Game of Thrones cast visits IRC refugee programs in Greece, calls on EU for action

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Liam Cunningham, Maisie Williams & Lena Headey visiting IRC programs at Diavata refugee site in northern Greece. Photo credit: Tara Todras-Whitehill/IRC.

Game of Thrones officially partnered up with the International Rescue Committee this spring to raise awareness of refugees and displaced people around the world, and this week a few cast members carried on with the work. Lena Headey, Liam Cunningham and Maisie Williams visited with IRC programs in Greece, and are calling on European Union leaders to do more for the 57,000 refugees stranded in the country at the moment.

The trio of actors spent time with families, getting to know the people whose lives are being affected by the crisis.  They met with refugees in the IRC programs, and are speaking out now. In a press release, Headey says, “These smart, hardworking people want to go home. They want to return to their communities and to their neighborhoods. They want their children to continue their education. They want to continue their university and they are stuck. They’re stuck. And they’re unbelievably sad. Understandably. We can do better for them. We must do better for them.”

“This is not an earthquake, this is not a tidal wave,” Cunningham says. “This is a man-made crisis. 57,000 stranded in Greece. Refugee camps in Europe? Is this truly the standard EU leaders want to set as the way to respond to the global refugee crisis?”

Maisie Williams says, “For me it is about the children…children with so much potential, so many hopes and dreams. Where is the humanity that makes it acceptable for them to languish in refugee camps – in Europe?”

A few more videos and photos from their journey:

 

112 responses

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    1. There are more than 57.000 refugees here actually. I live near a refugee camp in Athens and all you see everyday is families crammed together like animals in tents. If they’re lucky they find shelter in dirty, derelict buildings. It’s truly awful. Makes you lose all faith in humanity. My stepdad is from Lesvos and he tells me it’s even worse there. I’m really happy Lena, Liam and Maisie seem honestly interested in this crisis. Hopefully they can help somehow, in their own way, since our government is ridiculously useless.

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    2. Good for them – glad GOT is partnering with IRC. and bringing attention to the plight of these people. Im a regular contributor to IRC, I know the good work they do, but they can only do so much with what they have. More people, more countries need to help until these people can get back to their homes and their lives.

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    3. OH!

      Three Brits telling the EU what it should or shouldn’t do.

      The timing suggests that it’s a campaign run by The Ministry of Funny Walks

      LOL

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    4. …But to be fair English isn’t my native language:
      OH!

      Three Brits telling the EU what it should or shouldn’t do.

      The timing suggests that it’s a campaign run by The Ministry of Funny Walks

      LOL

      It was probably arranged before the “Leave” vote and I think a lot of people thought that “Remain” would win. And Liam is from Eire (Irish Republic) which is still in the EU.

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    5. …But to be fair English isn’t my native language,

      Liam is Irish. Ireland is in the EU. Ireland is not in Britain or the UK (although Northern Ireland – different from the country Ireland but on the same island). Do your research before making a misinformed comment.

      It does look bad on Maisie and Lena’s part though. Although Lena publicly wanted to remain. Maisie probably did too, most of the young British people wanted to stay in.

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    6. Sensitive subject.

      I’m not suggesting they should not do what they did or say what they say.

      No matter where they come from.

      My best take on UK vs. EU at the moment is through Monty Python references though.

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    7. I’d be a tiny bit concerned if Cersei the Mad Queen visited my town. Concerned that it might become very very warm and green.

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    8. Lol, most young Brits did not vote to remain, only the left wing youth, LOL

      Seán:
      …But to be fair English isn’t my native language,

      Liam is Irish. Ireland is in the EU. Ireland is not in Britain or the UK (although Northern Ireland – different from the country Ireland but on the same island). Do your research before making a misinformed comment.

      It does look bad on Maisie and Lena’s part though. Although Lena publicly wanted to remain. Maisie probably did too, most of the young British people wanted to stay in.

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    9. Tom Mendies,

      and how are they getting there? It’s not exactly cheap to transport that many people across the Atlantic. And who says they want to go to America when many of them have families in Europe?

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    10. Dame of Mercia,

      Maisie ,Liam and Lena was in Lesvos yesterday and in Diavata Thessaloniki tomorrow ………. Liam as i know is from Ireland (a member of EU) , Maisie and Lena was big supporters of Bremain (entire cast was supporting Bremain ) i don’t see the problem to blame the EU for their policy in immigration problem ……… As Rhaenys Stark said our goverment is tottaly useless and anything who can help to make better the life of these miserable people is welcome ……
      People who saw Maisie they said that her hair was blue …………..

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    11. Some refugees came to my country also but haven’t stayed long.After geting a taste of the life here many ran as fast as they could.Only the hard and strong can live here apperently. :))

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    12. They must go home, but before they do so, someone must pull a Cersei against the extremists, in Syria and elsewhere. Or burn them all with a few dragons. Too bad these things happen only in fiction and entertainment.

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    13. Ser Gerold Dayne,

      What? I’m Romanian but haven’t heard anything of them leaving…… There was a news couple of months ago about couple of families arriving, legally trough the quota sistem, but haven’t heard or read anything about them leaving…. And I read lots of news on the internet and at work the TV is(was) always on Digi24.

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    14. Great Britan is one of the biggest givers of aid world wide.Leaving the E U won’t change that

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    15. Mortanius,

      Indeed. It is a sad situation. A complete failure of the western world.

      Dozens of countries were in open revolutions and demanding democracy, instead of helping them then, when it was easy, we completely ignored them and now fixing the situation is 100 times more difficult.

      But let us remain positive I say. Libya has a unity goverment and almost all militias agreed to disarm and respect the democratic process. Tunisia is doing well.
      Iraq is starting to somewhat work again. After the early losses the army has regained the momentum, the soldiers are motivated and now battle hardened.

      It’s Syria that is still a total mess.

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    16. No,

      Simply wrong according to all sources I have read on the subject. Here is just one:

      Among 18-24-year-olds, the age category that’s going to have to live with the consequences of this vote for all of their working lives, 75 percent voted to stay.

      source

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    17. Mihnea:
      Ser Gerold Dayne,

      There was a news couple of months ago about couple of families arriving, legally trough the quota sistem, but haven’t heard or read anything about them leaving….

      Yes,some registered officialy with our programs.A limited number.But the rest who where in the camps and tents where just in transit.They could have registered but they didn’t like it here,they went on to find something better.The thing is we can’t anyway take more than aprox 1500 in total,we don’t have where to put them.Money they would get are also not enought to live for a month.So you don’t see people that eager to come here.

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    18. Ser Gerold Dayne,

      Aaaa, them.

      I thought you meant those that we were given based on the quota.
      We don’t have many in transit anyway. We aren’t on the main route. I think it was 100 or so, over the entire year.

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    19. Mihnea,

      Perhaps I misunderstood. The Cersei example and “burn them all” implies “burning” EVERYONE with extreme prejudice.

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    20. Tycho Nestoris,

      Agreed it implies something I don’t like. But I like to think the best of people.
      It does lead to some frequent dissapointment but I don’t want to fall in cynicism.

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    21. I love these people. It’s nice to see them using their fame for good purpose. I hope things get better for the refugees soon.

      Ser Gerold Dayne,

      Little off topic/random but someone once told me Romanian punk music is the best. 🙂

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    22. Mihnea,

      Well, some (Iraqui) did leave Finland saying that it is too cold and the food is awful. I guess this is where only the tough ones can stay! ?

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    23. Nice meaning gesture, heart is in the right place…

      Would say though that the EU is the last people they should be asking for “help”

      And people need to carefully consider just what the best way to “help” is, after all the “road to hell is paved with good intentions”

      Don’t think the cultural elite with an international lifestyle properly understand the phenomenon that has and continues to be occurring,

      Where will the European refugees go?

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    24. Mihnea,

      It’s not the Western world’s fault that the Arab Spring failed. Usually Muslim extremists fill the void when dictators are knocked out. Look at what happened in Egypt, they had an election and voted in an extremist. He proceeded to dismantle the government and the army had to take over. Democracy has to come from within, it’s a cultural thing more than anything. When countries in the Middle East are ready for Democracy, there will be revolutions and it will happen. But I think the Arab Spring proved they’re not ready for it just yet. Western countries intervening doesn’t help.

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    25. Honestly, regardless of the politics of Brexit or the EU, if you’ve ever seen or spent time in refugee camps – the idea that the humanity of the Western world can stomach having these families, these human beings, live in desperation and squalor on their doorsteps should shake their conscience.

      Having thousands of refugees in overloaded camps evokes images of concentration camps. But even beyond the humanity of it, it’s not a long term solution!!! Those people will never develop any loyalty to the West – if anything they’ll resent them for making them sit like peasants out in fields while refusing to address the problem. And many of these were middle class educated families in Syria – after all, it’s the poor who stay behind to die, these are people who could afford just enough to try and make it out.

      Good for Liam, Maisie, and Lena for their humanity. They don’t have to do this, or give of their time for any other human beings, and we’d still love the show. I commend them for their compassion.

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    26. Abyss,

      The majority of young people who voted did so for remain but there seems to have been a relatively low turn of younger voters. Some have mentioned figures ranging from 23% and unfortunately this was the one time their vote could have made a difference.

      Some people seem to have taken exception to actors and other celebrities backing the remain the argument and there seem to be real schism in the U.K between the ‘London Elite’ and the working class voter; who feel they have been affected by the level of free movement and other EU rulings in regard to fishing industry and manufacturing.

      I quite pleased the younger actors such as Maisie decided to not get involved as individuals like Emma Thompson and J.K Rowling have been loudly criticised for voicing their opinion.

      I had hoped the U.K would go back to the EU and get some real concessions (not the waste of time David Cameron negotiated) but the EU would rather cut off it’s nose to spite its face. If they had another referendum tomorrow then remain would win.
      Unfortunately I don’t think people realised the magnitude and the finality of the vote.

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    27. Thronetender

      Is there somewhere to donate?

      There are several. International Rescue Committee for one; but I also like to contribute to local charities. Perhaps those of you in the thick of things can suggest a local charity or two that do good work in this area ?

      BTW any time you want to check on a charity, Charity Navigator is a good place to start http://www.charitynavigator.org/

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    28. Sai,

      The bottom line is that the places that voted leave are THE MOST DEPENDENT on EU aid. There is zero doubt that there will be tremendous negative implications, and it’s not just going to be the London elite that will suffer – it will be poorer, more economically depressed areas that leave a larger portion of EU subsidies.

      Ironies of ironies!

      And of course, it’s the least diverse areas, the areas with the FEWEST migrants, where they’re so afraid of these boogeymen migrants that they voted leave.

      Why should actors not express their opinions? They are British citizens, just like the rest. In the end, their votes don’t matter more or less, but they should be allowed to voice an opinion, just like anyone else.

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    29. Tom Mendies,

      Europeans colonized the ME until the middle of the last century. Why should the U.S. take on more. America takes in refugees from former European colonies in the New World everyday. It’s only right for Europe to handle their own side of the world.

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    30. Out of the 57,000, how many are legitimate refugees vs. economic migrants posing as refugees? With the number of people in these camps, wherever they wind up, there would be a major negative impact on the people who already live there. Lots of politicians and media are not honest about this question and/or pretend it doesn’t exist.

      And I know somebody’s going to attack me for “being political” but the original post, and statements by the GOT actors, are fairly nakedly political in themselves.

      Nadia:
      Sai,
      Why should actors not express their opinions? They are British citizens, just like the rest. In the end, their votes don’t matter more or less, but they should be allowed to voice an opinion, just like anyone else.

      I agree that they have the right to express their opinion. However, there is a lot of resentment due to the exaggerated amount of attention celebrities’ opinions receive considering they have no more expertise on the issue than anybody else. Not to be a prick, but I would bet money that Maisie Williams knows less about this issue than the average truck driver.

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    31. Sai:

      I quite pleased the younger actors such as Maisie decided to not get involved as individuals like Emma Thompson and J.K Rowling have been loudly criticised for voicing their opinion.

      Nadia:

      Why should actors not express their opinions? They are British citizens, just like the rest. In the end, their votes don’t matter more or less, but they should be allowed to voice an opinion, just like anyone else.

      Kit Harington and Richard Madden didn’t hold back on voicing their disgust at the outcome, along with a number of other young celebrities. I wonder if some of the criticism of Emma Thompson and JK Rowling was due in part to the fact that they are part of the generation that largely voted to leave? Regardless, JK Rowling has a huge social media presence. I wasn’t surprised she caught a bit of flack.

      Brexit chat aside, hats off to Liam, Lena and Maisie for helping to raise awareness of the ongoing refugee crisis. Truly tragic. I agree, Mihnea, it puts all of my Jon/Sansa concerns into perspective!

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    32. LatrineDiggerBrian:
      Mihnea,

      It’s not the Western world’s fault that the Arab Spring failed.

      It pretty much is. The West’s policy of supporting dictators is what led to the Arab Spring failing. They rushed to support the current military dictators of Egypt with more weapons to kill the protesting civilians. Heard of the Rabaa massacre? Civilians can’t stand up against the might of western weaponry.

      I love Liam Cunningham. His support of Palestinian rights is so refreshing. Hollywood actors shy away from expressing any kind of support for the Palestinians, so it’s nice to see Liam tweeting and highlighting Palestinian suffering.

      Not surprised to see him here. Good man.

      Good on Maisie too!!

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    33. Before we ( UK/Europe) can help anyone, we need to find out who is a refugee and who isn’t. If they’re genuine refugees then they should be helped (preferably while they’re still in the ME because it’s easier, and far cheaper) in reasonable numbers.

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    34. Abyss,

      Most of my generation did vote to stay yes, but I’m sure many will have their political awakening soon, and will, like me, see the light and denounce the modern left.
      Most young people who voted, voted to leave, but only 36% of young people bothered to vote. So we don’t know what the true leave/remain divide is among the youth, as so few voted.

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    35. Chimeny,

      While 36% is certainly low, the true leave/remain divide is among these 36%. The other 64% did not vote which is also a vote, they voted neutral.

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    36. crimethink,

      Um, given how ridiculously uninformed voters were and how many lies they were repeating, I would bet Maisie knows way more than the average truck driver.

      She probably just doesn’t live in fear of the “other”

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    37. Abyss,

      I don’t think it’s neutral, I think it’s “I’m quite cosy in my little life and won’t take the trouble to think”.
      It is always easier to let others decide for you and then have the pleasure of complaining of the decision.

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    38. SerNoName: It pretty much is. The West’s policy of supporting dictators is what led to the Arab Spring failing. They rushed to support the current military dictators of Egypt with more weapons to kill the protesting civilians. Heard of the Rabaa massacre? Civilians can’t stand up against the might of western weaponry.

      I love Liam Cunningham. His support of Palestinian rights is so refreshing. Hollywood actors shy away from expressing any kind of support for the Palestinians, so it’s nice to see Liam tweeting and highlighting Palestinian suffering.

      Not surprised to see him here. Good man.

      Good on Maisie too!!

      There is just no truth at all to what you say about the “West’s policy of supporting dictators is what led to the Arab Spring failing”. In Libya we helped oust Gaddafi. In Syria the west has condemned Assad but has stayed out of it. In Egypt, the West stayed out of it. They established a democracy, had elections, and eventually the army had to step in and take over again because a fanatic got elected who immediately tried to disband the government and take all the power. Egypt isn’t a 3rd world country, they can get weapons with or without the support of the West. So while the West (especially the US) has had a lot to do with the destabilization of the Middle East, I don’t think it’s accurate at all to say the West is the reason the Arab Spring failed.

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    39. Engine63,

      There’s Monroe for you.

      Still, no “colonies” in the Middle East. Not in the sense of the word “colony”.
      And forgive my saying that the US has done its fair share of shit in the region. Just look at Iran, Iraq or Palestine.
      Just the image of mobs in the Middle East burning US flags should tell you something. Never saw them burning Italian, Greek or Maltese flags, and those are the countries that have to cope with the whole crisis now.
      As to Latin America, yes there were european (well, mostly spanish) colonies, but this isn’t what urges those people to come to the US. It is rather their poverty plus decades of US intervention in their domestic politics. You know, Nicaragua and the likes.

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    40. Reema,

      The West stayed out of it for a long while until ISIS got involved. And when we did get involved we armed the opposition groups to Assad. He was saying the West’s interference somehow disrupted the Arab Spring. There is nothing we did in Syria to prevent the Syrians from toppling the government and forming their own Democracy. They had no chance to begin with anyway, that situation was / is such a huge mess.

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    41. LatrineDiggerBrian: There is just no truth at all to what you say about the “West’s policy of supporting dictators is what led to the Arab Spring failing”. In Libya we helped oust Gaddafi. In Syria the west has condemned Assad but has stayed out of it. In Egypt, the West stayed out of it. They established a democracy, had elections, and eventually the army had to step in and take over again because a fanatic got elected who immediately tried to disband the government and take all the power. Egypt isn’t a 3rd world country, they can get weapons with or without the support of the West. So while the West (especially the US) has had a lot to do with the destabilization of the Middle East, I don’t think it’s accurate at all to say the West is the reason the Arab Spring failed.

      You really are drinking the kool aid here. The west has been supporting and propping up dictators for years. Saddam, Gaddafi, Mubarak. You name it. They are currently supporting and arming the Saudi Royal family – The number one exporters of terrorism around the world. The Saudi’s buy billions of dollars of weapons from the US and use it to bomb people in countries like Yemen.

      Have you heard of the US supported Saudi oppression of Bahrain? Why don’t they deserve freedom? It’s because the US has an army base over there, so the oppression and torture of the people of Bahrain is a-ok to the Americans. The US is supporting Egypt’s current military dictator who has massacred and imprisoned thousands of people fighting for the Arab Spring. The US was arming Syrian rebels who turned out to be ISIS. It’s American foreign policy in the middle east that has led to Libya, Iraq and Syria becoming an unholy mess of death and destruction.

      The US should also take a bigger role in taking in more refugees and not leave it only to Europe.

      And I will leave it there. Don’t want this post to lead to arguments about foreign policy.

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    42. SerNoName,

      You’re expanding the argument well beyond what it initially was when you made the claim that the West somehow interfered with the Arab Spring and reduced the chances of the protestors to get a Democracy. I think it sounds more like your point is that western intervention over time in the Middle East has messed things up over there and made it harder for countries to form democracies? That’s a bit of a different argument. But specifically for the Arab Spring, no the west didn’t interfere.

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    43. SerNoName,

      And as far as American policy goes, you’re exactly right about Iraq.

      With regards to Libya, you’re arguing against yourself because it was the coalition that started bombing Gaddafi when he started killing protestors in the Arab Spring. So the west was helping the Arab Spring protestors there. After Gaddafi was gone, that’s when it became a mess and it wasn’t through the fault of the west. The west helped liberate Libya. Oh and BTW Libya was spearheaded by Europe, not the US, we only joined in later to help.

      Syria was it’s own thing also, not a result of our foreign policy, but the spill over from Iraq after the country became destabilized has definitely exacerbated it.

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    44. Thronetender: so is the road to Heaven.

      Is there somewhere to donate?

      Donate in self awareness etc, so decisions – good or bad – aren’t based on ignorance

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    45. Engine63,

      And Middle Easterners colonised parts of Europe before that, ebbs and flows etc

      iridium,

      LatrineDiggerBrian,

      Yeah they are celebrities who live an international lifestyle who are out of touch with reality on the ground. I enjoy their professional acting performances but don’t share their opinions

      Besides, being an actor doesen’t suddenly make you an expert on policy. I say that though who thinks half the people who are involved in policy decisions are incompetent at doing so mind

      Chimeny,

      Yeah there’s a vast difference between political correctness and good policy in the real world

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    46. Abyss,

      True, but a better reflection of what young people think would have been so if more had voted. But turnout for my generation is always low…

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    47. crimethink,

      This. And it is frustrating. In a nutshell: You do not rob Peter to pay Paul. And you don’t invite homeless uncle Harry who you haven’t seen in years to sleep on your couch indefinitely if you know the burden it will place on your children still living at home. If you’ve got extra cash and can donate to set him up in a furnished cottage go for it, that’s being a decent person. The gov’t uses our tax money in abundance to aid people here and in other countries, but at the same time they need to be responsible to us as well, our security and well-being.

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    48. Nadia,

      You are right that certain areas did benefit from Eu money but whether this money was spent as best as it could be is a matter of debate (criticism of money spent in Cornwall by various government bodies). I also heard an argument (on the BBC) that the EU funding is becoming more difficult to get now new eastern European members are now vying for it.

      The whole debate has shown that successive governments are failing and neglecting certain communities who have become reliant on this funding. Also illustrates that governments have not invested enough throughout the country or done enough to help traditional working class countries. Their definition of investing in the north is pumping money into Manchester.

      There is also an issue between the perception and reality of immigration but this has not been helped by the government not giving proper statics and ignoring the issues that free movement has brought to certain communities such as Boston and Peterborough.

      Actors do have a right to voice their opinion but the majority are seen as out of step with normal every day people.
      There has also been a sense that some celebrities and people on the remain side as coming across as extremely sanctimonious (individuals like Will Self, Emma Thompson and Damon Albarn) and dismissive of concerns that certain communities had.
      All leave voters are not uneducated bigots and certainly not all truck drivers!
      Some people voted to leave as they feel the level of free movement can not be sustained and is affecting public services (lack of housing, school places, G.P places etc) and that the EU will never reform itself. How many Luvvies are reliant on public services!

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    49. Glad to see the news. This gives me a feeling of completeness since a great deal of the show deals with the consequence of conflict on civilians.

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    50. Millions and millions of Europeans emigrated for economic reasons in the past – and it’s still happening in a minor way. When we do it, it’s fine. But when other people from outside Europe want to come here to have a decent life, then they’re just parasites… Seems legit. For an hypocrite.

      Hey, people from former European colonies, you’ll never get our food! We’d rather continue to waste it than give you a single crumb!

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    51. crimethink,

      That’s interesting. I would think because Maise travels and works in different parts of the world and meets people from different backgrounds she might have a broader perspective than someone who lives and works in the one place.

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    52. Anytime you get involved in politics no mater which side you support you alienate half of your audience. They might loose viewers as a result.

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    53. Watcher on the sofa:
      crimethink,

      That’s interesting. I would think because Maise travels and works in different parts of the world and meets people from different backgrounds she might have a broader perspective than someone who lives and works in the one place.

      I think Maisie still has issues from her little diva fit she threw because British Airways wouldn’t let her sit in the lounge because she wasn’t 18. She will be remembered as a brat for awhile now no matter what happens with the refugees. She’s my least favorite cast member. As for the others I just read where the cast got a huge raise – are they going to donate out of their own pockets to help the refugees?

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    54. anona,

      That was a teenager being a teenager, nothing more. If you honestly think that qualifies as something a brat would do then you have never seen one. – And nobody outside of some people in the hardcore fandome remembers that anyway… Seriously, wow, a teenager had a little rant on twitter years ago, I better call the New York Times…

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    55. Sai,

      And irony of ironies – the reason why public services are suffering is NOT because of free movement of refugees!! It’s because successive Tory governments have refused to invest in public services as a matter of internal Conservative policy.

      And yet somehow the Tories want the British to believe that leaving the EU is the real solution, when in fact voting the Tories out of office was the most effective solution.

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    56. Nadia,

      It’ll be fun to see what they’ll do now that they won’t have a scapegoat anymore…

      Watcher on the sofa,

      This. Just like places with 95% white people and almost no immigration, are the most anti-immigration.. It is easy to hate a faceless foreigner, not so easy to hate your neighbor..etc.

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    57. SerNoName,

      Bush and Blair are two of the biggest war criminals of the 21st century. Both should be tried for their crimes. Unfortunately, they’re not alone, and the West as a whole has to take responsibility for the mess that has happened in the Middle East. I do worry though that there are signs that the far-right is beginning to prosper in both Europe and America (also note Austria). Voting to leave the EU is just another terrible decision that future generations will rue.

      Celebrities can often come across as sanctimonious pricks when discussing politics, and the like, but I wish people would understand for themselves what the consequences of leaving the EU are. Integration is much more positive than segregation, but then I’m young and naive, so what do I know?

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    58. I think we should do all we can to help out the refugees and try to establish a safe zone, but I’m just wary of taking in immigrants from a religion in which polls show a large % of the practicers (even moderates) believe crazy things like punishing gays or killing those that leave religion or don’t have an issue with violence committed against those who draw Mohammed. And it’s not just because I’m specifically biased against Muslims, I’m against all religions. Islam is just another crazy religion on top of Christianity and the rest.

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    59. LatrineDiggerBrian:
      I think we should do all we can to help out the refugees and try to establish a safe zone, but I’m just wary of taking in immigrants from a religion in which polls show a large % of the practicers (even moderates) believe crazy things like punishing gays or killing those that leave religion or don’t have an issue with violence committed against those who draw Mohammed. And it’s not just because I’m specifically biased against Muslims, I’m against all religions. Islam is just another crazy religion on top of Christianity and the rest.

      Absolute rubbish. Islam is a perfectly peaceful religion. It is a tiny, tiny minority of Muslims that practise hate crimes, just like it is in any religion, including Christianity. If you select a large enough group of people from anywhere in the world, there will always be one or two absolute nutcases, but that isn’t because of their religion; they’re just messed up in the head. You’ll get a few atheists who are nutcases too; religion has absolutely nothing to do with it.

      Comments like yours are both very worrying and very dangerous, because people who don’t know any better might actually believe that kind of rubbish, and then we’re all screwed.

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    60. Knight of the Walkers,

      “…and the West as a whole has to take responsibility for the mess that has happened in the Middle East.”

      No they don’t. Most people and countries in the West had absolutely nothing to do with the chaos that the Middle East has descended into.

      What role did they have in the Arab Spring, for example, which saw a number of countries descend into chaos, including Syria?

      Why on earth should Europe and the West have to bear the consequences for Syria’s descent into civil war?

      What role have other countries in the Middle East, Asia and Africa played in the problems in their regions?

      Why do the people of Europe and the West have to endure the consequences of other people’s wars? What purpose does their martyrdom serve?

      The far-right is seeing a resurgence because of the endless idealism and ideology which does not take account of the practical concerns and repercussions for those who don’t feel that they should be expected to bear the burden of all the world’s problems.

      People who worry about the future of their own communities, countries and cultures in the face of unemployment, debt, housing crises, endless mass migration, climate change etc etc etc.

      They’re looking for people who are prepared to stand up for their interests instead of telling them that “the West as a whole has to take responsibility for x, y and z problems worldwide” and then washing their hands of all the practical consequences.

      If mainstream political parties started focusing on solving problems in their own countries and on their own continents instead of solving the world’s problems and looking to serve global interests then the far-right wouldn’t be seeing any growing support. Nor would the eurosceptic, anti-immigration and populist parties that people like to dismiss as “far-right” because it’s more convenient than actually addressing the reasons for their success.

      And these short-sighted attempts to solve the world’s problems by sacrificing the few remaining stable regions on the planet at the altar of globalization and mass migration are utterly self-defeating in the long-term.

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    61. Knight of the Walkers,

      …religion has absolutely nothing to do with it.

      Sorry, but it’s your comment which is very worrying and very dangerous.

      Dismissing the very real problem of religious militarism, extremism, persecution, oppression, terrorism, censorship, intolerance, etc. as “one or two absolute nutcases” is utterly deluded.

      Try telling the people who face systematic persecution including corporal punishment, imprisonment and even execution under religious law in countries around the world that they live their lives in fear of “one or two absolute nutcases”.

      Denying the problem helps nobody.

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    62. Ramsay’s 20th Good Man,

      I recommend reading some History books, because the West has played a major role in why the Middle East is in the state it is today. The problem is that the US and the UK are so arrogant that they think they know best, when they have caused so many problems themselves (e.g. their support of corrupt governments, providing arms etc). The problem is that they think they’re more important, and that they can dictate to others how things should be done, which is absolutely laughable really.

      Other countries/individuals will naturally have contributed, and there is no “single cause”, but we shouldn’t let people be absolved of blame just because there are others who are easier targets.

      “Most people and countries in the West had absolutely nothing to do with the chaos that the Middle East has descended into.”

      Absolutely right. It is a minority, but that doesn’t mean we should let them get a free pass.

      “And these short-sighted attempts to solve the world’s problems by sacrificing the few remaining stable regions on the planet at the altar of globalization and mass migration are utterly self-defeating in the long-term.”

      Disagree. There aren’t any stable regions on the planet, because we’re all in it together; we’re all the same, and one problem is everyone’s problem (although of course some problems can and should be solved locally). You’re not going to solve massive problems, such as climate change, independently. By working together, people from different cultures will finally realise that human beings are actually remarkably similar. So many problems are caused by people focusing on differences, and not understanding the other person’s POV. Together we’re stronger, and although you’re never going to eliminate problems entirely, I do believe that working together will help reduce the number of problems we do have.

        Quote  Reply

    63. Ramsay’s 20th Good Man,

      It is extremists that are the problem, yes. You find some in Islam, some in Christianity, some in Judaism, some in Atheism, some who are Agnostic, some who are Hindus etc, etc. It isn’t the religions that are the problem at all, but those few extremists who fundamentally (deliberately) misinterpret their holy texts. It is those individuals who are very dangerous indeed, especially when they are persuasive.

      It all comes down to a lack of understanding of other people, which is why integration is so important (it is also why extremists focus on segregation, and the differences between themselves and others).

      Comments like “polls show a large % of the practicers (even moderates) believe crazy things” are at best foolish, and at worse as damaging a POV as the ones the extremists have.

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    64. Knight of the Walkers,

      You’re right in that only a small percentage of people commit violence, but polls show that majorities of Muslims believe in a lot of the crazier tenants of Islam i.e. mistreatment of women and gays, punishment for those that draw the prophet, etc. etc.

      In the US, we have very little religious violence from the Christians, but the majority of them believe in:

      -that climate change is false
      -gays should not have the right to marry
      -that poor people should not have access to healthcare
      -that people should have the right to own a small armory

      The list goes on and on.

      Sorry I can only accept one’s right to worship magic and fairy tales before I have to call them out on their bull shit.

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    65. LatrineDiggerBrian,

      I’m not going to defend people with those views at all, but I will say again that it is a small number of people who follow those religions who really have damaging views. Some others will have negative views, yes, but it is all a lack of understanding of other people.

      “majorities of Muslims”
      Wrong. They need to understand us more, just as we need to understand them more.

      Anyway, I’ve gone on enough, and this had headed OT, but focusing on the differences between “us” and “them” is never going to end well. Human beings are all very similar.

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    66. Knight of the Walkers,

      I recommend reading some History books…

      Gee, thanks for the advice. I knew there was a reason I didn’t deserve that degree.

      What was that you were saying about arrogance and people thinking they know best?

      Absolutely right. It is a minority, but that doesn’t mean we should let them get a free pass.

      You said the West as a whole has to take responsibility for the mess in the Middle East. Burdening the majority with dealing with the fallout from the decisions of the minority does not hold that minority to account. It will, however, cause resentment and division among the majority.

      Disagree. There aren’t any stable regions on the planet, because we’re all in it together; we’re all the same, and one problem is everyone’s problem

      And here we go with the idealism and ideology overriding practical realities.

      It isn’t the religions that are the problem at all, but those few extremists who fundamentally (deliberately) misinterpret their holy texts. It is those individuals who are very dangerous indeed, especially when they are persuasive.

      Sorry, but that’s a total cop out. When your religious text advocates conquest, intolerance, inequality, religious supremacy, persecution etc. and followers have to actively ignore those parts in order to align their religion with modern, civilized society then it is a problem.

      Pretending that those who follow through on the ugly parts of their religion are merely “misinterpreting” it is just another way of dismissing the underlying problem within the ideology and its widespread adoption.

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    67. Ramsay’s 20th Good Man:
      Knight of the Walkers,
      When your religious text advocates conquest, intolerance, inequality, religious supremacy, persecution etc.

      No, they don’t; that is exactly the point. You are not going to solve problems by having that opinion, and I’m glad not many people share your opinion, because it is bordering on racist.

      “Gee, thanks for the advice. I knew there was a reason I didn’t deserve that degree.

      What was that you were saying about arrogance and people thinking they know best?”

      One example: history of Israel/Palestine. But, you have the History degree, so you probably no more about it than me.

      There are some very evil people in the world. Some are Muslims, some in Christians, some are in big business, some live in the White House etc.

        Quote  Reply

    68. Knight of the Walkers,

      You’re completely ignoring poll data. This is reputable polling too. If there are so many moderates, they need to do a better job fighting back against the lunacy. Also, maybe the wealthier Arab states could take in some refugees, so far they’ve taken 0.

      Look, we need to help these refugees by getting aid to them and establishing a safe zone. Sorry though, I just don’t want any more religious folks added to my country, and that includes all religions. I’m tired of having to make excuses for people that believe in fairy tales.

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    69. Knight of the Walkers,

      No, they don’t; that is exactly the point. You are not going to solve problems by having that opinion, and I’m glad not many people share your opinion, because it is bordering on racist.

      They do. That’s not an opinion, it’s a fact.

      And it’s not racist either. You might want to look up the definition.

      Criticising a religious ideology is not racist in any way whatsoever. Those who try to conflate the two are very dangerous people indeed.

      As I pointed out earlier, there are people around the world being persecuted under religious laws and in cultures where blasphemy is still taboo.

      One of the most fundamentally liberating advances made in Western society has been the deconstruction of the concept of blasphemy and the enshrinement of the principle of free speech.

      Those who try to equate criticism of a religious ideology with racism in order to try to curtail or dismiss such criticisms are a genuine threat to our free society.

        Quote  Reply

    70. Ramsay’s 20th Good Man:
      Knight of the Walkers,

      They do. That’s not an opinion, it’s a fact.

      I’m sorry, but you are wrong, and I can’t let statements like yours go unchallenged because I wouldn’t want our Muslim friends who read this site to be alienated by statements like that.

      The West has made brilliant advances, and as a citizen of a Western country I am incredibly grateful to the people who fought for those rights. Should countries in the Middle East adopt analogous rights? Of course, but they’re not going to if we paint them all as bigoted extremists.

      Finally, I’d like to point out that cultural racism is very real indeed, and Islamophobia is definitely a form of cultural racism (Bobby Sayyid has written a great deal about this very subject). Look, your comments weren’t racist, but they were bordering on it, because we in the West are not superior to any Muslim in the Middle East.

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    71. Knight of the Walkers,

      I’m not wrong and I’m sure most rational, moderate Muslims are perfectly capable of handling differing opinions on their religion. If not, well, they’re kinda proving some of my points.

      Countries in the Middle East and elsewhere aren’t going to make advances on rights if you pretend that the widespread oppression, persecution and intolerance is not systematic and is merely perpetrated by a few extremists either.

      “Cultural racism” is just another modern shifting of the goalposts which nobody outside of academia and activism takes seriously. Much like the whole prejudice plus power redefinition of racism. They’re used to try and undermine inconvenient points of view and explain away contradictions.

      They’re attempts to try to shift the fault back onto those pointing them out.

      And, once again, I suggest you look up the definition of racism. The real definition of racism.

      I haven’t said anything negative about any race of people or suggested there is anything inherently inferior about anybody.

      I have criticised a religious ideology.

      I have criticised countries where oppressive religious laws and practices are commonplace.

      I have criticised cultures, underpinned by religion, which lead to systematic persecution and intolerance.

      I have criticised people who follow an ideology with some particularly unsavoury elements, which apologists choose to pretend don’t exist even when murderous militants and oppressive regimes actually follow through on them.

      Trying to brand what I’ve said even “bordering on” taboo is regressive and suppressive.

        Quote  Reply

    72. Ramsay's 20th Good Man,

      Muslims are exactly the same as you, me, and every single human on this planet, because despite growing up in different places and cultures we are actually very similar individuals. We often focus too much on the differences between us, which helps to foster extreme beliefs.

      Islam is a perfectly peaceful religion. We’re not going to get anywhere by grouping the peaceful Muslims with the extreme ones (who should be punished). If we understand their POV a little bit more, and they understand our POV a little bit more than the world would be a much happier place.

      Criticising is all well and good, but you have to really move beyond that to understanding.

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    73. Ramsay's 20th Good Man,

      Just to clarify, I’m sure you’d then agree that the West – Europe, US, UK – can be blamed for terrorism and destruction, considering they spend billions in aid to Saudi Arabia, the root of the extremist ideology we see propagated around the world, one of the most vile and despicable regimes on the planet.

      Or is it fine to send billions to one of the most horrific countries in the world, call them your close allies.

      Let’s remember who created the Afghan mujahideen – the taliban – oh, America!!! Or is it uncomfortable that Ronald Reagan had them sit in the Oval Office and call them freedom fighters. Never mind the billions they gave Zia ul Haq, a military leader who declared martial law in Pakistan and turned Pakistan into a radical fundamentalist state. He never saw a drop of money shut down by the US but that money sure helped him destroy all secular opposition.

      The list is endless. When the West funds religious extremists for their own aims it’s fine. When those monsters turn on them – “oh it’s a problem with Islam, not the West.” To use countries and Encourage radical Islam as a pawn in great power politics has caused the conflict we see now.

      I’m assuming you are well aware of the military aid and millions the US gave to Saddam from 1980-1988 to fight Iran, only to turn around a couple of years later and have to fight him. WHOOPSIE.

      The West has poured money into conflicts in the Middle East for centuries, exacerbated those conflicts, and the cries foul when the conflicts they make go awry.

      But then again I’m assuming you think the war in Iraq was just a brilliant idea. Let’s not forget, ISIS is fighting with the US military equipment that the US used in its disastrous and dishonest invasion.

      Go read some books. Seriously – anyone with a basic high school education in world history cannot make the ludicrous myopic claims you are here. The first step is not to pretend this history doesn’t exist. Otherwise we get people like you bleating on the Internet “why should the west take responsibility.”

      If the West wants to criticize radical Islam, don’t give one more dime to Saudi, Qatar, Bahrain, etc. Call me in the next century if that ever happens.

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    74. Knight of the Walkers,

      Meanwhile, while you’re busy trying to be “understanding” millions of people are oppressed and persecuted using your “peaceful religion” as justification.

      That’s the last I’ll say on the matter, but your endless attempts to deny an inconvenient reality help nobody.

        Quote  Reply

    75. Nadia,

      Brilliant post. I never condoned the actions of radicals in Middle Eastern countries, because it is true they have committed some atrocious acts, but to pretend that the West is innocent is absolutely ridiculous, and is exactly why we are no closer to solving the problem than we were 20 years ago.

      The problem is that people like Ramsay’s 20th Good Man, refuse to accept that we are as much of the problem as the radicals in the Middle Eastern countries. Until the West accepts this harsh reality we have no hope of ending the appalling acts that take place.

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    76. Knight of the Walkers,

      Indeed, the effort must be collective and we must all help in creating peace.

      To quote one of my favourite historic figure, Ataturk (Seriously if you don’t know about him go google him. Movies could be made of his life, he took a feudal dying country and modernized it in 20 or so years), ”Mankind is a single body and each nation a part of that body. We must never say “What does it matter to me if some part of the world is ailing?”

        Quote  Reply

    77. Nadia,

      I agree 100% with your comments. very well written and explained.

      When the US supported and armed Iraq in the 1970’s it was in their interest as Iran was on their list as an enemy and a terrorist state. However, when Sadam turned his attention south to Kuwait and its oil fields, it was a different story… All fucking double standards! IMO, its been the US (and their European allies, especially the UK) and their actions that’s stirred up all the shit in the middle east in the 21st century.

      Ok, Sadam and his regime were bastards, but I bet the rise of ISIS, terrorist attacks in European cities, etc and all the other bad shit that’s been going on for years in the region wouldn’t have occurred if Sadam still run Iraq.

      The first Gulf War (George Bush senior) I could see some logic to – i.e. to restore the sovereignty of Kuwait, but the second Gulf War (George Bush junior along with UK PM Tony Blair) was a joke and a waste of lives! All that crap about Sadam having WMD turned out to be nothing. Just an excuse to oust Sadam Hussein and look at the shit that’s fallen down since 🙁

      I won’t say anymore on this. Just my pennies worth on the subject!

        Quote  Reply

    78. tkk:
      Ser Creighton Longbough,

      If you actually think it’s that simple then you really don’t know what you’re talking about, that’s easy tho.

      Oh, interesting point of view… And well expressed, too. We’re lucky to have a profound thinker like you among us.

        Quote  Reply

    79. Nadia,

      The problem with people like you is that you argue against what you think people have said rather than what they have actually said.

      Your rantings about Western imperialism don’t actually counter anything I’ve written, but it’s easier to regurgitate the narrative than it is to try to comprehend what those whose opinions differ from your own have actually said.

      And it’s typical of such people to inevitably imply that the person that they’re arguing with must be uneducated, even though they haven’t even bothered to fully comprehend their point of view, have argued against straw men and attributed points of view to them that they haven’t actually expressed.

        Quote  Reply

    80. Abyss:
      anona

      That was a teenager being a teenager, nothing more. If you honestly think that qualifies as something a brat would do then you have never seen one. – And nobody outside of some people in the hardcore fandome remembers that anyway… Seriously, wow, a teenager had a little rant on twitter years ago, I better call the New York Times…

      Unfortunately this is so not true. One of the most popular celeb gossip sites out there-Oh No They Didn’t-this is pretty much the FIRST thing anyone brings up who isn’t a Maisie fan, and this is are not die-hard GOT fans at all. It’s ridiculous. It happened how many years ago? But yeah, this is what they still only remember her for not all of the other charitable, politically aware things she’s done. It’s pretty sad.

        Quote  Reply

    81. JenniferH,

      Not with anyone I have every talked about the show. I would be very surprised if they even know it happend. – I also don’t give a damn about celeb gossip sites. Bottom line is the tweat was nothing to write home about. 😉

        Quote  Reply

    82. Next season I see it being centered on the most eligble bachelor in Westeros currently, Jon Snow since he now controls half of the kingdom basically.I see marriage alliances trickling from all over now that the women have taken over westeros.

      Firstly, I see Cersie through Littlefinger trying to make an ally of Jon since Dorne and the Tyrells have allied with Danny making it impossible to beat them at the battlefield. If Cersei marries Jon and gets the support of his kingdom, their forces might be enough to keep the Danny+Tyrell+Dorne alliance at bay for just a little while.
      Littlefinger will help her in this because Danny is basically more of a threat to his plans than either Jon or Cersei.

      The Sand Snakes also aren’t complety trustworthy and will need some sort of insuarance since Danny won’t be so trusting with them after they killed their previous leige lord, hence a marriage between them and Jon could make their position more secure. Ollena once tried this with Sansa and Loras but Tywin moved in to block it with a marriage between Tyrion and Sansa, so I expect it to happen again.

      Moving on to the most probable and obvious proposers is Danny who is most interested in a political marriage and the only options left are robin, jaimie, the frey who is next in line to get the twins and Jon. Marrying a frey would make her an enemy of Jon and his kingdom, marrying Jaimie also makes her lose support of Dorne and the Tyrells, and Robin is definately not man enough for her and Littlefinger will never allow her near him so her only option left would be Jon.

      Since the show has unintentionally ended up shiping Jon and Sansa through their awkward scenes together I might as well add her to the list since they are cousins afterall and Bran is on his way to them this. Jon needs to unify his kingdom in order to take on the WW and marrying Sansa will plug holes on anyone trying to use her against him or challenge his legitimacy as tKitN.

      There you go, my predictions so far on what will happen.

        Quote  Reply

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