Game of Thrones Memory Lane 505: Kill the Boy

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“Kill the Boy,” penned by everyone’s favourite Game of Thrones screenwriter, Bryan Cogman, originally aired on May 10th 2015. Directed by series newcomer Jeremy Podeswa, it is a decent hour. Despite not visiting King’s Landing once, it is a well-paced episode, and each storyline is given ample time to breathe before we move on to the next one.

Let’s take a closer look at a handful of key scenes from “Kill the Boy.”

Firstly, I’d like to talk about Daenerys. There’s an interesting parallel here with the last episode I wrote a Memory Lane post for “The House of Black and White.” In it, Dany makes an ill-calculated move that results in her alienating the poor, former-slave class of Meereen. In “Kill the Boy,” she makes a similarly ill-conceived political move, one that establishes her as more of an impulsive despot than a benevolent monarch.

Slavery, while wrong from a modern point of view (and from a Westerosi one), is an established reality throughout the majority of Essos. This is something Daenerys fails to understand, and her attitude towards its absolute expulsion is reminiscent of certain contemporary internet cultures, which oftentimes no longer see the value in openly discussing an issue. Dany adopts a stance of no tolerance with no room for diplomacy, instead enacting her rule through fear of death. Many fans see this as a “badass” moment for Dany, but I wholly disagree. It is a dark turn for her character, and hints at a spark inside her that will hopefully be further developed in season 6. But, “badass?” No. Wanton execution is a scary precedent, and more aligned with her mad ancestors than with the saviour she wishes to be.

JonTormund

The scene between Jon and Tormund uses a classic Hitchcockian style of blocking and movement, and effectively communicates character dynamics through physical actions while they talk. A similar technique will come up in the later Bolton dinner scene, but it is more easily readable in the context of a one-to-one conversation.

The scene begins with a profile shot of the two men sitting across a table from one another. Jon is lit by a shaft of light coming through the window behind him. This means that our eyes will initially be drawn to Jon, who is making the opening statement of the scene. Tormund is still in the dark, his motivations yet unclear, as he, like us, listens to what Jon has to say. Jon continues to poke and prod, getting only curt responses from the straight-backed, immovable wildling. We then see Jon leaning in, attempting to convey his plea through confident vulnerability. To his frustration, Tormund matches his movement, leaning in intimidatingly.

At this moment, Jon stands up, elevating himself, his humble offering having gone unanswered. He takes the position of authority and moves into Tormund’s personal space. Notably, he moves out of the light, and Tormund leans back into his own light source, the focus now on him as we wait to see if he can challenge Jon’s dominance of the scene. Tormund’s answers become more personal here, as he subconsciously respects Jon stepping up. Upon Jon questioning his integrity, he falls for the goad and rises, squaring up to the Lord Commander. He now eclipses the light, rendering his physicality eerie and looming. At the scene’s resolution, despite Tormund’s height advantage over Jon, both men are framed at an equal angle, so that when the shots intercut, they are on level ground.

You could play this scene without audio and still have an accurate idea of the dynamics just from the beat-to-beat movement. There are no directorial tricks on display here. It is simply unadorned camerawork. Podeswa cuts only when necessary, and doesn’t attempt to play up the scene using gimmicks. He lets the cameras roll and allows the scene to play out. The drama comes simply from the performances and the staging. This Cogman/Podeswa combination works wonders for dialogue scenes, and it makes me look forward to the director’s return for the first two episodes of season 6.

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Michael McElhatton makes an astute observation on the Blu-ray audio commentary. Whether intentional or not, Sansa’s long walk to finally come face to face with Reek is quite Silence of the Lambs-esque. While the scene in this episode is nowhere near as deftly handled as that iconic first meeting between Clarice and Lecter (which coincidentally also uses amore subdued Hitchcockian style of blocking/framing), they are very similar visually.

Following this, we have the Bolton family dinner sequence, which is a lesson in text and subtext within a scene. It is a complex beast. There are layers to every interaction between Sansa, Roose, and Ramsay, while Reek is Reek, and Walda is delightfully innocent in her sincerity. There is a particular veiled nuance on display here that Cogman has proven exceptional at adapting in seasons past. It is encouraging to see that habit continue as we go completely off-book. I would love to unpack this scene, but in doing so I fear I would put readers to sleep. Instead, I would urge you to watch the scene four times through, each time focussing on one key character only and considering what they are thinking, and how each beat affects them.

Roose’s story about Ramsay’s mother doesn’t have the raw, cold punch of its novel counterpart, but in essence it works just as well. The father/son dynamic between them is something I feel could have been mined a lot more deeply, but was lost due to the showrunners’ adoration for Iwan Rheon’s portrayal of Ramsay and their desire to push him as the main antagonist in Tywin’s stead. More’s the pity, as McElhatton has continued to be one of the most consistent and underrated stars of the show.

Speaking of consistent and underrated stars…

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According to Stephen Dillane, he didn’t quite “get” the character of Stannis, nor the show itself – an irony of ironies, as he absolutely nailed the character. Whatever issues one may have with the writing of Stannis’ arc, Dillane’s portrayal was always pitch-perfect. He has two great moments in this episode. One is the more superficial reference to the grammatical correction he made in conversation with Davos in season 2. The second is him seeing Samwell’s true worth. In some aspects, Randyll Tarly and Stannis Baratheon are quite similar, but in others, they couldn’t be more different. While both are nothing if not stubborn, their appliance of that stubbornness is what differentiates them. Randyll would force his son to adhere to the world as he sees it, while Stannis would use what skills Sam has to augment his own. Their talents speak to this also – Randyll is known as a great warrior (steadfast and dedicated to an objective), while Stannis is known as a great commander (adaptable and skilled in shaping a situation to his will).

As a sidenote, the musical cue when Stannis leaves Castle Black is one of my favourites of the season. It combines the “Warrior of Light” theme with a hint of the title theme on accompanying strings. It’s a shame that it does not feature on the soundtrack, but one wonders if the “Warrior of Light” theme is specific to Stannis (it briefly featured in season 3 as Thoros blessed the trial by combat between Beric and Sandor). If not, could we hear it develop further in season 6 as Melisandre adapts to change at Castle Black? Who knows?

I’m of two minds when it comes to the Stone Men attack. It’s a claustrophobic, quick fight, so it’s difficult to shoot in this regard. The opening shot in which we get an out-of-focus glimpse of the first aggressor is a nice touch. However, according to Podeswa on the Blu-ray audio commentary, the cut to black when Tyrion falls overboard was supposed to communicate to the audience a moment of doubt concerning his fate. This type of cheap hook is a pitfall the show usually avoids, and it is for this reason that I am glad the episode did not end here. But, since it doesn’t end here, it begs the question: what was the point in pretending he was dead, even for a brief moment? There is no explanation as to why we should be unsure of Tyrion’s fate. Up until this point, we have not been experiencing the scene from Tyrion’s first-person perspective, so the sudden shift in direction to our viewership being tied to his consciousness is jarring. Besides, Jorah is also present and has to save the dwarf. This isn’t shown, just to further enable the shock moment. It’s an editing trick that betrays good storytelling. It’s also a minor gripe in the grand scale of things, and speaks as to how highly I hold the show that something so small and relatively insignificant would annoy me.

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Memorable quotes:

“Valar morghulis.” – Hizdahr zo Loraq

Not necessarily the phrase itself, but the context in which it is used. Hizdahr defiantly cuts short Dany’s dramatic speechifying with two simple words, and Dany is visibly taken aback and irritated.

 

“Kill the boy, Jon Snow. Winter is almost upon us. Kill the boy, and let the man be born.” – Aemon Targaryen

 

“Fewer.” – Stannis Baratheon

A satisfying call back to Stannis correcting Davos in season 2. Davos’ following “What?” is the cherry on top.

- Tyrion Lannister & Jorah Mormont

– Tyrion Lannister & Jorah Mormont

 


Beautiful Death for “Kill the Boy.” For Ser Barristan Selmy:

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143 responses

Jump to (and Always Support) the Bottom

    1. Who gets the unlucky job of having to recap tomorrow’s “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken”? ? #GoodLuckWithThat

      Ack, I haven’t rewatched that episode (U, U, U) and I refuse to do so. Too soon, too soon. But the conversation should be interesting.

      Also, I really wish the author would have unpacked the dinner scene. Was SO looking forward to reading an analysis on that. Will go back and watch the scene from each perspective (as they suggested). I live for the micro-acting going on in all of these interactions.

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    2. Also I fully believe we’ll get Roose’s ”don’t make me rue…”

      He’ll mostly say it after Ramsey fails to find Sansa.
      Most likely this will also push Ramsey to kill his father.

      This are NOT spoilers, just my speculation.

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    3. Sansa meeting Theon is just brilliant.

      Theon saying his first words. Just amazing.
      The dinner was also great.
      It was amazing to see the power play.

      Sansa was clearly trying to show them, even if she agreed to this, she isn’t going to go easy, poor thing, she didn’t expect Ramsey to be that mad.

      Roose playing with Ramsey was great. I love the way Iwan acts him, when Roose tells him the story of his mother.

      Tyrion with Jorah are just great. That slow bonding is just great.
      The poem was great. Ian should recite poetry, he definetly has the voice for it.

      I was a bit angry at the end… I thought they would end the episode with Tyrion drowning, that would have felt really bad, in my opinion, but thankfully they did not.
      That final scene was so sad. Poor Jorah, knew then that he was dead.

      But he goes on, he has to reach Dany.

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    4. I don’t understand what the problem was making us think Tyrion was dead for a second.
      It actually worked on me 😉

      Kill the boy – I think he was referring to Ollie hahaha

      I’m excited for episode 6 memory lane, its in my top favorite episodes of the season!

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    5. Deesensfan: I’m excited for episode 6 memory lane, its in my top favorite episodes of the season!

      Can’t say I hear that often. Personally, I think episode 6 was the weakest of Season 5.

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    6. OT – FYI mods – I get this message a lot when I try to visit the website or post a comment

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    7. Dragonmcmx,

      Yeah I have heard that opinion a lot.

      There are so many good things about that episode:
      Arya’s first no one moment, and seeing the hall of faces – Wow
      Jorah and Tyrion – Jorah finding out about his father
      Kings Landing developments
      The Sansa Ramsay wedding/wedding night was so eerie, sad, and amazingly shot.

      The sand snakes scene didn’t bother me like it did others.

      I loved it.

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    8. Connor,

      7….. Damn you america!!

      That last day will be so damn hard.

      I’m still debating if I should stay awake until 4 AM….
      I’ll call my boss later and ask him if I can get a GOT free day.. 😛

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    9. Deesensfan,

      I’ll have to admit, the wedding was a fantastic scene. Apart from that, I found it pretty boring. Not that every episode requires action, most of the scenes in this one were just so dull, even the dialogue almost made me fall asleep. Episode 7 made up for this though, even the minor scenes were fantasticly edited and shot in that one imo.

      But I’m getting ahead of myself 😛 This weeks EP was pretty okay. Castle Black stuff was the best, as always.

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    10. Deesensfan,

      Thank you for the info Dee. We want to let all of you know that we are working on getting the bugs out of the new server. Again, thank you all for your patience during this transition.

        Quote  Reply

    11. Dragonmcmx,

      The wedding was definitely the best part of that episode.

      I can see what you’re saying re: dull dialogue. Though I enjoyed it.

      Haha – castle black always kills it!

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    12. To Ozofthrones:

      for some reason, when I press reply to any of your comments, (since this weekend) – it NEVER posts and always disappears. I just tried three times to post a reply to you! So odd.

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    13. Ohgod, still 6 days. This is atrocious.

      Have you guys heard that some American filed a FOIA request against President Obama, requiring him to divulge what he had seen in those advanced screeners?

      My American friends joke that him having seen this season already is planned leverage against the Congress in the Supreme Court fight: ‘confirm my nominee or I spoil the final episode ?.’ Ah, democracy.

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    14. “Kill the Boy” is a slower midseason episode, but I think it’s dynamite. The narrower focus is a big reason why I thought it worked so well. I’ve said this many times before during this Memory Lane series, but I really appreciate that over the past couple of seasons, the writers have become more willing to concentrate on a smaller number of storylines in a given episode and give them time to breathe rather than jumping around to spend a few minutes on virtually every character. For the most part, all of the scenes in a given location run consecutively. Meereen and the Wall are is the only locations where the scenes are broken up, and in the case of the Wall, the central character shifts for that second visit (it’s Jon for the first set of scenes, then Stannis for the second).

      In particular, I loved how much time we got to spend in Winterfell this episode. That storyline was still in the process of setting everything up for future payoffs, but I found every moment we spent there utterly riveting. With the luxury of time, we were allowed to fully settle in to this beloved place that has become a den of horrors, and the atmosphere and tension that those scenes evoked saturated the entire episode. It helped that most of the sunnier climates weren’t featured this week, and most of Dany’s scenes in Meereen were shot inside the pyramid, in darkness.

      As Cian notes, this is one of the only episodes in the entire series to date (one of five, I believe) that doesn’t feature any scenes in King’s Landing. But even with no Cersei (no Jaime and no Arya either, for that matter), the other storylines were so rich and well-paced that I didn’t miss them.

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    15. http://www.ew.com/article/2016/04/18/game-thrones-lena-headey

      I think a glimpse of this interview has been posted here before, but I’m not sure if the full version has been out before now.

      “It’s an interesting moment [in the season premiere] when she realized Jaime’s comes back with a dead daughter. [Showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss] write about Cersei showing nothing – no screaming – and then later there’s a moment with Jaime where she’s broken and it’s so genuine. It’s purely a mother lamenting the purity of her child. I never thought Cersei would say out loud what’s said in this scene; it was quite a beautiful moment. And then it gets all f–ked up. “

      Actually looking forward to that. Cersei has always been my favorite female character since Cat died. Never thought I could feel so sorry for a character I also hate so badly. It sounds like her reaction Myrcella’s death is exactly as I had hoped it would be.

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    16. Seeing the ruins of Valyria was an awe-inspiring moment – it was everything I had hoped it would be. Tyrion and Jorah reciting the poem about the Doom told us everything we needed to know with perfect economy, and doubled as a nice bonding moment for their characters. I think it’s just beautiful.

      And having been eagerly anticipating the appearance of the Stone Men all season, I was not disappointed. I haven’t been shy about criticizing the things I don’t like about AFFC & ADWD, and Tyrion’s long, wallowing journey to Meereen definitely wore thin with me (especially when it ended without him actually meeting Dany). But that storyline started strong, and I LOVE the chapter where Tyrion and his companions pass through the Sorrows and are attacked by the Stone Men. It’s so rich, creepy, and atmospheric. It may be my single favorite chapter in either of those two books, and one of my favorites of the entire series.

      The absence of the Griffs (who I do not miss) made the long riverboat journey down the Rhoyne expendable. But the show found a way to have its cake and eat it too. Moving the Stone Men to the ruins of Valyria was a brilliant decision, as it allowed them to adapt what I think is the unequivocal highlight of Tyrion’s journey and set it in a location that is just as rich in history, if not more. And the shot of Tyrion seeing a dragon fly over the ruins of Valyria, where thousands of such creatures once flew, was worth the price of admission.

      Jorah contracting greyscale is a twist that was widely predicted at the time, and I’m eager to see just how significant that development will be. Whether he’ll ultimately bring the disease to Westeros, or its only purpose is to give Jorah a slow death sentence, that affliction continues to give Iain Glen a lot of great material to play.

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    17. Stannis’s ”Marching to Winterfell” theme song!!! *.*

      In my opinion Stannis was the best character in season 5 and Stephen Dillane did a brilliant job.

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    18. Dragonmcmx:
      Deesensfan,

      I’ll have to admit, the wedding was a fantastic scene. Apart from that, I found it pretty boring. Not that every episode requires action, most of the scenes in this one were just so dull, even the dialogue almost made me fall asleep. Episode 7 made up for this though, even the minor scenes were fantasticly edited and shot in that one imo.

      But I’m getting ahead of myself This weeks EP was pretty okay. Castle Black stuff was the best, as always.

      This weeks episode? These are daily.

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    19. Connor:
      6 days!!!!

      GoT returns to HBO with “The Red Woman” at 9pm est SUNDAY! Not next month, or next week, but this week! I’m HYPE.

        Quote  Reply

    20. Jon and Tormund’s shared history lent a significant amount of weight to their scene together – the mutual if grudging respect that those two characters share is evident, even if they don’t fully trust one another yet. Jon’s determination to save the wildlings despite the intransigence of his fellow brothers was set up really well. The discord in the Night’s Watch over Jon’s decision was certainly ominous. Even Edd, who ultimately accompanies him to “Hardhome” and stands as Jon’s last true friend in the Watch after Aemon dies and Sam departs, spoke up against it.

      I also love the scene between Gilly and Sam (which sets up Oldtown quite nicely and Sam’s journey to become a master quite nicely). The following scene between Sam and Stannis gives us another reference to Randyll Tarly, and an important mention of his prowess as a warrior.

      I wonder if Stannis’s confirmation that they have an abundant supply of obisidian on Dragonstone will be revisited in either Season 6 or Season 7, when the Walkers finally come. Honestly, I think it has to. Where else are they going to get enough weapons to fight the army of the dead?

      For that matter, in addition to all of the drama inherent in reuniting Sam with his family, I believe that a major reason that the show is taking us to Horn Hill in Season 6 is so that Sam can pick up his family’s Valyrian steel sword, Heartsbane. It’s worth noting that in the History & Lore video for Valyrian Steel (wonderfully narrated by Iain Glen), Heartsbane is one of the surviving Valyrian steel swords that is mentioned. Another is Lady Forlorn, the ancestral weapon of House Corbray. I wonder if that blade will be coming north when Littlefinger brings the Knights of the Vale to Winterfell.

      It would be an overstatement to say that this episode “humanized” Ramsay, but spending this much time on him definitely provided us with a better understanding of why he is the way that he is. I loved watching Roose shut down his games at dinner, and later deliver that brutal speech about Ramsay’s conception. Michael McElhatton is so goddamn good. He also delivered my favorite line-reading of the episode when he told Ramsay that Stannis was coming to take the North “but the North is ours. It’s yours and mine.” When I heard those words, I thought back on everything those two have done (and will do) to lay claim to their stolen kingdom, and chills went down my spine.

      Sansa and Theon’s reunion was wonderfully played by both Sophie Turner and Alfie Allen – Michael McElhatton’s observation that long walk down the kennels is reminiscent of The Silence of the Lambs is very apt. The dinner table scene is brilliantly staged and darkly funny, although I’ll admit I don’t love Sansa’s somewhat sullen demeanor (in this window, post-arrival and pre-wedding night, she could have done a better job disguising her true feelings). And yet, in spite of that, I do love Sansa’s little smirk towards her intended when Roose told Ramsay that the child that Walda was carrying was likely to be a boy – especially after she uses his fears on that front to unsettle him in “The Gift”.

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    21. RosanaZugey,

      Yeah, I wish he had unpacked the dinner scene too. I would love to read somebody else’s perspective on this.

      Deesensfan,

      Ep 6 was my least favorite Ep of the season! Without referring to the wedding scene which I thought was beautifully shot and acted.

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    22. Oh you’re too hard on her; Daenerys can’t just keep the Great Masters alive to undermine her at every turn.

      I thought this episode was great. Different, but great – it heavily focuses on the Boltons, and it’s only the *fourth* episode in the entire TV series to have no scenes in King’s Landing at all. But the Bolton subplot needed the focus.

      Acting and direction excellent throughout.

      SQUEED with delight to finally have Aemon reacting to news about Daenerys – as Cogman said it’s always great when you can tie the disparate plot threads together somehow to emphasize that they’re, you know, in the same TV universe (King’s Landing, the Wall, Daenerys in Essos)…he pointed that out when he added in Olenna’s line about how she was once betrothed to a Targaryen; just reminding the audience that Daenerys’s family used to be the ones in power there). And wow, did Peter Vaughan’s acting abilities really get a chance to shine this season (given that he wasn’t even in seasons 2 and 3, understandably).

      This is the point when I started realizing, or hoping against hope, that we’d actually get the Oldtown subplot. When Sam didn’t leave for Oldtown in the season premiere or thereabouts, I was *convinced* it was going to be cut entirely.

      Grey Worm/Missandei subplot (invented for TV series) also excellent, grateful to have it. Wanted them to be more developed in the books.

      I liked the Bolton stuff…I even liked Sansa in it. Problem is that I kind of thought the whole season would be like that and they wouldn’t seriously have them married; just keep her “betrothed”; have her a prisoner like she was to Littlefinger, but have her showing more backbone as she does in this episode by snarkily smiling when Walda reveals she’s pregnant and Ramsay’s rank in line of succession is at risk. But that’s an issue for later episodes; in this one I still thought it was working out.

      ***I was really worried about seeing Old Valyria…well, anxious…but I really liked it. Yeah it’s not the “sea Mordor” from the books, but I just see it as that they were in the “greater Valyria metro area” like Oros or something (I mean look at a map; “Old Valyria” itself isn’t near the coast, Oros is).

      I was *really* nervous about how cutting out the Young Griff subplot would affect things but I was very surprised how how well the Tyrion subplot’s condensation actually worked in Season 5. Moving the Stone Men attack to Valyria, etc. It just kind of fit together (plus the books sort of *imply* that there are Stone Men in Valyria as well as Chroyane). Bit of a condensation but it worked in a pinch.

      ****The really amazing thing to me was just all of the behind the scenes production work that went into the Stone Men attack. Have you guys all SEEN that behind the scenes video they made? A stunt man actually made a *20 foot jump* into the river, that wasn’t CGI (they just did the math to figure out how deep the water needed to be then dredged the river deeper). And when Tyrion’s dragged under water, Dinklage is *actually* under water, with crew in scuba gear off-screen to give him air between takes.

      I mean you might not even realize it until you see the behind the scenes video; just *how* difficult it is to stage a chaotic fight on a very small fishing boat like that. The behind the scenes video Podeswa says its one of the most complicated stunt scenes they’ve ever done, and viewing the footage you really get convinced that it was.

      Also I like that they actually took the time, before the fight, for just a quiet contemplative scene, no music, as Tyrion and Jorah just stare in awe at the giant, silent ruins of what was once the greatest civilization in the known world. Touched on the bigger “Romanticism” thing from the novels, which is obsessed with ruins and such, the melancholy of it. Good to get that in there.

      ***Haha, note Tyrion’s line winking at the book readers when he realizes they’re sailing through Valyria: “This isn’t the Rhoyne!” — they’ve been sailing *away* from Volantis for days, obviously he should know it isn’t the Rhoyne. But the encounter with the Stone Men *did* occur on the Rhoyne in the books, so meta-joke at his confusion….

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    23. Yeah Jared, I wonder if even in the next novel Samwell is going to pick up Heartsbane at some point…

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    24. “Long, sullen silences and an occasional punch in the face: the Mormont Way.”

      – Tyrion

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    25. Mihnea:
      Also I fully believe we’ll get Roose’s ”don’t make me rue…”

      He’ll mostly say it after Ramsey fails to find Sansa.
      Most likely this will also push Ramsey to kill his father.

      This are NOT spoilers, just my speculation.

      I fully agree, actually.

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    26. I have UUU as one of my favorite episodes as well. Brilliant acting all around. But that’s not on today’s watch of course.

      Kill the boy is actually among my favorite episodes. The scene where Theon has to admit that Sansa saw him, well it breaks my heart. Each shudder and whimper and hesitation is just so painful to watch. God, it’s horrible and wonderful because it’s so well acted. (Apart from the somewhat exaggerated acting on Iwan’s behalf imo.) And the dinner scene was just absolutely amazing to watch. Walda is such a sweetheart. I will have to say that I would hate to see anything bad happen to her character. She’s totally innocent and even Roose seems to like her (which pleases me on her behalf.) I thought Sophie Turner’s acting was brilliant, too. Ramsay… Iwan is good at playing a completely evil jerk and sadist and Theon just stands there nearly breaking down into tears in front of Sansa as he has to apologize for the murders Bran and Rickon because that’s what his Master wants, regardless of the truth.

      I wish the showrunners would have gone with Roose as the true mastermind in the Bolton household. I wish/hope he will best Ramsay but as has been guessed, it doesn’t seem to be the way, the show will go in season 6. I think Iwan is handsome and I get that lots of people find his character amusing/entertaining but I would have preferred seeing Roose play the biggest part in the upcoming battle/scheming. I like my baddies more subtle than Ramsay Bolton.

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    27. Finally, Dany’s decision to feed one of the Great Masters (credited as “Master Eaton” 😉 ) to her dragons may have been capricious and driven by grief. Despite her outwardly calm demeanor, it’s definitely the moment that she comes across most clearly as the Mad King’s daughter (especially since Barristan told her about the Mad King burning his enemies in “The House of Black and White”). It was an ominous sign, for sure. Stepping away from the worrisome long-term implications for a moment, however, watching Rhaegal and Viserion burn the poor man alive and then tear his body to shreds was wickedly cool.

      I also thought Joel Fry gave a great performance as Hizdahr, both when he was attempting to be courageous in the catacombs and later when he confessed his fear in the cell. I’ve said many times that I thought Fry did a ton to humanize that character, to the point that I’m actually sorry he’s gone.

      I thought the Missandei/Grey Worm moment was extremely sweet, and wonderfully played by Nathalie Emmanuel and Jacob Anderson. Their love story is never going to be universally beloved in this fandom, but I’m still fully on board.

      God, Peter Vaughn is so great as Aemon in this episode, as he always is (his second-to-last appearance, unfortunately). He conveys the anguish he feels at being unable to help his last surviving relative so beautifully during the scene where Sam reads him the letter detailing Dany’s activities. I always wondered where that came from – a report from the Citadel would be my guess. Closest thing Westeros has to a newsletter!

      Of course, Dany may not be Aemon’s last living relative after all. Many people have noted how right after Aemon says “A Targaryen alone in the world is a terrible thing”, Jon enters the room. Subtle? Perhaps not. Amazing? Hell yes!

      I virtually never get precious – in either direction – about whether or not “iconic” lines from the book are included, but I do love that both Aemon’s “Kill the boy, and let the man be born” quote and his deathbed words were included. Then again, the former would be. If Wimsey happens to read this article, I’m sure that he’ll remind us that line represents the primary story of AFFC/ADWD, and of Season 5 as well. 😉

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    28. Sansa’s dinner scene with the Bolton confuses me and amuses me in equal measures. I don’t understand why she’s antagonizing them so openly if she really means to try to manipulate them. But she still delivers a sick burn to Fat Walda and it’s hilarious. I specially loved Roose’s unimpressed face and the way he continues the conversation unaffected.

      The Tyrion scene in Old Valyria is one of my favorite moments in Season 6.

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    29. The Dragon Demands,

      That would indeed be a great moment.

      The complicating factor, of course, is that Randyll is in King’s Landing at end of ADWD, rather than Horn Hill. Since Sam is in Oldtown, that makes makes the chances that they’ll cross paths in TWOW less likely – although I do sincerely hope that they will meet again at some point. One of the reasons I’m so excited to see Sam reunite with his father in Season 6 is because there’s no guarantee that we’ll ever get that meeting in the books. At least not until ADOS, which may not be released for a decade (if ever).

      I also think that Randyll may absorb the potential storylines of Willas and Garlan Tyrell in the show. GRRM has mentioned that he wishes those characters hadn’t been cut because they have a role to play in his future books. With the Ironborn attacking the Reach, I always assumed their role would be to lead the defense of their homeland. With Loras reportedly half-dead in the books and imprisoned on the show, I think Randyll could take on that role quite capably if necessary

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    30. Vincent Stark,

      Because I don’t think she means to do that.

      I think she tries to show Roose that she won’t just stand there meekly and obey him, but try to impose herself into this marriage.
      You can see from the looks she gives Ramsey that she doesn’t think much of him.
      Unafortunatly she underestimated Ramsey.

      I don’t blame her. It’s hard to realize just how mad Ramsey is. In my opinion he hides it quite well when he wants to.

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    31. Jared

      I could read your analysis on anything and everything all day long. I love it, truly. Very well written, cohesive, intelligent. The teacher in me wants to give you a gold star on every post. ?

      As a side, this discussion about the disturbing implications of Daenerys having a Great Master burned to death kind of brings me back to this question of whether or not people should be seeing these acts of violence as a “good” or “badass” thing.

      In the previous discussion (long time ago) it was framed in the context of Arya and whether or not a child killing people should be something we all celebrate (which then led to a GREAT conversation about the psychology of child killers in war zones…but I digress). I wonder if–in the context of the show–we’re “supposed” to view these events as have a negative implication on the character, or whether they’re just there to keep the hype train moving. I mean, Maisie has always said that it should be “disturbing” that a child is killing people; that those things aren’t ‘badass’, they’re sad. But the general audience loves it, and loves her FOR it. So, what do you think? Are we supposed to be interpreting these things as “fuck yeah!” moments, or should they be conveying disturbing things about the nature of these characters?

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    32. I am not liking the previews of Jamie. He is all up in Cersei’s face again.
      He is going back to the dark side.
      Me no like.

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    33. Perhaps even moreso than the gigantic leaps in logic to get Sansa to Winterfell in earlier episodes, this episode is the one that most frustrates me in terms of how this whole story was written. The second they decided to give Sansa the Jeyne Poole plotline, they were putting her into a scenario where failure was the only option. It’s not impossible to write a story where a character loses but still puts in a good showing, and can serve as the foundation for future development. But that’s not what we get here. This is the one episode after arriving at Winterfell and before becoming a sex slave who’ll spend the rest of the season locked in a single room where Sansa might plausibly be shown doing something, anything. Literally the only thing Littlefinger suggested she do is try to gain influence over Ramsay; she’s doing the opposite. And since she has absolutely no leverage here other than what the Boltons voluntarily give her, all she’s doing is guaranteeing her own powerlessness. The business with the old lady (a particularly transparent plot device, now that I think about it; she doesn’t even have a name), as well — instead of showing Sansa, having understood the value of having eyes and ears from her time in KL, sounding out this woman as a potential ally, we get her walking up and dropping Sansa her plot token, totally unearned. The writers seem to view having her insult people as a means of showing strength.

      Cian is right that the brief fadeout at the end is kind of cheap, but I admit, I did kind of enjoy how it looks like a climactic fadeout only to have the scene start up again. The Stone Men sequence on the whole was well done.

      Slavery, while wrong from a modern point of view (and from a Westerosi one), is an established reality throughout the majority of Essos. This is something Daenerys fails to understand, and her attitude towards its absolute expulsion is reminiscent of certain contemporary internet cultures, which oftentimes no longer see the value in openly discussing an issue.

      I don’t really agree with this view of Dany’s dilemma in Slaver’s Bay. Slavery is practiced in Meereen is evil; there’s no ambiguity or grey there, nor is its abolition some sort of imperial imposition on a local culture; it reflects the dearest desire of a supermajority of Meereen’s people. Dany’s problem is that she is attempting to conciliate the class of former masters, who are not interested in being conciliated; they want the restoration of slavery. What she needs to do, if she wants to abolish slavery, is crush the masters utterly, or otherwise dispossess them so as to make them incapable of opposing her.

      Which I think is the meaning of Dany’s realization at the end of ADWD that from now on she’s going to be a dragon.

      I very much like the scene between Sam and Stannis. It’s an interesting character pairing (and I like the unspoken detail that Stannis was expecting to find a son of Randyll Tarly who more resembled Randyll), and a nice boost for the importance of what Sam can contribute to the war against the White Walkers.

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    34. RosanaZugey: So, what do you think? Are we supposed to be interpreting these things as “fuck yeah!” moments, or should they be conveying disturbing things about the nature of these characters?

      Or perhaps show us disturbing things about ourselves?

      I mean, I was all “fuck yeah!” when Arya killed people or Dany fed the Master to her dragons, I was calling for a genocide of all Freys… But then I stop. What am I doing? Advocating and cheering violence and vengeance? I’m not like that at all in real life, but it’s so easy to slip into such a mode in an emotional moment watching fiction… What if it happens in real life? Disturbing thought.

      BTW, I found Arya’s killing of Meryn F. Trant disturbing, it was so cold-blooded in the end (and recalled Cat at the Red Wedding).

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    35. Cian, you are officially my fave recapper. You helped me go from hating the JS and Tormund scene (the lack of light and the unmoving, long shot) to respecting it’s art. Well done.

      I’m actually looking forward to tomorrow’s recap. It’s the most controversial episode not just bcuz of Sansa, but also the terrible way Dorne and the Sand Snakes were handled. We should have known at the first mention of nipples on breastplates (which, as we all know are useless) that there were going to be issues w the Sand Snakes. I mean, a whip? Are u f-inf kidding me? I am Obara Sand!? Bad pussy!?

      Don’t get me wrong. I loved season 5.

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    36. Deesensfan:
      I am not liking the previews of Jamie. He is all up in Cersei’s face again.
      He is going back to the dark side.
      Me no like.

      If you look at Jaime’s face in the picture, he doesn’t seem too happy.

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    37. Mihnea,

      The dinner scene was great. Maddening for me, because it suggested that Sansa didn’t know what she was doing and things would go poorly for her as a result. In retrospect, I think it’s sort of cool that she didn’t become a master manipulator overnight. She didn’t go the route of Dany or Margorie. To me it says Sansa isn’t willing to use sex or charm to win over her enemies. She chooses not to be false. To be authentic. She is her mothers daughter.

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    38. I’m curious why the writers chose to have Shireen, when leaving Castle Black, mention wanting to visit the crypts of Winterfell because “all the Kings in the North are buried there – Bran the Builder, King Doran (?)”. There usually isn’t any wasted dialogue in the show, so it seemed strange for her to say this to Davos. Could it be that something significant will happen in the crypts and they wanted to hang that gun now (for Wimsey’s sake, of course 🙂 ).

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    39. Deesensfan:
      Connor,

      Whats cleganebowl?

      Poor Margery

      and man oh man, I am sick of Cersei —– I need that smirk wiped off her face forever.

      Cleganebowl is when the Hound and the Mountain will fight each other. And when everyone gets HYPE!

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    40. Wall Builder:
      I’m curious why the writers chose to have Shireen, when leaving Castle Black, mention wanting to visit the crypts of Winterfell because “all the Kings in the North are buried there – Bran the Builder, King Doran (?)”.There usually isn’t any wasted dialogue in the show, so it seemed strange for her to say this to Davos. Could it be that something significant will happen in the crypts and they wanted to hang that gun now (for Wimsey’s sake, of course ).

      Well, in the books the Winterfell crypts are a special place.

      For instance, Jon Snow has a recurring dream/nightmare of going there, which always ends before he gets to the end.

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    41. Demon Monkey,

      On a different note.

      I don’t think charms or ”manipulating” as many people say, would have worked.
      Roose isn’t stupid. He knows just to well that Sansa will never like him.

      So in my opinion, Sansa showed that she understood that she couldn’t smile or charm her way out. Roose would never believe her.
      I think Sansa made a decision, to be a bit ”harder” to show Roose and all others, that WF is HER home. That she has as much power as all of them there.

      That was a clear message to Roose. ”I will never like you and I know, you know that. I agreed to this, but I’m not some meekly bride. This is MY home.”
      She reminds Roose that she has power here.

      Her only mistake is to underestimate Ramsey. I don’t blame her though. She isn’t a master manipulator and Ramsey can hide quite well…his wilder tendencies.

      This is why I liked Sansa’s story in S5. It’s easlly among my top 3.
      They gave her a real story and in my opinion, she showed real strenght.
      She did failed but I fully expect she will learn from this and emerge even stronger.

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    42. Mihnea:
      She reminds Roose that she has power here.

      Her only mistake is to underestimate Ramsey.

      No, she doesn’t. The Boltons have 100% of the power, and the only conceivable way for Sansa to accomplish anything via this arrangement is to ingratiate herself with them and get them to do what she wants.

      Whether Ramsay is a psycho or not is completely beside the point.

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    43. Mihnea,

      What power does she have, exactly? Her name has power, but the Boltons get all the benefit of that so long as they have physical possession of her, which they presently do. It’s exactly the same situation she was in in King’s Landing. On paper, as the King’s betrothed and later Tyrion’s wife, she was a person of status and influence; in reality, of course, she was a powerless hostage. Swap out the names and the situations are identical (right down to the sympathetic handmaiden who talks a good game but in the end is completely ineffectual). The Boltons control her, completely, from the moment she set foot in Winterfell, and she can do nothing that they don’t allow her to do.

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    44. They have it cut to black when Tyrion is under water because that is exactly what happened in the books. It’s not that they were going for a cheap trick as you say, they were just purely influenced by the book.

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    45. Truly a great recap and interesting read, Cian! This episode is one of the better ones in season 5 mainly because of the scene with Jorah and Tyrion. However, I want to rewatch the otherwise unmemorable scene with Jon and Tormund. Maybe this time around I can appreciate it more for its artistic quality.

      Off topic, but Curbed had a great interview with production designer Deborah Riley about the show’s architectural inspirations. Never would have guessed that the Bank of Bravos was modeled after Albert Speer’s architecture for the third reich. Looking back on it, it really was a cold and dark – almost vast empty – feeling to the scenes inside the Bank. Fun read for those interested.

      http://www.curbed.com/2016/4/18/11451094/games-of-thrones-season-6-set-design-architecture

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    46. Sean C.,

      I won’t debate with you.

      It is the most pointless thing that I could do. I know this from our other ”debates”. You have firmly made your mind.

      The simple fact that you replied to my comment, something you almost never do, shows just how angry you are at this subject.

      You can write how much you hate this story and how bad it is, just like I will write how good this story is and how much I loved it.

      But I refuse to enter a debate with you. It is simply pointless.

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    47. Jared: But that storyline started strong, and I LOVE the chapter where Tyrion and his companions pass through the Sorrows and are attacked by the Stone Men. It’s so rich, creepy, and atmospheric. It may be my single favorite chapter in either of those two books, and one of my favorites of the entire series.

      Excellent taste, my friend! 🙂

      That chapter is so atmospheric and eerie, one of my favorites in the last two books. I am interested to find out what’s behind the “time warp” Tyrion encounters as he passes through the ruins of Chroyane.

      I also second your sentiment that Tyrion’s ADwD stuff starts quite strong. (In my opinion his story loses steam after Jorah captures him.) Then again, I’ve always had a soft spot for stories about a small band of companions journeying through the ever more mysterious landscapes having no one but each other, and their own thoughts, for company. Very moody and introspective, which I really like in fiction.

      Martin wrote a whole novel, Fevre Dream, set upon a Mississippi steamboat as it travels down the river with its menagerie of weird (vampire!) characters. Well worth a read, if anyone’s interested.

      Then there’s one of my absolute favorite SF books of all time, Dan Simmons’s masterpiece Hyperion, in which a group of pilgrims travels towards the Time Tombs on the eponymous planet where a legendary monster awaits them. On the journey, traveling first on a tree-shaped starship, then on a barge down a river, on a windship over a sea of grass, and finally on a cable car over the mountains, they pass time by telling stories of each character’s strange and wondrous connection to the planet and why exactly they were chosen for what is most likely a one way trip.

      Ah, good times reading those books…

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    48. This is kind of related to the previous episode. but Baelish mentioning that a certain person was at the tournament of Harranhaal had me thinking. It is a new theory regarding Jon’s parentage and I’ll put it in spoilers for any people that want to stay in the dark about this kind of thing.

      I call the theory A + L = J and it goes like this. At the famed tournament of Harrenhaal, Lyanna Stark is viciously raped by King Aeris. She is this young beautiful vibrant woman and after the rape becomes a shell of herself. Rhaeger Targaryen is aware of this. He knows of the rape or maybe even inadvertently witnesses it. He feels so remorseful for Lyanna, be can’t but help himself but to place the crown of roses on her after defeating Ser Barristan in the joust. They fall in love.

      This makes it a little bit neater in that Jon, Tyrion (if other theories prevail), and Dany could all be siblings who killed their mothers on the birthing bed.

      Keep in mind I haven’t read the books and haven’t gone THAT deep into reading some of the other theories, so if this has already been mentioned or is infeasible apologies.

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    49. A few logistical questions about the Stone Men – even though I love that scene:

      –How the hell do they get to the Doom of Valyria? Stannis tells his daughter that others told him to abandon her there. That raises the prospect of someone sailing to Valyria with the intention of abandoning them there, and that’s a long, long, goddamned trip.

      –When you arrive, is there a place where you drop off your relative/friend without getting attacked by the current residents?

      –Once there, do the Stone Men unmistakably know that this new resident is one of their own? By smell? Visual? Do you need to be severely desiccated to be accepted?

      –What do they eat, anyway? Or do they not need sustenance, having entered the last, madness-induced stage of their lives and their inner organs are becoming inert, essentially?

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    50. Mihnea:
      It is the most pointless thing that I could do. I know this from our other ”debates”. You have firmly made your mind.

      You’ve also firmly made up your mind. I’m not under any illusion I’ll persuade (nor, for that matter, is persuasion a prerequisite to have a debate; indeed, probably most debates between sufficiently committed parties end with neither having much changed their view), I’m simply asking for an explanation of your position. You’ve written that, in you opinion, Sansa is pursuing some sort of sensible strategy in making clear that she hates the Boltons, and by so doing asserting her power. I’d like to know what this power is.

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    51. OT: If you have troubles with the website (new articles not showing up, …) try this :

      – Search for “cmd” in the Windows search. Then ENTER.
      – Type “ipconfig /flushdns”. Then ENTER.

      Worked for me.

        Quote  Reply

    52. LatrineDiggerBrian,

      no

      Sean C.,

      I agree. That whole arc doesn’t make any sense and LF wouldn’t be so dumb as to let his prized chess piece out of his hands, and then fail to get information on Ramsay (who had previously flayed a Northern lord in public).

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    53. Deesensfan: I don’t understand what the problem was making us think Tyrion was dead for a second.
      It actually worked on me

      On me, as well. It certainly got a reaction out of me, one of my more vocal “yell at the TV” moments, as in “What?!! No….they can’t end it here, they wouldn’t, they can’t hold Tyrion’s fate over our heads another week! They … oh, whew (shaky laugh) good work guys, you got me there.”

      Cian, your review was great. I particularly like your explanation of the directorial effects with the lighting and blocking, and why the scenes work as they do. GoT works on me mainly from an emotional level, which is how I watch the episodes the first time around. It’s catching the effects and nuances on subsequent watches that make rewatching so satisfying and necessary. There is so much substance in this show, that one never gets bored while rewatching.

      I realize that you wanted to keep a watch on the length of your review; I’m glad you included your appreciation of the Doom poem – I rewind that scene many times, both to see the connection between Jorah and Tyrion start, and because of the realization that not only is Tyrion well-read and educated, but obviously, Jorah was too. (shout out to Pigeon, I know how you love all things Jorah!) Jorah was more than a slave trading, info-trading hanger-on, he was and is a man of substance, mind and ability who gets carried into the nether regions by his heart.

      I always rewind that scene also to see the look on Tyrion’s face at the first sight of Drogon flying overhead. A year later, and it’s still one of the joys of the episode for me. Who knows how many times Peter needed to practice that look to get it so perfect, but he nailed it completely, and it’s a lovely interlude with the perfect acting and music, just before the stone men jump in and ruin it.

      Another favorite bit is Sansa’s sidelong glances at Ramsay throughout the dinner scene, and the small triumph in her slight smile when Roose announces the coming of baby boy Bolton. That she still has the presence of mind to realize what that will mean to Ramsay, even after hearing the horrid “fate” of her two brothers, tells us that Sansa will make it through everything. I didn’t start out a Sansa fan, but I have become one.

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    54. zod,

      I cleared my history, which worked for a bit, but it’s back to not working. Refreshing is the only thing that updates the page (or posting).

        Quote  Reply

    55. Going off topic again but GOT press is really intense today and the NY Times just published an article I thought this forum would appreciate. Interesting discussion on the difference between the books and the show – and, of course, the debate of whether season 6 show will spoil or otherwise affect TWoW or ADoS.

      “But while we can argue which version is better, no one, not even Mr. Martin, can end the argument. “A Song of Ice and Fire” is not the novelization of “Thrones,” and now “Thrones” can be more than the serialization of the novels.”

      http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/24/arts/television/game-of-thrones-seven-kingdoms-two-narratives.html?_r=0

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    56. Clob: I nominated that for best comedic line…Didn’t make it but I loved that line.

      I fully take the hit for that. For some reason when I tabulated things and put the poll together, I missed that one, and I think it could have won.

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    57. Mihnea,

      As did I … reminiscent of Shelley’s Ozymandias in envoking the fallen grandeur of a past civilization

      Valyria … amazing … the highlight of the episode … yes, shades of Angor Wat … great rendition of what would have been the Bridge of Sorrows in the books

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    58. Thronetender: On me, as well. It certainly got a reaction out of me, one of my more vocal “yell at the TV” moments, as in “What?!! No….they can’t end it here, they wouldn’t, they can’t hold Tyrion’s fate over our heads another week! They … oh, whew (shaky laugh) good work guys, you got me there.”

      That’s exactly what I did LOL

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    59. Ashley,

      Oh very interesting, thanks for posting! I immediately thought of Hitler’s New Reich Chancellery in Berlin when I was watching that episode. The idea was to have people walk through endless corridors and courtyards each one more impressive than the last before reaching the reception hall (actually a concept that was used in baroque palaces as well IIRC). It was all about making people feel small…

      Although the door behind them looks like an exact replica of the Gates of Paradise of the Baptistery of Saint John in Florence (15h century if I’m not mistaken). I wonder what’s depicted on them… 🙂

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    60. talvikorppi: Or perhaps show us disturbing things about ourselves?

      I mean, I was all “fuck yeah!” when Arya killed people or Dany fed the Master to her dragons, I was calling for a genocide of all Freys… But then I stop. What am I doing? Advocating and cheering violence and vengeance? I’m not like that at all in real life, but it’s so easy to slip into such a mode in an emotional moment watching fiction… What if it happens in real life? Disturbing thought.

      BTW, I found Arya’s killing of Meryn F. Trant disturbing, it was so cold-blooded in the end (and recalled Cat at the Red Wedding).

      Ahhhhhh. Very good point. Side note: I too was disturbed by Arya’s killing of Trant. Not because it happened, mind you, but because I felt like it was excessive. A death like that should be reserved for a Walder Frey, or a Ramsay, not Meryn F’ing Trant. Inbesides, he didn’t even actually do anything to Arya (personally) for her to have had such a violent reaction, and since Arya doesn’t know he beat Sansa…was all that rage necessary? But I guess that brings me back to the point. Is it the showrunner’s intention that we view those moments as “badass” or as a devolution of Arya’s character as a person? I feel like the question matters not only to put these actions in a proper context, but also, to understand the story better. If Arya’s character is slipping further into oblivion, then we should be able to view her future death (if it ever happens) as inevitable (given her current trajectory), or find fulfillment in any future course correction.

      I guess ultimately, people are just going to take away what they take away from it (good or bad), but I’d be interested to see how they meant for the audience to feel about it and what they expected is to take away from it.

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    61. Jared,

      I agree.

      Cian … amazing review

      I agree with Cian’s comments regarding Dany’s view of slavery and other Essos institutions. I know that there are those who think that killing the masters would let them off too easy and sending them to the Boltons to flay would be a more appropriate punishment … and it is hard to put yourself in the mindset of someone in a different time with different mores

      We see the fire and blood side of Dany come out here… back to her “I’m a queen not a politician comment” … but also the fact that she can admit where she was wrong … unlike most rulers … for those who use 21st century mores, absolute monarchies, especially those obtained through fire and blood, are also frowned upon … and I’m talking Westeros and not Meereen.

      I thought the WF dinner was purposefully awkwardly humorous … I wonder if Roose ever truly expected Ramsey to treat Sansa with any level of respect …. he had to know how Ramsey was and the games he had played with his prisoners before … why would he have thought that he would act differently here …

      For drinkers everywhere I loved Tyrion’s line

      “I’m a person who drinks. People who drink need to keep drinking. Otherwise, they are not …”

      The first step is admitting you have a problem 🙂

      The poem … wonderful

      I think my enjoyment of the episode was only spoiled by what I knew was going to happen with Sansa … at least they didn’t take it to the Jeyne Poole level ….

      And what was likely going to happen to Stannis with Mel and family in tow …. but that’s a comment for another day.

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    62. Jared: God, Peter Vaughn is so great as Aemon in this episode, as he always is (his second-to-last appearance, unfortunately). He conveys the anguish he feels at being unable to help his last surviving relative so beautifully during the scene where Sam reads him the letter detailing Dany’s activities. I always wondered where that came from – a report from the Citadel would be my guess. Closest thing Westeros has to a newsletter!

      Agreement on Vaughn’s acting. I, too, wondered about the source of the info Aemon was getting. Even if from the Citadel, from whom in Meereen is the info coming that is being relayed by the Citadel? It can’t be Jorah, he is gone and otherwise occupied. Who, then? Dario? Missandei? Some unknown little bird of Varys? It has to be someone in close contact with the daily life of Dany.

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    63. Mr Fixit,
      I’m glad to hear that you appreciate that chapter as well! 🙂

      I also second your sentiment that Tyrion’s ADwD stuff starts quite strong. (In my opinion his story loses steam after Jorah captures him.)

      That chapter was precisely where Tyrion’s journey lost steam for me as well … or rather, fell off a very steep cliff. Specifically, it was the moment right before Jorah captures him, when he visits the brothel in Selhorys and basically starts abusing the prostitute. The show turned it into a surprisingly sweet scene with Clea that I actually quite enjoyed, although I was never worried that the book version of that encounter would be adapted. Having a beloved character like Tyrion, played by one of the show’s most acclaimed actors in Peter Dinklage, treat a woman like that was never, ever going to fly – not with general audiences, and not with me.

      People on book-centric websites can scream and whine as much as they want about how Tyrion was “whitewashed” and became a less interesting character because the dark depths to which he sunk in ADWD weren’t explored on screen. They can do it alone. I don’t care, and I will never agree with that position. It would have made for fucking awful television, and I’m not sure that the show could have recovered from having such an important character behave so abominably. The woman described in the novels as scarred, silent, and dead-eyed. When Tyrion’s done with her, he thinks to himself “What a wretched creature I’ve become.” That was my precise feeling as well. When the chapter ended I was keen to leave him behind and go literally anywhere else.

      I get what George was trying to do in delving into Tyrion’s dark and fucked-up mental state after killing Tywin and Shae. But again, I don’t particularly care, because he didn’t manage to do it in a compelling way. Tyrion was fucked-up in the first few chapters of ADWD as well, but it was actually fun and interesting to read. After that, it wasn’t anymore, and it wasn’t for the rest of the book. I don’t hate Penny as much as some, but she didn’t exactly help, and I’m not the least bit sorry that she was cut.

      At that point, I was just riding out Tyrion’s journey until he made it to Meereen in the hopes that he would meet Dany and finally start to climb out of that hole. When the book ended without that happening, my feelings on his entire arc were retroactively soured – with the exception of the aforementioned Sorrows chapter, which remains a beautiful piece of writing in and of itself.

      Then again, I’ve always had a soft spot for stories about a small band of companions journeying through the ever more mysterious landscapes having no one but each other, and their own thoughts, for company. Very moody and introspective, which I really like in fiction.

      We’re aligned here as well. I’ll have to check those books out! You’ve made quite a few great-sounding recommendations, and I’m always looking for new books. Since, you know, the next installment of ASOIAF doesn’t appear to be imminently looming around the corner. 😉

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    64. Sean C.: asserting her power. I’d like to know what this power is

      I think it’s not so much about outer power than about identity and her inner journey. Self-assertion in the lion’s den (which ironically is also her home), contrasts with her time in King’s Landing where it was about self-preservation and mostly flying under the radar, basically calling her family traitors in order to survive. Now she’s channelling her heritage to gain inner strength (same in the bathtub scene). Moreover in the episode before she was told that she still had allies who would come and help her if she needed them. And she picked up on the fact that Ramsay is insecure about being a bastard, which shows to me that she was looking for ways to get in the game. I mean she didn’t know what would happen in Episode 6, so why would she need to do something consequential just shortly after arriving? She survived King’s Landing, surely she thought that nothing can be worse than that…

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    65. RosanaZugey: Ahhhhhh. Very good point. Side note: I too was disturbed by Arya’s killing of Trant. Not because it happened, mind you, but because I felt like it was excessive. A death like that should be reserved for a Walder Frey, or a Ramsay, not Meryn F’ing Trant. Inbesides, he didn’t even actually do anything to Arya (personally) for her to have had such a violent reaction, and since Arya doesn’t know he beat Sansa…was all that rage necessary? But I guess that brings me back to the point. Is it the showrunner’s intention that we view those moments as “badass” or as a devolution of Arya’s character as a person? I feel like the question matters not only to put these actions in a proper context, but also, to understand the story better. If Arya’s character is slipping further into oblivion, then we should be able to view her future death (if it ever happens) as inevitable (given her current trajectory), or find fulfillment in any future course correction.

      I guess ultimately, people are just going to take away what they take away from it (good or bad), but I’d be interested to see how they meant for the audience to feel about it and what they expected is to take away from it.

      That Arya scene is one of my favorites of the entire series. Trant was a disgusting human being.

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    66. Sean C.,

      OT: Wanted to give you an update on our new hosting.

      We are continuously working out the bugs on the new server and I am taking notes on all of your issues. The upgrade was necessary due to the high volume of traffic we have gained over the past few months, and that is a good problem to have! Please bear with us as we get all the issues worked out. Thanks!

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    67. RosanaZugey,

      Thank you, that’s so kind! I didn’t earn all that many gold stars in elementary school, so I’ll gladly take them now. 🙂

      With respect to your question, there’s definitely a cadre of the audience for who Dany ordering her dragons to burn the master was an unequivocal “fuck yeah” moment. And honestly, I don’t have any issue with that. If we couldn’t appreciate the entertainment value of a good death – or at least tolerate and understand it – none of us would be watching Game of Thrones! Seeing Dany lay waste to people with her dragons is a large selling point for many viewers, and I’m far from immune to that appeal myself.

      But because I look for deeper meaning in the show – and because I love these characters so much – I’m curious to explore the troubling undercurrent of such scenes when they surface.

      I actually don’t view Dany’s decision to feed the master to her dragons as inherently evil. Yes, slavery is endemic to the region, and has been for thousands of years. Yes, there is good and evil on both sides of every war ever fought. The man may be innocent, or he may be guilty as sin. Maybe he was a saint, or maybe he was the Harpy himself. But I won’t shed any tears for him.

      To put it bluntly, I don’t care about the Great Masters (with the exception of Hizdahr, the only one with whom we spend any time at all), and I don’t think we’re supposed to. Yes, we’re meant to appreciate just how critically embedded slavery is in the economy and the identity of the region, to the point where it can’t simply be removed without creating a tremendous, destructive vacuum that needs to be filled before the whole region collapses. But absolutely no one watching this show is rooting for the Great Masters’ to be able to resume their way of life, and their particular brand of cruelty.

      Clearly Daario’s suggestion that Dany should “clean this city out” by rounding up all of the masters and have them executed is meant to be viewed as too extreme of an option. Still, it was necessary for Dany to do something, and this is probably her cleanest course of action. It may not be effective, but if any of the Masters who are aiding or funding the Sons of the Harpy are present in that room, it’s going to give them pause.

      I don’t care about the Master who became dragon kibble. But I do care about Dany, and what this says about her. It may be true that actions matter more than intentions, but ultimately what gives the scene a disturbing edge for me isn’t Dany’s actions. It’s the look on her face when the dragons light the man on fire and tear in to him. That’s a look of borderline rapture. It reminds me of Melisandre burning Axell Florent on the beaches of Dragonstone in “The Lion and the Rose”. When those pyres light up, she closes her eyes and practically basks in the glow of the flames, savoring the screams. It’s a religious experience for her, obviously, but it’s not dutiful. She glories in it. It’s one thing if the Lord of Light needs his substantial blood quota, but this is a woman who loves her work. Seeing Dany do the same was troubling.

      To make it clear, I don’t actually believe that we’re going to see some third act twist where Dany goes mad like her father and is revealed to be the true villain of the series (though I know that some people are in love with that idea – mostly people who don’t like Dany). But Game of Thrones wouldn’t have Barristan raise the spectre of the Mad King three episodes before Dany burns someone alive if they didn’t want us to be thinking about it. Dany has said “I’m not my father” – and I believe it. But the danger is there, particularly if she allows herself to lose sight of it. That’s why Barristan’s words, and later Tyrion’s – are so important.

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    68. RosanaZugey,

      Similarly, when Arya kills someone on her list like Polliver or Meryn Trant, it’s not the fact that she’s killing them that causes me to worry for her. These are terrible people. To the extent that anyone deserves death, these two probably do. So for me, there’s definitely a “fuck yeah” quality to seeing Arya take revenge. I’m not part of the world, I’m watching a fictional story. Neither Polliver nor Meryn Trant truly exist. There’s no consequence for me celebrating a violent death onscreen that might horrify me in the real world.

      (I have a whole other series of thoughts on whether watching violence in entertainment inspires violence in the real world, but let’s not go in to that here).

      What tempers my enthusiasm, however, is Arya’s reaction. It’s one thing to want these people dead because of the wrongs that they inflicted on her and her family. But look at the way she smiles when she watches Polliver choke and drown in his own blood. Look at how she draws out and tortures Meryn before she puts him out of his misery. She is loving this. She is savoring this. Killing these people isn’t a relief for her. It makes her feel powerful and alive, at least in the moment.

      That’s what I think Maisie Williams is getting at when she talks about Arya’s mental state and why she believes people shouldn’t necessarily celebrate it. Arya may be badass and awesome, but she is not a well-adjusted young woman. If she spends her most critical formative years evolving into a remorseless assassin who enjoys killing people, the chances that she’ll ever be “happy” are slim. I don’t need a fairytale ending for Arya, but the most heartbreaking end I can imagine for her character would be for her to finally be reunited with her family – Jon, Sansa, Bran, Rickon – only she’s too far gone, and can’t rejoin the pack because her experiences have changed her too much.

      I’ll close with Ramsay, whose monstrous sadist whose actions and intentions are clearly evil, even if – as I’ve said before – the show has helped me understand the reason that he is what he is. But go back to the scene where he’s torturing Theon in “The Climb”. He says something very telling “This isn’t happening to you for a reason. Well, one reason. I enjoy it.”

      That’s my concern with characters like Dany and Arya. They can deal out bloody and fiery deaths to deserving parties who have wronged them, and I’ll clap and cheer. But I fear the day that they might deal similar death not just because they think to need to, but simply because they can, or because, as Barristan warns Dany, it makes them feel “powerful and right.”

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    69. Just rewatched this yesterday and it’s definitely one of the best Season 5 eps. No one part in it irritates me and the camerawork is insanely good throughout: In Castle Black, on the shores of Essos, in Winterfell.

      And I disagree with Cian’s assessment in the post that the whole last sequence isn’t shot from Tyrion’s point of view. I find that from the beginning we’re following Tyrion’s thoughts about Jorah and later discovering Valyria along with a live dragon he never expected to see. And even the fight with stonemen was very much shot from Tyrion’s perspective.
      The cut to black only follows the mentions of doom we’ve been hearing in the episode. It sure did seem Tyrion’s unceremoniously being taken care of.

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    70. Jared,

      Roose said that he would have thrown baby Ramsay into the river but he looked at him and knew that he was his son. Contrast this with Tywin’s statement that he did not throw baby Tyrion into the sea because he was a Lannister and Tywin’s other statement that he could not prove that Tyrion was not his son. Do you think the writers did this on purpose?

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    71. How can you all guys forget the reaction of tyrion when he sees droom ??
      That was my fav moment from this episode

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    72. A great episode in all respects and great recap by Cian. So many good scenes… The Bolton dinner, Aemon with his “Kill the Boy” words to Jon Snow, Dany feeding a Meereen master to her dragons and the many other great moments already mentioned.

      For me the highlight was when Tyrion first glimpsed Valyria through the mist in the distance then as they got closer, the ruins came into view. One could see what a magnificent city this once was now overgrown with vegetation. I thought for a minute this was filmed at Ankor Wat! This was cinematography at is best. Their boat slowly sailing through this this eerie but once beautiful place gave me the creeps with Joran and Tyrion reciting the tale of the doom.

      That moment when Tyrion looks up and sees Drogon flying over is epic. The expression on his face is priceless as is Jorah now seeing how large the dragon has become.

      When the Stonemen attacked the boat I wasn’t expecting that and it made me jump! Very reminiscent of ‘Friday the 13th’ when ‘dead Jason’ jumps out of the lake onto Alice’s boat. On the first viewing I didn’t notice a Stoneman jumping off the wall into the canal.

      The part where Tyrion was pulled under and there was a few seconds of blackness was very clever. For a moment I thought – Ah, no more Tyrion, but glad to see Jorah recovered him after his ordeal.

      It will be interesting to see how Jorah’s ‘greyscale’ plays out in S6? A thing only he is aware off.

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    73. Jared,

      That’s one thing you have to admire about the way GRRM has developed Arya’s character. We essentially have an equivalent to a modern day “lone wolf” extremist who is prepared to murder in cold blood those who have wronged her and her family and yet, through the narrative and POV is still a sympathetic character for most of us and a favourite on the show. The young Starks were brought up to value justice and honour above all but in a world where the system of justice fails you then you make your own…

      Of course the book can be far more subtle as the writing construct allows the story to be more subtle and play out the arc over a much longer period of time. It is a tragedic story in reality and as such is unlikely IMO to have a happy ending.

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    74. Lonely Cat,

      It’s quite possible! The way that fathers treat their sons (and daughters) – and the effect that treatment has on those children – is certainly a major element of the series. Tywin and Roose share numerous similarities in their capacity for cruelty, their aptitude for the game, and the shadow they cast over the children. I could see the writers wanting to draw a connection between the two men and how they treat the sons that they regard as illegitimate (Roose knows this to be the case, Tywin either suspects or he hopes). FWIW, both Tywin and Roose talking about how they considered killing their infant sons happens in the book as well.

      Even if it was unintentional, the parallels are certainly eerie. Ramsay grew up as a bastard, and Tyrion grew up being treated as one (“All dwarves are bastards in their father’s eyes.”) Despite the way they were treated, both men were driven to please their cruel fathers, and were eventually granted real power (Tywin naming Tyrion as Hand of the King; Roose tasking Ramsay to take Moat Cailin and legitimizing him as a reward). But after a perceived failure (Tyrion’s whoring and supposed culpability for Joffrey’s death; Ramsay allowing Sansa to escape Winterfell), both men were set up for a fall, and their fathers may seek to set them aside (Tywin tried to have Tyrion executed or exiled; Roose could potentially strip Ramsay of his inheritance in favor of his as-of-yet unborn legitimate son with Walda).

      And if one of the most popular theories about Season 6 comes to pass, Ramsay may wind up killing his father, just as Tyrion did.

      The tracks of the two men’s lives are remarkably similar. The key difference, of course, that Tyrion somehow managed to remain a relatively kind and thoughtful person despite having Tywin as a father, while Ramsay became rotten to the core. It raises an interesting question about nature versus nurture, and the extent to which it matters.

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    75. Jared:
      Clearly Daario’s suggestion that Dany should “clean this city out” by rounding up all of the masters and have them executed is meant to be viewed as too extreme of an option. Still, it was necessary for Dany to do something, and this is probably her cleanest course of action. It may not be effective, but if any of the Masters who are aiding or funding the Sons of the Harpy are present in that room, it’s going to give them pause.

      I would say the opposite. “Clean[ing] this city out” is exactly what Dany did in Astapor, and the Astapori master class was as a result utterly destroyed as a political force. It’s certainly a very bloody action, but it’s a systemic response to a systemic problem (it could also take less severe forms, like exiling the masters to go somewhere else). Roasting one guy is a random act of terror that doesn’t accomplish much, and would probably just reconfirm the antagonism of those against her.

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    76. I Need Help, I want this year an HBO Now subspriction for an non Apple-Laptop, but I’m lost how to do that.
      I didn’t found an phone-number on the HBO-Website, even in the Impressum is not one, and I don’t want to fill an helprequest or send an E-mail, because I’m done with that in general.
      I live in Europe, but I don’t want a SKY-abo, because it would have a whole package I would not like to pay and i wouldn’t work without a TV and I know how much monopol they have on football in Europe and this I dont’t like either.
      Can anybody help me, because this year I would like to watch and support Game of Thrones, by an subscription.

      I would be very very glad for a good dummie-help!
      Thanks in forward!
      A helpless

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    77. Wylie,

      Architecture being used to intimate. Interesting concept and production definitely achieved that effect inside the Iron Bank.

      The door panels inside the Iron Bank were so incredibly detailed and I figured they had to have some significance. But I never really looked into it until your comment prompted me to do some late Monday afternoon – and I am ready for today to be over – research. Turns out the scenes depicted on the door panels are indeed intentional, and VFX was used to display the elaborate design within each section. Although the Iron Bank doors do not depict biblical characters and prophets from the Old Testament, like the Gates of Paradise at the Florence Baptistery, the scenes are remarkably similar if not identical (btw great catch). Instead, each section was designed to show the investment interests of the Iron Bank- i.e. ship building or scenes of warfare. The top of the door is the Iron Bank logo.

      Apparently there is a book about the interworking of season 3 and 4 and google books has a preview of the pages about the Iron Bank. Link is here https://books.google.com/books?id=uI7dAwAAQBAJ&pg=PA177&lpg=PA177&dq=bank+of+braavos+set+design&source=bl&ots=i_nJG5o7HO&sig=GMG5_NaspyasvtUVR47IdznwgI4&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjx7eqt-5jMAhUFbT4KHS1aB1gQ6AEITjAK#v=onepage&q=bank%20of%20braavos%20set%20design&f=false

      The Iron Bank’s history and function always intrigued me. I mean a secretive financial cartel that can kill with impunity is a great story. In a way, reminds me of the Medici family – using their banking success to control the politics of Florence for centuries. Full circle, members of the Medici family were actually baptized in the Florence Baptistery 🙂

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    78. Sean C.: and the only conceivable way for Sansa to accomplish anything via this arrangement is to ingratiate herself with them and get them to do what she wants.

      “Only”? Is that a small thing?

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    79. Cain – thanks for the concise write up. I disagree with one point. I believe that Dany was taken aback but not irritated at the Valar Moghulis statement. I think she was more shaken into reality by it – she realizes she was getting carried away with her dragon power and had to pull herself back.

      Also, love Roose’s reference to the “procedure” when Ramsay asks him how Walda became pregnant. Such a dead pan delivery.t

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    80. Luka Nieto: “Only”? Is that a small thing?

      If you mean “is this likely to succeed?”, no, it was a stupid plan from the start, even if Ramsay wasn’t insane. But she committed to carrying out said stupid plan and has already delivered herself into the hands of her enemies gift-wrapped with a bow, so refusing to pretend she doesn’t hate them just calls into question why she’s even there.

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    81. Mihnea,

      I think hell has just frozen over 🙂

      Loved this episode for so many reasons, esp the dinner, the encounter with the stone men (and the bonding over the poem), Aemon and Jon, (in fact, any interaction with Aemon was always a delight to watch), Danerys and the Dragons….

      Speaking of Danerys – one comment struck me in your excellent stroll down memory lane. I too thought of Aerys during those moments, except in the back of my head I keep thinking about her age. Its hard for me to be disturbed by mistakes that are made when the characters are 15 or so. I tend to forgive them much because of their age (esp with Robb). While I agree that there very well my be the same madness in her that was in her father, Im leaning on the side of learning how to rule,and that only comes with experience unfortunately.

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    82. RosanaZugey,

      I wrote my comment above before reading yours. I well remember that discussion, thought it was one of the most interesting ones here. Do we, should we, cut kids slack for crimes such as murder? No I don’t think so, and am not saying that her actions were good or should be accepted as norm. Just that children do make mistakes for various reasons, and when they do something so evil, it behooves adults to consider how age and background needs to be considered in passing judgement. (which leads us to a whole other discussion that we probably don’t need to have here)

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    83. Jack Bauer 24,

      IIRC, Trant was involved in her father’s beheading. Plus she definitely saw that he was a pedophile. Thats not in the books,but since most viewers would probably have forgotten his role in season one, this was a way to make them understand what a horrible human being he was.

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    84. Meh this episode is probably me least favorite of season 5, up there with “The Gift”. I’m a much bigger fan of Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken, which I think is a great episode.

      Some things:

      -I don’t know how I’m going to make it through the Sam and Gilly scenes in season 6 because I’m at my wits end at this point. Hopefully a change of scenery and characters will help spice it up.

      -This episode reminds me why Iwan Rheon is my least favorite main cast member. Just don’t like the way he plays Ramsey. Don’t like the mannerisms, nuances, choices, etc. It works a lot better for me when he plays him seriously.

      -Another “and here I stand” from D & D. This has to be one of their most used tropes, either “and here we are” or “here I stand”. Almost used as much as someone dumping out water on the floor to taunt a prisoner.

      -The pay off of Sansa finding Theon in the kennels was kind of anticlimactic to me. They should’ve had Rob’s body with dire wolf head attached to it sitting on a throne. She gets freaked out and finds Theon in the kennel behind her. Of course I’m sure people who’ve read the book would argue this wouldn’t be such a great move by the Bolton’s for making inroads with the remaining northerners.

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    85. Sean C.,

      That’s fair. My point is more that Daario’s suggestion is meant to be something that the audience interprets as extreme – not that it’s not the action she should probably take. Dany already employed selective punishment as an example when she crucified the 163 masters, some of whom, as we later learn from Hizdahr, were against the crucifixion of the slave children. That only increased the resentment against her. Here, she’s trying to employ a half-measure. She was counting on two things when she assembled the Masters and burned one of them: that some or all of the men assembled wielded direct influence over the Sons of the Harpy (a reasonable assumption) and that the men would be cowed by her power once they saw that the dragons were still under her control (even if they really aren’t). That assumption was less reasonable.

      I said it was the cleanest action she could take, because it involved the least amount of collateral damage. I also said it was probably wouldn’t be effective. Ultimately, there are no good solutions here – we know that Dany is never going to effectively be able to rule Meereen. Her eventually options are going to be to find a way to ensure that the city can rules itself as a slave-free state once she leaves – or burn it to the ground. She’s not ready to do that yet, so she’s stuck. She ends up resorting to another half-measure – giving into the slavers’ demands that she reopen the fighting pits. That doesn’t work out for her either. It’s only when she either embraces her “fire and blood” heritage or steps away that she’ll be able to extract herself from this quagmire.

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    86. Flayed Potatoes:
      “A Targaryen alone in the world, is a terrible thing.”

      – Jon walks in –

      “Hey guys”

      Using my first real comment of note to say how much I love that part every time it happens.

      It’s nice to see the foreshadowing they put in during rewatches when you know what’s going to happen next.

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    87. Sean C.,

      And we saw how well that worked in Astapor … Cleon the Butcher … and the destruction of the city by the Yunkai … leaving the Unsullied (or at least a portion) and Grey Worm to maintain order could, as others suggest, be the solutionh

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    88. Great recap. I agree particularly re. Dany’s storyline. It worried me that many people at the time described burning that ex-Master as “badass.”

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    89. Random question: anyone else notice how Jon’s jerkin was starting to fade back to brown around the edges? I noticed the first time I watched the ep cause it stuck out like a sore thumb, and I remembered it just now on rewatch but I don’t remember seeing that ‘fading’ on any of the other NWs clothes nor in previous seasons. And I can’t recall off the top of my head if it was like this in other eps this season or not either. I just found it odd.

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    90. Sean C.: No, she doesn’t.The Boltons have 100% of the power, and the only conceivable way for Sansa to accomplish anything via this arrangement is to ingratiate herself with them and get them to do what she wants.

      Whether Ramsay is a psycho or not is completely beside the point.

      Sansa’s behaviour in that scene had not really made sense to me too.However, on re watch, the only explanation I could think of was this: Sansa knew that any attempt by her to ingratiate herself with the Boltons was bound to fail, mainly because the Boltons’ participation in the Red Wedding was no secret, it was common knowledge. The Boltons would be expecting Sansa to be aware of their part in the event and an attempt by Sansa to show any good feelings towards them would obviously come across as a sham to them. After all no sane person could have any sympathy towards the people who slaughtered their family. So she took the opposite route. She realized the one weakness between the father and son in that dinner and she decided to play on that. She did manipulate Ramsey, as much as she could, after the wedding, but she did it through needling him about his bastard status.

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    91. LatrineDiggerBrian,

      This has been a suspicion at the back of my mind, I think it came when I read Alfie Allen call it a Luke Skywalker situation. As for Tyrion being a secret you-know-what, it wouldn’t surprise me one bit. I think there was a reason he and Jon were shown to have a natural affection for each other.

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    92. Ashley,

      Thanks for posting Ashley. I haven’t read it yet but have it in tab. That quote makes it seem like their initial insistence that show could take different route but it will end the same as the books is no longer valid?

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    93. Lonely Cat,

      I don’t believe Tyrion isTywin’s son. The animosity is there not just because he is a dwarf or because his mom died in birthing him, the last being a common occurrence in those days I’m sure, but because Tywin knew deep down that Tyrion’s not his blood. Just like he turned a blind eye and refused to acknowledge the twin’s incest. How could he have known Tyrion was going to be a dwarf? That’s not why he thought to throw him in the sea. Oberyn said he basically just looked like a baby.

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    94. Mihnea,

      So what do you think of it? I’m show watcher only but of course you catch some book discussion on the net. It certainly is not as romantic an outcome as the standard R+L=J. What purpose would it serve for the

      Mad king

      to be his father? Once the MK and Rhaegar are both killed it doesn’t matter either way as far as line of succession. From what I see the only benefit is it could make 3 certain characters brothers and sister.

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    95. ygritte,

      It is highly unlikely that the Mad King
      (book spoilers)

      could be Jon’s father. The timeline is a bit hazy but it would require Lyanna’s pregnancy to have lasted more than a year.

      First, there was the tourney at Harrenhal. As far as we know, this is the last time the Mad King and Lyanna saw each other. Then, sometime later, Lyanna disappears with Rhaegar. Brandon Stark rushes to KL and is arrested. Lord Rickard Stark comes to KL and both Starks are executed and the Mad King demands Ned’s and Robert’s heads. Jon Arryn calls his banners and war begins. All this would take at least two or three months, maybe more.

      According to GRRM, the war lasted “about a year” and Jon was born around the time of the sack of KL (the end of the war). From Lyanna’s disappearance to Jon’s birth is therefore more than a year and there’s no evidence that anybody besides Rhaegar (and the 2 KG with him, and later a third KG) had access to Lyanna during that time. It’s not impossible, we don’t know, but it’s highly unlikely.

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    96. Darkrobin:
      And we saw how well that worked in Astapor … Cleon the Butcher … and the destruction of the city by the Yunkai … leaving the Unsullied (or at least a portion) and Grey Worm to maintain order could, as others suggest, be the solutionh

      As you say, those are separate issues. The hasty government she left behind collapsed without the power to maintain itself, and was vulnerable to external forces looking to reassert the old power structure (notably the Yunkish, who Dany left more or less in place).

      Basically, Dany has tried two halves of the most probable method for success in different places, but she hasn’t put them together.

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    97. ygritte,

      I don’t think the article takes a position on whether or not the books and the tv show ultimately end with the same outcome. Its not really about the end but rather the story of how we get there. The author is suggesting that the tv and book narratives are each authentically their own and that is a good thing. Indeed, the article posits that book based series succeed best when they declare their independence from the source material. Examples given, which I agree with, are The Magicians (loosely adopted from Lev Grossman’s books) and Outlander (based onvDiana Gabaldon’s books). Both shows took big steps away from the source material and both shows are better because of this.

      I read GRRM’s books years ago and recently was given a wonderful copy The World of Ice & Fire. While I enjoy GRRM’s writing and the imaginary is beautiful, there was a lot of material I found tedious and I was glad those stories didn’t make it on the show. The sheer size of all the source material requires editing for the small screen. I mean good shows are fast paced while good books do not need to be. GoT the show and GRRM’s series are on two different roads and while we might end up at the same place, it is better they are independent so we can enjoy the show and enjoy the books for what they are.

      I get it that this ‘dual roads’ approach is controversial and book readers will long debate about whether the true cannon of the remaining story belongs to the books or the show (among other things). But as this article points out, “Sometimes a story doesn’t have a single, definitive narrative. Artworks evolve, be they the variants of Shakespeare’s plays, Kanye West’s revisions to “The Life of Pablo” or George Lucas’s edits to “Star Wars.” We grasp at canonicity — Han shot first! — to deal with uncertainty.”

      It was an interesting article that you should look at when you have a chance. I like these kinds of discussions but never know where to post (not a reddit users and only recently started engaging on WotW). So I appreciate the comment 🙂

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    98. ygritte:
      Mihnea,

      So what do you think of it? I’m show watcher only but of course you catch some book discussion on the net. It certainly is not as romantic an outcome as the standard R+L=J. What purpose would it serve for the

      to be his father? Once the MK and Rhaegar are both killed it doesn’t matter either way as far as line of succession. From what I see the only benefit is it could make 3 certain characters brothers and sister.

      I think it’s more romantic to be honest. Not the fact that she gets raped, but his empathy for her and how it possibly makes him do something completely out of character. He doesn’t seem like the type who would openly dishonor his wife in full public view without at least some reason. Also shines a spotlight on his relationship with his father, which couldn’t be good. He could be doing this in full public view to spite his father.

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    99. I loved this memory lane especially when you go into detail of the direction choices. Lots of them go over my head so I really enjoy reading them. Would not have fallen asleep during the dinner explanation!

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