Game of Thrones Season 7 Premiere – Dragonstone Recap

Maisie Williams as Arya Stark – Photo: Helen Sloan/HBO

Maisie Williams as Arya Stark – Photo: Helen Sloan/HBO

Welcome, Watchers one and all, to a new season of Game of Thrones! Buckle up and settle in, because it’s going to be a bumpy ride as we encounter mass murder, dueling duos, and a group of characters in search of purpose, as we dive into the season 7 premiere, “Dragonstone.”

Spoiler Note: This is our book reader’s recap, intended for those who have read the A Song of Ice and Fire series. The post and the comments section may contain spoilers from the novels, whether or not that material has appeared on the show yet. Because no, we are not all Unsullied now. If you have not read the books yet, we encourage you to check out our non-book-reader recap, by Oz of Thrones!


Just ahead of the premiere, HBO kicked off the festivities by pimping their latest contribution to the glossy sleaze genre, rolling out the trailer for The Deuce. If you missed it, it’s like Vinyl but with porn and James Franco.

Heading into season seven as we are, the Game of Thrones recap video before the new episode is incredibly long, taking us all the way back to season one and shocking me with feels. Yes, even Viserys can inspire those, because this is Harry Lloyd and his refined pout we’re talking about. And then finally, after an amount of foreplay that Tormund would approve of, we finally get to the main event- the season 7 premiere, “Dragonstone.”

David Bradley as Walder Frey – Photo: Helen Sloan/HBO

David Bradley as Walder Frey – Photo: Helen Sloan/HBO

Game of Thrones throws us all for a loop with a cold open revealing that the first person we see in season 7 is none other than the recently throat-slashed Walder Frey (guest star David Bradley). Instead of rotting on the floor, he’s living, breathing and monologueing to his gathered kin about their deplorable actions toward the Starks.

It’s Arya, of course, wearing old Walder like a skin suit and throwing out sly lines about winter having come. She leads the assembled Freys in a poisoned toast, dispatching all the men of the house in one fell swoop. “Leave one wolf alive, and the sheep are never safe.”

Despite the gruesome mass killing, the fact that Arya chose to avoid involving the innocent women of the house is a positive sign for the character’s future. Arya has gone down such a dark road since season one, to the point where many fans question whether the girl can ever come back from her life as a killer and be involved with her family in a functional, healthy way. Arya may always be a misfit, but killing is a valuable skill in Westeros, and her assassin’s gifts can be used for her family’s sake.  She’s proven she knows how to draw a line and that’s important.

giant wight dragonstone

Post-credits we’re treated to one of Bran’s special pants-wetting-inducing visions, with the army of the dead on the move including GIANTS. FUCKING UNDEAD GIANTS. Just mull over that for a minute. And then put it out of your mind because *shudder.*

In real time, Bran and Meera have arrived at the Wall, at long last, to a suspicious welcome from the Night’s Watch. Dolorous Edd, your year just got worse because you’ve got a new Stark to deal with, just when you thought you’d gotten rid of the last one. Bran creeps out the Watch by displaying his omniscience, knowing that Edd was at Hardhome and the Fist of the First Men. But whatever it is, it works- the duo are let through the Wall.

And don’t think I didn’t notice that unnecessary mention of Howland Reed, D&D. A low-grade Easter egg for us nerds, or are they going somewhere with this? The Tower of Joy cameo, now this…just give us the crannogman already!

Kit Haringon as Jon Snow, Sophie Turner as Sansa Stark. Photo: Helen Sloan/HBO

Kit Harington as Jon Snow, Sophie Turner as Sansa Stark. Photo: Helen Sloan/HBO

At Winterfell, Jon Snow learns that kingin’ is hard, guys! He and Lyanna Mormont (Bella Ramsey) introduce feminism to the North (because wights will kill you regardless of your gender) by pushing for all children 10 and up to be readied for fighting, including girls. In other business, Tormund and the wildlings are assigned to Eastwatch, the Night’s Watch castle by the sea, and the fallout from the Battle of the Bastards is handled.

Sansa and Jon face off over the matter of House Karstark and House Umber. Both houses lost their leader in the battle, after betraying the Starks. Jon opts for forgiveness and allowing the houses to keep their lands, while Sansa points out that there are no repercussions for wayward houses if they can be disloyal without consequence.

Really, they’re both right. Jon ultimately stands by his decision, basing it on his years of experience in the Night’s Watch and what he learned from his father Ned. (Maybe not father by blood, but father in every way that counts, especially in this episode when Ned’s words are so significant.) But Sansa provides an astute counterbalance, learned through her own bitter years studying with Cersei and Littlefinger.

As the siblings argue about the handling of the tricky subject after the meeting, a raven arrives. Cersei is demanding Jon bend the knee. The new King in the North isn’t worried, as the Lannisters are a southern army, and it’s winter, but Sansa knows Cersei. She will not be deterred.

That damn wig on Sansa, though. It’s Margaery season 2 wig levels of bad.

JaimeCersei

Down in King’s Landing, the Lannister twins confront the tension in their relationship, but there’s no time for relationship problems when they’re surrounded by enemies on every side. Cersei’s new map will help them plot out their war but what they really need are allies and the queen of the Seven (okay, three) Kingdoms already has a plan for that.

It’s a rad map though. Dig the detail- another Tower of Joy reference!

Tower of Joy map Dragonstone

As for the Crown’s allies, it does make sense that since Daenerys has Theon and Yara on her team, their uncle Euron has decided to join up with Team C. The mad king of the Iron Islands arrives in King’s Landing with his new fleet of ships- and a marriage proposal for Cersei. The queen is amused and irked, and it seems like here is one person whom she may not be able to manipulate so easily.

It’s also refreshing to see Jaime Lannister butting heads with someone besides his sister-wife, as scenes between Jaime and Cersei have a tendency to stagnate and fall into exposition and predictability. Euron knocks Jaime off-kilter with his calculated disrespect and advances toward Cersei, and promises to return with a gift worthy of the queen.

Jim Broadbent as Archmaester Ebrose – Photo: Helen Sloan/HBO

Jim Broadbent as Archmaester Ebrose – Photo: Helen Sloan/HBO

Poor Sam- imagine if you spent countless years dreaming about getting into Yale, and you finally get there- but have to spend all your time cleaning the toilets in frat houses. And your professors don’t believe you witnessed an undead army and won’t let you use the Restricted Section of the dream library.

Samwell Tarly is slogging through his days at the Citadel (shown in a brilliant and hilarious feat of editing), shelving books in the infinite library and cleaning chamber pots. He is receiving some actual education from a philosophical archmaester (Jim Broadbent) who is more receptive than most about Sam’s dire warnings, but ultimately feels the Wall is safe.

“We are this world’s memory,” he tells Sam, and reminds him of the Long Night that came before. The Wall has always stood, and so in their minds, it will continue to do so. It’s a mistake that people often make, believing that things will stay the same forever, never considering that previous issues may have weakened the defenses, heightened the issue, and now it will only take one straw to break the camel’s back.

GoTepisode8

Back at Winterfell, Sansa watches Brienne and Tormund interact below with comical awkwardness (with the wildling envying Pod and his instructional ass-beating). Littlefinger takes the opportunity to creep up on his former protege. She’s not interested in what he has to offer, however, and reminds him that she’s home now. He’s lost control of her and he doesn’t like it one bit, that’s obvious.

Somehow, I doubt the Lord o’ the Lurk will be so easily deterred from his pet project.

Ed Sheeran as Ed and Maisie Williams as Arya Stark. Photo: Helen Sloan/HBO

Ed Sheeran as Ed and Maisie Williams as Arya Stark. Photo: Helen Sloan/HBO

For hands of gold are always cold, but a woman’s hands are warm…

After dispatching a sizable chunk of House Frey, Arya hits the road again, heading south and running into a band of friendly Lannister soldiers. Accepting their food and hospitality, she’s lulled into conversing with soldiers she would’ve loathed on sight before. With the men speaking of home and family, and how “girls take care of their papas,” men in lion-sigiled armor become human.

Relaxing among them, Arya announces her intention to kill the Queen. The soldiers stare…..and break into laughter. Arya joins them. These men are safe from her, but Cersei is a whole other issue.

Rory McCann as Sandor “The Hound” Clegane – Photo: Helen Sloan/HBO

Rory McCann as Sandor “The Hound” Clegane – Photo: Helen Sloan/HBO

Last seen pondering their offer in season 6, Sandor Clegane has accepted the offer of the Brotherhood without Banners and is traveling north with the rebel band. They come across the farmhouse where Arya and the Hound stayed in season 4, episode 3. Now they find the farmer and his young daughter dead, likely at their own hand as hunger set in.

Having survived his close brush with death in season 4, and seen a community of kind souls be slaughtered in season 6, the Hound has questions- mainly, “Why?” Though as hilariously brusque as always, he’s a more contemplative Sandor Clegane now questioning his purpose in life: why he was chosen to survive, not any of the good or extraordinary men he’s seen in his life. Beric Dondarrion has no answers, despite his own resurrections. Thoros of Myr encourages Sandor to look into the flames, and shocks us all when the Hound truly sees a vision in the fire.

He sees The Wall, where it meets the sea (Eastwatch, where Tormund was just sent), and notes that he sees a mountain that looks like an arrowhead, with thousands of the dead are marching past.

That night, as all the men sleep, Clegane digs a grave for the farmer and his small daughter, the ones he robbed in another life. Finding him at his work, Thoros joins him in burying the pair. The Hound admits he regrets their deaths, and that they “deserved better, both of you.”

With his burgeoning sense of purpose, his abilities and his lifelong connection to fire, the Hound suddenly seems like a much stronger candidate for the role of Warrior of Light.

Sam Gilly Dragonstone

Having acquired the sought-after books from the restricted area, Sam brings them home to Gilly. (I assume she’s staying somewhere not-in-the-Citadel… and the finances haven’t really been explained yet either.) The couple dig into the old tomes, including Legends of the Long Night, and discover that the Targaryens used dragonglass ornamentally on their weapons, not realizing its abilities. Luckily they did note the existence of dragonglass caves beneath their seat, the island castle Dragonstone.

And yes, D&D, we see the catspaw’s blade in the book, the Valyrian steel dagger held by the season one assassin when he attacked Bran. Call this one Chehkov’s Subconscious Reminder.

Back to his literally-shitwork gig at the Citadel, Sam is handling lunch lady duties for solitary confinement cells when he gets the bejeepers scared out of him: one patient reaches from the cell to grab at Sam. The painfully scaled arm is reminiscent of something, but we don’t have to wonder for long because the unmistakable voice of Iain Glen issues forth!

“Has she come yet…the Dragon Queen, Daenerys Stormborn?”

Sam’s at a loss. But at least we know that Jorah made it to a place with decent medical care and three squares a day.

1

After decades in exile, the Dragon Queen has indeed come home.

Daenerys and her top supporters come ashore by Dragonstone, as her dragons joyfully explore the air above it. Dany is overcome with emotion, feeling the sands of her homeland and facing the dragon gates of her birthplace. Ascending to the castle, she finds a lingering banner with Stannis Baratheon’s flaming heart sigil- and tears it down. She faces the dragonthrone, and just breathes, taking it all in for a moment, before moving ahead into the war room with the Painted Table. There she says her first words since coming home:

“Shall we begin?”


Oldtown credits

Stray Thoughts:

Oldtown now appears in the opening credits and it’s a gorgeous addition, with the Hightower and the Citadel’s astrolabe-containing library.

Helen Sloan - HBO (Photo 3)Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know: It feels as though we’re finally getting a real sense of Euron Greyjoy (Pilou Asbæk). We saw a glimpse of the character’s scariness in his first appearance last season, but then at the Kingsmoot, he was playing to the crowd. I think he’s playing to Cersei to a degree, but we’re seeing much more of the character’s ruthlessness and cunning come into play. He’s a wild card, and that’s what’s needed in the Lannister mix.

I don’t have a problem with Ed Sheeran having a cameo but it was a relief to see that the scene wasn’t dominated by him. And finding a way to slip in Symon Silver Tongue’s song about Tyrion and Shae from A Storm of Swords was a nice touch. Bonus, nice Dragonpit mentions!

Fucking WIGHT GIANTS. Honestly though. If the ice spiders show up, I’m running all the way to Yi Ti.

I think there’s going to be a lot of discourse about Sansa challenging Jon’s decision, and I can feel myself yawning in advance. She was raised to be an intelligent lady, and her mother (the assertive wife of a great lord, with political opinions) was her role model.  Staying silent was Sansa’s only option for too long, as a matter of survival. She’s stronger within the walls of Winterfell- and shouldn’t be expected to shut up. She’s used to treating Jon as a brother and equal rather than as a king. And while it may inconvenience him sometimes, it’s a good thing to have an adviser who challenges you to examine your decisions. They’ll get used to the adjustment in their relationship in due time, and things will be less rocky, I believe.

That’s where I stand after the season 7 premiere. What did you all think?

439 responses

Jump to (and Always Support) the Bottom

    1. I’ll just post this one more time and that is all:

      What I loved:

      What I liked:
      -Map scene between Jaime and Cersei
      -Euron for the most part (especially Zombie Mountain encounter)

      What I disliked
      -Overly long and weird Sam montage
      -Not great dialogue
      -No explanation of Arya Faceless Men magic (assuming voice, not just face)
      -Seemingly pointless Arya / Ed Sheeran scene

      What I hated
      -Arya cold open
      -Cheesy ending with no impact

      Overall, it was a very meh and disappointing first episode. One that tells me that D &D don’t really even have an interesting 13 hours left to tell. It was a flat episode with a flat ending. No scenes really that interesting or great. It was mediocre and a bad harbinger of things to come 🙁

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    2. Loved the episode and glad to be back at it. Sansa does have the relationship and right to question Jon but GD woman he is KitN so if you disagree with him save that shit for a more private moment instead of questioning him in front of all the Lord’s of the North….

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    3. Mad props to the prop artists for all the awesome turds. Fantastic turd tech!

      Loved the episode. Adored it. Actor playing Walder Frey was the best he’s ever been. Must have been so much fun for him to tweak the character just a touch.

      Last thoughts: If only Arya knew a secret way into the Red Keep. 😛

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    4. Ginevra:
      So Slughorn isn’t Marwyn but Ebrose? I missed that? I knew he wasn’t confirmed as Marwyn.

      Yeah I asked in the other thread and Sue said HBO confirmed him as Ebrose. I don’t think Sam referred to him by name.

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    5. They went way off line with Arya impersonating Frey. So far they kept it “real” – in terms of height, gender, body structure… but this was just soapy TV for the sake of the “Ooh”. I won’t even ask how she produced the voice, as nobody in the crew knows that.

      Waiting between the seasons was easy. After this episode where not much happened, I’ll find the next week a bit longer than normal.

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    6. Terrific episode! Worth the wait.

      HOWEVER:

      Jon: We are going to let blatantly treasonous houses who had a direct hand in the murder of my brother slide with no punishment, because let bygones be bygones!

      Sansa: This is incredibly stupid. Just like dad. Who is dead. And Robb. Who is also dead.
      —-
      Jon: We have too many enemies to fight amongst ourselves, Sansa!

      Sansa: I disagree with your decision on completely logical grounds.

      Jon: WHY ARE YOU UNDERMINING MY RULE? YOU DO NOT UNDERSTAND MAN-STUFF!
      __

      Sansa: We can’t trust the Umbers and Karstarks anymore. Because, shall I remind you, “Rickon.”

      Jon: Sure we can! Let me drag two terrified kids out into a room with one hundred adults who would kill them at my merest nod and demand an oath of loyalty! See? They swore. We’re good.

      Jon is a moron.

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    7. What a beautiful photo of Sandor. No really, the pose, the mood, the background…anyone questioning why he was brought back so prominently last year may be getting an idea at this point.

      Euron is fantastic, as I thought he would be. Two good hands….oh Jaime’s face!

      You can write this down as I rarely say it, but I mean it – Sansa made sense. So there. Ned and Robb were varying degrees of naive idiots (sorry Ned, love ya), which she is quite familiar with herself. She seems not to be quite the shtoopid girl with shtoopid hair and shtoopid friends anymore – let’s keep it that way, shall we? Actually….dammit, that hair. I thought it was fine in the stills, but it is a bit awful. Still not as awful as Cersei’s scalped-Tommen ‘do, however.

      Jon isn’t shtoopid, either. Can’t disagree with his decision.

      Poor Sam looked like Batman had just appeared in front of him when my dear bear Jorah did the wave.
      Anyone else hoping they Lysol’d that table at Dragonstone?

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    8. The Hound was the most compelling character of the episode for me. Really enjoyed his scenes with the Brotherhood. What exactly is the mountain shaped like an arrowhead? Color me intrigued.

      Littlefinger is way out of his element up North. He just seems so useless/helpless, strange as it seems. Desperate even.

      So, is Sansa being given the title of Lady of Winterfell and co-ruler with Jon? No? Then she really needs to learn to not speak against him in public. Jon is king. His decision to not punish the children for their father’s mistakes is understandable, especially at this point in time, when the North needs to be uniting, not fostering resentment. Sansa learned from Cersei alright. She learned how to inspire zero loyalty. And I seem to recall Sansa making plenty of stupid mistakes of her own. I understand that she wants revenge on Cersei and to focus on her, but it’s hard to take her side when Jon knows what’s coming and that it is far more dangerous than Cersei.

      I feel bad for Dragonbringer. Yet again Dany gets the shaft in terms of screen time and spoken dialogue.

      Euron was actually quite entertaining. Totally different than crazy book Euron, but enjoyable nonetheless.

      Jaime…WHAT. THE. FUCK. DOES. IT. TAKE?!?! She blew up the sept with wildfire! She did what you killed Aerys for attempting! It seems he lost his balls as well as his hand. I just can’t get over how much he has been neutered in the show, but it’s been happening for several seasons now.

      Overall a nice setup for the season. On par with most premiers, other than Two Swords, which was by far the best.

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    9. seenGhost?:
      They went way off line with Arya impersonating Frey. So far they kept it “real” – in terms of height, gender, body structure… but this was just soapy TV for the sake of the “Ooh”. I won’t even ask how she produced the voice, as nobody in the crew knows that.

      Waiting between the seasons was easy. After this episode where not much happened, I’ll find the next week a bit longer than normal.

      Remember when the Waif was an old woman? And Jaqen was an older black man as well as a different guy at Harrenhal? Arya spent seasons in training. I don’t understand why people think we needed to see her at a desk with Jaqen pointing out on a chalkboard the exact science behind it, and then multiple lab experiments on screen in order to believe she knows how to do this. She knows how to do this. She’s done it before. Get over it!

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    10. KG: Jon: We have too many enemies to fight amongst ourselves, Sansa!

      Sansa: I disagree with your decision on completely logical grounds.

      Jon: WHY ARE YOU UNDERMINING MY RULE? YOU DO NOT UNDERSTAND MAN-STUFF!

      She’s undermining his rule because she questions his decisions publicly. That’s ruling 101 right there.. advisers advise and question decisions in private, not in front of the people you’re supposed to lead.

      This applies to the real world too you know.

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    11. ManderlyPieCompany:
      Loved the episode. Adored it. Actor playing Walder Frey was the best he’s ever been. Must have been so much fun for him to tweak the character just a touch.

      Kept expecting him to show up in the restricted section of the library with his cat to catch Sam stealing books…

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    12. Jon Snow being addressed as Your grace! Ah I love it 🙂 He’s different this season. I notice his accent even is at times. How is that lol? And Sansa, I actually like her so far. Didn’t agree with how she openly debated him but other than that it seems she’s more humble and cares about Jon’s as well as her best interests. But tis just the beginning. Hopefully that doesn’t change. Could have done without the poop/soup montage. It was a strange decision to linger on that sequence for so long. Also the autopsy bleh. I did enjoy the actor who played the Maester there and have a feeling what he said was of some kinda importance, just don’t quite understand how it ties in yet.

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    13. I’ll just copy/paste what I said in the Open Chat:

      Awesome season opener! Everything I could say about it has pretty much been said by everyone else.

      Loved Arya killing the remaining Freys, as well as her friendly encounter with those Lannister soldiers – Showing her that there is still humanity in the world, even among her “enemies”.

      The Hound scenes were very emotional and interesting. I’m so glad he’s going to be a regular character again.

      The North – I’m relieved by how Sansa is portrayed. Yeah, she’s arguing with Jon, but she’s not being totally unreasonable, and she’s still not taking LF’s shit.

      King’s Landing – Jaime’s definitely starting to get uncomfortable, lol. Also, Euron… Nice improvement from the Kingsmoot!

      OldTown – Awesome seeing Jim Broadbent in this show (frankly, I’m surprised it took them this long to get him). I look forward to seeing where Sam’s storyline takes him… and Jorah! Great way to reintroduce him!

      Only two minor criticisms:
      1) What about Edmure?? Did Arya just leave him in the dungeon?
      2) The montage with Sam went on a TAD too long.

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    14. zod,

      Then you say “We’ll speak of this later.” That’s what a real leader would do, instead of embracing and fostering further public wrangling.

      Jon is a moron.

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    15. KG,

      Except for being wary of Sansa and Littlefinger’s hold on her, everything Jon did was brilliant. By pardoning the children, he creates a legacy of grace and mercy. By reminding us of “Edd, fetch me a block,” he’s ensuring all well remember that those who dare to commit treason will have their heads chopped off.

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    16. really strong opening, really good dialogues. my favorite premiere with Two swords and Winter is coming. and I loved pilou as euron, he is savage and will be a major player. 8.7/10

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    17. Ginevra:
      seenGhost?,

      It’s a show about dragons and faceless assassins. There might be magic. And giants.

      You explained that far better than I. 😂 I was almost ready to start ranting about ancient undead ice dudes, people melting gold accessories in an ordinary cooking fire in under a minute, creating zombie Mountains, and how Jorah’s yellow shirt didn’t disintegrate right off his body at some point. But you got straight to the point. 👍

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    18. AMAZING START!!!!! The opening scene with Arya has to be already one of the best scenes in the entire show!!!! Truly iconic how Arya did!

      Also: LYANNA: “I may be small. I may be girl, but i won’t be knitting by the fire while i have men fight for me” YASSSSS. She can have ony two seconds of screen time and will make legendary!!!

      Sam will have a very important role this season at Citadel. And i believe he will find a cure to Jorah.

      Oh, THE HOUND, i missed you. He knows now!!!!

      Daenerys in Dragonstone was SO BEAUTIFUL!!! She is finally in home! I honestly can’t wait for what’s next!! This season for sure is gonna be legendary!!!

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    19. My one cent on the Jon & Sansa interaction. They were both right and Jon was a little bit more right. It looked like John gained more respect from the other lords by showing mercy over punishment. It’s not like those kids were major influences in their families joining up with Ramsey.
      Wasn’t Jon’s issue with Sansa “undermining” him is that she did it in public, not that she disagreed with him? It makes them both look bad if they are not showing a united front. Yes, she learned from her mother how to speak her mind intelligently , but I don’t think Cat would openly disagree with Ned in front of a meeting of lords?

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    20. Ginevra: Kept expecting him to show up in the restricted section of the library with his cat to catch Sam stealing books…

      Heehee! After the Red Wedding I was waiting for him to start cleaning up the debris with his push-broom, like Filch after the Battle of Hogwarts (my very favorite moment in the last Potter movie).

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    21. LatrineDiggerBrian,

      Eps 01 of all the returning seasons have been largely follow-ups to the previous season’s finale. Of all except the pilot, 701 was really strong in comparison. Laughs, tears, conclusions and beginnings.

      I thought there were a few slow parts and a few rushed parts, a many hits and a few misses, but I’m so excited for the rest of season. Eps 02 have usually been amazing. Can’t wait for next Sunday!

      I just wish we had nine episodes left this year instead of six.

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    22. Ah all is well in the world now this show is back on

      Really enjoyed the episode, in particular the “slower” scenes in light of the fact that I’ve come to expect lightning fast pace etc

      special mention goes to Arya with the Lannister soldiers and the humanising of it all, but especially to Beric, the Hound, Thoros and the House scene.

      Worth mentioning that when talking of divine justic and the Hound sai “you (Beric) would be dead and the girl would be alive”, the Hound was really talking about how he should have died and the innocent girl should have lived

      I liked how Dany entering Dragonstone was wordless, and the opening scene in the North was done well

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    23. Pigeon,

      Got to agree. As they used to say in another well known genre show,

      If you’re wondering how he eats and breathes
      And other science facts,
      Just repeat to yourself “It’s just a show,
      I should really just relax
      For Mystery Science Theater 3000.

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    24. It has to be mentioned that there’s a wee bit of a plothole in that Walder Frey mentioned Edmure was back in his dungeon, which raises the question as to why Arya didn’t release him in order to help raise the Riverlands…

      I bring this up because Sansa is a bit out of place up North, in the books I expect her to take over the Riverlands but the North is a tricky juggling act between trying to show her power and Jons power

      That and Bran didn’t actually say anything to prove he was Bran and Meera was Meera, he just creeped Ed out lol

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    25. KG,

      Okay, lets strip two of the oldest houses of their lands and lordships, thus cementing them and their people as enemies and causing friction between the other houses as they jockey for the two nice big prizes of Last Hearth and Karhold. So much for uniting the North.

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    26. KG:
      zod,

      Then you say “We’ll speak of this later.” That’s what a real leader would do, instead of embracing and fostering further public wrangling.

      Jon is a moron.

      This line was also used in Doctor Who and Curse of Fatal Death, BTW. Which costarred Jim Broadbent, Richard Grant, and Jonathan Pryce even.

      That aside, she gives good advice in the wrong forum. It would have been better if she said it in Tersuran.

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    27. seenGhost?: They went way off line with Arya impersonating Frey. So far they kept it “real” – in terms of height, gender, body structure… but this was just soapy TV for the sake of the “Ooh”. I won’t even ask how she produced the voice, as nobody in the crew knows that.

      There is precedent. When Arya arrives at the House of B&W, she is greeted by an old black man who turns her away. But later this same person, in the same body and same voice with accent, is shown to be Jaqen H’gar himself – who has a very different voice and body type (the person who first opened the door also has black-skinned hands etc.).

      Of course, it might have been two people wearing the identity at different times, but it does reinforce the idea that a person assumes an entire identity, not just the face.

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    28. Ginevra,

      Actually, he’s a condensed hybrid of the two. He has Ebrose’s name and specialty in healing and medicine, but he has Marwyn’s title of Archmaester and clearly shares Marwyn’s level of secret knowledge. Very much like what they did with Brother Ray (combining athe Elder Brother and Septon Meribald into a single character).

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    29. Really strong premiere. “Two Swords” is still the best season opener but I think this one is stronger than most of the others.

      Personally loved the tension between Jon and Sansa. They both approach it imperfectly. If Jon didn’t want her to speak against him at the meeting, he should have talked to her first. He can’t expect a united front in public without uniting the front beforehand. But she’s a younger sister, he doesn’t see her as an equal, really, but that feels in-character. Sansa must know that questioning his decision in front of everyone will look bad, and she should have saved her criticism for later – but would Jon have even talked to her if she hadn’t spoken up publicly?

      I feel like some partisans of Sansa or Jon try to make every action they make perfect but it is more interesting to me when they are both a bit off in how they interact.

      Other highlights: loved the Hounds scenes. The burial scene was my favorite of the episode. Montage with Sam was great too. And a great cold open.

      The scenes with Cersei, Dany and Bran were more teases, but they were still interesting and satisfying, especially the arrival at Dragonstone.

      I’m worried Arya will kill one of the nice soldiers and steal their face to sneak into KL…hope not, would be hard to root for her after that. My fears made it hard to enjoy that scene tho.

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    30. Loved.It was a very good episode.I even enjoyed Euron.Loved the hound and Arya stuff.Arya in particular was great.Boy I missed Jon.Look at him being kingly and shit.He was brilliant and this is probably the most he has talked in an episode.I didn’t even dislike Sansa.I get where she is coming from and the points she makes.The scene of the two of them was so funny.Proper siblings bickering.Anyway it will only get better from here.Next ep looks intense.And I’m gonna do a lot of looking into the camera like I’m in the office every time they mention Targaryen while Jon is in the frame lol.

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    31. (Ed Sheeran voice…) “It’s been a long time comin’…it’s going to be a long time gone”. Hard to believe it’s finally here! Recap aside, I thought the opening scene with Arya was brilliant. Can never kill enough Frays! The North remembers! Arya is so tongue and cheek in her faceless role. I think she is truly relishing crossing names off her list. Jaquen Hagar would be proud of his protege.
      On to Winterfell, basically the frontline for the war to come. Good to see Lady Mormont again. She really likes to put Lord Glover in his place! As for the dynamic between Sansa and Jon, I think they’ll work it out and Sansa will prove invaluable in their dealings with Cersei who we no has no respect for naive nobility. Does Jamie? He didn’t in Season One when he took down Ned Stark but I think over the years Jamie has changed the most thanks to his life experiences. If only he can bring some levity to his sister.
      At KL we see the dynamics between Jamie and Cersei, Jamie being the voice of reason and Cersei the voice of madness. Thanks Sue for pointing out the ToJ on the map. Euron was a hoot even though he may turn out to be the most dislikeable character on the show (aside from the Night King).
      I thought Bran’s scene was a bit short and their arrival somewhat anticlimactic. Does Bran warg into the three-eyed raven when he spies on the night king? I guess Mira pulled him all the way there. I was searching for Hodor amongst the wights but to no avail.
      Sam’s scene was kinda tough. Not what we expected for our budding meister. I don’t think Sam’s going to have time to master the art of emptying chamber pots. I don’t think they’re long for the citadel although maybe they could continue to communicate via raventel. I want to see that awesome sword go to good use! Hope Ser Jorah is doing well.
      Love the BwoB! If they were a rock band I would by all their records! They’re hard, they’ve been living in the forests honing their chops, led by a 5 time dead man. Wow!
      Clegane fits right in like a dirty shirt.
      Now we’re back to the ultimate arrival of the Dragon Queen herself. Daenerys Stormborn, mother of dragons, breaker of chains etc etc. If they use that scene on the bow of the ship one more time…I read somewhere that due to the mostly CGI element of the scene Daenarys didn’t really know what to look like or at. I thought the arrival, much like Bran’s was somewhat anticlimactic. Notwithstanding the formidable structure that is Dragonstone, I would have liked to hear a bit more dialogue. Am so used to Khaleesi giving her inspiring speeches to the troops while the music wells in the background.
      All in all a great welcome home. All the main characters were reintroduced (save the allies) and we know they’re all going somewhere. Question is: who will survive?

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    32. KG,

      What I find amusing is that Sansa was criticised for waiting until she and Jon were alone to voice her objections rather than speaking up at the war council. But now she’s bad FOR speaking out.

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    33. Ginevra,
      To be fair, the Starks have a long legacy of grace and mercy already. Over the course of history, they forgave many treacherous houses, especially the Boltons whom, on several occasions, they could have uprooted entirely but chose to pardon… In retrospect, it might have been a better idea for the Starks of old not to be so lenient towards the Flayed Men ^^

      Both Jon’s and Sansa’s logics were perfectly sound but they focused on different aspects of the sentence and had very dissimilar purposes in mind.

      Whether Jon’s decision was the right one depends entirely on what the Karstarks and Umbers do next, I believe. If they prove loyal, then the KitN’s choice will be celebrated as both kind and noble. If one of the children or their relatives (Mother ? Counsin ?) start taking advantage of the forgiveness they were granted, then Jon will look weak and unauthoritative, like Tywin’s father with the Reynes or, indeed, the Starks with the aforementioned Boltons.

      We are going to have to wait and see…

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    34. Tyrion Pimpslap:
      The Hound was the most compelling character of the episode for me. Really enjoyed his scenes with the Brotherhood. What exactly is the mountain shaped like an arrowhead? Color me intrigued.

      Euron was actually quite entertaining. Totally different than crazy book Euron, but enjoyable nonetheless.

      Jaime…WHAT. THE. FUCK. DOES. IT. TAKE?!?! She blew up the sept with wildfire! She did what you killed Aerys for attempting! It seems he lost his balls as well as his hand. I just can’t get over how much he has been neutered in the show, but it’s been happening for several seasons now.

      Overall a nice setup for the season. On par with most premiers, other than Two Swords, which was by far the best.

      Jamie was cold and ruthless in season 6 when he convinced Edmure to give the Riverrun castle back to the Freys. I think Jamie will surprise you in season 7 by acting with more authority especially around Cersei…. at least I hope so!!!

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    35. Aguero:
      Ghost Lunch,

      well the real Walder frey mentioned to jaime, arya dont know that, and go to the cells free frey prisioners is weird, if she knows….

      Arya was standing nearby and watching while Walder told Jaime about Edmure being back in the dungeons, and Walder was talking pretty loudly, so it was probably easy for her to listen in on their conversation.

      I’m hoping that she did actually free Edmure, but they just didn’t show it. Maybe we’ll just see (or hear about) Edmure leading the River lords at some point.

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    36. KG:
      Terrific episode! Worth the wait.

      HOWEVER:

      Jon:We are going to let blatantly treasonous houses who had a direct hand in the murder of my brother slide with no punishment, because let bygones be bygones!

      Sansa:This is incredibly stupid. Just like dad. Who is dead. And Robb. Who is also dead.
      —-
      Jon:We have too many enemies to fight amongst ourselves, Sansa!

      Sansa: I disagree with your decision on completely logical grounds.

      Jon:WHY ARE YOU UNDERMINING MY RULE? YOU DO NOT UNDERSTAND MAN-STUFF!
      __

      Sansa:We can’t trust the Umbers and Karstarks anymore. Because, shall I remind you, “Rickon.”

      Jon: Sure we can! Let me drag two terrified kids out into a room with one hundred adults who would kill them at my merest nod and demand an oath of loyalty!See? They swore. We’re good.

      Jon is a moron.

      Sansa is the moron.

      Scenario:

      Robb rebels against Joffrey. Battle of Oxcross happens. Joffrey humiliates & punishes Sansa in front of the entire court. She literally begs that she had no part in whatever her traitor brother had done. Tyrion saves her.

      Cut to now. Harold Karstark rebels against House Stark because Robb cut off his father’s head. Smalljon Umber rebels for whatever reason. Why should Ned Umber and Alys Karstark be punished for their fathers’ or brothers’ crimes?

      More importantly, why is Sansa comparing Jon to Joffrey when she is the one who is being “Joffrey” here?

      “When your enemies defy you, you must serve them steel and fire. When they go to their knees, however, you must help them back to their feet. Elsewise no man will ever bend the knee to you.” – Tywin Lannister

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    37. Tyrion Pimpslap,
      I am sorry to argue this point but what Cersei did was in no way similar to what the Mad King intended to do, I believe.

      Aerys wanted to blow up the entire city so the power of the flames would turn him into a dragon. Cersei waited for all her enemies to gather in one place and wrecked the place. Her attack on the Sept was very similar to Tywin’s at Castamere or the Twins. If Jaime was not appalled by his father’s treatment of the Reynes or the Starks, why would he be shocked by Cersei’s handling of the Faith ?

      As for Sansa, she did not decide to go after Cersei out of the blue. She did not decide to go after Cersei at all, I believe. The Queen sent a message to Winterfell, openly threatening the KitN with retaliation if he does not bend the knee… Sansa merely tried to inform Jon of Cersei’s real power of nuisance.

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    38. thisgirlhasnoname,

      I disagree, I think of all of the first five openers were much better and had much better endings. I even think last season’s opener, which I think was subpar by GoT standards, was better. Do you remember Two Swords, the season opener in S4? That was one of the better episodes in the series. The pilot was great. Two, three and five also had much better openers. It’s not just a matter of lacking action, I for one, love all of the dialogue heavy scenes and character moments. This episode was just really flat and left a lot to be desired. Not really that many interesting or impactful moments and a really cheesy ending to boot.

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    39. Meg:
      KG,

      What I find amusing is that Sansa was criticised for waiting until she and Jon were alone to voice her objections rather than speaking up at the war council. But now she’s bad FOR speaking out.

      The War Council is where they are supposed to share ideas and strategy. Sansa, being the last person to have been at Winterfell, should have volunteered to provide her knowledge.

      Here, Jon is the King. Maybe Sansa should have argued with Jon when they invited Alys Karstark and Ned Umber over to Winterfell. Not in front of a full house of Lords, that Jon is supposed to lead. It’s actually poor writing rather than “Sansa’s” fault. The Jon-Sansa “dispute” is forced and stupid if you ask me.

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    40. Meg,

      Completely different scenarios.Think Dany and her councils scenes.Everybody talks and disagrees with her in the councils but nobody pipes up in the throne room.When that happened in Astapor she shut that down pretty quick.Think Tyrion with Grey Worm and Missandei last season.They were fighting like dogs in private but were united before the former slaves.Think Cersei and Jaime this episode.He disagreed with her in private but didn’t do that in front of Euron.

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    41. KG,

      “When your enemies defy you, you must serve them steel and fire. When they go to their knees, however, you must help them back to their feet. Elsewise no man will ever bend the knee to you.”

      Remind me, who said that?

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    42. thisgirlhasnoname: There is precedent. When Arya arrives at the House of B&W, she is greeted by an old black man who turns her away. But later this same person, in the same body and same voice with accent, is shown to be Jaqen H’gar himself – who has a very different voice and body type (the person who first opened the door also has black-skinned hands etc.).

      Of course, it might have been two people wearing the identity at different times, but it does reinforce the idea that a person assumes an entire identity, not just the face.

      Yes, I think they’ve made it very clear that the “faces” from the hall are not just masks that stick over your face, they have magic that changes your whole appearance and voice. Also, they are not the only example of magical items with this sort of power: Melisandre’s necklace has a similar ability to change her appearance.

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    43. First impressions…

      LOVED the scene at the farmhouse, and not only because I love the Hound’s character. It was simply a beautiful scene.

      Loved Cersei’s new décor. I’m a geographer, so there’s that…

      Loved the comic introduction to Sam’s Citadel duties, a wry homage to Russian montage of the 1920s.

      Loved the opening scene. There IS hope for Arya!!! You go, girl. “I won’t waste wine on women.” I almost blew my own Dornish red out my nose. And the scene with the soldiers was oddly sweet. She’s not a psychopathic killer; as I commented on another thread a week or two ago, if she was going to go the way of killing Lannisters just for being Lannisters, she would have offed Jaime just to get to Cersei. But that’s not how she operates in the world.

      Loved Missandei holding Grey Worm back. A lovely touch.

      Can’t wait for next Sunday. And now… Rewatching the episode!!!

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    44. Sorry, not different at all. At the war council, Jon was commander and Sansa (a woman, and non-combatant) challenging his plans would have been seen to undermine him.

      At Winterfell, this was a not about fighting a battle. Sansa, as the truer heir to Winterfell, was at least an equal voice. Jon was about to make a decision then and there. The only time she could speak out was then.

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    45. Jenny:
      Meg,

      Completely different scenarios.Think Dany and her councils scenes.Everybody talks and disagrees with her in the councils but nobody pipes up in the throne room.When that happened in Astapor she shut that down pretty quick.Think Tyrion with Grey Worm and Missandei last season.They were fightinglike dogs in private but were united before the former slaves.Think Cersei and Jaime this episode.He disagreed with her in private but didn’t do that in front of Euron.

      Excellent point. Didn’t even think of those.

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    46. Wolfish: Loved the comic introduction to Sam’s Citadel duties, a wry homage to Russian montage of the 1920s.

      I missed that reference, shame on me! Now, if there had been a runaway book cart bouncing down a long flight of steps, I would’ve gotten it…

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    47. Pigeon: You explained that far better than I. 😂 I was almost ready to start ranting about ancient undead ice dudes, people melting gold accessories in an ordinary cooking fire in under a minute, creating zombie Mountains, and how Jorah’s yellow shirt didn’t disintegrate right off his body at some point. But you got straight to the point. 👍

      “Brevity is the soul of wit.” –Some witty dude

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    48. Icewalker: Why should Ned Umber and Alys Karstark be punished for their fathers’ or brothers’ crimes?

      Because Westeros’s entire social and political structure is based on a transgenerational reward/punishment system.

      Highborns are highborns because, at some point, one of their ancestors accomplished something remarkable and was granted (or conquered) a land, a castle and a title as a reward. Said reward was then passed down from generation to generation, ultimately allowing the ancestor’s descendants, in the case of the Umbers and Karstarks, to live in a degree of comfort, power and luxury that 99.8% of the Westerosi population cannot even dream of. If Ned Umber and Alys Karstark can reap the benefits from their ancestors’ accomplishments, why shouldn’t they partake in their shame as well ?

      Furthermore, I do not recall Sansa advocating for the young Umber and Karstark to be put to death, physically assaulted or humiliated as punishment for their fathers’ crimes. She “simply” wanted them stripped of their birthright : no castle, no title, no army. They then could have been relocated somewhere else or turned into their new overlord’s bannermen and given a smaller piece of land.

      More importantly, why is Sansa comparing Jon to Joffrey when she is the one who is being “Joffrey”?

      I do not think she meant to compare their personalities. If anything, she immediately apologised for insulting Jon by associating him with Joffrey, as she should.

      I believe what she meant was that Jon made her feel like her “fiance” used to. Joffrey was a remarkably humiliating individual who enjoyed letting people know that whatever they said did not matter, that their thoughts and emotions were worthless. That he was in power and they were not. In a way, it circles back to Lyanna’s point about not having to ask for permission…

      With Joffrey, Sansa always had to ensure she had his permission to do anything ; think, cry, mourn, opine, talk, breathe…
      During the meeting and afterwards, Jon implied that Sansa did not have his permission to talk to him in a certain manner, about certain topics, in certain circumstances. Understandable given his position but reminiscent, after a fashion, of something Sansa is all-too-familiar with.

      Having independent power means not needing to ask anybody’s permission. Sansa, being solely the King’s sister, has no such independence. And it may become bothersome after a while.

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    49. KG,

      Moron is a too strong for my opinion, he chose the path of forgiveness.
      It isn’t stupid, Robert baratheon do the same after the rebelion.

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    50. Azor Asshai:
      Ginevra,

      Actually, he’s a condensed hybrid of the two. He has Ebrose’s name and specialty in healing and medicine, but he has Marwyn’s title of Archmaester and clearly shares Marwyn’s level of secret knowledge. Very much like what they did with Brother Ray (combining athe Elder Brother and Septon Meribald into a single character).

      There are a lot of archmaesters at the Citadel, though, right? Sue certainly implied that Ebrose was Marwyn’s stand-in, but I haven’t seen much evidence that he’ll be nearly as forthcoming and helpful to Sam as Marwyn, especially considering Bryan Cogman’s anti-Potter description. Marwyn would have been all, of course that Wall is coming down! And Ebrose was all, it has never happened before, ergo it can never happen in the future. #falselogic

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    51. The premiere was pretty good, just a bit slow, but that is to be expected from the first episode. I found it interesting how they consentrated so much more on some of the secondary characters.

      I think my favorite scene was the one with Arya and the Lannister soldiers, it was good that Arya could see that there is good and bad on both sides. It was also interesting how omnipresent Bran now appears.
      It is good to see that people have enjoyed the Euron scene, although personally he doesn’t do much for me, but he’s okay.
      The Sam montage were funny and disgusting at the same time, it must be one of the weirdest montages I ve seen. It felt somewhat useless that Sam once again had to discover and recap that there is indeed dragon glass on Dragonstone, Davos could also have told Jon.

      Sansa and Jon never had a normal brother and sister relationship, she treated him like the bastard. It seems like some of that relationship sometimes carries over into the present.

      Interesting that Jon actually made the politically correct decision here.

      This episode opened with Arya taking revenge on the Freys, she tells them that they’ve made a mistake to keep one wolf alive. Sansa was a prisoner for years because of the decisions her father and her brother made, and Winterfell was taken away from the Starks and given to the Lannister’s loyal allies the Boltons.
      The question here is obvious, how well did these decisions work for the Lannisters and the Freys? And now Sansa wants to do the exact same thing.

      Tywin had something interesting to say on this subject, something along the lines of: if your enemy betrays you then you should destroy them, but if they are willing to bend the knee, then you should give them a hand and help them up from the floor.
      The lesson is simple, you can either kill your enemies completely, or you have to forgive them if they are willing to bend the knee. If you start taking away people’s lands you are just breeding hate, revenge and betrayal, as we have clearly seen with Sansa and Arya.
      I am glad that Jon will be leaving Winterfell soon.

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    52. ACME,

      Starks have ruled the North for about 10,000 years. They had put down so many rebellions, mostly from Boltons. Only a few houses were extinguished. Until Roose, House Bolton had been loyal for 1000 years. That’s a long time.

      Anyway, if Jon can forgive Manderly and Glover for not joining House Stark, why not the younger Karstark and Umber? I know Manderly and Glover didn’t oppose them directly, but they did leave them to die.

      Funny thing is no one talks about Dreadfort and the Bolton lands to give out to Stark loyalists. Sansa is still a hypocrite for opposing Jon while she begged to Joffrey that she didn’t have anything to do with Robb’s “treason.”

      She may be the King in the North’s sister but you can’t undermine him in front of strangers/vassals. As Jenny mentioned, Dany won’t allow her best friend Jorah to undermine her at Astapor. Robb won’t allow Greatjon to undermine him at Winterfell. He also won’t allow Catelyn(his mother) to interrupt with his plan to let go of the Lannister scout.

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    53. I woke up at 2am to watch and was not disappointed – it’s one of the strongest premieres so far. I thought the pacing was good and plot flows nicely. This is clearly a set up episode for the season and it achieves it very well.

      Only minor criticisms Sansa comes across as smug and annoying – please let her be killed off this season, same also for littlefinger but we are used to that now,

      On the positives I thought Lena was excellent and scene with Euron worked very well. I am not a big Dany fan but again her arrival was very well done. Final shout to Bella Ramsey, once again amazing lines and execution!

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    54. Meg,

      Wrong. It does not even matter that Sansa is the “truer” heir to Winterfell. Lords and ladies of houses are not equal to the king, who is ruling from Winterfell at the moment. Remember when King Robert came to see his old friend Ned Stark and that warden of the north bowed to him? Jon is now the north’s king. Even Sansa could be viewed as being too familiar when she grabbed his arm during their conversation. If you noticed, Jon even reacted to it but didn’t say anything.

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    55. KG:
      Terrific episode! Worth the wait.

      HOWEVER:

      Jon:We are going to let blatantly treasonous houses who had a direct hand in the murder of my brother slide with no punishment, because let bygones be bygones!

      Sansa:This is incredibly stupid. Just like dad. Who is dead. And Robb. Who is also dead.
      —-
      Jon:We have too many enemies to fight amongst ourselves, Sansa!

      Sansa: I disagree with your decision on completely logical grounds.

      Jon:WHY ARE YOU UNDERMINING MY RULE? YOU DO NOT UNDERSTAND MAN-STUFF!
      __

      Sansa:We can’t trust the Umbers and Karstarks anymore. Because, shall I remind you, “Rickon.”

      Jon: Sure we can! Let me drag two terrified kids out into a room with one hundred adults who would kill them at my merest nod and demand an oath of loyalty!See? They swore. We’re good.

      Jon is a moron.

      Lets see what one of the most politically astute people with this story have to say about the subject, Tywin Lannister:

      “When your enemies defy you, you must serve them steel and fire. When they go to their knees, however, you must help them back to their feet. Elsewise no man will ever bend the knee to you.”

      Sansa’s big plan is to treat these children exactly how the Lannisters treated her, how well did work out? You are wrong, Sansa was the illogical one here.

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    56. Ginevra:
      seenGhost?,

      It’s a show about dragons and faceless assassins. There might be magic. And giants.

      So far they managed to keep zombies and dragons from stealing the show. As it’s nearing the end, their presence will be more and more heavier, so, in order to cope with it, I tend to be more and more sensitive to weak parts of the script. Magic is not an excuse for writer’s laziness. At least we got to see old Waldor once more, so that’s a plus.

      True, it slipped off my mind the black guy avatar of Jaqen had a distinctive voice. Still easier to achieve as they were at least the same gender, but whatever. Bring the next episode.

      At least the great Jon – Sansa conflict was nowhere to be seen so far. They had a quarrel thanks to her lack of tact and empathy, but that’s nothing new, so no one’s gonna make a big deal out of it.

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    57. Well hello there everyone!! Let me start by saying I missed you all, even those i disagreed with and argued! Good to be back!

      On the episode: Man I thought it was really solid, not the most action packed episode, but i thought the writing was really solid.

      Let’s start with the opening. What can I say about this, one of the best openings ever, the acting was just perfect. Walder Frey was superb, the pacing of the scene just great! It was in my opinion much better than last years scene.

      On Jon’s scene with Sansa I thought it was good as well, I liked that both Sansa and Jon made good points, and they fitted each characters experiences. Loved little Lyanna Mormont, I mean, how can you not! Also great to see Jon entering his kingly role.

      The Hounds scenes where absolutely perfect. His jokes, great as always, but also it was great to see him feel remorse at what he did to that family. And the fact that he buried the bodies was not only a great scene, but also a great Easter Egg!
      Thoros’s actor as always, just superb, I always loved his interpretation of the character.

      As for the other scenes, i have more mixed feelings.
      Sams scenes looked to drag a bit to long, but I loved his scene with the maester(anyone knows the actor? he feels so familiar!). I did liked Jorah’s introduction though.
      And little Sam has grown!

      Cersei’s scenes where…decent, i have nothing to complain there, but they didn’t really ”click” for me. And the only moment i got annoyed in this episode was Euron saying ”they stole my ships” and right after ”i got the best fleet in the world” but, eh…

      I also loved Ed Sheerans cameo! I usually dislike these celebrity cameos, but man they put him in the right role. And hearing that song was a great Easter Egg!

      All in all it was a solid opening, and i can’t wait for more! I’ll give it a 8/10

      PS: Really good to be back! Can’t wait to talk with you again, I avoided this site, and many others for over 1 year. Also don’t talk spoilers with me this year please! I’m completely spoiler free this year!

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    58. Pigeon,

      I woke up last night at 3:50 to see the first episode and now I don’t remember everything, I’m still sleepy. But the Houndie scenes made me happy, happy, happy… even if I mourned for the farmer and his daughter. I had hoped, stupidly, until the last moment that maybe the corpses were other father and daughter… at the same time knowing that they weren’t. The Hound as the gravedigger fell right into place and catharctic.

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    59. My favourite quotes where Aryas/Walder Freys speech. ”Brave men you are, you killed a pregnant women and a mother of 5” and ”Tell them that winter has come for House Frey” just great.
      The entire speech of the Maester ”without us they would be like dogs…”

      And of course Tormunds ”lucky boy” as he sees Brienne beat Podd

      Also Brienne looked a bit distracted when she saw Tormund, and angry that Pod hit her in front of him….. What you think, is she starting to like him?

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    60. Icewalker,
      The Boltons were only loyal for as long as the Starks won. And their loyalty was barely skin-deep. Roose merrily committed crimes and victimised his population (cf. the miller’s wife) right under Ned’s nose for more than twenty years. Only the gods know what the Flayed Men were up to when the Starks were not looking…

      I am not disputing Jon’s logic for forgiving the young Umber and Karstark. It is indeed consistent with his approach of the Manderlys and the Glovers whose passive treason he pardoned. Jon does have a point. The question now is will it work ? And there is no way for us to know that as of right now for the success of Jon’s strategy will depend entirely on the actions of others, namely the Karstarks and the Umbers themselves. If they remain loyal, Jon will look magnanimous; if they betray again, he will look feeble.

      In regards to hypocrisy, I genuinely struggle to compare stripping someone of their birthright with brutalising or victimising them. Had Sansa argued for the young Umber and Karstark to be detained or imprisoned or for Alys Karstark to be forcibly married to a Stark loyalist, I would agree with you. But she did not. She advocated for their political power to be awarded to other (demonstrably loyal) people, without any further retaliation. It is in no way similar to what the Lannisters did to the Starks.

      And yes, it is true that Sansa should not have opposed Jon during the meeting. Of course, she shouldn’t have. However, I have the strange impression she had no idea Jon had taken this decision about the young lord and lady. He seemingly did not consult anyone beforehand.
      The KitN did the same thing when he was Lord Commander : he simply told his men he would let the Free Folk south of the Wall without warning anyone in advance and without meeting with other key figures among the Night’s Watch to hear their opinions (and objections) in private.

      There is no doubt Jon’s advisors, Sansa included, should never oppose him in public. But for that to work out, he has to consult them privately before he makes any official announcement. Otherwise, what is the point of a cabinet / small council ? If advisors can only express dissent in private, after the decision has already been made public thus when it no longer matters, they are not advisors; they are just people who happen to be there. If Jon wants to rule by autocracy, it is fine by me but he should probably just say so.

      Boudica: Lets see what one of the most politically astute people with this story have to say about the subject, Tywin Lannister:

      To be fair, Tywin is also the man who had that conversation :

      Tywin : I’m giving you half of our forces. 30,000 men. And we’ll bring that to Catelyn Stark’s girlhood home, and remind her that Lannisters pay their debts.
      Jaime : I didn’t realize you place such a high value on my brother’s life.
      Tywin : He’s a Lannister! Maybe the lowest of the Lannisters, but he’s one of us. And everyday that he remains a prisoner, the less our name commands respect.
      Jaime : So the lion does concern himself with the opinion…
      Tywin : No, that’s not an opinion, it’s a fact! If another house can seize one of our own and hold him captive with impunity, we are no longer a house to be feared.

      The Umbers actively contributed to the death of Rickon, House Stark’s last legitimate, able-bodied male heir…

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    61. I find it very irritating how the show always tries their best to display Ned as a honourable idiot. Ned ruled the North extremely well for almost 20 years, and it wasn’t always easy going and during peaceful times. Many of these characters might not even reach the age of 20. I can guarantee that most of them with not rule well for almost 20 years.

      It is frustrating how D&D always wants to paint duty bound or honourable men as the biggest idiots of all time.

      The books finds a very good balance where honour and duty is often more rewarded on a long term basis, while being more deceitful and playing games are more rewarded on a short term basis.

      Ned and Tywin is the perfect opposite examples to use, because everything falls apart after Tywin’s death, no cares that he has died and everyone wants to betray the Lannisters. By contrast Ned’s legacy remains intact, his honour and duty is rewarded by loyalty as men are trying their best to fight for his children.
      There is a great irony, were Ned Stark actually gets the one thing that Tywin has always wanted. Ned Stark gets the respect, legacy and loyalty to his house, while everything immediately falls flat once Tywin dies. There is a balance between playing games and being more duty bound, each approach has their advantages and disadvantages, one isn’t necessarily better than the other.

      In the show it has just become a way to hit us over the head with stupidity. It is a real shame the show couldn’t find the right balance and nuance.

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    62. Did anyone else find it odd when one of the Lannister soldiers asked Arya if she’s old enough to drink? Lol. I know the Hound is a curmudgeon but he seemed a wee bit over the top crabass haha. He didn’t seem too shocked that he could actually see a vision in the flames. I do really like that he’s getting a good redemption arc though. I wish we could have spent another minute at castle black with Bran and Edd, some more dialogue there in place of slowly paced Citadel/Sam. Sam just bores me at this point, as does Jorah and not sure why he’s still part of the show (But that’s okay I know many love him) Surprised at how quiet was the arrival at Dragonstone. It felt a little awkward that nobody said a word except that one line at the end.

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    63. Boudica,

      Are you speaking Sansa’s remark? I think that has more to do with her character then about Ned himself. Of course she would think that way, after all that happened.

      Jon also uses Ned’s example, and I think it was clear in this episode when he mentions him and the bannerman agree with him afterwards, it’s clear that Ned’s name still commands respect.

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    64. Pigeon,

      Sophisticated audience makes the whole experience less enjoyable for themselves. Sorry, they simply miss out the joy. It’s nitpicking anyway in the opposite to the Dorne plot, mainly the boat scenes and who followed whom to KL, less the poor fighting chicks and the Dorian stuff plus Arya surviving her stabbing…than all of what just happened in this episode. It’s Podeswa….so haters gonna hate anyway.

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    65. ygritte,

      wish we could have spent another minute at castle black with Bran and Edd, some more dialogue there in place of slowly paced Citadel/Sam.

      fully agree with this. Sams scenes were a it to long.

        Quote  Reply

    66. ACME,

      The point is stripping them off their lands is a punishment that they didn’t deserve. The Starks had set a precedent of reducing rivals to vassal lords including Dustins, Umbers, Boltons, etc. Just because Jorah sold slaves doesn’t mean the Mormonts have to be stripped off of Bear Island. I don’t like to compare to the books but it is this generosity that have made the entire North utterly loyal to them. As I mentioned earlier, Ned Umber and Alys Karstark were invited to Winterfell. It takes a long time for them to travel. The discussion of giving lands to others should have been completed long before. It’s poor writing to create tension between Jon and Sansa. Decent television but poor writing.

      Again, you failed to notice another one of Tywin’s conversation with Tyrion.
      “You’re right about Ned Stark. If he were alive, we could have brokered a peace with Riverrun and Winterfell….”

      I’m not a fan of Tywin. He is brutal but he is also pragmatic.

        Quote  Reply

    67. Icewalker,

      Ned Umber and Alys Karstark were invited to Winterfell. It takes a long time for them to travel. The discussion of giving lands to others should have been completed long before. It’s poor writing to create tension between Jon and Sansa.

      Yeah, but this is how TV works. Would you have wanted a scene with Jon and Sansa alone debating what to do with the land for 20 mins?
      This is simply more dynamic, resolves more things at the same time: land debate, but also growing tension because they argued in public, and they can end it right there by giving them back their castles/land.

      it simply works better for TV. Otherwise you would waste far to much time, as you would need 4-5 scenes instead of just this 1.

      stripping the away of their land is a punishment they didn’t deserve

      Yes. Jon clearly agreed with this. He even mentioned Ned in his decision.
      It was Sansa who thought otherwise. Because she evolved away from Ned and his ideas, unlike Jon. ”you almost admire Cersei” Jon made a good point about her character

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    68. Mihnea,

      Hi nice to have you back!Good on you for staying unspoiled.I agree that I wanted a bit more with Bran at the wall. On another note love that Brienne is a fan of Jon now.

        Quote  Reply

    69. Jenny,

      Thank you! Hope i can remain spoiler free LOL. Where there many leaks/spoilers this year? just to know how careful i should be…

      Yeah, Sams scenes got way to repetitive, a bit more Bran would have been lovely. Hopefully next episode

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    70. Boudica,
      I do not recall seeing any evidence of Ned’s particularly effective rulership of the North in the books. To me, what the novels make very clear is that most Northern lords did appreciate and respect Ned as a man but that their loyalty was mostly due to the Starks being repeatedly victorious (which allowed them to “feed the dogs”)
      The Direwolves were on the winning side of both Robert’s and the Greyjoy’s Rebellions. Furthermore, Ned was known to be the king’s best friend. So no one would have dared oppose him even if he had been a remarkably inept ruler.

      The moment the Starks’ winning streak ended (Robert’s death and Ned’s arrest), cracks started appearing in the North’s legendary loyalty :
      – Greatjon Umber had to have his fingers bitten off to show respect to Robb;
      – Lord Karstark went against his king’s intructions and murdered the Lannisters boys;
      – many lords actively and openly resented Robb’s decision not to marry Frey’s daughter;
      – the Boltons took part in the Red Wedding;
      – quite a few lords are grateful to the Flayed Men for having helped them fight off the Greyjoys;
      – the Great Northern Conspiracy has always looked like nothing but a myth to me (it is of course highly subjective).

      The idea that the North is special is very romantic thus fundamentally flawed, I believe. Especially considering George RR Martin’s thoroughly unromantic views on politics. If Ned was capable of holding it without problem for twenty years, it is because his vassals had something to gain from remaining loyal. When the incentives disappeared, they started barking.

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    71. Lmao people trying to criticize Jon for not punishing children who had nothing to do with their families’ mistakes. Like please it is not a coincidence the show cast two children for the roles, named one of the kids Ned and styled the girl to look like Sansa. I also suspect there’s going to be a shitshow if Jon’s parentage ever comes out, so it would be good for the characters to be reminded that children are not responsible for their family’s transgressions. It wouldn’t surprise me if Jon blamed himself for Robert’s Rebellion if his parentage is uncovered.

      *Insert Tywin quote about steel and whatever*

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    72. ACME: To be fair, Tywin is also the man who had that conversation :

      Tywin : I’m giving you half of our forces. 30,000 men. And we’ll bring that to Catelyn Stark’s girlhood home, and remind her that Lannisters pay their debts.
      Jaime : I didn’t realize you place such a high value on my brother’s life.
      Tywin : He’s a Lannister! Maybe the lowest of the Lannisters, but he’s one of us. And everyday that he remains a prisoner, the less our name commands respect.
      Jaime : So the lion does concern himself with the opinion…
      Tywin : No, that’s not an opinion, it’s a fact! If another house can seize one of our own and hold him captive with impunity, we are no longer a house to be feared.

      The Umbers actively contributed to the death of Rickon, House Stark’s last legitimate, able-bodied male heir…

      They contributed but ultimately it was always still Ramsay Bolton who did the deed. They betrayed the Starks, but they also had some reasons, the Karstarks were obviously still mad about Robb killing Rickard Karstark, and the Umbers were not happy about the Wildlings. (Although the Umbers could have made much better choices than giving Rickon to Ramsay, but okay).
      The people who committed these betrayals are dead. The Tyrells betrayed the Lannisters and Tywin welcomed them back into the fold with open arms.

      We opened this episode with Arya killing the Freys. Sansa has also become a vengeful person after she was taken captive. The Lannisters did exactly the same thing to Sansa that she is now advocating for others. She was a prisoner and Winterfell was taken because of Ned and Robbs choices. It is ironic how she wants to do exactly the same thing as her oppressors.

      Because it has obviously worked so incredibly well for her, you would hope that she would at least learn from experience. Then again, maybe that is also the problem, Sansa has been through a lot, she has become so vengeful I am not sure she can remove herself from the situation to think about it logically. That is why she almost wants to punish these children the same way she was punished.

      You can either forgive betrayal or you have to kill everyone from the house that betrayed you, Sansa was advocating to have their lands taken away from them, while in this very episode Arya tells the Freys that they have made a grave mistake to keep some of the wolves alive. There is obviously a parallel here.

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    73. Mihnea,

      Hello Mihnea, that’s not my point. I’m just saying there need not be any dispute at all between Jon and Sansa. It just seems forced. I truly feel bad for what had been done to Sansa’s characterization. She should have been the first in line to support Jon’s decision to be forgiving, considering all she has been through. Even from a logistical point of view, among the houses who fought with Jon, only Hornwoods are close to these lands. The Dreadfort and the rest of Bolton lands could have been given to them. The Mormonts could have been rewarded with the lands close to Deepwood Motte.

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    74. Very strong episode, with a great cold opening. Some of the shots were absolutely beautiful, and are the equal (if not better) than some major blockbuster films. In particular, I enjoyed the Hound scenes, and I also liked the wordless (until the very end) Daenerys ending. Very effective.

      On the other hand, I would’ve liked to see a little more of Bran (perhaps asking where Jon was, and finding out that both Jon and Sanasa recaptured Winterfell). I also don’t understand what Ed Sheeran was doing in the episode. I know he’s Maisie’s favourite singer, but I don’t care; they should have had someone else in the role. Having said that they did surround him with great young actors like Thomas Turgoose and William (son of Pete) Postlethwaite, so I’ll just about let them off.

      Great opening episode, and definitely in the top 3 premieres of GoT. It has really set things up nicely for future weeks.

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    75. BigMac,

      as well as her friendly encounter with those Lannister soldiers – Showing her that there is still humanity in the world, even among her “enemies”.

      This. it was a lovely scene, meant to bring Arya back from her dark path. Also questioning her next move. Should she go kill Cersei, or go home to her family.

      a great little scene, if you look carefully.

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    76. About Bran….didn’t someone (TER or Benjen?) tell him last season that because he’s now marked by the NK the WW’s can enter areas where there was a magic spell and crossing the wall would be bad? So he does it anyway…interesting especially when they hit home the point with the Maester at the Citadel talking about worries of events in the past everyone thinking doom was coming yet the wall still stood and all was fine.

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    77. Boudica,

      I know right? Now watch people come up with alternative facts and claim Ned was actually a bad lord/warden. I can’t even lmao

      Boudica,

      Good point. Revenge is a never ending thing.

        Quote  Reply

    78. Mihnea,

      Oh so many!Basically we know everything.More than every season.Basically don’t click on any spoiler coding whatsoever and be careful especially on YouTube.Even the titles of the videos are spoilers.

        Quote  Reply

    79. Ginevra,

      Sorry, but that’s literally the shittest, cheapest excuse. Even your magic and your creatures need some kind of in world logic to make sense and to remain grounded.

      I think the show has botched it a little by getting incredibly visual with lots of what happened, when I think it’s actually more subtle in the books (mostly because we are reading from unreliable narrators). For example, I am curious to see how the show moves forward after the relevant ion from Georgey that Beric and Jon are fire wights – are we going to see what that means? I assume it means that Beric never actually died 6 times – just once.

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    80. Icewalker,

      . I truly feel bad for what had been done to Sansa’s characterization. She should have been the first in line to support Jon’s decision to be forgiving

      Kinda disagree with this. Why would her suffering make her ”softer”, more forgiving. I think her becoming more ruthless, ”her skin turned to steel” kind of developing, fits better. After all, she suffered at their hands, she saw them ally with Ramsey, they killed her brothers….etc

      I do think it fits into how the character grew.
      And i still think there is some softness there, in my opinion. It’s clear that she either didn’t realize or forgot, that punishment for treason is death, when Jon mentions it, she realizes what she said. that’s what i saw.

      just my opinion though.

        Quote  Reply

    81. ACME:
      Boudica,
      I do not recall seeing any evidence of Ned’s particularly effective rulership of the North in the books.

      What? They go to great lengths to show what kind of a leader Ned Stark was. From his men in the castle taking turns dining with him to the Mountain Clans(who don’t even own castles) affectionately calling him “The Ned”. Only Barbrey Dustin shows some contempt towards Ned and even she speaks about the Northern Loyalty. She openly declared to the Freys that she had lost men too at the Red Wedding and that the North Remembers. Alys Karstark exposed her own family to Jon and literally begged for his help in his father’s (Ned Stark) name.

      I don’t believe in the Grand Northern Conspiracy that much but if the books are anything to go by, the North is extremely loyal to the Starks.

        Quote  Reply

    82. Boudica:

      We opened this episode with Arya killing the Freys. Sansa has also become a vengeful person after she was taken captive. The Lannisters did exactly the same thing to Sansa that she is now advocating for others. She was a prisoner and Winterfell was taken because of Ned’s and Robb’s choices. It is ironic how she wants to do exactly the same thing as her oppressors. …

      You can either forgive betrayal or you have to kill everyone from the house that betrayed you, Sansa was advocating to have their lands taken away from them, while in this very episode Arya tells the Freys that they have made a grave mistake to keep some of the wolves alive. There is obviously a parallel here.

      I’m slightly confused by the way you’re comparing Arya’s and Sansa’s actions. (It could be all the mead, and apple cider, and Dornish red… but I digress.) I saw Arya differentiating very clearly between the guilty and the innocent among the Freys (the sons and others who actively participated in the Red Wedding vs. the 16-year-old wife who had nothing to do with it). In sharp contrast, I also saw Sansa forcefully propose that the surviving children of old houses be disinherited as punishment for their older brothers’ treason, actions for which they were in no way, shape, or form responsible.

      Is this the point you were making?

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    83. ygritte: I did enjoy the actor who played the Maester there and have a feeling what he said was of some kinda importance, just don’t quite understand how it ties in yet.

      He was saying that people, or people following relion always think that the world is about to end and that the times they are living in is the worst, and it always untrue because humans keeps on surviving. The other point he made is that the Wall has stood for thousands of years and it will also protect them now. I think it is a hint that the Wall will soon fall down.

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    84. Mihnea,

      I will tell you why.

      She suffered at the hands of Joffrey and she regarded him as a monster. Same with Ramsay. She married Tyrion and Ramsay – two major houses who destroyed her family. She claims to Joffrey that she is innocent of her brother’s treason. When she was questioned by Lyanna Mormont last season, she said, “I did what I had to do to survive.” She knows that they are both innocent children. Why would she be tough on them?

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    85. To those of you who have read the leaks:

      Are you feeling as awful as I am for being spoiled? any tips for getting over myself? 🙁

        Quote  Reply

    86. Flayed Potatoes,

      I had a fleeting thought after hearing Royce’s words in the preview for next week. What if….someone knows and tells the Northern Lords who Jon really is (Targaryen blood) but lies and suggests that Jon himself is aware of it? Imagine the implications of that. How the North will feel hoodwinked by Jon. Gawsh I hope that doesn’t happen though.

        Quote  Reply

    87. On a different note there were several scenes from the first trailer in this episode only a few that didn’t make it i.e. Jon and team in the North, Greyworm in military kit about to storm a castle, did I miss anything else from the first trailer?

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    88. Icewalker: The discussion of giving lands to others should have been completed long before. It’s poor writing to create tension between Jon and Sansa. Decent television but poor writing

      I do not think it is poor writing; if anything, it is very consistent with what we saw back in season 5.

      Again, you failed to notice another one of Tywin’s conversation with Tyrion.
      “You’re right about Ned Stark. If he were alive, we could have brokered a peace with Riverrun and Winterfell….”

      The peace Tywin mentions here is one based on reciprocity : had Ned Stark lived, the Direwolves would have captured (but not killed) a Lion aka Tyrion, the Lions would have captured (but not killed) a Direwolf aka Ned and everything could have ended on a draw. The moment Ned died, peace was no longer an option because the potential for reciprocity was shattered.

      There is no reciprocity possible between the Starks and the Umbers for the former did not deprive the latter of their last legitimate, able-bodied male heir. Nor should they, obviously. But the symbolic balance is what it is.

      Boudica,
      I do not think Sansa advocated for anyone to become a prisoner or a hostage, did she ? Nor did she mention anyone being forcibly married or beaten, physically or emotionally abused. So her proposal is truly nothing like what the Lannisters did to her or her family.

      I sincerely doubt anyone is eager to see two children be victimised for crimes they did not commit. However, no longer having a birthright is not akin to brutalisation. Is the show so fundamentally aristocracy-centered it gives the impression that being deprived of a title is equal to death or torture ?
      If the Lannisters had given Sansa the choice between remaining in their custody as a highborn lady (the “key to the North”) or losing the title but being allowed to leave and rejoin her family, I doubt she would have chosen door number 1. ^^

      From a purely logical standpoint, in a world where one is entitled to benefit tremendously for one’s ancestors’ heroic deeds, why should one not also pay the price of said ancestors’ crimes ?
      If honour can be inherited, why can’t dishonour ?

        Quote  Reply

    89. Overall good episode. Not at the level of Two Swords though. The writing needed some polish. Wigs by Vanity needs to stage an intervention.

      Bran:

      – Wish we had seen more of him. Maybe a scene where Edd tells him Jon and Sansa have Winterfell. I don’t see how Bran telling him he saw what happened at Hardhome and The Fist of the First Men proves his identity. Any Wildling child could have known about this. Seems like the writers didn’t have any idea what to put here.

      Jon and Sansa:

      – I find it hilarious how people were defending Sansa last week for not providing information about the Vale army at the war council by saying she didn’t want to undermine Jon in public. Looks like y’all need to come up with a new excuse lmfao

      – Loved seeing Jon so kingly and decisive. Seems like he got his groove back. Loved that he is drafting women in the army. Woke king!

      – Lyanna was fabulous. The casting did a good job with Ned and Alys.

      Arya:

      – Good choice for an opening scene. A bit fanservicey. In a world with powerful women such as Olenna, Cersei, Dany etc. it seems kind of a stretch to assume a Frey woman is some downtrodden mop who can’t wield power. I wish we had had some adult women among the casualties. I get where Sue is coming from though.

      – Arya tells them they made a mistake in keeping Starks alive and she keeps Freys alive. Ok lol

      Cersei/Jaime/Euron:

      – Cersei is entertaining and cray as usual. Love her. Obligatory yaaaaas queen!

      – Wish Jaime would exit this toxic relationship, but I think I get what the show might be going for. Sadly I might have to wait a long time to see if my suspicion is confirmed.

      – Euron was hilarious. I am going to enjoy him and Cersei together. OTP!

      Sam:

      – Loved the montage. Someone hang it in the Louvre.

      – The dragonglass discovery was lame considering Davos probably knows about it, but I see exactly what the show wants to do. Nice setup.

      Dany/Tyrion:

      – A castle with no steward and all the Targ decorations not taken down by the Baratheons the moment they set foot in it? Lmao sure Jan

      – We got like 635363738 pictures of this moment before it even aired, so it didn’t make much of an impression on me. Surprised the writers didn’t add an eclipse for good measure lol.

      7-8/10 bleeding stars for the episode

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    90. Stoneheart,

      I know how you feel. I got spoiled last year, couldn’t resist, but then was very disappointed I did so afterwards. Jon’s rez could have been a great surprise moment for me but I knew exactly how it would go down I think like 2 days prior to airing.

      Anyways, I was okay with it this year because the wait was extra long, etc. and I reconcile reading spoilers with the fact that hey it gave me something to think about during the off season.

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    91. Flayed Potatoes:
      I know right? Now watch people come up with alternative facts and claim Ned was actually a bad lord/warden. I can’t even lmao

      I would love to see the non alternative facts that indicate he was a particularly good one… 😉

        Quote  Reply

    92. ACME: I do not think it is poor writing; if anything, it is very consistent with what we saw back in season 5.

      Same thing lol.

      Regarding the Tywin quote, it was given as an example for his pragmatism. He is willing to make peace as long as they submit to the crown.

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    93. ACME: I would love to see the non alternative facts that indicate he was a particularly good one…

      Repost.

      Icewalker: What? They go to great lengths to show what kind of a leader Ned Stark was. From his men in the castle taking turns dining with him to the Mountain Clans(who don’t even own castles) affectionately calling him “The Ned”. Only Barbrey Dustin shows some contempt towards Ned and even she speaks about the Northern Loyalty. She openly declared to the Freys that she had lost men too at the Red Wedding and that the North Remembers. Alys Karstark exposed her own family to Jon and literally begged for his help in his father’s (Ned Stark) name.

      I don’t believe in the Grand Northern Conspiracy that much but if the books are anything to go by, the North is extremely loyal to the Starks.

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    94. I’m going to try and explain why I’m so upset over the Arya scene and in general the fall of this show since last season.

      I used to love this show because it always kept me guessing. It always made me wonder: what’s going to happen next or what’s going on here? Take the cold open to S5 for example with young Cersei and her friend. We’re just thrown into that and wondering what the hell is this? And who is that old witch? And after a while we realize it’s young Cersei being told the horrible prophecy of her life.

      With the Arya scene, I was confused for about half a second when I saw Walder Frey. After that I knew it was Arya, and it wasn’t hard to figure out what was about to happen. On top of that, it was all spelled out in a convoluted and over expository rant by Lord Walder Arya, even making an obvious reference to the poison that was about to be used. And Arya gets her revenge, but it’s all so obvious and predictable. It feels extremely empty and solely there for the sake of fan service or because the writers couldn’t think of anything better to open with.

      To make matters worse, we were never told how Arya acquired the magic to mimic someone’s voice or truly become someone else outside of putting on a mask that she cut off someone’s face. D & D majorly dropped the ball to the end of the House of B & W storyline.

      Any hopes I could’ve had that the series would rebound after a poor showing in S6 were dashed immediately and though the ensuing episode wasn’t nearly as bad as the opening scene, it still was very empty with nothing at all interesting going on.

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    95. ACME,

      Oh so people fighting for Ned’s little girl and working to take down the Boltons in the books isn’t enough to show you he was respected and a good lord?

      Lord Glover saying they cried when Ned died on the show isn’t enough? Lyanna making Jon king because Ned’s blood runs through his vains isn’t enough? Ned’s legacy is still strong.

        Quote  Reply

    96. Boudica,

      Yep, that’s definitely one of the angles that can be taken from it. Having had an interest in spirituality/prophecy for years I’ve read up on “end times” schools of thought but after any convincing layout, the thought is always there that many times in the past ages theologians/preachers have argued for why the time is now, only it obviously never was. But one day it will be. Just as the wall will fall.

      Edit: Sorry if that sounded overly religious. I respect everyone has different beliefs. Not looking to debate that, or politics, here 🙂

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    97. Boudica,

      I agree completely with you!

      For me, one of the best moments in the books is Wylla Manderly reminding their oath to Stark during Davos’ visit and then Lord Manderly proudly praising his granddaughter while talking to Davos after his “death”.

      It still bothers me that it wasn’t in the show. I got goosebumps everytime I read it.

      Northerners value different things than rest of Westeros.

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    98. Mihnea,

      I love everyone in the Brotherhood. Good actors and engaging characters. It is one of the reasons I am glad there is no Lady Stoneheart. These are the characters which get the best writing for me. Hound got so much character development in this one episode.

      Welcome back! Don’t click on spoiler coding, don’t watch GoT related stuff on YouTube unless a mod links it in the original post, don’t read reviews or articles outside of WotW because people mask spoilers as speculation!

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    99. I must have missed that David Bradley was back, for a bit. Seeing that little Sam looked a year older , Arya took a year to assemble the Freys? I guess so.
      I fully expected Cersei to mention banner men she could count on to Jamie, that would have been, at least, Randyll Tarley. I don’t like the plot ploy , D&D have used it before, “you invited the Greyjoys” without setting that up. Seeing what dire straits KL is in , seeing the fleet Euron shows up with, seems Jamie would of said , OK! I don’t buy that Euron could build 1000 ships in a year, gee!
      Expected to see Tobias Menzies, kind of mystery, seems that is explained later?
      Ok so Jon recognized the importance of dragonglass, that sets up a meeting. He also knows the importance of Valyrian Steel , actually that is very important, maybe he will talk about that later?
      Sam’s life at the Citadel as a bit of comedy was funny , but over elaborated. Something must happen to speed this up? No Marwyn the Mage?, surprised by that.
      Well enough fire arrows and wight Giants burn bigger than human sized wights.
      What is Arya’s role? It’s got to be bigger than just a sidebar as an assassin. Even if she were to kill Cersei, which seem can’t happen this season, I guess. She is still connected to Essos by way of Braavos so we get to that in season 8?

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    100. Ginevra: Kept expecting him to show up in the restricted section of the library with his cat to catch Sam stealing books…

      And Jim Broadbent transfigurating into an armchair 😉

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    101. I cracked up when Sandor made fun of Thoros’ man bun.

      Can’t wait for Davos to get more things to do.

      Lmao forever at Tormund wanting to get beat up by Brienne.

      So basically Ed Sheeran sang the medieval remix of Shape of You?

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    102. Flayed Potatoes,

      I love everyone in the Brotherhood. Good actors and engaging characters. It is one of the reasons I am glad there is no Lady Stoneheart. These are the characters which get the best writing for me. Hound got so much character development in this one episode.

      Exactly, well said. I think LS would’ve been an unecessary addition. Better to flash out the Hound, Beric and Thoros, they got great actors, would be a shame if they where just background characters

      And thanks! I’ll be careful.

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    103. Stoneheart:
      To those of you who have read the leaks:

      Are you feeling as awful as I am for being spoiled? any tips for getting over myself?

      I look at knowing what’s in the leaks the same way that I looked at having already read the books during the first several seasons. Just because I know (more or less) what’s going to happen doesn’t diminish the desire to see how it plays out onscreen. If The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring both came out tomorrow and I read then right through before the second episode comes on, it still wouldn’t make me feel like, ‘Oh, no point watching the show; I already know how it ends.’ We all know how Hamlet ends, but we go see it performed over and over anyway. Not to say that GRRM is Shakespeare, but you know what I mean: For each medium, the art is in the execution.

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    104. Now that was a premiere. Nice to see Euron show some personality. Between him and Tormund, I don’t know who’s having more fun. Loved Tormund’s line about “we’re the Night’s Watch now” 🙂

      I’m starting to see why Kit Harington referred to Sansa as an “irritant” this year (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X1ohNdI2NLY). He said it half jokingly, but Sansa, for however clever and experienced she is, came off as unskilled and entitled. She isn’t as smart as she thinks she is, not yet. I’m going to bet that if Catelyn Stark disagreed with Ned, she did it behind closed doors so they could present a united front with bannermen, to keep things harmonious. Sansa isn’t wrong to desire a seat at the table, but she’s going around stamping her little foot expecting complete deference and that gets her nothing but scorn, at the expense of listening to whatever genuine insight she might have. I get that she’s been powerless for so long, but come on. Recognise allies when you see them and stop walking all over them just because they love you and you know you can. Jon recovered himself well there.

      He in turn could be more appreciative of dealing with people, not issues. It was the same with the Night’s Watch – expecting (or assuming) everyone to fall in line once he’s laid out a nice logical argument. Sansa’s right – he cannot make the same stupid errors as Ned or Robb. Sansa’s point about Cersei never giving up her murdery feelings was a chilling one.

      This is actually a nice indication of how real the show keeps things – Sansa and Jon are both imperfect, Sansa influenced by the dysfunction of King’s Landing and Jon by the black-and-white nature of the Night’s Watch. They’ve got to learn to communicate if they’re to run this (or simply survive!). I liked the line about Joffrey, and her little comeback that Jon’s the least Joffrey-ish person in Westeros. Baby steps!

      Jon’s way of doing things also puts him in direct contrast with Cersei and other Southerners, who’d be only too happy to strip a family of its home. It’s a tactic that works well in the North. I hope they’ll show us how how far it takes him moving forwards, and what impact it has on others used to a more ruthless leader. It probably makes a refreshing change…as long as it’s paired with advisors who keep the daggers away.

      And how lovely was the music that played as Alys Karstark and Ned Umber swore their oaths? I can’t wait to hear what’s coming this season from Ramin Djawadi.

      DANY IN WESTEROS. I got chills when she tore down Stannis’ banner. We’ve seen it a million times in the trailers, but it’s still such a powerful moment. The Queen has arrived!

      Cannot wait for next week!!!

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    105. And no one was bothered with Euron Greyjoy ”rock star ”costume ? Also Sam expected to be more dynamique in dialoge , he is in the place where is all the knowledge in the world of westeros and … well … otherwise it’s good episode… But i felt like the show, the dialogue has changed in totaly different way , no? Or maybe it’s just me .

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    106. Hi everyone *waving in all directions*. Wasn’t able to come play last night and just done a skim watch now. I’ll put this in while it’s fresh in my mind. Books readers were getting excited about Euron as one to watch and I’m really hopeful now, he looks like he could wreak some serious havoc, with just the right amount of unhingedness. Wight giants = serious trouble too *squees at the idea of wight mammoths: that’s not a spoiler, I just wanna see one*. Ooooh Houndie seeing visions. Does the arrowheaded mountain mean anything to anyone? Lots of set up there, should all kick off nicely next week. Sorry haven’t had time to read anyone’s comments so I’m probably repeating what everyone has already said. Be back later to join in properly 😀

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    107. LatrineDiggerBrian,

      basically’ you right, i also didn’t like the beginning – but i feel there is sense of dread about everything and that’s interesting… you’ve got so many hints about so many deaths in the upcoming season.

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    108. Icewalker: Same thing lol

      Ha ! Fair enough ! 😛
      But it is alo consistent with seasons 1 and 3 in which we saw that the Starks have this delightfully annoying habit not to explain their decisions to the very people they need to implement them so… I’ll stick to the idea of consistency ^^

      Regarding the Tywin quote, it was given as an example for his pragmatism. He is willing to make peace as long as they submit to the crown.

      I never underestimate Tywin’s pragmatism : he is as willing to make peace as he is to annihilate an entire bloodline, including the children. For Tywin, it is systematically a matter of costs/benefits.

      What are the costs and benefits of leaving the Umber and Karstark kids in place ?
      What are the costs and benefits of taking away their birthrights and giving them to someone else ?

      On a related note, the fact that the two children are such obvious Stark dopplegangers makes me wonder if the writers are implying that Jon is partly basing his forgiveness on sentiment and family loyalty. Just having the last representatives of the two treacherous Houses be children would have been enough to get the audience’s sympathy but turning them into “Ned” and a Sansa look-alike is so on-the-nose, I wonder if it is not meant to look like a manipulation… Jon cannot not try to help out his father’s namesake and his sister’s clone like he could not not attempt to save Rickon, even though it was a trap.
      Is this a trap too ?

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    109. Excellent summary of Sansa, I don’t want to start a flame war and respect she has a group of devout fans but I felt she came across as entitled and spoilt. I know they are playing up some sibling rivalry but she was clearly in the wrong even if a couple of the points she was trying to make (badly) had some substance.

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    110. ACME: Furthermore, I do not recall Sansa advocating for the young Umber and Karstark to be put to death, physically assaulted or humiliated as punishment for their fathers’ crimes. She “simply” wanted them stripped of their birthright : no castle, no title, no army. They then could have been relocated somewhere else or turned into their new overlord’s bannermen and given a smaller piece of land.

      Having independent power means not needing to ask anybody’s permission. Sansa, being solely the King’s sister, has no such independence. And it may become bothersome after a while.

      That is exactly the whole point why it is wrong. Take something away from someone and they will want it back. You are giving them a reason to oppose you in the future. There are two choices you either forgive them, or you killout the whole house, other wise they come back like Arya did for the Freys.

      ACME: And yes, it is true that Sansa should not have opposed Jon during the meeting. Of course, she shouldn’t have. However, I have the strange impression she had no idea Jon had taken this decision about the young lord and lady. He seemingly did not consult anyone beforehand.
      The KitN did the same thing when he was Lord Commander : he simply told his men he would let the Free Folk south of the Wall without warning anyone in advance and without meeting with other key figures among the Night’s Watch to hear their opinions (and objections) in private.

      Sansa has a lot of independence it is not as if Jon is arranging a new marriage contract for her something. Catelyn often spoke with Robb, but never in front of the other Lords.

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    111. ACME: I do not recall seeing any evidence of Ned’s particularly effective rulership of the North in the books. To me, what the novels make very clear is that most Northern lords did appreciate and respect Ned as a man but that their loyalty was mostly due to the Starks being repeatedly victorious (which allowed them to “feed the dogs”)

      Hugo Wull:

      I want to live forever in a land where summer lasts a thousand years. I want a castle in the clouds where I can look down over the world. I want to be six-and-twenty again. When I was six-and-twenty I could fight all day and fuck all night. What men want does not matter. Winter is almost upon us, boy. And winter is death. I would sooner my men die fighting for the Ned’s little girl than alone and hungry in the snow, weeping tears that freeze upon their cheeks. No one sings songs of men who die like that. As for me, I am old. This will be my last winter. Let me bathe in Bolton blood before I die. I want to feel it spatter across my face when my axe bites deep into a Bolton skull. I want to lick it off my lips and die with the taste of it on my tongue.

      Wylla Manderly:

      “When we were sore beset and friendless, hounded from our homes and in peril for our lives, the wolves took us in and nourished us and protected us against our enemies. The city is built upon the land they gave us. In return we swore that we should always be their men. STARK men.”

      “When there was a Stark in Winterfell, a maiden girl could walk down the kingsroad in her name-day gown and still go unmolested, and travelers could find fire, bread, and salt at many an inn and holdfast.”

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    112. I thought it was an enjoyable episode for the start of the season but nothing too spectacular. But that’s what happens with many a first episode, setting the stage. I didn’t like the pop star cameo, it took me out of the story. I also took issue with Sansa telling Jon that her father’s actions were stupid. She was the one who ran to Cersei and betrayed her father, which was what led directly to his death. His mistake was not seeing how badly Sansa wanted to be queen then, and trusting his daughter too much. Everything with the Hound is awesome, I hope we get more of him as the season progresses!

      Jack Bauer 24,

      Casterly Rock with his Frey wife and their baby. His “reward” for giving up Riverrun without a fight was to be a hostage to the Lannisters, but be alive to watch his child grow up.

      Boojam,

      Tarley is a bannerman to Highgarden not Casterly Rock. So he’d be on Team Dany.

      Flayed Potatoes,

      Agreed 100%! I’m very happy with that decision in the show. I disliked that decision by GRRM in the books as it lessens the impact of the Red Wedding for me.

      Icewalker,

      Absolutely, the North is incredibly loyal to the Starks. That’s why the Boltons put forth a fake Arya to try to cement their new claim as Wardens of the North in the books.

      I don’t think it’s a conspiracy in the sense that there’s some elaborate network of people working to the same end. But a lot of disconnected Stark loyalists all working towards the removal of Frey and Bolton supremacy in the North and ultimately revenge for the Red Wedding.

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    113. Great cold opening though it was obvious what was going down. A fairly standard season premiere, scene with Ed Sheeran was OK but did they really need to distractingly parachute in a well known face? Good surprise moment when we see Jorah.

      Nothing very momentous ever happens in premieres though, always about setup. Plenty of things to chew on and they should pay off later.

      A nod to the books with Sandor as Gravedigger?

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    114. Jon Snowed,

      I’m still waiting for the promised “smart player” Sansa to emerge. Remember when she put on a black dress, and we thought.. ok, here it is! Alas…

      She keeps information to herself, lies to her friends, and then shares her opinion when it makes others look bad. Thankfully, Jon is a forgiving sort, which is why she’s gotten so many chances to keep screwing up.

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    115. Wolfish: I’m slightly confused by the way you’re comparing Arya’s and Sansa’s actions. (It could be all the mead, and apple cider, and Dornish red… but I digress.) I saw Arya differentiating very clearly between the guilty and the innocent among the Freys (the sons and others who actively participated in the Red Wedding vs. the 16-year-old wife who had nothing to do with it). In sharp contrast, I also saw Sansa forcefully propose that the surviving children of old houses be disinherited as punishment for their older brothers’ treason, actions for which they were in no way, shape, or form responsible.

      Is this the point you were making?

      No, I am making a point of where when you punish the children of these houses it creates cycles of vengeance and violence. If you take away something from someone like their lands of their dignity they will usually want it back at some point. It goes back to the broken man speech.

      Looking from at it from a Lannister and a Frey and even a Bolton perspective, all of these houses would have been far better off if they had just killed all of the Starks. The fact that they didn’t do that will alway haunt them.

      ACME: I do not think Sansa advocated for anyone to become a prisoner or a hostage, did she ? Nor did she mention anyone being forcibly married or beaten, physically or emotionally abused. So her proposal is truly nothing like what the Lannisters did to her or her family.

      I sincerely doubt anyone is eager to see two children be victimised for crimes they did not commit. However, no longer having a birthright is not akin to brutalisation. Is the show so fundamentally aristocracy-centered it gives the impression that being deprived of a title is equal to death or torture ?
      If the Lannisters had given Sansa the choice between remaining in their custody as a highborn lady (the “key to the North”) or losing the title but being allowed to leave and rejoin her family, I doubt she would have chosen door number 1. ^^

      From a purely logical standpoint, in a world where one is entitled to benefit tremendously for one’s ancestors’ heroic deeds, why should one not also pay the price of said ancestors’ crimes ?
      If honour can be inherited, why can’t dishonour ?

      She wants to take away their homes, do you think that they wouldn’t want their homes back as they grow older at some stage? Taking their lands is a punishment. If you punish them and keep them alive you always have to sleep with your eyes open.

      Taking their lands and keeping them alive is a lukewarm punishment that will come back to bite you. As we just witnessed during this episode when Arya killed the Freys.
      Either you kill every member of house Karstark and house Umber, or you have to forgive them and let them keep their lands. Those are the only two good choices.

      The Umbers and the Karstark are obviously trying to make amends for the decisions of their fathers and their brothers. They came to Winterfell, they could easily have been killed, it would have been much better for them to remain safely in their own castles. But they came to Winterfell to face whatever would happen to them. Those are good reasons to take the road of forgiveness if they are willing to bend the as well, which they were.

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    116. Overall I enjoyed the episode.

      There were things I liked;

      – The shot of the army of the dead marching
      – The Hound’s interactions with Beric and Thoros and the tragic call-back to his past crimes
      – Sansa’s attitude towards Littlefinger
      – Euron was much better in our first glimpse of him this season, especially his sparring with Jaime
      – Arya’s words after the massacre at The Twins – “Tell them winter came for House Frey” – and David Bradley’s performance as Walder Frey, as usual.
      – The reality of Sam’s mundane and soul-destroying routine at the Citadel. Although I expect they’ll still have him make some miraculous discovery that nobody else at the Citadel has noticed for hundreds of years, the scenes depicting the depressing reality of his life as a maester in training were a welcome dose of exposition and realism.

      But there were things I definitely didn’t like:

      – The am-dram acting of the dying Freys

      – Some of the clunky dialogue and delivery – “Then that’s where I’ll go. Looks like we’re the Night’s Watch now”. Ugh! Come on, Tormund’s better than that rubbish!

      – The cameo from Ed Sheeran – the best thing about all the musical cameos in previous seasons is that you didn’t even realise they were happening unless you were paying close attention. Giving Sheeran a full 40 seconds of singing, a line of dialogue and a lingering close-up really took me out of the show for a moment. It’s a real shame that they’re messing around with the show like that.

      – The fact that the whole faceless / no-one trick has been turned into a gimmick to be used as a convenient plot device any time they feel like it. Providing at least a token moment of exposition to show that Arya becoming Walder Frey doesn’t just happen at the click of her fingers would give its use as a plot device a lot more credibility.

      Oh, and they’d better not leave the fate of Edmure and his family as a glaring plot hole!

      – Lyanna Mormont – The sight of a little girl giving a man five times her age a dressing down is getting really old and unrealistic now. Will there be a single Northern Lord left with a shred of dignity once they’ve all been routinely humiliated by a 10-year-old?

      There was a lot of interesting and engaging material, and I’m looking forward to the rest of the season. But the gimmicks and the lack of exposition are getting tiresome and undermining the quality in some areas.

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    117. Mihnea:
      ygritte,

      fully agree with this. Sams scenes were a it to long.

      I truly think that Sam is GRRMs avatar in the story and hence he has been written to be extremely important to the ending, so expect Sam, Sam and lots more Sam…

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    118. Just want to say that while Sansa has a lot of expertise in dealing with devious high house players; Jons strength is inspiring loyalty and altruism in his followers.

      I loved the episode, it was a great inhale. And it actually relieved some worries I had which was that we wouldn’t get time to dwell on character arcs. But the stuff with the Hound and Arya, giving us a chance to see their character motivations changing, makes me not worry. THe Hounds scenes made me in the verge of tears. Really good.

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    119. Boudica:
      The Umbers and the Karstark are obviously trying to make amends for the decisions of their fathers and their brothers. They came to Winterfell, they could easily have been killed, it would have been much better for them to remain safely in their own castles. But they came to Winterfell to face whatever would happen to them. Those are good reasons to take the road of forgiveness if they are willing to bend the as well, which they were.

      *claps*

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    120. Boudica: That is exactly the whole point why it is wrong. Take something away from someone and they will want it back. You are giving them a reason to oppose you in the future.

      Not necessarily. They can get a birthright back if they serve you well in the future.

      By reframing titles, lands, castles as conditional rewards instead of perpetual blank checks, not only do you renew the structural makeup of the nobility with the integration of more people of lower extraction (whose loyalty is virtually guaranteed since they owe you everything cf. Davos and Stannis), you also do not close the door for those who may have lost their titles and wish to regain them. They too, like everyone else, can prove themselves and be rewarded.

      Sansa has a lot of independence it is not as if Jon is arranging a new marriage contract for her something. Catelyn often spoke with Robb, but never in front of the other Lords.

      Very true. Robb also often asked for Catelyn’s opinion before he made a decision… ^^
      I will have to rewatch the episode to be sure but did Davos look like he knew what Jon was going to say about the children ? I seem to recall him looking down a lot but that’s it.

      On a completely different note : I wonder whether we are supposed to take Lyanna seriously when she says she will fight. I understand that she wants to get involved, refuses to be sidelined and that is wonderful but she is a twig. A very cute, ferocious twig but a twig all the same. Who is she supposed to fight ? It almost reminded me of Arya water-dancing and believing she could take down the Hound but worse because the Stark girl, at least, had some fencing moves which I do not think Lyanna has (I may be wrong though).
      And if we are not supposed to take the Cub seriously, are we meant to laugh with (at) her in a vaguely patronising way ? That moment left me puzzled, I have to confess.

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    121. Boudica,
      Flayed Potatoes,
      Icewalker,
      The elements you mentioned indicate to me that, as I previously admitted, Ned was very much liked as a man (and that Northerners, after being terribly humiliated during the War of the Five Kings, like to reminisce about the “good old days”). However, I am afraid they tell very little about Ned’s effective talents as a ruler.

      Being beloved and being a good ruler are not mutually exclusive of course, but they are not synonymous either. As far as we know, Robert Baratheon was fairly well-liked by the population yet he was a lamentable ruler. Daenerys is adored and worshipped by her people but, as a monarch, she is often subpar in my opinion. Conversely, no one ever truly appreciated Tywin yet he was a terrific ruler and Tyrion, who is hardly ever going to be popular amongst Westerosi, is equally talented.

      Ned was respected and even loved by many of his bannermen. Which makes sense because Ned was, for all intents and purposes, lovable. Yet, I see no evidence of him being a particularly good ruler. He oversaw a region at peace with itself for 20 years with the unwavering implicit support of his best friend the King who was famous for smashing his opponents’ skull with a hammer…
      I would not go so far as to call it easy but it was hardly the political feat of the century… ^^

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    122. + The best thing about this episode overall is that, with the reduced number of plotlines, storylines have way more room than has been the case on this show since probably the first season. Every story thread had multiple sequences (other than Dany, who was being saved for the end, and Bran, who, well, there’s only so much you can do).
      + Some things I was a bit dubious about in the leaks turned out to be better-explained or justified in the narrative (often not the case with this show). For instance, the only women at the Frey gathering being Lady Frey and some servers.
      + Provisionally, at least, the Jon/Sansa tension they’ve been hyping is reasonably well-done.
      + I liked that they managed to give David Bradley a more fun final scene after his character died.
      + Euron had better jokes this time around.
      + The bit with the Hound robbing the two peasants in Season 4 was always a bit of a sore thumb for me, given where his character was at that point in the books, so I liked revisiting that and having him actually repent of what he did to those people.
      – Sansa’s big advice at the end doesn’t really square with what we actually saw of Ned and Robb’s mistakes, if we’re meant to think of it as good advice. Indeed, Jon is doing the exact opposite of what Robb did.
      – This isn’t really a new thing, but it still annoys me and it’s a big plot point here: why is Arya able to facechange when in Season 5 we were told that she couldn’t do that because she wasn’t a Faceless Man, and it made her sick when she tried? It’s still bizarre to me that a two season training arc about joining an organization called the Faceless Men made such a muddle as to what facechanging is.
      – Maybe they’ll yet explain this, but the whole reason Sam took Gilly to Horn Hill in Season 6 was because they had no money to sustain her in Oldtown. Now that he’s decided to take her to Oldtown…they just do, apparently.

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    123. Isabelle:
      Sansa isn’t wrong to desire a seat at the table, but she’s going around stamping her little foot expecting complete deference and that gets her nothing but scorn, at the expense of listening to whatever genuine insight she might have.

      This pretty much sums up why I find the Jon/Sansa scenes so frustrating. It’s like the writers gave her some valid points to make, and then had her make them in the worst possible way. I keep wanting her to say: Look, Jon, I’m sorry I didn’t tell you about Littlefinger’s offer of the Knights of the Vale, but I was concerned if I told you that you’d want to deal with him directly, and next thing you know, you’d end up promising him my hand in marriage in exchange for the men.* I got the Knights of the Vale here without promising SQUAT to Littlefinger, that’s how good I am. I DESERVE a seat at the High Council table, not just as your sister, but as someone who has as much to offer as Davos or Tormund or anyone else. And speaking of, we really need a High Council to hash things out beforehand, so we don’t have a repeat of today’s very public disagreement.

      *This is my own made-up reason. I have no idea what the writers’ reason was.

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    124. Boudica: The Umbers and the Karstark are obviously trying to make amends for the decisions of their fathers and their brothers. They came to Winterfell, they could easily have been killed, it would have been much better for them to remain safely in their own castles. But they came to Winterfell to face whatever would happen to them. Those are good reasons to take the road of forgiveness if they are willing to bend the as well, which they were.

      After pledging their allegiance and the Northern Lords voice their approval Alys Karstark breaks into a relieved smile, having obviously expected to face some form of punishment.

      It’s a smart move by Jon. They will remember that act of mercy.

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    125. Sean C.: – Maybe they’ll yet explain this, but the whole reason Sam took Gilly to Horn Hill in Season 6 was because they had no money to sustain her in Oldtown. Now that he’s decided to take her to Oldtown…they just do, apparently.

      Well that all went to shit when Randall was such a beeyatch. Perhaps Sam took some of the family silverware…

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    126. There’s something I noticed and would like to know if anyone else did. It appears like Kit is not totally staying in character anymore, its most noticeable at the scene outside on the WF walkway. When he smiles, turning to the side and again when he says to Sansa “you almost sound as if you admire her” he doesn’t carry the mannerisms/tone of Jon Snow. I’m curious if that is a directional thing (why? if it’s to make him “changed” after dying that should have been apparent last season) or a personal choice.

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    127. ACME,

      I don’t know if you have actually read the books. Ned was not “lovable” as a person. He is always described as icy and solemn. He is not like Robert who makes friends out of enemies in half a day. Ned was considered to be just and an effective ruler though.

      Anyway, I give up. Your Sansa love is appreciable. Just wanted to say one last thing though. Aerys wanted to execute innocent Ned & Robert for the crimes of Brandon Stark. Now, I know you will say stripping off castles != deaths. The point is that a ruler is expected to be just, kind & strong at the same time. Punishing innocents for the crimes of a few relatives sets a bad precedent for that ruler. That’s why no Mormont was punished when Jorah fled. That’s why Barristan Selmy requests that Dontos Hollard be spared after the Defiance of Duskendale. That’s why Robb on the TV show says, “If every man were held accountable for the actions of every distant relative, Ser Alton, then we’d all hang.”

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    128. Lulus Mum,

      Happy birthday, Mother of Cats! (It is your birthday, I’m right, aren’t I?) I wish you lots of cake and beautiful presents! May your favourites survive season 7 and your most hated ones be finally killed 🙂

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    129. KG:
      Terrific episode! Worth the wait.

      HOWEVER:

      Jon:We are going to let blatantly treasonous houses who had a direct hand in the murder of my brother slide with no punishment, because let bygones be bygones!

      Sansa: This is incredibly stupid. Just like dad. Who is dead. And Robb. Who is also dead.
      —-
      Jon:We have too many enemies to fight amongst ourselves, Sansa!

      Sansa: I disagree with your decision on completely logical grounds.

      Jon:WHY ARE YOU UNDERMINING MY RULE? YOU DO NOT UNDERSTAND MAN-STUFF!
      __

      Sansa:We can’t trust the Umbers and Karstarks anymore. Because, shall I remind you, “Rickon.”

      Jon: Sure we can! Let me drag two terrified kids out into a room with one hundred adults who would kill them at my merest nod and demand an oath of loyalty!See? They swore. We’re good.

      Jon is a moron.

      LOL! Yeah, you pretty much described my thoughts exactly. I normally stay out of the Sansa vs Jon debates, but in that scene I think she was right in every way. All the Lords and Ladies there are free to openly challenge King Jon but Sansa, the Lady of Winterfell, can’t? C’mon Jon! And she is right about rewarding loyalty. I can see not punishing Houses that didn’t support Jon but also didn’t fight against him. But the Umbers and Karstarks threw in with the Boltons specifically to destroy the remaining Starks. There should be serious repercussions for that. And why shouldn’t House Mormont, for example, get a larger chunk of land for their support of Jon?

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    130. Ser Not Appearing in this Series,

      I agree with that Sam theory. I can see the last scene being Maester Sam writing by candlelight in the annals of Westeros, setting down the history of this long night, the heroes and the villains. I just don’t find him interesting, at least in the current setting. Playing off other more important characters, he’s better.

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    131. That jacket Euron was wearing was really cool. It was also nice to see him in a scene where he’s not being a bombastic psycopath. In this episode he was a charming, entertaining psychopath and his ‘two hands’ comment was hilarious, as was Jamies’s reaction.

      After all the (tedious – to me anyway) ‘Sansa is right/wrong!’ and ‘Jon is right/wrong!’ arguments, it was great that the show allowed them both to be right and wrong – and to then have a discussion on screen about when/how/if to support each other.

      After the amazing opening scene, I was sad to find Arya heading to Kings Landing rather than Winterfell, but maybe she will hear something on the road, or meet someone, that makes her change her mind. I hope so.

      The scene with Bran and Meera finlly getting to the Wall and being ushered through felt strangely disappointing. Maybe because Meera’s grief and exhaustion was palpable through through the screen, or maybe it was because I was expecting something momentous to happen, or for there to be a fraught conversation about whether them passing through will have serious repercussions. Surely Bran must have consideed that though. He could have come to the conclusion that the Wall needs to fall. Or will it be a big red-herring with the Walkers walking around the wall via frozen seas at Eastwatch?

      Cercei was majestic as always, especially her ‘Do you think I listened to father for 40 years and learnt nothing’ comment. Jamie’s sense of unease was obviously growing though, he’s realising he has no say in anything, gets no respect from the woman he’s spent his life trying to please, and that he’s ultimately disposable. Run Jamie, RUN!

      So interesting that the Hound could read the flames! I wasn’t expecting that at all.

      Dragonstone looked beautiful, but I’m sure we’ll get to all of that next week.

      It was a nice start to a new season overall, it went by in a flash though.

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    132. Ramsay’s 20th Good Man,

      Agree with all your viewpoints. Except I don’t know Ed Sherean so to me he was just like any other extra. Not sure why the writers cater to certain things. I guess they think some of audience will like it and to make Maisie happy which I guess is nice, but for many of the viewers it could be a disservice in taking them out of the story a bit.

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    133. Overall a disappointing and poorly acted episode. Too much fan service. I hope this is just setting up the season and the rest is better.

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    134. KG,

      Actually my take is the complete opposite. Sansa was the moron. Job made the right decision. By the way if she thinks mimicking Queen C will bring success Sansa has not learned a thing.

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    135. Icewalker,
      I have read the books and believe Ned is depicted as loveable by Northern standards. We are often told that Northerners appreciate and respond well to gruffness, far from the open and easy charm Southerners are believed to possess. Greatjon Umber would probably have been considered vaguely dangerous and uncivilised south of the Neck yet, in the North, he was viewed as a roguishly charming fellow. Similarly, the Northern nobility appears to have a healthy respect and affection for Lyanna Mormont who, in the south, may be considered simply rude.

      As for the Umbers and Karstarks, I believe our disagreement relates to who we believe is the target of the potential punishment. Unless I am hugely mistaken, which is always a distinct possibility, you view it as punishing the children; I, for one, view it as punishing their Houses.
      Now, one may say that the difference is solely a matter of semantics but I would disagree. The children are obviously innocent and that innocence must protect them from any mistreatment, violence or abuse; however, their Houses are guilty (since the Houses’ heads committed treason) and as such can be stripped of their status. Would the children be affected by their Houses’ “excommunication” ? To an extent, yes; but neither more nor less than all children always suffer the consequences of their parents’ actions.

      When very rich parents commit a felony and are thus liable to pay so high a fine that their personal finances will be severely affected by the loss, do judges lower the level of the fine so as to preserve the lifestyle the felons’ children have grown used to ? They do not. And the once-rich children become poor as a direct result of their parents’ misdeed and punishment.
      In the books, Jon himself takes Free Folk children as hostages to guarantee their parents’ collaboration. I find the idea abhorrent but it is common practice in Westeros. Compared to that, simply stripping highborn kids of their titles and letting them be is unfathomably mild.

      Regardless, on the show, Jon chose to forgive Houses Umber and Karstark and he had very good reasons to do so, both politically and emotionally. Sansa wanted these Houses gone and replaced by new ones and she had very good reasons to do so, both politically and emotionally. Jon, being king, prevailed as he should have.

      Now, the question is what happens next ? Unless Houses Umber and Karstark lost virtually all their men in the Battle of the Bastards, which seems unlikely, they are two big players in the North and they are now under the command of a small boy who may or may not know what he is doing and a young girl/woman who might be in the same situation. That should be interesting ^^

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    136. One of the positive things about Sansa questioning Jon in front of the others was that it gave him an opportunity to slap her down in front of the others….at first I was quite annoyed that she was doing it but then I thought he asserted himself and everyone saw him doing it

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    137. Lord of Coffee: All the Lords and Ladies there are free to openly challenge King Jon but Sansa, the Lady of Winterfell, can’t?

      I think it’s precisely because she is the Lady of Winterfell, or rather, a legit heir as opposed to a mere subject, that makes public disagreement with her bastard brother dangerous. A subject may raise concerns, but it’s not really a challenge since a subject can only take it so far before risking the king’s displeasure. Sansa in that scene acted as a peer, which may certainly be her right, but not very smart if she truly does support Jon being king (see: assassination attempt of Don Corleone after Sony expressed interest in the Turk’s proposition. I’m sure there are better real-life examples in history I could cite, but I’d need more coffee for that).

      Curious to see what will happen once Bran shows up.

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    138. My favorite moment was the Hound being able to see a vision in the flames. Is the mountain he mentioned “The Mountain” perhaps? Also doesn’t bode well for Tormund that he’s being sent east to the same place that Sandor saw the WW’s coming.

      I wasn’t as upset over the Jon/Sansa stuff as I imagined. They both made solid points but it did seem a little childish on both their parts after everything they’ve been through. Both seemed a little petulant. Was like season 1 Jon before Jeor and Tyrion and Sam all gave him some valuable lessons. I am very much on Team Jon, but for once didn’t gag over Sansa and their interaction after the confrontation gave me hope that this will work out fine.

      I was upset that again there was no Ghost. No mention, no sighting, nothing. Couldn’t even have him laying on the floor somewhere? Come on! I’d much rather see one shot of the wolf than another big throne room that looks basically like every other throne room with some minor aesthetic changes.

      Overall I thought the episode was fine. A little meh. Not an accelerated pace that the cast talked about over and over and over. Was pretty much a standard premiere episode, to me. Setting things up. But even a meh Thrones is better than 99% of other shows, for me too.

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    139. Jenny,

      Agreed Dany put a immediate stop to her advisors speaking against her in Astapor in front of people and it hasn’t happened since, Cat also never spoke over Robb publicly nor did Davos over Stannis, Jamie over Cersei etc.
      Jon and Sansa seriously need to work on their communication issues and discuss everything they might come to heads with in private before having a public meeting it will be shown as weakness otherwise and their enemies will use it against them

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    140. About Sansa and Jon I gotta say I was a bit disappointed in Sansa’s lack of empathy. Sansa was once in the position of the Karstark and Umber children. She was blamed for the actions of Ned and Robb, punished by the Lannisters, her home was taken away by the Bolton’s and she wants to do the same thing to them. If they did punish those children and take their home wouldn’t they build back up their forces over time and fight to take back their home like the Starks and Dany do? Considering both those families are also meant to have the largest forces as well, how do they know their armies will stay loyal to Jon and not the family they’ve served for years instead. Sansa in this position was wrong to me but I understand after everything she’s been through maybe she doesn’t feel quite safe and secure and this was her way of trying to make the North feel like a safe home to her by not having families who betrayed her around.

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    141. Mel,

      That cuts the other way too, though. Sansa was in the same position as the Karstark and Umber children, being asked to profess loyalty to an enemy who had killed her father, and she did so frequently, and never meant it once. So her own experience would give her reason to doubt any pledge of loyalty the two of them would give.

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    142. I took it to mean he’s about to try and snatch Tyrion or perhaps Olenna/the Sandsnakes who Cersei also wants rid of. He’s clearly going to attack someone.

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    143. Whatever happened to “If I am ever a queen, I’ll make them love me?” 🙁
      Now I’m curious if book!Sansa will end like her show counterpart.

      I like the Jon / Sansa scenes for now. I agree with Jon’s decision and I still think Sansa shouldn’t have publicly debated him, but I’m glad none of them got portrayed as unreasonable.

      “And how should I be smarter? By listening to you?”
      That was a weirdly condescending line from Jon. She is only asking to be heard, it’s not an absurd request…

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    144. I was impressed with the W(Others)W army marching with an ice storm moving ahead of it. That is a visualization of a scene from Dance. It was at Castle Black. A very harsh poetic prose description on the page by GRRM. Sometimes pieces of the story on the page still get into the teleplays.

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    145. Ramsay’s 20th Good Man:
      – Lyanna Mormont – The sight of a little girl giving a man five times her age a dressing down is getting really old and unrealistic now. Will there be a single Northern Lord left with a shred of dignity once they’ve all been routinely humiliated by a 10-year-old?

      Yeah, I think the show runners have to be careful to not over play the ‘sassy Lady Mormont’ angle. But I think what annoyed me more about that scene was that they made training women and girls on Bear Island to fight Jon’s idea that Lyanna agreed to. But haven’t they always done that on Bear Island anyway to defend their island? After all, she’s in charge because her mother was killed while off fighting with Robb. I think that scene would have been better if she had just said to Lord Glover that she knows that girls can be trained to fight because they already do that, rather than it being something they are going to do because of Jon.

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    146. Vincent Stark:
      Whatever happened to “If I am ever a queen, I’ll make them love me?” 🙁
      Now I’m curious if book!Sansa will end like her show counterpart.

      The whole “love is better than fear” aspect of Sansa’s book story has never been present in her show story. Sansa’s compassion and empathy are big part of her book character, but never really in the show (dating back to the changes the show made to her interactions with the Hound in Season 1). So her position in this episode, while the opposite of what book Sansa would do, is consistent with the show’s conception of the character’s arc.

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    147. Mel,

      The difference is that Sansa knows her father wasn’t a traitor. Not really. The way she was treated was unfair and in some cases malicious (e.g. Cersei).

      But Smalljon Umber and Harald Karstark absolutely did betray House Stark. She knows that for certain, and can therefore feel more comfortable in expecting their Houses to be punished.

      Despite that, I agree with Jon’s decision to show them mercy.

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    148. I absolutely loved “Dragonstone”, even after having come down from the peak of hype that I was summiting last night. Overall, it’s my second favorite season premiere after “Two Swords”. Perhaps it wasn’t as action-packed as some were expecting given the much-talked-about faster pace of this season, but I found every scene to be rich with portent and extremely consequential for the characters involved. We’re off to a great start!

      Arya: The cold open was a phenomenal way to start the episode. We’ve seen how efficient, ruthless, and capable Arya has become, but never quite on this scale – judging from social media, at least, she clearly won the lion’s (or, more appropriately, the wolf’s) share of buzz from the premiere. And it was great to see David Bradley onscreen as “Walder Frey” one more time, playing a very different twist on his infamous character.

      I also loved the scene where Arya encounters the band of Lannister soldiers and discovers that they’re not cruel, single-minded Stormtroopers. They’re human beings with hopes, dreams, families, and a valid perspective on the world. I know that the Ed Sheeran cameo is drawing mixed reviews, but while it was perhaps slightly more prominent than cameos from other musicians in the past, I didn’t find it at all obtrusive. He just sang his song (“For hands of gold are always cold, but a woman’s hands are warm” – cool to see that make an appearance) and beyond that, I believe he had one additional line of dialogue. He wasn’t the focus of the scene at all – the other Lannister soldiers were. If I hadn’t already known what Ed Sheeran looked like, I wouldn’t have registered him at all.

      Sandor and the BWB: This may have been my favorite sequence in the entire episode. Sandor, Beric, and Thoros are golden together. I love that they revisited the farmer and his daughter from Season 4, and confirmed the fate that the Hound had prophesied for them. That’s the kind of character-based history and callbacks that I love to see from the show. Sandor is a different man now, and his muted grief over their deaths shows that quite well. Cool gravedigger nod as well.

      Speaking of prophecy, I’m extremely intrigued that Sandor was able to see a vision in the flames, Eerie, and undoubtedly important.

      Jon and Sansa: I really liked their dynamic in the premiere. Yes, Sansa questioned him publicly and Jon shut her down in turn, but the scene afterwards, where they explained their respective positions, demonstrates that there is still love and respect for one another – they both want what’s best for their house and for each other, even if they have slightly different ideas about how to approach it. Littlefinger may seek to divide them, but I really think they’re stronger than that.

      Also, seeing Jon in full King mode was awesome. The scene where he persuades Alys Karstark and Ned Umber to bend the knee and swear loyalty to the Starks once again brought a big smile to my face. Good to see Robett Glover and Lyanna Mormont putting in a strong showing as well.

      Jaime, Cersei, and Euron: This was a really cool set of scenes. I loved that Jaime was stringently opposed to Euron, bringing up the Greyjoy Rebellion and the Ironborn’s treacherous nature, and Euron gave it right back with his devil-may-care attitude and his quip about having two good hands. And seeing Cersei on the Iron Throne was majestic.

      The Wall: Not much to say here other than it’s great to see Bran and Meera return to the Realm, Edd’s rocking a fine beard, and the Night King’s army – complete with undead giants – is a force to behold

      Sam: The shit-and-gruel montage is probably going to be offputting to many – it was intended to be. But I thought that it did a tremendous job of efficiently establishing what life is like for Sam as the low man on the totem pole at the Citadel – majestic as that library is, he was never going to get unfettered access to it. Jim Broadbent should be fun as Archmaester Ebrose, and seeing how far Jorah’s greyscale has progressed was ominous. Even if he’s shrouded in shadow, we’d all recognize that voice anywhere.

      Daenerys: Seeing the Dragon Queen return to her ancestral home was an incredibly consequential moment for this story, and I love that the show took its time and let the moment play out almost entirely without dialogue, letting the music, the visuals, and Emilia Clarke’s performance carry the scene. Now, the stage is set. “Shall we begin?” Yes, please!

      Looking forward to next week!

      I am slightly annoyed that HBO spoiled Nymeria’s return in the promo. That would have been a cool thing to surprise the audience with. But the scene should be great regardless.

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    149. Wow Arya was pretty brutal one minute but quite tender the next, maybe there is hope for her to put the violence behind her. Disappointed we didn’t see Edmure, if they couldn’t get the actor I wish they would just mention what happened to him. My head Canon is his wife Roslin freed him and they are happy spending time together with their son until the show tells me otherwise.
      I can not believe Cersei actually told Jamie Tommen betrayed her, that is total BS. Tommen was being moved around like a chess piece by Cersei, Margaery and The High Sparrow with no thought to what it was doing to him
      The Cersei, Jamie and Euron scene really cracked me up.
      I am so glad I was not eating anything when the Sam montage came on lol, I’m pretty sure Stannis already told Sam previously that Dragonstone had Dragon Glass guess he didn’t believe him
      omg my poor Jorah, in a locked cage like a animal, we didn’t even get to see him properly which makes me fear how bad his appearance looks.
      Since Tormund seems to be going to Eastwatch dies that mean no more flirting with Brienne? 🙁
      All my northern team looked so good, Jon seems so much different this season much more confident and sure of himself than he has been in a long time
      It’ll take some getting used to Sansa’s wig for sure, the ends looked crimped. Other than that I think Sansa will have a good season.
      Dany arriving to Dragonstone was incredible, it brought tears to my eyes. I get why she was barely in this episode as a lot of events had to happen before she arrived. That beautiful music, and her tender expression taking the home she was born in was incredible. The way they let her lead and didn’t say anything knowing she had to experience it herself and when Missandei held back Greyworm from following her because she knew she had to do this herself was so beautiful I loved it.
      Also Dany’s wig is incredible, I don’t think it’s ever looked that close to the book version in a very very long time. They obviously spent a lot of money on it, there wasn’t a hint of the yellow tone for once. Either they were waiting for the best one for Westeros or because they are no longer filming in sandy climates they can have a more silver color without it getting filthy.

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    150. Ramsay’s 20th Good Man,

      Maybe but her brother Robb did go against the crown and declare war on the Lannister’s and though we may see his intentions as noble, The Lannister’s certainly didn’t and Sansa was punished for Robb’s actions and so was House Stark by having a bunch of their family slaughtered and Bolton’s taking over their house.

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    151. seenGhost?,

      I was not bugged by the FM magic. In fact, the idea of having to carry around faces in your backpack never really made sense to me. Jaqen didn’t need to do this. Think back to when Arya’s sight was taken from her, and she kept pulling off faces and even saw her own. As Jaqen said…”the girl has many gifts”. I am fine with the idea that Arya was able to learn how to do it, and there is FM magic that she learned. However, since she obviously is not “No One”, you wonder if this is poison to her as Jaqen said. But I’m hoping this is not the case. I would have liked to have seen things not go quite so perfectly though at the feast. Let’s say one or two of the Frey’s didn’t drink and she had to fight them and kill them with Needle. That could have been even more awesome. I think they have to show Arya with some vulnerabilities. Right now she is a bit like Superman, she learned her FM skills so well. She needs her kryptonite, and we want to see her overcome these obstacles.

      I suspect she is going back to Winterfell, but I am curious about how this happens since her plans are to go directly to KL. Something must happen to change her course? I am thinking she rejoins her pack somehow. Perhaps her encounter with Nymeria changes her mind? It looks from the coming attractions this may happen in Episode 2.

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    152. Vincent Stark,

      I think people are running too far ahead with the Cersei parallel. Sansa was under her tutelage so saying she has learnt a great deal from Cersei makes sense. LF has also imparted his knowledge of the game to her, she’s learnt a fair bit from the Hound, a little bit from the Tyrells also. I don’t see her being the type of leader that will incite fear, but it’s clear she won’t be a pushover.

      What remains to be seen is whether she taps into her sexuality to manipulate. The famous “between the legs” Cersei line comes to mind, and that’s what was conjured in my mind when Jon made the Cersei comparison.

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    153. Stoneheart,

      Yes I do. I now regret I read the leaks. Watchersonthewall.com is a wonderful site and I love what Sue, Luka and others are doing. But I now realise it’s difficult to stop reading when I should. I missed the tension with this episode because I already knew everything. That’s why I’m going to try not to read to much here in the future. I know I’m going to miss this site because I am used to check it several times a day. But I’ll come back when the season is over.

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    154. Sean C.: The whole “love is better than fear” aspect of Sansa’s book story has never been present in her show story.Sansa’s compassion and empathy are big part of her book character, but never really in the show (dating back to the changes the show made to her interactions with the Hound in Season 1).So her position in this episode, while the opposite of what book Sansa would do, is consistent with the show’s conception of the character’s arc.

      You’re right, but It’s too bad, the gentleness of book!Sansa is one of my favorite aspects of her.

      The diversions in her storyline, specially on season 05, probably have also contributed to her being a different character.

      I think the writers are really going to play up Cersei’s influence on her this season.

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    155. Sean C.,

      True but since Jon has no intention of having them beaten, tormented and imprisoned the Karstark and Umber children won’t have the same bitterness for Jon as Sansa did for Cersei and Joffrey. If Cersei had offered that Sansa could go home without anymore repercussions after Ned died as long as she swore fealty to the crown, Sansa would of done it in a heartbeat and meant it, if it meant she could go back home with her family.

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    156. Vincent Stark,

      Jon was not acting quite himself. I like that he’s confident and decisive in front of the people, but when he and Sansa were alone a couple of things he said it’s like, huh? You get a title of King doesn’t mean your personality and mannerisms all of a sudden change lol. Maybe it’s a one-off we shall find out.

      Leaks

      but I can definitely see why they had to change Jon’s personality if certain leaks pan out. The old Jon Snow would never have boatsex with Danaerys Targaryen within a mere few episodes of meeting her lol

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    157. Pigeon,

      Pigeon: Remember when the Waif was an old woman? And Jaqen was an older black man as well as a different guy at Harrenhal? Arya spent seasons in training. I don’t understand why people think we needed to see her at a desk with Jaqen pointing out on a chalkboard the exact science behind it, and then multiple lab experiments on screen in order to believe she knows how to do this. She knows how to do this. She’s done it before. Get over it!

      This, exactly. If you accept magic with changing faces, you’ll just have to accept magical changing faces also changes you into the other persons body and voice.

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    158. Pretty good opening episode, but a bit less interesting than I thought it would be. With only 13 episodes left after Season 6 ended, they really need to make every minute count. Now we only have 12 episodes left, and I’m left wondering how much story there really is to tell if they can afford wasting time with Ed Sheeran who can’t act to save his life.

      I loathed the opening scene, which was also completely pointless. Arya killed Walder last year. To revisit the Frey revenge thing felt like retreading old ground. The Red Wedding was avenged in every way in Season 6. It wrapped up with Walder dying. They should have left well enough alone.

      Having Arya now murder 50 random Frey soldiers was silly.
      Plus, choosing a repetitive scene as the cold open of the penultimate season is really a poor stylistic choice. You want to show that the story is moving forward. This cold open completely failed to do that. In fact it felt like regression, because we were moving back towards a story thread that Season 6 seemed to have wrapped up.

      So aside from the two pretty weak and useless Arya scenes, the rest was quite good.

      It’s a little weird that people know things they shouldn’t know though. Littlefinger heard that Brienne defeated the Hound ? Where on Earth did he hear that ?
      Cersei knows that Dany named Tyrion as hand ? Who sent her a letter to tell her about that ? Euron and Cersei both know all the details about Dany : the fact that she has Dothraki, the fact that she’s sailing for Westeros with the Ironborn, etc…

      I mean, do they have an informant in Meereen ? Who is telling them all this ? It makes no sense.

      The sequence with the army of the dead and the giant wights was fantastic, and should have been the cold open in my opinion.

      The meeting with the Northern Lords was good, and I think Jon was right. Of course he should listen to Sansa if she has good points to make, but I think she was wrong here, and this is medieval feudal society. Having your younger sister question you openly is really fucking bad. She should know better. Even Cat had to take care not to question Robb in front of his men.

      Obviously this kind of sexism is a horrible thing, but it’s the reality of the world they live in. Sansa shouldn’t be doing anything to jeopardize Jon’s standing among his men in such a desperate time.

      All the KL stuff was good, Pilou Asbaek gave a much better performance than he did last year.

      One question : which 3 Kingdoms does Jaime think Cersei has ? I’d say she has the Westerlands and the Stormlands, that’s 2, at best. The Riverlands aren’t one of the 7 Kingdoms, neither are the Crownlands. The Reach, the Iron Islands, Dorne, the Vale, and the North are all against her.

      If they know about Jon being King, and they even know about Tyrion being Hand, they must know that the Vale is siding with the North.

      I enjoyed all the Sam scenes, though I am wondering how Gilly and the baby are able to stay there. They made a whole story last year about how the Citadel would never let them stay. I’d like to know how that issue was resolved.

      The scene with Sansa, LF, and Brienne was fine.

      All the stuff with the Hound was excellent.

      Dany’s arrival looked gorgeous, but was a little underwhelming. Something about how it was done just wasn’t quite as impactful as it should have been.

      Overall, I’d give it an 8/10.

      They had to lose two points for the two Arya scenes.

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    159. Ryan,

      I love a good fan theory. George is American though and we write month/day…

      Markus Stark,

      Were those random Freys? I thought it was the inner circle.
      It is a little weird for Arya to use FM this way. Will the God of Many Faces approve?

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    160. I think Sansa sees things in a far more simplistic way than a good ruler should. She wants to punish the family members who had nothing to do with the betrayals… kinda like Joffrey did to her after Ned’s ‘betrayal’ of the Lannisters. Way to pick good people to emulate, moron. She has the makings of a mini Cersei; the same kind of arrogant stupidity and bad judgement. I get so sick of listening to her and Cersei whine about no-one taking them seriously because they’re women. Tywin nailed it when talking to Cersei; people don’t listen to either of them because their ideas and observations are not very good. It’s as simple as that. And she is still susceptible to LF’s bullhockey. When she proves herself to be indifferent to LF’s machinations, I’ll stop thinking her a fool. In the meantime, it would be great if she’d give the whole ‘wah, no-one listens to me’ stuff a rest.

      As glad as I am the show is back, this felt like such a set-up ep. Nothing much happened, though I did love Dany’s emotional arrival home. And I can’t wait for Westeros to start recognising the power of the Dragon Queen.

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    161. I thought the show did a great job of portraying all sides of the Sansa/Jon debate until towards the end, when Jon made that dick comment about “So, I should listen to you?”

      Until then, it was:
      Sansa: They stood with the guy who flayed at will, killed our brother, burned our home, maimed the kid we were raised with and raped me
      Jon: We need every last man, woman and child to fight. Plus, I’m ending the circle of violence now.
      Umbers and Karstarks (Unspoken this episode, but always there): We are the north of the north. It’s us that deals with wildings first, not you jackholes. Cut us some slack.
      Wildings: Yeah, sorry about that, but we were running from something bad.

      The problem is, Jon is of the Wall, where you forgive a man who pledges loyalty, no matter what. Sansa is of King’s Landing now, where there is no forgiveness or forgetting. Neither are really of Winterfell any longer. Sansa has no concept of the Night King and Jon has no concept of Cersei. Maybe he glimpsed her back in Season 1, but she might as well be a figment to him.

      Sansa’s right in that Robb and Ned were idiots to trust. But it’s also true that if Robb had shown a bit more leniency to the Karstarks, and had Ned shown a bit more compassion for the scared Night’s Watch guys in the very beginning, we’d not be in this pickle now.

      What angers me a little is that the show put its thumb on the scale for Sansa with Jon’s dickish comment. And then again FOR Jon with making the Karstark and Umber heirs just kids (and one a girl)

      I wish Jon would have been a bit more harsh, as in: “Lord Umber. Lady Karstark. Thank you for your loyalty. We hope you will agree that a gesture on your part, say… 20 percent of your grain stores for the Watch and 5 able-bodied men to take the Black and serve would go a long way to helping us all move forward…”

      Also, and I know this isn’t popular round the Interwebs, but can we say…

      Sophie really isn’t up to par acting-wise for this.

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    162. Markus Stark,

      I believe he was including the Riverlands as a kingdom, which they are, effectively. They’re one of the eight major regions of Westeros, even if they weren’t independent at the time of Aegon’s Conquest.

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    163. ygritte: Jon was not acting quite himself. I like that he’s confident and decisive in front of the people, but when he and Sansa were alone a couple of things he said it’s like, huh? You get a title of King doesn’t mean your personality and mannerisms all of a sudden change lol. Maybe it’s a one-off we shall find out.

      I also really enjoyed seeing Jon as a king, lol. Even if he doesn’t have much confidence in himself, he looked very firm and resolute when adressing the Northern Lords.

      I think he was condescending to Sansa because she pissed him off. She still sees him as her brother instead of her king.
      He’s been looked down by people all his life because of his bastard status, so now that he’s king – by merit, not by birthright – he won’t let people step all over. He looked pretty pissed when she touched him.

      I hope he’ll keep his regal demeanor when he interacts with other characters.

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    164. Icewalker,

      Excellent! Can anyone talk to Sansa? Or Jon? I think Brienne & Davos might consider it. Sansa was wrong to disagree in public because it does undermine. Jon does need to listen more. I think both of them are trying to deal with the changes they have both gone through. They now seem to know one another’s stories as far as what’s happened to them while they were separated, but they haven’t yet processed the effect it has. I loved it that Sansa told Jon he was really good at ruling. Clearly all Sansa wants is input. And respect. What’s needed is respect on both sides. Jon is fierce and protective and he resents LF’s lurking presence and the fact that he’s always around Sansa. He still regards her as his younger sister and still thinks of her in the context of what he experienced when they were kids at Winterfell before Nedd and Robert made their disastrous bargain. At leas that’s my take on it. I think they’ll continue to bicker ,but things will settle down once Brann takes them all to school.

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    165. Ginevra: “Brevity is the soul of wit.” –Some witty dude

      “Brevity is the soul of wit.” was written by W. Shakespeare. And it is oh so very true in both humor and intelligence.

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    166. Mel,

      So if Alys and Ned Umber’s house is taken away from them, where do you presume they’ll live I wonder? If Jon punishes them, it’s going to breed resentment and bitterness. You don’t have to beat someone for them to be bitter. They’d be left begging for shelter, as no Northern house would take them in and be called traitors. Look at how Viserys and Dany had no home and they didn’t just sit around and accept it lol. At least Sansa had Winterfell to go to in season 1.

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    167. Markus Stark,

      The first most boring thing about GoT fandom is people whining about geography
      The second most boring thing is whining about people knowing stuff

      1) The Hound had to get medical help from somewhere. Word got around. Pod talks at bars. Littlefinger has prostitutes everywhere and they like Pod. Done. Bingo. Bango. Bongo.

      2) This is easier. A bajillion ships leave Essos, plus the entire power structure of Mereen (save Daario) leaves. PLUS, the one slaver was kept alive just so he could talk about Dany PLUS, there are spies/whisperers everywhere.

      I mean, get past it. You’ll enjoy the show more.

      As far as Arya, the purpose was also to rock the Lannister world. And all you book purists won’t shut up about Lady Stonebritches. She hung random Fryes all the time. This just consolidates it.

      I didn’t have a freaking clue who Ed Sheeran was before tonight, didn’t realize who he was at the time, and still have no real interest in knowing. Sounds like something British people need to figure out along with that Brexit thing.

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    168. WorfWWorfington,

      THIS:
      The problem is, Jon is of the Wall, where you forgive a man who pledges loyalty, no matter what. Sansa is of King’s Landing now, where there is no forgiveness or forgetting. Neither are really of Winterfell any longer. Sansa has no concept of the Night King and Jon has no concept of Cersei. Maybe he glimpsed her back in Season 1, but she might as well be a figment to him.

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    169. Check out George’s latest blog post…. one quote from Revelations 18:10. Mood: Enigmatic. No comments allowed. And one tag: ‘Song of Ice and Fire’.

      Plus he’s been saying how he’s been busy and pleased with work being done lately. I wouldn’t be surprised if they asked him to hold release until after the season.

      Side note: The Sam poop montage may have been one of the worst scenes in the history of the show. Not just cause it was gross and exceedingly long/overdone, but when has the show ever done a choppy cheesy high school editing job like that? This is a show of long, grand shots and camerawork. I can’t recall another scene that tried to play to a Wednesday night sitcom audience.

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    170. Markus Stark: Cersei knows that Dany named Tyrion as hand ? Who sent her a letter to tell her about that ? Euron and Cersei both know all the details about Dany : the fact that she has Dothraki, the fact that she’s sailing for Westeros with the Ironborn, etc…

      I mean, do they have an informant in Meereen ? Who is telling them all this ? It makes no sense.

      Markus Stark,

      Cersei has control of Varys’ little birds now, so it shouldn’t be too much of a stretch to think she could’ve obtained this information.

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    171. Doge of Benis:
      Ginevra,

      Sorry, but that’s literally the shittest, cheapest excuse. Even your magic and your creatures need some kind of in world logic to make sense and to remain grounded.

      To use magic to explain something that should be nonmagical is stupid, I agree. We accept that Arya could become a different and very specific girl in every way possible: different height, different skin tone, different facial structure, different skin quality, different pore quality, different body shape, different moles, different freckles, different smell, different hair length, different hair texture and thickness, and everything that goes with that person’s voice, accent, and personality. But to say that all of these magics suddenly stop working if she tries to become a dude seems illogical to me.

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    172. Mr Derp,

      So this means LF also knows Arya is still alive. Doesn’t seem like he shared that part of it, else why would Brienne & the Hound be fighting? If he did share it with Sansa, it seems like Sansa & Jon would both be aware.

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    173. Interesting that Robb punished Lord Karstark, whereas Jon showed mercy and pardoned Alys. He’s already doing the opposite of Robb. He’s also doing the opposite of Ned by working together with Wildlings (enemy factions). His moral code is more flexible despite some of the Nedisms he’s internalized.

      Now what I want to know is what will it take for HBO to hire Wigs by Vanity to make wigs for the show?

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    174. Drums pounding while a green-and-golden banner with a white elephant is raised atop the tallest tower

      Hello again everyone! The time has come and Lord Parramandas has officially returned to continue the journey and add new pages to the history writings. From what I’ve seen from this episode, I’m sure we have a hell of a journey ahead. Last year, I used to start this post with »it’s time for a brief review« but as the season progressed those writings became anything but brief and I’m sure writing 114 Memory Lane posts for LOST episodes during the year left its tollas well… so, no more »brief« reviews. For those who followed them last year, you know the formula and it’s no different this year. There is a lot I need to cover, so let us begin!

      ARYA: So, we got a »cold opening« in this season again. For me, it was pretty predictable outcome as soon as I saw lord Frey (which was of course Arya in disguise). So with one swoop, most of his sons and grandsons…well, died. I’m sure this is a scene that many of you cheered for Arya, BUT the scene was also quite disturbing for me. Sure, Freys deserved it but to think that Arya just performed a mass murder of dozens of people in a manner that was quite similar to Red Wedding… at this point, I cannot go past »it is wrong to answer one crime with another« and like I said above, the scene itself is quite unpleasant for me. Well, maybe that’s its purpose considering the second Arya scene on which I will focus a bit later. I wonder who is head of the house now… there were no children among them so I assume new lord Frey must be very young. Or maybe a lady… Also, I would personally more like to see House Frey destory itself in a »war for the lordship«.

      WINTERFELL: And here I come to the story, that has been discussed through the year in such an unpleasant manner that I sometimes wanted to leave WotW all together. Usually in the manner »Jon is a good guy and Sansa is selfish and she will be an ass to him« – well, I must say that in this scene, it is certainly not the case for me and I sense all Sophie’s interviews were very Littlefinger-biased. She’s not »on Littlefinger’s side« in this episode. She’s officially on Jon’s and she’s aware of LF’s sly nature. But still, the two siblings cannot do without their arguments. I must say I enjoyed their scenes a lot. Both stubborn in some way, but they both made some great points. So in a matter of speaking, there was a struggle what to do with Umbers and Karstarks. Sansa wanted their castles to be granted to other families while Jon was willing to pardon them and name new heirs according to bloodline. Who is right? Well, we can never be completely sure as that depends on heirs themselves but as Jon is the king, it was his word that prevailed. A young boy Ned became a new lord Umber and a young woman Alys became new lady Karstark.
      And then of course followed a funny argument between the siblings and I was like »Jon, you made a good point… no, Sansa, you made better now…. and now Jon again…« Really, the scene and the characters really got me in a very good mood. So different but yet so similar, both possessing the typical Nothern stubborness. And I cannot go past fact that Sansa praised Jon for his ruling. They are surely not »enemies« and there is family bond between them… but of course, a shadow of a snake looms above them both in a form of Littlefinger. That man will surely mean trouble. I wished Sansa good fortune in the wars to come in my S6 finale review and I will wish the same to her again, and to Jon as well. Stand together as a family instead as enemies for power struggle. They’re both among my top characters and I hope it stays that way

      KING’S LANDING: And now to another two of my top characters, also siblings. Cersei commited a purge in KL in previous episode and now, she was left with no firm allies, even Freys, and Jaime faced her with that fact. But as Ben Linus from LOST would say »I always have a plan« and so did Cersei, at least she thought that way. And this plan was forming an alliance with newly-made king Euron Greyjoy from Iron Islands. I got an impression in this episode that Euron has mental issues… I don’t know, his character gave me a bit of Ramsay vibe and he seems some sort of a hidden psychopath. In this particular episode, he proposed Cersei to marry him (Jaime’s face expression was priceless) and when she refused, he promised her a worthy gift. I don’t know but I have a feeling this gift will involve killing someone we know. So yes, he’s certainly dangerous.

      ARYA (PART 2): I described in first Arya part that I’m worried for her character but this second part gave me some hope. I will mention at this point, that Arya is a character I’m pretty neutral about. How would I say… I like several scenes, but I was never a big fan of the character. I somehow cannot warm up to her. BUT if there are more scenes like this one, it may change. So here, Arya met a bunch of Lannister soldiers in the forest (Ed Sheeran included). In any other season, the scene would probably end with all the soldiers being killed… but here, the soldiers seemed pretty nice men, offering Arya food and beer. Well, I think that’s the point of the scene… if House Lannister’s leaders are corrupt, that doesn’t mean every soldier in their service is bad. After all, they’re just people and maybe this represents that Arya may still not be too far gone. Maybe she will learn even more that the world is not »black and white« like she did with the Hound and the rest of the Faceless men.

      BROTHERHOOD: Speaking of Hound, he was traveling with the brotherhood towards North and they came across an abandoned cabin. I immediately recognized the place… it was where that kind farmer and his daughter Sally lived in S4. And Sandor was the person who stole their silver as he was sure they will be dead when the winter comes. And yes, they were dead in this episode, Sally in her father’s arms… two frozen corpses. Of course, Sandor buried them soon after, showing his character progression he achieved since S4. At this moment I will also mention that I love how the producers decided to keep Beric in the story. I’m sure this character can contribute a lot.

      OLDTOWN: Sam’s life in a Citadel is… well, not particulary pleasant. Transporting books in the library, emptying chamber pots, filling the bowls with stew, helping the archmaester dissect the corpses. I wouldn’t like to be in his place. When it comes to the story, the first important part is that he stole a couple books from the forbidden section in the library, learning about the hidden dragonstone mountain on the island called… well, Dragonstone. And secondly, he found Jorah Mormont in Oldtown, who was being isolated in a cell due to greyscale. I must say his state gradually became worse since S6. And moving back to first important thing, Sam mentioned he needed to inform Jon about dragonglass and I’m sure he just set the events in motion for Jon and Dany to meet up. I’m not that thrilled about this meeting though but I suspect it may happen in near future.
      DRAGONSTONE: Speaking of Dany, the team Targaryen (a silver queen, a dwarf, a eunuch soldier, a translator and a spider) arrived to Dragonstone, the place where Aegon started his invasion. Quite a strange feeling to see the fortress abandoned and a lone Stannis banner hanging in a throne chamber. Such a majestic fortress, but so isolated from the rest of the world. I really liked how Dany touched the ground when she disembarked, returning to the place where she was born. And now, they can begin… begin what? Well, that awaits for the next episode.

      The army of dead is marching (shown in post-prologue scene) and sooner or later, it will reach the Wall and find their way across it… or through it. But all that still awaits us. This episode set up the groundwork for the season, being more calm in pace, but reintroducing many characters in the process. I enjoyed all scenes and I can say I can proclaim this one as my second favorite premiere so far, just behind »Two Swords«. And now comes the lord’s verdict… on my ranklist, I think I will put it on rank 23 ahead of »No One« and behind »A Golden Crown« (both 9 rated episodes).
      So this is it! The journey has started again and I hope you enjoyed this episode as well. And if not… well, bad for you. With best regards from Lord Parramandas

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    175. Roz’s Ghost,

      I didn’t write the scene. I’m just saying it’s not unreasonable or illogical for Littlefinger to have heard about the fight between the Hound and Brienne. Period.

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    176. Shy Lady Dragon: And Jim Broadbent transfigurating into an armchair 😉

      Natch! When Bryan Cogman said that Tarly was no Potter and our maester was no Dumbledore, I said that he could be Slughorn, though.

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    177. It is soooo good to finally REALLY be back. I haven’t dared get anywhere near a fan site for months (other than a couple BRIEF visits here) because I didn’t want to be spoiled. I managed it, but it’s probably like a smoker coming off nicotine…it was agonizing…lol.

      First, Winter is Here, Finally! For a first episode I enjoyed MOST of it. I could have done with the pointless reiteration of the fact that Sam empties chamber pots and dishes out soup. I did think it was cute when he swiped the keys to get to the locked chamber. Boy is determined to find something. Almost was as shocked as him when Jorah reached through that door!

      As to Jon and Sansa, I thought it was tacky of her to try to take charge of the meeting, but I see both sides. Yes, the Karstarks and Umbers did betray the Starks, but when I saw who Jon wanted to pardon for their father’s sins, I got it…not to mention I agree that tearing about the North right now is not a smart play…On the other hand, he can’t just dismiss Cersei offhand…big mistake in my opinion.

      Speaking of Cersei after listening to her for two seconds with Jaime I said, “Mad Queen” aloud. The bond between the two of them frightens me because I honestly believe that his blind love for her is going to be the end of Jaime. Her interaction with Euron kind of fell flat for me, but he was as crazy as ever and so enjoyable…loved his line about “two hands.”

      The cold open was great. This one did not disappoint, David Bradley probably gave his best ever performance as Walder Frey! I thought it was a flashback at first. I can’t say I minded her ending the Frey’s, very strange family…haha.

      To see a glimmer of humanity in Arya was awesome. I was disappointed to find out she had been so close to home and chose to head South, meaning that revenge outweighs her love of family. By now she knows who is in charge at Winterfell and still she felt the need to kill Cersei before going home.

      I did like Edd at the wall. Classic look on his face when Bran started reeling off Hardhome and Fist of the First Men. Please don’t let anything happen to Edd! I’m pretty sure it’s going to, but I do love his character. Bran’s vision of FREAKING GIANTS startled the bejesus out of me..pretty sure the spiders ARE next.

      I liked Sansa’s “no nonsense” interaction with LF. I also like Brienne asking why he was still around and the pragmatic answer that they need him. Poor Tormund heading to Eastwatch and leaving Brienne behind. Opposites DO attract…eh?

      Poor Sandor…I knew the moment he said they weren’t wanted there in regards to the cabin, where they were and what came after was so well played out. From his seeing images in the flames to him burying the father and daughter it was so good. Perhaps the best scene of the entire show. Very well done!

      Last but not at all least was Dany’s return home. I liked the lack of dialogue. I could imagine what was going through her mind, touching the beach and the slow climb to the castle and that throne! Some may say the ending was trite, but her few words to me were just enough. Did anyone else notice the neat Dragon’s Head barrette holding back her hair at the crown of her head?

      Unfortunately, it drove home that the episode had flown by, that my anticipation of waiting so long was not dulled, and that with so few episodes it would leave me feeling unsatisfied at the end of the seven weeks. The hype has been real, more so because this was my first season being unsullied. Don’t know if I can do another, then again, so far I’m not sorry I did it!

      I’m so glad to be back and thanks Sue, as always, for your GREAT recap!!

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    178. Flayed Potatoes: Interesting that Robb punished Lord Karstark, whereas Jon showed mercy and pardoned Alys

      This isn’t a very good comparison.

      Rickard Karstark himself betrayed Robb Stark when decided to murder the Lannister hostages.

      Alys Karstark wasn’t the one who betrayed the Starks, It was her brother and head of the family, Harald.

      Robb punished Rickard for the mistake he made. Jon decided to not punish Alys because she wasn’t responsible for any mistakes her family made.

      Two very different scenarios.

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    179. KG,

      I wholeheartedly agree! More so, I’d like to point out that Sansa is the Lady of Winterfell. There were no issues with Lady Mormont speaking her mind, and even expressing dissent in a public meeting. Why anyone thought it was disrespectful or jealous for Sansa to do the same is beyond me. It was very apparent (to me at least) that she was offering her brother sound advice for his own benefit.

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    180. Loved last night. The feeling of excitement all day long as evening approached was just great. My only question: How long is a fortnight? Fake Walder (Arya) said that there have been two feasts within a fortnight. So after Arya killed Walder in last season’s finale, how much time would have passed before the events of last night? Did Arya “live” as Walder Frey for several weeks while waiting for all of the Frey’s to assemble? That’s basically what she would have had to do. The night that she slit his throat, she would have had to harvest his face and hide his body somewhere. Then assume his identity for as long as it took for all of the Frey’s to assemble. And I guess when you wear a face, you assume the entire identity? Voice, body size and shape, height, etc? Arya probable has nice cute girl hands, as opposed to Walder’s old, frail nasty liver-spotted hands. Everything would have to change, not just the face. I try not to think about it too much because there are so many holes in the logic, so I just go with it. But when you really think about it, it does not make much sense.

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    181. Jon refusing to listen to Sansa is just like he did when he refused to listen to half of the Nights Watch AND refused to explain to them why he decided to bring the Wildlings. The latter ended up getting him killed. However, Sansa shouldnt have questioned his authority and bickered with him publicly like that. You could see how everyone was thinking that she was undermining her king. Part of the reason I love having Tyrion as Dany’s adviser is because when he has to disagree with her, he always does it in private. Dany doesnt mind someone bickering with her and showing sarcasm as long as its done privately and Im sure the same could apply to Jon. However, Jon really does need to start considering other people’s opinions when he is making a decision. It doesnt mean he has to be a wimp and follow everything they say but he should at least listen and communicate. If Sansa hadnt challenged him on the spot about the Umbers, he wouldnt have bothered explain why he forgives the children to the rest of the lords and bannermen which could have ended him in the same path that he fell on with the Night’s Watch

      My other point is that I hope from now on, people wont use the excuse of Dany not listening to her advisers against her while they applaud Jon for doing the same. In fact, Dany has shown that shes more willing to listen to her advisers, even though she might disagree with them, than Jon who tends to be very stubborn with his decisions.

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    182. Vincent Stark:
      Whatever happened to “If I am ever a queen, I’ll make them love me?”

      Perhaps the soldiers who could have been “promoted” as lords of Last Hearth and Karhold in lieu of the Umbers and Karstarks would have loved whoever rewarded their merits and loyalty. 😉

      Davos and Brienne are prime examples of that visceral form of allegiance; they were granted a rank, a degree of recognition and respect by Stannis and Renly, respectively, that no one had ever cared to show them before and they both remained sincere, faithful and loyal til the very end, in a way very few highborns have proven themselves able to be.

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    183. Sean C.,

      Yes, but when we talk about the Seven Kingdoms, we mean the North, the Vale, Dorne, the Reach, the Westerlands, the Stormlands, and the Iron Islands.

      And the Riverlands were never really independent at any time in their history, as far as I can remember (small First Men kingdoms being excluded).

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    184. Jenny,

      Funny how nobody has an issue with Dany telling her council not to undermine her, but they have an issue with Jon telling his council the same thing.

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    185. Markus Stark,

      The Riverlands was an independent kingdom for the bulk of the history of Westeros. It was only annexed by the Stormlands 300 years before the Conquest, and then taken by the Ironborn 200 years after that. For the remaining 7000+ years, it was its own kingdom.

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    186. I loved every single second of this episode, my girl Arya is everything. If the episode was only that opening scene I would have been satisfied (I am that easy to please). And though I really can’t with Sansa she did make some sense (I did point few fingers at her and Littlefinger) and … Lady Mormont on knitting … Men buns …I can’t decide who I love more the Hound or Arya (my favorite duo).
      And also kudos to costume department (wigs are not included) all costumes are so rich and powerful.
      Love love love

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    187. Vincent Stark,

      He’s pretty impressive as a king so far. Much different than the unsure, subdued Jon we got used to. And yeah I’m sure he will keep the demeanor, at least Kit alluded to something like that during recent interviews.

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    188. Lord Parramandas,

      You’re right about Arya, she’s become a psychopath. She’s no better than the men she killed.

      Actually, she’s worse. The men she killed had no choice. Walder told them to murder Robb and his men, so they did it. This is a feudal society. You can’t say “No, sorry, that’s immoral”. They had no choice.

      But Arya did have a choice. She chose to kill dozens of men, who have families who will now mourn them. She’s a mass murderer and a revenge-obsessed lunatic. I can’t root for her anymore.

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    189. Flayed Potatoes,

      I’ve always felt the response from Robb should have been.. “Ok, Rickard, you want to kill Lannisters? The Karstarks will be the first wave against Casterly Rock. Kill as many as you can.”

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    190. Flayed Potatoes,
      Jon had every right to tell Sansa to shut the hell up.

      If there is a problem, I would guess it has more to do with the impression that the public announcement was the first time anyone had ever heard of Jon’s decisions, be it forgiving the Umbers/Karstarks or send the Free Folk to man the Wall. The presumptive members of Jon’s so-far-hypothetical small council (Davos, Sansa, Brienne, Lyanna, Tormund and perhaps Lord Royce) seemed, to me, just as ignorant and / or surprised as everyone else which somewhat nullifies the very point of having a small council.

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    191. Mista C,

      Once you accept that skin taken from a corpse can temporarily bond to someone else so perfectly that it looks natural, every other aspect of the process becomes equally explainable as ‘magic’.

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    192. Hello,

      New here. Well, actually, longtime lurker, so not really new, but first time posting, so… Stalker announcing herself, perhaps?

      Anyway, one question – why has nobody considered that what Sansa had in mind for the kids was more similar to a Theon Greyjoy deal? I think it’s pretty fair to say that (all based on show, I read the books years ago and won’t re-read them until we have a realistic chance of getting the next one, might have forgotten a great deal) Theon would’ve grown up to be a bit of an ass if left with the rest of the Greyjoys. The point was partly to have the Ironborn heir loyal to the Starks (and the king) and so removing him from those who had agreed to conspire against the king, wasn’t it?

      Theon was also doing pretty okay with that, all things considered, until he went back and under the influence of his daddy. Not that he hasn’t paid for it and redeemed himself a hundred times, mind you. Point is, sending those kids back to the care of the very people who likely supported their lords’ decisions would end in a more Ironborn-like disposition and tendency to betray, I think. I mean, there’s a difference with the Mormonts not paying for Jorah’s sins – Jorah was exiled, and his family accepted that and lived with it. We have no real reason to assume that Ned and Sansa-clone would go back and their houses would have that kind of acceptance of the situation.

      The best thing, really, would’ve been to take them out of their houses’ environment and have them placed as wards under more loyal houses, so they wouldn’t go back and grow up with ‘they killed your father and your uncles and your everybody’ whispered in their ears. I mean, despite all the advantages Theon got, he still betrayed the Starks the moment he was back where people were not loyal to the Starks. What’s to say that growing up with possibly people who feel similarly towards the Starks would make other-Ned and Sansa-clone any better than that? Being summoned to be judged in front of a hundred lords who hated their fathers now (How could they not go? How many people were there to protect them if they chose not to, and justice came to them? Not much of a choice there), and then being told to swear loyalty in front of them – that’s not exactly the stuff undying loyalty is made of. That could also be seen as horrible humiliation of terrified kids.

      Of course, I know that comparing these houses of the North to the Ironborn isn’t like to like at all, but maybe that betrayal was the turning point from which there can be no return. They couldn’t have made that decision without the support of many people of the houses. Or could they? I just don’t think that sweeping that betrayal under the carpet because ‘The North’ and their loyalty, is practical. Sometimes, once things change, they cannot change back. It’s not like they just backed somebody against the Starks or didn’t show up when called – one house literally handed Rickon over to the Boltons, and everybody knew about Ramsay – and his hobbies. Sending the heirs to the houses back to be nurtured and tutored by the remaining advisors who presumably advised all of that? How is that a good idea? I would have had them placed as wards under others, and those castles and lands placed under a loyal lord’s stewardship, at least. How else can you root out all those who were in favour of the betrayal? Jon seems so naive for somebody who’s even died once!

      Of course, this will all be irrelevant if they all end up being frozen by the WW and it ends in eternal winter. And I’m not the kitten, so… I mean KiTN. KiTN. I know nothing.

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    193. I have a question. It’s kind of weird.

      How do the maesters at the Citadel deal with objects touched by patients with Greyscale? Do they disinfect them? What do they use to stop the disease from spreading to other people and how do they do that? Jorah touched that bowl he ate from and it already had stone stuff on it.

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    194. Winter came for the Freys.

      Jon killed the boy; a man was born.

      Sansa and LF: her telling him it wasn’t necessary to seize the final word, that she assumed it would be clever, was brilliant…for her.

      Jaime, Cersei, Euron: This scene lets us know that everyone seems caught up with current events. Good. I’m looking forward to more from these folks.

      Funny montage of the glamorous life for Sam, but if I’m being honest, I will fast forward through that scene during future viewings.

      I wish I’d seen Ghost.

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    195. Flayed Potatoes:
      I have a question. It’s kind of weird.

      How do the maesters at the Citadel deal with objects touched by patients with Greyscale? Do they disinfect them? What do they use to stop the disease from spreading to other people and how do they do that? Jorah touched that bowl he ate from and it already had stone stuff on it.

      It looked like Sam had gloves on…

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    196. Enjoyed Arya and the Frey murders. We see that there is still some modicum of justice in Arya – not everyone she meets will die, but there’s still that list.

      Loved Sandor Clegane’s lessons-learned part of the episode. We’ve known for a long time that he is not all one thing (he saved Sansa very early on).

      Lots of foreshadowing here: chills when Sansa says she learned a lot from Cirsei. Did she also learn from Geoffrey, Littlefinger, and her ex, Ramsay – none of her “mentors” bode well for Sansa’s future; the Mountain and Euron, more to come – shades of Oberyn Martell; Jaime once again facing someone mad, but now he has little to fight with/for (left his balls with his hand apparently).

      Sam: What can I say . . . yuck, and I hope we don’t have to see that again. Onward.

      Jon: Okay, I’ll say it, “I miss Ghost.” If you look back at prior seasons, Jon’s attitude with Sansa is a bit like Ned’s attitude with Catelyn, respectful but distainful at the same time. I think his attitude will take some adjusting when he meets his aunt Daenerys.

      I look forward to much more from Tyrion – he is the first star listed always, so I think there’s much more to come. I always harken back to Varys’s words: “Power resides where men believe it resides. It’s a trick, a shadow on the wall, and a very small man can cast a very large shadow.” Am I the only one who thinks this may be the most important foreshadowing of all?

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    197. Markus Stark,

      I have mixed feelings about Arya and I generally feel uncomfortable when main characters commit murders. And this Frey scene is not something I would cheer… I’m sure many of those men were not “evil” in a sense.

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    198. I thought Jorah’s arm looked burnt. If so, could that be an experiment to cure greyscale?

      In the books there are two characters with burnt appendages that the author won’t let us forget about;
      Jon’s burnt hand and Vicatarian’s burnt arm.
      If there’s some significance to this, and why wouldn’t there be since the author keeps bringing it up, could the show be taking that plot line and applying it to Jorah?

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    199. In my opinion, it is becoming pretty soapy like, which doesn’t necessarily mean bad though. For me, the grounded realism set in a fantasy world from the earlier seasons is slowly giving way to predictable plot points, dialogue, and character development. And they are just shrugging their shoulders at some of the more difficult things to explain, like how Arya suddenly changes her height and entire bone structure to become Walder, and then immediately goes back to her normal height and bone structure upon removing his face for example. It’s okay if they’ve made the decision to just say “magic”, but it’s also not unreasonable to be curious how this was accomplished either.

      I think the scenes with the Brotherhood and the Hound were the best of the episode and felt much more like the earlier seasons of this adaptation.

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    200. Erica,

      Right, but they still have to disinfect the gloves and the bowl Jorah ate from to avoid contamination. How do they do that? For that matter, if Sam touches the infected bowl with his gloves, are the gloves now infected too? The bowl already had greyscale on it. How do they remove it and what potions do they use?

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    201. I don’t object to Sansa speaking her mind derisively or otherwise. I don’t object to her offering dissenting viewpoints in the course of public discourse. I find annoying her lack of self-awareness. Robb and Ned did make huge mistakes as well as many others. There are many different ways to proceed in defending/ruling the North and all viewpoints should be analyzed and considered. However, Sansa’s reputation for impulsive and selfish mistakes does precede her (see the inciting incidents of the story itself). Does Sansa want to be better or does she just want have a shot at behaving/ruling just like Cersei and others. I hold out hope that she is just operating in an antagonistic way to lure and manipulate Baelish. Otherwise she would have learned nothing and become the most annoying character trajectory of the whole series.

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    202. Solid episode overall.

      Arya is a badass, let her be a badass. Sansa and Jon are both learning to rule, they’ll make some mistakes.

      What I really loved about the episode were the little callouts and book tie-ins… the picture of the catspaw dagger, the Hound digging graves, etc. Some fan service for sure but it made the episode fun in my opinion.

      My first thought of the Arya – Lannister soldier scene is that them talking about their families will be what changes Arya’s mind and causes her to go home. We know she ends up in the north from the teasers showing her in snowy locales.

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    203. I hate so much what has been done to Sansa as a character in the show. They have stripped her of everything that made her admirable in the books, her compassion, empathy, hope, faith and amazing ability to glean any bit of happiness and enjoyment she can out of a terrible situation. That scene with Sansa advocating for the punishment of those children totally goes against everything Sansa is about in the books. The defining moments of Sansa’s character are all to do with kindness, mercy and compassion, she literally inspires men through her merciful nature; see Sandor Clegane and Lancel Lannister… hell, even Tyrion admits it. “If I’m ever a queen, I’ll make them love me”, Sansa’s thoughts after Cersei tells her that the only real way to rule is through fear. Sansa in the books is the anti-Cersei, she doesn’t respect or admire Cersei’s politics at all! Yet the show makes out that she does… ugh! Why? Why can’t we have just one main female character who is sweet and gentle and non-violent? Why do they all have to be the same?

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    204. Boudica,

      Boom. And as already mentioned, Jon found a way to casually slip in, “Weeeellll, in the past I’ve always executed people who went against me, but . . .” I mean, those kids were quaking in their boots when Jon asked them to step forward.

      I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the Jon/Sansa dynamic in this episode, and it really goes to show that context and execution is everything. I expected to be annoyed, but their dynamic came across as much more balanced than last season, and the conflict was reasonable and understandable. I actually saw where both of them were coming from, even if I think that Jon ultimately made the correct call with the Umber and Karstark kids. In fact, what Sansa seems to be missing is that Jon pointed out that he was actually going AGAINST what Ned would have done by giving them mercy as opposed to following Ned’s example by executing anyone who betrayed or disobeyed him, as he had at the Wall. Robb was following Ned’s example when he executed Karstark for going behind his back, and look where that got him. Jon was actually veering away from Ned’s teachings by allowing the new generation to re-pledge their allegiance to house Stark. “I have tried to live by his example, BUT…” While Jon still values his “father’s” teachings, he actually isn’t following Ned’s rulebook here.

      That said, Sansa also has a point that Jon should generally aspire to be smarter and more adaptable than Ned and Robb, and listening to her insights can offer a counterbalance to his own instincts and experiences, since hers are so vastly different. Likewise, Sansa might consider taking Jon’s own warnings about the army of the dead more seriously. She’s right to point out that Cersei is relentless, while Jon’s right to point out that the Night King is the more pressing threat with or without the Wall. Plus, Cersei herself told Joffrey in Season 1 that attacking the north during winter with a southern army would be suicide, which Jon has essentially echoed. What should the north do right now beyond keep an eye on her and do some contingency planning? I think the two of them can get to a point where they can actually work really well together, but they just need to smooth out a few wrinkles. Jon can consult with her and Davos on important matters before meetings, and Sansa can present her reservations to Jon in private rather than publicly undermining him. Still, what I saw last night was enough to convince me that they ultimately have one another’s backs, despite the Starkbowl nonsense that D&D have been peddling.

      As for the rest of the episode, probably my favorite opener since Two Swords. Loved the cold open, loved all things Tormund, and can’t wait to see more of the BwoB. I found myself getting choked up at Dany’s arrival – it’s been such a long time coming! And the focus on all the dragon engravings really drove the point home that while Dany has ruled from other seats, this is where she has always belonged. I can’t wait to see how the rest plays out.

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    205. Flayed Potatoes:
      Interesting that Robb punished Lord Karstark, whereas Jon showed mercy and pardoned Alys. He’s already doing the opposite of Robb. He’s also doing the opposite of Ned by working together with Wildlings (enemy factions). His moral code is more flexible despite some of the Nedisms he’s internalized.

      Now what I want to know is what will it take for HBO to hire Wigs by Vanity to make wigs for the show?

      He’s the perfect balance of justice (reminding all how he chopped off the heads of and hanged actual traitors) and mercy (forgiving those whose family are traitors). The perfect balance of ice (logic) and fire (emotion), innit?

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    206. Flayed Potatoes:
      Ginevra,

      Episode 1 Sam was Neville Longbottom mixed with Harry mixed with Mr. Filch. 😀

      Harry Potter comparisons still stand haha

      And is Ginny (Ginevra) actually Gilly? Just swap the Ns and Ls! Ironically, my real name is LN, phonetically speaking. I’m so excited that I can read now so that I can find dragonsteel stashes, horn spells, and how to train a dragon!

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    207. Flayed Potatoes:
      I have a question. It’s kind of weird.

      How do the maesters at the Citadel deal with objects touched by patients with Greyscale? Do they disinfect them? What do they use to stop the disease from spreading to other people and how do they do that? Jorah touched that bowl he ate from and it already had stone stuff on it.

      This is a different world, of course, but we didn’t learn about the importance of even washing our hands with respect to disease until 1847! Interestingly, that discovery was made by Semmelweis, which looks a bit like Samwell.

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    208. Isabelle: Jon’s way of doing things also puts him in direct contrast with Cersei and other Southerners, who’d be only too happy to strip a family of its home. It’s a tactic that works well in the North. I hope they’ll show us how how far it takes him moving forwards, and what impact it has on others used to a more ruthless leader. It probably makes a refreshing change…as long as it’s paired with advisors who keep the daggers away.

      It really isn’t a Northern tactic.

      You have made some good points, so this isn’t completely directed at you alone it is more in general.

      It is just interesting how people automatically assume Jon is making the wrong decision and Sansa is making the much more southern poltical clever decision, simply because she is Sansa, while in reality she hasn’t made any earth shattering poltical observations yet, I guess the Cersei one was good.

      It is clear this is a strategy that Tywin advocates, and perhaps even more interesting who else forgive people who swore fealty to him?

      Aegon the Conqueror, this is exactly the same thing Aegon the Conqueror did. So no it isn’t very southern to just take land away, when people are prepared to bend the knee.

      Arya’s Cat: I DESERVE a seat at the High Council table, not just as your sister, but as someone who has as much to offer as Davos or Tormund or anyone else. And speaking of, we really need a High Council to hash things out beforehand, so we don’t have a repeat of today’s very public disagreement.

      The North doesn’t have a high council and hands. Sansa needs to get with the Northern way, she isn’t in the South any longer all she has to do is follow protocol.

      Lord of Coffee: LOL! Yeah, you pretty much described my thoughts exactly. I normally stay out of the Sansa vs Jon debates, but in that scene I think she was right in every way. All the Lords and Ladies there are free to openly challenge King Jon but Sansa, the Lady of Winterfell, can’t? C’mon Jon! And she is right about rewarding loyalty. I can see not punishing Houses that didn’t support Jon but also didn’t fight against him. But the Umbers and Karstarks threw in with the Boltons specifically to destroy the remaining Starks. There should be serious repercussions for that. And why shouldn’t House Mormont, for example, get a larger chunk of land for their support of Jon?

      All of the Ladies and Lords are free to air their opinions that is how the North works.

      Until the King has decided to rule on the matter. Jon was making a judgement at that point. Sansa didn’t just interpret once and say what she wanted to say and be done with it, she interrupted him four times while he was trying to render a judgement, and started up an argument right there. In the Nights Watch your head can be chopped off for that. What would have happened if someone had done that with Tywin?

      Giving land away is not common practice it is actually quite rare. Armies fought against Aegon the Conqueror and he give them their lands back when they kneeled. Tywin give people lands back when they kneeled.

      It isn’t so simple to just give land away. The Mormons had 62 men before the battle of the bastards, will they actually have the manpower to run a much bigger castle now. The servants and the remaining men in the castle might object then you might get sieges. If you give that land to Wildlings the rest of the North will object, if you give that land to Lords of the Vale or to Littlefinger the rest of the North will object. You are just creating more problems at a time when you can’t afford it.

      The men who betrayed the Starks are dead. If you punish these children you are just giving them a reason to rebel against you at some point. There are so many examples that prove this point I am surprised people really can’t see it.

      Look at Theon he was treated fantastically, but yet he still rebelled against the Starks, his actions caused unrecoverable damage to the Starks. If you take these children’s lands what’s to stop them from starting a rebellion against you in 10 year’s time? By taking their land away you are giving them a reason to hate you in the future, and to rebel against you in the future. This is why this is not a popular tactic to start off with.

      Think of it from a Frey or Lannister or Bolton point of view. Sansa and Arya has suffered at their hands and were punished, while they were just innocent children. And they came back and took their revenge. All of these actions of punishing children and taking away lands just leads to a cycle of violence, an eye for an eye. It helps if someone somewhere along the line can make a better decision and break these cycles. Right now if you were a Lannister, Frey or a Bolton you would think you made a big mistake to keep any Stark alive. That is why you either have to show mercy or you have to kill a whole house out. There isn’t much of a middle ground.

      If you want to punish House Karstark and House Umber you have to kill all of the members from that house. As Jon just said the punishment for treason is death. If you punish them in any other way you are just creating monsters for the future. The whole story is based around this concept. Dany is invading Westeros because her lands were taken from her.

      This what the Hound and the whole Broken man speech has always been about.

      Working together and offering some forgiveness is also exactly what is needed for the Long Night, at some point you are going to have to work with people who have betrayed you. It is not just the nice human beings that will be fighting in the great war.

      There is a time and a place for arguments. Sansa is misusing the fact that Jon is her brother, and she is constantly trying to stamp her authority on him or show him up or something, I honestly don’t understand what her strategy is, she is suppose to be able to read people.

      There is no reason why she should even be an advisor for him, it is clear that she doesn’t believe in White Walkers so how can she be trusted as an advisor if she can’t see the whole picture? It is interesting how even the viewers ignores the White Walkers and still think poltics of the south is more important, than the White Walkers. It will be interesting to see what will happen when Bran arrives in Winterfell.

      Thank goodness Jon will be leaving Winterfell soon!

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    209. Ginevra,

      It’s almost like…. he is a song of ice and fire 😛

      How he dealt with Mel was also another balance of justice and mercy.

      Ginevra,

      I’m so happy for you Inspector Ginevra <3 You better find loads of information.

      Samwell confirmed as every inventor/scientist/wizard/doctor ever!

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    210. Arya’s Cat:

      It’s like the writers gave [Sansa] some valid points to make, and then had her make them in the worst possible way.

      I agree – and doesn’t watching it make you want to tear your hair out!

      There’s just not much give-and-take with her right now. It’s all or nothing: Jon’s a monstrous tyrant or a weak know-nothing for her to use as a mouthpiece. The fact that neither of those apply seems to be difficult for her to accept, frankly understandable considering the trauma she’s been through. I’m sure Jon’s last memories of her as a spoiled little sister aren’t helping him, either. They’d better find a more nuanced middle ground as they’ve the potential to be each other’s greatest allies. They certainly can’t afford to be without each other.

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    211. LatrineDiggerBrian,

      To make matters worse, we were never told how Arya acquired the magic to mimic someone’s voice or truly become someone else outside of putting on a mask that she cut off someone’s face. D & D majorly dropped the ball to the end of the House of B & W storyline.

      At some point, you just have to go with “it’s magic” and accept it, particularly on a show that has already given you ice zombies, shadow assassins, dragons and multiple people coming back from the dead. This show is not- and never has been- a font of realism, even if it is admittedly more grounded than some fantasy series are. IMO, it’s more intriguing that we DON’T know how the Faceless Men do what they do; a more detailed explanation may go straight into “Master Qui-Gon? What are midichlorians?” territory.

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    212. Elli:
      My one cent on the Jon & Sansa interaction. They were both right and Jon was a little bit more right.It looked like John gained more respect from the other lords by showing mercy over punishment.It’s not like those kids weremajor influences in their families joining up with Ramsey.
      Wasn’t Jon’s issue with Sansa “undermining” him is that she did it in public, not that she disagreed with him? It makes them both look bad if they are not showing a united front. Yes, she learned fromher mother how to speak her mind intelligently , but I don’t think Cat would openly disagree with Ned in front of a meeting of lords?

      I agree with all of this.

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    213. Re Jon and Sansa

      Jon is holding court, as we have seen with some KL scenes involving Joffrey marrying Marge instead of Joffrey etc, it is often theatre. As we saw with Ned execution public disagreement is muted between family members

      Can disagree and discuss in private but ’tis not a good thing to publicly dispute publicly, look at Janos Slynt for example

      Arya seems to be handed a very quick version of what BwB under LS is planning and it goes a long way to confirming my theory that the Freys get Castamered. We are left to “cheer” for Arya here but I think there is a theme GRRM is exploring there that the cycle of revenge and counter-revenge leads to heinous war crimes etc

      So from this perspective it is interesting to see Jons “stupid” political decision of breaking the cycle with the Karstarks and Umbers

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    214. Hello. As an avid book reader who pays more attention to the conflict of the human heart in both books and show, I admit I am not as knowledgeable as some are with a lot of this other political, as well as supernatural goings on. My take on episode one is coming from a different place than some others. I basically ignore subreddit leaks, and my only clue ins come from this site, as well as writer’s interviews, actors comments and so on. So I guess I am unsullied to some. But anyway, when I saw Varys with Danys group, the 1st thing I am wondering is, did he pledge his loyalty to her? From what I remember about him, isn’t he about peace and all that stuff? I just look at him, and I see a person who can be a crack in her armor. I am concerned here. Dany wants to conquer the 7 kingdoms, and she feels she was born to rule the 7 kingdoms. But is she really ruling JUST for the sake of the people, or does she want power too? Dany is the conqueror and the savoir. Based on the house of the undying prophesy, I think she chooses savior in the end. Her true destiny lies beyond that wall, at least for now. Now on to Arya. My concern for her is basically that I notice when people are clearly kind (Lannister soldiers, Lady Crane) the assassin doesn’t come out. What worries me is what if she misjudges someone and actually does physical harm to an innocent person? I hope she meets up with Jon this season since I see him as her connection to her old self. If she doesn’t, then I am a bit uneasy. On to Sansa, I have an idea of her story this season since during a panel last summer, (and I was quite surprised about this) a show writer, Bryan cogman, actually gave it away without giving any details. I haven’t been able to find the video, and then all this other information came out so it got lost in the shuffle somewhere. She does remind me of both Little Finger and Cersei, but with a bit of her heart still intact. As far as the Karstarks go, I would side with Jon on this but Sansa made some valid points as well. I am not sure of the long term consequences of his decision, but it is possible that Jon’s support from northern lords might weaken in the long run, but maybe not, who knows. Sansa is warning Jon about Ned and Rob for a reason, I believe. As of now, he is safe from Cersei since he is in the north so I am not worried. But GOT is a show of foreshadowing, and Sansa would NOT be bringing up Ned and Rob unless there is a reason on the show. I can’t even watch Jaime right now since it makes me sick that he is still with Cersei. The hound is clearly a very important character and I am enjoying his redemption arc so much. Those are just some of might thoughts.

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    215. 3 Biggish questions coming out of it for me

      1. What’s happened with Edmure and Riverrun and the rest of the Tully’s?

      My book theory is Sansa becomes based in the Riverlands, Harrenhall specifically but the show runs the risk of doing a Dorne with the Riverlands and leaving a wee bit of a vacuum and illogical storyline

      2. Also, what happens to the Dreadfort, that can be given away as a political reward?

      At the very least those Vale forces shivering in tents on the outskirts of Winterfell can base themselves there…

      3. It’s interesting in her little map talk with Jaimie that Cersei didn’t discuss LF, Robert Arryn and their pre KitN moment defection to Stark cause that LF mentioned he declared on the assumption the North would rally around Sansa (the RL would and if they had kept Blackfish alive it could have been a plot but anyway…)

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    216. Elli,

      Makes you wonder if Sansa knew that they were kids. Or did she just not care. The way they shot the scene, it was a reveal that they were in fact children when they stepped out of the crowd to address Jon Snow. So, was it egg on face time for Sansa, or would she dump them into poverty and lack of protection and basic necessities anyhow?

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    217. Stoneheart:
      To those of you who have read the leaks:

      Are you feeling as awful as I am for being spoiled? any tips for getting over myself? 🙁

      I can’t speak for those who read the leak. I can say, however, that as soon as I found out that the entire Season 7 outline had been leaked, I immediately stopped following all the GoT spoiler sites and actively tried to avoid as much spoilers as I could.

      I’m glad I did.

      I remember reading the Reddit spoilers about the Battle of the Bastards, and wishing I hadn’t. I do think that because I had spoiled myself rotten about Season 6, I didn’t enjoy it as much as I could’ve. That’s why I decided to avoid all S7 (and S8) spoilers.

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    218. Flayed Potatoes,

      I imagine that when it comes to diseases that they know to be contagious they burn certain things that have been in contact with carriers, such as bedding and clothing.

      Other things, like bowls and cutlery, they might disinfect by boiling them.

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    219. Markus Stark: You’re right about Arya, she’s become a psychopath. She’s no better than the men she killed.

      If we use such loaded terms, it’d be best to use them correctly. Arya isn’t a psychopath, technically speaking.

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    220. WorfWWorfington:
      Markus Stark,

      I didn’t have a freaking clue who Ed Sheeran was before tonight, didn’t realize who he was at the time, and still have no real interest in knowing. Sounds like something British people need to figure out along with that Brexit thing.

      Me neither (and I’m a Brit) until a few months ago when WotW mentioned he had a cameo in this season. I hope that was the only one – I wasn’t that impressed 😉

      I believe it was Maisey Williams (Arya) who requested to the show runners for Ed Sheeran to appear on the show as she’s one of his fans.

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    221. Ghost Lunch: 3. It’s interesting in her little map talk with Jaimie that Cersei didn’t discuss LF, Robert Arryn and their pre KitN moment defection to Stark cause that LF mentioned he declared on the assumption the North would rally around Sansa (the RL would and if they had kept Blackfish alive it could have been a plot but anyway…)

      I’m sure they’ll get round to discussing Littlefinger eventually.

      Cersei may still consider him to be on her side. She may even be in contact with him, still plotting for him to take the North on her behalf.

      There’s no way Littlefinger has stopped playing both sides of the fence just yet.

      They probably didn’t have Cersei mention Littlefinger because they don’t want to give away any hints about where his loyalties currently lie.

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    222. Loved seeing Arya having a giggle, and seeming happy.

      I found it really interesting that Ed Sheeran was singing “Hands of Good are always cold but a woman’s hands are warm”; Wasn’t that song about Tyrion and Shae only in the books? And yet it’s included in a scene where Arya mentions killing Cersei 🤚😵

      I feel Arya has used her FM skills enough now, if she took out Cersei by day posing as Jaime, it’d just be too repetitive. So I’m guessing Jaime will indeed be the Valonquar..

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    223. Great review

      After a night to process and read through comments etc, I have a few more thoughts (of course) Okay maybe a lot more lol

      I’m noticing a theme of lessons learned in this first episode-specifically with Arya, Jon and Sansa.

      Arya from the faceless men AND her time as Tywin’s cup bearer-that’s all through that opening scene. Just replace lion with wolf and the sheep are still there. Also Tywin erased an entire line for a lot less than the Frey’s did to the Starks at the Red Wedding. I think every show watcher cheered at their destruction-because there is nothing good about the family of the late Walder Frey and never has been. (PS who will rule the Twins now? Strategically great location. I could see Bronn-if he survives-but I guess at this point it doesn’t matter what with winter and the Night King) Also wondering if Edmure is going to die in prison or if “his wife” will release him since Arya didn’t kill the women.

      Arya 2.0 Her soldier scene-that entire scene was necessary for watchers to feel a little hope about the future, since as far as I can remember, we’ve never had a group of soldiers by a fire be anything but vulgar, violent and rapey. These are all young, sweet souls who are tired of fighting and want to go home to their families for winter-and Arya showed a sweetness that I’ve only seen with Lady Crane since she left Gendry (also-moment of ship-hoping they asked if she was old enough to drink to establish that she’s old enough to romance Gendry before the final battle lol What? I can dream)
      PS-Sheeran singing a song from the books was awesome! I knew I recognized it!

      Jon and Sansa-everyone is arguing about this and I do have personal preferences as far as the siblings go, but to be fair they did both have good points and if they could find a way to communicate more effectively-they’d be a great team since he has all the battle, commanding skills and she has intimate knowledge of most of their enemies.

      My point is this is not a KL game and it’s not season 1.
      Jon doesn’t care about his dynasty or rule, he cares about leading and protecting the living from that nightmare of dead that I’m sure he sees every time he closes his eyes.
      Hell, after the traitors of night’s watch killed LC Mormont and his own brother’s turned against Jon–he could have turned hard-but he didn’t. He chose another path. He didn’t execute Mel, he allowed Sansa to punish/kill Ramsay, and he won’t punish children for their father’s behavior the way the Starks-particularly Sansa-was treated after Ned and Robb. It’s part of his character and the mark of a great leader tbh. Maybe not a long-lived leader-some might argue-but a great one.

      Sansa…she was horribly abused, mentally and physically for years. She saw cruel power and evil machinations and violence winning every time. She was forced to be a victim and a witness again and again. I’m proud of her sharp remarks to LF in the episode. I do think she’s had some growth spurts but she’s lacking in empathy (which might return once her younger siblings arrive)
      I feel like she’s in this dysfunctional loop with Jon though-sort of putting other people’s sins on him-then feeling bad about it and praising him.
      examples:
      -I’m lying to you about LF offering aid and intel… Look Jon I made you a jacket like Dad’s
      -I lied about us not having enough men for BoB and tons of people died because of it…I’m sorry, I totally think of you as a Stark and you can take the big bedroom.
      -I’m passively aggressively picturing you as Joffrey…No but really you’re a great leader and everyone likes you.

      See what I mean? Sansa might be fighting her lying, conniving lessons because she’s home and loved, but it’s still there. Hopefully, like Arya with the killing, she’ll use her powers for good. But I doubt her and Jon will ever be bffs.

      Sam- I LOVED seeing Oldtown but the poop soup cycle was way too long lol. Best thing about that time was BOOKS and JORAH!

      Jaime has learned no lessons–I still want book Jaime. There is no reason for him to still be there. None. On the romantic side? She’s the damn queen right? Why didn’t she proclaim him her consort or something? The Targs did it, and she has the Mountain and more wildfire caches-what does she care? She’s clearly over their lifetime love affair, so what? Does he think he can keep her under control? *argh* I just want Jaime to go find Brienne and do some good with someone who actually cares about him.

      Edd, Meera and Bran–too short, but full of awesome. Anytime Edd is still alive, I’m good. Also, Meera can finally take a load off and eat something that isn’t moss or warm bunny blood.

      Best for last-The Hound. Sandor Clegane-fire prophet and chicken eater. I love him facing his past and making amends. I always saw his kindness. His protection of Sansa, his protection-despite kidnapping-of Arya. His affection for Brother Ray. But now he’s facing his sins and laying them to rest, and going on a quest to protect everyone else. Oh and he’s like a fire-watching font of specific walking dead info-so there’s that.

      I think this was a great start to a season I’m starting to suspect might be epic.

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    224. Regarding the official video commentary on the homecoming, Tyrion is smitten!!!!

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYgPcLk4VSw

      Tyrion is finding his footing in the role of HotQ… That relationship is – he’s not just an advisor; it runs deeper than that. He’s not being a Hand to a family member like he was to Joffery or anybody – it’s somebody new. And, to be honest, a woman, and that creates some complications which I find very, very lovely to play out, especially with Emilia.

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    225. Mista C:
      My only question: How long is a fortnight? Fake Walder (Arya) said that there have been two feasts within a fortnight. So after Arya killed Walder in last season’s finale, how much time would have passed before the events of last night? Did Arya “live” as Walder Frey for several weeks while waiting for all of the Frey’s to assemble? That’s basically what she would have had to do. The night that she slit his throat, she would have had to harvest his face and hide his body somewhere. Then assume his identity for as long as it took for all of the Frey’s to assemble.

      You seem to be assuming that Arya killed Walder immediately after the feast at which Jaime and Bronn were present. But some time must have elapsed since then.
      He was eating and drinking alone in an empty hall – it was unlikely to be the same day.

      I think she bided her time until she could carry out the ‘hits’ on Lothar and Black Walder (and do the necessary, er, preparation).

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    226. Ghost Lunch,

      I’m not sure who’d want it given it’s previous occupants and the things that took place there!

      That said it would be surely at least used as a stronghold in the war to come.

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    227. Mr Derp,

      Sure, but Sansa noted that he’s declared for other Houses before and it’s not stopped him doing what serves him best. Cersei knows that too.

      The first thing he probably did after Jon was declared King was fire off a raven to King’s Landing to tell Cersei he’s just waiting for the right moment to take Winterfell for her. Hedging his bets.

      Or Cersei could have got in contact with him and reminded him of his original promise to her. Maybe offered him something as an additional sweetener to make sure he follows through on their deal.

      I don’t think Cersei and Littlefinger have parted company just yet.

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    228. WatchTheHedgeknights,

      May I remind you that in the books Sansa is well aware that they are poisoning Sweet Robin and she does nothing to help him. Why? Because it is convenient to Littlefinger’s plans. After all, Sansa is well aware that Littlefinger wants Harry the Heir to take over the Vale with Sansa as his wife, the only way this can happen is if Sweet Robin is out of the picture. I know Sweet Robin is annoying but come on, he is still a child.

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    229. orange,

      This has always been how face changing worked. In season 5, Jaquen also changed his voice and height. It’s part of the magic. I, personally, believe it’s a glamor. Arya really isn’t any taller, she just looks taller to the Freys.

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    230. Gendrys Compass: My first thought of the Arya – Lannister soldier scene is that them talking about their families will be what changes Arya’s mind and causes her to go home. We know she ends up in the north from the teasers showing her in snowy locales.

      I’m trying to remember the location of the Inn where Hotpie is. I’m assuming she’s still somewhere near the Twins, but heading in the direction of the Inn. It seems likely she’d want to see if Hotpie was still there. Since he’s at the “crossroads” he’d get all the news, and will tell her that Jon and Sansa are back at Winterfell. I think that’s what changes her mind.
      ***********************************************************************

      Why didn’t Bran say he was Jon’s brother? That would be the first thing you’d expect him to say, rather than all those repeated scenarios of what he saw of Edd being at Hardhome, etc. That was the first wtf for me. Bran is acting way more “ethereal” meaning kind of out of his head. Can he have visions even when not connected to a Weirwood tree? Or is his mind being bombarded with urges to warg all over the place plus bombarded by memories he’s already dug up and he’s fighting to compute what they mean? I’m looking forward to his story unfolding.

      3 giants!! the one we saw in the beginning, and the shadows of two more in the distance, that I didn’t see until my second viewing. I know they cant be Wun Wun, because he’s at Winterfell, and the NK hasn’t gotten that far yet. These have to be random giants, because even the ones that died at the Wall (Mag the Mighty) were burned, weren’t they? I hope to see “ice spiders as big as hounds” per Old Nan in Season 1.

      Loved the scene with the Hound and the Brothers. The three have a great chemistry together. Sandor didn’t seem overly surprised that he actually saw a clear vision in the fire, but Thoros and Beric seemed certain that he would. Isn’t that kind of odd? Are visions available to anyone who cares to see them, or to only a special few, of which now Sandor would be part of that special few?

      Dany’s return not as emotional for me as I thought it would be. She was too much in a “business as usual” mode, and her dry comment of “shall we begin” fell kind of flat. She had a few awed expressions on her face, but not what I expected of someone who’s met another of her life goals. Maybe it was just me. She looked great – they all looked great. Maybe she was tired after climbing all those stairs.

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    231. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q70OR07gKWU

      Love the D&D commentary, about 2 1/2 minutes in regarding Jon’s logic to focus on the NK instead of Cersei.

      Jon Snow, the bastard, is declared KitN, whereas Sansa Stark, who is actually a Stark, she is just left to the side. And I think there is a little bit of resentment to that. She feels that she is responsible, in many ways, for winning the BotB because she’s the one who got the Knights of the Vale to come north and join the fight.
      She feels like she hasn’t gotten quite enough credit for that, and she also feels that sometimes Jon’s a little bit naive.

      It’s not so much that he dismisses Cersei as a threat long term. But right now, the imminent threat is the Night King and the army of the dead. Winter has come. He knows that makes travel very difficult. The idea that Cersei is going to lead the Lannister army up this far north, which has never been done before and which is probably beyond her capabilities, doesn’t really concern him.

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    232. Baron,

      In the South, taking away a house’s castle just moves them to a smaller town without one. In the North, it’s a death sentence.

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    233. Imagine if you are Maester Wolkan going from Ramsay to Jon.He must be thanking every God in existence.Also Jon’s raven system works like What’s app this season.Top notch work maester lol.

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    234. It was kind of underwhelming. Sansa and Jon can’t both be right when they contradict each other. The punishment for treason is death – so says the law. And according to Jon, the person who passes the judgment should swing the sword. Was Sansa prepared to cut of the heads of the young Umber and Karstark? …phhht..no, she’s not!

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    235. Ginevra,

      Regarding Cersei and Dany, in that same video about 4 1/2 minutes in:

      [Cersei will] do whatever she has to do to win. She’ll blow up the Sept if that will allow her to win, even if that means blowing up hundreds and hundreds,
      perhaps thousands of people. She’s capable of anything – unlike Dany who is constrained a little bit by her morality and her fear of hurting innocents.

      So, what will Cersei do this season?! And only “a little bit”?! Interesting….

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    236. Shy Lady Dragon,
      Awww thanks sweetie, although you are 6 weeks early, I’m 175 years old (nearly) the day of episode 7. Still, I’m happy to celebrate my birthday any day of the year, especially if I get pressies and yummy stuff. Our Queen has two birthdays and so does Paddington Bear if I remember rightly, so why shouldn’t I? Channels Winnie the Pooh “a very merry unbirthday to me!”

      Flora Linden,
      It’s not a wish oh flowery one, it’s a prophecy, albeit very obscurely hidden. So well hidden I’m the only one who’s spotted it so far. But they are coming!! 😀

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    237. I’m guessing that the mountain shaped like an arrowhead that the Hound saw in the flames is the remains of the Wall after it has fallen. He sees the mountain immediately after the fire flares up with a puff of embers, which to me symbolize the breaking of the Wall’s magic by the Night King. I’ve not seen or heard any s7 spoilers, this is just my guess.

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    238. So I didn’t read through every comment and may have missed it (excuse the beating of a dead horse if that’s the case) but I have 2 slight complaints…. 1. How does Jamie and cersei not know who took out Walder…. winter has come for house frey, did they forget the stark words already? I’m sure someone questioned the Frey girl and she mentioned that. Also, why was dragonstone empty? Like empty, empty…. I get it’s an island but I can’t imagine it being completely abandoned, someone besides gendry had to realize it was a decent place to take cover.
      Otherwise a good enough episode to check in with everyone to start the season!

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    239. Black walda,

      Also, why was dragonstone empty? Like empty, empty…. I get it’s an island but I can’t imagine it being completely abandoned, someone besides gendry had to realize it was a decent place to take cover.

      I was hoping Gendry would be taking refuge there by virtue of his strong smithing arm and poor rowing skills taking him in a circle.

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    240. Thronetender,

      On Bran… he may or may not know Jon’s fate there. Plus, when they almost met Jon was still an ‘average’ brother of the Watch. The name Stark traditionally carried a ton of weight to the Watch. I could see name dropping Jon as a secondary in case revealing his own name didn’t work.

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    241. LatrineDiggerBrian,

      Couldn’t agree more…

      The music for the finale scene was kinda… weird… not powerful enough for this long awaited scene. I assume they don’t know what to do with Daenerys themes now that she’s in Westeros, keeping the “oriental” musics or not ?… I love Ramin Djawadi but not today.

      Sorry I don’t speak english i’m just trying to do my best for you to understand =D hope it’s enough

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    242. Danny,

      This is totally false. Sansa is trying to help Sweetrobin become stronger and while she does tell the Maester to give him sweetsleep at some point, it is because they were in a muddy situation where it was necessary for Sweetrobin to keep his composure. He is a very difficult child and Sansa is only 13 years old and is essentially acting as his caretaker. Still, despite how difficult he is to handle, you can clearly see that she is doing the best she can to embolden him as Lord of the Eyrie. In the TWOW sample chapter, we even see her thinking about when Robin gets older and what his future wife will think of him! Yeah, that totally sounds like someone who is actively trying to kill their cousin…

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    243. Oh also, I felt like stannis said he mined all over dragonstone for eggs and he never came upon the dragon glass? Or maybe he did, I don’t remember the conversation Sam is referring to. And I’d love it if cersei would grow her hair (wig) back. They managed to keep Dany’s hair (wig) intact through 2 nasty fires, I’d think cersei could grow hers back. Again, meaningless complaints….

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    244. I took a very quick look over the comments already and have to say I’m also one wondering why the stag is still on Kings Landing in the opening. I didn’t even think about when I watched it but maybe they’ll switch it up for next episode.

      I can’t say enough good things about this episode! The opening Arya scene made me cheer! Maisie and David were enthralling. The North remembers and reverse Red Wedding was just perfect. I wonder if Arya will have any repercussions from this or will the whole incident just be a mystery to everyone throughout the lands. Also the Ed Sheeran bit must have been such a joy to Maisie. They looked like they had a good time filming that. Maybe Arya will spare the soldiers lives. Probably not though.

      I was not expecting so much Sandor in the first episode and, man, was I happy there was! I flipped out at the Gravedigger nod haha! He’s still quick with the wit and the topknot hair jab at Thoros was hilarious. I love that what they’re doing with Sandor and I really really hope he doesn’t end up dying by the White Walkers up north. Dondarrion, you better not get my dog’s namesake killed! I’ll poke your other eye out! 😛

      Speaking of eyes… I’m still rolling my eyes and groaning at Jaime’s apparently unwavering loyalty to Cersei. What is it going to take?? I hope she does marry Euron so Jaime can wake the f*ck up. Lena, Nikolaj, and Pilou were amazing though. Lena looks so freaking fabulous in her black queen gown.

      Jon & Sansa? Personally I think they really have a secret pact to try and thwart Littlefinger. They’ll sort things out I think. I’m not a fan of those two fighting with each other.

      The soup/poop Sam sequence was amusing! Poor Sam but especially poor Jorah too!! Jorah sounds like he might be going a little mad in the cell. Hopefully he’s not beyond saving.

      Lots of other stuff I could talk about but I just wanted to state how much I liked this episode and can’t wait for more!!

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    245. KG,

      I disagree with your assessment. They’re kids. They did nothing wrong.

      Also, this is the book thread. So theoretically, you know that alys karstark hated her uncles. The ones that betrayed the north. The umber kid is a wildcard, so we’ll have to keep an eye on him. But i don’t think it was an awful call on jon’s part.

      Nor do i think sansa was wrong either. There’s a level of risk, but neither was really wrong here.

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    246. I was one of those happy with Pilou Asbaek as Euron last year. He showed even better acting chops in his scene.
      However, I am more impressed with Greyjoy ‘Salt-Leather’ (‘armor’) than fashionista duds.
      I thought that was odd.

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    247. Ginevra,

      From the mouths of the creators themselves. Now watch people completely ignore this and continue to insist that he’s dismissing Cersei wholesale.

      Jenny,

      Best transition of management ever. He probably folds Jon’s towels in the shape of swans after every wash.

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    248. Black walda,

      Stannis told Sam in season 5 episode 5 “We have it on Dragonstone”, but that was about it. Stannis didn’t seem to understand how important dragonglass is.

      Stannis: “I’m told you killed a White Walker”
      Sam: “I did Your Grace”
      Stannis: “How?”
      Sam: “A dagger made of dragonglass”
      Stannis: “Dragonglass?”
      Sam: “What the Maesters call Obsidian”
      Stannis: “I know what it is, we have it on Dragonstone. Why would obsidian kill a White Walker?”

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    249. Markus Stark,

      Not random Frey soldiers. His sons and co-conspirators. Remember, he had dozens of children, and both Book!Walder and Show!Walder were misogynistic assholes who had no use for women (daughters or wives) other than as broodmares. That ultimately saved them… but of course, none of them can carry on the Frey name.

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    250. Wolfish: I’m slightly confused by the way you’re comparing Arya’s and Sansa’s actions. I saw Arya differentiating very clearly between the guilty and the innocent among the Freys (the sons and others who actively participated in the Red Wedding vs. the 16-year-old wife who had nothing to do with it).

      Also, Walder/Arya says he invited family…to plan for Winter. So theoretically it was the people behind the RW rather than the mere foot-soldiers. Actually, Arya is careful about how she dispenses justice–she never punishes the weak, innocent, women, and children. Waif and Cersei are understandable exceptions for her.

      BTW, everyone, the 7.01 Beautiful Death poster is out: Winter Came for House Frey. It’s rather complex but very meaningful and beautiful. That chap is a genius. It’s at: http://www.beautifuldeath.com

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    251. WatchTheHedgeknights,

      I get the fact that Sansa is only 14/15 at that point. She was 13 when the saga started. I have often used that to defend Sansa but you are completely ignoring the fact that while Sansa has a good heart and she is predispose to be gentle and kind, she also has a selfish streak that has on several occasions pushed her to act against her own family’s best interest. She has twice decided that what she wanted was more important than backing her family members. And I get it, she didn’t think it all through. I get that she would have probably chosen differently had she known the consequences of her childish and selfish behavior. But ignoring this part of her personality is a disservice to a flawed character. Had she really care about Sweet Robin, she would have turned Littlefinger to the Lords of the Vale, she could have told them he was the one who killed Lysa. But she was afraid for her life so once again she chose herself before others, which is in a way understandable but yet another example that she has a dark streak like everyone else.

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    252. Mista C,

      A fortnight is two weeks (fourteen nights–> “fortnight”). Who knows if she paraded around as Walder, but Jaqen was Jaqen for months. Since Walder/Arya said he invited family, and wintertime medieval travel was slow (Freys don’t get jetpacks!), plus arranging a banquet and preparing poison for the wine, her preparation must have taken considerable time. By the way, last season the banquet with Jaime was at night, but Walder’s Frey pie lunch was mid-day, because he complains that he told his sons to be there by mid-day. I assume it was the next day, though a few days might have passed–it’s hard to tell.

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    253. Vincent Stark: “And how should I be smarter? By listening to you?”
      That was a weirdly condescending line from Jon. She is only asking to be heard, it’s not an absurd request…

      Yes, I have noticed too that Jon treats Sansa first and foremost as a woman, to be “protected”, but not for counseling, advice, or just strategy talk. This was true in BotB and the pre-war council meeting, where he talked over with Tormund and Davos, but totally ignored her. Here too, his “listening to you?” had weird sexist vibes to me, though he was all OK with women trained for combat and service in battles. I am completely certain Jon’s interaction would have been totally different if it hadn’t been Sansa, but one of his half-brothers. Be interesting to see how he reacts with Daenerys and Cersei, should he encounter them.

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    254. Black walda: I felt like stannis said he mined all over dragonstone for eggs and he never came upon the dragon glass? Or maybe he did, I don’t remember the conversation Sam is referring to.

      Their conversation was in the “Kill the Boy” episode. Stannis interrupts Sam and Gilly in the Castle Black library and mentions hearing Sam killed a White Walker. Sam says he did with a blade made of dragonglass. “What the maesters call obsidian.” Stannis says, “I know what it is. We have it in Dragonstone. Why would obsidian kill a Walker?” Then it goes into the army of the undead and Stannis tells him to keep reading to learn how to beat them.

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    255. Boudica: The North doesn’t have a high council and hands. Sansa needs to get with the Northern way, she isn’t in the South any longer all she has to do is follow protocol.

      Which is why I suggested Sansa should ask for a council to be created if she wants a venue where she can be heard without stepping on toes. The alternative would be to just hope Jon doesn’t make unilateral decisions before she has a chance to catch him in private to give her two cents on important matters. Or, argue with him in front of everybody — which isn’t good for either of them.

      Honestly couldn’t say who was “right” about the whole Karstark and Umber situation since I don’t think we’re given a very clear picture in the show as to what’s going on with those families. IIRC in the books, Greatjon Umber (spelling?) was being held hostage by the Freys (I think) to force his family’s compliance, and the Karstark girl was very much not on board with the whole betrayal of the Starks thing. No idea how it is in the D&D universe.

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    256. Tycho Nestoris,

      Oh gendry is there somewhere!! I assume he’s hiding out and will try to escape right around when Jon and Davos show up, and there’ll be nice little reunion between Davos and gendry.

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    257. Is it possible that Sansa is manipulating Littlefinger? She knows they need his army and showing “strife” between the siblings makes him think he has an in and keeps him at the table.

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    258. Color me surprised that my favorite part of the whole night was … Euron. I wasn’t a big Euron fan last year, but that has changed. He still has the air of being deranged, but not in a buffoonery way, more of an underlying, ominous derangement. He had the best lines of the night, about killing brothers, and having two good hands, and other lines. When Jaime reminded him that the men Jaime was killing were his kin, he says “It was getting crowded.” The whole section was enjoyable.

      I knew he and Cersei would meet, but I wasn’t looking forward to it. Now I am. It will be interesting to see where it goes. It was almost as though Cersei was trying to make Jaime jealous, when she told him Euron was looking for a Queen. Both she and Euron succeeded in goading him plenty. Even when Euron was telling Jaime that watching Jaime (the Jaime of the past) work his way through the Iron Islanders was beautiful, there was an air of menace about it. Euron does intend to have Cersei, and the fact that she would even consider it will be the proverbial last straw for Jaime.

      I liked the haircut and he didn’t appear dirty, like last year. He was, hmmm, Islander chic. He and his big … ego … might just be attractive to Cersei. That may cause a funny situation – Brienne may be fending off two suitors – if Tormund survives East Watch, that is. Sadly, I don’t think he will. 🙁

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    259. Boudica:

      It really isn’t a Northern tactic…It is just interesting how people automatically assume Jon is making the wrong decision and Sansa is making the much more southern poltical clever decision…So no it isn’t very southern to just take land away, when people are prepared to bend the knee.

      Oh I’m sure Northern lords have done their fair share of attainting, but I think it’s fair to say that while it’s not exclusively Southern to take away land from established families, it’s arguably more Southern than Northern. A running theme is the difference between Northerners and Southerners, and that the qualities associated with Northern houses (honour, loyalty, hardiness, austerity, very, very ancient ties of fealty and kinship) are going to be huge advantages as winter sets in (their insularity, not so much. Jon’s working on that). Sansa was the one who reminded Davos last season that “Northerners are different…more loyal.” These houses have spent thousands of years managing to survive the toughest conditions in Westeros, and this was probably in no small part due to the commitment to and endurance of long-standing relationships and chains of command. These families have had their differences, but they’ve spent so long prioritising survival over political intrigue that it’s left a mark.

      It’s an additional argument in favour of Jon’s decision – considering the existing instability and impending crises, uprooting two ancient houses and messing around with pre-established routines of key fortresses isn’t the best idea right now. If Jon had given the castles to other families, who’s to say the men sworn to the Umbers and Karstarks or the houses left out would have gone along with it. He prevented further disruption.

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    260. Black walda,

      Re hiding: The synopsis for next week does read, “Daenerys receives an unexpected visitor.” Hopefully that’s our favorite smith (with a bunch of dragonglass to mine and craft).

      Although maybe the visitor is Euron sailing out of Blackwater (if he does intend to leave KL for this gift)? Not sure how the timing played out between Euron arriving/potentially leaving King’s Landing and Daenerys arriving at Dragonstone.

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    261. Black walda: I get it’s an island but I can’t imagine it being completely abandoned, someone besides gendry had to realize it was a decent place to take cover.

      Yeah, I had figured that Stannis would leave a small crew there to watch it. I don’t think he packed up the entire household of servants and brought them on a march, yet there didn’t seem to be a soul there, not even old people who wouldn’t be able or of any use on a march. Unless they were hiding in the woodwork and will come out eventually. Strange happenings. Like I said earlier, the whole homecoming lacked emotion for me. I don’t know what I expected, maybe when Dany was in the map room, to look out onto the horizen and say in a small, incredulous voice “I’m here,” THEN turn to Tyrion, take on a serious demeanor and say Shall we begin. As it was, it was as though she had a list that read Land on Dragonstone, and she checked it off.

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    262. Mista C,

      The other thing I just realized – she removes the face, what happens to the dead body? Is it just left there for the family to find (and if thats the case how will they react to this supposedly resurrected new WF?) Is she somehow magically able to remove the body (she’s certainly too small to do it herself) I guess she could play his character for a bit, but that still doesn’t change what happened to the body…mmmmm

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    263. Kay: Yes, I have noticed too that Jon treats Sansa first and foremost as a woman, to be “protected”, but not for counseling, advice, or just strategy talk. This was true in BotB and the pre-war council meeting, where he talked over with Tormund and Davos, but totally ignored her. Here too, his “listening to you?” had weird sexist vibes to me, though he was all OK with women trained for combat and service in battles. I am completely certain Jon’s interaction would have been totally different if it hadn’t been Sansa, but one of his half-brothers. Be interesting to see how he reacts with Daenerys and Cersei, should he encounter them.

      Oh I am sure he will be his usual sexist self… SMH..
      About BotB, maybe the reason he was talking to Tormund and Davos and not Sansa was because they were actually contributing to the discussion themselves? And he would have assumed that if Sansa had anything to say to him, she would have just come out and said it, just like she had every single time since they met in Castle Black? Maybe that’s the reason he did not feel the need to invite her to talk??
      I mean Jon is so sexist that he actually went to melisandre’s tent to specifically ask her advice right…
      And in this episode, maybe that was his natural reaction to being irritated by Sansa (especially her trying to undermine him at the meeting)? Did you see his expression soften when she said “would it be so bad”, he was about to reply before he was cut off. So maybe this is just a momentary lack of understanding that these two have, instead of “sexism”? .
      The women he has loved the most so far have been Arya and Ygritte, who have never been afraid to think for themselves. That should tell you something about him.

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    264. Mihnea:
      Jenny,

      Thank you! Hope i can remain spoiler free LOL. Where there many leaks/spoilers this year? just to know how careful i should be…

      About the same as last year. The bulk of the story for this season was leaked in October. The leaks did not have exact episode breakdown but after this episode, it is easy to fit all the pieces together. Everything in last night’s episode was in the leaks. So don’t dig too deeply because the leaks are out there. There is always a risk someone spoils the entire season on the internet.

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    265. Grayven Reyne,

      Hee, that is true. One of those things that goes along with reading fantasy. As long as things stay consistent across the board, I can forgive much

      Re Arya, She was following the old Rat story about guest right, and bringing justice to her family, since she knew they’d never get it in this world. I think based on her relationship with Lady Crane and with the Lannister soldiers, there is a human being under that fury. Be interesting how this plays out.

      If you are going to call her a mass murderer, she’s in good company coz most of the characters have also done so. Whether its was in a war or for revenge, it is what it is. Doesn’t make it right, just saying that she’s not that far off others of her world.

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    266. Wight Stalker,

      welcome to the fray!

      Sending the heirs to the houses back to be nurtured and tutored by the remaining advisors who presumably advised all of that? How is that a good idea? I would have had them placed as wards under others, and those castles and lands placed under a loyal lord’s stewardship, at least. How else can you root out all those who were in favour of the betrayal? Jon seems so naive for somebody who’s even died once!

      Well there is a problem like that – you mention Theon’s betrayal; there is no way of knowing that said wards will not turn on the house they are livig with. Your idea is actually one that was used frequently in the middle ages (and of course the Stark and Baratheon boys when to Jon Arryn for training but it wasnt a hostage situation). Keeping these children as hostage will just increase the resentment; these kids are never part of the house no matter how much they grow up with the others, there is always the looming danger of papa dear doing something that will cause their death, and they lose being with their families who may indeed not have agreed with what their lords decided to do

      Oh btw – if the fear is that they will go back to the same advisors giving the same kind of advice why not get rid of said advisors and find ones that will follow house stark?

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    267. ghost of winterfell: Oh I am sure he will be his usual sexist self… SMH..
      About BotB, maybe the reason he was talking to Tormund and Davos and not Sansa was because they were actually contributing to the discussion themselves? And he would have assumed that if Sansa had anything to say to him, she would have just come out and said it, just like she had every single time since they met in Castle Black? Maybe that’s the reason he did not feel the need to invite her to talk??
      I mean Jon is so sexist that he actually went to melisandre’s tent to specifically ask her advice right…
      And in this episode, maybe that was his natural reaction to being irritated by Sansa (especially her trying to undermine him at the meeting)? Did you see his expression soften when she said “would it be so bad”, he was about to reply before he was cut off. So maybe this is just a momentary lack of understanding that these two have, instead of “sexism”? .
      The women he has loved the most so far have been Arya and Ygritte, who have never been afraid to think for themselves. That should tell you something about him.

      Awww……” SMH!!” Someone daring to say something about ONE line that Jon uttered in this episode that didn’t paint him in a completely saintly light in their eyes! Yes, of course, Jon SHOULD say “listen to you?” Because it is JON!!!!
      Please, for the sake of discussion, allow posters here to have some questioning opinions about a line or scene that they may struck them in a different light than yourself. Otherwise, it will become a very boring season here.

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    268. Tycho Nestoris: I was hoping Gendry would be taking refuge there by virtue of his strong smithing arm and poor rowing skills taking him in a circle.

      Nah, I don’t think he is there. The crazy woman in charge there put leeches on his private parts, and his uncle Stannis wanted to burn him alive. He’d do anything to get somewhere else, fast. He had no way of knowing that Stannis would be abandoning the whole island to march off North. As far as he’d be concerned, anywhere would be better than Dragonstone.

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    269. WatchTheHedgeknights,

      That scene with Sansa advocating for the punishment of those children totally goes against everything Sansa is about in the books.

      You are right; unfortunately given the arc they had her follow, it stands to reason that she is going to be changed, she’d have to in order to survive. That being said, it will be interesting to see what GMMR does with her if/when pigs fly he finishes the books.

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    270. ..best part was Jorah asking Sam if the Dragon Queen had arrived yet.

      Boudica,

      Remember what King Robb did to the man who challenged him…he cut off his finger. Anyway, Jon made the right decision, having seen the army of the dead, while Sansa is determined to get revenge on Cersai… as long as she doesn’t have to actually break a sweat while doing it. This is not the time to shake things up by stripping people of their homes and Jon wasn’t about to throw those kids out into to cold. Mercy can build great loyalty.

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    271. Anybody been watching “Handmaid’s Tale”? If you haven’t, binge it NOW! “Power” on Starz is very good too. I’m giving “The Mist” a chance because the movie was good and Stephen King wrote an excellent story…but so far it’s ..meh.

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    272. Dragon Tender,

      It’s fair to say that questioning Jon’s decision in public is not ideal.

      However, Jon needs to *think ahead*. He needs to think *several steps ahead* and he needs to consult his advisors and weigh their input before he makes his pronouncements in a public forum.

      If there’s no chance for input in private then the only option is to give it in public.

      I liked that debate (and the one they had later, about weighing threats from the north vs threats from the south) because both Jon and Sansa were making good, relevant points. Sansa has accepted Jon’s authority–that is a huge step and has smoothed his way significantly. If he’d accept that his sister is wise, and worth listening to, then they’d both be a lot better off.

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    273. Anon: Remember what King Robb did to the man who challenged him…he cut off his finger.

      Are you talking about when Grey Wind bit of the fingers of Greatjon Umber?

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    274. Josh L,

      The only spoilers I read were the ones here via photos of filming, other photos and posts here. So I knew a little. But what i did know, or infer, had no impact on my enjoyment of the show. I don’t mind spoilers; I just want to know how it comes to be with the actors, writig and all that goes in to making a superb show.

      That being said – I did know that Dany was going to Dragonstone and while i loved the scene, it wasn’t as awesome as it might have been if I’d known nothing. So it is a two edged sword.

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    275. Jon’s Small Council is basically a Large Council where it would appear everyone in the freaking North is part of the debate. I think Jon should choose a few advisors and get himself a Small Council so important matters can be discussed in a much more efficient way.

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    276. Danny,

      May I remind you that in the books Sansa is well aware that they are poisoning Sweet Robin and she does nothing to help him. Why? Because it is convenient to Littlefinger’s plans.

      Wow, I do not remember this. Could you tell me the section/book where this is happening?

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    277. Arya – Loved the cold open! It did not disappoint me. Maisie Williams and David Bradley were both amazing in this scene. Arya is very observant when it comes to judging people, and Lady Crane obviously felt she could possess some talent for acting – I wonder how long Arya had been playing the servant and observing Lord Walder and his kin before the feast?

      She spares the women of House Frey and deliberately goes out of her way to spare the young wife she must have studied in the fortnight between the two feasts in Winds of Winter and Dragonstone. I know Arya has grown up a lot since we first met her in Winter is Coming, but one thing that really struck me when she spoke to the current Lady Frey was how much younger the latter looked. Also, I love the more overt reference to the breaking of guest right we saw avenged in the Frey Pies.

      Leave one wolf alive and the sheep are never safe.

      And I did like the callback to Robb’s line from The Pointy EndTell Lord Tywin winter is coming for him; twenty thousand Northerners marching south to find out if he really does shit gold. Winter was only coming then, and now it is here. When people ask you what happened here, tell them The North Remembers. Tell them winter came for House Frey.

      I found the second Arya scene fantastic. Was Ed Sheeran’s cameo a bit cheesy? Yes. But I loved it anyway! This scene demonstrates that Arya has not lost her humanity. She has not become a ruthless killing machine; the Faceless Men didn’t take her that far. Yes, she initially scouts out the weapons these Lannister soldiers have, but when she sits down and talks to these young men who I would guestimate range from Sansa’s age to her own, Arya discovers that they are not monsters. They are young men who want to return home to their families and ordinary lives. They have seen much of adventure and had enough of it. I really felt this scene showed a side of Arya we really haven’t seen since she parted from Gendry and Hot Pie.

      I am disappointed Arya is going south – my pet Ed Sheeran theory did not come true! I knew he was going to sing, and had hoped he would sing a song of the White Wolf saving the day at the Battle of the Bastards. Armed with the knowledge of her brother’s victory and the return of House Stark to Winterfell, Arya would head north. Sadly, I was very, very wrong!

      Bran – The White Walker sequence was done just right for me. There was enough there to give a hint of the threat to the living, but not enough that it dominated the scene. And the reality of giants turned to wights is not good, especially given the death of Wun Wun. Bran has grown into a sort of zen master since we saw him last, but he has now met Edd!!! From the stills and trailers, this was one meeting I got really hyped about. I’m hoping we see more of the two of them interact, as if there is one thing I didn’t like about this scene it was its brevity. I still have lots of questions about Bran’s arc in the immediate future – how much, if anything, has he told Meera about his Tower of Joy vision in Winds of Winter? He knows where Edd has been – does he know where Jon is?

      Winterfell – For me, the public/private scenes with Jon are reminiscent of those Robb had with Theon in The North Remembers. Publicly, Jon is very much a king. Privately, he is still getting used to that fact. Sansa tells him he has to be better and smarter than both Ned and Robb; I really flashed back at that moment in Two Swords when we see Jon react to news of the Red Wedding, and insist to Sam that Robb was better than him at everything. I wonder how much of that was truth, how much was loyalty, and how much was the inferiority complex built up in Jon as a result of Robb being the Heir to Winterfell and Jon himself being the Bastard of Winterfell? Probably a little of all three. And Jon is going to need to work past that.

      The pardoning of Alys (one of my favorite minor book characters) and Ned speaks to Jon’s humanity. There are callbacks to Tywin and Tyrion’s conversation, yes, but also I think a little to the one Jon has with Mance in The Wars to Come. Jon pleads with Mance to bend the knee, and here he gives Alys and Ned a chance to do just that. I would have liked in private, when they discussed King’s Landing, for there to have been some acknowledgement on either Jon or Sansa’s part that she was punished for Robb’s victories when she was hundreds of miles from the battlefield. Is it any fairer to punish Alys and Ned, who are willing to bend the knee?

      What came through for me with Jon and Sansa is something I saw last season – lack of communication/understanding of one another stemming from their childhood relationships. Both left Winterfell, with Jon going north and Sansa south. Both were, in their own ways, incredibly naive about the place they were going to and both were taught in short order that their preconceptions were very wrong. Jon, I think, sees Sansa’s life experience being centered on the politics of KL. That is of limited use against the Night King. They do have to unite the North, but the Northerners – as Sansa pointed out to Davos in The Door – are different. Jon has always lived in the North, while Sansa has not. The two of them need to work together, and they aren’t doing that effectively enough at the moment.

      I loved the council scene as a whole. There is a very touching moment when Jon announces his intention for all able bodied people above the age of ten to train at arms – male and female. When Lyanna Mormont steps up to back Jon, Brienne gives her a look of admiration, and I think this is a big moment for Brienne though we see little of her. For a woman derided her entire life for her height and martial skill, she is now ostensibly serving a king who not only permits women train at arms, but is ordering them to do so. And his most loyal supporter is a young woman who is vocal in her desire to fight for her home and her people. Finally, Brienne has found a place in which she is closer to being the rule than the exception.

      Also, when he gave Needle to Arya, Jon placed a sword in his sister’s hand; with this order for ALL women to be trained in arms, he seems to be doing the same with Sansa.

      It was very quick, but I felt Jon showed his understanding of the Free Folk when he said he was not their king. Both he and Tormund know what is coming, and Jon sends Tormund somewhere he can be useful; somewhere away from Winterfell, and the comments of those from south of the Wall. The look on Lord Glover’s face when Tormund said the Free Folk were now the Night’s Watch was priceless!

      I did enjoy the short Tormund/Brienne/Pod scene. She was distracted by him for a small moment, and Pod got in there. Until Brienne smacked him down again. And I wonder if being around the Free Folk and the Northerners has helped Brienne understand Tormund doesn’t view her as a freak show, but as a strong and powerful woman he is attracted to.

      Sansa is keeping LF at bay for the moment, but I wonder how long that will last?

      King’s Landing – My heart completely went out to Jaime in this segment. He is clearly still grieving for Tommen, and struggling to deal with his son’s suicide. Joffrey and Myrcella were murdered, but Tommen chose to throw himself from that window. Cersei has closed her heart to it and is pointedly dealing with her grief by burying it with Tommen’s ashes.

      I sort of understand why Jaime is finding it so hard to separate himself from Cersei. Who else is left to be there for her? Perhaps he thinks she will at some point give in to her grief. Their shared past seems to me to be the only thing tethering Jaime to his mad sister. And it can’t help that this all coincides with the return of Aerys II’s last child.

      As for Cersei, she once asked Robert what harm Lyanna Stark’s ghost could do to them – well, he’s now your enemy to the north.

      Euron – I have seen Pilou Asbaek in a couple of Danish productions (he’s fabulous in Borgen, btw!) and was really excited when he was cast as Euron. For me, he has shown us a different side of the character in each of the three segments he’s appeared in. Slowly but surely, he’s bringing us into Euron’s crazy world. Euron is himself a consummate actor and plays to the audience he is given. I am more than a little afraid for both Theon and Yara.

      Sam – The story arc I was most looking forward to has not disappointed me thus far! Aside from his interactions with Gilly and not-Dumbledore, we see Sam’s isolation at the Citadel. This is the place he has wanted to be his entire life and we really felt that sense of optimism with him in Winds of Winter when he saw the library for the first time. For Sam, there was a real sense of coming home there – and now in Dragonstone we see the reality. Sam is pretty much a dogsbody who doesn’t really interact with people and have philosophical debates, and there is a sense that the maesters (Ebrose aside) don’t believe a word Sam is saying about the White Walkers or the existence of magic. Bryan Cogman is right – this is the anti-Hogwarts. Sam hasn’t gone to study at Hogwarts; he’s gone to live with the Dursleys and is forced to study his true calling in the dead of night.

      I also love that even the Citadel library has a restricted section! And I cannot wait to see what else the “borrowed” books reveal.

      And Sam met Jorah! Sort of. I’m going to give the clearly tired Sam a pass here for not reacting with proper curiosity to Jorah’s mention of Daenerys. The Jon/Aemon scene in Kill the Boy evolved from one in which Sam reads a scroll to Aemon about Daenerys, which states that she is in Slaver’s Bay. Speaking of Jon, Sam is sending him information – given the passage of time indicated by the montage, are we to assume Sam knows Jon is now at Winterfell as King in the North?

      Brotherhood – I have to agree with those who have praised the chemistry between Sandor, Thoros and Beric. Rory McCann, Paul Kaye and Richard Dormer were all fantastic in this sequence. These three men have changed in a lot of ways since they were in the same space in season three. Sandor might not believe in the gods, but I think he now believes in the Brotherhood’s cause. And I loved the callback to the farmer and his daughter from season four (as well as the book gravedigger theory). Sandor was right; come winter, the farmer and his daughter are dead. And I don’t think he feels the pleasure he once would have in being right about this.

      One thing that did come out of the callback to season four – the Brotherhood are still in the Riverlands; they are still in a place in which they could run into Arya. And that would be an intriguing reunion!

      Dragonstone – Less of this location than I thought given the name of the episode, though Sam references it in his reading material. I mentioned this when the still was released, but the shot of Daenerys being rowed ashore here really reminds me of Jon – also standing – as he is rowed ashore in Hardhome. This is an incredibly emotional moment, and I think it right that the actors and the music are allowed space to breathe here without the intrusion of dialogue. Daenerys is finally where she has wanted to be since we first met her in Winter is Coming. She is home.

      Overall, I loved the episode – Two Swords is still the best premiere for me, but this was much better than both The Wars to Come and The Red Woman. With the streamlining of characters and plots in season six, we are able to spend much more time with the remaining characters and get more involved in their arcs. That said, I would have liked the Bran/Edd and Sam/Jorah meetings to have lasted a teensy bit longer rather than just the tease we got. There was a lot of what felt like set-up in this episode, and I cannot wait to see the rest of the season.

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    278. Aryamad,

      Jon & Sansa? Personally I think they really have a secret pact to try and thwart Littlefinger. They’ll sort things out I think. I’m not a fan of those two fighting with each other.

      Hee, that would be interesting! I dunno, they both have a point or two – they need tho to learn to communicate better, in a way they never did as kids. Hard to do even for people who were always close; gonna be difficult but not impossible

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    279. Alba Stark:
      They do have to unite the North, but the Northerners – as Sansa pointed out to Davos in The Door – are different.

      The whole point of that plot thread was that Sansa was wrong and Davos was right: Northerners aren’t any different. That’s why the next few episodes completely validate Davos’ position.

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    280. Ginevra,
      The way the writers talk about the Jon/Cersei “confrontation” highlights a potentially interesting dynamics, I believe…

      Jon evaluates the two threats, in the North and the South, on a military and “humanitarian” (so to speak) level. He has witnessed what a remarkable general the Night’s King is, he is haunted by how ruthless the army of the dead is, he is devastatingly aware of how no human will be safe if those guys march on an unprepared south.
      In parallel, he is perfectly right to assert that no southern (human) army can possibly advance on the North in the winter.
      Through that frame of reference, the Night’s King is indeed the sole threat worthy of attention.

      However we, the audience, know that Cersei has never been a military person. She is thoroughly incapable of leading any kind of army but her dangerosity resides in the use of other tactics ; after all, she took out the Faith with the help of a zombie, a mad scientist and a bunch of street urchins !

      Jon expects a war, a real war. With troops and weapons and platoons. An open and frontal confrontation between two blocks. Cersei never has fought and possibly never will fight like that.
      Can Cersei invade the North ? It seems extremely unlikely indeed. Can she besiege Winterfell ? Quite impossible. Can she attack the entirety of the Northern population ? Hell no. Can she find other, “dirtier” ways to cause untold damage to the region and / or its political structure ? Yep.

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    281. Loved the shot during the autopsy of the maester writing down the weight of the liver in his book. The pages were nasty and stained with blood and who knows whatever other bodily fluids. So gross and cool.

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    282. I’ve been reading the questions many have had about the nonchalance with which Bran passed through the Wall, even though he still carries the mark of the NK. Supposedly, the mark will negate the protections built into the Wall, and make it vulnerable to coming down. Early in the episode I was sure we were going to see the Wall tumble. Now I’m not so sure. I had same feeling about the NK breaching the Wall, right up until Sandor saw and said “where the Wall meets the sea.”

      Those who were on this site during prior seasons may remember the numerous discussions about why Jon brought the Wildings from Hardhome back on the North side of the Wall, making it necessary to risk Thorne not letting them through. So many posters revealed in specific terms that it would have been easier for someone to come AROUND the wall and march down the south side of it. Well … then why couldn’t/wouldn’t the army of the dead? Who, as we were once again reminded, don’t sleep. (thus increasing the amount of ground they cover in much shorter time)

      I thought the Wall would be falling in short order. Now I think it’s gonna be a Maginot Line (a large wall built to keep the Nazis out during WWII . The Nazis successfully went around it.) So, the Archmaester’s contention that the Wall has always held will still be true – but it won’t matter because the WW will be putting everyone and everything into a deep freeze before a raven can fly to the Citadel saying “They went around the damned thing.”

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    283. Interesting item I heard on one of the review videos (can’t remember, I’ve seen too many already)…

      In the trailer shots we see the wall gate raising with spikes at the bottom. When we see the Castle Black gate rise up there are no spikes.

      So… it would seem those shots are from

      Eastwatch By The Sea

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    284. Clob,

      ..no, Clob. At that first meeting after he became King and somebody called him ‘boy’.

      edit: oh yeah, right. It was the wolf that bit it off! LMAO.

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    285. onash: Danny,

      May I remind you that in the books Sansa is well aware that they are poisoning Sweet Robin and she does nothing to help him. Why? Because it is convenient to Littlefinger’s plans.

      Wow, I do not remember this. Could you tell me the section/book where this is happening?

      IIRC, this is a popular fan theory but by no means established fact. As someone who raised a child with epilepsy, my takeaway from the Vale chapters was that the maester at the Eyrie is simply treating Sweetrobin for a severe seizure disorder with mild opiates, which would have been the only anti-seizure remedies available in medieval times.

      If Littlefinger is leaning on him to increase Robin’s dosage of sweetsleep to a dangerous level, I doubt that Sansa is in on it. Unless I’m a much denser reader than I think I am, there’s no indication that she is plotting the death of her cousin – merely trying to placate him and keep him at arm’s length because he’s so annoying. And until Sansa is safely married off to Harry the Heir, Lord Baelish’s control over the Vale would be very tenuous indeed without his status as regent to Sweetrobin.

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    286. Two things:

      1) Very glad the show is back. Jon and The Hound were awesome, and I cannot wait to see them fight alongside each other. I’m more excited about those two meeting than Jon and Daenerys.

      2) Euron is skating dangerously close to Dorne plot level of crap. Book Euron was way cooler and far less of a buffoon than what I’m seeing on the screen. I didn’t like it last year, and the black garb and haircut have not hidden that it sucks. Lipstick on a pig. They need to off him quickly, or I sense trouble.

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    287. Firannion: IIRC, this is a popular fan theory but by no means established fact. As someone who raised a child with epilepsy, my takeaway from the Vale chapters was that the maester at the Eyrie is simply treating Sweetrobin for a severe seizure disorder with mild opiates, which would have been the only anti-seizure remedies available in medieval times.

      Yes. There is some concern about the amount of medication given to Robin, and the maester says it requires to be carefully moderated, with periods of time ‘off’: but there are times when needs must.
      (book spoiler)

      There is need to get Robin down the mountainside without his having a shaking seizure, and so it’s necessary to give him medication.

      There’s no indication of him being deliberately poisoned.

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    288. Dragonstone, Stannis didn’t even leave house keepers?
      Maybe they all ran and hid?
      Was thinking, that long long long entrance path, is there one for senior citizens?

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    289. What seems most out-of-character to me about Sansa’s behavior in this episode is precisely the fact that she contradicts Jon in front of his vassals. Of all the Starks, she should be the one with the most finely tuned sensitivity to royal protocol, since she is the one who actually lived at court for several years. She is also the kind of character to care about such things, with her romantic fantasies about chivalry.

      It would be more believable if she were schooling Jon on the niceties of courtly behavior and not the other way around. Seems like the kind of detail that D & D don’t always think through to its logical conclusion when they get down to scriptwriting. Not a major beef, but more puzzling to me than siblings squabbling (as siblings always do).

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    290. Arya may always be a misfit, but killing is a valuable skill in Westeros, and her assassin’s gifts can be used for her family’s sake. She’s proven she knows how to draw a line and that’s important.

      So basically a penis?
      Yay for more fantasy staples. Want your bloodthirsty protagonist to be a badass assassin yet still appear merciful and morally upright? Have them slaughter all men indiscriminately but spare the women.

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    291. Joe,

      I didn’t care for the Greyjoys at all when I read the books (tho did end up reading the sections to prepare for watching the show) so never got a feel for Euron before. Absolutely hated him during the kingsmott, but this time I thought him funny. Yeah hes an egostical but charming child thinking he can always get what he wants. And his idea of a gift is very menacing. I worry about the ship battle and wonder just who that gift might be..That being said it will be interesting what happens between him and Cersie, unless Jamie kills him first – with one good hand

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    292. Firannion,

      Even if Sansa intends to make an intervention she would know how to do this from her upbringing and ‘courtly’ training – as actually Jon did himself, in the very first episode of all.

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    293. Icewalker,

      Boudica,

      Totally agree. KG’s comments are so wrong headed I won’t address them. But I wanted to add this point: Jon’s decision is not only compassionate, it is wise. As the losers in WWI, Germany was punished for its aggression. All it did was foster resentment, and allowed the growth of a new and more powerful enemy. The world learned from this. These actions were not repeated in the wake of WWII.

      Speaking of WWII, I appreciated Jon’s position on the Southern threat. I completely understand Sansa’s fears, but Jon is right: the Lannisters would never survive a march north in winter. This is an incontrovertible fact, with which Jaime himself apparently agrees. Ask Hilter how well it went for him when he decided to invade Russia.

      Cersei is ruthless, as Sansa attests. I do wonder about what kind of threat an alliance between Cersei and Euron would pose though? Ships can’t conquer the north. Aside from White Harbour and Bear Island, wouldn’t they still have to travel overland to get to the major strongholds? Unless he’s counting on getting Dany’s dragons…

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    294. Sean C.: The whole point of that plot thread was that Sansa was wrong and Davos was right:Northerners aren’t any different.That’s why the next few episodes completely validate Davos’ position.

      I don’t think I expressed myself clearly. Apologies. What I meant was that Jon is better at dealing with the straight-talking Northern and Free Folk (particularly the latter) while he feels Sansa’s skill-set is with the Court intrigue world of the South. And he doesn’t see how that can be helpful in the coming war.

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