Game of Thrones: Post-Mortem of “The Gift”

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One of the high points of this week’s new Game of Thrones episode, “The Gift,” involved the first meeting of two longtime leading characters, Tyrion Lannister and Daenerys Targaryen. Showrunner and writer David Benioff talked to Entertainment Weekly about the climactic moment in a new interview.

Creatively it made sense to us, because we wanted it to happen. They’re two of the best characters of the show. To have them come so close together this season then have them not meet felt incredibly frustrating. Also, we’re on a relatively fast pace. We don’t want to do a 10-year adaptation of the books, we don’t want to do a nine-year adaptation. We’re not going to spend four seasons in Meereen. It’s time for these two to get together. It’s hard to come up with a more eloquent explanation, but this just felt right. [Varys] puts Tyrion’s mission out there [in the season premiere] and the mission ends in Meereen.

Visit EW to read the rest of the interview!

Fans have been worried about Melisandre’s plans for Shireen for some time, and according to Carice van Houten in an interview with Vulture, those fears have been justified as the priestess’s suggestion to use the princess for a sacrifice wasn’t a spur of the moment decision.

Melisandre and StannisThe actress says, “[Y]es, it’s always been part of Melisandre’s plan, to have Shireen there as a sort of backup, for when the shit hit the fan. And now it sort of has. This is the last thing she’s certain of that will do the trick.”

And does Melisandre have any doubts at all about her visions? Carice says, “She’s still loyal to Stannis. She has faith. She still thinks he’s the chosen one. I think she’s slightly distracted by Jon Snow, and I’m not sure if she even knows why. Not yet. She might have seen something in the flames. But I’m not sure how clear of a vision that was, because she’s been wrong, sort of wrong before. I don’t think she’s a fraud, but I don’t think she sees exactly what she needs to see. Sometimes, it’s a little too blurry.”

There’s quite a bit more to the interview so check out the rest at Vulture.

George R.R. Martin shares some of his historical inspiration for the Sparrows with Entertainment Weekly.

The Sparrows are my version of the medieval Catholic Church, with its own fantasy twist. If you look at the history of the church in the Middle Ages, you had periods where you had very worldly and corrupt popes and bishops. People who were not spiritual, but were politicians. They were playing their own version of the game of thrones, and they were in bed with the kings and the lords. But you also had periods of religious revival or reform—the greatest of them being the Protestant Reformation, which led to the splitting of the church—where there were two or three rival popes each denouncing the other as legitimate. That’s what you’re seeing here in Westeros.

Martin offers more insight into the topic in the interview at EW.

MyrcellaOur new Myrcella, Nell Tiger Free, talks to Vulture about her character’s choice to stay in Dorne, despite the danger.

There’s a real danger threatening me, but I’m blinded by love, and I don’t know how much danger I’m in. I’m so in love with my fiancé, I just want to be there with the boy I love. So when we get into an argument about that, that’s the first time you really see what Myrcella has to say. And obviously, she thinks Jaime is just her uncle. She doesn’t really know she’s a child of incest. [Laughs.] Well, maybe in her heart of hearts, she’s a little bit suspicious that there’s something more there. I think deep down, she knows. But Myrcella’s sweet. She doesn’t have any bad intentions.

Nell also says she thinks Myrcella would be a “really good queen” if it comes to that.

In this week’s Inside the Episode, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss discuss the passing of Maester Aemon, Dany’s rejection of becoming a butcher, and the High Sparrow making his move against Cersei.

John Bradley and Hannah Murray discuss Sam and Gilly’s bond and their actions in “The Gift.”

George R.R. Martin shares info on the Martells’ frequent use of poison, as highlighted in last night’s episode.

130 responses

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    1. “We’re not going to spend four seasons in Meereen.”
      Thank the Gods. Hopefully Tyrion will convince her to finally sail to Westeros.

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    2. Not 9 or 10 seasons. So 7 or 8. I’d have pegged it at 7, but I wonder if they’re leaving 8 open as a possibility as they get closer to the end because they aren’t sure 7 will actually be enough, or whether I’m just reading too much into essentially inoccuous commentary.

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    3. Delta1212,

      I’m hoping 8, provided the content is there for quality episodes (which i think it will be) It’s a huge commitment for everyone involved, so I can’t even imagine how they do it.

      I’m an old time book reader and I can’t tell you how much I love being pretty much in the dark as to future storylines. It’s fantastic, tbh.

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    4. I hope this doesn’t mean Dany will spend season 6 in Meereen. I want her in Westeros by at least mid-season 6. As for the 7 or 8 season debate, I think the reaction to this season from the unsullied is that they are waiting for something to happen and are beyond tired of waiting for Dany and the White Walkers to invade Westeros. So 70-75 episodes should be the goal.

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    5. Tyrion Pimpslap:
      As for the 7 or 8 season debate, I think the reaction to this season from the unsullied is that they are waiting for something to happen and are beyond tired of waiting for Dany and the White Walkers to invade Westeros. So 70-75 episodes should be the goal.

      Yeah, I’ve actually found it kind of remarkable how quickly the general audience appears to have lost patience with the rate of plot advancement (which is another reason why GRRM’s dream of 2-3 seasons on these books was always ridiculous).

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    6. I hate to correct GRRM on matters of history (although most likely he’s just conflating events in that sentence), but the last of the antipopes, Felix V, abdicated in 1449, decades before Martin Luther was even born, let alone started the Protestant Reformation.

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    7. I think u r reading too much into innocuous comments

      If anything I have seen widespread annoyance that season five has been too rushed

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    8. I can’t be the only one who was super-disappointed by the surprisingly un-obscure references GRRM trotted out as inspiration for the sparrows. There were so many mendicant brotherhoods and poor peoples’ movements in the Middle Ages that bore a closer resemblance to the Sparrows – I was sure he had one of them in mind. There’s actually really little resemblance to the Reformation, sociologically. Ugh.

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    9. The dragon demands,

      I have not read from or spoken with any non-book reader who has said this season feels rushed. Not one. I’m not saying there aren’t any that feel that way, just that I haven’t seen anyone say that, and the sample size is close to 100 people, spread out over multiple message boards and my own family/friends.

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    10. I don’t believe Shireen will be burned because it has been openly spoken of. It will be attempted, but I can not see it actually happening. That would be, by far, the worst thing that has ever happened on this show.

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    11. Tyrion Pimpslap,

      Just wanted to reply to that post, but you beat me to it. If there is any consensus among the Unsullied, it’s that this season has been pretty slow and uneventful compared to previous years.

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    12. Tyrion Pimpslap: I hope this doesn’t mean Dany will spend season 6 in Meereen.

      I think that having Tyrion there now greatly reduce the chances of her doing that. I’ll bet that she starts the season there: but that she might be departing as soon as the first episode.

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    13. Tyrion Pimpslap,

      Also, there’s that shot of Selyse in the trailer. That woman is as fanatical as it gets. Maybe she’s hysterical when someone interferes with Mel’s intended barbecue?

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    14. I am happy we won’t have 5 years in Meereen. My guess is that she is out of that city by the end of the season.

      My guess is that the show will end up being 75 episodes. 7 full seasons and then a half of season for whatever final battle happens. The final battle will be all of the characters left in 2 or 3 armies going against each othe .

      I don’t feel like this season has felt rushed on screen. I know from the books that they really streamlined the story which I always thought was necessary. Time to get to the heart of the end for the last 20 to 25 episodes.

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    15. I think I mentioned this on another thread, but it was definitely a wise decision making Tyrion, and Dany meet this season. The unsullied would have gone crazy if it was effectively built up all season, only for them not to meet.

      And, I will just reiterate what others have said about this season being comparatively slower. George’s idea of 2 or 3 seasons was crazy. I think they have done a good job streamlining overall. I’m sure things will get faster next year as we move closer towards the end game.

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    16. Mr Fixit,

      Yeah, the more I think about that picture of Selyse, the less I think it is has to do with her freaking out over something bad happening to Shireen. I had thought there was a possibility she had a pang of conscience as she was watching her daughter burn, but I really don’t think Selyse would feel anything other than triumphant over that. Maybe it is because the plans to sacrifice Shireen are thwarted, or maybe it is because Stannis decides to send her away, after she tries to convince him their daughter needs to die. Maybe it is in reaction to Mel leaving and going back to the Wall.

      If something does happen to Shireen, though, how do we know whether it is something D&D created, or whether it is something Martin has planned for the books?

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    17. Queen of the Keys,

      I’ve considered myself a member of her Queensguard from her first episode. My sword is at your command.

      Until then, I’m just going to keep telling myself that Ghost got bored and caught up with Stannis’ camp and jumps in at just the right moment, if it comes to that. I need this thought to get through the next however many weeks!

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    18. I’m hoping that Tyrion, in his usual fashion, will be as blunt with Dany as he always is, and tell her to shit or get off the pot. She needs his kind of frank, ‘I don’t care if you like me’ advice.

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    19. Tyrion Pimpslap,

      Nope,i would rather they not listen to the dwelling ADHD Avengers and Transformers type of crowds thank you ! I want them to take all the time they think is best for the show . Also they just said in the interview above that they are not going to spend four seasons in Meeren so i don’t know what made you think that she is still going to be there in season 6 .

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    20. We started a Worried About Shireen Support Group in the open chat thread yesterday and gained quite a few recruits then. If we all join forces and that thing happens *shudders and refuses to type it* the resulting Watchers Riot would surely be THE defining battle of the entire story and put every other bit of fighting into a lower league. The White Walkers would stick their heads over the top of the wall, see our Tasmanian Devil whirlwind of fury, go “Oh hell no! Not going anywhere near those crazy people” and retreat at a pace which would put LF’s fabled jetpack to shame! ;O)

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    21. drumaffe:
      “We’re not going to spend four seasons in Meereen.”
      Thank the Gods. Hopefully Tyrion willconvince her to finally sail to Westeros.

      7 seasons is perfect!

      I know with books we can read wherever we feel like it at any time at any pace.
      It does not work well for TV. The show must go on and have an ending right away. We are 5 seasons in, imagine 5 more seasons?? Just no.

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    22. Even though I knew it was going to happen via leaked photos, I did not expect the Tyrion/Dany meetup to happen so soon and in fact secretly did not want it to happen at all. The fact that Martin teases it so much and that it almost but does not quite happen in DWD I felt was a classic GRRM mind-fuck. Not quite on the same level as Ned’s death or the RW, but close.

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    23. Mr Fixit,
      Nymeria Warrior Queen,

      That shot of Selyse in the trailer is misleading. It is one of two things:

      As Mr. Fixit suggests, she may be objecting when someone interferes with Shireen’s burning. (I could see Davos stepping up.) Or, she is objecting when Mel leaves to ride back to CB and Jon. Something has to happen to break up Team Dragonstone. In the books, Mel, Selyse and Shireen never leave CB and Davos never travels with Stannis to WF. Maybe Stannis sends Davos to the Last Hearth to ask for the Umbers’ support and, suprise, there is Rickon. Not sure where Shireen and Selyse go.

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    24. Gotta love the laziness of EW editing. GRRM is clearly talking about the book version of the High Septon(s) preceding the Sparrow, not the show version. EW makes no comment on that. Wonder if they even read what GRRM said or just copy-pasted it in.

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    25. Mr Fixit,

      Yep, that’s another possibility, although I kind of hope not (and I’m not really even a Stannis fan).

      On a side note, has anyone made a video to Queen’s Another One Bites the Dust for all the characters who have been killed off? 🙂

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    26. urangutan21:
      Tyrion Pimpslap,

      Nope,i would rather they not listen to the dwelling ADHD Avengers and Transformers type of crowds thank you ! I want them to take all the time they think is best for the show . Also they just said in the interview above that they are not going to spend four seasons in Meeren so i don’t know whatmade you think that she is still going to be there in season 6 .

      Even the Avengers and Transformers crowds can’t go into a movie theater for over 2 hours without checking their phone for Facebook.

      This is the great thing about HBO. They don’t really care if people are bored for an episode. It is the overall quality and character building that they care about. GoT is not different.

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    27. JS,

      Ned and Oberyn were deliberate decision on Martin’s part. Tyrion not meeting Daenerys by the end of ADwD is nothing more than an unfortunate byproduct of Martin’s story spiraling out of control which then led to him running out of space. There’s no great narrative trick hidden in there somewhere.

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    28. Tyrion Pimpslap,

      LOL I was just calculating that. Because when they said “we are not spending 4 seasons in Meereen” I thought ok, obviously they’ll do 3 max, so how many has she been there?

      I’m guessing she’ll leave probably next mid-season.

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    29. So I don’t know if this is the right thread to post this idea in but what if

      the disfigured tube babies Selyse had saved were being sacrificed to the fire and perhaps that’s why she’s flipped out in the snow in that preview scene…??? I would think maybe she’d be nutty enough to bring them along for the trek.

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    30. Mr Fixit,

      Yeah, I thought it quite suspicous how Melisandre specifically mentioned having seen herself walk the battlements of Winterfell, not Stannis.

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    31. If Shireen dies in either format i’m done with both medians of this tale. At least don’t let her die by fire. I will be very upset. Just don’t let her die at all… I want to see her be the heir to Storms End.

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    32. As a Stannis fan…. Is it wrong that I don’t care what happens to Shireen, as long as Stannis makes it to the Iron Throne?

      In real life, somebody even thinking about what Mel suggested is a sick, twisted person. But in GoT, somehow I just want Stannis to win.

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    33. Sam: There’s actually really little resemblance to the Reformation, sociologically.

      I’m not sure how the sociological part is too important: it is the incredibly judgmental theological and the “anti-corruption” parts that are important. Moreover, those were huge factors in the Reformation: Martin Luther might have wanted it to be about theology, but what had far greater resonance was the depiction of the Church as basically a mafia.

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    34. The Bastard,

      As a Stannis fan, if he allowed his daughter to be burned alive, I could not support him. Besides, do you really think that is the way this series is going? If by some horrible chance Shireen wss burned to death, I think the outcome would be something we did not foresee. It wouldn’t be what Mel is promising. If anything, it would be a death for life situation. Which, come to think of it,

      please don’t let this be how Jon is resurrected.

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    35. Nymeria Warrior Queen: If something does happen to Shireen, though, how do we know whether it is something D&D created, or whether it is something Martin has planned for the books?

      It probably will reflect the latter. Shireen isn’t a primary character in the books, so she really is a total wild card. Will she be burned? Maybe. Will she take over as Stannis’ heir if he falls taking Winterfell or something? Maybe. Will she just sort of ride things out and still be there at the end? Sure, that’s possible, too.

      I am pretty indifferent towards the character. Whatever importance she will have will be as a foil for important characters, and so long as that is well-executed (on TV or on page), then I am fine with it.

      I also have never been a “Stannis fan.” Stannis is a moral absolutist, and I cannot abide those. Melisanndre is the much more intriguing character to me: yes, she is pretty unlikable, but watching her ultimately reconcile the truth to her interpretations of the truth could prove interesting.

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    36. The Bastard,

      If it has to be one or the other, which no one gets a choice about, I’d prefer Stannis to live as well.

      Shireen Love Club: Stop it. Stop. You are setting yourselves up for a world of pain by begging and bartering for the life of a sweet, smart, innocent character that everyone loves. You are pretty much guaranteeing she dies, and I will blame you all. You need to do what I have done with Barristan, Jorah, and countless other characters that have my heart – you must assume they will die. Imagine the worst death that you can, and believe it will happen. You will save yourselves a tiny iota of pain that way (it will still hurt), and if the worst DOESN’T happen, the joy will be that much more sweet.

      Do not doom her with your love. Do not!

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    37. Mr Fixit,

      Perhaps. There was the fighting pits scene in the books.

      Dany and Tyrion in the same place…even Dany seeing Tyrion but obviously not knowing who he was…before Drogon showed up? It would not have been hard for Martin to arrange for them to meet before or during or in an alternate version of that scene so I thought *almost* path crossing, right up the intervention of Drogon to save both their lives, was deliberate.

      Or maybe GRRM was hanging himself with the infamous Mereenese knot. Or maybe my memory of the scene in the books is faulty; I only read DWD once compared to reading the others multiple times, I’m still working my way through the audiobook version and my physical copy is currently in a storage unit two time zones away, so maybe my initial impressions and emotions of the book are out of place.

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    38. Mr Fixit: Would that I could. Let us hope it isn’t so. Maybe we should form a Support Group as well!

      IF Stannis tells Mel where to stuff her idea and saves Shireen, we will all love him for it and you are welcome to join our gang – we can all help each other through this. HOWEVER if she burns because of him I think it’s probably best we don’t mix, not for the time being anyway. No offence, but you can see feelings are running high and I think we Shireen lovers will find it very difficult to forgive and forget, at least initially. We are going to need a period of mourning and acceptance of what’s happened before being able to contemplate what comes next. It’s like West Side Story, except with waaaay more bewbs and fewer songs. Although we’re up to three now so give it another 14 series and there might be a whole album’s worth ;O)

      EDIT: Wimsey “….Shireen……well-executed”. Please be careful in your choice of words, you’re dealing with an emotional mad cat lady here (me) ;O)

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    39. If Shireen does not burn, Stannis dies. We have seen it before. When somebody tries to protect kids instead of playing the Game of Thrones…. They get killed.

      Ned wanted to protect Cersei’s kids and got killed for it.

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    40. The show will be 7 seasons, but will end in a cliff hanger, which will be resolved in a feature length movie to be released in 2018.

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    41. I’m still thinking this business with

      Shireen is a grand misdirection. More likely it will be an escaped Theon, who eventually rescues Sansa, and is captured by Stannis’ forces, who will become the guest of honor at Mel’s barbecue. He has much to atone for so if his death is what propels Stannis on to victory all the better. Plus it would have a very safe Sansa now in Stannis’ hands.

      I do hope they go somewhere with a certain feasting upon meat pies at some point, however with the way the story has been adapted I see this now as highly unlikely. Pity, because it really starts to give closure for the

      RW and is a great payoff to Bran’s Rat Cook story.

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    42. Pigeon:
      The Bastard,

      Do not doom her with your love. Do not!

      I hear ya. They’re like those overprotective mothers that stunt their children’s growth by their misplaced and counterproductive love. I say, let the little birds loose! Let them fly free upon the winds! Sure, a couple will get eaten alive, or plummet to their deaths, or starve, but you can’t make an omelette without breaking some eggs, now can you?

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    43. The Bastard,

      I’d rather Stannis die saving his daughter than profit from her grisly death. He’s going to die eventually. This way is better than being flayed by Ramsay or roasted by Drogon.

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    44. Lulu’s Mum,

      Thanks for your offer, but as I stated a minute ago, I think it is ultimately a disservice to the gentle souls we’d want protected. If it’s OK with you, I’ll be over here all solemn and somberlike.

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    45. I’m totally excited about Tyrion and Dany meeting. I think the way they arranged it was true to all the characters involved (Jorah included). Was DYING for this in the book and happy to see it on screen! I am really excited to see their scenes in Ep 8.

      Jaime/Myrcella was interesting… rather brief. Liked Jaime’s burn on himself. Sand snakes titty fest I could have lived without but Bronn’s singing was excellent. If Tyene had somehow justified elevated heart rate being required for the poison to work or something, I might have bought it. She’s gorgeous though, no doubt.

      Suuuuper happy to see Diana Rigg back at it, great scenes with High Sparrow and with Littlefinger. And Lena was masterfully smug to my complete delight 🙂

      As for Stannis I don’t think he would change his mind about this, if the guy has one thing it’s rock solid black and white thinking. He does not seem into this idea, rather he seems disgusted by it. Excellent acting by Stephen Dillane yet again.
      I think there will be another way, or maybe this is the impetus for Mel to

      go back to CB and deal with Jon Snow

      as someone else suggested.

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    46. Jaime’s girl,

      If there’s a collective riot, count me in. I think loving fathers burning fictional children character for some magical power is a bit of a limit for me. To each his own obviously.

      Just out of curiosity:

      Are we 100% sure the Greyscale is not an antidote to fire? I’m just saying because in the highly unlikely event Stannis loses his goddamn mind and says yes to such a horrific sacrifice request, I would LOVE for Mel to be proved wrong with Shireen walking out of the fire unhurt. I mean do we positively, absolutely know that Greyscale is not rendering the person fireproof?!

      Some say it’s Garin’s Curse. I mean magic might be involved according to some Rhoyne long ago myth. If there’s a curse there’s a spell and hence it could work…

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    47. Mr Fixit,

      Yes of course, we all need to do whatever is best for us in this situation. If solemn and somber are your thing, please carry on. Although lots of people in the show who’ve done terrible things would justify it by saying they were doing what was the best thing for their family, but they are fictional characters and so I can conveniently ignore them when it suits my argument to do so. I pay for Sky Atlantic, I get to pick and choose who I side with, changing on a minute-by-minute basis if necessary! I said this to someone else but I rather hope the Shireen situation is sorted one way or the other next week anyway as it’s exhausting fretting about her and Sansa at the same time. Anyone would think this was actually important and not just a 10 hours a year tv show ;O)

      EDIT: I said it to Tormund’s Woman, just above me, hi TW *waves*.

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    48. Valar Morghulis… All men must die… and if you think this has an happy ending…
      You haven’t been paying attention…

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    49. “It’s time for these two to get together. It’s hard to come up with a more eloquent explanation, but this just felt right. [Varys] puts Tyrion’s mission out there [in the season premiere] and the mission ends in Meereen.”

      This meeting between Daenerys and Tyrion was the highlight of a perfect episode for me. I am glad that to D&D, it felt right, and I am extremely thankful they wrote this script and made it so straightforward. I am very much hoping that Meereen is mostly done for everyone by early S6. In the meantime, I want Daenerys to pay a quick visit to Vaes Dothrak. Then early in S6, they need to start visiting the free cities. Where will they land in Westeros? Will Daenerys and Tyrion fly or sail there?

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    50. Sean C.,

      I was hoping for a streamlining of AFFC/ADWD and maybe an expansion of TWOW/the final book. It seems to me that the Meereenese Knot occupied too many pages and might not leave enough for a satisfying evolution and wrapup to all the story threads. So if they had a season 8 and used the “extra” season at the end and not in the middle, I’d be all for that.

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    51. Aryamad,

      Interesting idea. I don’t think that will prove to be the case (Stannis tolerates a lot of his wife’s crazy impulses, but I have no doubt he would have put his foot down on that one). If it were true, however, I would love to see a humorous, five-minute one-shot about the Baratheon soldier who drew the shit detail of hauling those things through the snow. 😉

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    52. Random speculative predictions:

      • Tyene and Bronn stand in for Arianne and Oakheart
      • Myrcella is still wounded. Bronn is killed by Hotah.
      • Jaime returns with Myrcella to King’s Landing.
      • One or more Sand Snakes follow them
      • Trystane becomes Quentyn, goes to Mereen & releases dragons
      • Or: Trystane & a wounded Myrcella stand in for Arianne & Aegon
      • Tyrion rules a chaotic Mereen in Dany’s absence
      • Someone (Sansa?) bakes some Manderly pies
      • Sansa flees to Stannis with Theon
      • Shireen flees to the Wall with Mel in pursuit
      • Stannis captures Yara and sacrifices either her or (more likely) Theon
      • Ramsay writes the pink letter which Jon receives as soon as he returns from Hardhome
      • Edd joins the other NW in stabbing Jon
      • Sam & Gilly flee to Braavos
      • Arya kills Trant

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    53. The Bastard: Does she see Stannis flayed?

      I think that is in response to something Stannis says to her. She probably sides with Red Velvet about Shireen like someone said up page , and Stannis abjures her,

      That’s what I am hoping for, anyways.

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    54. The thing with Mel though is she’s forgotten the real battle is with the Whitewalkers. If she gets Stannis to sacrifice Shireen just to win Winterfell, what in seven hells does she think they’ll have left in reserve to sacrifice when the real threat arrives?

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    55. Did D&D just accidentally confirm that Daenerys will be leaving Meereen at some point soon? Veeeery interesting.

      When it comes to the books I honestly made peace with the idea that Dany may very well spend the rest of her story in Essos.

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    56. I think Mel will sacrifice Shireen in the middle of the battle of ice to save stannis at the same time John is getting stabbed, Stannis will die and Jon will resurrect as he is the real Azor Ahai

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    57. I said this on the recap thread with respect to the mounting fear for Shireen’s safety, but I personally don’t believe that Stannis is going to give in to Melisandre’s request to sacrifice Shireen, or that Shireen will be burned at all. When Stannis flinched away from her touch in last night’s episode, I took it as a sign that his unwillingness to sacrifice his daughter will be the issue that leads him to break away from the Red Woman.

      I think this break is coming anyway, because we have reason to suspect that Melisandre may return to the Wall before the end of the season in time to see what happens to Jon Snow. I seem to recall Carice van Houten hinted in an interview after Mel’s seduction attempt in “Sons of the Harpy” that she has another scene with Kit Harington this year (I could have misread that – I’ll try and find the source). Regardless, if that’s the case, she would need to have her revelation (her fire vision of “Snow”?) and abandon Stannis before the final episode of the season. That doesn’t leave her much time to sacrifice Shireen, especially if Stannis and company don’t appear in Episode 8 (which is distinctly possible). I certainly don’t see Stannis – or even Selyse – deciding to sacrifice their daughter if the Red Woman isn’t around.

      Make no mistake – if Shireen dies, I’ll be deeply sad, even if it somehow turns out to be consistent with her ultimate fate in the novels (which we don’t know). Kerry Ingram is wonderful, and has brought so much depth to that character beyond the archetype of sweet, innocent young girl. I never paid that much attention to her on the page, but on the show, she’s one of my favorite characters. Losing her in such a horrible manner would be tragic.

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    58. I suspect there will be some kind of Jorah/Shireen parallel happening, although I’m not sure what. Both of them having greyscale. Shouldn’t there be a reason behind him getting it (unless saving Tyrion was it?) Maybe

      Shireen will be ‘sacrificed’ by Mel…but not burn. And over in Daznak’s pit, Jorah will get caught in the path of Drogon’s flame….but not burn.

      I’m 99.9% sure that wouldn’t happen, but how freaking cool would it be? Mind you, Dany would figure out another way to kick him when he’s down anyway. 😉

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    59. With regard to the image of Selyse crying and crawling in the snow that we saw in the pre-season trailer, I have a theory I’ve been kicking around.

      We also see an image in the pre-season trailer of several men (who appear to belong to Stannis’s army) running between some burning tents. There have also been separate videos (the House Baratheon loyalty video and the “Sansa Returns to Winterfell” video) showing Stephen Dillane and Iwan Rheon in what looks to be the same place, both sporting blood on their faces. I don’t think that Selyse is reacting to Shireen being sacrificed in that scene. I think she may be reacting to Ramsay, having been thrown down at his feet.

      My current theory on how the show will handle

      the Battle of Ice (or whatever we’re calling it) is that Ramsay stages a surprise attack on Stannis’s camp and deals a heavy blow to his forces while Stannis is momentarily distracted (maybe by a newly-liberated Sansa and Theon). In doing so, he captures Selyse (and possibly Shireen as well). In the novels, Roose Bolton decides to send the Freys and the Manderlys out of Winterfell to confront Stannis while he keeps his own forces in reserve. But those families aren’t at Winterfell in the show. Roose made a point in Episode 5 to both play on Ramsay’s insecurities about his position and openly enlist his aid in defeating Stannis. Maybe Roose orders his son to strike at Stannis before he can establish siege lines. Alternatively, maybe Sansa and Theon (and Brienne?) flee Winterfell, end up in Stannis’s camp, and Ramsay leads a rage-driven foray outside the safety of Winterfell’s walls to get his wife back. Whatever the case, such a move would allow Ramsay to exhibit one last moment of capable villainy – while also drawing him out in the open where any number of characters could kill him.
      It’s true that Ramsay is still alive in the novels, at least as far as we know. However, as much as I’ve enjoyed Iwan Rheon’s performance this season, I think Ramsay’s status as the chief “villain” in the series may have reached critical mass. Unlike Joffrey during the past few seasons, there’s essentially no one keeping him in check at this point (not even Roose) and there’s not much further he can either rise in status or grow as a character. He’s at his peak, and it’s time for a fall. I can’t imagine Ramsay will play a major role in the endgame of the series, and the immense emotional catharsis that the audience would get from his demise would both buy the show a lot of good will and clear out a lot of space in the North for some new players. Whether it’s at the hands of Stannis, Sansa, or Theon and whether it’s a spoiler from TWOW or a change from the books, I think Ramsay needs to die this season.

      Or maybe I’m just letting hope get the better of me. 🙂

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    60. Jared,

      Nice thoughts. Ramsay’s demise couldn’t come soon enough for me.

      Regarding Stannis, it looks like its getting extremely personal. Not only is it a stormy, chaotic battle for WF but it will be a battle for his family. I hope Mel proves to be his weakness/crutch and I hope he realizes it sooner than later. Get her away from him and see how he performs. Will he crumble? I hope not. There is something tragically persevering about him though. I want him to succeed in the north…but I rarely get what I want. 🙂

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    61. Glad to see our ranks are swelling, Concerned for Shireens! Huzzah!

      Jared,
      I, too, think that

      Ramsey will lead a force out to harass Stannis’ forces and am secretly hoping that he will die out there. The show seems to be eliminating the need for the Pink Letter (sorry to see the Manderlys and the pies go) so Ramsey’s days are numbered.

      That short bit of Selyse from the trailers is all that is keeping me sane in relation to Shireen’s fate. As someone said above, Stannis is far too black and white of a guy for me to have any faith that his fatherly love will prevail over his “destiny” or “duty” as the chosen one. Man, it is so exciting and nerve wracking to be Unsullied again!

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    62. I’m almost certain that Ramsay will be alive and well at the end of Episode 10. How many truly villainous characters are there with any prominence right now? Not enough to lose him. Nah, he’s safe.

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    63. Tyrion Pimpslap,

      I agree. I hope with Tyrion there, that he will encourage her to look around and say, “fuck this shit”, and move on.
      Those in Meereen that support her will move on with her. Why would the freed slaves not go with her? She can feed her dragons on the obvious asshole masters, and do what she did with the last cities she liberated- offer them a place at her side.
      Then… put Slaver’s Bay behind her and head to Westeros.
      She does not need to babysit the entire continent of Essos.

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    64. Lulu’s Mum:
      Mr Fixit,

      Yes of course, we all need to do whatever is best for us in this situation. If solemn and somber are your thing, please carry on. Although lots of people in the show who’ve done terrible things would justify it by saying they were doing what was the best thing for their family, but they are fictional characters and so I can conveniently ignore them when it suits my argument to do so. I pay for Sky Atlantic, I get to pick and choose who I side with, changing on a minute-by-minute basis if necessary! I said this to someone else but I rather hope the Shireen situation is sorted one way or the other next week anyway as it’s exhausting fretting about her and Sansa at the same time. Anyone would think this was actually important and not just a 10 hours a year tv show ;O)

      EDIT: I said it to Tormund’s Woman, just above me, hi TW *waves*.

      I think what is even worse is knowing that Kerry Ingram has a form of Brittle Bone disease which makes it harder to separate character and actor when it come to having sympathy for Shireen’s plight.

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    65. Someone please just reassure me that there’s no way in seven hells that Melisandre will be able to talk Stannis into burning Shireen…

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    66. Tormund’s Woman,

      Greyscale doesn’t make people immune to fire.

      “Griff was on the second man the instant he shambled down off the cabin roof. With a sword in his right hand and a torch in his left, he drove the creature backwards. As the current swept the Shy Maid beneath the bridge, their shifting shadows danced upon the mossy walls. When the stone man moved aft, Duck blocked his way, pole in hand. When he went forward, Haldon Halfmaester waved a second torch at him and drove him back. He had no choice but to come straight at Griff. The captain slid aside, his blade flashing. A spark flew where the steel bit into the stone man’s calcified grey flesh, but his arm tumbled to the deck all the same. Griff kicked the limb aside. Yandry and Duck had come up with their poles. Together they forced the creature over the side and into the black waters of the Rhoyne.
      By then the Shy Maid had drifted out from under the broken bridge. “Did we get them all?” asked Duck. “How many jumped?” “Two,” said Tyrion, shivering. “Three,” said Haldon. “Behind you.” The dwarf turned, and there he stood. The leap had shattered one of his legs, and a jagged piece of pale bone jutted out through the rotted cloth of his breeches and the grey meat beneath. The broken bone was speckled with brown blood, but still he lurched forward, reaching for Young Griff. His hand was grey and stiff, but blood oozed between his knuckles as he tried to close his fingers to grasp. The boy stood staring, as still as if he too were made of stone. His hand was on his sword hilt, but he seemed to have forgotten why. Tyrion kicked the lad’s leg out from under him and leapt over him when he fell, thrusting his torch into the stone man’s face to send him stumbling backwards on his shattered leg, flailing at the flames with stiff grey hands. The dwarf waddled after him, slashing with the torch, jabbing it at the stone man’s eyes. A little farther. Back, one more step, another. They were at the edge of the deck when the creature rushed him, grabbed the torch, and ripped it from his hands. Bugger me, thought Tyrion. The stone man flung the torch away. There was a soft hiss as the black waters quenched the flames. The stone man howled. He had been a Summer Islander, before; his jaw and half his cheek had turned to stone, but his skin was black as midnight where it was not grey. Where he had grasped the torch, his skin had cracked and split. Blood was seeping from his knuckles though he did not seem to feel it. That was some small mercy, Tyrion supposed. Though mortal, greyscale was supposedly not painful.”

      ADWD, Tyrion V

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    67. Considering GoT likes to work the themes maybe different bastards will be in trouble at the same time. The last episode included a conversation linking three.

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    68. Queen of the Keys:
      If something happens to Shireen, we riot.

      I agree, but I am terribly worried about Shireen now. I don’t think that loopy ma of hers (a good portrayal of crazy by Tara Fitzgerald) would hesitate to throw her to the wolves [or flames] if Melisandre planted the seed of the idea there.

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    69. Wimsey,

      I liked the fact that in HS’s conforntation with Olenna there was a strong hint of Thomas Muentzer especially towards the end of their tet-a-tet and personally I would prefer that the FM were presented more as a possibility of the German Peasant’s War than a religious sect of fanatics from modern day USA with a touch of medieval aura to it.

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    70. With the comment about not spending five seasons in Mereen, I see that the series is getting what the last two books desperately needed: editing.

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    71. Wimsey,

      I’ll be surprised if she makes it to episode 6 next season without getting on a boat. That’s as far as I’m willing to stick my neck out on that plotline.

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    72. ServantOfLight:
      Someone please just reassure me that there’s no way in seven hells that Melisandre will be able to talk Stannis into burning Shireen…

      Until TWOW is released, no one can make such a promise. That being said, I don’t think Shireen will be sacrificed with Stannis’s consent. She may well be sacrificed, though.

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    73. Wimsey,

      i really dont think it will be that sooner ..

      i think she will be spending a couple of episodes in vaes dothrak

      Epsiode 9 of season 6 is going to be Kl coming to the view of dany who has ten thousand ships at her back (Remember GRRM compared her to the Nymeria )

      but cersei after losing everything would have set fire to Kl before dany comes

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    74. Tyrion Pimpslap: As a Stannis fan, if he allowed his daughter to be burned alive, I could not support him.

      Yes, pretty much. All of which was well foreshadowed by the decision with Gendry. “What’s one person mean within the realm?” “It means everything.”

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    75. Greatjon of Slumber,

      from the synopsis of episode 9 we do that stannis faces difficult decision

      The Show seems very much to take the view that by enlisting Melisandre, Stannis made a deal with the devil. As she said, in Season 2, 10:-

      “You will betray the men who serve you; you will betray your family; you will betray all you once held dear. And, it will all be worth it.”

      maybe the decision he makes will be “what is the life of her daughter against a kingdom

      so it looks like more and more that the possiblity of this happening is coming very likely

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    76. nymeriathedirewolf:
      Queen of the Keys,

      I’ve considered myself a member of her Queensguard from her first episode. My sword is at your command.

      Until then, I’m just going to keep telling myself that Ghost got bored and caught up with Stannis’ camp and jumps in at just the right moment, if it comes to that. I need this thought to get through the next however many weeks!

      Then ghost heads to Winterfell for Bolton meat!

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    77. Shipp,

      yes three times in the show my theory is

      once she loses all her children ..she will burn …jamie will strangle her and die with her in the fire

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    78. dragonbringer,

      If Shireen’s only purpose, other than being Davos’s reading teacher and letter writer, is to serve as a sacrifice to enable her father’s conquests, it would be a pity. Stannis needs to succeed on his own merits and strategies, without magic and voodoo.

      Mel should fail Stannis…he should discard her…but Mel may have a further (hopefully temporary) purpose with Jon.

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    79. ……”now that Jon Snow is gone, there is no one here to protect you Tarly.” Ghost enters, on cue, from behind the wall. Anybody else think that Ghost was not alone in that wolf skin? Jon is a warg too, and the attack on Gilly was at night…….while Jon might have been green seeing? Green dreaming? Sleep warging? And why would Ghost come to Sam and Gilly’s defense on his own? Just sayin’………;-)

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    80. Delta1212:
      Not 9 or 10 seasons. So 7 or 8. I’d have pegged it at 7, but I wonder if they’re leaving 8 open as a possibility as they get closer to the end because they aren’t sure 7 will actually be enough, or whether I’m just reading too much into essentially inoccuous commentary.

      I wonder what would happen if the next book (or even both!) arrives on time and D&D see that there are far too many awesome moments in it to put them in just two more seasons.

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    81. Hodor’s Bastard,

      Shireen in the books dont even have the teaching purpose to do…she is just there to be burned ..

      even if we read the chapter Sacrifice ..stannis is desperate ..his men still giving sacrifices to red god and he holds himself to the tower and looking into the fire

      i never thought and dont see STannis letting go of Mel …Mel may abandon him for jon but not other way

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    82. I know I’m a little late to the party, but this is new info I’ve just heard. I’m not a troll, promise!

      Jorah gets new armour (this we’ve seen in the previews).
      A leader (Stannis implied I think) will use an axe. Not big stuff.

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    83. Tyrion Pimpslap,

      I’ve see a lot of non book readers complain about the Sand Snakes being too much too soon. The season as a whole doesn’t feel rushed imo, just certain elements/storylines.

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    84. Game of owns, the gift, written recap round-up, post-mortem, unsullied recap, recap, I mean c’mon, how many freakin near-identical posts do you need? This is stupid. I get the sullied / unsullied recap but how many other recaps do you really need? It’s completely superfluous writing. Waste of time.

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    85. Tyrion Pimpslap,

      I think it has been rushed and filled with needless plot changes, all for their belief that a Television audience needs to hold onto characters. Why is Olenna in King landing and not Tyrell?

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    86. Sam: I can’t be the only one who was super-disappointed by the surprisingly un-obscure references GRRM trotted out as inspiration for the sparrows. There were so many mendicant brotherhoods and poor peoples’ movements in the Middle Ages that bore a closer resemblance to the Sparrows – I was sure he had one of them in mind. There’s actually really little resemblance to the Reformation, sociologically. Ugh.

      I feel like he probably does/did have better/more interesting historical counterparts for the Sparrows, but he was put on the spot with a question about their historical context years after he first came up with that story arc, so he pointed to the easy-to-remember generic things about bad popes and schisms that didn’t require recalling obscure names and facts.

      Of course this is just typical hunch-based GRRM-defending on my part and maybe your super-disappointment is totally justified.

      KKorner: Why is Olenna in King landing and not Tyrell?

      Not sure what you mean exactly…

      if you’re asking “why is Olenna in King’s Landing instead of Mace Tyrell being in King’s Landing?” then, as Fixit just pointed out, he was sent to Braavos before Cersei ever set the Sparrows loose on the Tyrells… having him out of the way was not a coincidence, but an integral part of her plan, in fact.

      if you’re asking “why is Olenna in King’s Landing instead of being in Tyrell lands [Highgarden]?” then there is a perfectly reasonable answer for that too. With Mace gone on the “King’s” business, Lady Olenna becomes the defacto Tyrell leader on Westeros, and of course she’s going to show up and go to bat for her grandson.

      There have been a lot of interesting criticisms this season, but I think you’re the first person I’ve seen complaining that Lady Olenna is being needlessly force-fed to us…

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    87. I think Stannis will let Mel burn the bottle babies..after all they have his blood..and are sons…. that could be what freaked out Selsye.

      please let it not be Shireen.

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    88. freoduwebbe: I think Stannis will let Mel burn the bottle babies..after all they have his blood..and are sons…. that could be what freaked out Selsye.

      Did they think to pack them for the trip? But yeah..if they show them, they should use them! They should be worth something, unless R’hlorr disapproves of formaldehyde.

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    89. Yeah, that’s the thing, the sparrows represent the reformation of the Catholic Church from the 16th century, which gave us the church we have today. Unfortunately, in the show they made them up to be the inquisition and added a homophobic twist to it.

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