.” But I think aesthetically and tonally and hell, even in her dialogue, she is as dark and sinister as they come. The deal with the devil thought is super interesting. And yeah, a whole new level of brain hurty thought.

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    156. I think the episode was an average 8.5 for me, I would give it a 9 if they didn’t use that pedophile plot line with Meryn Trant taken from the Mercy chapter. Ozzyman has been sinking so low he is almost at that level where he will rip apart those star wars prequels to get more nerd rage subscribers. I mean you have the freedom to express your opinion and give the episode a 5, but doing so because your favorite character did something disturbing. Ignore the brilliant acting that made the audience think should we root for the white walkers or these humans. I mean we all know its a cool thing to hate on the show runners for no apparent reason but to prevent them from being creative just to give more book nods. Circlejerking intensifies. In my opinion Renlys Peach is a little bitch eheh.

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    157. I’m surprised by the comments here and by some reviews. Most of the general population seems to have loved the episode a lot. The GoT facebook page is filled with awed comments, and the episode has a 9.5 on IMDB.

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    158. Cersei’s Brain:
      I don’t appreciate D&D manipulating the audiencew/ the Stannis-Shireen afterschool story…and then burning her.I believe it would have served logic’s sake much better to have used all that hearts and kisses time to show Stannis’ and company’s desperate plight instead.Know I will be spat upon but don’t believe George is going to have some kind of Stannis – Shireen bonding. Agree with the Ozzy, context is everything in this story.

      Well said, and totally agree. Show!Stannis wasn’t given any of the context that would make this be some kind of Greek tragedy that some have claimed from a story perspective. Plus, the “cruel, merciless, ambitious fanatic” stuff was nowhere in Stephen Dillane’s portrayal this season, on the contrary – we saw a true leader/father figure to Jon Snow and a stern but loving father to Shireen up until he decided “Whoops, just kidding now we burn you, luv.” If the producers/writers were going for a tragic Stannis they didn’t show it, imho.

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    159. Rodrik the Reader: Questioning the contextual prudence of various scenes does not mean we need to be culled from the GoT herd. It merely means we have our own ideas about how certain scenes and storylines could have been done better.

      This should be copy/pasted at the top of every single comment made on this site.

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    160. Ozzy Man: This is very, very forgiving of you in regards to interpreting a visual medium. Very internal and secret feelings for a character to have. But I like this idea a lot. I’m going to use it to justify his actions in my own head today in fact. Cheers!

      Ack, I chalk it to being a Film student for a few years at university 😛 Glad to have contributed to a perspective, though 🙂

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    161. Sue the Fury:
      DO NOT POST ANY LEAKED MATERIALS.


      YOUR POST WILL BE DELETED AND YOU WILL BE BANNED.

      IS THAT CLEAR?

      Thank you, Sue. I apologize for my very crude and vulgar response, it is not my way. But, that one shocked me right down to my Keds!! I will still be here, but I now refuse to open any link.

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    162. Sue the Fury,

      Ugh, the site that shall not be named has an article on this, apparently with pictures (did not enter the article to look at them). I should have listened to you guys never to come back there again!

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    163. Wimsey,

      Some of the religious motifs:

      R’Hllor — The devil, I would think. The darker desires, the greater the price. And what you get is not what you want but what you have coming. Mel is the (perhaps unwitting) emissary of spiritual evil; Littlefinger, who certainly has a devilish vibe, is its unconscious earthly manifestation.

      The Seven — They embody the broken windows school of soul policing. Nip the small transgressive acts in the bud, lest they grow into bigger ones.

      The Drowned God — For the Iron Islanders, there is no need for a supernatural force to give you what you want. Go out and get it yourself! Pay the Iron Price, then party with the immortals forever when the Drowned God welcomes you to his watery Valhalla.

      The Faceless Men — The bigger the hit, the greater the price.

      So, the Seven satisfy the need for stability and order. R’Hllor promises the world and everything in it. The Drowned God wants you to self-actualize by your own damn self. The Faceless men… I haven’t quite figured them out yet.

      Ultimately, balance between these and other elements is what makes for a healthy life and society. In that conversation with the Hound last season, the dying man bemoaned the loss of balance and the notions of a fair trade and a square deal in what Westeros has become.

      Perhaps GoT will end with a rebalancing of the world and an integration of the various spiritual entities.

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    164. Ozzy Man: But I think aesthetically and tonally and hell, even in her dialogue, she is as dark and sinister as they come. The deal with the devil thought is super interesting. And yeah, a whole new level of brain hurty thought.

      I think that it goes beyond Mel. I think that Mel truly believes that her god is the one Good God (all others are imaginary or demons) and that she therefore is a good person for following that god. (I think that it is a capital mistake to assume that people who do horrible things in the name of their religion realize deep down inside that what they are doing is horrible!)

      But the question that Mel is not asking is: why is the Red God doing stuff for her? Why does it take human sacrifices? Why does it seem to really get off on sacrifices of either those of possible power or those near and dear or something like that? (It might be both or one or the other: or it might be some other common aspect of which I am not thinking, of course.)

      This is probably a commensal relationship: Mel and others gives the Fire God something, and the Fire God gives them something in return. I see what Mel gets out of this. I don’t know what R’Hllor gets out of this: and, again, I’m betting that we will find out and it will not be pretty. (I also think that it’s going to be a key story point in Dream: but we will see!)

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    165. Rodrik the Reader:
      Wimsey,

      Some of the religious motifs:

      R’Hllor —The devil, I would think. The darker desires, the greater the price. And what you get is not what you want but what you have coming. Mel is the (perhaps unwitting) emissary of spiritual evil; Littlefinger, who certainly has a devilish vibe, is its unconscious earthly manifestation.

      Well GRRM allegedly based R’Hllor on Zoroastrianism, of course it would be no fun if that was translated exactly for the books as it would be too guessable where it goes. Zoroastrianism does see itself as inherently “good” in the struggle against chaos and evil, so maybe it is that GRRM has reversed that while trying to make it appear initially as if The Lord of Light is the salvation. I can’t get away from thinking that fire is seen as a cleansing force but an ultimately destructive one.

      In Zoroastrian eschatology, a 3,000-year struggle between good and evil will be fought, punctuated by evil’s final assault. During the final assault, the sun and moon will darken and humankind will lose its reverence for religion, family, and elders. The world will fall into winter, and Angra Mainyu’s most fearsome miscreant, Azi Dahaka, will break free and terrorize the world.

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    166. Rodrik the Reader,

      I do not think that R’Hllor is “the devil” anymore than I think that the White Walkers are.

      Here is a different model. Imagine that humans are a herd of horses in a field where two opposing armies are converging. The armies will accidentally kill the horses; they will use some for meat; they will capture and train many of the horses for use in the war. To the horses, the two armies are devils and gods all at once: and, if you are a horse and you see the world as all about horses, then what is important is how this affects horses. However, the two armies do not care about the horses save as meat for eating, transportation, etc.: they are worried about things about which horses have no concept.

      Ultimately, I think that what Jon, Daeny, etc., are going to have to face is that this great war is as much about them as their wars are about horses. And that means that they need to be very careful about how they deal with the Red God’s followers.

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    167. Arya Havin’ a Larf,

      Yeah, a lot of people have seen Christianity in the Red Church, but what they really are seeing is the very influence that Zorastrianism had on old Abrahamic religions. The Abrahamic concept of Satan comes from the Zorastrians (the original concept of Satan was a bit different), as does the Abrahamic concept of heaven (paradise is derived from the Zorastrian word for heaven). There is even evidence that the shift of the early Abrahamic religions from a 2 or 4 good system was influenced by them: supposedly interactions between Abrahamic and Zorastrian theologians and philosophers influenced both religions’ development of monotheism. (The story of Baal is thought by some to represent the purging of the followers of the other male god as a result of this.)

      The “end of the world” and Anti-Christ scenarios might also have had a Zorastrian influence, although “Ragnarok” analogs exist in plenty of other mythologies.

      That said, I do not think that R’Hllor is Satan. R’Hllor is just a jerk. 😀

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    168. Wimsey,

      Ha! Love your horse analogy in that post that popped up as I’m writing this. The people of Westeros are like that burning horse that ran panicked through Stannis’s camp.

      And yeah, maybe the opposing gods trample people underfoot almost as collateral damage in a larger war. We might be back to the Orson smashing beetles metaphor if we continue to ask what it all means.

      Reducing it to the pulp fiction genre realm: from sci-fi, we’ve certainly seen plenty of evil entities that feed on evil. Not out of malice, necessarily, but out of need. R’Hllor might feed on the worst instincts in us. R’Hllor is the crack dealer whose drugs make all your pain go away–for awhile. But as your addiction mounts, as your delusions grow, the final price is paid–and you die.

      R’Hllor then moves on to another person, kingdom, continent, much as Littlefinger harvests the great Houses before moving on.

      But that’s just me putting earthly motives on supernatural spiritual entities. Considering them as elemental forces larger than the mind of man can conceive works just as well–or even better.

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    169. Very interesting reading of the religious aspect of the world according to Martin and how that translates out to other religions.

      I am confused about the God of Light here. Mel see’s him as one thing and acts on what she see’s. But consider the priestess over in Pentos who was backing Dany – but I didn’t hear anything about burning people or leeching along the way to get Dany to the throne. Also then consider the BwoB and Beric Dondarrion and how he has been “brought back” starting by the red priest Thoros. All three of these folks follow the same God of Light. But only Mel seems to be asking for the payment of blood and burning for her services.

      I am not totally sure where I am going with this, but there is some inconsistency to my minds eye. Am I missing something??

      (like to think that I am a herd filly who gets trampled by the Gods War…….not.) 😀

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    170. JCDavis,

      I think it’s interesting that in the show they gave us Mel being rather shocked to find out that Thoros had the resurrection ability, I don’t recall Mel having any knowledge of resurrection in the books either. Not sure how important it is or whether a) she didn’t know resurrection was possible; or b) she wonders why Thoros has it but not her.

      Also Mirri Maz Duur: “Only death can pay for life” where she is a Magi but not a Red Priestess, though she learned Shadowbinder skills in Asshai.

      That’s why I wonder if Mel is really all that she seems, and it has some implications for a popular theory following an event in ADWD!

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    171. Knight of Storm´s End,

      I was going to reply to some of these points, but then I realized that I’d be reviewing your review of Ozzy Man’s review of a TV show based on a book, and I got really depressed about what my life has become.

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    172. Arya Havin’ a Larf,

      I did not think Zoroastrianism required human sacrifices, tho I agree there are some similarities to R’hollor and its likely that GRRM took pieces of what he wanted to develop the religion. But Im interesed in learning more – where is that quote from?

      Wimsey,

      I did not know that. Interesting – need to do some more reading on the subject

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    173. JCDavis,

      lso then consider the BwoB and Beric Dondarrion and how he has been “brought back” starting by the red priest Thoros. All three of these folks follow the same God of Light. But only Mel seems to be asking for the payment of blood and burning for her services.

      I am not totally sure where I am going with this, but there is some inconsistency to my minds eye. Am I missing something??

      Look at the number of various interpretations on the New Testament, or the Torah, or the Koran. The differences are due to human nature wanting to make their god in their own image, similar to GMMR taking bits and pieces of what he likes to make this god perhaps? So its not surprising that we’d fine a Rhollor fundamentalist, as well as a Seven Gods one (Sparrow)

      (excuse my multiple edits, trying to do too many cuts and pastes!

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    174. Why can’t HBO get their shit together! Why are they allowing screeners to be watched or overseas HBO’s to release inside the episode prior to its release! This is ridiculous, I haven’t been to the “Site that shall not be named in months”, until I saw the leaks being mentioned above!

      Warning! Even if you are book readers I urge you all not to make the mistake I made and visit. DO NOT! It’s going to ruin the episode! It’s going to ruin book material. Just wait, there’s not much time left for the episode!

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    175. Rodrik the Reader,

      Doubt you’re still looking at this thread, but I wanted to respond. First of all, I apologize for the tone of my first post. I was conflating your thoughtful post with some of the more frustrating arguments I’ve seen elsewhere, and that wasn’t fair to you. I’m now committed to responding only on my laptop, not on my phone, where I’m a slower typist and am less likely to look back and edit my comment.

      I understand that they could have gone a different direction with Stannis’s choice. I don’t think he had ever done anything quite this awful, so burning his daughter easily could have been crossing his own line in the sand. And if it resulted in a permanent breaking off from Melisandre, then the impact of the storyline would have been significant and compelling enough not to be a copout.

      But I think imagining a totally different outcome, and comparing it to what we have, is an ineffective method of criticism. It’s done all the time, and will probably continue to be as what the show does bumps against what we predict will happen in the book series, but I am kind of against it. I read somewhere that a classic film critic said that you criticize what a film is, not what it isn’t. This is the story they wanted to tell, and it’s perfectly fine to criticize the way they told that story. And, actually, I think it’s okay to say that this particular story is not your cup of tea, that a different direction would have been more satisfying for you. But just because they told a different story than the one you personally would have liked more, doesn’t mean their story is wrong.

      I think you can use the word “wrong,” or “bad,” or “ineffective,” mind you. There are plenty of ways that they can mess up telling the story they want to tell. Maybe they didn’t build up to the moment enough, maybe it was out of character for Stannis, maybe the way they shot it undermined the tragedy in some way, or maybe it doesn’t work within the narrative they were trying to tell. I think mistakes like that are perfectly okay to point out as wrong or bad. But in this very good discussion, it seems like all the holes that critics of the scene were trying to point at, whether it be the lack of buildup or the character assassination or what have you, they really don’t have much of a leg to stand on. The moment had been built up to significantly, and the reasons for doing it were explicitly stated either in this episode or a couple episodes ago. So when it comes to the story they were trying to tell, it looks like the writers and actors and director pretty much executed it perfectly.

      I think you were being honest in saying that the execution was good, but that you still just fundamentally didn’t like that sequence. And I think that’s fine. The scene was probably just too dark for some people. But for others, it was emotional and really compelling, and probably wouldn’t have been as compelling for them personally if they went in a direction that you would have appreciated more. And certainly the writers felt this was a strong, powerful story to tell. But those preferences aren’t “wrong” because they’re different from yours. If you’re going to say that the story was wrong in some way, I think you have to back that up by criticizing inconsistencies in how they told the story or developed the characters. For example, the argument your professor made concerning the protagonist’s fate in the books or the movie I think is less an argument about preferences, but about whether there was payoff for what had been built up to beforehand. Unless you can actually point to something they did wrong in the execution of their story, I don’t think you can say that the story itself was “wrong.” I know this is a long argument that is ultimately about semantics, and I am fine moving on from it and enjoying your observations on future material. Sorry again for the overly-negative, snobby initial reaction.

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    176. It’s all good, Hodor. We tend to fire each other up around here, but ultimately a collective appreciation, understanding, and, dare I say, enlightenment is reached. More ‘I see your point’ than ‘gotcha.’

      My first reaction to the finale was that I loved it–and that all is forgiven. I suppose I could continue to fall into the trap you outlined about criticizing what wasn’t there instead of what was, but I have surprisingly little impulse to do so.

      Given this busy episode, I’m less in critic mode than in fan mode, wondering what the hell GoT will come up with next now that so many of the known plot points have come to fruition!

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