Game of Thrones Season 5 Episode 4 – Sons of the Harpy – Recap

Melisandre

Showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss dropped a huge episode in new Game of Thrones writer Dave Hill’s lap when he was chosen for “Sons of the Harpy,” didn’t they? I’m going to consider it a friendly sort of hazing, because while it was a brutal episode for several characters, it was a juicy episode for the new guy.

Spoiler Note: This post is for those who have read the A Song of Ice and Fire series. The post and the comments section will contain spoilers! If you haven’t read the books yet, please check out our non-book-reader recap. Thanks!

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We pick up tonight where we left off: the inauspicious beginning of the Tyrion and Jorah Boat Show. Jorah maintains a shred of honor by throwing a few coins at the man whose boat he’s hijacking before the men begin their journey. With Tyrion still tied up, they disappear into the night, and there’s no sign that Varys knows his roadshow pal has been stolen.

Two men travel on the water elsewhere- Jaime and Bronn are headed south via ship. As they pass an island, the captain helpfully identifies it as Tarth for the Kingslayer and you know Brienne is in his thoughts. Below decks, Bronn has serious qualms about the entire trip, and makes it clear he knows damn well Myrcella isn’t Jaime’s niece.

Bronn asks the sensible question of why not just use the armies he has available to him to save the princess, but Jaime isn’t interested in starting a war with Dorne. This is also a mission of penance, we can see- he freed Tyrion, who then killed their father. Bronn sends his regards to his old friend Tyrion should Jaime encounter him again, and Jaime grimly says he will, and he’ll kill his brother next time he sees him. (Leave it to the Lannisters to ruin a perfectly nice expression like ‘sending your regards.’ Drama queens, all of them.)

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In King’s Landing, the (very) Small Council convenes and Cersei decides that the matter of the crown’s debt to the Iron Bank must be handled. Mace Tyrell is assigned to travel to Braavos to negotiate better terms with the bankers. He’s even given his own Kingsguard to go with him- Ser Meryn Trant.

Meryn Trant, in Braavos. I think we know where this is going, but that doesn’t mean I’m not looking forward to it with giddy pleasure.

Cersei meets with the new High Septon- the High Sparrow actually- and decides to bring back a defunct group within the church called the Faith Militant, the armed aspect of the holy men.  She informs the High Sparrow that there are sinners among the nobles, and her motives for granting these fanatics such power become quickly clear.

The Faith Militant trash the marketplace in King’s Landing, even as we see Lancel Lannister getting some unfortunate facial modification done. The warrior sparrows hit Littlefinger’s brothel, attack the people enjoying themselves and particularly torment a rich man who is there visiting a male prostitute. Olyvar witnesses this and escapes.

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The seven-pointed star on his face completed, Lancel is now officially one of the creepiest warrior guys and joins them as they aim for the true target of Cersei’s plan: Loras. Loras is arrested for his “unnatural” actions (aka having sex with men).

Margaery goes at once to Tommen, who is adorably clueless as usual. She’s frustrated by his inability to see what his mother is up to, and failure to see the tensions at all. With her pleading, the young king decides to see his mother about freeing his brother-in-law.

When questioned about what has happened, Cersei defers to the powers of the church, as she intended of course. Tommen resolves to see the High Sparrow to demand Loras be released, but he’s blocked on the steps of the great sept by members of the Faith Militant.

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Unnerved by insults from the public and the fanatics’ refusals to budge, Tommen leaves, afraid of violence breaking out. Angry with him, Margaery takes her leave of Tommen and says she’s going to write to her grandmother Olenna about the situation. (Yes! Olenna name-drop! Please be back soon.)

Watching the men of the Night’s Watch spar, Stannis and Selyse briefly talk about Jon Snow with Stannis saying “Perhaps” and that that “wasn’t Ned Stark’s way” regarding the idea of Ned conceiving Jon with some random woman. Hmmm. The couple switch to talk of their own daughter- and lack of sons- before Melisandre arrives and dismisses Selyse.

The red priestess is concerned she’ll be left behind when Stannis rides south, as she was for the Blackwater battle. This time, she won’t be.

Jon Snow is learning that leadership is 80% paperwork, and is in his office signing letters asking for more men from lords- even one to Roose Bolton that Sam forces him to see the logic of. The Night’s Watch is down to only 50 men and has to be practical.

Melisandre turns up to interrupt the tedium and drive Sam out for a little awkward alone time with Jon. She churns out some Melisandre-esque nonsense about life versus death and the Lord of Light, urging him to feel her heartbeat which for some reason entails him needing to grope her breast.

I’m not a doctor but I think this method is suspect. Also she probably didn’t have to get that naked to accomplish it.

GOT504_072814_HS_DSC_0691[1]Jon looks thunderstruck until he comes to his senses, remembers his vows and remembers Ygritte. He resists Melisandre’s seduction, and the priestess departs with a pointed, “You know nothing, Jon Snow.”

Shireen and Stannis share a touching moment as he reminisces about her as a baby, and how he gave her a doll that turned out to be what transmitted greyscale to her face, and how he sought healers everywhere to cure her. (Stone Men reference #2 this season!) Stannis may often fail at displaying emotion but there is no question of how much he loves his daughter.

In the crypts of Winterfell, Sansa visits with her dead relatives, including the tomb of her aunt Lyanna. She even finds the feather that was left with Lyanna’s statue by King Robert in season one. (This season is filled with call-backs to season one, I love it.) Littlefinger joins Sansa and regales her with the tale of the Harrenhal tourney: the infamous day when Rhaegar Targaryen defeated Ser Barristan in the joust and gave Lyanna the crown of flowers instead of his own wife, Elia Martell.

Littlefinger has come by to tell Sansa he’s departing for King’s Landing, and he confirms the plan: Stannis should take Winterfell before aiming for the capital. He believes Stannis will kill Ramsay, save Sansa and appoint her Wardeness of the North. And should Stannis somehow fail, well, Sansa can use her charm to control Ramsay Bolton. I’m not sure about this plan still and neither is Sansa.

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Down in Dorne, Bronn and Jaime row ashore- sorry, just Bronn as Jaime hilariously points out by raising his useless-for-boating fake hand. In the morning, Jaime dodges death by viper and over a breakfast of fried snake, the men chat about how they’d prefer to die (hmm) and how Jaime paid off the Pentoshi ship captain who brought them to Dorne.

Then they run into a Dornish patrol on horseback. Seeing that they’re failing to talk their way out of trouble (because Bronn has sketchy bastard written all over him, let’s be real), Bronn and Jaime launch an attack. The combination of Jaime’s fake hand, Bronn’s humor, and ruthless strategy take care of that situation.

Not far away, Ellaria returns from her unsatisfying appointment with Prince Doran to meet with the Sand Snakes, who are toying with a man buried in the sand up to his neck. Ellaria’s still determined to use Myrcella against the Lannisters for vengeance, to cause a war, and wants Tyene, Nymeria and Obara on her side.

As it turns out, the Sand Snakes have acquired that Pentoshi ship captain that Jaime wasn’t worried about- the captain tried to sell out Jaime and the Snakes scooped him up. That’s him in the sand. Now they know that Jaime is on his way to rescue his niece. (Daughter. Does anyone believe that piece of fiction anymore?)

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Obara recalls how Oberyn came to her when she was a child and had her choose between the spear of the Martells and her mother’s tears. She chooses the spear again, and war against the Lannisters. The point is driven home literally when her spear finishes that talkative ship captain.

We return now to the Jorah and Tyrion Boat Show where, much to Tyrion’s amusement, he discovers his captor is taking him to Daenerys Targaryen. He works out Jorah’s identity and his intention to present Tyrion to Dany as a gift after assessing his sigils and his seeming exile. Tyrion also recalls Jorah’s spying from his days on Joffrey’s Small Council. Not enjoying his traveling companion’s chatter and wit as much as Varys did, Jorah clocks him.

Alone atop her pyramid again, Daenerys is joined by Ser Barristan. The knight shares with her a happy memory of her brother Rhaegar, of how he would sing in the streets in King’s Landing, earn money like other musicians and how much Rhaegar loved it. She’d been led to believe he was someone who preferred killing, but this is another side to her brother who died so long ago.

But there is business to attend to- Hizdahr zo Loraq is petitioning for the fighting pits to be reopened. The sport unifies the wealthy and poor, the ex-slaves and the nobility, he argues, but Daenerys is resistant to the idea of the violent pits.

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As they debate the issue, the Sons of the Harpy are attacking on the streets of Meereen. Dany’s soldiers are cut down as they relax in the city. The woman who lay with White Rat the Unsullied when he was murdered is there again as these men are killed. As the Unsullied rush into the fray, she points the way to tell them where the Sons of the Harpy have run.

It’s a trap. The unit of Unsullied face off against the Sons of the Harpy in a dim building. In the fighting, one Unsullied’s helm is knocked off and we see it’s Grey Worm. The Unsullied are outnumbered and soon they’re dying.

In the streets, Barristan Selmy finds people screaming and running from the violence. He dives into the crowd to find the source of the trouble.

The battle between the Unsullied and the Sons of the Harpy is tipped in the Sons’ favor. More Sons seem to be pouring in all the time. Grey Worm is stabbed several times, and it looks like all is lost- he’s surrounded and alone.

Then a Son is cut down, and behind him appears Barristan the Bold. Ser Barristan cuts through the Sons of the Harpy, taking down many of them while Grey Worm rallies and takes down more Sons.

Eventually though, Barristan takes a hit- and then another. And then he is on his knees, with a Son of the Harpy ready to draw a blade across his throat.

The Son fails when Grey Worm spears him, saving Barristan from that last cut- and then both men fall to the ground, bleeding from countless wounds and lying very still.

Is it the end for the khaleesi’s most loyal guards?

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Highlights

A Tale of Two Rhaegars: The rich history of the books is one of its strengths, and that history continually informs on the present. Dany needs to know that her understanding of the world, as shaped by Viserys, was a little too black-and-white. But we all know the real significance of hearing so much about Rhaegar, the man who kidnapped Lyanna but was the good-hearted singer of Barristan’s story. We’re getting back to the roots of this story and a little basic Westerosi math: R + L. Add to that Stannis expressing doubts about Ned fathering Jon with “some tavern slut” and it seems that the show is laying out all its cards when it comes to one of ASOIAF‘s central questions.

Jaime and Bronn: They’re just fun, aren’t they? I loved the fight, from the thrown knife to the use of the fake hand. Their continuous back and forth in the dialogue. We are way off-book with this portion of the story so everything feels fresh and interesting but surprisingly not out of character.

The final fight: We’ll have to wait and see next week to confirm the characters’ fates, if they will live long past this or live at all, but I was on the edge of my seat watching Grey Worm and Ser Barristan take on the Sons of the Harpy.

Daddy-daughter bonding: Probably my favorite moment of the episode. I cried. Stephen Dillane is so amazing at putting forth that barely shown well of emotion.

Cersei vs Margaery: The battle heats up with Cersei weaponizing the church to use against Loras. I’m sure encouraging the Faith Militant to take down high-ranking nobility for sexual offenses won’t come back to bite her in the ass.

Cersei

 

Mixed Bag

The Sand Snakes introduction scene: The scene as a whole felt uneven, jumping around with Ellaria’s demand for war and then Obara’s monologue which felt somewhat crammed in there. I like the Snakes themselves though and can’t wait to see them in action more. The whip and spear business was pretty great.

No.

Melisandre makes a move: How do I say this politely? I laughed. And not in the “Oh,  Jon’s expression is understandably funny” kind of way. It was all just so…dumb. I can understand Melisandre wanting to get closer to Jon in a power move, and there were shades of a scene from the book, but this was not a good scene as it played out onscreen.

383 responses

Jump to (and Always Support) the Bottom

    1. Turncloak,

      Okay that’s kind of obnoxious because they haven’t actually confirmed anything onscreen, but of course now everyone and their mother will be once again be spoiled by EW.

      I knew months ago Barristan was a goner but damn, preserve some suspense for the people who like surprises, you know?

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    2. Turncloak,

      Only in two of the five episodes so far. And she gets less and less time on screen each season, as well as the fact that there would be nothing to go on after Mercy. So, they’ll probably take a break with the character or kill her off, I’m guessing.

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    3. In the promo for next episode we can see on Stannis’s strategy map that one of Stannis’s pieces is at Last Hearth! Umber taking the Manderly role?

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    4. Not the best written episode in a quite a while usually David and Dan tighten up the screenplays more than this when it’s not written by them.

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    5. Amazing episode. i was quite disappointed by the sandsnakes. Their accents all sounded so unnatural and tyene came off as a baby. R+L hints means we’ll probably be getting that reveal in season 6

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    6. I was going to give that episode two thumbs up, and then they go and kill off Barristan Selmy in one of the most dumb ways ever. Jesus Christ, wtf were they thinking?

      Ugh so frustratating, it was actually a really good episode but that final scene completely sucked all the enjoyment out of it.

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    7. doggit,

      That’s total nonsense. Arya’s in fewer episodes this season because her story in AFFC/ADWD is pretty slim, and the show is actually sticking to it (while Bran is offscreen completely, and Sansa’s screentime is only what it is because she’s lost her own story completely and been dropped into a completely different one).

      D&D have GRRM’s outline for the final books, and there’s only two seasons left. Arya isn’t missing a season.

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    8. A fantastic episode.

      Positives
      Jaime & Bronn. They bounce off each other really well, and I actually quite like this little Dorne subplot of theirs.
      I also thought that the Tyrion & Jorah scenes were good.
      All the history was great too.
      I almost felt a tear when Shireen hugged Stannis. Sweet. Only a matter of time before she’s dead though, I fear (as do many others).

      Negatives
      The episode felt really short, and maybe it would have been an idea to give some time to Loras, so he could at least try to prevent his seizure.

      9/10

      Addendum: I will address my own thoughts on some of the perceived negatives below, just so that my post isn’t ridiculously long.

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    9. Sue the Fury,

      To be fair the show also spoiled it on their episode 5 preview so EW is not completely at fault. Granted, not everyone watches the preview for the next episode

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    10. “Even now, I could cut through the five of you like carving a cake!”

      It’s still real to me, damnit. I can’t believe they did Barry like that. 🙁

      And it’s an even bigger mindfuck because he’s going to be a POV in TWoW.

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    11. doggit:
      Turncloak,

      Only in two of the five episodes so far. And she gets less and less time on screen each season, as well as the fact that there would be nothing to go on after Mercy. So, they’ll probably take a break with the character or kill her off, I’m guessing.

      The show will surpass the books in season 6. So if Arya has a TWOW arc they will be showing it in season 6

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    12. repost from the other thread…

      ACK!!! Ser Barry is dead already! Well he’s been underutilized by the show from day one so whatever. No way grey worm is dead… I hope?!?

      Favorite scene was the sansa LF one, by FAR! I think his plan, while risky, does make sense. It’s good that sansa has a challenge… I actually think there is a chance LF is right about show!Ramsey. He seems to have the capacity to be controlled, though it’s unclear whether anyone but Roose has done so before. He’s not just an animal. I also think plan c will happen and she will be leaving WF before stannis gets there, because Even if Ramsey doesn’t hurt Sansa, his girlfriend will… Maybe Ramsey will “punish” her in a twisted attempt to win sansa over. *shudder*

      Jaime was whatever except when he looked at Tarth. Sandnakes as bland as the books. The soldiers J and B fought had more personality. Was entertained by Bronn – I enjoy when they use him to talk to book readers (how does this plan make any kind of sense? It doesn’t.), very meta.

      What else… Poor lil Tommen! Cersei appears to have won a round. My namesake incoming, watch out!!

      They are really laying on the positive Stannis characterization THICK. Makes me fear for his life. Damnit show.

      How could I forget Jorah slapping Tyrion for his big mouth. Great moment in the books and show hahah…

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    13. doggit,

      God damn Arya super fans are annoying. Newsflash, the Wall and Winterfell weren’t in the preview for episode 4, yet there were several scenes in those places.

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    14. That look that LF gives Sansa after she says that Lyanna was raped by Rhaegar… It was like “are you SURE about that?” I wonder if he knows that R+L=J?

      That would be interesting if he does, especially considering how much closer to Jon Sansa is right now. I’m genuinely curious to what his plan is or what he knows about Jon.

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    15. Luka Nieto,

      Not everyone watches the promos. Quite a lot of people abstain because they show too much. (Sort of like the previously-ons, in how they hint too much.)

      Hmm it lowers my opinion of the episode if they think they made it clear he was dead. They didn’t. They were down and maybe dead, not clearly dead.

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    16. I think a lot of these extra character deaths on the show are for budgetary reasons. People always talk about special effects and CGI when it comes to the budget but seem to forget how much it must cost HBO to pay for this massive cast. I have a feeling they are pressured by HBO to trim the cast wherever they can. At least I would hope that is the main reason for some of these random character deaths like Jojen and Barristan and not because D&D think the show is creatively better without them.

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    17. Tyrion Pimpslap,

      They were in the episode summaries though.
      Damn, you always get so angry. Calm down.

      Turncloak: The show will surpass the books in season 6. So if Arya has a TWOW arc they will be showing it in season 6

      Like how they did with Bran and his TWOW arc in season 5?

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    18. doggit,

      No, that’s not going to happen. The reason she is in so few episodes is because training is boring to watch (hell I’ve seen some complaints of it already). She’ll go back to Westeros next season, which means she will have scenes with familiar faces, unlike now where she is stranded with just Jaqen (until Mercy).

      Maisie is also a bigger name than Isaac. It was definitely the correct decision to have only one character training this season. 2 would have been overkill.

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    19. doggit,

      With Bran there was an actual shortage of material. There isn’t with Arya.

      Queenofthrones:
      I think his plan, while risky, does make sense.

      No, it really doesn’t. Her being at Winterfell makes absolutely no sense, as everything about the plan could be accomplished just as readily by waiting from safety for the battle to resolve.

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    20. doggit:
      Turncloak,

      Only in two of the five episodes so far. And she gets less and less time on screen each season, as well as the fact that there would be nothing to go on after Mercy. So, they’ll probably take a break with the character or kill her off, I’m guessing.

      You don’t think that GRRM has a rather major plan for the character moving forward? It would seem rather odd to take it through what he has, including the Winds teaser chapter just for a pointless conclusion.

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    21. doggit,

      That would jump Bran ahead of every other arc, though. I would assume that D&D want every storyline to be parallel with eachother going into S6.

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    22. I liked the previous two episodes better, especially last week. I think both Barristan and Greyworm are dead. Please no more LOTR style battles where one man kills 10-15 while being surrounded. That final battle did nothing for me. I don’t care that Barristan was once the greatest knight in Westeros, he is in his mid-sixties. People seem to be complaining that he didn’t kill 50 men, but I prefer a little realism when it concerns the humans in the show. I imagine he is a goner in TWOW, and will never make it back to Westeros. If he does, then I will retroactively criticize D&D for this choice.

      The best parts of the episode were again in the North. Stannis and Shireen made me all warm and fuzzy. Melisandre has still got it. And R+L=J is definitely happening.

      Episode rating – 8/10

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    23. Adam,

      He’s suspicious about Rhaegar/Lyanna(the whole kidnap and rape story),but I don’t think he knows the truth about Jon’s parentage.

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    24. Tyrion Pimpslap,

      One thing I don’t like in this episode…or maybe two.Ellaria(obvious) and the way they just sucked the whole mystery out of Mel’s character.Everything is about sex with her.Yeah,she’s beautiful and we got it,but there is much more to Mel/Jon combo than sexual tension…visions and stuff.

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    25. Awesome episode! I had my hand over my mouth nearly the entire time.

      I squeed when Jaime passed the Sapphire Isle. There is absolutely no other fictional pairing that gets any reaction from me but there is something about these guys.

      I have never been a fan of Stannis “the mannis” “one true king” blah blah blah. But dang if that scene didn’t make me like him just a teensy bit. Ah the power of Shireen. There were actual tears in my eyes.

      Random thought and likes (didn’t have any dislikes)
      Didn’t hate sand snakes.
      Loved the Rhaegar stories.
      That final scene had me on the edge of my seat.
      “You know nothing Jon Snow” ahh! What?
      Love the Pycelle shade from Cersei: council is “not small enough”
      Tommen is just too sweet. Poor boy. And I love Margaery working her ways and Cersei’s “I didn’t arrest him”

      Next week looks great. But I’m ready for more Arya!

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    26. doggit:
      Tyrion Pimpslap,

      They were in the episode summaries though.
      Damn, you always get so angry. Calm down.

      Like how they did with Bran and his TWOW arc in season 5?

      D&D have made it clear that they are training Bran offscreen which is why he was left out of season 5. Clearly not the case for Arya. Also, they gave Maisie a huge raise for season 6 so we know already she will be in it

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    27. Clob: You don’t think that GRRM has a rather major plan for the character moving forward?It would seem rather odd to take it through what he has, including the Winds teaser chapter just for a pointless conclusion.

      I just realized that doggit is probably just trolling. I’m going to stop feeding him

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    28. Nice recap Sue (quickly posted!). I agree with your “Mixed Bag” and “No” comments.

      Although I enjoy Bronn and Jaime’s comaradarie, why do I get the feeling that the only reason they are going to Dorne was to have that scene where Jaime gazes at Tarth whimsically? Oh well, prep the curtain call for Bronn.

      Oh..and “Dorne” should have been “Sunspear.” 😛

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    29. I loved the scene of Shireen & Stannis and I’m not a Stannis fan at all. The only time he’s good is with his daughter. I want her mother to die – all these good mothers dying and she’s still around. If Shireen were ‘weak’ she’d be dead already.

      Jon Snow & Melisandre – they’re turning her into a creature of lust instead of a religious fanatic. But I guess they couldn’t let Jon not have a potential love interest for his fangirls but I somehow doubt this will cut it lol

      I didn’t like Obara’s speech. It was a bit lame and out of place as you said. Made her introduction very unimpresive.

      Sophie’s scenes were good, Cersei’s digging her own grave and Margaery manipulation of Tommen makes her seem just like Anne Bolyn from The Tudors lol

      I really hope Ser Barristan lives but I doubt it. 🙁

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    30. Great episode, only drawback was the too many back-story monologues, especially Obaras, and maybe Stannis’. But it was Dave Hill’s first episode.

      Great episode, I’ll just say that again. The comments are already toxic.

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    31. Stannis and Shireen’s scene definitely isn’t getting enough love. It was probably the best conversation so far this season that is also a deviation from the books. We also learned how she came down with Greyscale in the first place.

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    32. Sand Snakes
      I didn’t have much of a problem with the introduction here. How can anyone possibly say they are a failure when only one of them said more than about 2 words. Yes it did feel different, but I think that’s a good thing. Dorne should feel different. I do agree that the script could have been tighter, and maybe they should have introduced them in an episode written by an established writer if they’re so important, but I will give them time to grow. Brienne’s first appearance was similarly criticised, so we’ll see. I don’t however think that the Sand Snakes will actually do much until Season 6, so hopefully they actually have enough time to develop enough.

      I also notice that the photo of the three of them above doesn’t depict anything from the episode. Maybe this is why it doesn’t feel quite right.

      I’m surprised by Sue’s negative comment on the Melisandre-Jon scene as I thought it was quite good, and was written really well, but maybe I was distracted by two things

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    33. I loved all of the bits of story for Rhaegar and Lyanna… much excitement.

      Stannis and Shireen bonding!!! If he was anything like that in the books I would have liked him a bit!

      The Jaime/Bronn road trip is just as fun as the Tyrion/Bronn bits. I hope Bronn isn’t killed, he is too much fun.

      The build up for King’s Landing is good.

      The Littlefinger story just doesn’t mesh for me. He gives away his toys too easily in these episodes and that’s the opposite of how he was initially written. He gave up Robin and Sansa way too easily. They were his pawns… passing them off makes them no longer his pawns…

      Sand Snakes were meh… Nothing against the actresses, the writing just felt flat.

      RIP Barristan and Grey Worm… you will be added to the long list of characters who are still alive in the books… Like Irri and Jhiqui and Jojen.

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    34. Melisandre going with Stannis is an interesting change. I wonder how that’s going to work if she’s the one to revive Jon

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    35. Adam,

      I’d almost be willing to bet a little bit of money

      he’s on his way to Dorne. I think Doran is part of the group to which Varys referred in the first episode.

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    36. Boojam,

      Or maybe it was some form of a joke about

      Pink Letter

      They way Kit nervously acts there and how they laughed it out.Not to mention that there was an alcohol on the table.Or maybe it was someone else,but i wouldn’t ruled it out either.They joked about wargs there.

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    37. Mormont,

      There were buildings in the model, which suggests the main city or castle hosting or near the action, like all the others. And don’t give me the “Wall” argument, please. Should have been Sunspear. Weird. 😛

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    38. Sean C.: No, it really doesn’t. Her being at Winterfell makes absolutely no sense, as everything about the plan could be accomplished just as readily by waiting from safety for the battle to resolve.

      Hmm I don’t agree. You lose a lot by staying too far away from WF. Sansa is not going to be sitting around doing nothing – Sansa will be actively working behind the scenes to make sure everyone at WF (and around the north) is ready to support her as soon as she makes her move(s). If she didn’t show up until the last minute, action can’t be as coordinated.

      Also, at this point, the Boltons absolutely need Sansa to have a hope of holding the North (or so we’re led to believe). If LF and Sansa waited until the Boltons completely won the north, they wouldn’t have any reason to bother with her, IMO.

      Meanwhile, if Stannis wins, and he has a Stark heiress kneeling directly in front of him, explaining how she worked to undermine the Boltons’ defense of the castle (and maybe drove the knife into Ramsey’s heart herself), it seems obvious he’d name her Lady of WF. On the other hand, if Sansa rode in at the last minute with the likes of Littlefinger riding beside her, I seriously doubt he’d accept her claim to Winterfell, for fear of Sansa being LF’s puppet. He’d rather hold the castle himself in that case.

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    39. Best scenes were R+L=J and Shireen/Stannis. Still think the Sand Snakes intro is incredibly cheesy, but hopefully they will get better in future eps.

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    40. A couple more things that I neglected to mention.
      1. Ellaria is really growing on me. Looking forward to seeing more of her.
      2. I can also see why they might want to kill Barristan and/or Grey Worm, and I believe I said this when it was first speculated. Just like the attack on Castle Black last season, we need to see named characters die, otherwise why should the audience really care what is happening with Dany. Moreover, with a couple of probable additions later this season, Daenerys entourage is beginning to look a little stuffed. I’m sure it was a difficult decision, but one that I completely support.
      3. One thing that is very noticeable is that considerably less time is spent at King’s Landing so far this season. With Tyrion/Tywin/Jaime/Varys/Bronn all gone (not to mention several others) this is hardly surprising, but it does give the episodes a slightly different focus. I can see now why Littlefinger and Olenna are being jet packed in, because the capital is a suddenly a little sort of big characters, and more focus will be required for events later on this season there, I’m sure.

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    41. So disappointed with the Sand Snakes scene – did anyone enjoy that? A bright spot – next week a Cogman episode.

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    42. Queenofthrones:
      Sansa is not going to be sitting around doing nothing – Sansa will be actively working behind the scenes to make sure everyone at WF (and around the north) is ready to support her as soon as she makes her move(s).

      Except there’s been absolutely no indication of that. All Littlefinger tells her to do is sit there and wait for Stannis to defeat the Boltons.

      If Littlefinger wants to ally with Stannis, then go to Stannis. If he wants to wait and see how the battle plays out, do that; the Boltons will always have need of a Stark heiress, even if they win this one battle.

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    43. Yung Wolf:
      Boojam,
      They said it was a “young actor” and it was a male. I’m thinking that Pod is the prime candidate.

      Loras seems likely also. Or maybe I just really don’t want pod to die… 🙁

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    44. Queenofthrones,

      But does Finn really count as a “young actor”? And what gives you the impression that he’ll die? He doesn’t seem to be an any immediate danger and still has a future in his arc.

      Not that D&D care, but still. Pod’s got to go some time. He’s dead weight and dead on paper, too.

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    45. ser barristan death was so pointless, I get that it was supposed to be in the same vain as pip and gren’s death, but that was a well done and a nice send off to the characters. This though…. such a waste of talent! He had a great storyline coming up too. Hey at least we have more time for dorne… ugh

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    46. Yung Wolf,

      I think you could be right, and Portman might not quite have the same level of professionalism as Ian has (that’s not meant as a slight; Ian is far more experienced, and savvy).

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    47. Sean C.: Except there’s been absolutely no indication of that.All Littlefinger tells her to do is sit there and wait for Stannis to defeat the Boltons.

      Sure there was, in the same scene.

      Sansa says she basically fears she won’t be able to do it, she doesn’t know how… And he says basically, he believes in her, and of course she’s had a good teacher in the manipulation of others.

      AKA he knows she’ll be able to play both sides and adapt whatever happens, if not as well as he could, still well enough.

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    48. Really liked the episode. Only scene I disliked was the Sand Snakes scene. Having the head there just for that spear moment…felt like a contrived badass moment, which is to say not that badass.

      I didn’t mind Jon/Melisandre stuff. Doesn’t feel too different from what she was doing in the books, they just translated it to a visual medium.

      Loved the Faith Militant taking over, Stannis scene, everything Jaime and Bronn, and that last sequence. Thought it was a great send off for Barristan (btw, I thought they made it clear he was a goner…but maybe that’s just because he had that scene with Dany earlier and there was that heroic music while he was fighting…)

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    49. I thought it was clear that Barristan died. He got knifed in the stomach/chest amd didn’t respond to Grey Worm when he tried to rouse him.

      I didn’t have many problems with Melisandre + Jon. I thought it was clear that she seduced him to spawn another Shadow Baby (to kill Roose with). She recognized the power in his blood.

      The history lessons ruled this episode.

      Liked the episode ending apart from how easily Sons of the Harpy killed Unsullied (the best formation fighters in the world). The music when Barristan joins the fray was fantastic.

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    50. Laura,

      People are acting like I stabbed them or something. I’m not saying she’ll be unimportant in the books. But with the show, the characters important to the books’ endgame are not relevant. They cut Arianne, they’ve probably cut Aegon, and who knows who they’ll cut from the show next? I’m just saying that I think Arya will be their next candidate. And, honestly, maybe it’s for the best. The show is not exactly improving these days.

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    51. Guess I’ll be reading the books for their alternate history fan-fiction qualities since any subsequent Meereen chapters obviously won’t lead anywhere important.

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    52. JamesL:
      Doesn’t that Obara monologue that people seem to hate come right from the books?

      I don’t hate the monologue itself, I didn’t like how it was crammed into the scene. To be blunt, that falls on Dave Hill (assuming he wrote this scene). It felt like they wanted Obara to tell her story so they found a way but it was just awkward and not natural in that moment.
      I like Keisha Castle-Hughes, I love how she holds her body in the role. She is Obara. I think people are being weirdly harsh on the Snakes in some places but the scene was just not written/put together well.

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    53. The scene between Stannis and Shireen will be one of my favorites from this entire show. Stephen Dillane does not get enough love in this role. He is a brilliant actor and that scene demonstrated it.

      I thought that Faith Militant was done very well. Lancel returned as quite the badass. I worry for poor Loras.

      A great episode for Jerome Flynn but I am not sure that Bronn has a future.

      So LF is headed back to KL at Cersei’s request. To do what exactly? He seems to be playing all ends against the middle.

      And Rhaegar was mentioned multiple times so I am happy.

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    54. Yung Wolf: But does Finn really count as a “young actor”? And what gives you the impression that he’ll die? He doesn’t seem to be an any immediate danger and still has a future in his arc.

      I guess Portman and Finn seem similar in age to me – am I wrong?

      How is having just been arrested by the freaking faith militant not in immediate danger? I am assuming that any book material for Loras is cut, they have changed everything about him from the books since Renly died.

      Speculation: Loras will be put on trial for his crimes, with Olyvar’s testimony condemning him to death. Olyvar’s testimony will also incriminate Margaery. I think we were shown Olyvar running from the Brothel to demonstrate that he cares about his own life above other considerations.

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    55. Sue the Fury,

      To be fair, in AFFC she just blurted out her backstory to Doran exactly in the same way, for the same reason (to point out she wants WAR.) I agree it did come out of the blue, and Dave Hill should’ve probably found a way to fit it more organically (or not have it at all, if he couldn’t), but he did not so much fuck up a book scene as not fix it, in my opinion.

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    56. So my first thought during the Mel/Jon scene:

      Another shadow baby, this one for Roose. I think she’s seen who Jon’s parents really are, and wants to use his kings’ blood.

      Just like taking out Renly solved a bunch of problems for Stannis, so would taking out Roose for the conquest of the North. Of course, Jon being Jon, he shuts that shortcut down.

      She admitted that Stannis doesn’t know she was there, so she’s clearly working on her own agenda, and something tells me it wasn’t just to get laid. Every time we’ve seen her use sex (with Stannis and Gendry), it was to get some stuff done. Why would this be any different?

      And her final line – what doesn’t Jon know? Who his real parents are!

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    57. It does appear that they cut a substantial amount of screen time in the sandsnake scene like tyene and nym arguing while obara is meditating as evidenced in the released image and leaked script. It makes you wonder if they made a mistake in trimming it.

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    58. Cersei’s Brain,

      I thought it was far too short. I liked getting the story of Oberyn making Obara choose her weapon, which was from the books, but otherwise I think Nymeria and Tyene had only 3 lines put together. That’s not enough to really get any sort of impression.

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    59. I liked the episode quite a bit, especially the history stuff and one on one scenes. (Stannis and Shireen). Also LOVED Jamie and Bronn. The Sandsnake scene did feel a bit rushed. I really liked how Barristan went out.

      I noticed a lot of show only fans elsewhere though complaining about how many characters there are and how they don’t know anyone’s name (including Barristan a.k.a. old guy) or care what happens to them.

      A lot of people seem less into this season so far, which is disappointing, cause for me it’s at least as good if not better than previous ones so far.

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    60. Stannis wouldn’t accept an alliance with Littlefinger (with Sansa). He wouldn’t trust him (I don’t remember if it’s clear in the show, but in the books he knows not to trust LF). It has to be Sansa directly who joins with Stannis.

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    61. Queenofthrones:

      Speculation:Loras will be put on trial for his crimes, with Olyvar’s testimony condemning him to death.Olyvar’s testimony will also incriminate Margaery.I think we were shown Olyvar running from the Brothel to demonstrate that he cares about his own life above other considerations.

      Not bad. Not bad at all.

      I can see that playing out, but damn, I hope it’s not true. Loras has always been underrated and underutilized in the show; a big difference from his book counterpart. I’ve always hoped that he would get a bigger role in the future and that D&D would do his character some justice.

      As far as their age goes, I think there is like a five year difference between them.

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    62. Laura,

      Because we assume that characters are still safe because they’re alive in the books. 🙂

      I also don’t see how they would do that by the end of the season. After all, there isn’t another person around to take his place yet.

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    63. Adam,

      I doubt LF knows Jon’s lineage. What he refers to is that misconception that a lot have, that Rhaegar MUST have raped Lyanna. It’s more likely Rhaegar eloped with Lyanna, which signifies mutual consent and adoration. Even Cersei says Rhaegar was by far the most handsome guy around, and wanted him. (Return to E01, Maggy The Frog’s words need to be heard again.)

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    64. Queenofthrones: Sure there was, in the same scene.

      Sansa says she basically fears she won’t be able to do it, she doesn’t know how…And he says basically, he believes in her, and of course she’s had a good teacher in the manipulation of others.

      AKA he knows she’ll be able to play both sides and adapt whatever happens, if not as well as he could, still well enough.

      “It” being “make Ramsay love her”. That’s all she’s there to do, as far as we know, and that does not require her to go there before the battle. The Boltons would still need her if they somehow managed to win.

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    65. Not gonna lie this episode was for the most part fucking fantastic. Who is this Dave Hill guy and why havent I heard of him before? He should definitely write more for the series cause the story of this episode was top notch.

      I still find the lack of Theon (and the entire Winterfell storyline, in general) to be underwhelming to say the least. But apart from that and a few other minor things great episode.

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    66. About Loras/Olyvar/Margery.

      The Faith Militant torture people through threats to family & sleep deprivation etc. Olyvar will be brought in and will do a deal with them to save his own ass. He will incriminate Loras & Margery for incest while he was ‘delivering a message’ or some other really bogus reason for being there rather than admit his own participation. Cersei will rejoice, but she has a little incest of her own to answer for, so ……. Olyvar will then be tortured anyway and admit that he was with Loras and they will both be executed.

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    67. I really loved this episode as mentioned the R+L stuff was fantastic loved the little sly look little finger gave after Sansa said then he kidnapped and raped her, the Stannis and Shireen scene was perfect! I also have to disagree with Sue maybe it’s a guy viewer vs girl viewer thing but theJohn and Melisandra scene worked for me and seemed very in character. Not sure how I feel about killing Barriston still a bit disconcerted by that.

      Huge Huge disapoinment from the sand snakes though. I agree the writing was poor during that scene but I’ll go a step further I thought the acting was almost laughably bad by those ladies, really disappointed by that one scene.

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    68. Sean C.: “It” being “make Ramsay love her”.That’s all she’s there to do, as far as we know, and that does not require her to go there before the battle.The Boltons would still need her if they somehow managed to win.

      I think LF must be speaking more broadly. After all, it’s not like LF gave her any lessons in seduction (ewwww), and he states its his training that she’ll be needing.

      Anyway I’m primarily pleased LF didn’t just ride off without saying anything, leaving us with the impression that his only plan is for her to marry Ramsey and make him “hers” or whatever. I was worried that would happen after last episode.

      Give them some credit – for a TV show, that was a ton of complicated exposition as it was. In a single scene, we have LF explaining two ways teh plan could go and that she should adapt as need rises, but either way the Boltons will go down, explaining why he has to go to KL, telling the Rhaegar & Lyanna backstory, and getting in another creepy-sexy embrace in to boot. Adding in a additional minute of dialogue where Littlefinger outlines exactly what she should be doing behind the scenes would be first of all boring, but more importantly ruin the satisfaction (surprise?) of watching Sansa figure some of this out for herself.

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    69. Yung Wolf,

      Why not send Loras to The Wall? Death is a very high price but, to serve in Black….. Didn’t Jon send various appeals for more men at The Wall, via Sam? That would be seen as a better win by Cersei. Taking The Black takes more away than becoming a White Cloak, when you think about it.

      Need a previous example? Brynden Rivers (aka Bloodraven).

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    70. Shock Me,

      Guess I’ll be reading the books for their alternate history fan-fiction qualities since any subsequent Meereen chapters obviously won’t lead anywhere important.

      People need to stop assuming stuff like this. The show is doing its own thing now and the story it’s telling won’t be exactly the same as the books. Just because a character dies on the show or some characters/plotlines from the books get cut doesn’t mean they have no importance to the story GRRM is telling in his books.

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    71. Loved this episode, especially with that gut punch at the end – Barristan’s death. It’s pretty clear that he really did die, no mystery whatsoever for me. Not with Daenerys’ “sing a song for me.” He died to protect Grey Worm, so I bet Grey Worm will live.
      What I didn’t enjoy was Melissandre and Jon’s scene – Mel and Cersei can’t die soon enough for me. Counting the minutes. I also didn’t enjoy the 1.5 duo of Bronn and Jaime and their road show – hope that’s over quick. Much, much preferred the Tyrion and Jorah boat show. (Speaking of: in the preview for next week, wow!!)
      Nice Sansa/Littlefinger scene, I bet his end game is to marry her when she is Wardeness of the North. The Stannis and Shireen scene was lovely. Cersei and her reinstating the Faith Militant, I hope this leads directly to her downfall.
      Anyone else get the feeling that Jaime’s and Tyrion’s next meeting will be as enemies and one will die, and their parting in S4E10 will acquire more bittersweet meaning in hindsight?

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    72. Johan Sporre:
      Stannis wouldn’t accept an alliance with Littlefinger (with Sansa). He wouldn’t trust him (I don’t remember if it’s clear in the show, but in the books he knows not to trust LF). It has to be Sansa directly who joins with Stannis.

      Yes, this! Sansa has to appear to be acting alone when she meets Stannis, he’d never trust a Sansa with LF riding beside her. It almost seems obvious in hindsight.

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    73. Hated the sand snakes. So much potential and they threw it away introducing them in that underwhelming scene. didn’t like the characterization either. hope they step up their game.

      Also, loved all the history and past seasons’ references.
      R+L=J….such a tease.

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    74. Valfa Svlim:
      Hated the sand snakes. So much potential and they threw it away introducing them in that underwhelming scene. didn’t like the characterization either. hope they step up their game.

      Also, loved all the history and past seasons’ references.
      R+L=J….such a tease.

      One thing to say about the sand snakes and Ellaria that I didn’t like (and I liked almost everything in this episode).

      What bugs me is that these people pissed at Doran for doing “nothing” seem to think their only idea for vengeance is to murder an innocent girl, who they have presumably gotten to know well over the last year or so. WTF?

      The Queenmaker plot is so much more interesting than this “lets kill a Lannister because…” so-called plan. Why can’t we have that instead? I think they wanted to add more of a feeling of “danger” for Myrcella, but I think they could have achieved that easily enough by having a split in what the sisters want. I was really hoping they would have Nym say she’d prefer to crown Myrcella and get Trystane on the Iron throne, as a much better form for vengeance to take. It’s just as sure to start a war, if that’s what they want.

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    75. Ali Kat:

      Jon Snow & Melisandre – they’re turning her into a creature of lust instead of a religious fanatic. But I guess they couldn’t let Jon not have a potential love interest for his fangirls but I somehow doubt this will cut it lol

      I didn’t sense that Mel is being presented as a “love interest”. I think she wants a shadowbaby.

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    76. Westeros.org calling the sand snakes “blanked face minions if Ellaria” is unnecessarily mean imo. Here’s hoping they make them eat those words

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    77. Loved it. In the Stannis/Shireen scene they played the melody from the song that Shireen sang in her first episode. The Patchface song…I know, I know…oh oh oh.

      I love the music in the show. They incorporate so many themes from the different houses and characters.

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    78. The problem with the Sand Snakes introduction is that it didn’t really differentiate between them enough. They’ve basically been introduced as a trio, not as individuals, which is part of why it came across as flat. There is a reason GRRM introduced them all visiting Doran separately in the one chapter, outlining the differences between them, their opinions regarding how to deal with the conflict in Dorne, and their individual strengths. If there was a way to do that in the show, I feel that would’ve come across better. Simplifying them into three parts of one whole, or even four parts if you count Ellaria, is a misstep.

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    79. Regarding screen time and eliminating characters, there are certain set-pieces that have been built throughout the books / series to-date.
      Near the end, Arya will kill (or possibly, dramatically spare) Cersei.
      This must happen.

      Sad about Selmy.
      Can’t get enough Bronn.
      Love the R+J breadcrumbs.
      Need more Sand Snakes to judge.
      Tyrion has a death wish.
      Jaime’s hand is versatile.
      Adored Shireen.
      Jon is noble to a fault.
      Lancel is perfectly creepy.
      Worried about Ramsey’s next move (we know something horrible happens and I have a suspicion…)

      Holy CRAP a lot happened in 51 minutes!

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    80. Loved the Stannis scene. Hes going to become everyone’s favorite character just in time for Brienne to arrive and take him out.

      Loved the all the R+L=J hints- One of which I thought was the Jon and Mellisandre scene ( and I thought that worked)

      Everything about Dorn, outside of the 30 seconds with Doran, has felt contrived, poorly written, and poorly executed.

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    81. I for one will be sour if Arya isn’t in the next episode. So far, she hasn’t been in the synopsis or previews. As a fan of her character, I’m allowed to express my expectation of disappointment even if it doesn’t please other people on this site. For some reason that’s a controversial stance? Like other fans don’t express similar sentiments about their own favorite characters smh.

      And Arya’s storyline has only stuck to her book counterpart in comparison to the radical departures this season. If season 5 is squeezing in AFFC-TWoW for her, then they’re drastically cutting out a good deal of the plot when they could easily add on to the story if they want to since that’s never stopped the writers before. Lbr, D&D just thought Bran was boring. If they didn’t want to depart from the books, they wouldn’t have made the Tyrells more important, sent Jaime to Dorne, have Sansa marry Ramsay, etc. For Arya’s storyline, we already know there’s no Sam or Dareon this season. Apart from those two omissions, we know is that they’ll get to Mercy and even that will be quite different from the book version since there’s no play or face changing involved in all likelihood. I have no idea how the show will proceed with the training or Cat of the Canals so I won’t comment on how those chapters other than they’ve clearly made changes since there’s no Dareon or Samwell. However, there’s only 5 episodes left and if Arya’s left out of another, that doesn’t leave room for much development. I only fear that this will be so rushed that the arc won’t be enjoyable for me as a fan. I didn’t expect that Arya would be in every episode like Tyrion, Jon, or Dany, but I assumed she would be in more than just 1/2 or less of the season’s first 5 episodes.

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    82. Queenofthrones:
      Adding in a additional minute of dialogue where Littlefinger outlines exactly what she should be doing behind the scenes would be first of all boring, but more importantly ruin the satisfaction (surprise?) of watching Sansa figure some of this out for herself.

      That, again, assumes without any basis that she’s going to be doing that. There has been absolutely zero offscreen information exchange in this story (it’s entirely clear in the crypt scene that Sansa hasn’t gotten any more details about the plan up to that point than Littlefinger’s gibberish in episode 3), and there’s no reason to think that’s changed.

      Queenofthrones: Yes, this!Sansa has to appear to be acting alone when she meets Stannis, he’d never trust a Sansa with LF riding beside her.It almost seems obvious in hindsight.

      If that were the concern, again, send her to the Wall by herself. And besides which, if Sansa and LF are going to continue to work together, that’s obviously not going to be something Stannis will be unaware of, especially if he’s planning to take the Iron Throne and demand the obeisance of all nobles. Littlefinger will have to either declare for Stannis or against him.

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    83. Well, everything Dorne in the books for me has been boring and unnecessarily lengthy, and I don’t think there’s much they can do with it on the show to make it much better. I would have much preferred they cut that instead of the Iron Islands parts.

      I was just thinking of Ghost. Everyone seems to have forgotten the dire wolves now when there used to be so many comments when we didn’t see them enough. Their involvement has been pretty much eliminated, including the ‘dreams’ and such.

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    84. Adam,

      Definetely noticed the look but not sure if it meant R+L=J, I was wondering if they were going to bring up the Bran/Meera story about Lyanna crying at one of Rhaegars songs. Later perhaps

      I actually think his Wardenness of the north line is the beginnings of a Jon vs Sansa fight over Robbs Kingdom, as he’s sowed the seed in her head she should be in a rulership position and on the other side of the coin Jon is inspiring people to follow him

      Once again, Sansa to have the RLers back and and Jon Snow the northern Lords backing him, or at least the high northerners

      WoW spoiler

      As for “sure you do”, people who have read Alayne WoW excerpt will know that is said to her by LF in relation to Harry the Heir, and we know how that chapter ends so, far from being tortured I would say she is able to manipulate Ramsay the Heir who is initially rude to her to projecting the Jeyne Poole treatment onto Myranda instead and turn the tables on Myranda who presumably wants Sansa to be given the Tante treatment

      this would make sense if they are willing to show how she is moving on from being a passive victim of Joffrey into a “player”

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    85. Bugsy Malone,

      I’m a huge Arya fan. As others have said, though, just because she wasn’t shown in the episode preview, or isn’t listed in the synopsis, it doesn’t mean she won’t be in the episode.

      Based on pictures from filming, we know she appears as Cat of the Canals. We also can put two and two together with Meryn Trant going to Braavos and the Meryn Trant being on Arya’s list. It isn’t like those two scenes are going to happen without seeing more training and learning more about how the Faceless Men operate. So, I’m not personally worried she’ll get short-changed.

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    86. Bugsy Malone,

      I don’t see fans of any character other than Arya complain every week that they don’t appear in an episode or worry that they won’t be in future episodes. Arya is 4th in total screen time throughout 4+ seasons. Prior to this week, she was in the top 5 in screen time for this season, despite not appearing in the premier. This paranoia that her super fans have is simply unfounded. Outside of the big three, she is the most featured character. She will appear in 6 episodes, don’t worry so much.

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    87. Meryn Trant to bravos with Mace? Is Mace dead? Does Arya save him and kill Trant who mysteriously ended up in the kill list this season?
      That was a nice twist.

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    88. Sean C.: That, again, assumes without any basis that she’s going to be doing that.There has been absolutely zero offscreen information exchange in this story (it’s entirely clear in the crypt scene that Sansa hasn’t gotten any more details about the plan up to that point than Littlefinger’s gibberish in episode 3), and there’s no reason to think that’s changed.

      If that were the concern, again, send her to the Wall by herself.And besides which, if Sansa and LF are going to continue to work together, that’s obviously not going to be something Stannis will be unaware of, especially if he’s planning to take the Iron Throne and demand the obeisance of all nobles. Littlefinger will have to either declare for Stannis or against him.

      Way I read this, LF is perhaps hedging himself, eg he is either in Cersei’s good graces and so secure, or alternatively if Stannis does get up and puts Sansa in which he has to go through WF on the way to KL, she will be able to protect LF from persecution by Stannis similar to how she protected him from the Vale Lords

      Tbf LF at this point is just doing the same thing the Iron Bank did, as soon as Tywin is gone Stannis is the next strongest figurehead, and a betting man wouldn’t bet on a non-Stark being able to hold the north for long. I can’t seriously buy he doesen’t know about Ramsay, he has probably sold the marriage as a Vale/North alliance to Roose but knows that if Ramsay actively tortures one of the last remaining Starks this will speed up a northern revolt which the Southrons will be powerless to intervene in if the Lannisters/Tyrells are distracted by issues with the Faith Militant

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    89. Bugsy Malone,

      we know is that they’ll get to Mercy and even that will be quite different from the book version since there’s no play or face changing involved in all likelihood.

      I don’t know about that. I’m pretty sure this scene http://i.imgur.com/4TtS3i3.png
      will be Arya in disguise as a prostitute and the man’s head you see will be Meryn. They have already shown Jaqen change his face a few times so I don’t see them leaving that part out for Arya’s training.

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    90. Queenofthrones,

      Yes! I’ve been pissed off for a while now with the show. So many good scenes from the books that didn’t make the count and they put instead worthless dialogue and conversation fillers.

      In the books everything makes more sense. Everything is backed up by valid reason. The queenmaker arc would make much more sense and would be a better type of vengeance.

      Same happened with Tyrion-Jamie scene last season. It could have been one of the best scenes in the series.

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    91. Speaking as an Arya fan, with Bran and Arya it is good to allow some non-screen time, progress can occur all the much quicker if it is implied off-screen, that way next time we see them they can be more developed without having to watch all the patience training etc eg going out and getting general info for months, and then selling seafood and then being in a Mummers play etc etc etc

      All they need to show is the key points

      She will head back to Westeros to start doing WoW stuff early next season

      I reckon she will kill Trant and then leave HoB&W after that

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    92. Nymeria Warrior Queen:
      Bugsy Malone,

      I’m a huge Arya fan.As others have said, though, just because she wasn’t shown in the episode preview, or isn’t listed in the synopsis, it doesn’t mean she won’t be in the episode.

      Well, I hope you’re right. I’m hopeful that she will be in more episodes, but the next episode looks like it will be filled with more than enough plotlines from Brienne, Ramsay/Theon/Sansa, Winterfell, Tyrion, Dany, and Jon/the Wall in general. I know Meryn and Mace have already been sent to Braavos, but we don’t know when they will arrive. Probably 5.7 or 5.6 at the earliest. Perhaps they can squeeze an Arya scene in the next ep instead of some Dorne or King’s Landing business. Tyrion wasn’t in the synopsis but clearly he’s in the preview. I just don’t see any indication that she’ll be in the next episode, and the fact that she’s isn’t in the synposis or preview isn’t promising. The synopsis for 5.6 makes me think that they’ll pick up from 5.3 there.

      I’ll be pleased if I’m wrong, but if I’m not, I going to continue expressing my disappointment.

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    93. Queenofthrones: One thing to say about the sand snakes and Ellaria that I didn’t like (and I liked almost everything in this episode).

      I must admit that I am not comfortable with the Dorne retooling…yet. And I can’t stand that Ellaria continues to claim that the Lannisters killed Oberyn. Lest we forget, he VOLUNTEERED to champion Tyrion in a trial by combat. It would be nice to see her weep a bit for him,..especially after her last words to him (in S4ep8) were “Don’t leave me alone in this world.” She has definitely changed, and possibly flipped out. I’m worried about her surviving the season.

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    94. Valfa Svlim:
      Queenofthrones,

      Yes! I’ve been pissed off for a while now with the show. So many good scenes from the books that didn’t make the count and they put instead worthless dialogue and conversation fillers.

      In the books everything makes more sense. Everything is backed up by valid reason. The queenmaker arc would make much more sense and would be a better type of vengeance.

      Same happened with Tyrion-Jamie scene last season. It could have been one of the best scenes in the series.

      Yeah there’s been a lot of mistakes

      At the same time this episode was great, the Stannis/Shireen talk was very powerful

      Plus Bronn has been a really great character, he had great chemistry firstly with Tyrion and now he has continued it with Jaimie

      If people didn’t notice the episode was good thematically, Ser Bronn talks about how he wants to die quietly in a Keep with his sons around him nice and peaceful

      Contrast this to Ser Barristan in season 1, “a Hall to die in and people to bury me”. Obviously they’ve decided to cut Battle of Mereen so thankfully they’ve at least had him go down fighting. That said book Ser Barristan would have slaughtered them all, there are lots but they are in a confined space so someone like Ser Barristan knows to keep them all to his front and they wouldn’t be able to outflank him

      Same with the Unsullied, they were supposedly trained in short swords, not to mention that even with spears all they have to do is go into formation and advance Hoplite style on a ragged bunch of Harpy’s with short weapons

      The way they killed the Second Sons with daggers made sense, after that against Unsullied there needed to be more hit and run tactics with bows which is more of a guerilla tactic

      I’ve noticed some comments on YT already about how he would be slow. Sure he naturally wouldn’t be slow in his prime but anyone who knows anything about Martial Arts masters know that with life long conditioning they still remain quite formidable even in old age if they practice and train every day

      Speaking of which, no way book Ser Loras in training gear would have gotten taken like that

      Anyway enough of that divergence, Jaimie saying “dying in the arms of the woman I love” and “would she want the same” was interesting to me, eg if you substitute Cersei and Brienne…

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    95. I was never part of the club predisposed to hating the snakes… if anything I was kind of excited to see how they would spice up a part of the books I was pretty indifferent on.

      But now that we’ve actually seen them on screen, I will go ahead and say they were maybe my least favorite moment in 4.4 seasons of this show. Just awful. I feel like anyone still defending them is just being stubborn because they were part of the crew telling people to chill out and give them a chance (which was a perfectly reasonable stance to take up until a few hours ago…)

      I’m OK with barristan dying at this point in the timeline but still bummed about how criminally underused he was in general.

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    96. One last thing, I didn’t quite like the forehead tattoos of the Faith Militant, they are portraying them too much as a cult, rather than a military branch of a major societal institution, eg with a Knight class and an infantry class as in the books

      The sparrows are revolutionaries yes but at the same time the Sept vs Red Keep is an example of two institutions vying for power. This is too much of a modern cynical take on religion.

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    97. For mine one scene isn’t enough, I’ll apply a “wait and see” approach regarding the Sand Snakes

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    98. Hodor’s Bastard,

      There’s been a definite change in Ellaria. Not only is her persona more somber (less sarcastic, more abrasive) but her hair is cut shorter, a reflection of maturity.

      I do like the direction they’re taking her by making her the vengeful “widow”. While the personification of Ellaria may be different on the show (as she was staunchly anti-revenge in her cameo in ADWD), the Ellaria of the novels was another example of character furniture that is too prevalent among Martin’s side characters (i.e., Shireen); only acting as a supplement to more prominent characters. Giving her a personality last season and now an understandable motivation for vengeance this season makes her a more multi-faceted character.

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    99. Queenofthrones: Loras seems likely also.Or maybe I just really don’t want pod to die…

      Ser Loras will be the one who dies, right at seasons end to show how Cersei’s game of scoring petty points over Margaery has spiralled out of control

      The FM not just roughing up the patrons of LF’s brothel but then killing the gay people is pretty much a foreshadowing

      Once again it’s hard to escape the fact this is modern Hollywood projecting a cynical perspective of the modern Church into the whole thing. I like the books better where they are revolutionaries borne out of the depravities of war + it is one societal institution vs another in a power play

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    100. Jeb:
      A couple more things that I neglected to mention.
      1. Ellaria is really growing on me.Looking forward to seeing more of her.
      2.I can also see why they might want to kill Barristan and/or Grey Worm,and I believe I said this when it was first speculated. Just like the attack on Castle Black last season,we need to see named characters die,otherwise why should the audience really care what is happening with Dany.Moreover, with a couple of probable additions later this season,Daenerys entourage is beginning to look a little stuffed.I’m sure it was a difficult decision, but one that I completely support.
      3. One thing that is very noticeable is that considerably less time is spent at King’s Landing so far this season. With Tyrion/Tywin/Jaime/Varys/Bronn all gone (not to mention several others)this is hardly surprising,but it does give the episodes a slightly different focus.I can see now why Littlefinger and Olenna are being jet packed in,because the capital is a suddenly a little sort of big characters,and more focus will be required for events later on this season there,I’m sure.

      Yeah they have to articulate that the harpy’s etc are having their toll on her, which is why the Pits petition leads directly into it, so she will open the Pits in the spirit of compromise and peace

      What I like though is the lowborn whore being involved, it’s pretty much been projected as “Masters” wanting to re-enslave everyone and Dany stereotyping it as such but it is nice they are making her so prominent to hopefully lead up to the fact this is anti-Targaryen/anti-Valyrian Ghiscari nationalism if you like driving the Harpy’s as much as class warfare,

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    101. Al Swearengen,

      I thought it sucked too. I wonder if greyworm made it. Also, i thought the unsullied were so great at fighting and the second sons were good at blending in and spying. Looks like they are not top of things at all. Well, ser jorah and tyrion to the rescue i guess!! As it looks like queen dany needs another knight and advisor.

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    102. Ghost’s Lunch,

      I posted about this a while back, but the show has done great work in shifting the formerly black and white conflict of Dany against the slavers into significantly grey territory last season and now this one.

      Take the first shot of Meeren this season for example: a statue of a Harpy, a symbol of the power the former Masters held, is pulled down by former slaves. This is a move that emboldens Dany’s emancipation movement and her commitment to end the inhumanity of slavery. At the same time, it’s also the destruction of a city’s culture and heritage, a city that owes its prominence to the slave trade.

      Dany is no longer the unstoppable crusader she was back in season 3. She’s finally having to come to terms with how to rule and so far, contrary to expectations, she has not done a good job at all. As Dany stated herself: if she can’t rule a city comprised of a “foreign” people and culture, what hope does she have for ruling a nation she has never been a part of without resorting to the brutality her own father employed?

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    103. Rewatched the fight scenes with the Harpies and now I liked them more on the second view. What a great bunch of sequences there. They really showed the chaos of the situation. Also Grey Worm was losing a lot of blood at the end…uh oh.

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    104. I agree with Sue- people are being weirdly harsh on the Sand Snakes. I’m mean, for shit sake… They’ve had about two minutes of screen time, and the bitching about them started way before we had even seen them.
      I enjoyed seeing them tonight. I think the problem was, that they deserved more screen time, and not have had that scene so rushed.

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    105. Ghost’s Lunch,

      Yes, characters are getting underpowered just for the sake of storytelling.

      I rather had Ser Barristan die at Daznak’s Pit after an epic fight against all of the sons of the harpy. that would of been way better.

      The episode’s theme was really nice and Jamie’s answer also got me thinking. nice touch. I also think Mark Mylod’s Directing abilities failed him this week. some scenes (sand snake’s essentially) felt flat and unevenly paced

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    106. I don’t get it,why so many people when they talk about Shireen

      believe she is going to die soon.Am I missing something?I heard some that Mel will sacrifice her to revive Jon.What?Show wise,we know 100% that Mel is going south with Stannis.And even if they we’re not,I’m quite sure that the lord of light doesn’t need blood from Baratheons to revive Jon,his own blood is way more valuable.Not to say that it’s Jon that it’s always present in the flames.
      With all the scenes that we have with Stannis this season some say they will kill him off soon(I hope not).But if Stannis dies Shireen will be the Baratheon for the throne.Iron Bank would back her up to protect their interests and we see in the book how Stannis orders his men that even when he dies they should continue the fight and hire sellswords anyway,bring them in Westeros and put Shireen on the throne.

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    107. Insurrection in Mereen!
      Time for Daeny to stop playing the enlightened liberator. The Sons of the harpy are striking at the remaining bases of her power: the Unsullied and the Second Sons. If she cannot rely on her dragons, she must take Davos Seaworth’s advice and get her boots dirty or abandon Mereen.
      Suggestions? The three R’s of repression.
      REPRISAL. Arrest and execute all members of the families of identified Sons of the Harpy; parents, spouse, children, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews.
      RETRIBUTION. Execute several members (I’d suggest starting at ten, and add more if the first lesson doesn’t take hold) of the former slaveholding families for each former slave, unsullied or second son killed by the Sons of the Harpy. Former slave owner/counsel member wants the fighting pits re-opened? I’m sure the former slaves of Mereen would pay good money to watch their former masters fight to the death in the pits.
      REWARD. Cersei will grant a lordship to whoever brings her Tyrion’s head. Daeny should offer gold and titles to those, ex-slave or ex-slave owner who bring proof of someone’s membership in or knowledge of the plans of the Sons of the Harpy.
      Barristan was wrong, and he’s paying for that bad advice. The mad king lost because he alienated those who would otherwise have stayed loyal to House Targarian, the house that had ruled Westeros for centuries. Daeny’s a new kid on the block in Mereen, she has no class loyal to her after the execution fiasco in episode three. She is not loved; if she has a hope to stay on the throne, she must make herself feared. As to the ex-slavers, she will never bring them to her side. The ex-slavers are like the plantation owners after the American Civil War and the Sons of the Harpy are the Klu Klux Klan without the white sheets. They are irreconcilable and only understand strength – let them hate, so long as they obey.
      Daeny, its time to live up to the Targarean family words . . . “Blood and Fire”

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    108. loved the episode.

      no problem with the sand snakes.

      i am easily amused so never very many conplaints and therefore always happy.

      i know people have a right to complain, and in general squeaky wheels can sometimes make things better, but sometimeis people here just seem really intent on being miserable.

      so only one question didn’t suspend my disbelief this week:

      what the EFF is greyworm doing leading a random squad of unsullied through the streets? and what the EFF is barristan doing just walking the streets for fun?

      i’m sure there aren’t 5star generals leading patrols in kabul or, you know, out randomly by themselves looking for kebab.

      c’mon dany what are you thinking?!?!?!?

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    109. Tyrion Pimpslap,

      That’s only because all the main characters besides Dany and Jaime have been in all four episodes so far, and those two have just missed one episode each. On the other hand, Arya’s only been in two and there’s nothing to imply she’s in episode 5 until the stills are released on Thursday or TVguide updates their synopsis. Were you not around when the Stannis fans had a massive breakdown when he didn’t appear at the end of The Watchers on the Wall? Or back in seasons 2 and 3 when Sansa and Catelyn’s fans constantly complained about their lack of screentime and how D&D hated them? Yet for some reason, now that it’s Arya’s fans turn to complain (which has only been one person in this thread, fwiw) it’s some horrible thing. Theon fans have also been frustrated about his lack of screentime this season, but I don’t see anyone coming after his fanbase.

      Personally I think it’s ridiculous for anyone to say that D&D hate her or that she’ll be cut next season, but considering they’ve said they didn’t want to shortchange this season and that they’ve been looking forward to showing off the House of Black and White, they haven’t done much this season to showcase the truth of those words. Her having six episodes last season was perfectly understandable considering they had to stretch two chapters out for an entire season, but Arya has six released chapters in Braavos for them to work with, not to mention GRRM even said that he could have written an entire book about her time in Braavos. We shouldn’t have had to worry about her possibly skipping two episodes in a row or being in at most six episodes, maybe even five. I mean, it looks like the actor who plays Olly will be eligible for their ensemble SAG award before Maisie (actually, I think he already is? I’m not sure if GOT falls under the four episode rule or six), and Sansa didn’t need to be in eight or nine episodes this season either. It’s hard not being disappointed when the Sight’s first promos were heavily focused on featuring Arya and she had an EW cover for the first time. At this point as an Arya fan I just feel baited tbh. It’s sad when a magazine can get Kit and Maisie to pose for pictures together yet D&D think Needle only matters as an instrument of revenge and are likely cutting out his desperation to save Arya in favor of saving Sansa (especially if the Jon and Arya relationship in future books is meant to be as important as it was in GRRM’s original outline).

      Now for all we know she will be in episodes five and seven despite not being in either synopsis, and obviously we already know they’re setting up Cat of the Canals/Mercy/whatever for episode nine (though I really highly doubt that prostitute is supposed to be her in disguise), but for now let’s just allow disappointed fans to complain shall we? It’s only fair.

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    110. Some people are going to dislike the Sand Snakes no matter what, I think.

      Their introductory scene was not what I’d hoped it would be, but after a rewatch I think that had a great deal to do with the scene itself. It think it wasn’t well constructed, and there definitely wasn’t enough of it to serve as a decent introduction. I’m definitely taking a wait-until-I-see-more approach.

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    111. Sean C.:
      doggit,

      With Bran there was an actual shortage of material.There isn’t with Arya.

      No, it really doesn’t.Her being at Winterfell makes absolutely no sense, as everything about the plan could be accomplished just as readily by waiting from safety for the battle to resolve.

      Or by using the Vale army to crush the Freys, ensuring a Bolton collapse while taking direct revenge for the Red Wedding. The Sansa plot is insane from her POV, Littlefinger’s AND Roose’s.

      If the “plan” is to help Stannis, why didn’t the just send a raven and make an offer akin to the one Jon turned down.

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    112. johnnytata: what the EFF is greyworm doing leading a random squad of unsullied through the streets? and what the EFF is barristan doing just walking the streets for fun?

      With Barristan I think they were trying to explain it with the Rhaegar story – that he missed walking the streets or whatever.

      With Grey Worm, hmmm yeah I don’t know. It’s really unclear how many unsullied there are and where.

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    113. Parker Peter,

      The characters you mentioned were never featured as much as Arya has been. Again, it’s unfounded paranoia. Even if she is only in 5 episodes, which I doubt, her total screen time will be near the top this season, as it always is. I love Arya and Maisie, but she is alone in her own storyline and away from the action. She was never going to appear in 8-9 episodes. Feel free to vent, but don’t act like D&D have slighted her for years, when she is only behind Tyrion,Jon, and Dany in total screen time.

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    114. Yung Wolf,

      You have no way of knowing what they will, or will not add to the story. It’s too early to make any assumptions, given they’ve had a single, very short scene.
      It just feels like a lot of commenters on this site, just flat-out want them to fail as characters.

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    115. Parker Peter: yet D&D think Needle only matters as an instrument of revenge

      That’s not what Weiss said. I wish I could remember which article’s comment section I put it, but I posted an exact transcription of what was said about Needle. I do remember it began with, “It was a very, very special gift…”

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    116. The Free Folk,

      If they are following their book arc, they are just as disposable as LS, CH, the Greyjoys or JonCon/Griff ever were.

      As far as their scene in tonight’s episode, I’m indifferent. Although I did find myself wanting to mumble “cheesy” under my breath.

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    117. Yung Wolf,

      But the show is not the book, not anymore, not by a long shot.
      And besides, who says they won’t play a major role in the books as well. The fact that D&D know the endgame, and included them, while not including the others, could hint at a bigger impact than is apparent now- but like I said, the show is not the book, so who knows.

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    118. Yung Wolf,

      How can you know they are “unnecessary additions that don’t offer anything to the story?”

      Edit: It looks like someone already asked the same question. Oops.

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    119. It would be nice to read more specific reasons as to why the 2min intro of Sand Snakes was so unsatisfactory. What one gets now is just preconstructed opinions of dislike. People were already prepared to dislike. The scene was not better or worse than many others introductory scenes. 3 sisters have captured the captain of the ship that has transported Jaime to Dorne. Their mother who is bitterly disappointed by the way Doran has reacted to Oberyn’s death is summoned and urges them to take revenge. The three of them agree. We have a little speech from Obara which seems to be the most complicated of the three Sand Snakes, a speech that gives reason to the background of the Martell mentality. Nicely executed with the captain’s head buried in the sand surrounded by scorpions and in tune with the material of the rest of the episode. I don’t see any huge problems in all this apart from a disatisfaction for the sake of it.

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    120. Lol. I seem to recall other users on this site arguing that Arya fans shouldn’t worry because she would surely have more episodes to work with in season five because she had more chapters to work with than she did in season four. However, she seems to be on the same low episode count of s4 despite the fact that she has more material to work. I mean, can we complain now? Or do we have to wait until next season or season 7? Again, the next episode seems to be filled with more than enough storylines. It’s not outrageous for anyone to assume that she won’t be in the next episode considering the fact that she’s not in the preview or synopsis of an episode filled with plotlines that will easily take up an hour of the show. That assumption makes more sense than believing the opposite.

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    121. The Free Folk,

      According to GRRM, the Sand Snakes will be causing lots of trouble in TWOW. I forget exactly how he put it, but that was the gist of it.

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    122. Did anyone else notice the ominous music they played when Cersei informed Mace that Meryn would accompany him on his trip to Braavos? Does that mean she plans on having Meryn make sure Mace does not make the trip back?

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    123. Schrödinger’s Cat:
      The problem with the Sand Snakes introduction is that it didn’t really differentiate between them enough. They’ve basically been introduced as a trio, not as individuals, which is part of why it came across as flat. There is a reason GRRM introduced them all visiting Doran separately in the one chapter, outlining the differences between them, their opinions regarding how to deal with the conflict in Dorne, and their individual strengths. If there was a way to do that in the show, I feel that would’ve come across better. Simplifying them into three parts of one whole, or even four parts if you count Ellaria, is a misstep.

      This is it precisely. Well said.

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    124. And apparently they will be killing Bronn, too. Sweet. Like Brienne beating Jaime and taking out the Hound wasn’t far-fetched enough. And now there are rumors that she will have a run-in with Stannis as well.

      It all feels like a cheap gimmick straight out of a tween fanfic. More strong, independent female characters complete with cheesy and forced dialogue to “empower” and pander to whining feminists, because we obviously don’t have enough of them already. Bleh.

      But that’s another discussion for another day.

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    125. Nymeria Warrior Queen,

      Because the chapters in AFFC that they were featured in were boring and tedious with as much excitement as watching paint dry? Or was that just the book itself?

      Who knows what TWoW will bring, but if they’re more prominent and have a stronger storyline, then fine. I’ll still take my precious Kingsmoot over this anyday.

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    126. Nymeria Warrior Queen,

      I know what Weiss said. I listened to him say it over and over before the episode was even finished airing that night thanks to HBOgo. Yes he calls it a special gift, right before talking about how she sees herself as an instrument of revenge and Needle was how she was going to obtain that revenge against the people who killed her family. otoh, you have GRRM in his video specifically calling it her last link to Winterfell and said nothing about being unable to let go because she wants to kill people. They’re basically saying her identity as Arya Stark is tied directly to her want for revenge and that’s why she couldn’t let go of it, not because Needle is Winterfell’s grey walls and Jon Snow’s smile. Not to mention that Arya thinks of Winterfell five separate times in that chapter yet can’t give a sure answer to the Kindly Man when he asks if she came to them in order to kill the men she hates.

      Tyrion Pimpslap,

      lol I don’t see how that’s meant to be reassuring? If anything seeing a character who’s been prominently featured since the very beginning having a sudden drop in screentime while characters who’ve appeared even less than her have had their storylines expanded makes it even worse. And for what? All we’ve seen of her is some dumb version of Fight Club just to showcase Tom W., sweep floors, and complain. ffs, Jaqen’s line about the Gods got more attention on both subreddits than the Needle scene because people thought it was proof for their Jaqen = Syrio tinfoil.

      Also, according to this, she came in 10th place for total screen time last year. Not too impressive. And outside of season 2, her screen time has dropped each season.

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    127. Vallug Bowbeast,

      I’ll accept the vengeful Ellaria (exhibiting a different sort of passion from last season, I guess) but the context and her statements don’t really work for me.

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    128. I’m sure most people feel that the casting of the Snakes was poor, too. More specifically, Tyene and Nymeria. They just don’t look or act believable when it comes to their book counterparts. Obara definitely brought the most cheese with her dialogue and that spear throw.

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    129. All this time, I have no reason to believe Barriston is like a Jedi Knight and unstoppable, he’s had that reputation and may have been that way in his younger days, but an old man dying that outnumbered? Not inconceivable. Could have been staged a bit better, but a thrilling ending regardless.

      Honestly, they have what, like 26 episodes left, assuming 7 seasons total? Barriston Selmy is barely in the top 20 of characters on this show that we care about living or dying, they need to get shit MOVING like ASAP, start killing off some of the secondary characters and get this show on the road. White Walkers have to come, dragons have to be tamed, alliances have to be formed to survive all this shit … all in 26 episodes. Show wise, not a big loss, there’s going to be plenty more where that came from.

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    130. Adam:
      That look that LF gives Sansa after she says that Lyanna was raped by Rhaegar… It was like “are you SURE about that?” I wonder if he knows that R+L=J?

      That would be interesting if he does, especially considering how much closer to Jon Sansa is right now. I’m genuinely curious to what his plan is or what he knows about Jon.

      I wondered the same. Is the show going to use LF to suggest the idea R+L=J?

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    131. Well… I wasn’t as upset as I expected with the Sands Snakes or the Selmy. Wouldn’t it have been cooler if Selmy had gone down protecting that alley because they were going to attack the chained dragons? Instead a random alley, random baddies, random death. Boo. But we got an acceptable fight out of it I suppose.

      I wasn’t as impressed as I hoped with the other scenes though. Tyrion’s speech. Jaime and Bronn. Marg and Tommen. There was an awkwardness to the banter that seemed to be the writing… it was just… off. Some excellent acting with Stannis, Mel and others saved their scenes… but I’m failing to come up with any memorable lines…

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    132. Wow! Damn we had two kick-ass fights! This episode had a little bit of everything some teaser info for one of the things that is on everyone’s list of an almost certainty…the scene with Stannis and Shireen was touching and moving! Dany finding out that conquering and rulling, gaining power and maintaining it are very different things! Jon getting tempted, this show’s other odd couple, Jamie and Bronn…that alone was worth the price of admission! I guess Mormont is no as disposed to listen to Tyrion and his ruminationa, so he lowered the volume and put him on mute! And the freaking Sand Snakes!

      Great episode!

      I hope Ser Barristan and Grey Worm survive, if not, at least either one or both went out in a badass way, taking as many of those pussy Sons Of The Harpy with them!

      The complains and negative reactions…continue to be as pathetic and fucking stupid as ever, week after week…Its become a sport …but that’s ok, that shortbus must feel awfully crammed!

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    133. Thoughts on Ep 4 after seeing it again (and ignoring that tomorrow is a work day):

      – Jorah kindly paying for the borrowed boat was a nice touch; dumping and pimpslapping Tyrion was even better
      – Loved how the camera lingered on Pycelle after Cersei said the small council wasn’t small enough
      – Stannis and Shireen…the scene to die for! I’m getting all verklempt
      – Was Mel protecting Shireen from Selyse? Hmmmmm…
      – I also love how Stannis senses that there is more to Jon than meets the eye
      – The Faith Militant sure has a bunch of bad-asses in their midst! Who knew?
      – Same goes for the SotH. Even in their relaxed state, the Second Sons were too easy. Didn’t they know that the UnSullied were actively being murdered in the company of whores and on the street?
      – I also liked how the FM and SotH were mirrored at the beginning and end of the episode…the FM had face tattoos and the SotH had facemasks
      – Although I believe Loras is doomed this season, he succumbed way too easily to the FM. Screw that. Remember Blackwater?
      – King Tommen is sooo annoying and useless, but his helpless, naive expressions were spot-on…I believe Cersei/Marg using him as a pawn in their game will get him killed
      – Mel is a slut. Totally unnecessary nude scene w/Jon. Maybe a bit more Mae West and maybe less skankish?
      – Valiant effort by Selmy; horrible way to die after coming all that way; fucking unfair! Dany has lost her link to understanding her past
      – The tales of the Harrenhal tourney (via LF) and Rhaegar’s singing (via Selmy)! Almost thought we would get the Knight of the Laughing Tree as well
      – After Sansa tells LF that Rhaegar kidnapped and raped Lyanna, you could tell that LF wanted to say “Is that what they told you?”
      – Is LF really clueless about Ramsay?…“Roose is a dangerous man”…time to get your game on Sansa…wearing a dark outfit just isn’t enough anymore.
      – Would Jon trust any recruits from the Boltons?
      – Sand snakes need more convincing; I need to see Doran interacting with them, not Ellaria. Ellaria has become a crazy person
      – Loved the brief Tarth scene and especially Jaime’s reaction.
      – Yay…Jaime is actually fucking pissed at Tyrion
      – Jaime’s naivite regarding the ship captain bothered me; the Dorne retooling is just not working for me
      – Bronn is superb…very worried about his pending mortality
      – Mace is such an idiot and a tool, but I loved how his attempts at jokes to the other small council folk fell flat
      – Should be “Sunspear”. Fukdatshit. (Yes…this is MY silly beef…consistency!)
      – Same shots as last season: Jaime on the ship mirrored Arya on the ship; The SotH running down the Meereen tunnels was similar to the Unsullied/slaves running down the Meereen tunnels last season

      Criticisms aside, Dave Hill is a welcome addition.
      This will be a fun review week, everywhere.

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    134. Ok, it was obvious the were going to kill Selmy around this point. Many people predicted it based on a variety of clues, such as his otherwise inexplicable absence in the trailers from later scenes with Dany. I accept that.

      But I loathed the way the greatest knight of a generation died – in a random skirmish with faceless rebels. Screw that, he deserved better. He should have died protecting the dragons, not unsullied…and died in dragon flame, not a knife to the belly.

      If D&D are hellbent on writing fan fiction they could at least give us quality fan fiction.

      At least it was not contradictory nonsense like the Sansa plot, or the show’s first moment that made me embarrassed to be a fan (that unmentionable Xena / Charlie’s Angels amalgam), so I can only call it the third worst moment of the show’s worst episode.

      That being said, the bits at the wall were good. Too bad LF already informed us who will win. If Stannis has superior forces, the friendless Boltons stand no chance (note that this is in complete contradiction to the books, where Stanns is outnumbered 3:1 in term of loyal troops and 2:1 if you count the unreliable northerners each side currently fields).

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    135. Ser Gerold Dayne,

      Probably because she is sweet and adorable and this is Game of Thrones…

      People have the same opinion that Mr positive Podrick Payne won’t survive long either

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    136. Chad Brick:
      But I loathed the way the greatest knight of a generation died – in a random skirmish with faceless rebels. Screw that, he deserved better. He should have died protecting the dragons, not unsullied…and died in dragon flame, not a knife to the belly.

      Pretty much. Barry was a living legend and arguably the greatest knight that Westeros has ever seen and he gets cut down by some random peasants dressed in their Halloween costumes and wielding table knives? All for a cheap cliffhanger?

      Yeah, he was old. Yeah, he probably lost a step somewhere along the way. Yeah, he was outnumbered. But surely someone of his caliber is better than what he was up against. But honestly, he shouldn’t have been in that position in the first place. Having him just walking the streets of Meereen all by himself is ridiculous.

      For shame, D&D, for shame. I know GRRM will do Barry proud in TWoW and won’t resort to that silly shock value. It’s already painfully obvious that Jorah will be fighting for his freedom in the pits and winning Dany over to replace him.

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    137. Chad Brick,

      Seeing the point of that conversation between Bronn and Jaime and the fact that you don’t get to decide how you die yet?

      And die in dragon flames while protecting the dragons?! Umm…

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    138. Ser Marq’s Bowman:
      Insurrection in Mereen!
      Time for Daeny to stop playing the enlightened liberator…The ex-slavers are like the plantation owners after the American Civil War and the Sons of the Harpy are the Klu KluxKlan without the white sheets.They are irreconcilable and only understand strength – let them hate, so long as they obey.
      Daeny, its time to live up to the Targarean family words . . . “Blood and Fire”

      Yeah the whole Plantation Owners + KKK vibe is what I was worried about as this makes it rather simplistic

      Same with the Faith Militant, they are made out to be cultish zealots rather than radical revolutionaries who are bitter at the nobility. That said if and when in power they probably would be quite repressive

      What I liked about the books is that between Astapor, Yunkai and Mereen, they show that when Cleon Butcher King gets into power he is no better, with the former Masters children being taken to be new Unsullied

      It is ultimately a matter that far from “liberty on the march” all that realistically happens is that an old structure of power is broken and a new one with a different demographic forms in its place, the rules of power by and large stay the same

      It’s all a great exploration of the practicalities of power

      And that’s without going into the Green Grace and the role of religion being thrown into the mix

      As I’ve said above, I’ve got some hope that the prominent role of the Prostitute points to lowborn support which means Ghiscari nationalism

      Chad Brick:
      Ok, it was obvious the were going to kill Selmy around this point. Many people predicted it based on a variety of clues, such as his otherwise inexplicable absence in the trailersfrom later scenes with Dany. I accept that.

      But I loathed the way the greatest knight of a generation died – in a random skirmish with faceless rebels. Screw that, he deserved better. He should have died protecting the dragons, not unsullied…and died in dragon flame, not a knife to the belly.

      Actually agree, book Ser Barristan would have ripped them apart

      I actually had the same thought, after seeing him in an indoor area, plus knowing he was going to die I thought it would be good to merge him and the Sons with Quentyns plot, eg they try to release the Dragons so they fly off and Dany can’t use them, he tries to stop and as he’s cutting them down he and everyone else unfortunately gets roasted ala Quentyn when they are making their escape

      A fitting way that the best Knight can only get defeated by a Super weapon

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    139. Hodor’s Bastard,

      Telling Ellaria and the Sand Snakes that Oberyn was killed because he volunteered, or that he was murdered legally, is like telling Robb that Ned confessed to treason before being beheaded.

      Let’s pit Oberyn’s death in context: the Lannisters had Elia Martell and her two children brutally murdered, and there was no justice for them. Oberyn tries to win justice, and is brutally murdered for his efforts.

      I think it is totally understandable, if not rational, why they would want those Lannister fuckers to finally pay for what they’ve done to their family and their country. Oberyn’s death may have been legal, but in context, it’s the last straw and they’re not taking it lying down.

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    140. Tyrion Pimpslap,

      Can Doran send guys to take The Black? Bronn would be welcome at The Wall.

      I’d think it an option High Sparrow may offer Loras though, after he’s told he’s guilty of whatever-ness. Accusations = charges & guilt, I guess. Sentence? Flogging and imprisonment? Castration, plus flogging and imprisonment? Or The Wall (and possible death fighting an unknown enemy)?

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    141. Chad Brick,

      Because he was an old guy and people – especially in GoT – die in pointless, futile ways all the time.

      Which show have you been watching, Once Upon a Time?

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    142. Re: Selmy:
      Chad Brick,

      And die in dragon flames while protecting the dragons?! Umm…

      Harpys attempt to kill the dragons, the foundation of Dany’s power. Selmy interrupts them. The dragons break free in the chaos, and kill Selmy among others.

      This is far closer to the book plot

      (dragons escape rather than are intentionally released by Dany, which appears to be the TV course)

      and Selmy doesn’t go out in weakly and just for cheap shock value.

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    143. I mean, I love Castle-Hughes, and the acting wasn’t bad.
      The scene was a bad intro in that it introduced three new medium characters. But we did get what they are about. Obara is strong, Nymeria thinks, Tyene is… a little mini Ellaria, but if they play up the Faith aspect of poisoning aspect then that is ok.

      Judging by a single intro, especially that intro feels a little harsh to me.

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    144. KG:
      Chad Brick,

      Because he was an old guy and people – especially in GoT – die in pointless, futile ways all the time.

      Which show have you been watching, Once Upon a Time?

      My favorite book of last year ended with the protagonist dying a futile death. This technique can work wonderfully with the right set up. We did not get this with Selmy.

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    145. ZappaCreed: Can Doran send guys to take The Black? Bronn would be welcome at The Wall.

      He probably could send people to the Wall, but Dorne has a prison called Ghaston Grey, where a lot of it’s criminals are sent. It’s on an island, and is basically Song of Ice and Fire’s version of Azkaban, or Alcatraz for that matter.

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    146. Re: Selmy,

      Yeah it might sound odd but if they weren’t going to have him at Daznaks then it would be a good nod to him running out to distract Drogon

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    147. Also, could Arya saving Mace from Meryn be a way to bring her back from Braavos? Obviously Mace will have no idea who she is, but if he grants her a boon blah blah and she asks for the ship to White Harbour/whereever could this be a viable way for her to get back?

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    148. Ghost’s Lunch:
      One last thing, I didn’t quite like the forehead tattoos of the Faith Militant, they are portraying them too much as a cult, rather than a military branch of a major societal institution, eg with a Knight class and an infantry class as in the books

      The sparrows are revolutionaries yes but at the same time the Sept vs Red Keep is an example of two institutions vying for power. This is too much of a modern cynical take on religion.

      Oh but Edward II of England was annoyed that Thomas-a-Beckett wasn’t his “yes” man and uttered some loose words which led to Thomas’ death. I’d say there have been problems between church and state throughout history.

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    149. Sansa:

      Step 1: Marry Ramsay and consolidate the Bolton hold on the North
      Step 2: Steal underpants
      Step 3: Undermine the Bolton’s

      Roose:

      Step 1: Piss in the face of the crown by marrying Sansa to my psycho son.
      Step 2: Steal underpants
      Step 3: Consolidate my hold on the North and defeat Stannis!

      Littlefinger, to Sansa:

      Hey, babe. Why don’t you marry into the family that murdered your own and get Revenge (by stealing underpants). Don’t worry, Stannis is going to kick their rear ends, so you don’t have to worry about the Boltons murdering you as soon as you squirt out an heir. And that Ramsay guy? Someone flayed all my friends in the north, so I haven’t heard much about him, but he seems nice!

      Of course this is all moot, because everyone knows The Mannis is coming and the Boltons will go down faster than one of my whores. Don’t worry about all the rumours you hear about Stannis being a stickler for the law and burning traitors at the stake. He’ll love you when you reveal your underpants plan to him! Just don’t forget to document all your moves…anyway, good luck kid. Cersei called, and I’m jetpacking down to King’s Landing. Trust me, you’ll be fine on your own. Hmmm….hope Cersei hasn’t heard about me traipsing about the countryside with you…. ta ta!

      Ramsay: Oh, a new toy to torture. Good, I was getting bored.

      ……………

      Sadly, Ramsay has the most rational plan of the bunch.

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    150. This is a confirmation that Barristan WILL die at the siege of mereen in twow… You can also see he is dead in the trailer for ep 5

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    151. Will start of by saying that was far the best episode of the season so far. After a rather pedestrian start the show is firing on all cylinders again.
      The faith militant have unsettled things in KL which is good as it was beginning to be far too calm there. Cersei coming up with the idea for the FM is a change from the books but doesn’t really matter much as everyone blames her for their rise anyway and that she is using it to try and get at the Tyrells makes perfect sense. Having them arrest Loras instead of Marg makes the plot a lot simpler too which works for a TV audience. Feel sorry for poor Tommen who really hasn’t got a clue what’s going on around him. The ominous presence of these religious zealots has probably been one of the strong points of the season so far for me. There’s nothing more terrifying in it’s unwillingness to compromise than someone who believes they have the support of a divine power. Special mention to Mace and awkwardly awful jokes. Great stuff from the David Brent of Westeros.
      Enjoying Jaime and Bronn’s road trip although I’ll be amazed if Bronn gets out of Dorne alive with the way they’re talking. Also did we see some foreshadowing of how Jaime may eventually meet his end? The fight scene was fun and was good to see Jaime isn’t completely useless when it comes to a dust up now.
      The Sand Snakes? Too early to tell. They still seem quite cartoony to me and the accents grate a bit but I’ll give them more time. Was a very abrupt introduction to them and at the moment they just feel like Ellaria’s goon squad.
      Tyrion and Jorah was short but sweet. Tyrion seems to be getting his humourous side back a bit.
      And to Winterfell, where the story still makes little sense to me. If Littlefinger intends to ultimately side with Stannis then why has he placed her with the Boltons where she is in danger. Surely it would have made a lot more sense to wait in the safety of the Vale and then side with the victor as opposed to throw her into the middle of it and then side with the victor! I sense that the main story reason for moving her up there is for a particularly unsavoury scene which, if it happens, I’m not opposed to but it’s a rather contrived way of getting her there. What was good was some more info on the Rhaegar and Lyanna story which is sorely needed.
      The Wall is as stronger story as ever. Jon blowing off Mel was good for his character development ( although the Jon Snuh bit was awful corny) as was seeing the more caring side of Stannis (If Brienne ends up killing him …I swear!). I predict Shireen

      may take the role of Mance’s baby and Sam and Gilly going to Oldtown

      and taking her too out of Mel’s clutches could still be on the cards (Jaime mentioning Oldtown could be a way of easing it into the viewer’s consciousness?).
      To Mereen and it looks like we’ve said goodbye to Barry and Wormy. It’s a shame as Selmy was just starting to come into his own with the warnings about the Mad King and stories about Rhaegar. In the fight scene he was majestic so if he’s gone then it was one hell of a way to go. So…are they alive or dead? Barristan took a knife to the leg, back and stomach as far as I could see. Enough to kill yes but I hesitate to completely rule out him living as he was saved from the throat slit (be a weird thing to add in if he is dead…although may have just been used to keep the ending a cliffhanger . Although GreyWorm seemed in better nick (conscious at least momentarily) that stab wound into his upper rib cage is going to do some serious damage. I think he’ll survive long enough to at least have some interaction with Missandei. I reckon they’ll use their deaths in this scene to foreshadow

      Jon getting stabbed as will add more doubt over him surviving as we’ve already seen two characters die from multiple stab wounds.

      Shall keep my fingers crossed but it appears a lot of good characters could be dying this season which is a real worry because as great as this episode was the show will suffer long term without them.

      EDIT: It appears EW doesn’t want the show to finish on cliffhangers so took matters into their own hands. Great work, guys…seriousley.

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    152. I really, really liked this episode until that last scene.

      Barristan Selmy deserved a better death than what D&D gave him. I just hate how they did it.

      I wasn’t too fond of the King’s Landing stuff, and Melisandre going nude again was boring and eyeroll-inducing, but the rest of the episode was pretty good.

      I loved Shireen & Stannis (made me cry), Sansa & Littlefinger (Sophie and Aidan are a joy to watch), and all the Rhaegar stuff!

      Stannis’ comment about Ned, together with all the other R+L=J hints made me giddy!

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    153. Maelina,

      100 % agreed. Grey Worm got all the good bits, but Selmy was rushed, he takes down like what, 5 dudes, and then gets stabbed in the most comical and cringy way imaginable…

      I’m not mad about his death, I’m just mad about how they managed to fail so miserably at one of the biggest cliffhangers of the season.

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    154. What are Littlefingers end motives?

      I mean the man has no children. Any power or wealth he might acquire will be lost if he slips on a banana peel and brakes his neck?

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    155. after 3 surprisingly good episodes, i felt this one was more in line with what i expected season 5 might be like, there was a bit too much going off book and action for the sake of for my liking.
      That said, i still enjoyed it, just not as much as the others. I like how they were integrating Rhaegar into the story a bit more, Stannis continued to get a bit more positive portayal in this season, and whilst i may have had my issues with sticking some of those fight scenes in there in the first place, they were actually very enjoyable, particularly like how we finally got to see how badass barristan is, even if it meant he dies.
      Think Grey Worm will survive, but think they will kill off barristan, which is a shame cos he still had a lot of stuff to do in the books, and he deserved to be promoted to a bit more than a minor character. Guess his role in the books from this point will probably be filled by Jorah or Tyrion, since Danaerys seems to encounter them earlier than in the books.
      Also, i agree sand snakes didnt bring a great first response, i’d worried that they might seem a bit to much like something out of a bad action movie, but to be fair though they kind of seemed a bit like that it wasnt nearly to the same extent as i thought that it would be. Look forward to seeing more of them in next few episodes, to get a better feel for what there characters are all about.

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    156. TheTouchOfFrost:
      And to Winterfell, where the story still makes little sense to me. If Littlefinger intends to ultimately side with Stannis then why has he placed her with the Boltons where she is in danger. Surely it would have made a lot more sense to wait in the safety of the Vale and then side with the victor as opposed to throw her into the middle of it and then side with the victor! I sense that the main story reason for moving her up there is for a particularly unsavoury scene which, if it happens, I’m not opposed to but it’s a rather contrived way of getting her there.

      A nice summary: I think Sansa in Winterfell makes sense in terms of overall shape of narrative: it reduces the number of locations and – especially with Brienne and team Stannis on their way – sets up very interesting confrontations in the latter part of the season.

      It does not work (at least for me) in terms of Littlefinger’s motivations and makes him come across as incompetent gambler – as opposed to the competent gambler he is supposed to be.

      However, we know very little about Harry the heir in the books so far. If GRRM wrote him to be yet another monster, then merging him with Ramsay is a good move from D&D.

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    157. Yung Wolf:
      “Even now, I could cut through the five of you like carving a cake!”

      It’s still real to me, damnit. I can’t believe they did Barry like that.

      And it’s an even bigger mindfuck because he’s going to be a POV in TWoW.

      Total mindfuck. With the stroke of a pen Selmy’s legendary status as well as the Unsullied’s has been made completely irrelevant. Yea, yea, yea I get it, they were outnumbered. Outnumbered by Sons of the Harpy. c’mon.

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    158. TheTouchOfFrost:
      .And to Winterfell, where the story still makes little sense to me. If Littlefinger intends to ultimately side with Stannis then why has he placed her with the Boltons where she is in danger.

      And what if Stannis loose?

      Why is Sansa in danger with the Boltons? Because of fArya? This is different story. Why would Ramsey hurt her? What is his motive?

      Boltons need Stark name.

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    159. biobi: Total mindfuck.With the stroke of a pen Selmy’s legendary status as well as the Unsullied’s has been made completely irrelevant.Yea, yea, yea I get it, they were outnumbered. Outnumbered by Sons of the Harpy. c’mon.

      As several people have said, the Unsullied are the best and most disciplined heavy infantry in GRRMverse. They are trained fight in a shield wall and with spears in tight formation. The harpies removed this advantage by ambushing them in confined space. It made complete sense.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heavy_infantry

      I guess I would have liked to see Selmy kick some more ass, however.

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    160. Anyone else want a scene where Reek visits the Godswood for the first time and discovers what’s left of Maester Luwin’s body still leaning up against the Weirwood tree where he died? He doesn’t realise who it is at first, but then sees the maester’s chain around his neck. He never saw what happened to Luwin, so this would be a fresh upsetting revelation for him, and his reaction would imply the first hints of him fighting back towards his Theon persona. Then the scene cuts to him watching as Ramsay and Sansa are married later that day in the exact same spot where Luwin’s body was.

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    161. Selmy….

      1) Had no armor.
      2) Is old.
      3) Was outnumbered.

      Selmy getting killed makes complete sense. That is much more realistic then book Selmy. What boxing and the UFC have taught us is that once a fighter gets older, their reflexes go quickly and they are never the same. This concept of Selmy still being invincible is a joke in a “realistic” world.

      I noticed a few people bringing up the line about Selmy thinking he can still kill 5 King’s Guard at a time. That does not contradict the story. Older fighters always think they can still compete and dominate their younger counterparts.

      The show even set up his downfall a few seasons ago when Tywin mentioned that Selmy’s name still carried weight in the 7 kingdoms. Notice he didn’t say he was still a great fighter. Selmy was just a name by that age.

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    162. One cannot really blame EW for spoiling Barristan’s death. The preview for the next episode confirms it, as does the HBO viewers guide. So it’s really HBO that’s ruining the cliffhanger here.

      Also, if you look at the pictures in the viewers guide, it seems like a scene in the library between Gilly and Sam was cut for some reason. Shame it wasn’t included, given this episode is only 51 minutes long.

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    163. mau: And what if Stannis loose?

      Why is Sansa in danger with the Boltons? Because of fArya? This is different story.

      Even if you buy the ridiculous idea that LF doesn’t know that Ramsay has been flaying and torturing people for years now (in both the books and on TV), it is pretty obvious that Roose has no incentive to keep Sansa around any longer that it takes to produce an heir. She is a ticking time bomb from the Bolton perspective.

      With the TV plan, either the Boltons win (unlikely) in which she had a likely short and definitely miserable life, or Stannis wins (likely), in which her chances of being burned as a traitor at least as big as those of her winning Stannis’s favor.

      In contrast, she and LF could use the army of the Vale (which they control on TV but not in the books), all but ensuring a Stannis victory, or could go direct to Stannis and make an offer similar to the one that Jon turned down. If Stannis had superior forces as LF claims, this would also ensure his victory.

      The two plans I have outlined are complementary and could easily be done together. The result is the complete destruction of the Boltons and Freys, and a disintegration of the crown’s power from the Riverlands north. Both of these are desired by LF (He certainly doesn’t want The Wheel to stop on “Tommen”, and he too wants to avenge Cat), and it is a better state for both Sansa and Stannis than their current state. Most importantly, the risks are low at this stage. Why take a risky route to Stannis’s graces when their is a clear one?

      And why would Ramsay hurt her? Why does a psychopath do anything? Trust me, he IS going to hurt her, and Roose should know this.

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    164. biobi,

      How about we rejoin the real world for a second. That was a great fight scene for an older actor. Did you expect freaking wire-work, or something? Some John Woo slide across the floor while doves fly around?

      God almighty, you people are so annoying.

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    165. TheTouchOfFrost,

      EDIT: It appears EW doesn’t want the show to finish on cliffhangers so took matters into their own hands. Great work, guys…seriousley.

      It appears HBO feels the same way considering they confirmed him dead in the preview for episode 5.

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    166. I like Mel and Jon scene together. Mel has killer boob /spoiler>, haha!
      Mel looks gorgeous in that purple dress.

      I also think Grey Worm /spoiler> is the actor who get pissed reading the script.

      I need to learn how to put spoilers

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    167. Hodor’s Bastard:
      Vallug Bowbeast,

      I’ll accept the vengeful Ellaria (exhibiting a different sort of passion from last season, I guess) but the context and her statements don’t really work for me.

      Same here. Maybe its the dialogue. In an ideal world, it might have helped to have a scene in between Oberyn’s death and her confrontation with Doran. I want to see how they integrate Doran and his plans into these crazy Ellaria/Sand Snakes plots before I complain too much.

      Is Varys looking for Tyrion? Does he head back to KL? I wonder if he makes a stop in Dorne.

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    168. Chad Brick: Even if you buy the ridiculous idea that LF doesn’t know that Ramsay has been flaying and torturing people for years now (in both the books and on TV), it is pretty obvious that Roose has no incentive to keep Sansa around any longer that it takes to produce an heir. She is a ticking time bomb from the Bolton perspective.

      LOL, you think that lords from the North will stand by the Boltons if they kill Sansa in WF?

      If King in the North didn’t know about Ramsey, why would LF? And even if he knew, you think he is concerned about Sansa’s happiness?

      With the TV plan, either the Boltons win (unlikely) in which she had a likely short and definitely miserable life, or Stannis wins (likely), in which her chances of being burned as a traitor at least as big as those of her winning Stannis’s favor.

      Stannis didn’t want to burn Mance, why would he burn daughter of man who proved that he is “one true king”?

      In contrast, she and LF could use the army of the Vale (which they control on TV but not in the books), all but ensuring a Stannis victory, or could go direct to Stannis and make an offer similar to the one that Jon turned down. If Stannis had superior forces as LF claims, this would also ensure his victory.

      Why would LF spend army from the Vale if he have Stannis’s army and lords from the North to fight for Sansa? And he don’t want Cersei to find out. Not yet. If he come with an army it would be obvious.

      And why would Ramsay hurt her? Why does a psychopath do anything? Trust me, he IS going to hurt her, and Roose should know this.

      It doesen’t make sense in the books and it wouldn’t make sense in the show.

      I want Roose and Ramsey to be characters and not evil orcs, like in the books.

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    169. TheTouchOfFrost,

      I sense that the main story reason for moving her up there is for a particularly unsavoury scene which, if it happens, I’m not opposed to but it’s a rather contrived way of getting her there.

      What scene are you referring to?

      Maybe I am wrong but it sounds like you are referring to the after wedding scene with Ramsay Jeyne and Theon. I’m not sure why anyone would assume D&D’s main reason for combing these storylines is so they can have Sansa being violated by Ramsay Botlon. Than again maybe misinterpreted what you where implying.

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    170. With Barristan dead and Grey Worm possibly dead/out of action, I think Jorah and Tyrion’s chances of a better welcome than instant beheading have risen sharply. Following Mossador’s execution, Dany only has Daario and Missandei left to advise her, that’s not enough. Especially as Missandei doesn’t speak up much, and Dany refuses to heed Daario’s occasionally sound advice, like about the fighting pits.

      100% confirmation that Littlefinger has no clue about Ramsay. Shiver.

      That final fight had thrilling moments but felt a bit flat for me, not sure why. But I’m glad they were realistic and didn’t make Barristan into Yoda.
      And after raising my eyebrows in disbelief at the Unsullied being taken out so easily, I reflected, as some other people here seem to have, that being the best on the battlefield doesn’t translate as being the best in a street fight. Follows on from Daario irritating Grey Worm by saying they’re too conspicuous and don’t think like average men, which turns into a weakness. T’was true.

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    171. KG: to

      100‰ This. Besides it looked like there was pretty extensive use of a stunt double. I know not everyone can do it, but if you going to cut legendary Knights, the actors who can’t actually fight themselves are going to be easy targets.

      As with a lot of deviations, it seems most people’s problem is actually deviating from the source material, and probably spoiling what will happen to characters.

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    172. The Bastard:
      Selmy….

      1) Had no armor.
      2) Is old.
      3) Was outnumbered.

      Selmy getting killed makes complete sense.That is much more realistic then book Selmy.What boxing and the UFC have taught us is that once a fighter gets older, their reflexes go quickly and they are never the same.This concept of Selmy still being invincible is a joke in a “realistic” world.

      You make a fair point – Selmy’s fight was realistic, or even unrealistic in favor of Selmy. However, like every fantasy I can think of, GoT is loaded with Jedis – people that appear invincible until, perhaps, they are killed (usually by another Jedi or something completely random….there is little middle-ground here). GoT Jedis include Jorah, Daario and Grey Worm (at Yunkai), Jon, Styr, Ygritte and Tormund (at Castle Black), and Bronn in the latest episode, among many others.

      Selmy’s death was not lame by realistic standards. It was lame by the show’s standards and that set by virtually all fantasy and sci-fi.

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    173. I will admit. It sucks that we won’t get Barristan’s epic Battle of Fire speech from TWOW. Thay was one of his finest moments. We still have the books to enjoy moments like these however which is one of the reasons I’m not worried of the show surpassing the books.

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    174. Queenofthrones:

      Meanwhile, if Stannis wins, and he has a Stark heiress kneeling directly in front of him, explaining how she worked to undermine the Boltons’ defense of the castle (and maybe drove the knife into Ramsey’s heart herself), it seems obvious he’d name her Lady of WF. On the other hand, if Sansa rode in at the last minute with the likes of Littlefinger riding beside her, I seriously doubt he’d accept her claim to Winterfell, for fear of Sansa being LF’s puppet. He’d rather hold the castle himself in that case

      I just don’t think the scenario will happen. Stannis will not accept Sansa as Warden. She’s been married to a Lannister, and then a Bolton, and is associated with Littlefinger in the Vale. All acts of a traitor. Plus, she’s a girl.

      Littlefinger assumes Stannis can be manipulated (Melisandre the exception), and he’ll be wrong. Like he’s wrong about the Boltons. Littlefinger, like Cersei, has become overconfident and finally made major mistakes.

      If Stannis wins the battle of Winterfell, he’ll look for/bring Rickon. He’ll follow the male primogeniture code and search for the closest male Stark relative.

      And Stannis, you big stubborn oaf. Why can’t you talk to others like you talk to your daughter? You wouldn’t need Rh’llor to find support if you did. Great scene.

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    175. I was bit worried when i heard Dave Hill joined writers as reward for his “briliant” Olly idea. This episode had some nice scenes, but overall it was bit mess. It was very short episode with 2 long fights and 4! expositions. Now three of those expositions were not so bad itself, but to have four of them in one episode was too much.

      Sand Snakes introduction was very bad, they should introduce them like in the books during their confrontation with Doran. That chapter introduced 5 characters (SS+Doran and Areo) nicely. And not only the introduction was weak, it was obviously cut at half from the original leaked Obara´s audition, which left Nym and Tyene not introduced at all. It remembered me on Yara´s Dreadfort scene in sense that it was rushed, weirdly cut and edited. It was a bad job from the writer and possibly the director, it is stupid to blame actresses who had either 5 words each or ridiculously out of the place monoloque.

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    176. Arya’s storyline from the books is an entire book of becoming “no one”. Every day the same questions, every day the same responses. I hope they change that on the show to go beyond the books or it will be a slow seadon for her.

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    177. GaiusB,

      Yeah, the exposition stuff was my biggest issue with this episode. It reminded be of the worst aspect of the early season 1 episodes, so many exposition scenes of characters rambling on about the past.

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    178. Yellow,

      Cersei sends Meryn Trant and Made Tyrell to Bravos so it looks like we are getting Arya’s Mercy chapter. I also hope we get to see her as the blind girl

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    179. mau: LOL, you think that lords from the North will stand by the Boltons if they kill Sansa in WF?

      LOL, you think the northern lords will follow Roose just because he holds Sansa prisoner and Ramsay is trying to pump an heir into her when he is not busy flaying people over tax disputes?

      In the books, Roose has the numbers, the backing of the crown, and numerous hostages (often held by the Freys or Lannisters). In the show he literally has none of this because he insanely spit in the face of the crown, while D&D put they Freys on the rowboat with Gendry.

      “If King in the North didn’t know about Ramsey, why would LF?”

      Then is not now. You can’t rule by terror in secret.

      “And even if he knew, you think he is concerned about Sansa’s happiness?”

      He may or may not be. Either way, LFs plan makes no sense even he doesn’t care a whit about her. If Stannis is going to win, why pretend to back the loser, and forsake his title to Harrenhall while he is at it? It’s not possible to keep this marriage from the crown.

      “Stannis didn’t want to burn Mance, why would he burn daughter of man who proved that he is “one true king”?”

      You need ask why Stannis would burn someone who sided with his enemy? The fact that her father supported would make it worse, not better.

      “Why would LF spend army from the Vale if he have Stannis’s army and lords from the North to fight for Sansa?”

      There would be no “spending”. The Vale would obliterate the Freys.

      “And he don’t want Cersei to find out. Not yet.”

      There is no way she won’t find out that Sansa is married to Ramsay, and keeping his involvement hidden is implausible given how many people have seen them together.

      ” If he come with an army it would be obvious.”

      It would also be successful, as opposed to the current plan, which is likely to fail.

      “It doesen’t make sense in the books and it wouldn’t make sense in the show.”

      It’s almost impossible to even compare, as the relative military strength of every faction is different between the two. This is precisely why the plots cannot be the same either.

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    180. Dutch maester:
      Also, if you look at the pictures in the viewers guide, it seems like a scene in the library between Gilly and Sam was cut for some reason. Shame it wasn’t included, given this episode is only 51 minutes long.

      I’d guess it was moved to Episode 5 for whatever reason. Maybe it fits there better thematically.

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    181. Flora Linden: I just don’t think the scenario will happen. Stannis will not accept Sansa as Warden. She’s been married to a Lannister, and then a Bolton, and is associated with Littlefinger in the Vale. All acts of a traitor. Plus, she’s a girl.

      Littlefinger assumes Stannis can be manipulated (Melisandre the exception), and he’ll be wrong. Like he’s wrong about the Boltons. Littlefinger, like Cersei, has become overconfident and finally made major mistakes.

      The fact that a plan won’t happen doesn’t mean it’s not a good plan. I seriously doubt etierh of LF scenarios will come to pass. However, I think the idea with Stannis is really LF’s only chance of getting in good with him while retaining the possibility of playing both sides should he lose.

      LF will be no where in sight, and if she’s smart, Sansa can even claim that she had little choice in the matter, as with the Tyrion marraige. Everyone knows that Sansa’s marraige to Tyrion was forced, so it’s hardly far-fetched.

      Also not sure LF’s “wrong” about the Boltons, even if he doens’t know Ramsey is a psycho killer. I think he’s correct about Roose. With Ramsey, remains to be seen, but there is a chance that Ramsey really won’t hurt her – certainly Roose would not want him to harm Sansa until their hold on the north is secure for risk of open rebellion. And if anyone can control Ramsey, it’s Roose.

      If Stannis wins the battle of Winterfell, he’ll look for/bring Rickon. He’ll follow the male primogeniture code and search for the closest male Stark relative.
      And Stannis, you big stubborn oaf. Why can’t you talk to others like you talk to your daughter? You wouldn’t need Rh’llor to find support if you did. Great scene.

      Rickon is known to be dead by everyone except Theon, Ramsey, and Roose. Jon and Sam know that Bran was alive and headed north awhile ago – perhaps, I suppose, Stannis could learn of this from Jon, but it seems unlikely now that he is headed out. In any case, Littlefinger believes they are dead as in the books, which is all that is really needed for it to make sense as a plan.

      It seems to be that Show!Stannis is not (vaguely) sexist like his book counterpart is. In any case, if all the hosues save the Targaryens in general follow the Sisters-before-Uncles rule, so if he’s going to be Mr. rules, he’s going to favor Sansa. And there really isn’t anyone to inherit after Ned’s Kids – you have to go out to like 3rd cousins or something. I think even Book!Stannis despite his weirdness with women would favor Sansa if he thought all of Ned’s kids were dead.

      Either Stannis would prefer a legitimized Jon have the north, but that’s because of their (adorable) father-son dynamic, and that ship has sailed.

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    182. mariamb:

      Is Varys looking for Tyrion? Does he head back to KL? I wonder if he makes a stop in Dorne.
      I assume they will soon indicate where Varys is heading (west!) after handing off Tyrion to Jorah. That “hand-off” was totally planned in book and show. Hopefully Varys is not the new Blackfish…and reappears sooner than later.

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    183. Queenofthrones,

      I hope you’re right about Sansa becoming Warden. I actually think she would be the best choice. We’ll see what happens with Stannis. Perhaps with victory he’ll be generous and more understanding.

      Still, I do think Littlefinger has become dangerously overconfident. His earlier successes made him believe all his schemes will never go wrong. Given this show, something unexpected might derail everything.

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    184. Chad Brick: LOL, you think the northern lords will follow Roose just because he holds Sansa prisoner and Ramsay is trying to pump an heir into her when he is not busy flaying people over tax disputes?

      Yes.

      In the books, Roose has the numbers, the backing of the crown, and numerous hostages (often held by the Freys or Lannisters). In the show he literally has none of this because he insanely spit in the face of the crown, while D&D put they Freys on the rowboat with Gendry.

      And that is why he need Sansa and don’t want to hurt her.

      He may or may not be. Either way, LFs plan makes no sense even he doesn’t care a whit about her. If Stannis is going to win, why pretend to back the loser, and forsake his title to Harrenhall while he is at it? It’s not possible to keep this marriage from the crown.

      And if Stannis loose?

      You need ask why Stannis would burn someone who sided with his enemy? The fact that her father supported would make it worse, not better.

      LOL

      So, Stannis will kill Sansa and give WF to whom? Davos?

      There is no way she won’t find out that Sansa is married to Ramsay, and keeping his involvement hidden is implausible given how many people have seen them together.

      She will find out, but LF don’t want that now.

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    185. Greyworm has a scene with melissandre in the trailer we have not seen yet. I don’t think he’s dead.
      Lots of greyscale/stonemen exposition, and lots of Raeghar history. Good. Good.
      Love how they are handling Kings Landing.

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    186. What if Mel seduced Jon Snow to get a shadow “son” who could infiltrate Winterfell and kill the Boltons just like Stannis’ shadow “son” did at Storm’s End. There were too many talks about “sons” right before that scene between Selyse and Stannis and again Melisandre asking Jon Snow to help them infiltrate Winterfell inthe next scene. Just a thought

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    187. Couple of things: the episode clocked in at 51 minutes, and previews, someone up here mentioned, contained an additional scene with the Sand Snakes- could it be that upon reviewing and or editing the episode sometime over the last few weeks that D&D cut out parts of the Sand Snakes’ scenes because they weren’t good enough? I suspect so. On Winterhell and Wittlefinger: seems to me that even if Stannis get to Winterhell, considering that he’s stuck in the snow somewhere outside Winterhell in the books, Roose could in the blink of an eye turn the tables on him, by flipping Sansa’s status from daughter in law to hostage, would Stannis consider not attacking then? And while he besieges Winterhell, Roose would considerate the north by cementing alliances, after his loco son’s marriage and bring up reinforcements from the south. Wittlefinger, meanwhile meets Olena and brings down Ceresi, which we know will follow in the books, then what? The Tyrells won’t send him back up north, how will be end up heading back to Sansa. No fear, I think Sansa will probably handle the abuse from loco Ramsey better than expected, if they get to the marriage stage in the first place- expecting that to happen nonetheless. And I doubt that the hostage will be harmed. No way Roose isn’t prepared for Stannis to march- but is Wittlefinger? On Selmy: it was waste of an exceptional actor to off his character so quickly, just like it was a waste of Cirian Hinds, but such are the compromises that it seems must be made. Ah well… On to the Bronn and Jamie roadshow- kinda like Pat and Mike- the Irish will get that one- I loved the interaction and the fight- totally kicked by Jamie’s new use for golden hands. A maimed vet and an unmaimed get heading out for a supposedly covert mission, no they won’t be killed, they’ll be hostages to be traded for something larger down the line- though Bronn either way isn’t as valuable as Jamie. Poor wee king- wide eyed and bushy tailed and being harried by the two Queens.

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    188. Chad Brick,

      Just as “cheap”. The dragons broke themselves out in your scenario and Selmy still dies but ironically and futily at the talons of the creatures he was trying to save. You just substituted dragons for unsullied with a MUCH bigger special effects budget (which should answer your own question).

      Again, the Bronn-Jaime conversation. It frames the episode. This is Westeros. If you think this has a happy ending you haven’t been paying attention. Getting bent out of shape over an extremely cool yet ultimately minor character’s demise not being “grand enough” is ridiculous and unfair and ridiculously unfair.

      He kicked some ass. It will spur Dany into some sort of action (we know which). And leave a void in leadership as another advisor leaves her service (bad timing for Jorah!)

      They could have always just killed him off-screen between seasons after this one. He clearly has no more major role to play.

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    189. Chad Brick,

      Chad Brick: My favorite book of last year ended with the protagonist dying a futile death. This technique can work wonderfully with the right set up. We did not get this with Selmy.

      The “point” of a “pointless” death is that there IS no point. There SHOULDNT be a “setup”.

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    190. Shireen is in trouble.

      Mel says “She has her fathers blood” and then Selyse gives her a crazy look

      Also LF kisses Sansa on the mouth…

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    191. silent sister: What if Mel seduced Jon Snow to get a shadow “son” who could infiltrate Winterfell and kill the Boltons

      I was thinking this too, and it’s interesting because if they somehow explained this in the show, that would change how people viewed Melisandre a lot. If you ignore the obvious fact that she burns people (given its not something she necessary enjoys doing or is actually malicious about, it’s just part of her belief system), the seed of people’s hate for her is the fact that she birthed a ‘child of light’, what we view as a ‘shadow demon’, that killed Renly (who didn’t really deserve it).
      But in killing Renly this way, she prevented the pointless deaths of thousands in the potential battle between Renly’s army and Stannis’ army.

      So, if she offered to do the same thing for Jon, enabling him to kill Roose and avenge his family without even having to leave Castle Black, break any vows he hasn’t already broken, or risk the deaths of lots of loyal Northmen, isn’t that her doing a good thing? She’s not just seducing him because she’s bored or to be controlling. She’s actually offering him a very preferable solution to the Winterfell issue, and saving Stannis a bunch of grief too. The problem is, it just happens to be a plan involving a ‘demon shadow baby’, which is why we automatically misconstrue it as ‘evil’, and assume she’s up to something nefarious, when she’s really just sexually open and pragmatic.

      This is why I get confused when people think she’s going to burn Shireen. Why is that a conclusion people are jumping, too, just because Shireen has royal blood? All Melisandre said was ‘the Lord of Light has need of her at the Wall’, and people assume that means it’s princess-roasting time.
      For starters, Stannis would never allow it. Secondly, Stannis claiming the throne is pointless without an heir. And thirdly, why does the Lord of Light have to need Shireen for something malicious?
      Maybe Melisandre can see that, as evidenced in this episode, Shireen is the only thing that keeps Stannis compassionate and capable of love. The main reason people refused to accept Stannis, even though he’s technically the rightful king, is because he’s seen as cold, harsh and wooden. Which is fair enough, he is somewhat awkward and austere when it comes to human interaction, and that’s something important for him to work on. So if Melisandre left the ‘tinman’s heart’ back at Dragonstone, she’d have nothing to balance him and keep him human. I would have thought that’s obviously why she wanted Shireen there.

      Man, I really hope she doesn’t burn Shireen now that I’ve said all that.

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    192. mau:
      And if Stannis loose?

      Then wait and see what happens. There’s zero logical reason to go to Winterfell right now, except that the writers want Sansa to replace Jeyne Poole.

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    193. They told us that we would see Selmy kicking some ass with his tekkers and as much as he was amazing at the end, I was kind of hoping that he would be given a more memorable end. Absolutely fuckin crying man.

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    194. JamesL,

      That is exactly what I took away from that as well. Qyburn seems to know this as well, based on the smirk he gets when Mace finds out he gets his own kingsguard.

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    195. People really think Barristan’s end wasn’t grand enough? He’s in his mid-60s and he took down, what, 10, 11, 12 of the guys before going out? The odds would favor almost anybody in their prime losing that battle with the exceptions of Sandor Clegane (likely) and Gregor Clegane (yes, he could handle a dozen). Jaime against 12? He’d lose eventually. Loras? Eddard? Jon Snow? Tormund Giantsbane? How many of them would have succumbed to the numbers? Just about all of them. He can’t turn in all those directions at once.

      I’m sorry, but I just don’t agree. Barristan’s valor, dignity and grace were well played on screen with his “eff you” to Joffrey in Season 1, his stab of the manitcore in his big re-intro in Season 3, and a few lovely moments this year talking about Dany’s big brother and her father. I thought they did a great job with his exit, and I found it devastating. You may not like that he’s dead, and that’s fine, but an insufficiently bad-ass death? Pul-lease. Why would he go down burned by the dragons? To me that’s a much more ignominious, stupid death for a warrior like Barry than actually going down with a sword in hand as he did here.

      All in all, I thought this was a fantastic episode – the best “fourth” episode other than “And Now His Watch Is Ended,” and the show has now turned in 3 terrific-to-excellent episodes early in the season that build character, give us great drama and wonderful discussions and effectively streamline the plotting of the 2 books.

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    196. Schrödinger’s Cat: So if Melisandre left the ‘tinman’s heart’ back at Dragonstone, she’d have nothing to balance him and keep him human. I would have thought that’s obviously why she wanted Shireen there

      That’s an interesting idea. Like you, I’m dubious on the idea that Shireen is just a sacrifice in waiting for the exact reasons you listed.

      I’m also going to pitch my theory again that

      Melisandre was responsible for saving Shireen’s life. Stannis was slightly vague about who and what prevented the spread of Shireen’s greyscale. Mentioning how he summoned healers from across the realm would tie in brining Melisandre to Dragonstone, and that her subsequent healing of Shireen is what convinced Selyse of the Lord’s power

      On Melisandre and Jon Snow; I think that scene was meant to be the third temptation that Jon has received from Team Dragonstone, who each have tried to lure him away from his responsibilities through methods unique to their character.

      Stannis appealed to Jon’s attachment to his family name by offering to legitimize him and make him a true Stark. It’s not quite honorable to give such an offer to a bastard in exchange for political favors, but it fits in with Stannis’ pragmatic approach to securing power.

      Davos, on the other hand, appeals to Jon’s honor by asking him whether ignoring the plight of the realm is in line with the code of Night’s Watch and how it would weigh on his conscience to leave the North, another of Jon’s earthly attachments, in the hands of tyrants.

      Finally, Melisandre tries to persuade Jon with what she does best: straightforward seduction. Knowing that Jon has had sexual relations makes him, in Melisandre’s mind, more susceptible to the desires of the flesh that one without that same experience.

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    197. Schrödinger’s Cat:

      So, if she offered to do the same thing for Jon, enabling him to kill Roose and avenge his family without even having to leave Castle Black, break any vows he hasn’t already broken, or risk the deaths of lots of loyal Northmen, isn’t that her doing a good thing?

      Who’s to say the shadow baby isn’t meant to kill Stannis? I think she doubted/changed her mind about Stannis the moment she glimpsed Jon in the fires, and whatever she does now will be to elevate Jon, whether Jon wants the attention or not.

      Even though she will accompany Stannis, it’s possible she may leave him if she sees the Winterfell battle goes wrong and head back to the Wall and switch allegiance to Jon, leaving Stannis in the lurch.

      Schrödinger’s Cat:

      The problem is, it just happens to be a plan involving a ‘demon shadow baby’, which is why we automatically misconstrue it as ‘evil’,

      “Demon shadow baby” sounds pretty evil to me. I don’t think Melisandre fully comprehends the powers she is trying to use. It’s opening doors to things the mortal world can’t handle.

      Schrödinger’s Cat:

      But in killing Renly this way, she prevented the pointless deaths of thousands in the potential battle between Renly’s army and Stannis’ army.

      That’s the logical explanation given by Tywin for the Red Wedding. We saw how well that worked for him and his family.

      Now things are in total chaos, and they’ll be plenty of pointless deaths to come as a consequence. Those Baratheon soldiers supposedly saved by Melisandre will die anyway, just later rather than sooner.

      And who knows? Life can be unpredictable. Perhaps the Baratheon brothers were better off battling it out. Maybe it would have dawned in both camps how stupid they were being and led to some compromise down the road.

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    198. Flora Linden,

      I think LF only told Sansa what she needed to hear in order to do what he needs her to do while he’s gone. Parts of what he said were probably true, but I doubt if all of it is true.

      I would imagine LF wants Stanis to sit the Iron Throne about as much as Gendry wants another leech on his crotch.

      Also, getting Sansa married without having her marriage to Tyrion officially annulled/set aside sounds like a good way to make Stanis’ teeth grind.

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    199. silent sister,

      This seemed exceedingly obvious to me, and yet some people here apparently thought Melisandre just wanted to get laid. Stannis’ “fires burn low” or else Jon Snow wouldn’t be needed.

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    200. Chris,

      I don’t think it is that less people are intersted on the season. I don’t know about last night’s episode ratings, but even with the 4-episode leak, ratings for the first three episodes were quite strong.

      Now, if you are getting this idea from the forums, you have to remember that a lot of “sullied” are rapidly turning into unsullied, and so many have less “I know what’s going to happen” stuff to say, except from complaining about the “awful” ways the last bits they know have been adapted, which frankly makes for really boring discussions.

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    201. Durrandon’s Fool,

      I’m of the camp that Littlefinger isn’t telling us everything – that he knows about Ramsay, and that he doesn’t want Stannis or the Boltons to succeed in the long term. We’ll see in the next 6 weeks.

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    202. Greatjon of Slumber,

      It seems that people want him to take out like 30-50 guys in order for it to be sufficiently badass, but it’s pretty absurd. You have a man that’s 70 years old, and not wearing armor, and he still takes out a bunch of guys after running into an ambush. It’s not realistic to think he could’ve taken like thirty guys. As it is, he took out about ten, and that was great. Everything on the TV show is presented in a more realistic fashion than the books- including this. (Well, not the dragons and white walkers. But you know, this sort of thing.) Sometimes ya have to set aside the over-the-top depictions of the books and appreciate what’s onscreen.

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    203. I have been enjoying the season immensly. It’s much better than the previous three seasons so far and it might even beat out season one for me if it keeps on track. And that’s coming from someone who actually thinks AFFC and the majority of ADWD are great.

      Sure, the show will never be the books, but given the fall-out of earlier decisions (both the good and the admittedly much more frequent stupid ones), they are doing a bang-up job this season. The best example imo is the Barristan fight at the end of this episode.

      I love Ser Barry, he’s one of my favourite minor characters (both in the books and in the show, since the actor playing him is great). Personally, I thought his fightscene was great. When he went down, I felt like crying some manly tears.

      Great work all around, but what made me sad and frankly a little bit pissed is that – if he dies there (which I personally don’t doubt) – this has literally been the only time we got to see Ser Barristan fight. And that’s just effin’ sad, because both the character and the audience deserve better.

      Basically, what I’m trying to say here is that the scene in and of itself was pretty damn good, but the show’s poor trackrecord lets it down a bit. Barristan should have fought the Champion of Meereen instead of a two-bit throwaway character like Daario (loath him in the books, find hem pretty boring in the show). And instead of sipping Slaverbay cosmopolitans with Daenerys during the attack on Yunkai, he should have been there, eclipsing the shit out of every other fighter.

      That would have added so much more emotion and weight to this scene. I mean this was Ser Barristan Selmy’s swan song! The man who slew Maelys the Monstrous and ended a war when he was just nineteen and performed so many other legendary feats.

      He truly is the living embodiment of chivalry. And now, to the casual viewer, he will always be that old dude who was in one nice fight. Such a damn shame, viewers should be weeping for him.

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    204. Just my opinion but the more we get into D&D and friends writing original material the more the show loses me. There have been examples of strong writing in the past, a la Robert and Cersei conversation season 1, but idk many plot lines have become nonsensical.
      I.E. LF’s current plan, Jaimie going to Dorne, Tommen and Cersei.
      I mean Unsullied warriors, known to be able to stand wave after wave of dothraki screamers (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z1S7IPj1qCE), killed by the sons of the harpy? in broad day light? Come on now. Then these same untrained gold masks with knives kill the greatest knight alive? (who has decided to disregard ever wearing armor depsite knowing first hand how important it is for a knight) Doesn’t really ring true to me. Seems like trying create drama for drama’s sake rather than fitting into the overall narrative. I understand the need for streamlining and consolidating as the world of ice and fire is too large, but I feel very uneasy with a lot of the changes in this season.

      I probably sound like a complainer, and I know, I know “if you don’t like the show don’t watch it”, but I fear for the last couple of seasons of this show. I think the actors are amazing, I just hope they get good material to work with.

      PS. New to WOTW, so happy I found it. The writers and the community here are the best.

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    205. What a thrilling episode! Great work from first-time writer Dave Hill. It was emotionally rich and included no less than three intense action sequences. Hopefully that will satisfy the people who think, for whatever reason this season has been “too slow”. That’s not a complaint that I’ve ever thought had much tangible support, but I know it’s out there.

      The Wall storyline continues to be the pinnacle of this great season so far. I don’t share Sue’s dislike for the Jon-Melisandre scene: that was actually one of my favorite scenes in the entire episode! Melisandre did lay it on thick – that’s her style. But I liked how Jon eventually found the strength to resist her, and when the Red Woman said the words “You know nothing, Jon Snow,” I got chills.

      Furthermore, I absolutely adored the scene in which Stannis tells Shireen about his efforts to cure her of greyscale and finally showed how much he loves his daughter. I’m a sucker for any scene involving Shireen, and this may have been the best one yet. Kerry Ingram and Stephen Dillane were exceptional. I teared up, and have no problems admitting it. (Also – Stone Men in the ruins of Valyria! I love it. It looks like we might see them as soon as next week, and I can’t wait).

      Speaking of scenes I adored: Sansa in the crypts of Winterfell! That entire sequence was beautifully shot, and Sophie Turner gave a wonderful performance, both on her own and opposite Aidan Gillen once Littlefinger arrived. We’ve been waiting years for the Tourney at Harrenhal to be mentioned on the show, and it did not disappoint. Sansa’s unfavorable view of Rhaegar in that scene paired nicely with Barristan’s much kinder recollection of the Prince later on the episode. I love how they’re slowly starting to unspool the mystery of Rhaegar’s character and his relationship with Lyanna. Of course, it’s not much of a mystery to us, but show-only viewers are now starting to understand just how deep that thread runs.

      Everything involving Jaime and Bronn in Dorne was gold, especially their conversation about death. The line about Jaime wanting to die in the arms of the woman he loves and Bronn very pointedly asking if she wants the same thing is laying the groundwork for Jaime’s eventual split from Cersei. My only quibble with the Dorne storyline in this episode is that the Sand Snakes’ introductory scene felt a little too short. We know from the Obara audition tape and the official photo showing Nym and Tyene arguing while Obara meditates that there was more to that scene. I don’t know why it didn’t make the final cut, but, I would have liked to have seen the interpersonal dynamics of the three sisters before Ellaria arrived. Maybe we’ll get more of that in a later episode. At the very least, I hope that the extended scene appears on the Season 5 DVD.

      I suppose that we have talk about Barristan Selmy’s death. Yes, he died and it’s sad, especially for those readers who didn’t see it coming. But I believe that his death was necessary. I’ve theorized for a long time that Barristan is likely to die during the Battle of Meereen in TWOW, and I think his demise in this episode lends further credence to that speculation. The show almost certainly isn’t doing a full battle of Meereen – it’s being condensed into the Sons of the Harpy insurgency. So Barristan needed to die in a different manner, and while it’s harsh to lose him this early, his death does serve the story in an important way. Dany hasn’t suffered a significant loss in her camp since Season 2 (really Season 1, with all respect to Irri). If Dany and the audience were going to take the Sons seriously as a threat to her and her rule, then they couldn’t just keep slitting the throats of extras. They needed to draw blood, and it needed to hurt. Now they have, and it does. How Dany responds to this devastating blow will drive her story for the rest of the season.

      While I can understand the concerns of those who feel that it wasn’t a fit death for Barristan the Bold, I strongly disagree with people who are saying that he went down too easily. He was one man, unarmored and without allies save for a severely injured Grey Worm. And he still cut down at least a dozen Sons before they finally managed to bring him to his knees. This isn’t Lord of the Rings where the great heroes can carve a swath through hundreds of faceless orcs without getting so much as a scratch. The Sons had him badly outnumbered on a battleground of their choosing, with weapons that were designed for close combat. Even the greatest knight can be overcome when facing such terrible disadvantages. That Barristan lasted as long as he did is a testament to his capabilities as a warrior.

      For that matter, the complaints about the Unsullied going down to easily don’t hold water for me either. The great strengths of the Unsullied have always been their absolute discipline on the field and the way that they can support one another in formation, phalanx-style. Forcing them to patrol the streets in small packs does not cater to those strengths. Individually, they may be exceptionally well-trained soldiers, but they are lightly armored and can be overwhelmed. As Oberyn once said, “Long swords are a bad option in close quarters.” That goes for spears as well.

      On a brighter note, we’ve finally emerged from the shadow of the leaked episodes! Everyone’s back on a level playing field, and my anticipation for the next episode has never been higher.

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    206. Amazing episode, partially because I didn’t watch any preview or got any spoilers this time around (cept for the final scene), but that didn’t matter much because everything else was spectacular. Jon’s scene was complete with Mel’s line from the books, all the Faith stuff was done well, Bronn and Jaime had excellent dialogue and the Sand Snakes seemed pretty cool to me. Stannis’ scene was incredibly touching and I loved Barristan’s story. I think Littlefinger ruined the suspense from the books a bit by being all like “Stannis is gonna come here and win, probably”, but it was cool that he got some praise. Also R+L=J! LF seemed a little too smug during when she said that stuff. As long as Ramsay is still secretly himself, I think the storyline will be fantastic.

      Negatives:
      -I think the fight at the end was badly done, and I think it’s the first time I didn’t like the music during a scene.
      -It should really say Sunspear in the intro…And the picture focused too much on the snake and not enough on the acutal city.

      I love this site, but I’ve found that during the actual season, it’s best to stay away from the comment-section, as well as the site on all days except Monday or Tuesday (before official photos from the next ep arrives). I’m so glad I didn’t watch last week’s preview, it would’ve ruined half of the episode for me.

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    207. Sue the Fury:
      Greatjon of Slumber,
      Everything on the TV show is presented in a more realistic fashion than the books- including this. (Well, not the dragons and white walkers. But you know, this sort of thing.) Sometimes ya have to set aside the over-the-top depictions of the books and appreciate what’s onscreen.

      Yeah, that’s why all the named characters fight without helmets, LF has a jetpack, Sandor is able to chop an armoured man in half at the Blackwater, Jon survives getting his head bashed against an anvill, The Mountain is able to squish Oby’s head like a grape, etc.

      The show is definitely not more realistic. To be fair, the show doesn’t even want to be. It’s only smaller in scale sometimes because they are restricted by a budget.

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    208. Balerion The Cat: http://i.imgur.com/eUL6Zhv.jpg

      Good eye! This is great.

      We were told (in the Stannis-Shireen scene) that the stone men live in the ruins of Valyria. Therefore, Jorah and Tyrion must be sailing by the Valyrian ruins when they spy Drogon flying overhead!

      TorbofThrones: I love this site, but I’ve found that during the actual season, it’s best to stay away from the comment-section

      Truth. Post-epiosde comments are also getting rapidly worse as the season progresses.

      Can some knowledgable book reader please enlighten me: how much Targaryen blood does Shireen have?

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    209. Sue the Fury: Everything on the TV show is presented in a more realistic fashion than the books- including this.

      Really? I doubt Selmy would have been whimsically wandering around Meereen looking for a song to sing (a la Rhaegar) with the city being on high alert because of the Unsullied murders and general unrest after Mossador’s execution. Selmy was amazing in his final moments and his passing is still stunning, but Selmy was a better strategist and self-preservationist than what we saw. 🙁 He will be sorely missed (by us and Dany).

      Another reason to not have the battle of Meereen, I guess.

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    210. Anthony:
      (who has decided to disregard ever wearing armor depsite knowing first hand how important it is for a knight) Doesn’t really ring true to me. Seems like trying create drama for drama’s sake rather than fitting into the overall narrative.

      Out of all the things to nitpick this is a pretty stupid one. Have you ever worn a suit of armour like the one Ser Barristan probably wears in battle? It’s damn uncomfortable, especially in the Meereenese dust and heat. In real life, knights didn’t constantly keep their armour on either. They would don their armour when they expected trouble, not keep it on all the time.

      Jared:
      I suppose that we have talk about Barristan Selmy’s death. Yes, he died and it’s sad, especially for those readers who didn’t see it coming. But I believe that his death was necessary. I’ve theorized for a long time that Barristan is likely to die during the Battle of Meereen in TWOW, and I think his demise in this episode lends further credence to that speculation. The show almost certainly isn’t doing a full battle of Meereen – it’s being condensed into the Sons of the Harpy insurgency. So Barristan needed to die in a different manner, and while it’s harsh to lose him this early, his death does serve the story in an important way. Dany hasn’t suffered a significant loss in her camp since Season 2 (really Season 1, with all respect to Irri). If Dany and the audience were going to take the Sons seriously as a threat to her and her rule, then they couldn’t just keep slitting the throats of extras. They needed to draw blood, and it needed to hurt. Now they have, and it does. How Dany responds to this devastating blow will drive her story for the rest of the season.

      While I can understand the concerns of those who feel that it wasn’t a fit death for Barristan the Bold, I strongly disagree with people who are saying that he went down too easily. He was one man, unarmored and without allies save for a severely injured Grey Worm. And he still cut down at least a dozen Sons before they finally managed to bring him to his knees. This isn’t Lord of the Rings where the great heroes can carve a swath through hundreds of faceless orcs without getting so much as a scratch. The Sons had him badly outnumbered on a battleground of their choosing, with weapons that were designed for close combat. Even the greatest knight can be overcome when facing such terrible disadvantages. That Barristan lasted as long as he did is a testament to his capabilities as a warrior.

      For that matter, the complaints about the Unsullied going down to easily don’t hold water for me either. The great strength of the Unsullied have always been their absolute discipline on the field and the way that they can support one another in formation, phalanx-style. Forcing them to patrol the streets in small packs does not cater to those strengths. Individually, they may be exceptionally well-trained soldiers, but they are lightly armored and can be overwhelmed. As Oberyn once said, “Long swords are a bad option in close quarters.” That goes for spears as well.

      I agree with pretty much everything you said. Especially the bolded part. I though the scene itself was excellent, the only issue I really had with it has to do with the shows trackrecord. Ser Barristan should have been used more before they killed him off, they even passed on some perfect opportunities (battle for Yunkai, battle against the champion of Meereen). That puts a damper on an otherwise excellent scene, which imo could have been much better, if we had seen more of Ser Barry before this fight.

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    211. First, I sympathize with the show’s trials and tribulations. Adapting sub-par material full of new characters going nowhere, and old characters going nowhere, can’t be easy.

      Like:
      Shireen and Stannis
      Barristan’s death–he’s been standing around for a couple of seasons. His death became him.
      The High Sparrow looking harmless, while little sparrows rail on about incest. The scene with Tommen in front of the sept was good. Poor kid.
      Margaery calling granny. Want Diana Rigg back.
      LF’s gamble.

      No Like:
      The Sand Snakes. They were so bad that it was painful to watch them together.
      Mel seducing Jon. It was ridiculous.

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    212. Veltigar: Out of all the things to nitpick this is a pretty stupid one. Have you ever worn a suit of armour like the one Ser Barristan probably wears in battle? It’s damn uncomfortable, especially in the Meereenese dust and heat. In real life, knights didn’t constantly keep their armour on either. They would don their armour when they expected trouble, not keep it on all the time.

      I agree with pretty much everything you said. Especially the bolded part. I though the scene itself was excellent, the only issue I really had with it has to do with the shows trackrecord. Ser Barristan should have been used more before they killed him off, they even passed on some perfect opportunities (battle for Yunkai, battle against the champion of Meereen). That puts a damper on an otherwise excellent scene, which imo could have been much better, if we had seen more of Ser Barry before this fight.

      To disagree with what I said is one thing, its an entirely different thing to call it stupid. Its simply unnecessary. That being said, The Lord Commander of the Queensguard should have armor and should probably wear it while on duty, which is what he was before he nonsensically decided to go singing in the streets of a city he does not know with people who do not speak his language. Not to mention the fact that there are literal assassins for which is aware of trying to kill him and the Unsullied.

      Edit:

      I completely agree with the notion that he was underutilized. I mostly feel this a problem because so much Targaryen back story is now lost.

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    213. Vallug Bowbeast:

      Melisandre was responsible for saving Shireen’s life.

      In show canon maybe, but I’m pretty sure in book canon,

      Melisandre only arrives at Dragonstone for the first time during book 1.

      Flora Linden: Who’s to say the shadow baby isn’t meant to kill Stannis?

      Well, I’m no ‘shadow baby’ expert, but as I interpret it, the baby looks like the father, because it is the father’s desire in a physical form. So the Stannis ‘shadow baby’ killed Renly, because Stannis wanted Renly dead. Therefore a Jon ‘shadow baby’ would only kill Roose, because Jon wants Roose dead. It wouldn’t go after Stannis.

      Flora Linden: “Demon shadow baby” sounds pretty evil to me.

      Exactly, that’s my point. We perceive it as ‘evil’ because it’s black and smoky and because we refer to it with evil-sounding names. But that doesn’t mean it is evil. Melisandre never calls it a ‘demon shadow baby’, she calls it a ‘child of the light’, or just ‘Stannis’ son’. If it looked like a shining, avenging warrior angel of righteousness when it killed Renly for usurping his older brother, would we still think it was evil? Or would we assume the right gods were on Stannis’s side?

      Flora Linden: That’s the logical explanation given by Tywin for the Red Wedding. We saw how well that worked for him and his family.

      Joffrey’s dead because Olenna killed him. Tywin’s dead because Tyrion killed him. Chaos has broken out because the Lannisters are self-destructive. The Red Wedding is indirectly connected at best. If anything, without the Red Wedding, all that would still have happened and to make it worse the war would still be going on.

      Flora Linden: Those Baratheon soldiers supposedly saved by Melisandre will die anyway, just later rather than sooner.

      She didn’t supposedly save them. The battle was going to happen.
      If you saved me from being hit by a car and then the next day I got hit by a bus, that doesn’t mean you didn’t save me the first time.
      Sure soldiers are going to die in battles eventually, but that doesn’t negate Melisandre’s intentions in creating the ‘baby’ to spare them an unnecessary battle. She was probably hoping her actions would mean all of Renly’s men including the Tyrell’s would join Stannis and they’d take King’s Landing and attain peace with relatively bloodless ease. An unpredicted outcome doesn’t change your original intentions.

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    214. Anthony,

      I agree he should have been more prepared. Both the slaves and the slavers want Dany and her people dead. Sons aren’t targeting newly freed slaves but Dany’s Unsullied and sell swords. He’s vulnerable.

      However, there’s a point to his death. In both books and show, Barristan’s purpose is to tell Dany about her dad and brother. He’s already told her more about those two than he ever did in the books, so that’s done.

      In the show, he is also Dany’s Westerosi conscience. With him dead, Dany can go “fire and blood” sooner than she does in the books.

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    215. Sue the Fury:
      Greatjon of Slumber,

      It seems that people want him to take out like 30-50 guys in order for it to be sufficiently badass, but it’s pretty absurd. You have a man that’s 70 years old, and not wearing armor, and he still takes out a bunch of guys after running into an ambush. It’s not realistic to think he could’ve taken like thirty guys. As it is, he took out about ten, and that was great. Everything on the TV show is presented in a more realistic fashion than the books- including this. (Well, not the dragons and white walkers. But you know, this sort of thing.) Sometimes ya have to set aside the over-the-top depictions of the books and appreciate what’s onscreen.

      The thing is we have a show in where knights do not wear helmets or leg armor.

      If he´s on patrol in a semi-hostile city, where is his horse? Where is his full armor and where the f. is his HELMET??????????????????????????????????????????????????

      #fullangermode

      If he was dressed like a knight should be in the books he would go ful Black Knight:

      https://youtu.be/dhRUe-gz690

      on SonsOfHarpy´s asses.

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    216. Maria,

      The only thing we can do is wait and see. Not like my b******* will change anything lol. At least Stannis is still alive, and they are finally making him as likable as he is in the books.

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    217. Anthony: To disagree with what I said is one thing, its an entirely different thing to call it stupid.

      I’m sorry.

      Anthony: That being said, The Lord Commander of the Queensguard should have armor and should probably wear it while on duty, which is what he was before he nonsensically decided to go singing in the streets of a city he does not know with people who do not speak his language. Not to mention the fact that there are literal assassins for which is aware of trying to kill him and the Unsullied.

      A couple of things. First of all does Ser Barristan even have plate armour? I wouldn’t be surprised if doesn’t have it on the show, it’s a pain to transport and it isn’t unreasonable that the Meereenese are unable to make it, given that they don’t seem to have a real armour wearing culture.

      Secondly, the climate in Meereen is a nightmare for someone in armour. It’s terribly hot and dusty. If Ser Barristan wore plate, it would feel like he’s trapped inside a stove. Not the best conditions to stay alert and vigilant. Also, kind of hard to blend in the crowd if he wanted to do so.

      Best to keep light armour, like what he has on. We never see him dress himself, but it’s not unreasonable that underneath his overgarnment he has a quilted tunic and a mail shirt on. Those provide quite adequate protection, without boiling him alive (okay, he should probably dump the leather froc for a silk kaftan or something like that, but still). He could technically keep plate on full time, but it’s definitely not unreasonable for him to wear ligher armour like on the show.

      As to his trip on the streets. Yes, kind of hard to explain, but people do stupid things all the time for nostalgia’s sake. I don’t fault him as much here since it seems a believably stupid spurn-of-the-moment kind of thing. If it was unbelievable stupid (like say the Craster’s keep plot last year), it would be much harder to come to terms with. Plus, so far the Harpy’s have been little more than a nuissance. Soldiers get killed all the time for various reasons, going after one the enemy’s generals on the other hand takes some more panache. This was really the Harpy’s first big move. If GW had been attacked last week, I don’t think Ser Barry would have walked down the streets just as careless.

      Anthony:
      I completely agree with the notion that he was underutilized. I mostly feel this a problem because so much Targaryen back story is now lost.

      I wouldn’t feel to sad about that if I were you. The show wouldn’t really have given us much more fond memories of Rhaegar from Ser Barristan anyway, there’s only so much time to be given to the past. And Tyrion will probably be able to give Daenerys some more Targaryen behind the scenes info if the plot requires it.

      I’m just sad that a genuinely good guy and a very interesting character to boot has gone before he got his due. RIP Ser Barristan the Bold.

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    218. Veltigar,

      I agree that it would have been nice to see Barristan get a few more action scenes before he died, and the two plausible candidates would indeed have been the Battle of Yunkai and the duel against the Meereenese champion (I suppose that you could also include him killing the gold cloaks who try to seize him before he leaves King’s Landing, but that was never referenced on the show). As it stands, I understand why they gave the duel with the Meereenese champion to Daario – they needed a memorable set piece to establish Michiel Huisman in viewer’s minds after the role was recast. But Barristan definitely could have joined Jorah, Daario, and Grey Worm on their mission to infiltrate Yunkai. I won’t go so far as to call it a missed opportunity, but it’s a shame.

      I do think it’s fair to wonder if Ian McElhinney’s age contributed to the producers not writing more action scenes for him during his time on the show – even if stuntmen and creative camera angles could have done a lot of the work. To be sure, his presence in those scenes wasn’t strictly necessary, but it would have been nice to see. However, it was necessary for the audience to see Barristan fight at least once before his death, and so we did. In that scene, I thought that the writers paid appropriate tribute to the character’s martial prowess. Furthermore, I really appreciated that immediately preceding the battle, Barristan got to share a lovely scene with Daenerys where they spoke to one another with such tangible respect and affection. That scene showcased Ian McElhinney’s great strength as an actor and honored the quiet gravitas and warmth he brought to the role during his time on the show.

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    219. Schrödinger’s Cat: In show canon maybe, but I’m pretty sure in book canon,

      Melisandre only arrives at Dragonstone for the first time during book 1.

      It’s only a personal theory of mine I’ve made through the observations I stated above. The books themselves are vague about the amount of time Melisandre has lived on Dragonstone for. I just feel it would add a nice layer on the Stannis-Melisandre relationship and a reason for his dependence on her.

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    220. A couple of things. First of all does Ser Barristan even have plate armour? I wouldn’t be surprised if doesn’t have it on the show, it’s a pain to transport and it isn’t unreasonable that the Meereenese are unable to make it, given that they don’t seem to have a real armour wearing culture.

      In the books he does receive new armor. Never did in the show, which is what it is.

      As to his trip on the streets. Yes, kind of hard to explain, but people do stupid things all the time for nostalgia’s sake. I don’t fault him as much here since it seems a believably stupid spurn-of-the-moment kind of thing. If it was unbelievable stupid (like say the Craster’s keep plot last year), it would be much harder to come to terms with. Plus, so far the Harpy’s have been little more than a nuissance. Soldiers get killed all the time for various reasons, going after one the enemy’s generals on the other hand takes some more panache. This was really the Harpy’s first big move. If GW had been attacked last week, I don’t think Ser Barry would have walked down the streets just as careless.

      I wouldn’t feel to sad about that if I were you. The show wouldn’t really have given us much more fond memories of Rhaegar from Ser Barristan anyway, there’s only so much time to be given to the past. And Tyrion will probably be able to give Daenerys some more Targaryen behind the scenes info if the plot requires it.

      I’m just sad that a genuinely good guy and a very interesting character to boot has gone before he got his due. RIP Ser Barristan the Bold.

      Fair enough. Just hope when the show gets to the final destination, the journey made sense and was as fun as the books.

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    221. Anthony,

      The northern story is working well, with the exception of Mel’s embarrassing try at Jon. I believe the show is doing ok, given source material.

      Sand Snakes are the main problem. I was hoping they’d be sent to KL and play games, but the actresses are incapable, so their acting woes are a long term issue.

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    222. Sue the Fury,

      Well, right, exactly.

      So much of this show is also about history – about those who are gone already, the valiant stories we tell about those people, when the reality is that they probably weren’t all that great to begin with. King Robert won the battle of the Trident and killed Rhaegar, and then turned into a drunk. Ser Barristan was clearly the most noble of the Kingsguard there was – your opinion on Jaime’s valor may vary, but he has a claim on the title, at least – but the rest are more or less just a bunch of brutish jerks. And there’s only so much history we can have on the show.

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    223. Maria: Sand Snakes are the main problem. I was hoping they’d be sent to KL and play games, but the actresses are incapable, so their acting woes are a long term issue.

      You’ve seen them for all of what, 3 minutes? Let’s reserve some judgment, ok? I mean, Obara’s story was fine, but why she’d be telling it to Ellaria (who presumably knows her quite well) is a mystery.

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    224. Greatjon of Slumber,

      Absolutely. As pointed out, numerous “badass” characters on this show are taken down, either in death or injury, by very non-heroic methods: Ned Stark is speared from behind by a common Lannister soldier, Jaime gets his hand chopped off while being held down as a prisoner and not in battle. In that company, it’s fitting that Barristan, the greatest swordsman of the Seven Kingdoms and the embodiment of chivalry, should be killed half-a-world away in a narrow hallway by masked, possibly untrained guerrilla fighters.

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    225. Selyse knows what’s in store for Shireen. She’s seen it in the flames. Mel felt like she needed to give her a ‘reminder glare’ when Selyse went off on another one of her ‘I failed you as a mother of your children’ speech. Not sure if Shireen is going to be the last real Baratheon standing or if she’s going to be fodder to bring Jon back, but either way, she’s very important.

      I also think that now, since Jon wouldn’t give her a shadow baby, she won’t go to Winterfell. I think it’s clear that she will be needed at the Wall for Jon (even if they haven’t shown it yet in the show), but she will come up with a reason. I can’t wait to hear what it is, and if Stannis falls for it.

      Also, Littlefinger. It’s possible that Cersei doesn’t yet know about Sansa, because she doesn’t have a Whisperer anymore, does she? I also can’t wait to hear what he has to say to her, and if he will admit it. I imagine he’s playing everyone against each other. I don’t think he truly cares one whit about Sansa – she is a means to an end. It’s likely he will tell Cersei he personally delivered her to the Boltons for them to kill, keeping her hands clean.

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    226. Who cares about Barristan or the Sand Snakes…

      Lets talk about the genius that is Cersei Lannister.
      Arming a bunch of religious zealouts who are out to bring down corruption in the captial.
      Genius woman, absolutely genius! Tywin’s true daughter.

      oh wait…..

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    227. dothrakian raven,

      Here is my argument against the Sand Snakes, from what I’ve seen in the first episode. Keep in mind that this is through the lens of a reformed comic book fanboy who knew they’d have to “reality-fy” the Sand Snakes, but also appreciated how deadly/effectively they were portrayed in the books.

      1) They’re just lounging in a tent – what are they doing there? Three assassin women just set up shoddy tent-outposts and sharpen their knives? Why were they there, and how did they capture the ship captain so quickly?

      2) Their personalities are caricatures, and in the wrong way. Obara is OVERLY brooding, Tyene is practically twelve, and Nym’s words don’t seem to match her mouth – is she having to do a voice-over?

      3) BOTTOM LINE – they don’t look like they could kill anyone. They look less lethal that Arya, even with that ridiculous spear throw from twenty feet. Maybe Ellaria is just too well-cast, or maybe the writers intend for her to be the real showstopper and them to just be her hench-women – but with the strength of the women being cast up to this point – even for “lesser” roles such as Osha, and especially Brienne – well, I think you could’ve just pulled a tall, beautiful, slightly imposing prostitute out of one of your brothel scenes and given us someone more visually believable as an assassin.

      Add to all of this a short, clunky intro scene, and you’ve got my biggest letdown of the whole series. I’m rooting for them – because I think they could turn out fine, and maybe the writers didn’t think the non-book audience would be smart enough to take them in more than a toe-dip introduction – but the costuming, the look, everything? Ninja Assassin Toddlers, in my book.

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    228. I still feel Melisandre did not make a lame attempt at seducing Jon. It was a practical way to avoid war with the Boltons. In the past, she had created a “shadow son” to carry out the will of the father. Jon Snow has Starks blood in him either through Ned or R+L and he wants the Boltons dead. So “shadow baby” is the cost effective, practical way to prevent the battle at Winterfell.
      Regarding Shireen, Melisandre needs her at the wall in case Stannis would die in battle. Face it if Stannis dies without an heir, who would his army fight for. therefore killing Shireen is pointless in show and book cannon.

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    229. You could tell @ points that this episode was written by a newbie.

      Especially the Sand Snakes scene. Those actresses have GOT to be more talented than what was on display to get cast in a show of this calibre.

      But the Stannis scene was beautiful.

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    230. Gazillion,

      I agree it’s smashing LF’s character to pieces. He’s one of if not the shrewdest manouverer in the game and yet this just reeks (pun intended) of poor planning.

      mau,

      If the Boltons win then LF could have done exactly what he has done only with more certainty that the North is secure. If Stannis wants a Stark on his side he would be more likely to take one who hadn’t aligned with the Boltons already. If he finds Sansa married to Ramsay then it doens’t look great for her. The Bolton’s would happily take Sansa after fighting Stannis in order to secure the north long term. They need to pull something out their arse to make it seem as though throwing Sansa into a warzone was a well-planned out and sensible move.
      Why does Ramsay mentally and physically torture people for pleasure? Why does he chop off Theon’s todger? Why would he hunt girls down in a wood with dogs? Why would he flay men alive becuase they disagree over taxes? Because he’s a sadistic psychopath.Littlefinger admittedly knows nothing about him and yet leaves Sansa to marry and then handle him! This is suprememly stupid move if he is throwing his prize asset into the most unpredicatble of situations. It’s like a chess player trading his Queen in the attempt to catch a rook: Stupid. Again, why gamble when he can just sit back wait for the situation to resolve itself and then walk in with the exact same deal for the victor. It’s even more stupid move when the uncertainty is added to by the Lannisters having to be kept in the dark. Would make even more sense to keep Sansa hidden in the Vale until a firm alliance can be made.

      JamesL,

      It’s a strange move. Surely, it would make more sense to leave it unresolved so people tune in the next week to find out. Have to say there have been some very odd decisions this season.

      JamesL,

      Cover your spoilers! But yes that’s the scene I’m referring to. They’re doing it as Sansa needs something to happen to her even if it is horrible. It fits in with the wedding at Winterfell and Theon’s redemption arc.

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    231. silent sister,

      She doesn’t care about Stannis anymore as Jon is her new Azor Ahai. She’ll happily sacrifice Shireen is it means victory for the Lord of Light.
      Personally I think Shireen will be spared by

      hopping on the boat with Same and Gilly to Oldtown taking the place of Mance’s son ( the kings blood Mel wanted there!)

      . Unfortunately, I think Stannis may die at the hands of Boring Brienne this season which would be tragic for so many reasons.

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    232. Game of Thrones isn’t the Avengers, where the heroes literally kill hundreds of red shirts in one battle sequence. And thank God for that. The gritty realism makes this series special.

      I love Jorah vs. Qotho, because it showcased that skill + the right equipment can trump superior athleticism. Or the brutality of the Hound at the Inn, a fight he might have lost without Arya’s assistance. And that was only 5 dudes compared to Selmy’s 10! Personally, I’ll take these fights over Iron Man vs. 100 robots any day.

      Selmy had a glorious end, and so did Grey Worm, if he’s also to die. They vanquished way more foes than any human being should be able to in a similar scenario. In real life, it doesn’t matter if it’s the Army band or Delta Force on the receiving end, ambushes inflict heavy losses.

      Individual abilities matter, but tactics matter 100x more. The Sons of the Harpy had the tactical advantage.

      Edit: I will say the only thing I found unrealistic is that the Sons of the Harpy didn’t break and flee. They were as relentless and fearless as the Unsullied. I know if I saw Barristan or Grey Work take down 5 of my friends, I’d probably hesitate if not run for the exit.

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    233. Gatsby,

      I haven’t rewatched the episode yet. My face was tucked into the neck of my t-shirt and my arms flailing around awkwardly during that fight, I was so nervous (and rightly so). Admittedly, I need to really pay attention to that scene because perhaps they really did do Barristan’s martial ability justice. But, I really wished this wasn’t the first time we got to see him fight. My and my friends’ reactions during this scene went something like this.

      “Oh, is Barristan FINALLY gonna get to be a badass!?”

      “YEAAAH, BARRISTAN!”

      “OH GOD, I’m scared” <— me, half-hiding and flailing

      "OH NO"

      "OH NO"

      "OH NO"

      "He was stabbed in the CHEST though!"

      "No. Was he? WHAT IS HAPPENING"

      "He's fine. He's fine. He's fine."

      Preview for next episode rolls…

      "So… he's not fine?"

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    234. I was all for Alayne in Winterfell. That made some sense.

      But Sansa Stark handed over to the Boltons is lunacy that cannot be logically explained no matter how much you try.

      D&D have made an error here im afraid.

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    235. Phyllis Ashley,

      I agree with you completely that they should have showcased his martial abilities prior to this event. I believe the scene did give justice to his abilities, but the show did not give complete justice to his character. His truncated story line is probably an unavoidable casualty of all the other cuts and character shuffling. For the sake of my health, I try to enjoy and not let some of these show changes get to me too much.

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    236. mau: You can’t win the game if you don’t play it.

      Waiting for your enemies to knock each other out is “playing”. There is absolutely no reason for them to go to Winterfell. It gains them nothing that they couldn’t get much more easily by just waiting.

      Durrandon’s Fool:
      Also, getting Sansa married without having her marriage to Tyrion officially annulled/set aside sounds like a good way to make Stanis’ teeth grind.

      There is no annulment requirement in the show. If there was, somebody would have mentioned it.

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    237. I’m of the view that Sansa ends up dead at the hands of Ramsey Bolton and that that is what motivates Lord Manderly to conspire against Bolton. It also makes finding Rickon Stark that much more important in Season 6/7.

      This limits a lot of the later plot of DwD re: Theon, but I’m guessing it tightens up the narrative.

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    238. Hoyti Von Totiy,

      A fake Arya would add another character, and Sansa masquerading as Alayne would add complication. None of that is necessary, as the show has characters to keep track of, and it’s complicated as it is.

      Sending Sansa to Winterfell

      1. begins the Stark revenge. That is how Petyr introduces the idea to Sansa. That revenge is central to plot. The north remembers.
      2. introduces Sansa as a player, while reducing Theon’s redemption arc. That, too, makes sense as Sansa is central, while Theon is not. With Bran off screen and Arya in Braavos, it’s time for a Stark to return to Winterfell, and start acting.

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    239. Maria,

      Revenge by putting Sansa in an awful non-sensical position?! If he’d actually told her how marrying Ramsay was going to help her get revenge…in fact, no . There is no way in which it can help!
      I’d argue Sansa isn’t a central character. Because she’s a Stark more emphasis is placed on her but what has she actually done in all the books/seasons? She’s an observer. She pretty much just helps tell the story and never acts. Theon actually does things to move the plot along whereas Sansa just sits about doing nothing only in different places. The fact so many people got excited when she dyed her hair shows just how dull she is. If the unpleasant scene that could happen now she’s marrying Ramsay does happen. As uncomfortable as it will be to watch it will actually make her a more interesting character.

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    240. I extremely dislike Ellaria Sand this season. Her accent has deteriorated. I dislike Ellaria as Arianne. My only consolation is that because Indira Varma has, having the Sean Bean curse, died in every role in which I’ve ever seen her (in Torchwood twice) that Ellaria Sand won’t survive (no matter what happens in the books).

      She should die for that hair alone.

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    241. TheTouchOfFrost,
      I think it’s pretty strongly implied that Sansa will be acting and using the only weapons she has–her womanhood. That’s basically what LF told her to do. If the Bolton’s win, wrap Ramsay around your finger and control him until you can get rid of him. LF is giving her credit where very few other people are. She has been very passive but I don’t think we will see that going forward.

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    242. What if…. Barry is Azor Ahai.

      Just kidding, but now that I have your attention… is there any way possible that the show runners are setting up an appearance of a Red Priestess (just like they did in last week’s episode) as a mechanism to bring Selmy back as an Un-Barry? Wishful thinking on my part (I know, I know) but it would be a way to have Selmy still fight next season to run along with his POV for the next book.

      Maybe the Red Woman we saw last week somehow follows Jorah and Tyrion to Dany’s domicile and then Dany insists that the Priestess must bring Barry back to life (she’s done it before with horrible results). It would show that Dany really hasn’t learned her lesson about bringing people back from the dead and that she’s still not ready to rule.

      Or maybe Dany finds another Red Priest or Priestess to perform the miracle.
      Wouldn’t that be the ultimate gotcha from the show-runners.

      By the way, we have to remember that magic is much stronger now that the dragons have hatched and for a Red Priest or Priestess to be so close to all that magic, wouldn’t it certainly amp up the volume of their ability to resurrect someone?

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    243. TheTouchOfFrost,

      Sansa has spent her life as a passive victim-viewer. Petyr says it’s time for her to stop being that. She has agency. She’s been taught by the best. Petyr’s gamble might work, and Stannis might defeat the Boltons in time. If not, then Petyr believes Sansa is now capable of dealing with the Boltons, and I believe him. It’s time for one of the Stark children to get back into the game.

      Theon is not a Stark. I thought his story was the best part of Dance, but it was also almost a separate short story. The show has enough to deal with, without spending the entire season on Theon’s redemption via a false Arya, with Alayne, again, as observer.

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    244. Annie Wilkes:

      Re Littlefinger being childless, I’m sure he is thinking he and Sansa could have children and that would fulfill his childhood fantasy of having children with Catelyn.

      Schrodingers Cat:

      Re a possible scene with Reek and Lewin’s body—can you write a script, please? That is a fantastic idea. And I love what you had to say about the Mel/Jon Snow scene.

      Balerion’s Cat: Good eye! I so hope we get a Jorah & Tyrion encounter the Stone Men scene.

      Did anyone else catch the quick shot that showed Lena Heady’s baby bump in the small council scene? It was quick, but there. I hope that is a little Pedro Pascal Junior!

      I also thought Sansa looked especially gorgeous in that scene in the crypts. Sophie Turner is not only a fine actress, but is growing into a true beauty.

      I thought the scene with the Faith Militant was a bit much. Did we really need two similar shots of Lancel biting down on the belt?

      The Sons of the Harpy fight scene choreography was a little messy as well. I realize that may have been the point, but fight scenes on GoT are usually sooooo good.

      The Sand Snakes were the weakest moment of the episode. I wish publications and websites would stop using that official photo of the Sand Snakes. It looks like a couple of high school girls having a slap fight, and only Obara looks like she could actually kick ass. And wasn’t it a little overkill to have the ship’s captain 1) buried up to his neck in sand; 2) crawled on by very large scorpions; 3) under a barrel in the heat (just so Nymeria could show off her whip skills?); and 4) speared in the head. Any one of those things would have been enough, right? (But a weak moment on Game of Thrones is better than what is on any other show, so that puts it into perspective!

      Loved loved LOVED all the R+J references and all the grey scale/stone men mentions.

      Stannis + Shireen = sweetness!

      Poor Tommen, so unprepared. Cersei is so clue free about the consequences of her actions. She is destroying her child in order to protect him.

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    245. Dame Pasty,

      Again, I find this a ridiculous premise. She has shown no aptitude for seducing anyone and yet is being thrown at a bona fide psychopath to try and manipultate! LF is an idiot if he thinks this is a good idea! Even if we accept this premise, why not wait until after the conflict between the Boltons and Stannis before letting her have a shot at it?

      Maria,

      When exaclty did LF teach her anything? She knows about some of his plans but the only teaching he’s done is turning up giving her riddles and vague instructions. To expect her to single-handedly mastermind bringing down a psychopath and his dad (perhaps the most cunning and calculating mind in Westeros) and their entire retinue is madness! Everyone loves the Starks, everyone wants them to return to Winterfell but this is silly. The Starks have always been poor at playing the game as have the Tulleys. Again, it’s a pointless gamble. Just hold off and then throw the dice when the odds are better in your favour.
      I’d rather focus on an interesting character than a dull one because their second name happens to be Stark! Sansa and Brienne could have kept eachother busy in the Vale this season instead they’re messing up what was a very strong Northern story.

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    246. “She churns out some Melisandre-esque nonsense about life versus death and the Lord of Light”

      None of this is nonsense. God, I am sick and tired of people underestimating her character.

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    247. Sean C.: Waiting for your enemies to knock each other out is “playing”.There is absolutely no reason for them to go to Winterfell.It gains them nothing that they couldn’t get much more easily by just waiting.

      And that would be great to watch.

      And Robb Stark should have waited for Stannis and Renly to defeat the Lannisters. Oberyn should have waited to kill the Mountain in sleep,….

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    248. Geralt of Rivia,

      Yeah, but she was being nice…..Jon didn’t want to look into the flames because he doesn’t believe in sorcery. Soooooo, she gets his (ahem) attention and when she’s sure he’s focused on her WHAM! She hits him with enough sorcery to show how powerful she is.
      Stannis who???????

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    249. Sue the Fury: Everything on the TV show is presented in a more realistic fashion than the books- including this.

      I disagree. In the books, the importance of wearing armor is stressed — helms foremost, and shields. Portrayals of fights in the show have consistently been presented in terms of overt tv cliches (characters don’t wear armor or helms so we can better see them). Other times, there’s even outright dismissal of simple logic (unrelated to armor, but things like travel distances come to mind).

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    250. I think it’s possible the Littlefinger set up Sansa to die at the Boltons, keeping his favor with Cersei by keeping Sansa’s blood off her hands. Cersei has no idea that LF was part of Joffrey’s death. As far as she’s concerned, she still has LF in her pocket.

      I think he doesn’t care one whit about Sansa and is just using her as a pawn, like he does everyone else. I think he fully expects her to die, and is fine with that.

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    251. TheTouchOfFrost,

      A Stark must return to Winterfell. Rickon is too young. Bran is crippled. Arya is so emotionally wounded that all she can think of is killing people on her list. Sansa is the only Stark who can be in Winterfell. I agree that her education was fast, but her victimization was not. I’ll trust Petyr that she’s ready, as I’m ready to see her act, instead of be acted upon.

      EDIT: A lot of people are convening in Winterfell–Theon is there, as are the Boltons, and Sansa. Stannis is moving south, and some northern lords and clans will probably join him. It’s like the show replaced the Meereenese know with a Winterfellian knot.

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    252. Vallug Bowbeast,

      And he still took out by my count 11 of them! 11!! We’ve never seen any one character take out as many men single-handedly when they were the only one or two people fighting. Sure, Jon Snow, Bronn, the Magnar, Tormund and a few others have carved through many opponents, but usually as part of a group on a larger battlefield. The Hound took out five – but Arya helped him, as her blow to Polliver’s leg kept the Hound from being stabbed in the back, and the Hound had the ability to incapacitate people through the use of his fists. Yoren gets maybe 4-5 before he succumbs to the spears. Ygritte kills a whole bunch of people from a safe distance with her arrows.

      Hodor’s Bastard,

      Sure. And again, we’re talking about history here. And Ser Duncan is a great, mythic figure, revered by many. But Arthur Dayne was complicit in the capture (or spiriting away) of Lyanna Stark (and he, too, was such a legendary sword, and yet in a 3-on-7 battle, he and two other legendary kingsguard all lost their lives).

      Maria,

      No worries. That scene was a little clunky in terms of exposition, and when you get that + first appearance of specific characters, it’s hard to reconcile. So I get that. I think the actresses will be fine.

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    253. TheTouchOfFrost,

      But yes that’s the scene I’m referring to. They’re doing it as Sansa needs something to happen to her even if it is horrible. It fits in with the wedding at Winterfell and Theon’s redemption arc.

      I would say the main reason for combining these plotlines is that Sansa does not have a TV friendly plot in the books anymore and by using her for the Winterfell story it ups the drama level instead of pulling some random Jeyne out of nowhere the audience has no connection to. I think it is unlikely Sansa suffers any type of serious abuse at the hands of Ramsay so I seriously doubt that was their main reason for putting her there.

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    254. aiskn: Other times, there’s even outright dismissal of simple logic (unrelated to armor, but things like travel distances come to mind).

      The travel distance thing has admittedly gone out the window by now. But I’d rather have that and raise questions about somewhat unrealistic travel times employed by Littlefinger and Melisandre than have everything communicated through tertiary (or quaternary) characters who act more or less as envoys that nobody gives a goddamn about.

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    255. Hodor’s Body Double,

      If you’re going to have a secret meeting, to discuss a plot that runs against the wishes of that kingdom’s ruler- an unremarkable tent, in the middle of nowhere, seems like a very good idea…

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    256. mau,

      You really are. Come on, name one interesting thing Sansa has ever done? Dying her hair black is her standout moment which is pretty weak in a show full of excellence.

      Maria,

      Why does a Stark have to return to Winterfell?! This isn’t a fairytale! I have no issue with Sansa trying to reclaim it but this is a ridiculous way of trying to do it. With the Vale behind her she could link up with Stannis, strike a deal to rally the north, Riverlands and the Vale to his side and steam roll the Boltons/Freys and then let Stannis push on KL. Instead with no experience, she’s going to try and manipulate a psychopath who is probably going to be deposed not long after they’re married. Unless Littlefinger is a mad genius that plan sucks balls!
      I’m just ready for anything noteworthy to happen in her plotline.

      JamesL,

      They should have left her out this season then or had her and Brienne interact. Both of them need the character development and Brienne trying to get near Sansa could have been her plotline for this season. Then shift her up to Winterfell and Brienne wherever she’s meant to be going (who knows whether the Jaime thing is going to happen anymore).
      Sounds sadistic but I hope something does happen to her. Otherwise again it’s just Sansa sat somewhere else doing nothing.

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    257. TheTouchOfFrost:
      mau,
      You really are. Come on, name one interesting thing Sansa has ever done? Dying her hair black is her standout moment which is pretty weak in a show full of excellence.

      She didn’t do anything extremely interesting in S1-4 and in the books 1-4. And the show doesen’t really need to do that again in S5. To have her sit in the Vale doing nothing.

      She needs to become interesting charaters, and story in WF is most intriguing this year.

      She needs to become fan favorite and she needs to take WF. It is so interesting to me that she will be the one who will avenge the Starks. She and not more popular charaters like Robb, Arya or Jon.

      And I’m am sure she will have WF in the books as well, but differently.

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    258. TheTouchOfFrost:

      Why does a Stark have to return to Winterfell?! This isn’t a fairytale! I have no issue with Sansa trying to reclaim it but this is a ridiculous way of trying to do it. With the Vale behind her she could link up with Stannis, strike a deal to rally the north, Riverlands and the Vale to his side and steam roll the Boltons/Freys and then let Stannis push on KL.

      But why would LF want strong ruler like Stannis on the IT?

      He wants to use Stannis againts the Boltons. Whoever wins will be exhausted and weaker that before battle and the Vale stays untouched.

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    259. Hodor’s Body Double,

      I am Unsullied and from my perspective their intro scene worked well. The three daughters of Oberyn are not passive mourners of their father. They are alert. They captured the captain and called for Ellaria. That they are together shows that they have a common goal. That they need Ellaria is because they feel they need somebody to guide them. And that is what Ellaria does. She wants to know if they want to follow her plans. Her plans are not made out of politics but out of sorrow and the horror of seeing your beloved one brutally killed. We all remember Ellarias cry. So Ellarias motives are in direct connection to her last reaction in S4. So this captain gives an opportunity to 4 women to come closer in a common goal. Nice setting and a short depiction of the 3 daughters. Tyene momy’s girl, Nymeria a fighter and Obara papa’s girl, a fighter and someone who maybe has a bit more brains than the others. Short, to the point and memorable for the scenes and wars to come. Somebody mentioned that there should be 3 different intro scenes like in the books. Think what a verbose overdose and waste of tv time that would have been! I am not saying that it was the most brilliant scene but it worked for the moment. I didn’t see caricatures, just four women very determined to act in a certain way. And for me this is enough. It remains to be seen what they will contribute to the show. The rest is just pointless discussions based on a preconstructed hate towards the Sand Snakes.

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    260. I know I’m goint to get my share of “Then don’t watch it comments”, but well …

      It amazes me that one negative point is mentioned in the review part. I copied like four pages of comments on pretty obvious plotholes out of forums of more critical people to work on a season review – nothing is really mentioned above. One example: Littlefinger’s plan is completely idiotic – why does Sansa have to be at Winterfell if Stannis is supposed to make her Warden of the North? She could be shipped in from the Vale after the battle or he could have had her brought to the Wall directly – there is no, absolutely no reason to have her at Winterfell, except to get some torture porn out of that storyline. Oh, and the sandsnakes – this scene was cheaper than any scene TrueBlood did in its worst moments. Remember: The Sandsnakes are loved by their people (Ellaria in E02), but apparently they are a 10year old boy’s fantasy of “bad girls” who torture people who sell them information. I mean – 2 episodes of watching Penny riding her pig would be better TV than this.

      Okay, rant over. But it had to be said.

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    261. King Varys:

      . One example: Littlefinger’s plan is completely idiotic – why does Sansa have to be at Winterfell if Stannis is supposed to make her Warden of the North? She could be shipped in from the Vale after the battle or he could have had her brought to the Wall directly – there is no, absolutely no reason to have her at Winterfell, except to get some torture porn out of that storyline.

      1. It is more interesting
      2. Boltons can defeat Stannis

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    262. JamesL:
      TheTouchOfFrost,

      I would say the main reason for combining these plotlines is that Sansa does not have a TV friendly plot in the books anymore and by using her for the Winterfell story it ups the drama level instead of pulling some random Jeyne out of nowhere the audience has no connection to.

      This is along the lines that I have been thinking as well.

      Bringing Sansa to Winterfell makes sense as a dramatic choice. The audience roots for her instead of some less than tertiary character last seen in episode 1 season 1. Also, the fact that Brienne and Pod are on their way will make several character arcs intersect and has a lot dramatic potential for climactic scenes in and around Winterhell towards the end of the season. It also keeps the story tighter.

      On the downside:

      – Count me among the ones who have hard time believing that LF the master-machiavellian would be gambling on something so daft and be so badly informed about Ramsay. So it looks like they have sacrificed believable character motivation for him.
      – Having Sansa at the mercy of another psychopath after three years of Joffrey feels a bit repetitive and cheap. I really hope they have something more planned than simple shock value with her as the victim (*yawn*).

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    263. Luka Nieto,

      I really hope so! That shot of Stannis marching is absolutely amazing. If we get Clive Mantle back I’m going to be crying tears of euphoria.

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    264. One of Roose Bolton’s leeches:
      Luka Nieto,
      If we get Clive Mantle back I’m going to be crying tears of euphoria.

      I want Greatjon scene with Sansa in Winterfell crypts, where he will tell her that Rickon is alive and “The north remembers, Lady Stark, the North remembers and the mummer’s farce is almost done”

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    265. mau,

      Why does she HAVE to be a fan favourite? The fans will like who they like. The focus should be on making her a more interesting character. I wouldn’t have an issue with her being in Winterfell if there was a purpose for it that makes sense but there isn’t! If they’re going to go off the beaten track then,off the top of my head, they could have had Brienne kidnap her , thinking she was rescuing her from LF and take her towards the wall and Jon or just north in general as she thinks it will be safer only to be captrured by the Boltons and then the marriage/mental Ramsayness ensues. Sansa will eventually do something in the books and hopefully show but so far she is by far the biggest non-event in the story. I’d put more stock in Rickon at the head of an Umber/northern/Wilding army!
      No one knows what LF wants. After both of them are exhausted then leading an army of the Vale into the north WITH Sansa would make sense but he’s put her with the Boltons now which needlessly complicates things. Get ready for bad things to happen to Sansa, that’s the only purpose I can think she is there for. If that doesn’t happen then prepare for dull watch the world go by Sansa again this season.

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    266. Book-Barristan makes a big point out of wearing his armor, and the advantages it gives him. It would be hard to imagine him walking the streets of a hostile Merreen without it. He does decide at one point to forgo his helmet, giving up protection to gain peripheral vision.

      Show-Barristan can be a different character, walking the streets with a sword but without armor (though, even if he’s not wearing his plate, I’m really surprised he’s not even wearing mail). Not wearing a helmet when you might be ambushed in narrow streets makes tactical sense.

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    267. TheTouchOfFrost:
      mau,

      Why does she HAVE to be a fan favourite?

      Because D&D want that. And I think that Sansa is the perfect charater to avenge the Starks because everyone wants Arya or Jon to do that.

      The focus should be on making her a more interesting character.

      And she is more interesting charater now. The future of her House is in her hands.

      I wouldn’t have an issue with her being in Winterfell if there was a purpose!

      Purpose is to take WF, to have Stark’s victory for the first time.

      If they’re going to go off the beaten track then,off the top of my head, they could have had Brienne kidnap her , thinking she was rescuing her from LF and take her towards the wall and Jon

      And what purpose will that have? To have another character on the Wall? To have her doing nothing again?

      After both of them are exhausted then leading an army of the Vale into the north WITH Sansa would make sense but he’s put her with the Boltons now which needlessly complicates things.

      He cant lead army of the Vale, because it didn’t make sense in the books why would lords from the Vale go to the North to fight for Sansa. And LF don’t want to be openly against the crown. Not yet.

      He will use Stannis and Stark loyalists in the North.

      He needs to put her with the Boltons now, because she is important for them now. If they defeat Stannis, they don’t need Sansa anymore. But if Sansa is there and every lord from the North knows that she is there, they have a Stark, someone to fight for and to destroy the Boltons.

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    268. I haven’t read the books, so I suppose I don’t have the same affection for Selmy (though I’ve always liked his character), but I don’t agree with many who found his death pointless or not sufficiently badass. As many have said, he was an old man who took out a mess of foes. But he did so doing something I haven’t seen mentioned.* He took on those guys by himself to save Greyworm from certain death. For this reason, I find it hard to believe Greyworm is dead.

      *Forgive me if I missed a mention of this. I was trying to read like 400 comments and may have skimmed a few 😉

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    269. TheTouchOfFrost,

      Frost, do you think that perhaps LF’s sudden and curiously-planned departure is not as much his not caring about Sansa/Winterfell/The North, but rather being caught by Cersei as being unresponsive to her in his spying (which is why the message sent to the Eyrie was brought to Winterfell via rider, and why LF was so quick to request a raven from Roose to respond to her)?

      I just almost wonder if belligerent Cersei is the reason he’s rushing back – he almost got caught where he shouldn’t be, making a new alliance that cuts the Lannisters out – and now he’s forced to go back to KL and make nice, at a time when there is certainly a convenient power vacuum there?

      I don’t know, seems rushed. I truly believe that LF knows that the key is the North and Sansa – such starved and steadfast regionalism doesn’t exist anywhere else in Westeros – but he’s got to make a surprise maneuver back to KL to deal with Cersei-zilla and an impending fall of the crown, and he’s making a risky bet that Sansa in Winterfell will be far better off than an imploded kingdom at the hands of religious zealots who will burn the whole thing to the ground.

      FURTHERMORE – what if LF is so messed up that he knows that Ramsay will do something sadistic to Sansa, but he also realizes that it would be the match in the tinderbox to set the whole North off against the Boltons, throwing them out before Stannis can even get down there? What if his whole plan for Sansa is that she’ll be a semi-martyr who only grows more hardened and capable at the same time that she becomes a poster-child for the North’s Memory?

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    270. mau,

      Ha, ha, ha very true. I mean why do we need an MA in Shrewd Behaviour in paper form to be convinced that Sansa has the skills to play the game? And who said that her character had to be “interesting” in the same way that Cerseis or Jons is. That was the interesting and intriguing thing with Sansa. A silly teenage girl who all of a sudden is in the middle of complicated politics and personal disasters. That is extremely interesting. A situation that dissects all the possible prejudices against a silly and naive girl and creates a player out of it. And she has learnt a hell lot of things all this time. She became a core player from the very beginning first as a passive pawn that has to do what the others tell her to do, then as a mind that is fighting for its own survival and then as a potential player who is half confident half insecure of what she can achieve. She had to endure some of the worse humiliations and she had to a certain extent to outmanouvre some of the basic players. She is not fully-fledged yet but she is in the arena. I personally think that she had a more interesting arc than Jamie so far. It also makes sense that LF does what he does. He plays and he plays by mixing the pot as usual. Had he gone to an unpredictable Stannis and offer Vale’s support and Sansa it would have been much riskier considering the fact that in the case of failure all his alternatives would have been annihilated and he wouldn’t have precious cards to cast. By approaching the Boltons he follows a safer and much more interesting path. It is the only way to tightly bind his bait (Sansa) around his plans and the only way to see if he can really trust her. At the same time by giving something that the Boltons desperately need he plays cat and mouse with them knowing that their position after Tywins death is precarious. Stannis is on his way and that offers a variety of alternatives in case of different outcomes in this chess game. No, LF is very shrewd and he calculates his moves really well. That doesn’t mean of course that he is impervious to mistakes.

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    271. dothrakian raven,

      I like your points. I think it could’ve been done in a better way, but I’m sure the writing will correct itself and we’ll get more character development from them soon.

      I’m cheering for them, I really am! I just want to BELIEVE that they are serious Dornish Jedi-Women and not teenagers causing trouble after school.

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    272. TheTouchOfFrost:
      mau,

      Maria,

      Why does a Stark have to return to Winterfell?! This isn’t a fairytale! I have no issue with Sansa trying to reclaim it but this is a ridiculous way of trying to do it. With the Vale behind her she could link up with Stannis, strike a deal to rally the north, Riverlands and the Vale to his side and steam roll the Boltons/Freys and then let Stannis push on KL. Instead with no experience, she’s going to try and manipulate a psychopath who is probably going to be deposed not long after they’re married. Unless Littlefinger is a mad genius that plan sucks balls!I’m just ready for anything noteworthy to happen in her plotline.

      JamesL,

      They should have left her out this season then or had her and Brienne interact. Both of them need the character development and Brienne trying to get near Sansa could have been her plotline for this season. Then shift her up to Winterfell and Brienne wherever she’s meant to be going (who knows whether the Jaime thing is going to happen anymore).Sounds sadistic but I hope something does happen to her. Otherwise again it’s just Sansa sat somewhere else doing nothing.

      Starks returning to Winterfell is the northern plot, possibly THE plot, so it’s reasonable to expect it. Uniting the Vale and Riverlands would be rebellion against Lannisters and the Tyrells, who would put aside their differences to end it. The Riverlands can’t afford any more war, and the northerners would be fighting amongst themselves. That would leave the Vale alone against the crown, which isn’t promising. Military action is not how Petyr does things, anyway.

      Brienne trying to get near Sansa is her plot this season. Sansa’s presence in Winterfell is her doing something. Having Sansa sit in the Vale while Brienne bumbles to her for an entire season would be undramatic, and would introduce another location in a show where characters are all over the globe. Also, it would keep Sansa a damsel in distress. Dramatically, sending Sansa where she can be central makes more sense dramatically, and from pov of character development.

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    273. mau,

      Because D&D want that. And I think that Sansa is the perfect charater to avenge the Starks because everyone wants Arya or Jon to do that.

      You have access to their thinking now?! They want to make an entertaining show anything that makes that happen is what they want. Boring Sansa doesn’t excite viewers. How is Sansa going to avenge them?! She literally has no means whatsoever to do so having been left on her todd in Winterfell.

      And she is more interesting charater now. The future of her House is in her hands.

      But it isn’t…and she’s still dull! What has she dones so far this season…oh the same as usual wander around talking to people….or being there for people to recite monologues to if I’m being mean.

      Purpose is to take WF, to have Stark’s victory for the first time.

      I get it you like the Starks but by what means is she going to achieve a victory? She’s still a pawn and if she suddenly becomes a mastermind capable of outmanovering a whole castle it will be the most ridiculous character development seen.

      And what purpose will that have? To have another character on the Wall? To have her doing nothing again?

      It was a for instance, but she was heading to the Wall but gets taken to WF. She doesn’t necessarily have to end up there.

      He cant lead army of the Vale, because it didn’t make sense in the books why would lords from the Vale go to the North to fight for Sansa. And LF don’t want to be openly against the crown. Not yet.

      Well, if we’re so worried about the books then get Sansa back to the Vale post haste! And why would LF plan an alliance with Stannis when he’s the only major threat left to the Crown in Westeros!?

      He needs to put her with the Boltons now, because she is important for them now. If they defeat Stannis, they don’t need Sansa anymore. But if Sansa is there and every lord from the North knows that she is there, they have a Stark, someone to fight for and to destroy the Boltons.

      Of course they still need Sansa to get teh Northern Lords on their side…that’s the whole reason for them wanting her: Nothing to do with Stannis. But why put her in with the Boltons if all the Northern Lords want to kill them?! It’s just giving them a hostage?! The plan makes no sense. The only thing that might save it is if LF doesn’t actually care about Sansa and is using her as a distraction. I’m normally on board for most of D&Ds changes but this is just a clumsy way of getting Sansa to WF.

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    274. Hodor’s Body Double,

      Hodor’s Body Double,

      Your last point is the only reason I can see him throwing her into that situation…but it begs the eternal question what does LF actually want?! Until we find out what his ultimate goal is then his actions are going to be hard to fathom out. Still seems strange for him to place Sansa there though as the unpredictability of what will actually happen to Sansa makes it a bit of a shot in the dark whatever his plan. He worked so hard to get her into his grasp and then just gives her away. Hmmm maybe his triip down to King’s Landing is to tell Cersei Roose has Sansa to create distrust between the Lannisters and Boltons thus cancelling their alliance and weakening the Boltons position? Although he could achieve that with words without having to place Sansa in danger as if he disposes of the Boltons but loses Sansa in the process it’s a pointless move as he has nothing on the north without her.

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    275. Jared:
      Veltigar,

      I agree that it would have been nice to see Barristan get a few more action scenes before he died, and the two plausible candidates would indeed have been the Battle of Yunkai and the duel against the Meereenese champion (I suppose that you could also include him killing the gold cloaks who try to seize him before he leaves King’s Landing, but that was never referenced on the show). As it stands, I understand why they gave the duel with the Meereenese champion to Daario – they needed a memorable set piece to establish Michiel Huisman in viewer’s minds after the role was recast. But Barristan definitely could have joined Jorah, Daario, and Grey Worm on their mission to infiltrate Yunkai. I won’t go so far as to call it a missed opportunity, but it’s a shame.

      I do think it’s fair to wonder if Ian McElhinney’s age contributed to the producers not writing more action scenes for him during his time on the show – even if stuntmen and creative camera angles could have done a lot of the work. To be sure, his presence in those scenes wasn’t strictly necessary, but it would have been nice to see. However, it was necessary for the audience to see Barristan fight at least once before his death, and so we did. In that scene, I thought that the writers paid appropriate tribute to the character’s martial prowess. Furthermore, I really appreciated that immediately preceding the battle, Barristan got to share a lovely scene with Daenerys where they spoke to one another with such tangible respect and affection. That scene showcased Ian McElhinney’s great strength as an actor and honored the quiet gravitas and warmth he brought to the role during his time on the show.

      It has nothing to do with his age I think, since the actor himself was glad he was finally allowed to fight according to this article http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/05/04/game-of-thrones-argued-against-shocking-death_n_7201962.html

      And the point is that he needed to prove himself worthy of his reputation. That was really the only way to give his character the arc he deserved. You can see from the Unsullied reactions here (and this is probably even worse with casuals) that they really only saw Barristan as that old dude who isn’t Ser Jorah.

      On this very site for instance, Oz thought that Jaime/Ser Bronn scene was the best fight scene of the episode. That fight was good and dandy, but the fact that an Unsullied found it better than the fight where thé Westerosi badass bites it is just damn sad (it was also better choreograhped imo). The fact that Oz chose that scene over Ser Barry’s death has everything to do with emotional attachment.

      People are interested in Jaime and they love Bronn (he’s a minor character done right). Barristan on the other hand never got the treatment his character deserved and therefore people weren’t as invested in his death. Which is why they preferred the other fight. I felt the impact Barristan’s death should have because I know about him from the books, but it’s damn sad that Unsullied have been robbed of this awesome fighter.

      Ser Barristan should have fought before and we should have seen that he was better than the others, despite his age. That would have made this fight so much better for Unsullied, because they would have skin in the game as it were.

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    276. TheTouchOfFrost:
      mau,

      You have access to their thinking now?!

      .

      It is obvious.

      But it isn’t…and she’s still dull!

      That’s just your opinion. Audience was never more interested in her.

      I get it you like the Starks but by what means is she going to achieve a victory? She’s still a pawn and if she suddenly becomes a mastermind capable of outmanovering a whole castle it will be the most ridiculous character development seen.

      I don’t know what will happen, and you don’t know also. So please don’t pretend that you seen S5 or read TWOW.

      And why would LF plan an alliance with Stannis when he’s the only major threat left to the Crown in Westeros!?

      He don’t want alliance with him. If Stannis defeat the Boltons, LF will do anything to destroy him. He don’t want strong king.

      Of course they still need Sansa to get teh Northern Lords on their side…that’s the whole reason for them wanting her: Nothing to do with Stannis.

      Nothing to do with Stannis? Stannis wants the North and he wants Stark in WF. Same as Northern Lords. If Stannis wins great. If he don’t, LF will only have Northern Lords, but I belive that would be enough.

      But Stannis is at the Wall, he is a player in that game also. LF can’t just ignore him.

      But why put her in with the Boltons if all the Northern Lords want to kill them?! It’s just giving them a hostage?!

      Again, because if Stannis loose Boltons are the most powerful force in the North.

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    277. TheTouchOfFrost,

      I think LF’s line about how he understands what its like to live with people you despise might be a hint at what his endgame/motivations are. What does it hint at? I’m not entirely sure.

      If his back-story is like it was in the books, he didn’t have much of a reason to despise any of the Tullies until after his duel with Brandon. But at that point, he wouldn’t be living with them any more. If it wasn’t about them, then who has he lived with that he despises? Maybe he has come to despise the whole Westerosi nobility. He’s definitely spent plenty of time living among them.

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    278. My non-reader bisexual husband said he was uncomfortable with the anti-homosexuality violence of the Faith Militant. That it was a different world from our own and there was no reason why it had to be like this. When I told him the Loras Is Gay plotting was there to replace the Margaery’s Impure plotting, he reacted even more strongly.

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    279. Veltigar,

      I know Ian might have been happy to fight, but without sounding too crass, he doesn’t exactly look like he’s in the greatest shape for fighting. Hell, how many of us would be at his age. He seems to suggest not, but there definitely seemed to be excessive use of a body double there. Besides, not many unsullied care about him, and when Jorah returns there isn’t much advantage of keeping him.

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    280. Hmm.. I’m pretty conflicted. Probably one of my least favourite episodes so far, this season. 8/10-ish.

      The episode was pretty good overall, but the awkward/clumsy Sand Snakes scene, and the totally bogus final fight scene kind of tarnished it for me. My whole viewing group was upset about Barristan and the Unsullied being killed by a bunch of masked Harpies. No one bought it or found it even remotely believable, book readers and non-book readers alike. Barristan deserved a much better death, and the Unsullied should have been way better fighters.

      I know they need to start killing off characters and reducing the cast, but I’m not sure what the heck they were thinking this week. Maybe it’ll improve on my 2nd viewing.

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    281. mau,

      It is obvious.

      You’ve not learnt anything about GoT if you think something that is obvious is going to happen!

      That’s just your opinion. Audience was never more interested in her.

      Not a hard thing to do as she couldn’t get any less interesting. Still, yet to name me anyhting noteworth or interesting she’s done in the entire series.

      I don’t know what will happen, and you don’t know also. So please don’t pretend that you seen S5 or read TWOW.

      Hey, you’re the one who’s saying things are obvious!

      He don’t want alliance with him. If Stannis defeat the Boltons, LF will do anything to destroy him. He don’t want strong king.

      He clearly said to Sansa he wants an alliance with Stannis. In fact it’s what he’s betting on! No one really knows what LF wants for certain yet so it’s your opinion unless you’re already contradicting your statement of “I don’t know what will happen,”

      Nothing to do with Stannis? Stannis wants the North and he wants Stark in WF. Same as Northern Lords. If Stannis wins great. If he don’t, LF will only have Northern Lords, but I belive that would be enough.

      But Stannis is at the Wall, he is a player in that game also. LF can’t just ignore him.

      Stannis wants the Iron Throne he doesn’t care what happens to the north which is why he’ll send Davos to get Rickon from the Last Hearth to rally the north. He’ll have northern lords sworn Roose as Sansa is married to Ramsay. He’s merely given the Boltons what they wanted to dement the north if Stannis doesn’t prevail.

      Again, because if Stannis loose Boltons are the most powerful force in the North.

      Again. Then why not wait until the fighting is done and then play the Sansa card instead of throwing her into harms way?! The Boltons may use her as a hostage or kill her to prevent Stannis getting her and Stannis may see her as being on the Bolton side nad burn her. It’s a stupid move to put her in the middle of a warzone when you can just wait for the dust to settle and then present her to the winnning side.

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    282. Durrandon’s Fool,

      My theory on him is that he oes despise the nobility and people being born into their positions. I think he wants to bring the whole hierachical system down and bring the power to people based on their ability and not birthright. Said it before, but I see him as an Oliver Cromwell type figure…heck he’s already even got the title of Lord Protector! 😛

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    283. Jeb:
      Veltigar,

      I know Ian might have been happy to fight,but without sounding too crass, he doesn’t exactly look like he’s in the greatest shape for fighting. Hell, how many of us would be at his age. He seems to suggest not, but there definitely seemed to be excessive use of a body double there. Besides, not many unsullied care about him, and when Jorah returns there isn’t much advantage of keeping him.

      They never used a body double according to Ian in one of the interviews posted here. They had one at the side, but didn’t use him.

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    284. If they have Brienne kill Stannis at the end of this season I will be pissed off on so many levels. The way they seem intent on having Brienne constantly come out on top in fights really worries me here especially after her saying she wants to kill Stannis last week. I just cant believe they will go through with it yet still cant shake this uneasy feeling that it will happen especially with that Selyse image from the trailer. As someone who actually prefers the show to the books it takes a lot to turn me off the show but having Stannis go down to someone like Brienne after all this great character work would seriously make me doubt the show down the line.

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    285. TheTouchOfFrost:

      Hey, you’re the one who’s saying things are obvious!

      I said it was obvius that D&D like her. I didn’t say I know what will happen. You act as you know.

      He clearly said to Sansa he wants an alliance with Stannis. In fact it’s what he’s betting on!

      No, that is not alliance. he said he wants Stannis to win, but he don’t want Stannis on the IT.

      Stannis wants the Iron Throne he doesn’t care what happens to the north which is why he’ll send Davos to get Rickon from the Last Hearth to rally the north.

      Stannis didn’t send Davos because of Rickon in the books anywhere and he won’t do that in the show.

      Again. Then why not wait until the fighting is done and then play the Sansa card instead of throwing her into harms way?!

      That would be boring to watch and as I said he needs to put her with the Boltons now, because she is important for them now. If they defeat Stannis, they don’t need Sansa anymore.

      The Boltons may use her as a hostage or kill her to prevent Stannis getting her and Stannis may see her as being on the Bolton side nad burn her.

      If Boltons are just evil orcs like in the books, yes, they can kill her, they can rape her, but I hope they are more complex characters.

      Stannis didn’t want to butn Mance Rayder, he won’t burn Sansa.

      It’s a stupid move to put her in the middle of a warzone when you can just wait for the dust to settle and then present her to the winnning side.

      It was stupid to kill Jon Arryn and expect that that will lead to war, but LF did that.

      And war between the Lannisters and the Starks happened just because Robert went to hunt and die there.

      It is stupid to believe that lords of the Vale will fight for Sansa, but he believes in that for some reason.

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    286. mau,

      This is starting to go in circles.

      I said it was obvius that D&D like her. I didn’t say I know what will happen. You act as you know.

      You are making braod claims about what will happen so I’m afraid oyu’re being a hypocrite there.

      No, that is not alliance. he said he wants Stannis to win, but he don’t want Stannis on the IT.

      Didn’t you just say you don’t know what happens?! You can’t claim he doesn’t want him on the IT as he’s not said that at any point.

      Stannis didn’t send Davos because of Rickon in the books anywhere and he won’t do that in the show.

      Cover your spoilers!

      Davos is sent to rally the Northern Lords and getting Rickon is part of that. In the show they’ll most likely cut White Harbour out and have Stannis send Davos to get him from the Last Hearth.

      That would be boring to watch and as I said he needs to put her with the Boltons now, because she is important for them now. If they defeat Stannis, they don’t need Sansa anymore.

      Then leave her out of this season instead of this contrived mess to get her up to Winterfell. You’re not paying attention. Having Sansa has nothing to do with beating Stannis or not. They need her to cement their position with the northern Lords. Littlefingers plan makes no sense as he expects Stannis to win so what’s the point of throwing Sansa into the dangerzone. I don’t care if it’s exciting or not , it’s stupid and goes against LF as a character,

      If Boltons are just evil orcs like in the books, yes, they can kill her, they can rape her, but I hope they are more complex characters.

      Stannis didn’t want to butn Mance Rayder, he won’t burn Sansa.

      Because the Boltons have shown themselves to be rational , caring people so far. For a family that is reknowned for raping and flaying then for them to do either wouldn’t be that hard to predict.
      Stannis had no qualms about burning Mance when he sided with the “enemy”. He’d have no qualms about burning Sansa if he thought she was a Bolton which marrying one would give a lsight indication of her being.

      It was stupid to kill Jon Arryn and expect that that will lead to war, but LF did that.

      And war between the Lannisters and the Starks happened just because Robert went to hunt and die there.

      It is stupid to believe that lords of the Vale will fight for Sansa, but he believes in that for some reason.

      It was a well executed plot to have Jon Arryns execution lead to war.
      The Lannisters got Robert blind drunk and he would not have made it back from that hunting trip alive with or without the boar( ask Varys) so that was a plot that was well-executed too.
      The Vale isn’t as much of a stretch as he is technically in charge of the Vale now he’s Robyn’s ward.
      To compare any of them to this marrying Ramsay madness is daft.

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    287. Given how R + J this episode was, a friend send he was surprised they weren’t able to work in a mention of Rhaegar at the House of Black and White…

      so I imagined how they could have done it…

      ————-
      (Fade up into the House of Black and White)

      Jaqen: When a man becomes no one, he can hear things others do not. Know things other do not.

      Arya: Like what?

      Jaqen: Long ago at the Tower of Joy, a man was disguised as Howland Reed.

      Arya: Okay…

      Jaqen: A man heard your aunt say, “Promise me, Ned.”

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    288. Turncloak,

      My favorite part about this is that the comment is spoilered, but the link – which contains the spoiler in the URL – shows through the spoiler box.

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    289. TheTouchOfFrost,

      Littlefinger’s first plan is full of unlikely gambles that work out, because Martin makes them to work out: killing Arryn-luring Ned to KL via Lysa’s letter (gamble)-using Tyrion’s dagger to start war between wolf and lion (gamble)-getting Ned to find out about twincest-counting on Ned’s good nature to warn Cersei (gamble)-Cersei killing Robert sooner than planned (gamble).

      Ned doesn’t have to go to KL as Hand to find out what happened to Jon. It is out of character for Cat to kidnap Tyrion and risk the wrath of the Lannisters, with her husband and daughters vulnerable at KL. Warning Cersei is a dumb move, even for Ned. Robert could defeat the boar drunk or sober, delaying his death by a day, and a day is all Ned needed.

      So Littlefinger’s plan is based on a series of unlikely events and gambles and out of character behavior that work out for him. Same is true of Sansa in Winterfell. It seems blasphemous, out of character, etc., as it was not in the books. What IS in the books, though, is no less far fetched.

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    290. not gonna read 351 comments, most of which are likely inane arguing back and forth about book vs show.

      i just have one question, how do we know any of this stuff is not in the books (thoug jamie’s story is likely not).

      it’s perfectly possible, is it not, that this is the story grrm had in mind for the next books eventually (though since he doesn’t actually publish anything we may never know) considering the producers know more about the books than anyone else alive, maybe they skipped a bunch of ess to get there?

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    291. Adam,

      I will be really curious how the writers will spin this. I am of the camp, sort of, that Lyanna went with Rhaegar willingly in the beginning but all this talk of what a “great guy who loved to sing with his people” doesn’t dismiss he left his wife and children to the slaughter. Add into that, Lyannas’ brother and father went to “rescue” her and ended up dead. Doesn’t necessarily paint the pairing as some great “love story”, instead two incredible foolish and selfish people.

      But back to the episode, I can suspend belief that Littlefinger and Sansa can walk, unheard, in the crypts but that scene was just painful. Sophie Turner is such a great Sansa but those lines sounded so scripted. I know they are (duh) but its like they where dubbed in. Like when LF said he was going to Kings Landing, her reaction was so monotone. Add in the creeptastic kiss. Just a hard scene to watch, considering the two actors play well off each other normally.

      Stannis and Princess Shireen was the highlight. I know Stannis is a stiff-upper lip kind of guy but I loved that moment. Shows that he isn’t all business and really does have heart, as much as he tries to hide it. And I want to echo the poster who said they will be done if it’s Brienne (pick a vow…any vow!) is the one to take him down. How long did she actually search for Arya anyway? The direction of her arc has become predictable and I’m not a big fan of the Brienne/Pod road show.
      Sand Snakes didn’t impress. At all. Jaime and Bronn are fun, as long as Bronn stays alive.
      Ser Barristan didn’t have to go out like that. The fight was good but D&D must have a boner to trim the cast (I am thinking it’s goodnight Greyworm, too) but I want to be stunned. Killing off Ser B, as Jorah rides back to get in Dany’s good graces doesn’t stun, just disappoints.

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    292. @Maria:
      I agree with you. I was surprised to find out that a lot of people are portraying Littlefinger now as a mastermind and that the Winterfell story would be complete out of character. I do not understand this as his behaviour in the books is also not completely logical.

      In the books his current position as Lordprotector is dependent from Sweet Robin’s life. He probably plans to kill him off later but for the moment he needs Robin alive. As soon as Robert Arryn dies Harry will be Lord of the Vale who has not yet married Sansa.

      Nevertheless Littlefinger constantly risks Robin’s life by urging the Maester to give him very high doses of sweetsleep which can kill him. While reading the books I always found that behaviour of Littlefinger really strange and illogical

      The planned marriage of Sansa with Harry the Heir is in the books dependent from Tyrion’s death. Well, a “mastermind” should have recognized that Tyrion has already survived a lot of dangerous situations, so Littlefinger cannot just expect him to die soon.

      Moreover, the whole Harry the Heir plan sounds quite weak. Littlefinger expects that Harry will be his little pawn and behave exactly how Littlefinger has planned. WTF? He is a grown man and as soon he is Lord of the Vale I highly doubt that he will keep Littlefinger as his advisor and will do what he has planned e.g. giving Sansa the North.

      There are other problems with Littlefinger’s behaviour like the expectation that no one would recognize Sansa in the Vale.

      Littlefinger’s story in the books involves a lot of gambling and luck, so I do not see his TV adaption behaviour as out of character.

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    293. TheTouchOfFrost:
      mau,

      You are making braod claims about what will happen so I’m afraid oyu’re being a hypocrite there.

      Where I was making broad claims about what will happen?

      Didn’t you just say you don’t know what happens?! You can’t claim he doesn’t want him on the IT as he’s not said that at any point.

      And it wasn’t said that Varys don’t want Arya on the IT, so he probably wants that?

      Please, you think he wants Stannis on the IT?! LOL

      Cover your spoilers!

      Having Sansa has nothing to do with beating Stannis or not. They need her to cement their position with the northern Lords.

      And how will the Boltons beat Stannis without cementing their position with the northern Lords?

      I don’t care if it’s exciting or not , it’s stupid and goes against LF as a character

      No. His every move in the books and the show is a gamble and pure luck,

      It was a well executed plot to have Jon Arryns execution lead to war.The Lannisters got Robert blind drunk and he would not have made it back from that hunting trip alive with or without the boar( ask Varys) so that was a plot that was well-executed too.

      It wasn’t well executed, because LF didn’t kill Robert. Without his death, Robert would kill Cersei and the war would never happen.

      The Vale isn’t as much of a stretch as he is technically in charge of the Vale now he’s Robyn’s ward.

      It is a stretch. Lords of the Vale can accept him for a time, but they won’t go to the war for Sansa to fulfil his ambition to rule the North.

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    294. Jessica,

      Right. LF’s plan has from the very beginning involved enormous amounts of improvisation and on-the-fly thinking, seizing the right opportunity, etc. Besides everything you and Maria mentioned, there’s also his crazily convoluted plan for poisoning Joffrey that involved a whole bunch of moving parts he’d have no way of controlling effectively (indeed, many book readers and show watchers have problems with how the poisoning was carried out, thinking it was illogical, overly convoluted…) Simply said, Littlefinger is a pathological gambler that revels not only in fucking over everyone else, but seeing how close he can come to the abyss without falling over. He courts danger all the time and loves to rub just how superior he is in everyone’s face (and no, that’s not the character trait of only show!LF; book!LF behaves that way as well). Having all this in mind, does it surprise that he has another far-fetched, risky plan up his sleeve? I don’t think so.

      As Jessica quite rightly points out, LF’s book plan to marry Sansa to Harry (and presumably disposing of Robert Arryn) doesn’t make all that much sense, at least for now, before TWoW comes out. Robert would be LF’s ideal pawn, a sickly child easily manipulated. Why not marry Sansa (who LF in his delusion probably dreams will be forever his) to Robert, and be the true power behind the throne his whole life? Why risk it with prematurely offing Robert and giving power over to Harry? Why would Harry be LF’s pawn? What guarantees are there he’d retain LF’s “services”? Of course, there’s probably that gambling nature of LF’s at work here, pursuing a more long-term goal.

      Just as in the show, only with different methods. The only difference is that his book schemes have all paid off so we don’t dwell too much on the improbabilities of his magnificently all-encompassing master plan. Only when the show goes off the books, so to speak, do some start to realise this and cry foul. But such behaviour has been an integral part of Littlefinger’s character from Day 1. So let’s just see how things play out, shall we?

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    295. Lex: My whole viewing group was upset about Barristan and the Unsullied being killed by a bunch of masked Harpies. No one bought it or found it even remotely believable, book readers and non-book readers alike. Barristan deserved a much better death, and the Unsullied should have been way better fighters.

      Man to man, the Unsullied are no better or worse than any other spearmen. It’s their discipline that makes them dangerous, but if they cannot form up into a spear wall… ”
      – Tyrion

      They learn to fight in formation with spears on an open battlefield as per the old Roman Phalanx or Greek Hoplite. Spears are a bit limited when your ambushed in a narrow alley with a greater number of enemies before and behind you. Break through the spears to go toe to toe and it’s anyone’s game.

      They took out a lot of the SotH but in the end sheer numbers told. Really the Unsullied should also be carrying short swords or daggers for close quarter combat – why they weren’t carrying those in the alleyways instead of the spears is the question*…but we have to remember that in the books pairs of Unsullied guards were killed by SotH too.

      * At least I didn’t see them swap spears for short swords in melee but can’t go back to check.

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    296. Re: Selmy:
      Chad Brick,

      Just as “cheap”. The dragons broke themselves out in your scenario and Selmy still dies but ironically and futily at the talons of the creatures he was trying to save. You just substituted dragons for unsullied with a MUCH bigger special effects budget (which should answer your own question).

      Again, the Bronn-Jaime conversation. It frames the episode. This is Westeros. If you think this has a happy ending you haven’t been paying attention. Getting bent out of shape over an extremely cool yet ultimately minor character’s demise not being “grand enough” is ridiculous and unfair and ridiculously unfair.

      He kicked some ass. It will spur Dany into some sort of action (we know which). And leave a void in leadership as another advisor leaves her service (bad timing for Jorah!)

      They could have always just killed him off-screen between seasons after this one. He clearly has no more major role to play.

      Bad timing for Jorah? Well he’s on his way back. The obvious cliche scenario would be he fights in the pits and/or saves Dany and wins her faith back therefore replacing Selmy. After all, Jorah is a fan favorite of the show. But the show isn’t cliche. or… is it?

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    297. Mr Fixit:
      As Jessica quite rightly points out, LF’s book plan to marry Sansa to Harry (and presumably disposing of Robert Arryn) doesn’t make all that much sense, at least for now, before TWoW comes out. Robert would be LF’s ideal pawn, a sickly child easily manipulated. Why not marry Sansa (who LF in his delusion probably dreams will be forever his) to Robert, and be the true power behind the throne his whole life? Why risk it with prematurely offing Robert and giving power over to Harry? Why would Harry be LF’s pawn? What guarantees are there he’d retain LF’s “services”? Of course, there’s probably that gambling nature of LF’s at work here, pursuing a more long-term goal.

      Just as in the show, only with different methods. The only difference is that his book schemes have all paid off so we don’t dwell too much on the improbabilities of his magnificently all-encompassing master plan. Only when the show goes off the books, so to speak, do some start to realise this and cry foul. But such behaviour has been an integral part of Littlefinger’s character from Day 1. So let’s just see how things play out, shall we?

      Not true. He explains why he wants to trade Robert for Harry — because he wants a martial figure who can serve as a plausible figurehead, which Robert is not, and never will be.

      mau: And that would be great to watch.

      So your argument for idiotic plotting is that writing characters acting intelligently isn’t interesting enough?

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    298. Sean C.,

      And on what grounds does LF think that he could control Harry when the guy becomes the next Lord Arryn? Whatever one may think of Robert’s martial prowess, he *is* the lawful Lord of the Vale. LF has a much better chance of retaining de facto control of the region with himself and Sansa being Robert’s puppet masters than relinquishing that power over to Harry and then hope he can call the shots behind Harry’s back.

      I’m not saying the plan is stupid; LF obviously has some deeper agenda there, but it’s obvious his plan is risky and relies quite a bit on chance. It’s far from being a sure bet, doubly so when contrasted with a much safer option of keeping Robert alive, well, and most of all, close. Show!LF simply has a different plan that too is very risky and reveals his inner gambler.

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    299. Sean C.:
      So your argument for idiotic plotting is that writing characters acting intelligently isn’t interesting enough?

      It is not “idiotic plotting”, nothing more than Harry the Heir nonsense.

      I really can not discuss with book purists about this any more. I offered arguments, but they are all ignored.

      Think whatever you want, I really don’t care. I didn’t find any professional reviewer that hate this storyline or have some problems with it. Only book purists. As always.

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    300. Mr Fixit:
      Sean C.,

      And on what grounds does LF think that he could control Harry when the guy becomes the next Lord Arryn?

      Because GRRM wrote that, and not D&D.

      It doesen’t make sence that he believes that he can control grown man better than a child.

      But, it is GRRM, so it must be good.

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    301. Mr Fixit,

      Robin only makes a good pawn for LF while he’s alive. I get the impression that he isn’t likely to last long, even without LF’s “help”. Once Sansa gives Harry an heir of his own, then Harry and Sweet Robin are both free to die in whatever overly-intricate circumstances LF can think of. He doesn’t have to control Harry, just kill him when the time is right. Then it’s just a gamble that his new pawn will be healthier than Sweet Robin. Conveniently for LF, that also leaves Sansa free to remarry, if that’s something that he actually wants.

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    302. Durrandon’s Fool,

      Yes, but he can accomplish all of that without Harry. Marry Sansa to Robert in a few years, get her pregnant, kill Robert, marry Sansa and rule with her. What is Harry needed for?

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    303. Maria,

      They are all calculated gambles. Putting Sansa with the Boltons is just a wild gamble especially when he can have a much safer one if he holds fire for a short time. With all the others he had a desired goal he wanted to achieve. What is the point of putting Sansa with the Boltons if he expects them to be defeated? This is perhaps the only time I think D&D have really messed up with regards to character motivation.

      mau,

      Just gonna write a short reply as haven’t got the time to break down each sentence.
      You’ve made claims about characters and where their story is going to go whilst berating me for apparently doing the same. Why wouldn’t he want Stannis on the IT? We have no idea what LF wants so why are you convinced he doesn’t want Stannis to rule? Again, a broad claim.
      The same way in which the Boltons took the north without the help of the Northern Lords. There’s hardly been amuc resistence to them. Either way, it still makes no sense why LF wouldn’t wait until the outcome before throwing his lot in with the victor. LF’s gambles are always carefully weighed up and calculated. None of them have been pure luck.
      They will have to go to war if their liege lord commands it and their liege lord is Baelish’s puppet.

      Also, please stop calling people book purists because they have a different opinion. You can be critical of the show for reasons otehr than it’s not in the books. I have no major problem with Sansa being up in Winterfell but the way in which they’ve got her there is contrived and quite frankly stupid. Also the more you call people book purists it breathes new life into this stupid book vs show crap that people seem to want to make a thing. Don’t be that guy/girl.

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    304. Mr Fixit,

      Probably the best reason is that it’s LF and he would seem out of character if his plans were patient, simple, efficient and cautious. Also waiting for Robin to grow up would take five or six years. Maybe Harry was brought in when GRRM got rid of the five year gap.

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    305. Ok, no one has commented on Mel’s little reference to the shadow baby while attempting to seduce Jon. Don’t you have to have king’s blood running in your veins to make a shadow baby? If I am right there were way too many references to the R+L theory to ignore. Although in fairness the show might play this out differently then the books. George RR hinted at a big character difference in the recent EW interview. Now that would be a crazy divergence!!

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    306. TheTouchOfFrost:

      mau,

      Just gonna write a short reply as haven’t got the time to break down each sentence.You’ve made claims about characters and where their story is going to go whilst berating me for apparently doing the same. Why wouldn’t he want Stannis on the IT? We have no idea what LF wants so why are you convinced he doesn’t want Stannis to rule? Again, a broad claim

      Why would he want Stannis to rule? Why?

      .

      The same way in which the Boltons took the north without the help of the Northern Lords. There’s hardly been amuc resistence to them.

      Because Northern Lords were weak after the RW and they believed all the Starks are dead.

      Either way, it still makes no sense why LF wouldn’t wait until the outcome before throwing his lot in with the victor.

      It makes sence, but you dont’t want to see that. Fine. As you wish.

      LF’s gambles are always carefully weighed up and calculated. None of them have been pure luck.

      They were almost all pure luck. Like many people explained above.

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    307. mau,

      Sorry, but the burden of proof is on you. You’ve claimed he doesn’t want Stannis to rule with no evidence. I don’t think anyone can claim to know what LF does or doesn’t want for his end game at this point in time.
      They’re even weaker now as the Boltons have at least three keeps and have met with no resistence at all. Rallying to Sansa doesn’t work if she’s married to the person who killed their liege lord! Plus possibly the most influential House left in the north, the Umbers , have Rickon so care not a jot about Sansa as they already have a Stark to rally the other lords around.
      Sorry it doesn’t work like that. You have to explain why things don’t work and why it is pure luck. To claim his plans were all luck and good fortune is daft as they were planned to the closest detail of things he could influence. It wasn’t luck that got that dagger where it was or that maipulated Lysa into murdering her husband,etc ,etc. It was his skill and ability to manipulate peopleand predict accurately how things would unfold. Sure some good fortune helped but to call it pure luck is daft.
      Yet again, please explain to me from the perspective of LF why marrying Sansa off to Ramsay when you know and actually expect Stannis is going to assault and take down Winterfell is a good idea when the dangers it presents are quite unpredictable. He could just wait until the result was determined then put the same plan into process by sending Sansa to marry Ramsay or make a new deal with Stannis. It’s a completely unecessary risk.

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    308. Late to the party, loved the episode, and I only had issues with the leakes concerning the Barristabbing being spoiled, then I had a soccer-mate tell me that we don’t actually see him die yet, and that the screen fades to black. He didn’t mention Grey Worm though. But the 5×05 pretty much spoils Barristan, but GW is in the air I think.

      Yeah. I basically liked most of the episode. What I didn’t like, basically boils down to some accents, predominantly Keisha Castle-Hughes accent sways between emulating Pedro’s and I guess a Antipodean one, didn’t mind her physical acting though. Also, Dinkles didn’t have his accent under control either. I heard hints of American under his usual “British”-tone while on the boattrip.

      Didn’t like how they turned Tyene into the female Robin Arryn, horrid choice there. And I didn’t like the editting of the spear-throw, which seemed clunky at best.

      I liked how many references (even extremely small ones) were given to bastards and R+L=J in this episode. This will be long, but there were many, many instances which gripped into each other.

      Heck, the title is probably a hint to, just masked a bit: “The Sons of the Harpy”.. Remove the S and the Y and you get: “The Son of the Harp”, who did we learn that sings and plays the harp in this episode? Rhaegar Targaryen, so the Son of the Harp turns into: The Son of Rhaegar. Aegon? Nah, can’t be that obvious. Then there’s Bronn’s kneejerk reaction when hearing about Jaime’s ahum, niece = sometimes the truth is in plain sight and is hidden to protect the children. Would Rhaegar’s child need protecting at the end of Robert’s Rebellion? Of course, King Bob wouldn’t rest before all were slaughtered! All but two as Ser Barristabbed told us last episode, but he didn’t live up to his reputation in this weeks episode, so he’s hardly a trustworthy source. Then we get Queen #iJarredMyKid Selyse referring to Jon as the Bastard, then we get the Mannis confirming to us: “He isn’t just any Bastard, certainly no tavern wench mothered him, definitely not Ned’s MO“, so who did have sex during Bob’s Rebellion? And remember, this is the guy who studied Bastards of Westeros at the Citadel, I mean the great dusty old Lineage and History Book along with Jon A., the former fled after the latter was offed, before Ned got his turn to get closer to the obvious truth… Speaking of which, shout out to King Tommen in front of Baelor’s Sept and making a sensible choice! You bastard! Back to Dorne! A tale of not one, not two, nor three, but five bastards! One clinging to her mother (also a bastard), the other reminiscing about her mother (perhaps a bastard as well), the last needing to be saved from those four Dornish bastards, while the last Dornish is just there… But has an epic whip so she’s cool. Remember everything Targ comes in threes (totally nonsense, I agree).. three Sandsnakes? The contrast is that these apparently all know their mother.. Then Mel(ony, a slave at the age of 7, thus likely either an orphan, or… a bastard?) goes to Jon for some of her own patented fiery business, remember, Stannis the one true King couldn’t make a Shadow Baby no more, and thus Mel goes to Jon Snow, because why? What does she know that Jon does not? A lot if the Ginger Society of Westeros is to be believed, but we know that he knows nothing about where his mommy is. What is it than? Lets go to Winterfell for the truth, and shabam! We get the full lowdown from Sansa and Littlefinger! Crown Prince Son of the Harp passed up his Martell wife (can be seen as: Martell bastards know their mother (not saying Elia is their mother, I’m talking metaphorically here)) to lay his crown of whatever on Lyanna Stark’s LAP.. LAP.. LAP.. #Ineedametaphorforpregnan