Game of Thrones breaks its own piracy record with 3.5 million downloads of “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken”

Jorah

The official ratings for this Sunday’s episode of Game of Thrones may be slightly down but the viewers on the internet checked in this week in record numbers.

According to Variety, there were 3.5 million downloads by individual users of “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken” in a 24-hour period. This breaks the record set just last week by “Kill the Boy,” episode 5 of this season of Game of Thrones, which was downloaded 3.22 million times in a day.

As Variety notes, this number of downloads (figure supplied by Excipio) only accounts for peer-to-peer sharing sites for downloads and doesn’t include streaming-only pirating websites. The true total of pirating viewers is incalculable but likely a lot higher.

Word of mouth about the controversial ending scene of the episode spread fast across the internet Sunday night after the first airing,  but that doesn’t seem to have deterred many from downloading it, going by these figures. It’ll be interesting to see if that holds true in the coming weeks, with the fallout from “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken.” Memorial Day will likely affect people’s viewing habits but it won’t keep the pirates away for long, that’s for certain.

114 responses

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    1. And remember, piracy is good for the show 😉

      Edit: 7 years commenting on the site and finally got to post first not once but twice in a day, lol

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    2. I know everyone has been asking for it, but any clue as to when HBO will release their numbers Sue? Or when they have in the past relative to the airing of the season in question?

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    3. Boba Fett:
      I know everyone has been asking for it, but any clue as to when HBO will release their numbers Sue?Or when they have in the past relative to the airing of the season in question?

      Last year they announced it at the beginning of June I think…

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    4. Well, assuming Excipio is (more or less) correct with those numbers: WTH?!

      Why would less people watch it live than before yet more people download it asap? Don’t tell me people have changed and switched from paying to torrenting.

      I can only gather from this that either, (A.) somehow, paying customers aren’t that much in love as they used to be with GoT while the more shady internet dwellers love it more and more, or (B.) the show keeps being more and more popular yet paying customers choose viewing it differently than live on TV (HBO Go or HBO Now or simply next day on TV- don’t know if there’s another way). That’d explain the surprisingly low ratings after the first episode.

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    5. It’s impressive I think. I mean I know how to use newsgroups and torrents, but honestly I don’t really care enough to bother, most of the time. So I guess it is interesting that so many people bother to download Game of Thrones year after year.

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    6. I watch the show on HBO Now…it’s very convenient, the episode is available pretty much as soon as it airs. I’d like to see the HBO Now and HBO Go #’s with the TV ones…I expect it to be MASSIVE!

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    7. TOIVA,

      I’d be interested to see the subscription numbers for HBO Now. Have they reached 1 million subscribers? 500,000? I’d venture a guess that the vast majority of HBO Now subscribers watch GOT. Without the subscription numbers, it’s hard to really judge the live viewership numbers on HBO’s regular channel.

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    8. I dunno how it works in other countries but i can only assume its the same as here, i know of 3 or 4 groups of people that treat the airing of the episode each week as a night out and go to eachothers house alternatively to view it and discuss the happenings over dinner and a few brews, rather than all watching it seperately cutting the numbers down from about 30 to 4 probably would’nt make a significant difference just a thought it could be one of many little things contributing

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    9. TOIVA: Why would less people watch it live than before yet more people download it asap? Don’t tell me people have changed and switched from paying to torrenting.

      It’s apples and oranges. The viewership numbers that are down represent US viewership only. I think someone posted that UK viewership was up, and I haven’t seen numbers for any other country. Piracy, of course, is global. I doubt very many have ever switched from paying to torrenting… but new fans are torrenting more than ever. For example, here in Brazil piracy is pretty much a way of life – they sell bootleg copies of DVDs on the streetcorner – and GoT is HUGE. I have no idea how many HBO subscriptions in Brazil there are, but I’m sure they pale in comparison to the number of people torrenting. And that’s true for most everything – music, TV, movies, animé, games, etc.

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    10. Simeon,

      If the reported viewership numbers are only US numbers, and the US is where HBONow has been launched, I’d bet a lot of people watched the first episode during the free preview the first weekend on HBO, then switched to the HBONow format.

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    11. TOIVA:
      Well, assuming Excipio is (more or less) correct with those numbers: WTH?!

      Why would less people watch it live than before yet more people download it asap? Don’t tell me people have changed and switched from paying to torrenting.

      I can only gather from this that either, (A.) somehow, paying customers aren’t that much in love as they used to be with GoT while the more shady internet dwellers love it more and more, or (B.) the show keeps being more and more popular yet paying customers choose viewing it differently than live on TV (HBO Go or HBO Now or simply next day on TV- don’t know if there’s another way). That’d explain the surprisingly low ratings after the first episode.

      I don’t think these numbers reflect much at all. Same with the initial airing numbers. People sometimes go to other viewers to watch together, but don’t have HBO themselves and can’t make the next “appointment”, so they download/stream an episode.

      Fortin Bras:
      For those who took the survey, I’ve posted the results to reddit:

      http://www.reddit.com/r/gameofthrones/comments/36kdvi/no_spoilers_game_of_thrones_crosswebsite_survey/

      I’ll also be posting this in the next open chat and recap thread, so that people who participated can see how things played out!

      I took the survey, thanks for showing the numbers! 😀

      What’s weird is that Theon and Stannis are highly appreciated actors, yet the majority is apparently relatively apathetic to their characters. Alfie and Dillane’s acting chops are incredible this season, but their characters are split the fandom, so it doesn’t surprise.

      At the last graph, did you make a stab at Theon having his penis cut off? Seems ridiculous and very insensitive to go there. That’s like making fun of Sansa’s rape, i.e.: “Women like Sansa more ‘cus they get raped” (men get raped as well, just to be correct). Totally hilarious, not so much. That’s pretty disgusting. And it’s not just the GoT-fandom that jokes about this, chopping off penises is used to comedic effect in other shows as well. It’s feminism at its most hypocritical. Hell, Grey’s Anatomy did it twice in a single episode! What if GoT featured two rapes in the same episode? For comedic effect of course. It’s then that the feminist go crazy, when they see a penis chopped of twice in an episode, it’s all shits and giggles..

      Can you please scrap me from the results? I’m one of the two Dutch people that included Westeros.org.

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    12. Fortin Bras,

      Hi. I wanted to get a visual of all of the data to get a better sense on what your results were saying, and so I combined all six sheets worth of data into one data set. Is that right? I’m assuming that each sheet is for a different website or different data source. I had known about westeros.org and about asoiaf, although I thought they were sort of the same. I was unfamiliar with the Reddit site, although it makes sense they would have one. But “r-sample size” doesn’t sound at all like a site, which is what makes me ask. And “r-GoT” was ginormous! And it didn’t really sound like a site, either. So I’m hoping for clarification.

      If using all of the data was the right thing to do, then visually, this is what I put together for the data.

      As you can hopefully see from the image, the highest rated characters include Tyrion, Arya, and Jon Snow (my three personal favorites!). They have identical boxplots with medians at 8, the third quartiles and maximums at 9, first quartiles at 7, and the minimum non-outlier numbers are 4s. (An outlier is a value significantly different from the rest of the data.) However, the number of outliers that each has does vary. And their means vary slightly: 8.02, 7.50, and 7.63, respectively. These characters also have the three highest mean values.

      As for the actors and actresses, there is some agreement with Peter Dinklage and Tyrion, but mostly what I see is different. The ties here for actor boxplots are for Peter Dinklage (Tyrion), Stephen Dillane (Stannis), Alfie Allen (Theon), and Rory McCann (The Hound). These boxplots all look similar except for outliers, but McCann’s median is actually 8 rather than 9, so he isn’t quite the tie he appears to be. All four have a maximum and third quartile of 9, a first quartile of 8, and a minimum non-outlier data value of 7. Looking at the means for these four, again, these four are the top four by means, as well, with means of 8.49, 8.15, 8.09, and 8.10.

      I hope you don’t mind my playing with your data. That’s what I do.

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    13. Wow, I guess you don’t like pirates. Honestly, I thought the end scene was spot on, not too grotesque, but definitely (in retrospect) expected.

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    14. Ginevra,

      The only thing that still hasn’t settled with me in retrospect is the Jaime/Cersei rape scene. That one, I just put a black box around it and move on.

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    15. The 4 weakest scenes in GOT history: (IMO)

      1-The skeletons+fireballs (S4)
      2-The Dorne water garden fight (S5)
      3-Theons sister fighting Boltons (S4)
      4-Arya and hound vs the biter and Rorge (S4)

      Hope this is not a trend!!

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    16. Arash,

      I don’t understand the rage about the skeletons. I like them myself (minus the fireballs). The other three I agree. Just swap the skeletons’ scene with Littlefinger’s “Play with Her Arse” monologue in Season 1, and the list will be perfectly accurate.

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    17. MaesterofMasonry,

      Ah, I see what you mean, now. And it was even more disconcerting when those in charge were all, we didn’t realize it was rape. I really like what one of the articles said about the mishandling of the aftermath of rape in the series, and I hope that, even if we don’t see comeuppances directly tied to the rape, we at least see anger and outrage from the victim. We didn’t have even that with Dany or Cersei, which is about the worst thing you can do because that sends the message that rape is okay.

      I do love that HBO didn’t show nudity for Sansa’s rape. The fact that the pervs came out from the woodwork screaming how wronged they were proves that mixing rape and nudity has been the worst of ideas all along.

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    18. LOL Skeleton scene was trash…they could have just used regular Wights…they dropped the ball on the CotF too…Other then that GoT is still the best thing on TV to me currently.

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    19. Just seen that ep 10 is called “winter” on a game of thrones insta page. Someone confirm?

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    20. Arash,

      1. Pyatt Pree multiplying
      2. Water Gardens fight
      3. COTF fireballs
      4. “Where are my dragons?”
      5. Yara’s failed Dreadfort rescue

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    21. Top 5 worst scenes:
      1. Sand Snakes Power Rangers fight
      2. Yara hound evacuation
      3. CotF Fireball extravaganza
      4. Little Finger “Play with her a_se.”
      5. Jojen getting shanked by the Skeleton like he was an inmate in a maximum security prison

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    22. As rubbish as the Sand Snake fight was, the Yara Dreadfort scene from last year is easily the weakest scene in GoT history, in my opinion.

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    23. The worst-rated episodes are Season 2’s “The Night Lands” and Season 3’s “Dark Wings, Dark Words” and “The Bear and the Maiden Fair.” I wonder what scenes made these the worst-rated or if it was just an overall lack of goodness that earned the ratings.

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    24. Davos’ Luck: I don’t understand the rage about the skeletons. I like them myself (minus the fireballs).

      I do not understand how people think that they could have set the skeletons or wights on fire without magic. I mean, it’s not like Children of the Forest wander around with cans of gasoline (petrol).

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    25. Wimsey: I do not understand how people think that they could have set the skeletons or wights on fire without magic.I mean, it’s not like Children of the Forest wander around with cans of gasoline (petrol).

      Mmmm…. fiery arrows perhaps? Their cave was right in front of the group so she could have a fire going on there. I dunno.

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    26. Ginevra: We didn’t have even that with Dany or Cersei, which is about the worst thing you can do because that sends the message that rape is okay.

      Unfortunately, that is a modern sensibility. Daeny (book and TV) probably did not know any better: I mean, after all, she was being sold like so much cattle, and from what we’ve seen from the areas she and Viserys inhabited, that probably would have seemed normal to her. Moreover, she’d just witnessed a wedding ceremony in which the Dothraki view on women was made pretty plain.

      As for Cersei, we don’t get her PoV in the books until the next book: but she never thinks back on it, at least not that I recall. (I do recall her vilifying Jaime repeatedly: but that seemed to be more “post-breakup” scorn.) Now, Cersei did seem displeased with Jaime at the time, but that was entirely Jaime’s PoV and Jaime probably did not catch what she really felt. (He was, after all, only dimly aware of her hitting him and demanding that he stop.)

      The odd thing is, I don’t recall the scene causing as much angst in among fans 15 years ago. I remember there was some discussion: did Jaime essentially just rape Cersei there? The consensus was “yes, by 2000 standards: but probably not by medieval standards.” After what Cersei went through with Robert, that probably did not seem out of the ordinary: and she goes through similar experiences in the books later (although it looks like that plot line is being excised).

      But at any rate, I do not think that this (book or show) sends the message that “rape is OK” any more than it is sending the message that “war is OK” or “incest is OK” or “feudalism is OK” or “slavery is OK.” Instead, it tells us what that world is like: just as ugly as ours. And it’s one more thing (along with dismemberment, torture, etc.) that the female characters are risking by taking on any initiatives of their own. Indeed, as others noted, the male characters can be at risk: Theon was almost raped by Ramsay’s soldiers before Ramsay saved him at the last moment. I don’t think that anybody suggested that any of the scenes from Mad Men sent the message that it was OK for bosses to start raping their secretaries again. Instead, the comments were: geez, it was even worse for women in the 1960’s than it is now.

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    27. Josla,

      How would fiery arrows set a frozen corpse on fire? They’d go out almost immediately.

      Burning corpses is hard under normal conditions. Burning frozen corpses is extremely difficult: if you cannot douse it with an accelerant of some sort, then you can stick all the torches you want onto it. Remember, when a corpse gets frozen, then it is not just cold, but it is also waterlogged: instead of “mummifying,” all of the liquids freeze and stay there. (If you have ever tried to burn a frozen log that has been sitting in snow, then you’ll know what I mean.)

      Burning a frozen skeleton would be no easier: frozen bone also would retain more liquid than dried bone, and bone doesn’t burn particularly easily, anyway.

      (And, yes, the audience knows this.)

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    28. Wimsey,

      Except it made no sense for Sansa to go to winterfell without an army at her back. Her entire arc this season is for shock value and because they want to redeem theon.

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    29. Wimsey,

      He obviously means that the arrows would have the same effect as the balls regardless that this is tecnically impossible. Apparently the problem is not the result but the form and the shape of the medium…

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    30. whoresgotobravos: Except it made no sense for Sansa to go to winterfell without an army at her back. Her entire arc this season is for shock value and because they want to redeem theon.

      Cersei went to Kings Landing without an army and wound up taking over pretty effectively. Moreover, there is no army for Sansa to raise. Indeed, in Westeros, could she even do so easily? One thing that the show makes very clear is that men do not readily follow women in this world. Marrying her way back into power probably would have a higher probability of success AND be feasible then and there.

      At any rate, Sansa’s arc is there to tell the same “kill the lesser, rise to the greater” story that all the other characters are. It is not to “redeem” Theon. Now, it does let their arcs parallel with plot and with an aspect common to several character arcs in this story: nadir before zenith. And, of course, they had to create an arc for her because, for all intents and purposes, Sansa isn’t in Crows and Dragons. And one thing about B&W: they put story above everything else.

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    31. dothrakian raven: He obviously means that the arrows would have the same effect as the balls regardless that this is tecnically impossible. Apparently the problem is not the result but the form and the shape of the medium…

      The big difference is that we know that there are magic fires that burn and burn: we’ve seen that with wildfire. Unless the burning arrows were being shot with equal numbers of glass-arrowheaded shafts filled with a particularly effective oil or something, then it would be just as ineffectual as throwing torches at them.

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    32. Pau: And remember, piracy is good for the show

      I’m so confused!

      Pau: Edit: 7 years commenting on the site and finally got to post first not once but twice in a day, lol

      and you didn’t say “Hodor!” Congrats.

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    33. Arash,

      1. Theon + Myranda + Violet (3×07)
      2. Joffrey torturing prostitutes (2×04)
      3. Sand Snakes Introduction (5×04)
      4. Yara and the dogs (4×06)
      5. Ros and Pycelle (1×10)

      HM : The Water Gardens fight, Sept Rape, “Play with her ass”

      Worst performances :

      1. Obara (5×04)
      2. Shae, the funny whore (3×07)
      3. Daenerys entering Qarth (2×04)
      4. Jon has to go home (3×10)
      5. Daenerys asking for ships (2×06)

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    34. Boba Fett,

      Hi, there is no pattern, we got the partial numbers for the first episode this year. Usually they released a couple of updates starting closer to the end of the season, a “the average per episode so far” running updates.

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    35. Not sure if anyone has already mentioned this, but there is an Anatomy of a Scene video on Sansa’s return to Winterfell, shows Iwan Rheon being interviewed outside somewhere with blood on his face, similar to when Stannis was doing the pledge of allegiance to Baratheons. The video is on HBO Now. Guess we’ll be seeing some kind of confrontation between Ramsay and Stannis. May the gods be good and Stannis captures that little ‘bustuhd’

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    36. I for one really like the skeleton / cotf scene. It’s creepy, the CGI is excellent, it injected a bit of excitement into Bran’s story, it gave Jojen a good exit, it’s as good a way as any to introduce the children of the forest. I can’t see what the issue is. Too fantastical? Bran’s story is the most fantastical thread – go with it.

      The worst scene by a country mile so far is the “Play with her arse” scene. It is such a blatant case of sex for its own sake that it really jars. And Gillen wasn’t quite on his game in that scene either. It’s season 1 though, so forgivable.

      The recent Dorne fight scene – I must admit with the disguises and the pointy shoes and the comedy weapons, it does all come across as a bit “Carry On Throning”. So that probably comes second for me.

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    37. Rygritte: Pau: And remember, piracy is good for the show

      I’m so confused!

      I’ll rehash my own comment from another thread:

      “I’ll explain my personal case. Here in Spain it was impossible to watch the first season, so obviously I had to pirate it. Having done so, I told all my friends about it, who in turn downloaded the show etc, and in this manner the hype spread. Not only through me, but through hundreds like me.

      Then the next season came, I (and many people like me obviously) bought the blurays, dvd’s, books, t-shirts etc..and the hype kept on extending.

      Now, 5 years later, you can watch the show Mondays in v.o. and Tuesdays dubbed to Spanish through a cable provider that reached an agreement with HBO. Many people that is too lazy, doesn’t speak English or is not tech savvy enough (i.e., the majority of population) has contracted this cable provider to watch GoT. Thanks to the hype that we who pirated the show in the first place help to build.

      This is the case in many countries. Thanks to piracy, the show got huge outside the US, and keeps on getting huge and generating revenue for HBO.

      I’m also pretty sure that’s the case too in the US. Piracy of HBO shows end up generating more HBO subscribers, DVD/BR sales, etc…that’s why they brag about it and execs say it’s good for the show.”

      What was not good though, in my opinion, were the leaks. Specially because episode 4 was quite weak. Normally they used to have a WTF moment in the final episode of the episodes that were given to the press (smoke monster, dracarys, etc). This year we got the Sand Snakes introduction. Maybe it was badass in their minds…but yeah, got some friends that watched the leaks and said “nothing really amazing happens” and “and there’s this strange chicks in the south and this strange cult in the capital”. Maybe that killed the momentum a bit , having to wait 4 weeks without a cliffhanger of sorts

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    38. Ozymandias,

      I thought the scene with Joffrey and the prostitutes was great.

      Worst scenes-
      1. Dany in Qarth (I will just pretend all those horrible scenes were one)
      2. Water Garden fight
      3. “Play with Her arse” brothel scene (I say this as a proud member of the perv side of the audience too, that scene was just badly thought out and over the top)
      4. Skeleton Wights and fireballs
      5. Talisa’s horrible monologue about her drowning brother that seemed to go on forever.

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    39. The worst-rated episodes are Season 2’s “The Night Lands” and Season 3’s “Dark Wings, Dark Words” and “The Bear and the Maiden Fair.” I wonder what scenes made these the worst-rated or if it was just an overall lack of goodness that earned the ratings.

      I noticed this about S02E02 not long ago, and viewed it again to get some sense of why. My verdict: it beats the hell out of me. It’s a great episode (as I pretty much think all of them were in seasons one and two).

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    40. Sergei Walankov: I noticed this about S02E02 not long ago, and viewed it again to get some sense of why. My verdict: it beats the hell out of me. It’s a great episode (as I pretty much think all of them were in seasons one and two).

      Wanted to chime in on 2×02. During my rewatch, I also noted how great the episode is. Good script, multiple great scenes, exquisitely shot… Really really good.

      My guess for low marks? As always with this audience-sex. There’s the scene with Theon and the ship captain’s daughter followed by that hillariously silly scene with peeping toms in the brothel. If that wasn’t enough, the episode angered the most dangerous and bloodthirsty group of them all – Stannites by showing him having sex with Mel. One does not simply fuck with The King Who Cared!

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    41. TOIVA:
      Well, assuming Excipio is (more or less) correct with those numbers: WTH?!

      Why would less people watch it live than before yet more people download it asap? Don’t tell me people have changed and switched from paying to torrenting.

      I can only gather from this that either, (A.) somehow, paying customers aren’t that much in love as they used to be with GoT while the more shady internet dwellers love it more and more, or (B.) the show keeps being more and more popular yet paying customers choose viewing it differently than live on TV (HBO Go or HBO Now or simply next day on TV- don’t know if there’s another way). That’d explain the surprisingly low ratings after the first episode.

      Please don’t quit your day job NOT analyzing data.

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    42. To be honest, I do download the new episodes, though not via torrents but from another website. I also pay for HBO but I don’t have time to watch the episode when it airs in my country which is a day after the premiere (which is amazing by the standards of my little and unimportant country). That means I wouldn’t change the numbers anyway, nonetheless, what I wanted to say was that there might still be some people who miss the show when it airs and decide to download it late. You could object that I might try HBO Go or whatever the online service is called and I would it was compatible with my poor old computer. Not working for me, I’m afraid, so it always ends up with me downloading the episode on Monday afternoon.

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    43. JamesL: I thought the scene with Joffrey and the prostitutes was great.

      I’ll always resent that scene. I was on the VERGE of finally getting my wife to watch the show when she walks in on that particular scene. Put her off for life.

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    44. Ross: I’ll always resent that scene. I was on the VERGE of finally getting my wife to watch the show when she walks in on that particular scene. Put her off for life.

      Ah, yes. However as Dr. Johnny Fever noted on WKRP in Cincinnati nearly 40 years ago, you can show entire armies wiped out, and the audience will just watch or even cheer: but show one collie dog getting killed, and the audience will be up in arms! As despicable as they wanted to make Joff, having him torture animals would have caused too much trouble: many people react more strongly to that than to the torture of people.

      I actually cannot think of any particular scenes that really did not work for me. I think that most of the complaints here are silly, to be honest, and usually they completely miss the point that the scene was making. (Yes, having Littlefinger give instructions was relevant: they were establishing in that scene just what he is; no, you cannot incinerate frozen corpses with torches or fire arrows.) There have been a handful of times where I don’t think that they went far enough to adapt the source material to the TV medium: but it usually was not one particular scene. Moreover, the scenes that I was really dreading (almost entirely from Crows, but also the Jeyne Westerling stuff) have all been cut.

      Indeed, in some ways, the more I unenjoyable I found a scene to be, the more powerful I thought that it was. However, that commonly is the case for: some of the most powerful films I’ve ever seen are not exactly things you want to watch repeatedly!

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    45. Wimsey,

      Wasn’t there a segment recently by Jon Stewart or Colbert that shed light on exactly that behaviour? Details escape me, but as I remember, people across the United States don’t usually bat an eye when the police shoot yet another person as there are police departments whose officers kill an astounding number of people per year (though obviously recent events do speak otherwise where public reaction is concerned), and yet people lose their minds when a cop shoots a dog. Public complaints even went so far that the police instituted some kind of course on how to treat animals.

      These incredible double standards, sure enough, apply to this episode’s controversy as well. Kill, maim, torture, violate all you want, but do not under any circumstances enrage the Social Justice Warriors’ Committee of Public Safety tasked with dispensing righteous revolutionary justice (also known as Terror). I do hope that in all their fervour they don’t find themselves facing Thermidorian Reaction.

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    46. On a related note, the only scene I absolutely CANNOT watch throughout all the seasons so far is the killing of Robert’s bastards at the start of season 2, more specifically the two babies it shows (one killed by Slint and one being held by its leg). It was a brave decision to show this, and I completely respect it, but I hate it and can’t watch it – just find it too upsetting.

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    47. Mr Fixit: Wasn’t there a segment recently by Jon Stewart or Colbert that shed light on exactly that behaviour?

      I didn’t catch it, but it would not surprise me: there were another couple of studies that got some general media coverage recently. I seem to recall that many people view animals as they do children: innocents who have no control over their circumstances. There is the view (more so in the US than in other western countries) that adults are completely responsible for their circumstances, and thus less deserving of pity (or at least as much pity).

      It is a powerful narrative device, too. For example, the story of Herod’s “massacre of the innocents” was stoking the same emotions nearly two millenia ago.

      Mr Fixit: These incredible double standards, sure enough, apply to this episode’s controversy as well

      I have to admit, I find it a bit hypocritical, too. Was this a very bad thing? Yes. Is it the first very bad thing that they’ve shown? Far from it: heck, we’ve seen Joffery’s Massacre of the Innocents (as Ross notes), we’ve seen people burned alive, we’ve seen flayed bodies, we’ve seen torture. And in none of these cases were they glorifying this stuff.

      Indeed, in some ways, the opposite stuff has been just as bad. Ned spares Cersei, Joffery, Myrcella and Tommen from execution: and is repaid by getting executed himself. We see Robb Stark basically offer the Greyjoys their kingship back: only to see them attack his realm because it’s just as important to them that they get revenge for the last rebellion. We see Daeny get stabbed by Mirri despite how far out of her (Daeny’s) way she goes to spare Mirri and even offer some amends.

      And, of course, we constantly see characters put into situations where they have to make the best of bad choices: whatever they choose will hurt someone and/or compromise some core value or loyalty. Basically, there is absolutely no “instant karma” in Westeros. I am not sure why it is supposed to be different for Sansa or any other particular character.

        Quote  Reply

    48. Ross: It was a brave decision to show this, and I completely respect it, but I hate it and can’t watch it – just find it too upsetting.

      You have just beautifully summarized the difference between recognizing quality drama and enjoying quality drama. Kudos.

        Quote  Reply

    49. Wimsey: You have just beautifully summarized the difference between recognizing quality drama and enjoying quality drama.Kudos.

      This should be posted everywhere.

        Quote  Reply

    50. mau,

      Battle of ice, not winterfell, people usually confuse these too. Roose will probably send Ramsay and their army to take stannis by surprise. Anyway get hype!

        Quote  Reply

    51. I have to say I, surprisingly, really like the way Elio & Linda talk about the rape scene. Realistic view. People should check it out (at about the 50 minute mark).

        Quote  Reply

    52. Ser Oromis Locke,

      While they’re both traumatic events that can mess a person up, I think the difference is that rape is widespread while men getting their dicks cut off is (hopefully) a rare occurrence. Regardless, I’ve removed the joke; I wasn’t trying to offend anyone with these results.

      Ginevra,

      For clarification, the six tabs correspond to the six websites I collected information on. r-samplesize refers to /r/samplesize, a subreddit dedicated to helping people collect survey responses. They can be seen as a control group since they tend not to be affiliated with any fansites. Similarly, r-GoT refers to the /r/GameofThrones subreddit, and r-asoiaf refers to the /r/asoiaf subreddit. 4chan refers to the /tv/ board of that website, and the other two should be self-explanatory.

      And of course I don’t mind you playing with the data! I’m quite glad about it, actually.

        Quote  Reply

    53. Wimsey,

      I suppose some people may be tired of constant bleakness of the show and find this particular ‘incident’ as good a reason as any to vent or even quit. I don’t know what to say to that except that if you don’t enjoy this particular brand of storytelling, more power to you. Don’t watch; this material isn’t for everyone. Heck, Martin himself was accused countless times of being a nihilist, a ‘grimy pessimist’.

      Leo Grin wrote this: In the case of the fantasy genre, the result is a mockery and defilement of the mythopoeic splendor that true artists like Tolkien and Howard willed into being with their life’s blood. Honor is replaced with debasement, romance with filth, glory with defeat, and hope with despair. Edgy? Nah, just punk kids farting in class and getting some giggles from the other mouth-breathers.

      Rowan Light: The problem with Martin and his imitators is that their works reflect their crabbed and ugly souls (…) But worst of all, where there is depth of soul and all the grandeur of Creation in Tolkien’s work, there is neither soul nor beauty in Martin’s. Martin focuses solely on the petty and ugly aspects of life, rendering his magnum opus more a commentary on his own nihilistic perspective than one upon the world in all its joys and sorrows.

      Doesn’t that sound very close to what we’re hearing about the TV show? That it’s gross and wallowing in its own ugliness? And you know what? Fair enough. If it’s not your cup of tea, I wish you an eternity of enjoying very best teas you can find.

        Quote  Reply

    54. Concerning the fate of Ramsay this season:

      I seem to recall a still photo of Ramsay kneeling in the mud, captured, that matches the environs of the tent background in the images where he is bloodied up.

        Quote  Reply

    55. Dutch maester:
      I have to say I, surprisingly, really like the way Elio & Linda talk about the rape scene.Realistic view. People should check it out (at about the 50 minute mark).

      Elio: This was a pretty good episode. Linda nodding in agreement beside him.

      I must admit that I am surprised by their reactions. Not only did they like the episode, but they even praised the way the show depicted Sansa’s rape.

      The knee-jerk furore of SJWs is really unbelievable.

        Quote  Reply

    56. Ross:
      On a related note, the only scene I absolutely CANNOT watch throughout all the seasons so far is the killing of Robert’s bastards at the start of season 2, more specifically the two babies it shows (one killed by Slint and one being held by its leg).It was a brave decision to show this, and I completely respect it, but I hate it and can’t watch it – just find it too upsetting.

      Same here. When it first aired I didn’t mind, but my daughter was born not long afterwards and on a rewatch (and every rewatch since) I either have to look away or skip the scene. It distresses me now. I don’t hold it against the show though (“The writers hate babies!”)

        Quote  Reply

    57. Wimsey:
      Josla,

      How would fiery arrows set a frozen corpse on fire?They’d go out almost immediately.

      Burning corpses is hard under normal conditions.Burning frozen corpses is extremely difficult: if you cannot douse it with an accelerant of some sort, then you can stick all the torches you want onto it.Remember, when a corpse gets frozen, then it is not just cold, but it is also waterlogged: instead of “mummifying,” all of the liquids freeze and stay there.(If you have ever tried to burn a frozen log that has been sitting in snow, then you’ll know what I mean.)

      Burning a frozen skeleton would be no easier: frozen bone also would retain more liquid than dried bone, and bone doesn’t burn particularly easily, anyway.

      (And, yes, the audience knows this.)

      I don’t know. Maybe dragonglass arrows then. I’m not really looking logic here but the fire balls really threw me off and I just thing the showrunners could have come up with a better solution.

        Quote  Reply

    58. Sergei Walankov: I noticed this about S02E02 not long ago, and viewed it again to get some sense of why. My verdict: it beats the hell out of me. It’s a great episode (as I pretty much think all of them were in seasons one and two).

      I tend to still look at “The Bear and the Maiden Fair” as the weakest episode of the show. It comes after two fantastic episodes and one pretty damned good one (The Climb), and really just stops the rising action of the show completely cold. A few okay scenes, the bear (which seems like an afterthought), and not much else, man.

      A couple of the early Season 3 episodes are pretty weak too, and Breaker of Chains goes into the mix because of that one moment, of course.

        Quote  Reply

    59. JamesL
      5. Talisa’s horrible monologue about her drowning brother that seemed to go on forever.

      Forgot that one, what a boring scene.

        Quote  Reply

    60. Mr Fixit: If it’s not your cup of tea, I wish you an eternity of enjoying very best teas you can find.

      To paraphrase Littlefinger, both Tolkien and Martin are peddling fantasies….

      Seriously, this is a frustrating criticism. One big reason why fantasy is not taken seriously in literary circles is that it is deemed to be childish escapism. The assumption is that, say, all Game of Thrones fans want to dress up in Renaissance Faire costumes and live in Westeros. So, when someone like Martin or Donaldson tries to prove the general critics to be wrong, they get criticized by fantasy critics for not proving the general critics to be right!

      A Tolkien site I used to frequent had some pretty furious debates about GRRM back in the day: there were more than a few Tolkien fans who found SoI&F to be (literally) immoral not for the deeds that were committed, but for the fact that the good deeds were not rewarded and the bad deeds went unpunished. Illuvator would not stand for that! (Or: the Lannisters should trip and fall into volcanoes because, you know, that’s what happens in real life….)

      Now, if you like that sort of stuff, then that’s fine: I like Tolkien (but not his imitators!) a lot, too. But what the Martin’s, Donaldson’s, etc., can offer is a lot more thought-provoking.

        Quote  Reply

    61. Wimsey: But what the Martin’s, Donaldson’s, etc., can offer is a lot more thought-provoking.

      Nice shout-out to Stephen R. Donaldson! I love his stuff, even his propensity for using the most obscure vocabulary words in the English language. I’m trying to imagine the outcry if anyone (HBO?) tried to adapt The Gap Cycle.

        Quote  Reply

    62. Josla: Maybe dragonglass arrows then. I’m not really looking logic here but the fire balls really threw me off and I just thing the showrunners could have come up with a better solution.

      How do you explain to the audience that they are obsidian? Even people with geology degrees probably wouldn’t quickly recognize that! Moreover, what would dragon glass do to them to communicate to the audience that the arrow heads had a magical effect: make the wights explode? Moreover, what if a future plot point is that obsidian does not work against wights, only White Walkers?

      Just saying “they should have come up with a better solution” is not adequate. Of all the ideas suggested, the fireballs is by far the best. Yes, it threw you: but it would have thrown many more people to do something very unrealistic (e.g., torches). Dragon glass arrows would have required exposition: and that is always bad. Magic solves the problem of how you actually get a frozen corpse to burn (hey, it’s magic: literally) and dispense of any need to explain anything (small elfish looking person with weird eyes and voice belonging to those mythical Children of the Forest: that smacks of magic to just about everyone).

      Now, if you can come up with a simpler solution that does not involve magic AND won’t get most of the audience shaking their heads in the “it doesn’t work like that” way, then I am all for it! However, nobody here has suggested one in 11+ months.

      Simeon: Nice shout-out to Stephen R. Donaldson!

      Yeah, Donaldson’s stuff makes GRRM’s look almost happy-go-lucky sometimes! But, like GRRM, he can do a great job of developing troubling characters and developing characters through a lot of troubles.

        Quote  Reply

    63. Wimsey

      Simeon: Nice shout-out to Stephen R. Donaldson!I love his stuff, even his propensity for using the most obscure vocabulary words in the English language.I’m trying to imagine the outcry if anyone (HBO?) tried to adapt The Gap Cycle.

      raises hand HUGE Donaldson fan and have been since the first Chronicles. People think that writing about someone with leprosy is just wrong. It IS unclean, outcast. But therein lies the beauty of the writing, it isn’t. Donaldson made Covenant totally unlikeable for someone who was supposed to be totally unlikable. I wonder what people here would think of what he did to Lena? Hmmmm. Now THAT was the “R” word. Rambling here….but I sometimes would weary of Covenant (Donaldson) not taking control as he should have or I thought he should have, but in the end….it all works out. We don’t know yet if in the end of Martin’s masterpiece “it will all work out”. Donaldson DOES write faster!!

      *cries for the wraiths of Andelain and for the giants and for the Unfettered*

      /osgiliation (that is for Wimsey if you were a part of TORC) 🙂

        Quote  Reply

    64. Wimsey: Yeah, Donaldson’s stuff makes GRRM’s look almost happy-go-lucky sometimes! But, like GRRM, he can do a great job of developing troubling characters and developing characters through a lot of troubles.

      Oh, yes. In one book, he has a character state, “only the damned can be saved.” I think that is a theme that runs through almost all of his stories: having the most broken characters become the heroes (or actually anti-heroes).

      JCDavis: *cries for the wraiths of Andelain and for the giants and for the Unfettered*

      Oh, God, the giants. That whole sequence just broke me…

        Quote  Reply

    65. JCDavis: I wonder what people here would think of what he did to Lena?

      Indeed, I was thinking the same thing! I was a teen when I read it, but it was tough reading then.

      JCDavis: /osgiliation (that is for Wimsey if you were a part of TORC)

      I was! (It’s been ages since last I stopped by, though.) In many ways, sending Sansa to Winterfell is an Osgiliation (or was it Osgilification?)

      Simeon: I think that is a theme that runs through almost all of his stories: having the most broken characters become the heroes (or actually anti-heroes).

      Huh, do you know, I’m not sure that I applied this to Crows/Dragons. Obviously, it’s not quite the same (GRRM does not really do anti-heroes and heroes, at least not as pervasively) but there definitely is an element of the lead characters getting broken down in some way at some point in the arc, at least when we compare Crows & Dragons to Thomas Covenent or the Gap. Donaldson usually has them start that way (a la Theon or Tyrion in Crows/Dragons), but the “climb” is common to both authors.

      Geez, now I want to read Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and cheer up…. (Oh crap: dead parents on page 1. How about Bambi instead?)

        Quote  Reply

    66. oracle86,

      Well, you’re the oracle here, you tell us!

      I don’t think anyone here really knows for sure, but all signs lead to it having been cut.

        Quote  Reply

    67. Wimsey

      Here I am going to do it again, but be very brief. I was rwhen there and also a stealth moderator the last few years. I have been gone from there for well over a year now. I enjoyed it in it’s prime, when the movies were being released. I think people here might be pleased to know that GRRM/D & D are not the only ones who can cause great furor and gnashing of teeth.

      Back on track…I am not sure WHAT moving Sansa’s story arc to Winterfell and being left there is. I feel that her arc at the Vale wasn’t that great in the books either, but at least she would have been spared Ramsay. Or maybe there was a Ramsay-lite in her future and we just don’t know it.

        Quote  Reply

    68. Ginevra,

      Dany was afraid, though. Every time she looked at Drogo. She looked abused.

      I don’t really think about the responses of the people who were involved with that scene because I have no idea how the production process worked in this case, so I can’t judge. There was a miscommunication somewhere, that’s all I can glean from it. I thought they handled Sansa’s rape scene really well, I think it would have been jarring if there was nudity, like you said, it’s not a pleasant mix. In fact, it kills the effect.

        Quote  Reply

    69. RhaeLin:
      To be honest, I do download the new episodes, though not via torrents but from another website. I also pay for HBO but I don’t have time to watch the episode when it airs in my country which is a day after the premiere (which is amazing by the standards of my little and unimportant country). That means I wouldn’t change the numbers anyway, nonetheless, what I wanted to say was that there might still be some people who miss the show when it airs and decide to download it late. You could object that I might try HBO Go or whatever the online service is called and I would it was compatible with my poor old computer. Not working for me, I’m afraid, so it always ends up with me downloading the episode on Monday afternoon.

      What about HBO-On Demand?

      Fortin Bras:
      Ser Oromis Locke,
      While they’re both traumatic events that can mess a person up, I think the difference is that rape is widespread while men getting their dicks cut off is (hopefully) a rare occurrence. Regardless, I’ve removed the joke; I wasn’t trying to offend anyone with these results.

      Thank you for that consideration. Yeah, it’s not as if I have gone through that experience, but in light of the recent outcries because of that scene and following the last seasons outcry regarding the same subject matter, I just find that feminists (who should be all about gender equality: note both sexes) take great offense when something happens to a woman, but cackle or easily dismiss when something evenly, or even more gruesome happens to a man. And I reckon that you might not be a feminist, and that the joke was meant tongue in cheeck, so I’m not directly mad at you (rather then generally frustrated) and of course I don’t think any body in their right mind would say that about the female viewers that like Sansa, but what I tried to convey is that there’s this weird unbalance again, whereas feminists strive towards gender equality for women, for some reason it’s okay to diminish or be inconsiderate when there are problematic male social situations and it’s actually kind of taboo to say it, because how dare a man say that after women have been held back for years and years and actually still are in many places. For instance, when discussing homeless people, a woman being homeless is aweful, but a man more often then not gets blamed for his situation. Hope that it makes sense.. Cheers! And again, I really liked the way you worked with the numbers though! 🙂

        Quote  Reply

    70. Wimsey: Unfortunately, that is a modern sensibility.

      Thank you, Wimsey. You’ve made a lot of excellent points, and I agree that asking for rape to always be presented in a negative light with negative consequences is truly a modern perspective. And yet there are many modern things that the show brings in all the time, especially in the way language is used throughout the series including recent grammatical rules (fewer rather than less) and cliches (pillow biter). So I don’t think that this point should stop GoT from responsibly presenting such a sensitive and important topic.

      Obviously, GoT’s portrayal of rape thus far will not make most men – or any well-balanced man, for that matter – believe that rape is okay. But I do feel that this show may reinforce in some of the most vile and deranged men the idea that rape is acceptable. And if the show encourages one viewer to feel that there is nothing wrong with these scenes, then that’s horrific.

      Those viewers who angrily posted that they were robbed of seeing Sophie’s tits during her rape scene truly disgusted me. Their outrage seems to me to be proof that there are plenty of real-life Ramseys in this world who may be too willing to take the lack of negative consequences as a sign that all is well and that rape is entertaining. Or should the fact that several different people posted about being upset by the lack of titillation in the rape scene not disturb us?

      I’m not claiming to have the right answers, but I hope that we start asking the right questions. And I hope that every single scene that depicts sexual violence will be thoroughly considered and handled in the most responsible manner possible.

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    71. Ginevra: But I do feel that this show may reinforce in some of the most vile and deranged men the idea that rape is acceptable. And if the show encourages one viewer to feel that there is nothing wrong with these scenes, then that’s horrific.

      I understand that sentiment. However, I don’t think that it will work that way. Thrones really is not about “heroes” or “villains,” but it certainly is not implying that the Boltons are to be emulated. To the contrary, it is pretty clearly showing Ramsay to be a psychopath. Now, if you watch criminal shows like Criminal Minds, then you’ll see psychopaths and sociopaths every week committing similar crimes, usually with much more detail than we were shown: but those criminals get caught and put away. Nobody suggests that the criminals on these shows encourage criminal behavior: so why should Ramsay? I mean, who would want to be like Ramsay? The people who are like that don’t choose to be like that, and they are not made that way by TV: if they could be so easily made, then they could be so easily unmade, but (sadly) that’s not the case.

      Also, I would phrase it differently: it is not that there is something wrong with these scenes, it is that there is something wrong in these scenes. (This applies to the Red Wedding, Theon’s Castration, Joffery’s Massacre of the Innocents, etc.) However, and I think that this is critical, it’s just as wrong to pretend that these sorts of things don’t happen as it is to glorify them. Dramatic art should show that rape or assault or murder or torture is bad by doing just that: showing that it is bad.

      I certainly agree that it’s pretty disgusting that people complained about not seeing the scene. But, again, that’s what’s really important: they showed us almost nothing. We probably would have gotten more detail had it been written.

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    72. Wimsey:
      JCDavis,

      I remember you!I was(Just in case people didn’t want their guess ruined… :D)

      Ha, wow, I remember both of you guys from TORC. It was a great forum in its day. Actually it was the place I first used to discuss GoT in Season 1 before I discovered WiC.net (I was unsullied back then, my predictions were very naïve!).

      I didn’t post a great deal at TORC, but posted under the username Pericles.

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    73. Wimsey:
      JCDavis,

      I remember you!I was(Just in case people didn’t want their guess ruined… :D)

      Ah yes, I feel that I actually knew you pretty well from the HP thread there ..amirite? Nice to see a familiar face. (weird way to put that) *was it you who did the famous quizzes?*

        Quote  Reply

    74. Ross: Ha, wow, I remember both of you guys from TORC.It was a great forum in its day.Actually it was the place I first used to discuss GoT in Season 1 before I discovered WiC.net (I was unsullied back then, my predictions were very naïve!).

      I didn’t post a great deal at TORC, but posted under the username Pericles.

      And I also remember you there…but I never remembered a GoT thread. I would have been Unsullied at that point as well. I didn’t read the books until the Red Wedding….then I had to. Nice to see a few old friends over here!!

      Sorry moderators for mucking up the thread.

        Quote  Reply

    75. Ross:
      JCDavis,

      Yes apologies mods for this indulgence. Indulge me just one more post if you will.

      Here’s the GoT thread. Quite funny in retrospect

      http://forums.theonering.com/viewtopic.php?f=43&t=102790

      I actually read the whole thread. I had forgotten that I had posted quite a few times there. So did you. Thanks for that trip down memory lane. A bit sad too, one of the posters passed away a few years ago now. *sigh*

      Back to it, I am SO looking forward to next episode, just so the chatter and gnashing of teeth about the last one can go away already. Good to know you here!!

        Quote  Reply

    76. JCDavis,

      Oh yes so you did! Just reread the thread too. Very entertaining. I am jealous of my old self for being unsullied actually. I think there was more of a thrill watching it that way. Mind you, we’ll all be there soon.

      Sorry to hear about the poster who passed. May I ask who?

        Quote  Reply

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