Game of Thrones Season 5 Episode 7 “The Gift” – Written Recap Round-Up

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Welcome back to the written recap round-up! Last night’s exciting episode was a solid installment to prepare us for these last few episodes of season 5. Sansa sought help, Stannis marched forward, and Sam the Slayer upheld his vows (technically) in the seventh episode: “The Gift.”

And don’t forget WotW’s own Sullied and Unsullied reviews!

Reviews for Book Readers:

Alyssa Rosenberg, Washington Post

Laura Hudson, Wired 

Myles McNutt, A.V. Club

Sean T. Collins, Rolling Stone

Charlie Jane Anders, io9

James Hibberd, Entertainment Weekly

Sarah Hughes, The Guardian

Neil Miller, Film School Rejects

Elio Garcia, Westeros.org

Scott Meslow, The Week

David Crow, Den of Geek 

 

Unsullied Book-Spoiler-Free Recaps:

Andy Greenwald, Grantland

Laura Stone, Hey, Don’t Judge Me

Alan Sepinwall, Hitfix

Erik Adams, A.V. Club

Nina Shen Rastogi, Vulture

Stephanie Merry, Washington Post

Libby Hill, Salon

As two major players of the games came face to face for the first time and several plot lines unfolded, critics had a lot to dissect. Let us know what you thought in the comments below!

104 responses

Jump to (and Always Support) the Bottom

    1. I love Laura stone but she really missed the mark with the Sam/Gilly relationship in my opinion

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    2. Where is Elio’s review? How can I properly experience outrage at HBO’s fanfictional adaptation unless someone official provides me guidance?

      Oh … there it is. 😉

      Also … HODOR!

      ETA: fuck me.

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    3. Crazy how fast Andy Greenwald turned on the show. Now Game of Thrones is and always has been nihilistic? That same old saw about only bad things happening to good people. And then he intimates that Cersei isn’t a villain and doesn’t deserve her punishment? What the hell

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    4. Brotherhood without Banter,

      Yeah, most definitely. It’s a mutual thing between Sam and Gilly. I’m sort of astounded by anyone interpreting Sam as a Nice Guy™ who is wearing the girl down until she gets with him. Despite his feelings for her, Sam never expected anything of Gilly, especially being in the NW.

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    5. Brotherhood without Banter,

      I agree. I’m not trying to be a dick when I say this, but I think she can come off as a bit self-indulgent and agenda-driven. If it’s supposed to be a ‘Review’ site (maybe it isn’t, in which case ignore me), it doesn’t feel quite right when I see her constantly trying to tie the story in with her own thoughts on real life gender politics, and then use that as criticism against the episode. Especially given the story’s quasi-Medieval setting.

      Last week’s episode was a bit of a sensitive issue, so her (and many other’s) response that women are being exploited was completely understandable, but to see her start criticising real-life Sams in the way that she did feels a bit – to use her own words – “No bueno” to me.

      lol but maybe I’m a little agenda-driven, too.

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    6. The Rat Kook,

      I read Laura for the comedy, not analysis. Her turns of phrase are a hoot, but she’s not a critic in the conventional sense. I don’t really think she has an agenda, but she’s made it very clear that ‘Hey, Don’t Judge Me’ is her personal space–my house, my rules–and guests (posters) must comport themselves accordingly.

      That having been said, being a nice guy just to get sex is an actual ‘thing’ of late on the web. A short while back someone wrote an article about it, and it caught on in certain circles.

      Laura’s version is more along the lines of the nerd-gets-the-girl trope, or, even more damning, the nerd white knights on behalf of the girl and gets sex as a reward.

      I think most of us here would agree that Sam and Gilly’s love is as pure as the driven snow, and they’ve been reluctant to act on it because they are damaged, insecure people. Their arc has proceeded beautifully, in my opinion, and didn’t need the Gilly in jeopardy scene at all.

      My own version of it would have had the two brothers just make rude remarks, with Sam the Slayer surprising himself by staring them down. Or, heck, just avoid the matter entirely.

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    7. Sue the Fury:
      Brotherhood without Banter,

      Yeah, most definitely. It’s a mutual thing between Sam and Gilly. I’m sort of astounded by anyone interpreting Sam as a Nice Guy™ who is wearing the girl down until she gets with him. Despite his feelings for her, Sam never expected anything of Gilly, especially being in the NW.

      Agreed, Gilly has been into Sam a long time and vice versa, and if it weren’t for his oath and Sam being rather timid it would have happened already.

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    8. AngelWatch,

      Yeah, I am a bit baffled by his almost sneering tone regarding the show. Until just two episodes ago he was gushing over GoT and singing praises about how it had never been better. He was the most openly enthusiastic Unsullied reviewer around and seemed like he couldn’t get enough of it. And it’s been that way more or less for years.

      Even if he thinks the last two episodes were subpar — which is certainly his prerogative — I’m having trouble understanding how, in his eyes, the show is suddenly fundamentally flawed and ‘disheartening’? That’s the most improbable 180 I believed I’ve witnessed in quite some time. Again, I don’t have problems with him expressing his objections to one thing or another, but such things tend to crop up over time. I’ve never seen someone practically having a love affair with a TV show for years without any major problems only to change his tune completely on account of an episode or two.

      If I may borrow a term used above by The Rat Cook, it seems a bit agenda-driven to me, taking pot-shots and being all ‘oh noes, sex&violence&grimness’ when it’s ‘in’ to do so.

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    9. Mr Fixit,

      What’s even stranger, is his reaction to the whole Jaime-Cersei affair was far more muted. You’re right, this was a complete 180 that came basically out of nowhere. One episode Arya’s story was beautiful to him, the next it was horrible and claustrophobic. But there was basically no difference between them.

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    10. AngelWatch,

      As much as I generally love Greenwald’s writing, the moments when I find myself disagreeing with his criticism routinely arise from his well-documented aversion for darkness and violence. It “bums him out” very easily, especially when he can’t see where it’s leading (he was one of the few critics who had a negative opinion on True Detective from the very first episode). And when something isn’t engaging him, his tendency to pepper his recaps with various jokes or turns of phrase related to the minutia of the episode can cease to be endearing very quickly. Indeed, it can often approach disheartening levels of glibness and sarcasm.

      That’s not to say that Greenwald can’t appreciate how essential violence is to this particular story, or its effectiveness in generating drama. He had gave an extremely positive review to “The Rains of Castamere”, despite its brutality, because the setup and payoff of the Red Wedding were very clear. By contrast, the most negative stretch he ever went through while reviewing the show was in the midst of Season 3, when Theon was being tortured by Ramsay. He found that interminable, and it permanently soured him on those characters – feelings that are no doubt being reinforced by their prominence in what has become Season 5’s darkest storyline.

      I don’t really blame him for his negative reaction to last week’s episode, because he was far from alone. But in this week’s review, it still seemed like he was experiencing a hangover from that development, and he didn’t seem able to shed that malaise in order to offer any fresh perspective on “The Gift”, despite several half-hearted efforts. That was disappointing to me, because “The Gift” was my favorite episode of the season, and his reaction to several of the most significant moments in the episode seemed like afterthoughts.

      My hope is that if the last three episodes turn out to be epic as they’re shaping up to be, he’ll perk up. But I suspect part of the reason he was so enthusiastic about the first five episodes of this season was because they appeared to be suggesting a more hopeful, positive worldview for the show, and a smoother episode structure that focused less focus on moving the pieces around to hit certain key plot points. He attributed that at least in part to Benioff and Weiss assuming a greater degree of control over the story as they deviated from Martin’s texts. He was in raptures over the melon merchants of Braavos and the Water Gardens of Dorne after the first few episodes because of how fresh and alive those locations seemed, and he was very taken with Varys’s statement in the premiere that “Perhaps we’ve grown so used to horror, we assume there’s no other way”. But after those storylines moved to more claustrophobic quarters, his enthusiasm waned (he’s far from alone in turning on Dorne, but I found his sudden reversal on Arya’s storyline to be a bit ridiculous). And then this new, lighter, smoother Game of Thrones he was enjoying so much was interrupted by a somewhat clunky episode that also featured what might be the darkest moment in the history of the show (a moment that he didn’t feel the show “earned” for various reasons). Perhaps he felt a bit stung when that happened.

      I don’t believe that Greenwald’s enthusiasm for the show is so easily broken – he wouldn’t be doing two podcasts per week to discuss Game of Thrones if he didn’t love it. But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t concerned about his response to the rest of this season, because I suspect the last three episodes are going to be heavy on both darkness and the supernatural – two elements that have never been his favorite things about the show. I hope that my favorite GOT reviewer can snap out of his funk, but the euphoria he felt while traveling on a Slow Boat Through Valyria may be gone.

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    11. Brotherhood without Banter:
      I love Laura stone but she really missed the mark with the Sam/Gilly relationship in my opinion

      Yeah, I was having a discussion with her about it on her comment section…

      For me, it was one of the most emotional scene of the series (for personal reasons as well).

      And Laura Stone makes me laugh every week ! She has a great humour vibe in her recaps !

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    12. This it folks. Greenwald turning on the series, Sansagate, the slow build up of pieces being moved that is A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons not working with the audience after the catharsis of season 4….the backlash has begun. I mean has anyone been to the Unsullied Wall at http://www.previouslytv.com recently? There has always been the cranky types like StillShimpy but now we are losing longtime adherents Pallas and WhiteStumblr. I am actually shocked that Gingerella is still watching.

      I have a feeling that Sansagate may possibly end up being the now infected wound caused by several other events that tested the audience’s limits.

      But who knows maybe I’m just freaking out and the rest of the season will change their minds. The next 3 episodes better be doozies.

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    13. Jared,

      Thanks. That was a good read, and it sounds plausible. Still, I’d like to hope that esteemed TV reviewers do not flip-flop and sink into a general malaise because of several disliked scenes. If that’s how it is, then they were either convincing themselves (for a long time) that the show was much better than it was, or they are now convincing themselves that it’s worse than it is.

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    14. Joshua Atreides,

      I don’t think it’s that dire, really. Still, every show has to peak (speaking of ratings and critical reception), and I contended long before this season started that this might be it.

      As you said, it’s the confluence of several factors: for one, we are in Season 5; long-term fatigue among a portion of viewers sets in sooner or later. And you know how it is, when something becomes this popular, backlash is inevitable; that’s just how pop-culture works.

      Two, this season is based on two of the slowest and most setup-oriented novels in the series, especially relative to the explosive and thickly-plotted third book. Even with all the cuts, the plot doesn’t have the same propulsiveness and, more importantly, sense of purpose that was evident earlier (typical though not inevitable problems with second acts).

      Three, I’ve always sensed some kind of latent dislike and/or caution that quite a few critics exhibited towards the show. Sure, it was reined in while the show was universally liked, fresh and unlike anything seen on TV. But many of those guys never truly cared for its fantasy roots, its unrelenting darkness, or the fact that it had myriad seemingly unconnected plots. And when you have such a tenuous and quasi-conditional appreciation for a TV show, it’s very easy to fray or even sever that cord. One or two ‘incidents’ is often all it takes. After all, critics and audiences alike are not immune to bandwagoning. They’re often in it for the ‘zeitgeist’ reasons or because a show is ‘watercooler’ fare. As soon as it ceases to be true, many move on.

      This wall of text aside, I truly don’t think the situation is all that bad or a cause for alarm. I have every confidence that TWoW and Season 6 will be an explosive start of Act III. The show, with the final goal in sight, will benefit from a renewed sense of purpose. (Not that I think it lacks one now; Season 5 has actually exceeded my expectations, but I can understand impatience and fatigue among one part of the general viewership.)

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    15. Jared,

      As much as I love Michael McElhatton and Iwan Rheon as Roose and Ramsay, I really hope we get a WOW spoiler

      by witnessing their deaths/defeat by the end of the season. Because it is their association in the story that is connected to the audience hand wringing andgeneral frustration.

      Reading Greenwald’s closing paragraph of his latest recap I have decided to take back the accusation that he is abandoning the series. He still has optimism going forward but he does not like to be temporarily stranded in the muck.

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    16. Mr Fixit,

      I agree with all your points, Sometimes I wonder if the Netflix model would serve GoT better. If the viewer can satiate their growing frustration by merely watching the following episode right away, the more disturbing parts will simply blend in with everything else. It’s the reason why so many people prefer to binge-watch.

      Because I really miss going to the TWOP and previously.tv UnSullied forum and actually enjoying what I read.

      And not to beat an already dead horse I feel Sansagate has left a deep gouge in the show’s integrity. I would really like to have been in the writer’s room when this was decided.

      Is it because they didn’t want to present the Vale thread separate from everything else? Did Sophie Turner want a meatier role (her interviews show that she was shocked and surprised in one part and also secretly loving it as well)? Did D and D want to give Sophie a bigger role because of her growing star power? Or is that they wanted to give Reek’s arc more pathos by putting Sansa in that situation? I am curious to hear Benioff and Weiss’ breakdown on this matter. Because if they ever go to a Comic Con or any public media appearance again Sansagate will be on everyone’s lips.

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    17. Mr Fixit,

      I think we also have to consider the differences between recappers, reviewers, and critics. The first reports what happened, the second has an almost consumer guide approach (is this show worth watching?), and the third assesses what it all means.

      Each writes for different audiences, most are herd animals, and some are contrarians. They monitor each other, and while they compete to see who can discover The Next Big Thing, you can be sure they don’t want to be the last one off a sinking ship.

      What many of them seem to be reacting to and are tiring of are the repetitive scenarios. All the buddy roadshows, the catastrophic weddings, the women in sexual danger, the Dany and Daario pillow talk, the Meereenese knots, the trials by combat, and, most egregiously, the violence and boobs that are often there just as a bid to keep people awake.

      Think of all the casual brutality that has no real narrative meaning. Those Dornish guards killed almost as a lark. That guy buried in the sand who got a spear through the head. The gladiators Jorah walks through. The flayings two or three times a year to remind us Ramsay is evil.

      After a while, it just becomes numbing. And I think that’s what Andy Greenwald means when he says the show has nothing left to say.

      I’m not a book purist by any means, but there’s a lot of stuff in the source material–like Maester Aemon’s ‘Egg, I dreamed that I was old” moment–that really sings and would be a highlight in every episode. You know, those human details and grace notes that made many of us love ASOIAF to begin with.

      GoT’s still good, by any reasonable measure, but it’s not fresh anymore. And there’s a huge difference between trying to keep it fresh and just recycling what worked in the past while rushing toward the end game.

      On the other hand, what show can possibly survive all this scrutiny? I watch GoT as Theon but read all the commentary as Reek. After a while, I start twitching because I can’t tell what’s good and bad anymore, flayed by the thousand cuts of too many opinions.

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    18. Sigh… I guess every episode recap from now on will start with the obligatory regurgitation of “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken” arguments – only to spend the latter half of the recap actually discussing the new episode.

      Two seasons from now, as season 7 climaxes, people will still yap paragraphs upon paragraphs about the great injustice done to a character back in episode 506.

      Everything that could be said about it has already been said.

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    19. I miss enjoying reading the ex-TWOP Unsullied as well, Joshua. To me, they seemed to get turned off of the show by Season 3, with its torture scenes and its failed attempts to turn “Who is holding Theon captive/Who razed Winterfell?” into a narrative mystery that the viewers would give a damn about. That was the material that really soured them on the show, IMO, and they never quite recovered from it.

      Laura Stone’s interpretation of Gilly and Sam’s relationship is one that I find bizarre, and her absolute refusal to engage with any attempts to discuss that issue–as well as many other issues on which she would clearly rather declaim than engage–sort of… well, it sort of bothers me? And then I feel vaguely guilty about it bothering me, because I totally get it — Her blog, her rules — and I can imagine few things more obnoxious than trying to make someone engage with a discussion when they really just don’t want to. And yet, it still niggles at me. So I’ve decided to just stop reading the comments there altogether. I think that I enjoy her blog far more without them.

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    20. After a while, it just becomes numbing.

      Then they certainly should not read the books! There is good stuff there, but the nihilism and depressing aspects are far more evident there.

      And I think that’s what Andy Greenwald means when he says the show has nothing left to say.

      This is the same Greenwald that stated that season 5 was the best yet, up until episode 505. He is one of my favorite recappers/reviewers, but his analysis is usually best with some hindsight.

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    21. Joshua Atreides,

      I genuinely believe that the show going to press ahead into WOW territory

      and give us at least a partial resolution of the Battle of Ice/Winterfell this season. The conflict between Stannis and the Boltons has been promised and built up for the audience since the very first episode of the season – I think it would be a major mistake to leave it on a cliffhanger (I would have thought the book wouldn’t do such a thing either … until it did). Furthermore, my guess would be that the Boltons are going to lose that battle, despite the impression ADWD left us with. I don’t know if we’ll lose both Boltons this season, but I do think we’re going to see at least one of them die. Hopefully – and based on recent events, almost certainly – it will be Ramsay.

      In the Post-Mortem thread, I speculated that

      the show’s version of the Battle of Ice will involve Ramsay leading an attack on Stannis’s camp – which would put him directly into the line of fire. With everything Ramsay has done this season, people are burning to see him die, and I think the show will give us that release (right before it punches them in the gut with Jon’s stabbing). Truth be told, Ramsay can’t do much more to earn the antipathy of the audience – what he’s done to Sansa was the peak. Further acts of cruelty are more likely to induce fatigue than outrage, which can only be detrimental. Unless Ramsay has a major role to play in the endgame of ASOIAF, he set a ticking clock on his own life the moment he laid his hands on Sansa. People are only going to wait so long for it to expire.
      There’s the matter of the Pink Letter, of course, but I’m skeptical if the show bother with that or if it would even work on screen. In my opinion, at least, the show has done enough to establish the resentment of the Night’s Watch towards the wildlings and Jon’s sympathies towards them to justify For the Watch without the catalyst of the Pink Letter. That will be even more true after Jon returns from Hardhome with a presumably devastated force.

      I don’t believe the show has ever, should ever, or will ever cater its story to satisfy that reactionary and often-trivial concerns of critics and the Internet. From a pure PR perspective, however, …

      I think the death of Ramsay could serve as a necessary bloodletting for the show at this point, as much as I’ve enjoyed Iwan Rheon’s performance in the role. By contrast, Roose can probably linger on a bit into Season 6, if necessary. He’s clearly a “villain” by GOT standards, and people want to see him die. But because his calling card is ruthless practically and not gleeful sadism (i.e. he’s more Tywin than Joffrey) he hasn’t drawn nearly the hatred and condemnation that Ramsay has, despite the fact that he personally murdered Robb Stark. Michael McElhatton is one of my favorite actors on the show – I won’t be unhappy if he gets to stick around for a little bit longer.

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    22. Lars,

      Yeah, the endless platitudes these reviewers seem to have to spout out is very fucking annoying. What are they so scared of? It’s not as though they’re running for office or something and yet they feel the need to address every potentially hot-button issue with such phony delicacy. I guess they’re really frightened that people will accuse them of being insensitive in their comment sections or on twitter? I dunno really but it makes for very watered-down, repetitive criticism.

      Ah well.

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    23. I thought this when I learned they were doing the Sansa in Winterfell thing. It will either work out well or result in permanent damage to the show. Sadly, it appears it is the latter. There is a significant turn on the series movement I am seeing with not just some of the reviews posted here but elsewhere as well. And it’s been a rapid turn unlike anything I can remember. A month ago the show was great, now it’s trash to some of these people. There is no doubt damage has been inflicted. Anyone who denies that is lying to themselves.

      It’s a strange thing. Game of Thrones became the show everyone wanted to watch because it was the “in” thing to do. Now it appears it’s the “in” thing to hate the show and trash it. How can I blame D&D for dumbing the series down when we have that level of intelligence involved in watching it? A level of intelligence that loves the show in April and thinks it’s a pile of trash in May. I can’t blame them if that’s the level of IQ we’re dealing with.

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    24. Really like Andy Greenwald’s reviews.

      One question for everyone interested.Since one big meeting already happened in this episode.Kudos to D&D for that,because GRRM took too much time with it.It’s his own fault show is quicker.Anyway when do you think we’ll see Jon/Dany/Tyrion meeting?

      Benioff mentioned they’re not gonna do 9 or 10 seasons.Fully agree with him.Meereen arc will soon be finished probably 6×01 and after that next destination Westeros.

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    25. The Rat Kook,

      Yeah. As a nerdy woman reading her, I’m always feeling a bit of: “Okay, so some geeky guys can be sexist in annoying ways. Some. But do we have to leap straight to ‘neckbeard’ as an insult? Do we really need to do that? And…would the whole Nice Guy (TM) shtick be any more acceptable coming from the kind of man that you wouldn’t call a neckbeard?”

      No bueno is just about the size of it, yeah.

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    26. Jared,

      What about Sansa’s involvement in all of this.Ramsay mentioned Jon to her and D&D did that for some reason, I suppose.I can see only two possible scenarios.She will either escape with Theon’s help to Castle Black or she is the author of the Pink Letter(in some form) in the show.Pleading for the help from her half-brother,who is in the position of some power.

      You can see her eaction to news about Jon shocked/surprised and intrigued.Hardhome and Jon’s relationship with widlings is not enough in my book.Night’s Watch involvement in Sansa’s rescue mission could be the catalyst for his demise.Don’t you think?

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    27. Lars,

      The recent Andy Greenwald is to the show what my brother’s ex-wife is to my brother (bear with me): ‘At the beginning, she was determined to marry me. At the end, she was determined to divorce me. How is this possible? I’m the same guy!’

      Andy woke up last week, realized the honeymoon was over, and put GoT on notice.

      As for the nihilistic and depressing aspects of the books: honestly, I never found the books depressing! I guess it has to do with the writer’s voice. Even the dark stuff has an almost black comedy aspect to it. As horrific as the Reek chapters were, his ongoing reek-meek-squeak-leak inner monologues were actually quite funny.

      Tyrion (of course), Varys, Bronn, Jamie, Edd, and countless others not on the show, were consistently entertaining and occasionally hilarious, even when in the midst of their greatest challenges. The Victarion of AFFC and ADWD was funny because he was too stupid to realize he was the butt of the joke everyone was laughing at.

      Some of this comes through on the show, some of it doesn’t. Not enough time, artistic choices, inner monologues difficult to translate to the screen, and so on.

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    28. A great episode that some critics hated? Of course. They wouldn’t be talentless hacks if they could do anything more than write critiques. 😉

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    29. Geralt of Rivia,

      Good question, and good points.

      I agree that Sansa learning that Jon has become Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch was significant, and could prove be a key piece of foreshadowing. I would not be at all surprised if she finds a way to send a message to him that he will receive after he returns from Hardhome, spurring him to organize a rescue mission that will lead to his stabbing.
      The drama of the Pink Letter on the page stems from the fact that we don’t know if Ramsay is being truthful when he claims he smashed Stannis’s army – or indeed, if he wrote the letter at all. It could be misplaced faith, but I’m very confident that we’re going to see at least partial resolution on the Baratheon-Bolton conflict this year. Leaving the outcome of the battle a mystery after it’s been teased all season long strikes me as a mistake for the show. A cliffhanger ending is one thing. Failing to deliver on a promised conflict that’s been teased in almost every episode this year is another matter entirely.
      Sansa being the author of the letter that spurs Jon to go south makes more sense to me for the show’s purposes than Ramsay sending the letter. For one thing, Jon never sent Mance Raydar to Winterfell to retrieve his “sister”, so Ramsay has no reason to suspect Jon’s direct interference. If Sansa escapes Winterfell and heads for Castle Black, then Ramsay has an obvious reason to threaten Jon. But given their proximity, it seems more likely to me that Sansa would end up with Stannis’s army after escaping, at least at first (if she kills Ramsay, this issue is moot). In that case, Ramsay would presumably want to deal with Stannis before he needlessly antagonized Jon. Barring unnecessary obfuscation, that means we would learn the outcome of the battle before Jon gets stabbed, which I’m guessing will be the last scene of the season, or close to it (I could be wrong on that point).
      So Sansa sending the letter makes more sense. But that still leaves the question of her status around the time she sends it. After all she’s been through, I have a hard time envisioning any scenario in which Sansa remains in Ramsay’s clutches by the end of this season. I think she will either escape Winterfell on her own, or Ramsay will die (either at her hand or in battle). Perhaps some combination of the two. But one thing is certain – Jon isn’t getting there in time to save her. So the primary narrative utility of Sansa sending word to Jon would be to induce him to come south, and indirectly facilitate his stabbing. That would be doubly tragic, I suppose, especially if we the audience know that Sansa has reached a place of relative safety.
      It’s a fascinating question, and among the many reasons the Season 5 finale is perhaps my most anticipated episode in the history of the series. Will there be a letter? If so, who sends it and when? When would the letter reach Jon? And when it does, how much would we the audience know about the status of Sansa, Ramsay, and Stannis around the time Jon is stabbed? What comes next?

      I don’t know (in case my ramblings hadn’t already made that clear) but I can’t wait to find out!

      RosanaZugey,

      Thank you! I love talking about the show, and I try to contribute to the discussion in a positive manner, even if sometimes (OK, most of the time) my observations and theorizing tend to run long. 🙂

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    30. Jared,

      I love the idea of Sansa somehow finding a way to write Jon a letter, and that being what stirs him into action, and just as he is set to leave, ‘For The Watch’ happens. I have long thought that the Pink Letter, or a version of it wouldn’t be used, but now I think it could work.

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    31. And that idiot Greenwald is still going on about the rape from last week,done reading his reviews for good now .

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    32. Joshua Atreides,

      I am quitting the Unsullied forum. It’s just not fun to read 5 or 6 posters(and that’s really all it is anymore) who just are no longer fans of the show. Season 3 is when the squeamish ones started to voice their displeasure. The death of Joffrey and the introduction of Oberyn hooked them for a bit in season 4, then the Mountain happened, and they hated the show again, before enjoying the finale and being hyped for Arya and Tyrion’s upcoming journey. And then this season happened. I still find some enjoyment reading the ‘No Book Talk’ episode threads, but even some of those posters are at a point where they are seemingly not enjoying much of the show.

      I guess some of this was to be expected, with the problems that AFFC and ADWD presented, but missteps in the Dorne and KL storylines, and the gamble of placing Sansa in Winterfell have contributed to the sudden drop in fan enthusiasm. I’m not sure there is anything coming up this season that will make it better, particularly with

      Jon’s assassination and the potential sacrifice of Shireen coming up.

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    33. Jim,

      Yes! I agree. It’s quite sad that some people seem to need the traditional storytelling tropes (even if they claim the opposite). Bad guys have to bite it and the good guys must be happy in the end etc.

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    34. I’m so glad someone else (Sarah Hughes, The Guardian) picked up on the Withnail & I reference “Perfumed ponce!”
      My favourite TV show references my favourite film – huzzah!

      Any other Withnail fans here? Perhaps next week The High Sparrow will tell the court how Loras “finds the carrot infinitely more fascinating than the geranium..”

        Quote  Reply

    35. The Rat Kook,

      There’s no way Gilly is being exploited by Sam, on the contrary, it seems she’s taking advantage of him for her own ‘n her baby’s gain. Her fucking him could be understood as a kind of prepayment for services that the big Sam would provide to the little Sam in case Gilly dies or something like that.

        Quote  Reply

    36. I really don’t understand the negative reaction to Andy Greenwald.

      He still clearly loves the show and is very excited about the coming weeks. He needs a “hero moment” or two I think to lift his slight despondency. Hopefully those are coming.

      And anyway, I think he is raising legitimate concerns. The bleakness does become predictable after a while. I think a lot hinges on Stannis’ decision (no spoilers possible because us book readers are in the dark on this one too). If Stannis agrees to go ahead with offing Shireen (regardless of whether it actually happens – and I would be absolutely amazed if it did), it would be not only depressing and bleak but also predictable and hackneyed, so I get where Greenwald is coming from.

      It would also completely undermine the touching moment between Stannis and Shireen earlier in the season (one of the highlights so far for me), if we later realise that the scene was merely a platform for the ‘difficult decision’ ahead of Stannis. Sometimes it’s nice to have scenes that are just character moments rather than plot devices, and I’d really like it if that one was the former.

        Quote  Reply

    37. Ross,

      Stannis would never let Mel sacrifice his daughter but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen. Stannis may not be able to stop her.

        Quote  Reply

    38. JamesL,

      I just can’t see it happening either way. Even Game of Thrones has a line and this would cross it.

      What would annoy me is if Stannis agrees to do it and then it is thwarted for whatever reason (even his own conscience kicking in). That would be hackneyed. I wouldn’t mind quite so much if Mel attempts it off her own steam and is thwarted.

      Either way, there’s no way they’re going to show a cute little girl burned alive at the stake. Right? Right??

        Quote  Reply

    39. Rodrik the Reader:

      I’m not a book purist by any means, but there’s a lot of stuff in the source material–like Maester Aemon’s ‘Egg, I dreamed that I was old” moment–that really sings and would be a highlight in every episode. You know, those human details and grace notes that made many of us love ASOIAF to begin with.

      GoT’s still good, by any reasonable measure, but it’s not fresh anymore. And there’s a huge difference between trying to keep it fresh and just recycling what worked in the past while rushing toward the end game.

      Could you elaborate on this point? What makes you feel the show’s not fresh anymore and what do you think it could do better in this sense? Not talking of plots and narrative arcs here.

      On the other hand, what show can possibly survive all this scrutiny? I watch GoT as Theon but read all the commentary as Reek. After a while, I start twitching because I can’t tell what’s good and bad anymore, flayed by the thousand cuts of too many opinions.

      I know perfectly well what you mean. I said somewhere that it took ever-increasing amounts of mental fortitude to stay focused on my own thoughts and feelings regarding the show and not let the constant barrage overpower them. The mere acts of engaging with and processing so many views and opinions — many of them negative and/or spiteful — often leaves me spent. There’s something to be said about simply enjoying oneself without the need to constantly rethink everything.

        Quote  Reply

    40. Greenwald’s review is not that suprising. He wrote this about “The Mountain and the Viper”:

      “Look, contra Ramsay Snow, I have been paying attention. I harbor no illusions of a happy ending. But even in the midst of an epic, excellent season that has provided more wit, resonance, and emotion than I had previously thought possible, I am growing slightly weary of being taught the same merciless lesson again and again. I’d like to think that Charlie Brown had some grudging respect for Lucy the first time she pulled away the football. But the fifth? What happened to dashing Prince Oberyn was gripping, horrifying television. But, unlike his skull, it was also rather hollow. […] Personally, I prefer the series when it pushes and provokes my brain, not when it devotes all of its remarkable resources to illustrating what happens when you crush someone else’s. Orson and his rock are plenty fascinating. But I’m much more interested in what happened to those scraggly beetles once they stopped gettingswatted with such fearsome regularity.”

        Quote  Reply

    41. Ross,

      What I can see is a version of

      Mel trying to sacrifice Shireen, but Stannis stopping her and telling her to leave. After all, if all the book reader speculation is true, Melisandre may have to revive Jon after For-The-Watch, so Stannis cutting ties with her because of Shireen may be a good reason for her to head back to the Wall.

      At least that’s what I hope.

        Quote  Reply

    42. GeekFurious:
      A great episode that some critics hated? Of course. They wouldn’t be talentless hacks if they could do anything more than write critiques.

      Hey, they don’t call them Praisers…….

        Quote  Reply

    43. Dolorous Ned,

      That does make sense. I’d be happy with that. Although I guess that would mean

      almost certain defeat (and possibly) death for Stannis

      . I’m still confused how Selyse’s scene of anguish ties in with this, unless

      it’s in reaction to Mel leaving, but that seems a little melodramatic (pun not intended!)

      .

        Quote  Reply

    44. Don’t really care what the critics say, this was a great episode!

      Haters gonna hate, and all that stuff…

      As for “permanently damaging” the show, ROFL. Melodramatic much?

        Quote  Reply

    45. Hmm, what seemed like a good episode to regular watchers (going by the Unsullied here and myself) doesn’t seem like a good episode to reviewers. And many find the Tyrion/Daenerys reunion the high point of the episode.

      All in all, this seems to be one of the episodes my thoughts diverge the most from those reviewers in recent memory.

        Quote  Reply

    46. To be honest, it was kind of forseeable that this episode would be rather well received, but not recognized as being outstanding. It´s logical for some critics that you can´t praise the show for characterizations, settings and plot-lines after such an controversial event occurred on the same show just last week, resulting in some of the most disapproving reviews written for GoT to this date.

      I guess some of them feared to lose their credibility if they seemingly comletely changed their mind over a week´s course and treated the show as if this medial outrage wouldn´t have happened. Thus I was quite sure that the reviews for this excellent episode would be a bit less euphoric than what it truly deserves.

      A complete change of mind by the critics would just not have seemed very authentic, so it actually is a smart move to raise the re-gained acclaim of the show slowly and carefully.

      This might seem strange in the over-all context and it may baffle long-time readers, which must of us on WOTW most definitely are, but it serves to get the readership back on track without snubbing the casuals among it. Next week will be business as usual, pretty sure of that.

        Quote  Reply

    47. Excellent discussion here.

      Ross:
      JamesL,

      I just can’t see it happening either way.Even Game of Thrones has a line and this would cross it.

      I don’t see it happening either. I’m hoping that there is a turn of events – maybe Stannis sending Shireen away with Davos – so the threat is eliminated from discussion.

      Jared,

      I also love your observations; always well-written and thoughtful. The S5 finale will be fascinating for Sullied and Unsullied alike because I think that it will move past ADWD.

      I think that viewers will need a resolution to the Stannis-Bolton conflict. I also think that Jon’s resurrection will close the season and not his death. I wonder if there will be some version of the “girl on dying horse” riding to CB. Obviously not Alys Karstark but perhaps Sansa after her escape from WF or Shireen escaping from Mel.

      Tyrion Pimpslap:

      I guess some of this was to be expected, with the problems that AFFC and ADWD presented, but missteps in the Dorne and KL storylines, and the gamble of placing Sansa in Winterfell have contributed to the sudden drop in fan enthusiasm. I’m not sure there is anything coming up this season that will make it better…

      D&D took risks this year. These were tough books to adapt and they made choices…odd choices, in some instances. It will be interesting to see what the final three episodes bring.

        Quote  Reply

    48. Uknow.0,

      Re Gilly exploiting Sam: it never occurred to me, but I can see the possibility, now that you’ve pointed it out. We see Gilly mostly through Sam’s POV in the books as well as the show. Sam has all the signs of the classic beta orbiter. He’s got a bad case of oneitis and puts Gilly on a pedestal. In an earlier episode, I believe Grenn showed man-of-the-world exasperation with Sam’s fixation, essentially saying it’s all in his head, and that Gilly ain’t all that. It could well be that Gilly is using Sam the way Margaery is using Tommen, the main difference being that Gilly acts out of instinct and desperation instead of ruthless sophistication and opportunism.

      I’d hate for that to be the case, but if everyone in GoT is a player or a pawn, Sam might be the one being played, at least a little Or is this too cynical?

        Quote  Reply

    49. Rodrik the Reader:
      Mr Fixit,

      I’m not a book purist by any means, but there’s a lot of stuff in the source material–like Maester Aemon’s ‘Egg, I dreamed that I was old” moment–that really sings and would be a highlight in every episode. You know, those human details and grace notes that made many of us love ASOIAF to begin with.

      Are you aware that most of the viewers have not read the books? The “‘Egg, I dreamed that I was old” moment” was a nice nod to the book readers. For non-book readers this sentence was completely insignificant.

      I post also in a foreign board where Game of Thrones is discussed by book readers and Unsullied viewers and one of those Unsullied was totally confused by this sentence, he does not know who Egg is. A sentence like this is not a highlight for him, instead it annoyed him as he had a feeling that he did not understand some important stuff or that he missed something in the plot.

      Book reader tend to overrate the importance of a lot of book plotlines and side characters which are more than boring or confusing for unsullied watchers.

      This season is boring for a lot of them…The reason, why they did not quit the show yet is mainly caused by the deviations from the books which makes the show more interesting for them. Hell, even I would have quit the show by now, if they would follow book 4 and 5.

      The most discussed and interesting highlights in this season were plots which were invented or changed (Mance dead, Sansa in Winterfell, Jorah getting grey scale, Margaery and Loras imprisoned due to true accusations….).

      How many highlights would have been in the show if the show would have followed the books? FArya being tortured by Theon, Arya selling oysters, Jon Connington getting grey scale, King’s moot….I do not think that these plot lines would have been interesting for the majority of the viewers. And I did not even mention the other “highlights” of book 4 and 5: Brienne wandering around, Tyrion watching turtles, Quentyn, Penny and “Where do whores go”? Are there really people who think that stuff like this would make a good TV show?

        Quote  Reply

    50. Jessica,

      I don’t think the reference to Egg is that important, “I dreamt I was old” is just a very poignant statement. Loved it in the books and on the show. But I can see how it may be confusing to Unsullied, so maybe they should have left Egg out of it.

        Quote  Reply

    51. Jessica: Book reader tend to overrate the importance of a lot of book plotlines and side characters which are more than boring or confusing for unsullied watchers.

      This is true, but a bit strange when you think about it, considering that a great many book readers complained to no end about the week plotlines and side characters when actually reading Book 4 (and to a lesser extent, Book 5). I may not agree with every adaptation decision the show has taken, but they deserve a lot of praise for pulling a watchable season out of those books.

        Quote  Reply

    52. Mr Fixit,

      Re how to keep the show fresh: Ha! That’s the question, isn’t it? One way is for the writers (GRRM included) to get out of their cloistered writer’s room and actually consider how their viewers and readers might reasonably react to what they create.

      George might be unreachable, but surely D&D have to answer to someone, right? They might not do market research, but someone at HBO does. If those reading the entrails decide there are too many entrails on the show, there will be fewer going forward.

      I’m perfectly aware that every asshole has an opinion, but ‘a million Elvis fans can’t be wrong,’ as was said back in the day. That Wisdom of the Crowd sort of thing. GoT is like the kind of serialized novel Dickens used to write. The author would release a chapter, consider the reaction, and proceed accordingly, picking up bits and pieces of insight that he thought would be useful.

      Earlier in this thread, Jared came up with a dandy spin on The Pink Letter. Others have chimed in with all sorts of what-ifs over the years. Some are inspired. Others are bull goose looney. But you know what? None of them involved Sansa getting raped.

      Someone somewhere has to head things off at the pass and tell D&D: ah, no–bad idea.

      ‘Mad Men’ is a revered show, but its finale was beaten in the ratings by reruns of ‘I Love Lucy.’ Over the years, many viewers and some critics got tired of Don having another affair and going on another alcoholic bender year after year.

      GoT’s version of that is sexy sexy sexy, stabby stabby stabby becoming same old, same old. It’s becoming a show of exhausting logistics. The pre-season docs all highlight what a huge enterprise this is, and how quickly and efficiently hundreds of people have to work.

      It is almost ludicrous not to be appreciative and in awe. But the cruelty of us armchair critics dictates that true art is more than just heavy lifting, and storytelling is more than just racing through plot points because everyone is tired.

        Quote  Reply

    53. Dolorous Ned:
      Jessica,

      I don’t think the reference to Egg is that important, “I dreamt I was old” is just a very poignant statement. Loved it in the books and on the show. But I can see how it may be confusing to Unsullied, so maybe they should have left Egg out of it.

      They explained who “Egg” was all of a minute earlier. I can’t imagine anyone having a hard time with this, unless by “foreign” you mean non-native speakers of English who likely find GoT pretty challenging due to the rather archaic language.

        Quote  Reply

    54. Chad Brick: They explained who “Egg” was all of a minute earlier. I can’t imagine anyone having a hard time with this, unless by “foreign” you mean non-native speakers of English who likely find GoT pretty challenging due to the rather archaic language.

      The viewer had understood that he was a brother of Aemon. But Egg does not have any significance for an Unsullied as he has neither heard about Dunk and Egg before nor read the Hedge knight. Being a book reader I was happy to hear that sentence but the Unsullied was confused by the constant mentioning of Egg and thought that he had missed something or that he did not understand something.

      Yes, with foreign I meant a non-native speakers board. We watch the show in English but are non-native speakers. I have also read the books in English….I do not find the English of Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire pretty challenging, some of the archaic language in A Song of Ice and Fire is even based on my native tongue. Personally, I thougth that A Song of Ice and Fire is quite simple to read compared to other books which I have read in English.

        Quote  Reply

    55. Simeon: This is true, but a bit strange when you think about it, considering that a great many book readers complained to no end about the week plotlines and side characters when actually reading Book 4 (and to a lesser extent, Book 5).I may not agree with every adaptation decision the show has taken, but they deserve a lot of praise for pulling a watchable season out of those books.

      Regarding that I have a nice story: One of my colleagues has now finally finished reading book 5. She stopped reading book 4 for several years as she found the book really boring. Before season 5 she had started to finish reading of book 4 and 5 to avoid being spoilt by the show. While reading she complained all the time how boring the books are and that she really struggles to finish these books.

      NOW she complains all the time about the deviatons of season 5 from the books. Book purists are really funny….

        Quote  Reply

    56. Jessica: The viewer had understood that he was a brother of Aemon. But Egg does not have any significance for an Unsullied as he has neither heard about Dunk and Egg before nor read the Hedge knight. Being a book reader I was happy to hear that sentence but the Unsullied was confused by the constant mentioning of Egg and thought that he had missed something or that he did not understand something.

      Yes, with foreign I meant a non-native speakers board. We watch the show in English but are non-native speakers. I have also read the books in English….I do not find the English of Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire pretty challenging, some of the archaic language in A Song of Ice and Fire is even based on my native tongue. Personally, I thougth that A Song of Ice and Fire is quite simple to read compared to other books which I have read in English.

      The only thing you need to understand about “Egg” to appreciate that statement is that Egg is his brother. Since that was mentioned immediately prior, I don’t see why it was difficult.

      As for foreign languages, I guess it depends on your starting point. If your native language is Germanic or Latin in its roots, some of the archaic parts of ASOIAF might actually seem rather easy as they touch close to home. However, if your native language is non-European, the show can be very, very challenging. My wife struggles with it quite a bit, despite her English being better than almost anyone’s I have met from her home country. Of course, I struggle with historical dramas from her country even more. Heck, I am just getting to the point where I can understand her grandmother, let alone gruff samurai chatter.

        Quote  Reply

    57. Dolorous Ned,

      I think (SPOILER/SPECULATION, since coding is not working for me for some reason) Stannis will die from a Ramsey ambush and Mel will sacrifice her without his permission. Since, well, he’ll be dead. Then he rises again, a new man…

        Quote  Reply

    58. Rodrik the Reader,

      White-knighting is an easy instinct for a man to fall into when he’s young, insecure, and lonely. I needed a wake-up call a while back before vowing to never do that again. It sucks for the guy too, not just the girl he likes. Not good for anyone.

        Quote  Reply

    59. Jessica,

      Margaery and Loras imprisoned due to true accusations

      I don’t see how this is an improvement of the books. The TV version of the Kings Landing plot has been dumbed down and lacks the drama, suspense, and intrigue of the books. This was one of the few plotlines from AFFC/ADWD that would have worked great on TV as is.

        Quote  Reply

    60. JamesL:
      Jessica,
      I don’t see how this is an improvement of the books. The TV version of the Kings Landing plot has been dumbed down and lacks the drama, suspense, and intrigue of the books. This was one of the few plotlines from AFFC/ADWD that would have worked great on TV as is.

      The book version would have needed the establishment of new characters (Margaery’s “lovers”). For the TV adaption it made more sense to use an already established character (Olyvar). The TV version is even more dramatic by not only imprisoning Margaery but also Loras who would fight in the books in Dragonstone, a side plot which is not necessary for the TV show. Personally, I find it also more exciting that Margaery and Loras are imprisoned for “sins” they are actually guilty of and not because of some intrigue of Cersei. Morover, Margaery’s plotline would be too complicated and too long for adaption on a TV show (Cersei getting peoply to lie about Margaery, torturing of the blue bard and Kettleback by the Faith, trial of Margaery, shipping off Margaery to High Garden until the trial starts…). I fear that that would be really boring on screen.

      Book reader have to understand that we are in the endgame and that plot lines have to be shortened or cut in order to proceed with the story in a reasonable time frame and that the plot lines have to be interesting for people who have not read the books.

        Quote  Reply

    61. Balon01,

      And yes – that was a fair point, though a little short sighted.

      The problem I have now is that he picks a line from the episode, quotes it at the beginning, then twists it to suit his own jaded opinion/article. I always go straight to Greenwald and Stone for the first recaps as I generally find them the most entertaining but for the last 2 weeks Greenwalds have been very lazy. I still love Laura Stone, a person can interpret something personal to them any way they want – she definitely is wrong – but that’s up to her and her blog is still very funny. This made me piss my pants;

      Lord Butt Hurt: A word, Lord Commander? About this plan of yours with the Wildling?
      Jon: Of course, trusted fellow Man of the Black Watch. Please, continue.
      LBH: [farts into hand, shoves it in Jon’s face]
      Jon: …yes, thank you. [looks to camera like its The Office]

      Greenwald on the other hand is like a jaded ex lover, I called him out on this on twitter and he hasn’t replied. I’m going to stop reading his recaps – it reminds me of last seasons Comicbookgirl19 vid recaps. Just seems that the very bipolar nature that made them enthusiastic, entertaining and witty can also make them bitter and monotonous when their enthusiasm dies. I’m glad CBG19 stopped her episode recaps for this season, that’s what Greenwald should do – if you’ve lost your faith in love and music well the end wont be long.

        Quote  Reply

    62. A Man Grown,

      I hear ya, man. We’ve all been there.

      Let’s not forget that the greatest White Knighting was done by… Littlefinger. He was the schoolboy short pants version of Sansa, full of dreams of winning Cat’s heart with noble derring-do. What he got for his troubles was being sliced stem to stern by Brandon Stark, the AMOG (alpha male of group).

        Quote  Reply

    63. Also that reviewer from Vulture is another moron that i won’t ever bother reading again,blacklisted ! Any humorless moron that says that the Jorah and Tyrion scene were pointless doesn’t deserve my attention and time,in fact i didn’t even finish reading the article because she doesn’t deserve it ,i also didn’t even turned off adblock which i often do but i didn’t want to contribute to her ad views .

        Quote  Reply

    64. urangutan21,

      Mind your blood pressure! 😉

      I see where you’re coming from, though. This sudden bandwagoning, kick-it-while-it’s-down, cheap potshot mentality is supremely silly.

        Quote  Reply

    65. The idea that Sam has spent the last however many years slowly “nice-guying” his way into Gilly’s pants is just dumb and hyper-cynical. If that was his angle, he would have tried to leverage his superior intelligence to manipulate her into the act a long, long time ago. Any critic who can’t accept that he is a genuinely decent guy and that they have genuine feelings for each other hasn’t been watching the same show as me… it’s one of the healthiest and least complicated romantic relationships in the whole story.

      Now as for other stuff about this episode…

      I am more than happy to admit that I finally liked some stuff about a Sand Snakes bit this week. I said that I still believed Dorne would pleasantly surprise me at some point, but I really didn’t have much hope left that it would be a Sand Snakes scene.

      I kind of feel like HBO is straight-up trolling at this point, setting it up so that as soon as I can say I finally liked a SS scene, there is the built-in problem of, “You’re only saying that now because they showed b00bz!” And it’s not that I don’t think bewbz are kewl, but the real reason I liked this scene is that “the sassy one” simply came across a lot more believable than “the stereotypical butch hardass” that they had doing all the talking prior to this episode.

      Beyond the enjoyable acting, however, there are yet more Dorne Problems created by this scene…

      1.) She wants to murder an innocent Lannister princess out of sheer hate, but she isn’t willing to let a Lannister stooge die from combat wounds? If they are sooooo anti-Lannister, you’d think they’d be more than happy to watch Bronn slowly die. There was no real motivation for him being given the antidote, other than his handsomeness and/or singing voice… I guess the argument could be made that this shows some depth/complexity in the Sand Snakes, but really it just doesn’t seem to make much sense.

      2.) An enemy invader (Jaime) gets a furnished studio apartment for his prison cell and is even allowed to receive visitors… while three members of Dorne’s ruling family are sent to rot in the general population dungeon?

        Quote  Reply

    66. Andy Greenwald:

      The truth is, Game of Thrones desperately needs Daenerys to be a robust protagonist, not an antiwar metaphor. Unlike the other pretenders, her claim on the throne isn’t based on spite or prophecy. She carries with her a radical agenda of hope and change, and, if people aren’t buying that, she’s got dragons.

      Couldn’t have said it better myself. The show better not screw this one up. Time for some fire and blood, bitches!

        Quote  Reply

    67. Brotherhood without Banter:
      I love Laura stone but she really missed the mark with the Sam/Gilly relationship in my opinion

      For me she Nailed. It. 1000%. Nice Guy Narrative is just as cliched and awful as the Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope, IMO.

        Quote  Reply

    68. Rodrik the Reader: Laura’s version is more along the lines of the nerd-gets-the-girl trope, or, even more damning, the nerd white knights on behalf of the girl and gets sex as a reward

      This. I don’t mind Sam so much, but Gilly’s character is like nails on a blackboard…can’t stand her. That said, I just don’t buy them as an actual romantic couple. I see what Laura Stone sees, which is more of a brother/sister vibe, in that he’s always putting her down or protecting her, which given her situation she naturally appreciates the latter and is written as too stupid to recognize the former. I don’t see her reciprocating any romantic feelings; I see her as quite naturally grateful that someone can protect her kid, nothing more. Not to mention the whole “I was just threatened with rape so now of COURSE I want sex!” idiocy in the scene, which others have criticized as well. The whole sequence just didn’t do it for me.

        Quote  Reply

    69. chameleon,

      I agree that the last thing Gilly would want under those circumstances is sexy time. The context in the books is different, comes way later in their arc, and seems more natural. There, too, she takes the initiative, and it does seem that they love each other.

      Laura did make reference to herself as a romance-type writer, no? (I’ve never read her work beyond her blog.) In such fiction, very hot people immediately have very deep passion for each other, which they are incapable fighting long-term. Hence, all that bodice-ripping of yore.

      That’s just not Sam and Gilly! The two would have exhausted themselves trying to jettison their winter wraps. TV Gilly went directly for the fat pink mast with as little passion as I’ve ever seen onscreen, her reasons obscure.

      Sam is guileless, in my opinion.

      Long-term, I can’t remember if he just drops her off somewhere. Perhaps their relationship is placed on hold until other matters resolve. He can’t really have a long-term girlfriend anyway, given his vows, no matter what loopholes he comes up with.

        Quote  Reply

    70. Queenofthrones,

      It’s pretty ironic that in the books mainly but even in the show based on the HOTU scene her claim IS based on prophecy and we could also say she want revenge for her family so that IS spite,the guy doesn’t know what he’s talking about and i don’t even know what exactly he wants from the series,if he wants characters based on good for the sake of being good reming me why is he watching this show ? I mean we are in the 5th season,i would have thought he got the memo by now.

        Quote  Reply

    71. Rodrik the Reader:
      Mr Fixit,

      Re how to keep the show fresh: Ha! That’s the question, isn’t it? One way is for the writers (GRRM included) to get out of their cloistered writer’s room and actually consider how their viewers and readers might reasonably react to what they create.

      George might be unreachable, but surely D&D have to answer to someone, right? They might not do market research, but someone at HBO does. If those reading the entrails decide there are too many entrails on the show, there will be fewer going forward.

      I’m perfectly aware that every asshole has an opinion, but ‘a million Elvis fans can’t be wrong,’ as was said back in the day. That Wisdom of the Crowd sort of thing. GoT is like the kind of serialized novel Dickens used to write.The author would release a chapter, consider the reaction, and proceed accordingly, picking up bits and pieces of insight that he thought would be useful.

      Earlier in this thread, Jared came up with a dandy spin on The Pink Letter. Others have chimed in with all sorts of what-ifs over the years. Some are inspired. Others are bull goose looney. But you know what? None of them involved Sansa getting raped.

      Someone somewhere has to head things off at the pass and tell D&D: ah, no–bad idea.

      ‘Mad Men’ is a revered show, but its finale was beaten in the ratings by reruns of ‘I Love Lucy.’ Over the years, many viewers and some critics got tired of Don having another affair and going on another alcoholic bender year after year.

      GoT’s version of that is sexy sexy sexy, stabby stabby stabby becoming same old, same old. It’s becoming a show of exhausting logistics. The pre-season docs all highlight what a huge enterprise this is, and how quickly and efficiently hundreds of people have to work.

      It is almost ludicrous not to be appreciative and in awe. But the cruelty of us armchair critics dictates that true art is more than just heavy lifting, and storytelling is more than just racing through plot points because everyone is tired.

      Well said! Love the show still, but I think this season has been lackluster – the one I’ve enjoyed the least since it started – and I wish from now on that more emphasis was put on story rather than the huuuuuge production feats of strength we read about and see in the “behind the scenes” films. I totally agree that those who produce the show, including D&D, are professionals at the top of their game but that doesn’t make them immune to constructive criticism of the sort we have here, or by critics.

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    72. Dolorous Ned:
      Jessica,

      I don’t think the reference to Egg is that important, “I dreamt I was old” is just a very poignant statement. Loved it in the books and on the show. But I can see how it may be confusing to Unsullied, so maybe they should have left Egg out of it.

      Agree. It may not come across in languages other than English, but “I dreamt I was old” is poetic and moving. For me, lines like that which become famous in the fandom, like “Only Cat” and “Edd, fetch me a block” are precisely because they sing to the ear in English, which is why it’s a shame when they’re not kept in the show; it’s part of what makes the books special. Just a personal preference.

      Or maybe I’m just bitter for losing “she’s fucking Lancel and Osmund Kettleblack and probably Moon Boy for all I know”, which always cracks me up when I read it!

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    73. chameleon,

      In comparison to what exactly,both AFFC and ADWD are fucking boring as trash and don’t even try to deny that because you won’t convince anyone with a brain in their head,considering the awful source material i would say D&D did the best they could,not perfect but still good,either way next season we would finally move past these awful books to hopefully more exciting stuff like the first three books,that’s if TWOW doesn’t suck like the last two did .

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    74. Rodrik the Reader,

      The Sam-Gilly scene in the books is god-awful. It could have been a sweet scene between two abused people finding comfort but instead George decided to make it something weird and gross. I definitely prefer the scene like it’s in the show.

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    75. Ugh, the previouslytv.com Unsullied board…

      Pallas is growing more critical but I get the impression he/she is in it for the long run. Stillshimpy is the Queen of Contrarians (who said she is not giving up on it), white Stumblr is pissing me off, because he has completed a 180 in the span of episodes. And don’t get me started on Gingerella. I find some of her posts offer some great insight but then she becomes a spoiled teenage brat all of a sudden.

      And now their going off about retcon, how the show is changing its rules. Sansa is being referred to ‘Wardeness of the North’ but since Catelyn was never called that in the series they crucify the show for it, And while there are legitimate plotholes to bitch about they attack the show for not showing or hinting at things that are so obvious that most shows would elect not to go into to much detail. I’m pretty sure Ramsay could put two and two together to find out about Sansa’s chambermaid.

      Whatever. I hope Ramsay is killed despite how great Iwan’s performance has become. He is audience poison. I’d even argue that Martin went too far with his character at times.

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    76. Joshua Atreides,

      Well, this whole Wardeness business is silly. But that’s besides the point. That bunch is hate watching the show. There are a handful of former members of the unsullied forum who post in the ‘no book talk’ threads. I find those to be more enjoyable.

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    77. Tyrion Pimpslap,

      ‘Wardeness’ doesn’t break any show rules at all. It sounds silly to us bookreaders — and I admit it took some time getting used to — because there it was a military title not necessarily linked to a hereditary title like Lord Paramount (it is essentially a regional equivalent of ‘Protector of the Realm’). In the show Warden has been used to denote the ruler of the North.

      Ergo, no rules broken.

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    78. Squirrel,

      A fair point. It was gross in the books in a too-much-information kind of way. There’s something to be said about less is more; there’s also something to be said about the fact that in literary and on-screen sex scenes, we prefer the people to be attractive. Sam and Gilly are off-putting in this regard, so in a sense, the show version of their scene was superior but marred primarily by its poor timing.

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    79. AngelWatch:
      Crazy how fast Andy Greenwald turned on the show. Now Game of Thrones is and always has been nihilistic? That same old saw about only bad things happening to good people. And then he intimates that Cersei isn’t a villain and doesn’t deserve her punishment? What the hell

      Word.

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    80. Okay, I am going to the wall for Laura Stone. I get that people disagree with her from time to time. I do too, rarely. When I do, I post something respectful and move on to what I did enjoy about her blog. Because if you read it weekly? There is ALWAYS something amusing and if you are old enough there are movie, song and just people references littered throughout. I like that sort of writing, right in my wheel house.

      Here is another from this past blog:

      Laura Stone wrote:

      Fire Crotch Mage: Say, we should toooootally bleed out little Newt to insure your victory.
      Stannis: DID YOU MISS MY HEARTFELT FATHER’S DAY SPEECH TWO EPISODES AGO?!
      FCM: Look, if you become king, you’ll be so super sexy to me.
      Stannis: Nope, that’s not going to work this time.
      Me: I WILL FUCKING TAKE A BULLET FOR STANNIS BARATHEON.

      Yes, so it is a personal viewpoint, she isn’t a “professional” reviewer pandering to the loyal readers or paycheck signers. She is completely Unsullied. I like her fresh viewpoint.

      All of her site is kept going by donation only, she is in it because she enjoys it and has a solid knack for the turn of a phrase or just calling it like it is from her point of view.

      I love her and that love won’t go away. For those who haven’t read the Laura Stone experience, don’t start with last week or even the week before, go back to the start of the season and read to the present and then make your evaluation. I am going nowhere. I am sticking it out all the way with Laura Stone. Laura, I hope you read this…..you are the wind beneath my wings *choke* *tear* Now, how about that very large drink and we will forget these silly nay sayers.

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    81. Jessica,

      Yes, this ‘book stuff’ could make for a good TV show. Streamline and discard but don’t replace with something arguably inferior. GRRM has asked ‘How many kids did Scarlett O’Hara have?’ She had more in the book than she did in the movie, true, but her overall arc was unchanged.

      That’s the kind of thing GoT did in Season One (pruning but maintaining book arcs) that it is in the process of discarding now, deciding the unwieldy later books merit not adaptation but wholesale abandonment.

      The examples you mentioned that are problematical book canon could have been finessed to the satisfaction of sullied and unsullied alike–theoretically.

      But now we’ll never know. I respect your well thought-out position on this matter, though, and must reiterate that I am on these boards not as purist but as a lover of the show, warts and all.

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    82. JCDavis,

      I like Laura too overall. My favorite post of hers was when she included that tearful shot of her reaction to Oberyn’s death and her accompanying quote: ‘I have never known such pain!’

      (I hope I’m remembering this correctly.)

      I enjoy genuine reactions like this, as it gives more academic viewers a fresh perspective. It reminds us that mass audience TV is not made for the obsessives on this board, but for viewers like Laura.

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    83. Rodrik the Reader:
      JCDavis,

      I like Laura too overall. My favorite post of hers was when she included that tearful shot of her reaction to Oberyn’s death and her accompanying quote: ‘I have never known such pain!’

      (I hope I’m remembering this correctly.)

      I enjoy genuine reactions like this, as it gives more academic viewers a fresh perspective. It reminds us that mass audience TV is not made for the obsessives on this board, but for viewers like Laura.

      Oh, that was my favorite too and to be precise, it is what really started as a go to every week for me. That photo was so raw and so obviously genuine that it hurt my heart to see it. And hey, didn’t we all feel that way about Oberyn’s death?

      She also references Star Wars, Star Trek, Movies and Games when she writes. I think she likes to see if we “notice” her effort to make it an enjoyable and entertaining “blog”. It is great that you remembered that photo too. I know she would be thrilled to know that we remembered it enough to say a word or two.

        Quote  Reply

    84. Rodrik the Reader,

      I appreciate the sentiment, but that became impossible once they decided to cover the last two books over a single season. Adapting all that material over two seasons might be more satisfactory in some ways, giving certain storylines and character beats more time to breathe, but it would leave GoT, just like the books themselves, mired in way too much extraneous stuff. But most importantly, it would mean that the plot, which the Unsullied even now decry as woefully slow, would completely fall apart. Them’s the breaks.

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    85. JCDavis,

      I just wanna go up to her and say ‘The North remembers (your blog)’ and watch her dissolve into tears. *** Rodrik chuckles mischievously ***

      I suspect, though, that despite wearing her heart on her sleeve, her version of a velvet glove over an iron first is a clown shoe over an iron boot that she’ll put up your ass if you step out of line.

      Book wonk that I am, I know that fate would befall me should I leave comments on her site!

        Quote  Reply

    86. Mr Fixit,

      But hope springs eternal! The casting news suggests at least part of an Ironborn plot for Season Six.

      The point I was trying to make in my reply to Jessica was to not throw the baby out with the bathwater. To again reference GWTW, Selznick didn’t cut the line ‘Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.’ D&D might have.

      It’s best not to mess with iconic moments. In the post I responded to, Jessica said unsullied got confused by Aemon crying out for ‘Egg’ (even though Sam immediately explained to Gilly who Egg was). The implication is that the moment would have worked just as well had Aemon said ‘Sam’ instead of ‘Egg.’

      Sure, the unsullied wouldn’t have known the difference, but the readers would’ve felt betrayed–again. D&D have to give readers a reason to keep faith, not walk away.

      It might have been easier if the show would’ve gone its own way from day one like ‘The Walking Dead,’ but it didn’t, so here we are.

      Conversely, I enjoyed immensely the remake of ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’ (with Guy Pearce) that came out about a decade ago but discovered to my chagrin when I picked up the 1,000 page unabridged book that it had precious little in common with the screen version. So much so, I just couldn’t get into it.

      I imagine the Dumas purists expressed the same outrage we see here, and that the unsullied watchers of the film found them all a bit silly and exasperating.

        Quote  Reply

    87. Rodrik the Reader:
      JCDavis,

      I just wanna go up to her and say ‘The North remembers (your blog)’ and watch her dissolve into tears. *** Rodrik chuckles mischievously ***

      I suspect, though, that despite wearing her heart on her sleeve, her version of a velvet glove over an iron first is a clown shoe over an iron boot that she’ll put up your ass if you step out of line.

      Book wonk that I am, I know that fate would befall me should I leave comments on her site!

      You might be surprised!! 😉 She does appreciate her readers quite a lot and frequently calls them out in her posts. She just doesn’t want to be “spoiled” and is very hard line on that one.

      Hope to see you post there, someday. I go by the same handle as I do here.

        Quote  Reply

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