Game of Thrones Season 7 Premiere “Dragonstone” Written Recap/Review Round-Up

Jon Snow Sansa Dragonstone

As with all season premieres, there seemed to be a common agreement that the first episode was slower than most critics would have liked. However, the consensus was almost universal in that this season’s slow start was faster than other seasons’ slow starts. Before I tie myself into a tongue twister, let’s dive into what the critics thought! Obviously there’s our fearless leader Sue’s recap, and our lovable, though deeply Unsullied Oz‘s as well. Additionally, we have some old favorites, plus some new critics we’re excited to add to our weekly roundup!

Alan Sepinwall, UPROXX – In which he accepts that it was a slow but necessary start, and appreciates the good humor and chess-setting along the way.

Alex Mullane, Digital Spy – In which he was underwhelmed by parts of the episode, but thought the edited sequence of Sam going through the motions at the Citadel was among the funniest bits of comedy GOT has ever produced.

Alicia Lutes, Nerdist – In which she marvels at the episode’s ability to juggle so many plotlines and still feel so unified in telling a larger story.

Alyssa Rosenberg, The Washington Post – In which she mulls over how characters need to turn the monsters inside them on and off given the right moment, depending on the situation.

Andrew Snell, Mirror – In which he prods and polks and nitpicks, but realizes, at the end of the day, his gripes are so minor in the grand scheme of things and he loves it anyway.

Brandon Nowalk, The A.V. Club – In which he observes how a failure to adapt to their circumstances lends certain characters to ebb closer to their parents’ same fate.

Christopher Hooton, Independent UK – In which he feels like the show may be going through ‘the motions’ a little too much this late in the game, and wants it to step up sooner.

Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter – In which he proclaims that ‘tablesetting’ should not be considered a negative term when we are entrenched with so many beloved characters.

Dave Gonzales, Thrillist – In which he puts on his detective cap, and speculates what it all means [Basil].

David Crow, Den of Geek – In which he oggles over the awesometude-ness of No One Arya Stark for paragraphs on end.

David Malitz, The Washington Post – In which he believes the Hound spent too much time gravedigging, and that Lyanna Mormont’s “shtick is getting old already.” (Please get your pitchforks and ‘Shame’ bells ready.)

David Rosenblatt, SquintyOverAnalyzesThings – Hey wait….That’s mine!! Come enjoy my tour through Westeros, in which I talk about the knowledge that different characters gain, or the previous knowledge banks upon which they expand.

James Hibberd, Entertainment Weekly – In which he acknowledges the seamless transition of different tones from one storyline to the next.

Jen Chaney, Vulture – In which she goes gaga over Arya’s murderous rampage of an opening, calling it “the show’s best ever.”

Jess Kelham-Hohler, The Evening Standard – In which she enjoys the episode’s astute observations over the natures of justice vs. injustice.

Joanna Robinson, Vanity Fair – In which she asks 11 questions and proceeds to do her damndest to answer them.

Kaitlyn Tiffany, The Verge – In which she does not care the foggiest bit for Ed Sheeran’s cameo, and recommends you watch a 2013 One Direction documentary instead.

Kim Renfro – Business Insider – In which she points to potential plotpoints that we, the viewers, may have missed in the episode! (Among approximately 723 other articles since it’s premiered).

Laura Hudson, WIRED – In which she reflects on how the past informs the present, but it doesn’t mean characters won’t always make the same mistakes over and over again.

Laura Stone, Hey Don’t Judge Me – In which she makes as many Harry Potter references as one can stuff into a recap based on an episode crammed with Argus Filch, Professor Slughorn, and a restricted section of a library.

Lauren Sarner, Inverse – In which she writes a review of the season premiere of GOT, then proceeds to write approximately 972 more GOT articles in next 10 hours.

Melanie McFarland, Salon – In which she thinks the episode’s slowness was outweighed by the sheer excitement of revisiting Westeros.

Mike Bloom, Salon – In which he turns the plots of the week into a series of newspaper clippings, complete with an obituary section. Readers: Amused!

Myles McNutt, The A.V. Club – In which he talks about the pieces a show has to pick up after culling a third of its cast.

Neil Miller, Film School Rejects – In which he points out that all plots will converge at Dragonstone, which will ultimately be vital to the endgame of GOT.

Rob Bricken, io9 – In which he can’t help but reflect how much slower than the season 6 finale this was, but still understands its necessity.

Sarah Hughes, The Guardian – In which she notes the unusual level of ‘quipping’ in the playful banter among the characters.

Sean T. Collins, Rolling Stone – In which he examines how the moments we are gifted in this episode do not exist in a vacuum, and that 6 seasons of diverging, then converging plotlines are reaping all the glory.

Sonia Saraiya, Variety – In which she mentions that as a collection of moments, the episode works, but on the grand scale, it was more realistically a place setter for the episodes to come.

TK, Pajiba – In which he gets excited for Dany’s homecoming, Rory McCann’s acting range, and the general aura in the air over the returned-ness of GOT!

132 responses

Jump to (and Always Support) the Bottom

    1. Yes, thank you for the little summaries for each review. Since I can’t read them all, this guides me to ones I might enjoy the most. And thanks for the compilation in the first place!

        Quote  Reply

    2. onefromaway:
      Yes, thank you for the little summaries for each review.Since I can’t read them all, this guides me to ones I might enjoy the most.And thanks for the compilation in the first place!

      You can’t read them all, eh? Challenge accepted… 😉

        Quote  Reply

    3. There are only two reviews which I make sure to read each week:

      Alan Sepinwall – because IMO he’s the best (read: most insightful) TV critic out there
      and
      Laura Stone – because her reviews are freaking hilarious (and she’s one of us).

      Any others I should be reading each week?

        Quote  Reply

    4. Reminded on rewatch…anyone else caught off guard that the “Arbor Gold” was red wine?? Show error, or bad assumption on my part that it would be white?

        Quote  Reply

    5. David Rosenblatt,

      Thank the Seven you read them all! I really enjoyed all of Robinson’s Vanity Fair piece and especially her discussion of Sandor and all the different fire connections. I don’t know what is spoiler material in her article and what isn’t so I won’t say anything else, but it makes me more interested in the Lord of Light. Thanks again for the list!

        Quote  Reply

    6. UGh i finally got to watch it! Solid epi 1!! LOTS happened! SOOOOooo good!!!1

      Dany’s arrival was everything, I felt a little teary eyed. Little stab to the heart for the last 2 Stannis fans in the world when she pulled down that tapestry. It occurs to me have we ever seen Dragonstone during the day before, it was always dark and rainy that I recall!? It was probably SO VERY HARD for Tyrion not to make a comment – but he held his tongue for once! <3 Team Tyrion and Dany (not that way). Side note, I liked how people actually know Dany is coming and take her seriously as a threat FINALLY!!!! Also there was a mention about whether people will be all good with Dothraki/Unsullied invading Westeros! The plot thickens.

      Arya: Cold open was great, I loved it! i was sad to see Walder die so nice to have one last shot. 🙂 She didn't kill the poor Frey-wife, sanity check passed! Ed Sheeran cameo was good why the F did everyone on the interwebs hate it? So confuse. I was worried Arya would murder everyone then she didn't! YAy!! Sanity check x2! I was worried after last season she'd gone full Dexter! … though I am now a little more worried for her life. I suspect she will not be successful in killing Cersei … (obvs).

      Sansa / Jon / LF: Great!! Well written scenes, I am rooting for Sansa and Jon both – they both have a point. This is what they should have been like last season. LF can suck it and I def cheered when Sansa told him off… however… Sansa needs to be careful, Baelish wants her, yes… but It might behoove Sansa to play him a little more subtly, let him think he has a shot in hell. Would have liked to see Brienne converse a little more with Sansa about what went down at Riverun, or actually hear the Tormund and Brienne convo. I hate to say it but I too am getting a little tired of tiny badass Mormont. (HERESY!)! If they are going to use her, I would like to see her character do something besides yell shame at people.

      KL: Wow, Cersei outright says that Tommen was a TRAITOR and basically deserved to die. She then totes came out and said she doesn't care about what happens after she dies, she just wants the power for its own sake. CERSEI IS FULLY UNHINGED AND It is BEAUTIFUl! Jaime, run. RUUN. I know you think you have no where to go but JUST GOOOO!!! Especially since she's about to get together with Senor Psychopath the Pirate king. She doesn't need you, especially missing a hand and really SHE NEVER HAS.

      Hound/bwob: I totally didn't catch until inside the epi that was the little girl/father Arya and he had robbed and left to die. My cries. ;_; I have to give it to Ten Bears, zhe may be right about The Hound being endgame level important. Also Beric Dondarion remains awesome. I wonder if LoL via Thoros will ressurrect The Hound instead of Beric (reborn amidst salt and smoke…) it could happen!!

      Sam: WAY more citadel than I was expecting! I loved the poop/soup montage, perfect.
      Plus JORAH!!!!!!1111 That does NOT LOOK GOOD. OK so there's dragonglass in Dragonstone WHO WOULD HAVE GUESSED? I hope he finds something else. Gilly is adorbs (bb sam is like my daughter's age now!)

      Great episode, maybe not QUITE at the level of s6e01 (which had a LOT of welcome surprises), but really good!! HOW CAN I WAIT FOR NEXT WEEK!?!?

        Quote  Reply

    7. ound/bwob: I totally didn’t catch until inside the epi that was the little girl/father Arya and he had robbed and left to die

      Arya didn’t have anything to do with it, in fact said he was the worst person in the world. Think he felt like it in that scene. Loved that scene

      Rewatched it just now – think you are right about Jon and Sansa. Wasn’t near as bad as it could have been. As I mentioned elsethread, they didn’t interact much when they were kids, they care about each other but they need to learn to respect each other and learn how to communicate with each other. Sorta like a marriage. Its gonna take a while.

        Quote  Reply

    8. ash: Arya didn’t have anything to do with it, in fact said he was the worst person in the world.Think he felt like it in that scene.Loved that scene

      Rewatched it just now – think you are right about Jon and Sansa. Wasn’t near as bad as it could have been. As I mentioned elsethread, they didn’t interact much when they were kids, they care about each other but they need to learn to respect each other and learn how to communicate with each other.Sorta like a marriage.Its gonna take a while.

      Right right just meant Arya was there too not that she was the robber sorry for confusion!

      It does seem as if they are setting the stage for conflict in da norf over whether they should first defeat their enemies in the south versus defend vs ice zombies. Thing is Jon himself knows well enough the Kingdoms must unite to stop the WW – he shouldn’t be so stubborn about Sansa’s idea that they should first take care of Cersei given that context. We’ll see. I’m sure the reveal that Dany is here will change the calculus next episode!

        Quote  Reply

    9. Hah, what has the world come to when professional reviewers complain about slow and meticulous tablesetting? Up until recently it was nearly impossible to say that and be taken seriously. Such an odd way to look at an episode of heavily serialized tv. It’s one thing to be slow and boring. Satisfying yet too slow though? What does that even mean?

        Quote  Reply

    10. QueenofThrones,

      I agree with pretty much everything you said, including Ed Sheeran’s cameo (I thought it was pretty un-intrusive) and even Lyanna Mormont to an extent. I mean, I love Lyanna – she’s awesome – but I feel like another scene like that will start to feel repetitive. Plus, I’d kind of like to see the other Lords get a chance to shine.

      Also… Is it weird to say, I’m kind of loving Euron? Pilou absolutely devoured that scene.

        Quote  Reply

    11. I don’t mind “slow” or set-up or build up. I always love the early episodes in the season when all the annoying people are complaining: “WEH nothing’s happening! WEH where big battle?! WEH where zombies?!”.

      My problem wasn’t that it was a slow burn, it was that it was flat. Not many good or interesting scenes, a lackluster cold opening bookended with an anti-climactic ending. This is easily the worst season opener and does not quell my initial fear that the story telling on this show will never be what it used to be.

        Quote  Reply

    12. LatrineDiggerBrian,

      I found it fell flat as well tbh. At first viewing I was just mostly happy to have new scenes period, but after I thought about it left me feeling kinda hollow whereas usually episodes leave me in a better mood. The only scene I have watched over again is Winterfell.

      I don’t know, it feels like it’s being filmed differently, many of the characters felt redundant to the point of boredom (Jamie, Cercei, Arya). Maybe I was expecting more after hearing about the pace being fast with no more set up what with these fewer episodes.

      And Clegane with Bwb could have been a really good scene but even that felt forced what with Sandor seeing in the flames so readily. And the bwb aquiece to him a little too much. I wasn’t thinking we’d have so much time with side characters and then a completely quiet scene on Dragonstone landing. Its like they thought the scenery would make up for the lack of emotion or dialogue. Dany didnt even have much expression on her face.

      Maybe after we see the payoffs to some of these scenes in the future episodes I’ll feel differently about the opener.
      That said I feel bad ranting about it because I know how much work goes into it and even then nobody can please all millions of viewers all the time lol.

        Quote  Reply

    13. ygritte:
      LatrineDiggerBrian,

      I found it fell flat as well tbh. At first viewing I was just mostly happy to have new scenes period, but after I thought about it left me feeling kinda hollow whereas usually episodes leave me in a better mood. … many of the characters felt redundant to the point of boredom (Jamie, Cercei, Arya). … And Clegane with Bwb could have been a really good scene but even that felt forced what with Sandor seeing in the flames so readily. …

      Yeah, I got that hollow feeling as well, this episode couldn’t touch me.
      The “frey-die-scene” rememberd me of Monty Python, I had to laugh. Did the showrunners intended that?

      And the Hound seeing the Wall in the flames felt to me like contructed. Didn’t convince me.

        Quote  Reply

    14. Zoyoguba,

      ygritte,

      Yeah, I mean, I think there is something going on here. This isn’t just a case of D & D struggling to carve out there own niche after the book material ended. These are two supremely talented guys who (along with HBO) are more responsible for the success of the show than the book material is. It just doesn’t seem like the same guys who did S1-5. All facets of the writing are much less sharp than what they used to be. Same goes for some facets of the production, where even sometimes I can notice a set from another storyline has been redressed for a different one.

      I think there was a change behind the scenes. Maybe Dave and Dan are at each other’s throats and it’s impacted the writing room. Or maybe HBO, who has struggled a bit with money and with a change of leadership to Casey Bloys, is now micromanaging the production more than they used to. Something has definitely changed, there is much more sloppiness all around than there used to be.

        Quote  Reply

    15. You know that friend who has a cat that won’t let anyone pet it, and the cat hisses and spits and scratches at anyone who tries? Then suddenly that cat is in your lap demanding affection? THIS IS THAT CAT MADE HUMAN AND I LOVE MY ANGRY LITTLE CHILD.

      Laura Stone always makes my day.

        Quote  Reply

    16. Starting back , was it season 4? The New York Times seemed to become aware of GoT.
      Now Jeremy Egner covers every episode , tho it is more of a synopsis than a critique.
      Still an interesting read.
      Boy times have changed, remember when the NYT was hostile to season 1 of GoT and indifferent to seasons 2 and 3.

        Quote  Reply

    17. LatrineDiggerBrian,

      Zoyoguba,

      I was recently going through You tube recaps and came across a name I recognized as someone who posts here every now and then. From the 1 and 1/2 I watched it seems they are very critical of the show but I found it interesting some of the content anyway. He backs up some things with interviews and remarks I never read before, like one from Miguel Sapochnik and others by D&D themselves. For example there’s a “lost ending” to BoB. Of course, we’ll never know everything that goes on behind the scenes but I’m sure it’s not all roses and sunshine. Nothing ever is. One thing I hope for, and I haven’t read anything that worries me on that regard, is that the show runners are not simply “over it” and want to rush it through to be done.

        Quote  Reply

    18. I loved the entire episode,
      and its honestly probably of the last classic “table-setting” GOT episodes we might ever get.

        Quote  Reply

    19. Just had an off the wall thought (I think too much yes) but what if Sansa puts Jon in a precarious position where she does something that would be punishable for treason? Could what we saw this first episode in the great hall be foreshadow for something like this? Like, what if she keeps up with the questioning and thinking she knows best from here on out, leading her eventually going against one of his orders or something?

      And if the northern lords (and lady) are aware of the “treason” he has no choice but do something or be seen as weak? I’m getting this idea from that one quote of Kit’s where he says “What are you meant to do? Punish your sister or execute your sister? So she’s a real challenge for him and she knows that. I think she’s infuriating to him and she knows that.” Though I don’t think he’d give something like that away so….

      Edit: I didn’t get all the quote italicized but can’t see where one can go back and edit that. No biggie though lol.

        Quote  Reply

    20. QueenofThrones,

      I agree with your entire review, my thoughts were pretty much the same. I thought this episode was much better than S6E1 though, which imo was quite average. I liked Sansa more in this one episode than I did the whole of season 6 lol.
      The only problem I had in this episode was Euron managing to build his 1000 ships in a matter of weeks, on a sparsely populated island with no wood! I just can’t take this seriously.

        Quote  Reply

    21. mau,

      I don’t remember exactly, but didn’t Euron say something like I am here with a 1000 ships and 2 good hands? Anyway even it wasn’t really 1000 ships, it was still too many in too little time.

        Quote  Reply

    22. Though everyone is entitled to their own opinions and have their own tastes… I am not sure why people call this episode boring?? Are we to jump right into action? This is likely our last setup episode of the SERIES…. with the rest of the episodes having minimal dialogue and character building.

      My sister, who is a huge fan like me, loves episodes with character focus and great writing, and she thinks S7EP01 absolutely nailed that aspect, especially when it comes to the character building portion. We are on season 7, so character building is usually done with.. but the episode did such a fantastic job developing the chracters in their NEW relationships, or showing us how the have changed (for the better like the Hound) or for the worse (like Cersei – seriously B, you calling Tommen a traitor??)

      I am so happy about that 🙂

        Quote  Reply

    23. When it comes to Game of Thrones, I’ve essentially conditioned myself to tune out any and all critical comments, positive or negative, about the show’s pacing. Even more than most qualities present in narrative art, it’s a concept that’s proven to be extremely subjective, and that’s especially evident with this particular show.

      I reached this point in Season 6 when, over the course of a week, I read somewhere in the neighborhood of 40-50 reviews of a single episode (I think it was “Home”), and an untold number of comments on said episode. Precisely half of those reviews were marveling at how quickly the show was moving and just how many consequential things were happening so early in the season, especially now that it had moved past the books and their increasingly languid pace. The other half were remarking on how slowly the show was proceeding in setting up the season to come, and viewing the same episode as necessary setup to build towards fireworks to follow later. Whether those observations, on either side, were positive or negative (mostly the former), it was telling.

      People watch the show for different reasons, especially when the audience is this large, and the same episode can elicit entirely different views. The exact same episode can be “slow” or “deliberate”, “fast” or “chaotic”, be dedicated to building plot or character, and contain either pulse-pounding, cathartic action or wild spectacle. It’s all in the eye of the beholder. So when a given review says this episode was slow, I can see what they’re getting at, but it doesn’t reflect my experience at all. So if they mean it as a criticism, that particular observation slides right off like rain on a wing.

      Personally, while I thought this episode was more deliberate than one might have expected, especially given all of the pre-season interviews about the season’s more rapid clip, I thought it was fantastic. I absolutely loved every second of it, especially the quieter, character-focused scenes like the sequence with Sandor and the BWB. I never, for a single second, considered the episode “slow”. It was less action-packed than the trailers might have suggested, but that action is coming, and I’m more than happy to wait for it.

      I also recently finished watching Season 3 of Better Call Saul and Season 5 of The Americans, which are great shows, but shows in which every single episode that has aired to date is slower than every single episode that Game of Thrones has ever done. Now that I’ve watched Russian spies dig a hole for 15 minutes (honest to God), nothing on Game of Thrones will ever qualify as “slow” for me again.

        Quote  Reply

    24. ygritte,

      If the videos you watched are by the person I think you’re referring to, then I would respectfully suggest that there are 10,000 better recaps (conservative estimate) that you can devote your time to watching, made in good faith by people who don’t have a personal axe to grind against the show and those who produce it.

      I have absolutely not one shred of fear that the showrunners are trying to rush through the endgame because they simply want to be done (if anything, judging by some of the comments about the pace of the premiere, they aren’t rushing enough). Producing the show is an incredibly hard task, to be certain, but they still seem to love it, and they’ve devoted the past decade of their lives to it. They’ve said they want to go out on a high note, and I absolutely believe them.

        Quote  Reply

    25. Dee Stark,

      I totally agree Dee. I’m a big fan of various TV shows and I always appreciated calm character moments… there can be so much hidden in mere words.

        Quote  Reply

    26. Lord Parramandas,

      I can say that if there were not so many character interractions and stuff, I wouldn’t be not nearly invested that much in them and deaths would make lesser impact on me in the process.

        Quote  Reply

    27. Jared,

      (Applauds). I couldn’t have said it better. I would say GoT has quite fast pace compared to some other of my favorite series. And like I said above, character interractions are such an integral part of the story.

        Quote  Reply

    28. ghost of winterfell:
      QueenofThrones,
      I agree with your entire review, my thoughts were pretty much the same. I thought this episode was much better than S6E1 though, which imo was quite average.I liked Sansa more in this one episode than I did the whole of season 6 lol.

      S6e1 had many surprising and exciting moments. Like Sansa and Brienne meeting, the scourging of Dorne.

      Apart from that, also the reunion between Cersei and Jaime in s6 was great in terms of Cersei’s character. Rare moment of humanity… Plus the setup for Jon being brought back was creepy and fun. Anyway. 🙂 I liked the epi a lot though I know many don’t agree.

      The only problem I had in this episode was Euron managing to build his 1000 ships in a matter of weeks, on a sparsely populated island with no wood! I just can’t take this seriously.

      It’s not too difficult – they go to the nearest forested coast, cut down trees, build ships, done. The northern armies are all at Winterfell and in no position to stop an IronBorn shipbuilding operation. Also are the II sparsely populated? Not sure about that. Thing is they are not going to spend time showing a minor character building ships when they can just show him saying he will build them, then showing them built.

        Quote  Reply

    29. I have several criticisms of the story logic and writing in this episode, as I usually do, but I just don’t understand people who say it was slow.

      There has never been a faster paced set-up episode, probably in the history of set-up episodes.

      I mean, just look at Sam’s scenes. The montage was gross, but it was, from a writing standpoint, a very elegant way of showing us what Sam’s life has been like, how tedious it has been, without having to do five scenes spread out over 3 episodes.

      They got it all done in 3 minutes, and then Sam managed to have an interesting conversation with the Archmaester, steal some books, discover the details of the dragonglass on Dragonstone, write about it to Jon, and briefly meet Jorah. I don’t know about you guys, but to me that’s not bad for Samwell fucking Tarly in one episode.

      We caught up with almost every single story, had some lengthy character development (the scenes with the Hound may well be the last time we get such extensive character work, at least for a character of secondary importance), and set up the major conflicts and alliances of the season.

      Maybe next week will still have some set-up to do, but I think it’s gonna be pretty crazy from here on out.

      The first episode needed to be what it was, and if they hadn’t taken their time to do it properly, the whole season would have felt rushed (a risk that may still come to pass, given that there are a mere 12 episodes of this story left).

      And the end of the day, this episode showed that storytelling is still a part of this show, it’s not just action, and in my opinion that’s a good thing.

      Most critics have always been exceedingly stupid when it comes to this show anyway. Their criticisms (and their praise, to an extent) are almost always very misplaced and nonsensical. It’s like they forget what it means to be a critic, and give the most shallow construal of the episode that they could come up with, without any critical thought. It’s often pretty unprofessional.

        Quote  Reply

    30. ygritte,

      Some excerpts from an interview last year with David Chase (Sopranos creator):

      DEADLINE: How do you see HBO having evolved since your time there?
      CHASE: I’m doing a project for them, A Ribbon Of Dreams, but I haven’t worked with them for a long time and what I’ve heard is they don’t rely quite as much on the creator or the artist doing what comes naturally to him or her.

      DEADLINE: What you understand is a change from how it used to be?
      CHASE: I remember when we did The Sopranos I had three arguments with Chris Albrecht over six seasons, 10 years. Yeah, I had three maybe four arguments with him and that’s nothing. Now from what I understand there’s a lot more back-and-forth.

      idk, I think when many people freaked out about certain events in S5, they really scared the hell out of the network execs. The result has been the Disneyification of GoT. As if we don’t have enough stupid Disney properties every year with Star Wars, Marvel, Pixar and whatever else, they had to make sure they took the edginess away from GoT because I guess it scared them. I don’t know, call me old fashioned, but if it was me and I didn’t like edgy stuff, I would just change the channel instead of trying to get them to change the show for me. But that’s just me.

        Quote  Reply

    31. BigMac:
      QueenofThrones,
      I agree with pretty much everything you said, including Ed Sheeran’s cameo (I thought it was pretty un-intrusive) and even Lyanna Mormont to an extent. I mean, I love Lyanna – she’s awesome – but I feel like another scene like that will start to feel repetitive. Plus, I’d kind of like to see the other Lords get a chance to shine.

      Yeah, I would like to see not every “Northern Court” scene resolving with 20 grown men going “…ok…” when a little girl yells at them. It’s just getting a bit repetitive. Plus, Mormont women already are supposed to be trained to fight, I wonder why Lyanna didn’t mention that…?

      Also… Is it weird to say, I’m kind of loving Euron? Pilou absolutely devoured that scene.

      I hate Euron and yet I was entertained. The other guy on James Hibberd’s podcast pointed out that Euron’s personality now is somewhat Ragnar Lothbrok-esque. Sort of a trickstery vibe. Hey if he breaks up the Lannister twins I’m happy he exists.

      So… who’s head will he deliver to Cersei? I assume whoever he can. I suspect either Ellaria or Yara, with Yara slightly more likely since she’ll be on a ship. Maybe he’ll destroy the entire fleet at Dragonstone (then how does Dany get to the mainland??)

        Quote  Reply

    32. QueenofThrones: So… who’s head will he deliver to Cersei? I assume whoever he can. I suspect either Ellaria or Yara, with Yara slightly more likely since she’ll be on a ship.

      It’s got to be Ellaria or one or all of the Sand Snakes.

      Yara means nothing to Cersei.

      Whereas bringing Cersei the head of the woman who killed Myrcella, or the heads of that woman’s own daughters, would certainly be a gift that Cersei would appreciate.

        Quote  Reply

    33. QueenofThrones: Yeah, I would like to see not every “Northern Court” scene resolving with 20 grown men going “…ok…” when a little girl yells at them.It’s just getting a bit repetitive.Plus, Mormont women already are supposed to be trained to fight, I wonder why Lyanna didn’t mention that…?

      I hate Euron and yet I was entertained.The other guy on James Hibberd’s podcast pointed out that Euron’s personality now is somewhat Ragnar Lothbrok-esque.Sort of a trickstery vibe.Hey if he breaks up the Lannister twins I’m happy he exists.

      So… who’s head will he deliver to Cersei? I assume whoever he can.I suspect either Ellaria or Yara, with Yara slightly more likely since she’ll be on a ship.Maybe he’ll destroy the entire fleet at Dragonstone (then how does Dany get to the mainland??)

      Good points. About Euron… I enjoy his presence on screen very much. Like I said on another thread, I feel he’s actually a psychopath and very sadistic. Every time he speaks, I get a strange vibe in a way “What exactly is he capable of?”

        Quote  Reply

    34. Have some of these people just starting watching TV? OF COURSE A SEASON OPENER WILL BE A LITTLE SLOWER THAN A SEASON FINALE!!!!!

      Plus, can we get the f— over this Sheeran dude? You’d think he was playing Joffrey’s reanimated corpse instead of a rando with 90 seconds screen time.

      Your Harry Potter references stopped being funny at 11 p.m. CST Sunday. Please cease and desist.

      You left a really funny one out. Some intern at Slate wrote about how you ignore women at your own peril in Game of Thrones. Her main case was that Jon should listen to Sansa or Littlefinger will be there to snatch her up again.

      So, be nice to Sansa or she will fall for Littlefinger’s tricks again! WHOO HOO! GIRL POWER!

      I’ll put in a plug for the Ringer crew. Mallory Rubin and Jason Concepion are hilarious, and Jason’s column today laid out the Sansa-Jon thing better and made me see Sansa’s points a bit more.

        Quote  Reply

    35. QueenofThrones,

      If it’s a person, my vote is Ellaria. The killer of Myrcella. Even Jaime will be impressed with that one. And if he wanted to win Bronn over, he brings back whichever one had the nice chest.

      I don’t remember the Sand Snakes names. In my head, they are:

      Ellaria, Grumpy, Other Grumpy, Shorty and Chesty.

      But if it’s not a person, it’s something that will control a dragon. That is how you even up this fight. Take away one or two of Dany’s dragons and give them to the Mad Queen.

        Quote  Reply

    36. ygritte,

      I got hints of that too.

      When Jon pointedly says to her, “The punishment for treason is death”, while she’s in the midst of challenging his judgement, and then goes on to say how he’s executed men for betraying him and refusing to follow orders in the past.

      It would also hark back to how Cat betrayed Robb, despite considering herself to be doing the right thing. And how the fact that Robb didn’t appropriately punish that act of treason brought major discord into the Northern camp.

      However, I don’t think they would follow through on such a storyline, even if they’re hinting at it being a possibility to get the viewers thinking.

      Having Jon lop his own sister’s head off is probably a bit too raw a moment, even for this show. Jon’s character would potentially be irreparably tarnished, along with his relationship with the rest of his siblings.

      And Jon’s remarks about executing traitors were also balanced out in the same scenes by his act of mercy. And Sansa’s remark about him being “as far from Joffrey as anyone I’ve ever met”. Joffrey, of course, showed no mercy and beheaded Ned for treason.

      So although they might be hinting at acts of betrayal from Sansa and Jon being placed in a situation where he has to punish her for treason, I don’t think that’s the route they’ll go down.

      But, we’ll see.

        Quote  Reply

    37. QueenofThrones,

      Even if they were able to access all the wood required to build such a massive fleet without it being reported at Winterfell, shouldn’t it realistically take them years to build that many ships?

        Quote  Reply

    38. Dee Stark:
      Ramsay’s 20th Good Man,
      Yeah I definitely think it will be Ellaria.

      I really want Ellaria and Tryion to have a reckoning re: Myrcella before Ellaria dies. I am still hoping that “Dany holds court” in ep 3 will mean that she punishes/banishes Ellaria on Tyrion’s request.

      So that leaves Theon or Yara or some Sandsnakes as gifts… He could try for Tyrion but it’s not happening. I agree with Ramsey’s 20th Good man that Yara doens’t mean anything to Cersei personally, however she is a traitor and as such deserves a traitor’s death. Or maybe the gift is not actually a head but…

      Book knowledge spoiler:

      Perhaps a dragon…?

        Quote  Reply

    39. LatrineDiggerBrian:
      Zoyoguba,

      ygritte,

      It just doesn’t seem like the same guys who did S1-5. All facets of the writing are much less sharp than what they used to be.
      … Something has definitely changed, there is much more sloppiness all around than there used to be.

      Thats exactly what I feel. Maybee its GRRM genius thats missing. The relationship between the charakters are somehow rushed. Maybee they run out of ideas? Maybee they just whant to finish this show? Maybee they put to much emphasis to the battles? Its a bit like in a sex-film: they rush from climax (battle) to Climax (dragonfirebattle) and everything in between has the function to leed to the next climax.
      (okay, the comparison ist not fair, sorry, to harsh)

        Quote  Reply

    40. ghost of winterfell:
      QueenofThrones,
      Even if they were able to access all the wood required to build such a massive fleet without it being reported at Winterfell, shouldn’t it realistically take them years to build that many ships?

      I am not a shipwright so I don’t honestly know… but suppose they take every Northern peasant they can find as slaves and have them work themselves to death for like 6 months, along with any Ironborn shipbuilders they have. I think they could easily build a hundred ish in time time, which is what we are shown.

      Six months is realistically how long it would take for Yara’s fleet to get to from the II to Mereen then back to Dragonstone with Dany. And also Varys went from Mereen to Dorne, back to Mereen with Tyrell and Dornish ships, and then back to Dragonstone during roughly the same span of time… so maybe it’s been more like 9 months since Yara left the Iron Islands? Anyway, time on this show is weird and out of order a lot. So I think “many months” isn’t too unreasonable.

        Quote  Reply

    41. QueenofThrones: I hate to say it but I too am getting a little tired of tiny badass Mormont.

      No alone. So far she’s been ‘one note’ Lyanna. She’s had a few lines in a few scenes and it’s all pretty much the same. Bella does great with it but as I’ve said a few times before, people went overboard for what little she had to do last season. She needs to be in a scene with some ‘normal’ conversation…

      I ended up watching most of the episode again twice more last night so I’m up to five views. 😛 There is truth of course in people stating things about table-setting and slow segments. What I don’t believe is that the slower parts were any more so than typical episodes. Nothing was as slow for me than all of those High Sparrow scenes. There may have been a problem for some if they watched “Battle of the Bastards” and “The Winds of Winter” just before the premiere. I bet a lot of us did. Going from two of the best episodes of the series directly into the season premiere should probably have been an expected calm.

        Quote  Reply

    42. mau:
      Euron feels like a combination of Ramsay and Oberyn and I really like him as a character.

      Haha, good comparison. I surely sensed some Ramsay in him but yes, a bit of Oberyn’s vibe as well. In a way “be careful what you say to him”.

        Quote  Reply

    43. QueenofThrones: It’s not too difficult – they go to the nearest forested coast, cut down trees, build ships, done.

      You can’t build ships out of unseasoned wood. Freshly cut wood is green and wet, and it will warp and shrink. They would need to dry the wood for a year at least.

        Quote  Reply

    44. Ramsay’s 20th Good Man,

      omg
      interesting

      this scares me though

      Now that I think about it… Kit also said that Jon was a violent person.

      Edit: Other hints in the episode, mentioning having to swing the sword yourself annnddd that he is NOT repeating the mistakes of Robb and Ned

        Quote  Reply

    45. Ramsay’s 20th Good Man,

      I think Sansa’s story is not how she would become a traitor… she’s been a survivor for most of the series, she went through real sh*t and she always carried her own story. I think the actual antagonist in Winterfell story is Littlefinger. And if by any chance Jon really leaves for Dragonstone (as Sam sent the letter), that would leave Sansa there in a “protagonist” role.

        Quote  Reply

    46. Ramsay’s 20th Good Man,

      Agreed. Seems like all the Stark children tried to learn from what their father taught them. The hard part as Jon and Sansa have learned is that he wasn’t always right. So it’s a process of using what he taught and evaluating how much of that will actually work successfully in the game of thrones. When you hear Jon speak, you hear Ned. And when you hear Sansa speak you realize that she has already learned obviously, that Ned was a “honest fool” and that his way would get you hurt/killed from people like Joffrey, Cersei, Littlefinger etc.

        Quote  Reply

    47. The story now is what it is… the show doesn’t seem to have enough unique characters that come from unique cultures and lifestyles. It’s almost getting too predictable.

      Speaking of predictable I am ready to start posting about 2nd episode of Game of Thrones season 7 – Stormborn/ The Mother… the 2nd God of the Faith of the 7 – This is not a spoiler This is my guess/prediction

      I predict Stormborn will have scenes with Daenerys The Mother of Dragons and her children the Dragons… “Your babies are so huge Queen Daenerys”. Tyrion’s first words of season 7.

      Littlefinger will talk to Jon Snow about Lyanna Stark (Jon’s Mother) in the crypt at Winterfell.

      Euron Greyjoy will deliver the special gift to Queen Cersei and the Queen will mourn with Jamie while remembering their daughter.

      Sansa mentioned her father Ned Stark in Dragonstone. Sansa or Arya will talk about her mother Catelyn Stark in Stormborn

      cheers

        Quote  Reply

    48. WorfWWorfington,

      I think I’ll steer clear of the Slate intern, as unintentionally hilarious as she sounds. I’ve kind of had my fill of one of the most progressive characters in the series being labeled a “sexist” just because he asked his sister not to undermine him in public and thinks the threat to the north is more pressing that the one to the south.

      I normally think better of the Ringer crew, but it’s a bit hard to view Jason’s layout of this conflict as balanced when you consider that he went on to fervently proclaim on Talk The Thones, “Sansa is right! Jon is dumb! HE’S WRONG!!” He could barely contain himself. I mean, you could see his thinly veiled contempt for Jon’s actions in his “breakdown,” and to be honest I expected better from someone who bills himself as a book expert than to dismiss Jon as Ned 2.0 and to completely reduce his character to one trait and shoot down any possibility that maybe Jon was operating on more than just “Ned’s honor” when he made his decision. It demonstrates that any pretense of his to even try to acknowledge Jon’s side of the conflict in his article was complete bullshit, and it’s hard to take someone seriously when they pretend to see both sides of an issue in one medium and then completely blast one side in another.

        Quote  Reply

    49. There’s a comment I haven’t made yet about the episode… I have to say that I think Sophie did a very good job. Yep, I just wrote that. 🙂 Regardless of how I view the headbutting with Jon and/or the dialogue of Sansa, that’s what was written for her, but I liked how Sophie played the part in the episode. I wasn’t excited to see some of those lines delivered in the scene we saw pictures of her with Littlefinger, but I actually enjoyed it. “No need to seize the last word, Baelish. I’m sure it was something clever.” When Jon asked her if being smarter is listening to her – “Would that be so bad.” Great delivery of both of those lines with ‘realness’ to them that I feel she lacks at times. That short line to Jon might be my favorite line Sophie has delivered in the series. I’m hoping she continues like that. 🙂

        Quote  Reply

    50. Lord Parramandas,
      Dee Stark,

      I’m hoping they’re building up the possibility of Sansa betraying Jon, and our fear of the potential consequences, as a red herring in order to make Sansa’s eventual “betrayal” of Littlefinger instead more surprising and dramatic.

      I’m hoping her public disagreements with Jon are a ruse to make Littlefinger more confident of manipulating her.

      She knows he’s always lurking, watching her in these moments. Whereas in private she’s much more supportive of Jon.

      And if that’s the case, then it seems to be working. Littlefinger seems to think he has her number – “Why aren’t you happy? What do you want that you do not have?”.

      Her current disdain toward him is probably meant to make the moment she turns to him for “help” more convincing. Massage his ego in making him think he’s won her back over, despite her misgivings.

      When Brienne asks why Littlefinger’s still there she sighs and says, “We need his men”, and then admits that she knows exactly what he’s after.

      Sansa’s definitely trying to play him at his own game right now.

      It’s hard to tell how things will play out only one episode into the season. Things might change depending on how further decisions Jon makes affect Sansa, or if Arya and/or Bran returning derails her plans.

      But fingers crossed the doom-laden hints of betrayal, sentences being passed and swords being swung at Winterfell are just meant to throw us off the scent.

        Quote  Reply

    51. When I see this list of critics, I feel like someone is missing… Linda Antonsson, the “reviewer with a firm hand” as other critics are way too positive and the show is one of the worst things ever done.

      I hope you understand I’m not serious on this.

        Quote  Reply

    52. Ramsay’s 20th Good Man,

      You surely made excellent points. And here is my own speculation why I assume we need to look at Sansa as a protagonist (not based on any spoilers)… let’s say LF’s downfall happens this season. And I think we all expect Sansa to play a role in it, maybe even by the cost of her own life. So I would say it would happen near the climax, let’s say episode 6. And considering Sam made some remarks about Jon and Dragonstone, I would say there is as significant possibility of Jon going there… so unless Jon’s departure happens really towards the end, I would say there is a possibility that Sansa will remain alone at WF with no Jon.

        Quote  Reply

    53. elybe,

      I didn’t listen to “Talk the Thrones,” so I can’t speak to it. But all I can say is that Jason dialed it down a bit for his column. He starts it by saying “They are both right, but pursuing it wrong.”

      (In Jason’s defense, my initial reactions to a show and the ones I post 48 hours later tend to differ…)

      Basically, he points out what I’d forgotten about the Umbers. They turned Rickon over to Ramsay to begin with and killed Shaggydog. He puts out a couple of other options, such as marrying Ned Umber to a more loyal house, or at least breaking off pieces of Umber and Karstark land to give to other houses. Maybe a bit more than a stern talking to was needed. (Although the show really put its thumb on the scale by making the Umber and Karstark survivors children)

      He also reminded us of one of Robb’s bigger blunders, leaving the North totally unprepared for a Greyjoy attack.

      Now, I tend to agree with Jon more. I think you need every man, woman and child. Plus, had Ned been more merciful with the terrified Night’s Watch guy or Robb figured out a way to be more lenient to the Karstarks, things might have turned out differently. So, strategic mercy can be smart too.

      Plus, we all know that the true fight is not with Cersei (I’ll eat my words if this somehow ends with her being zombiefied….)

      Having said that, Ned’s costliest blunder was being too merciful with Cersei. (Robb’s was putting his dick over his crown and marrying the wrong woman.) So, Sansa has a point.

      There is a way to split the middle. Let the Umbers and Karstarks keep their land, but make them tribute more to the Watch, or name one of the other House lords Lord Regent to Ned Umber and Alys Karstark until they come of age.

      Tell Sansa that most of their fight has to be at the Wall, but agree to devote some resources — maybe the “South of the North” like White Harbor or Greywater Watch — to protecting the Southern flank.

      The biggest problem I see is that neither Sansa nor Jon are really OF Winterfell. Yes, they were raised there, but Sansa was the typical small-town girl wanting to go to the big city. And Jon was always out of place, because Catelyn was awful to him and he is still Rhaegar’s son and probably felt an instinctual separation.

      Jon has Wall values, where you forgive pasts. Sansa has King’s Landing values, where the alliances shift at a whim and you never forget a trespass. And if Bran ever shows up, he’s long past caring about ruling the North.

      Really, the only person left who really got Ned Stark’s teachings and who thinks about them still and who regrets having left them…. Theon.

      There it is. My new King in the North! The Dickless Fish Wolf!

        Quote  Reply

    54. Ramsay’s 20th Good Man,

      I’m really hoping this ends with the Hound showing up at Winterfell, seeing his “Little Bird,” telling Tormund all about how Brienne bit him and bit him hard and making Tormund jealous, and then saying to Jon and Sansa “Why is that Littlefinger cunt here?”

      And then he explains what happened that day in the throne room.

      THEN Sansa addresss the Knights of the Vale and explains what really happened to Lysa and how she, as the trueborn niece of Lysa Arryn and the daughter of Jon Arryn’s beloved ward, is more fit to lead them.

      And then Ghost eats Littlefinger, dick first.

        Quote  Reply

    55. Ramsay’s 20th Good Man: I’m hoping they’re building up the possibility of Sansa betraying Jon, and our fear of the potential consequences, as a red herring in order to make Sansa’s eventual “betrayal” of Littlefinger instead more surprising and dramatic.

      I’m hoping her public disagreements with Jon are a ruse to make Littlefinger more confident of manipulating her.

      What Kit and Sophie were saying the last couple of weeks would certainly fall inline with previous cast comments attempting to throw the viewers off.

      Something I and many discussed all offseason is that there’s little possibility that Jon stays at Winterfell for very long. There’s too much going on away from Winterfell for him to just hang out there. Now that Sansa is home it seems unlikely she’d go anywhere with him, especially if it’s for such things as fighting the undead like we saw in the trailer. So… it would seem like there’s very little time left for them to butt heads.

        Quote  Reply

    56. Lord Parramandas,

      Agreed.

      Jon can’t stay at Winterfell the whole season doing mundane tasks and holding endless meetings in the Great Hall.

      We’ve already had the Dragonstone reference. But we’ve also had two references to Eastwatch-by-the-Sea. I think we can bank on Jon leaving Winterfell for one or the other before the end of the season, leaving the Winterfell/Littlefinger plot in Sansa’s hands.

      But I think dragging Sansa’s conflict with Littlefinger out over the whole season would also be a stretch on its own.

      Which is why they’re probably going to have to throw a few spanners in the works, such as Jon’s departure really messing with Sansa’s head/loyalties; Bran and/or Arya returning to complicate matters; or even Brienne (who keeps giving Sansa concerned glances) inadvertently messing up Sansa’s plans.

        Quote  Reply

    57. Ramsay’s 20th Good Man,

      There must always be a Stark in Winterfell.

      It’s going to be Sansa.

      I really think Littlefinger is going to get cleared off the board fairly quickly, maybe as soon as next week. The question is, what kind of ruler will Sansa be?

      I hope we get a scene with Sansa and Alys Karstark, so Sansa can maybe see a different view of the world.

      “My grandfather was beheaded by your brother because he disobeyed Robb’s orders. You know what those orders were? Protect Lannister lives over Karstark lives. Because Robb put you and Arya above Karstark lives, Lady Sansa.

      “Under my rule, House Karstark will fight with House Stark. We will be loyal. But we expect loyalty in return. You are no longer in the King’s Court, milady.”

      And then little Ned Umber says, “Sooooo, now that I’m alive, I hear you’re in the market for a hubby again…”

      And then Brienne kills him. While Tormund licks his lips.

        Quote  Reply

    58. WorfWWorfington,

      Definitely, that’s why his 180 in the video took me aback. If you view it, you’ll see what I mean. I wasn’t paraphrasing his anti-Jon rant, and based on his groundless assertion that Jon would have accepted the same advice if it came from Davos (whose advice he argued with in Season 5, but who needs canon when you’re trying to make a case for Jon being dismissive of women), I don’t think Jason really had a change of heart. I think he was just reining himself in.

      I can also definitely see where both Sansa and Jon were coming from, and I really enjoyed watching their scenes play out on screen, even if I’m rapidly growing weary of the rivalry discourse. They both have room to grow into their roles, and I don’t disagree that some milder form of penalty might have set an example, but neither Jon nor Sansa were advocating for a middle ground between two clean slates and two burnt bridges in that scene. That came down to the writing, but when faced with those two options, as presented by D&D, I can’t agree with Jason that casting out two potential allies ahead of the oncoming Snowpocalypse is smarter than bringing them back into the fold. I do agree that Jon needs a small council so that this shit doesn’t happen again, but I think he has to forego that in the name of dramatic tension.

        Quote  Reply

    59. QueenofThrones: Sansa / Jon / LF: Great!! Well written scenes, I am rooting for Sansa and Jon both – they both have a point. This is what they should have been like last season. LF can suck it and I def cheered when Sansa told him off… however… Sansa needs to be careful, Baelish wants her, yes… but It might behoove Sansa to play him a little more subtly, let him think he has a shot in hell. Would have liked to see Brienne converse a little more with Sansa about what went down at Riverun, or actually hear the Tormund and Brienne convo. I hate to say it but I too am getting a little tired of tiny badass Mormont. (HERESY!)! If they are going to use her, I would like to see her character do something besides yell shame at people.

      I think the Jon and Sansa scene is smoke on Sansa’s part, whether Jon knows or not I can’t say, If I was Sansa I keep it to myself safer for Jon and her ( Jon’s not a good liar ).
      Sansa knows what LF wants, he wants power, he wants the north, to get the north he needs to drive a wedge between Jon and the Lords and Sansa and Jon.
      I think she’s playing it subtly by play clumsy with Jon.

        Quote  Reply

    60. elybe,

      Nothing pisses me off more than the Jon is sexist bullshit.Is Westeros sexist?Totally.Might Jon have some sexist notions in his head?Sure like every single male on planet earth yes even the more feminist ones.But Jon is the least sexist character in the show.Like in episode 2 he gave a sword to his sister against the custom.The way he was with Ygritte and with Karsi.The way he was with Melisandre.What he said to Sansa in episode 10.What he did in this episode.All very sexist of course lol.He had a very clear reason for being pissed at Sansa or did people forget what Dany said to Jorah and Barristan in Astapor.Honestly considering the absence of a mother in his life and Catelyn being the only adult female figure in his life it’s a miracle he turned out the way he did.

        Quote  Reply

    61. Lord Parramandas:
      When I see this list of critics, I feel like someone is missing… Linda Antonsson, the “reviewer with a firm hand” as other critics are way too positive and the show is one of the worst things ever done.

      I hope you understand I’m not serious on this.

      Hahahaha 😀 Just seen this comment!

      I’ve no doubt a video recap of S7E1 by Lindaaaa will be made soon. Full of bad mouthing with plenty of expletives and pouring out the bile and vitriol as always!

      Although embarrassed to say so, I nip over to westeros.org a few days after a new episode is aired simply for the entertainment value. There’s nothing more funny than watching Linda going ape shit and losing her rag – Hehe 😀

        Quote  Reply

    62. I felt a little connection between Jon and Sansa in the scene after the meeting. Those two are gonna end up banging, I’m calling it.

        Quote  Reply

    63. Ramsay’s 20th Good Man:
      Lord Parramandas,
      Dee Stark,

      I’m hoping they’re building up the possibility of Sansa betraying Jon, and our fear of the potential consequences, as a red herring in order to make Sansa’s eventual “betrayal” of Littlefinger instead more surprising and dramatic.

      That is exactly what I’ve been thinking for a while now.

        Quote  Reply

    64. Grail King: I think the Jon and Sansa scene is smoke on Sansa’s part, whether Jon knows or not I can’t say, If I was Sansa I keep it to myself safer for Jon and her ( Jon’s not a good liar ).
      Sansa knows what LF wants, he wants power, he wants the north, to get the north he needs to drive a wedge between Jon and the Lords and Sansa and Jon.
      I think she’s playing it subtly by play clumsy with Jon.

      You may be right – my hubby suggested the same thing. Was Sansa arguing with Jon to throw LF off? Perhaps. I’m just not sure she’s quite that good a player. But I’m happy to be proven wrong.

        Quote  Reply

    65. Guys, it’s a nice theory, but we also thought:

      * Doran had a plan
      * The Umbers had a plan
      * Blackfish had a plan
      * Stannis had a plan

      They never have a plan. Jon and Sansa aren’t bright enough to pull this off

        Quote  Reply

    66. Jared:
      On an unrelated note, this isn’t a review of the episode, but I came across this article about Sandor Clegane and how poignant his character arc has become. I found it to be well-considered and well-written, and considering how much I loved Sandor’s scene in the premiere, I thought it was worth sharing.

      http://www.avclub.com/article/hound-love-how-sandor-clegane-turned-surprise-hear-258161

      Thanks for sharing that, loved the article. I have been amazed by his transition as well. And while I cringe at overly sentimental Scrooge stories where the young sweet child warms the old grumpy guys heart, I didn’t here, manly because Arya has skills to fight, plus is bold enough to stand up to his crap. They ended up being buds of a sort. Cant wait till they see each other again (gotta happen, right?)

        Quote  Reply

    67. Ramsay’s 20th Good Man: It’s got to be Ellaria or one or all of the Sand Snakes.

      Yara means nothing to Cersei.

      Whereas bringing Cersei the head of the woman who killed Myrcella, or the heads of that woman’s own daughters, would certainly be a gift that Cersei would appreciate.

      Not wanting this to happen, but i thought Tyrion

        Quote  Reply

    68. QueenofThrones: You may be right – my hubby suggested the same thing.Was Sansa arguing with Jon to throw LF off?Perhaps.I’m just not sure she’s quite that good a player.But I’m happy to be proven wrong.

      Well show wise she’s older, she’s learned from LF,Cersei,Marge,QOT, Tyrion, Shae etc. She knows he’s dangerous, it’s how well can she hide emotions and body language and maybe a little help from family.

        Quote  Reply

    69. Clob: There’s a comment I haven’t made yet about the episode… I have to say that I think Sophie did a very good job. Yep, I just wrote that. Regardless of how I view the headbutting with Jon and/or the dialogue of Sansa, that’s what was written for her, but I liked how Sophie played the part in the episode. I wasn’t excited to see some of those lines delivered in the scene we saw pictures of her with Littlefinger, but I actually enjoyed it. “No need to seize the last word, Baelish. I’m sure it was something clever.” When Jon asked her if being smarter is listening to her – “Would that be so bad.” Great delivery of both of those lines with ‘realness’ to them that I feel she lacks at times. That short line to Jon might be my favorite line Sophie has delivered in the series. I’m hoping she continues like tha

      I just saw a bunch of pigs flying by…..Hee, you are right that scene did have a ‘realness’ to it. It was possibly written by someone who has one or two siblings 🙂 (my brother and I are friendly as adults but omg it took him forever to figure out that his baby sister wasn’t a baby!)

        Quote  Reply

    70. WorfWWorfington:
      Guys, it’s a nice theory, but we also thought:

      * Doran had a plan
      * The Umbers had a plan
      * Blackfish had a plan
      * Stannis had a plan

      They never have a plan. Jon and Sansa aren’t bright enough to pull this off

      I didn’t say Jon is in on the plan.
      Sansa is smart enough to do it and pull it off ( even GRRM said she’s smart like LF) he has age and experience, she has sex and knowing what he wants, with help from others she could toast him.

        Quote  Reply

    71. ash,

      Tyrion is too close to Dany right now. If Euron can get to Tyrion, then why not just kill Daenerys, who is likely to be just a few feet away from him at any time?

      I suppose it’s possible that Euron could try and capture Tyrion, and he and his fleet are defeated. But that would be a bit of an anti-climax.

      I think this mission is going to be used as an opportunity to prove Euron’s villainous credentials to the viewers; so it will probably involve some more expendable characters who can be defeated and brutalised more readily than Tyrion.

      I think it’s more likely that he’ll go for an easier target and kidnap someone like Ellaria or the Sand Snakes. I think Olenna should be safely holed up in Highgarden, so she’s probably out of his reach.

        Quote  Reply

    72. Grail King,

      I’m on board with that theory; Arya has learned enough to decimate the male line of a house, surely Sansa has learned enough to decimate LF.

      POWER IS POWER!!!!

      I love that scene from way back whenever. And I’m also digging Sansa’s hair this season 🙂

        Quote  Reply

    73. Ramsay’s 20th Good Man,
      Sansa will cause Littlefinger’s downfall; of that I have no doubt. The books (especially one prophecy in particular) are about as clear as can get in this regard, no matter how much it will break my heart to see this magnificent bastard go ^^
      Furthermore, I agree wholeheartedly with your notion that Sansa may have already started thinking about it and contemplating how to go about it. Let’s face it : we know she has learnt that knowing what people want allows one to move them; and the writers made a point of having Baelish tell her what he wants last season. That looks an awful lot like a setup 🙂

      My sole point of hesitation relates to her disagreement with Jon over the Karstark/Umber kids. In my opinion, she did not contradict Jon specifically to lure Littlefinger out but because she genuinely did not agree with the king’s decision (of which she had seemingly not been made aware beforehand). The same logic applies to her unhappiness : I tend to believe she is sincerely frustrated with her lack of autonomous authority and not faking dissatisfaction for Baelish’s sake.

      However, the fact that both her disagreement with Jon and her overall discontent are catnip to Littlefinger is not lost on her, I think, and she may very well view it as a crack in the wall, the beginning of an opportunity… So she might play it up later on to get him even more “moved”.

        Quote  Reply

    74. ash: Not wanting this to happen, but i thought Tyrion

      Somehow, I doubt it, simply because I feel Tyrion has a different and separate story this season, more to do with his own actions, and they have to do with Daenerys. The reason I feel this way is from Peter Dinklage’s recent interview in which he implied that he is developing a crush on her, and that for the first time, he is not Hand to a family member. I know the scene of her naming him hand-of-the-queen was suggestive to some of a crush (I didn’t think so at the time). But now I feel that this crush may lead him to do something, advise her in some way, which has unexpected and bad consequences. Him being captured by Euron and taken before Cersei to be executed, wouldn’t be a good payoff for this kind of story, and this show does this sort of story very well.

        Quote  Reply

    75. elybe: That came down to the writing, but when faced with those two options, as presented by D&D, I can’t agree with Jason that casting out two potential allies ahead of the oncoming Snowpocalypse is smarter than bringing them back into the fold

      I am quite torn on that one, I have to admit.

      The politics of mercy Jon decided on can be a superb one in the longterm. However, unless both Houses Karstark and Umber have lost almost all their men to the War of the Five Kings and the Battle of the Bastards, the North now has (seemingly inexperienced) children at the head of two of its most potent armies… Is that a good thing ?

      Eleven-year-old Lyanna Mormont is believable and acceptable to me as head of House Mormont because said House is tiny and isolated and because Lyanna appears surrounded by older, more experienced advisors. The Bear Cub has tremendous powers of frowny persuasion but she does not have any real, objective sway : her men are too few and her island too small to make any genuine difference to the way the North fares.
      Houses Karstark and Umber, conversely, are crucial, not only due to the number of their men but also due to their geography. If these two Houses are not “on point”, strategically speaking, it could have dire consequences.

      Are Alys and Ned, right now, capable of leading these two clans ? Are they completely alone or do they have advisors ? If they have advisors, are they the same who encouraged their previous lords to fight against the Starks ?

      I do agree that Jon needs a small council so that this shit doesn’t happen again, but I think he has to forego that in the name of dramatic tension.

      The absence of a small council is downright troubling. Westeros now has three monarchs and the only one with a cabinet is Daenerys !

      To the best of my understanding, Jon has had three real mentors on the matter of rulership, namely Lord Commander Mormont, Alliser Thorne and Stannis*. All three were intelligent, talented, dedicated generals and, as such, expected their orders to be obeyed. Neither Mormont nor Thorne really had advisors and Stannis only had two (a fanatic and a disciple), which barely qualifies as plural and diverse enough to constitute a small council.
      Mormont was overthrown by his men; Thorne was hanged in front of his men; Stannis lost virtually all his men…

      Jon needs a government. He needs it now.

      *I do not include Ned because, in my opinion, Ned was more an inspiration to Jon than an objective teacher.

        Quote  Reply

    76. ACME,

      You’re right. Sansa’s frustration with her current powerlessness is palpable. Particularly when they were discussing the threat the Cersei poses.

      Both of them are focused on a different threat. And they’re both technically both right and wrong about which should be prioritised.

      The Wall still stands and there are hundreds of miles between Winterfell and the Lannisters.

      But as we viewers know, The Wall could come down soon (The Hound’s vision) and Cersei has ways of getting at her enemies through other means.

      Jon was right to say that the Lannisters, a southern army, would never range so far north. But there is a southern army already right outside the Winterfell gates. We saw it in the shot from above Winterfell.

      And that army is controlled by a man who has already promised Cersei that he will give her the North and Sansa’s head. That’s the sort of threat that Sansa recognises, yet is currently powerless to do anything about.

      If Jon heads off to continue his preparations for the White Walker invasion elsewhere for a while, Sansa will be left in charge. And hopefully once she’s got hold of the reins she’ll be able to satisfy her desire to address the threat that Cersei’s minions pose to her and the North.

        Quote  Reply

    77. ACME:

      Are Alys and Ned, right now, capable of leading these two clans ? Are they completely alone or do they have advisors ? If they have advisors, are they the same who encouraged their previous lords to fight against the Starks ?

      We’ve got too many unknowns at this point to really make an educated guess on that, but for what it’s worth, the Stark children were kind of thrown into their predicaments and forced to step up from a very young age, too, and sometimes all you can do is adapt as best you can under the circumstances. We don’t know if the previous lords Umber and Karstark even sought advice before deciding to betray the Starks. Books and show are not the same at this point, but since we have nothing else to go on, book Alys hated her uncles and sought refuge at the Wall, which Jon provided. I’m sure some planning for the governance of the north over the long term is being discussed off screen, but at the moment Jon is also aware that the odds strongly indicate that all of these people are going to be zombie meat by the end of winter. “Even then it might not be enough. . .”

        Quote  Reply

    78. LatrineDiggerBrian:
      I don’t mind “slow” or set-up or build up. I always love the early episodes in the season when all the annoying people are complaining: “WEH nothing’s happening! WEH where big battle?! WEH where zombies?!”.

      My problem wasn’t that it was a slow burn, it was that it was flat. Not many good or interesting scenes, a lackluster cold opening bookended with an anti-climactic ending. This is easily the worst season opener and does not quell my initial fear that the story telling on this show will never be what it used to be.

      I didn’t feel the whole hour was flat but some of it was.

      Dany’s arrival lacked emotion. It would have been nice to see some of the inhabitants come out and observe the return of a Targaryan to Dragonstone with a mix of awe, fear and in some cases genuine gladness.

      There surprise element in the kiling of the Freys was like, zero but my overall problem with it is that great revenge needs to be a little harder won.

      I did like the Winterfell story.

        Quote  Reply

    79. lucy,

      I think Dragonstone is basically just a fortress. A stronghold.

      There aren’t really any inhabitants on the island. And any who did live there probably would have gone back to the mainland without a Lord to manage the island, import goods, etc.

      Remember when Stannis went to the Iron Bank and they pointed out that no grain or livestock is farmed on Dragonstone.

      I think if the fortress isn’t inhabited then the island basically isn’t inhabited, so there was nobody there to see her return home.

        Quote  Reply

    80. LatrineDiggerBrian:
      I felt a little connection between Jon and Sansa in the scene after the meeting. Those two are gonna end up banging, I’m calling it.

      Banging like Jamie and Cersei?… now you’re talking:-)

        Quote  Reply

    81. LatrineDiggerBrian:
      Zoyoguba,

      ygritte,

      Yeah, I mean, I think there is something going on here. This isn’t just a case of D & D struggling to carve out there own niche after the book material ended. These are two supremely talented guys who (along with HBO) are more responsible for the success of the show than the book material is. It just doesn’t seem like the same guys who did S1-5. All facets of the writing are much less sharp than what they used to be. Same goes for some facets of the production, where even sometimes I can notice a set from another storyline has been redressed for a different one.

      I think there was a change behind the scenes. Maybe Dave and Dan are at each other’s throats and it’s impacted the writing room. Or maybe HBO, who has struggled a bit with money and with a change of leadership to Casey Bloys, is now micromanaging the production more than they used to. Something has definitely changed, there is much more sloppiness all around than there used to be.

      I agree the scene with Euron and Cercei just started with no royal intronduction for Queen Cersei the first of her name…etc. The throne room didnt even loo as royal…

      season 5 was good and looked liked game of those… season 6 not so much…. directors were mostly lacking…. D&D need to hire directors that worked in seasons 2 – 3 and 4
      Alex Graves
      Alik Sakhorov
      Neil Marshall
      Alan Taylor – I am looking forward to the sixth episode of season 7

        Quote  Reply

    82. Jared,

      It did get nitpicky to the point it feels like he does have an ax to grind and makes me wonder what the underlying purpose is. Why would someone devote so much time to pick something apart? Unless that’s his niche, critiquing shows, not sure as I didn’t look for anything other than Thrones.

        Quote  Reply

    83. LatrineDiggerBrian,

      Interesting. I remember now hearing how HBO literally requires certain amount of nudity because it’s what they are known for, something like that. I had forgotten that they actually have a say about some of the content.

        Quote  Reply

    84. Dee Stark,

      He actually used the term “psychopath” as well. Oh and that this season there’s a “seismic shift” for Jon. I’m tellin’ ya…. But right now I’d have to agree with Ramsay’s 20th good man in that I find it hard to believe the show would follow through with something that brutal. It would cause too big a shitstorm. Still, if George told them that’s what will happen…who knows? Hard to believe he’d build up Sansa Stark in this way just to kill her like that.

        Quote  Reply

    85. LatrineDiggerBrian,

      Wow, so someone else kind of got that feeling too lol. I see it more so coming from Sansa. You just get this subtle notion she feels affection towards him that’s not entirely sisterly.

        Quote  Reply

    86. I agree with those who said that Jon won’t stay for long in Winterfell, he will leave before the end of the season (Eastwatch or Dragonstone), that means Sansa will stay in Winterfell, maybe toghether with Bran, and she will have the power she misses now.
      I really wonder, what she will make of it, how will she make decisions, and how will she feel afterwards? So far she gave general advice, but never went into details. If she wants to rule, she will have to think about the details, too. I mean, once she tried, will she be so eager to becoming a ruler, as she is now?

        Quote  Reply

    87. ACME: Sansa will cause Littlefinger’s downfall; of that I have no doubt. The books (especially one prophecy in particular) are about as clear as can get in this regard, no matter how much it will break my heart to see this magnificent bastard go ^^
      Furthermore, I agree wholeheartedly with your notion that Sansa may have already started thinking about it and contemplating how to go about it. Let’s face it : we know she has learnt that knowing what people want allows one to move them; and the writers made a point of having Baelish tell her what he wants last season. That looks an awful lot like a setup

      Hii 🙂
      At this point right now, what is Sansa’s reasoning right now to plan LF’s demise? What has he done to her directly?

        Quote  Reply

    88. Ramsay’s 20th Good Man,
      I agree wholeheartedly with you; both Jon and Sansa are correct and misled in their assessments.

      Sansa is manifestly frustrated for her position is a rather odd one : she is Lady of Winterfell which would technically imply that she is the head of House Stark. However, the King in the North is expected to rule his own House so Jon, for all intents and purposes, is the real head of the Direwolves.
      Furthermore, Sansa is presumed to be a member of her brother’s small council so is believed to have the right to express her dissent, if need be, during cabinet meetings before the publicisation of policies. However, we have seen no evidence of a small council in the North.

      What we end up with is a situation where Sansa cannot, unlike any other Lord/Lady in the North (cf. Lord Glover), voice her opposition in public so as not to undermine Jon and, since there appears not to be any preparatory meeting, said opposition can solely be expressed after the facts. Basically, Sansa is totally free to express a dissenting opinion a) exclusively in private and b) once the debate is over and it no longer matters. Who wouldn’t love that ? ^^

      In regards to the threats, both from the north and the south, you are right. Sansa and Jon view them from completely different perspectives.
      Sansa believes Jon about the threat from beyond the Wall but, since she has never really witnessed it and cannot imagine the Wall failing (like the Citadel’s archmaester), she does not prioritise it.
      Jon believes Sansa about Cersei but, being a military man, he assumes the queen can only attack via military means and dismisses the possibility given the circumstances.
      However, we know the Wall will fall and Cersei has never needed an army to get her point across : she committed regicide with a feeble boy and a pig, almost took out Tyrion with the judicial system, weakened one of Westeros’s most powerful Houses with a prostitute’s testimony and decapitated the Faith (and the Roses) with a bunch of street kids and three candles.

      As far as Littlefinger is concerned, I guess he technically could align with Cersei but it seems a tad too risky to me. Admittedly, the queen’s “tour of map!Westeros” was intriguing in this regard : every region was namechecked except for two, namely the Westerlands (the Lannisters’ home Cersei must believe to be safe) and the Vale… Why did the Lioness omit the Vale ? Does she not consider them “enemies” ?
      However, Jaime did tell her she was only queen of three kingdoms at best which I took to refer to the Westerlands, the Riverlands and the Stormlands, leading me to conclude the Lannisters are painfully aware of Littlefinger’s decision to back the Starks. I do not think Cersei would forgive him that and agree to work with him again. She may be his one burnt bridge in the land.
      Furthermore, I doubt the Knights of the Vale, especially Lord Royce, would agree to side with the Lions against the Direwolves. They might have in the past but now switching allegiance would look a bit too much like betrayal for the ever-so-righteous Falcons. Even if Baelish knows Jon is actually a Targaryen and shares that bit of info with the Vale, I doubt it wil make the Knights more likely to join the Lioness’s ranks. At most, they will abandon Jon and support the legitimate Starks instead, I think.

      To be honest, I am still somewhat fixated on the fact that a handful of Great Houses only have one or so representative left : House Tyrell is down to Lady Olenna, House Tully only has Edmure (and his half-Frey son), House Martell survives solely through its illegitimate branch and it is a fairly weak one, and House Arryn’s last hope is Sweetrobyn. If Cersei wants the Vale (and she definitely should), I believe it would make more sense both emotionally and intellectually for her to have the last Arryn killed, hoping to shake the region’s allegiance, than to make a deal with Baelish.
      But with these two, who can ever know for sure ? ^^

        Quote  Reply

    89. LatrineDiggerBrian,
      I think we are so used to the “they argue with each other thus they will shag” romantic comedy trope that it may skew our interpretations in relation to Jon and Sansa… ^^

      Dee Stark,
      Hello there ! 😉

      If she is already planning his demise, I would believe it is because she knows how lethal he is. Jon is King in the (independent) North and Littlefinger has said he wants the Iron Throne ie. the Seven Kingdoms. There cannot be Seven Kingdoms with an autonomous North and Baelish has proven, time and time again, that he has no problem eliminating whoever stands in his way*.
      That sounds like a recipe for disaster. Or, rather, chaos.

      However, I am more enclined to believe she is not at the “plotting Littlefinger’s death” stage yet. She is suspicious of him (as he is of her) and she may at times think about getting rid of him but she is for the moment more interested in “moving” him because he is unfathomably resourceful : the man may very well be the single wealthiest person in Westeros, he holds the Vale, owns a fleet, knows more about the “game” than 99.9% of the nobility and has a network of spies only rivaled by that of Varys. That is a powerful person to have in your entourage. And, but this is my entirely subjective opinion, she kind of enjoys him… A sort of best enemy, so to speak ^^

      The description Aidan Gillen gave of their relationship made me think of a Mexican standoff between two people who like each other’s company. At some point, someone will have to pull the trigger but, in the meantime, let’s see what happens 😛

      * I, for one, do not believe she still resents him over the whole Ramsay catastrophe… The writers have stated Littlefinger genuinely was unaware of the Bolton’s sadism and, after killing Ramsay himself, eliminating Littlefinger for that reason would feel like a downgrade, I think. But it is just me.

        Quote  Reply

    90. elybe,
      You are right; there are way too many unknowns to theorise effectively.

      Your point about the Starks stepping up at a very young age to survive is a very good one indeed. I suppose my doubts arise from the fact that Alys and Ned are not expected “just” to survive; they are expected to lead and rule two of the most strategic regions in the North in the Great War. That’s a tall order, only made taller by the fact that the poor kids are barely bigger than the comically large swords they swore on…
      Lyanna can rule Bear Island because it is ultimately inconsequential who does : Bear Island’s population is so small, remote and poor that it is rather irrelevant to the war effort. Unless they have obsidian, of course…

      Speaking of which, I am going to venture a guess and say that there is dragonglass at the Dreadfort ! Like all Northern families, the Boltons had to find a “warm” area to withstand the cold : the Starks built Winterfell on hot springs, the Flayed Men built their stronghold on volcanic vents. And obsidian is a volcanic rock.
      How ironic would it be for the Boltons to prove posthumously useful ?

        Quote  Reply

    91. ACME:
      Ramsay’s 20th Good Man,

      Sansa is manifestly frustrated for her position is a rather odd one : she is Lady of Winterfell which would technically imply that she is the head of House Stark. However, the King in the North is expected to rule his own House so Jon, for all intents and purposes, is the real head of the Direwolves.
      Furthermore, Sansa is presumed to be a member of her brother’s small council so is believed to have the right to express her dissent, if need be, during cabinet meetings before the publicisation of policies. However, we have seen no evidence of a small council in the North.

      What we end up with is a situation where Sansa cannot, unlike any other Lord/Lady in the North (cf. Lord Glover), voice her opposition in public so as not to undermine Jon and, since there appears not to be any preparatory meeting, said opposition can solely be expressed after the facts. Basically, Sansa is totally free to express a dissenting opinion a) exclusively in private and b) once the debate is over and it no longer matters. Who wouldn’t love that ? ^^

      I have a question about this. You say ” since there appears to be no preparatory meeting, said opposition can solely be expressed after the facts” Why?
      Earlier too, you (and others as well) have commented that since Jon did not consult Sansa before giving his decision in the meeting with the Northern Lords, she had to voice her opposition in that meeting itself. Again, why?
      Sansa would have known, days before the meeting, that this issue was going to come up, given that the heirs had to be summoned from Last Hearth and Karhold. And yet, not once in those days, did she try to bring up this matter with Jon before publicly disagreeing with him in front of the others. She had to have known that he would be required to make some judgement on this matter at this meeting, and yet she supposedly said nothing to him in all these preceding days.
      If he failed to consult her before coming up with his decision, she failed in this matter as well, as she had to have known about this days before. So I disagree that she couldn’t have made her opinion known, in private, before the meeting took place. The way I see it, both of them showed a lack of communication and understanding in this matter. So why does he get the blame and her the sympathy?
      Yes it is a mistake for a King to make his decision without consulting his advisors, but at the same time, I think somewhere the advisors are at fault too, for failing to even bring this matter up with their king.

        Quote  Reply

    92. ACME: I think we are so used to the “they argue with each other thus they will shag” romantic comedy trope that it may skew our interpretations in relation to Jon and Sansa… ^^

      Yeah, I don’t think ever we’ll see that moment where they argue, fall silent, stare into each other’s eyes, and then launch into a passionate embrace. If that was ever going to happen then it would’ve happened when they argued in the tent before the Battle of the Bastards.

      That being said, I can’t overlook the possibility that, assuming they both survive until the end of the show, Sansa and Jon could still end up together.

      I’m not a Jon/Sansa “shipper”, but there’s a litany of hints, imagery and symbolism going all the way back to Season 1 that’s impossible for me to ignore. Especially the Ned/Cat comparisons and imagery that we saw last season, and which are now continuing into this season.

      In Dragonstone, the moment when Maester Wolkan interrupts them in conversation on the ramparts blatantly mimics the moment Ser Rodrik interrupted Ned and Cat with news of the Night’s Watch deserter in the very first episode.

      Also, I’d be interested in other people’s opinions on this. Why have two different directors, in two different seasons now, made specific and deliberate focus on Sansa grabbing hold of / making physical contact with Jon?

      We saw it first in S06E04 at Castle Black when she grasped his hand in trying to convince him to fight for Winterfell. And we saw it again in Dragonstone, with a specific focus on the moment she grabbed him by the arm, turning him to face her.

      Since two different directors have now focused on such actions it must be a direction from Weiss and Benioff.

      So is it just meant to be an illustration of Sansa’s newfound assertiveness? Is it meant to be a illustration of her powers of manipulation?

      Or is it meant to illustrate her specific comfort with Jon? She certainly wouldn’t have grabbed Ramsay, or Joffrey, or even Littlefinger like that.

      Why are we supposed to be noticing these moments?

      It’s things like this that understandably add to people’s perception of them having “chemistry”.

        Quote  Reply

    93. ACME,

      I think Cersei deliberately didn’t mention the Vale because the producers don’t want to give us any hints at any ongoing alliance between Cersei and Littlefinger.

      If she mentions the Vale then she has to mention Littlefinger’s apparent betrayal. And I don’t think we’re meant to accept that their alliance is entirely finished just yet.

      Siding with Cersei at this moment would be an unwise move. But perhaps that’s why Littlefinger has yet to make his move in the North.

      Maybe he wants to see how things develop before deciding who to truly throw his hat in with.

      I too think it’s interesting about the lack of heirs to the various kingdoms and great Houses. It means that many are all simply one death away from being rudderless.

      House Martell is gone. House Tyrell is effectively dead, and Olenna may lose support as a result.

      Unless we get some resolution to Edmure’s fate, then House Tully is dead.

      Theon can’t father children, so if Yara and Euron die then House Greyjoy is dead.

      Robin Arryn could easily die by Cersei or Littlefinger’s hand. That’d be House Arryn gone.

      Jaime pointed out that at this point in time there appears to be no dynasty for House Lannister.

      I think this all feeds into Daenerys’ plan to break the wheel. The wheel is already being broken apart without her even trying.

      So what will the future of the Seven Kingdoms be? What will her role be? Will Houses Stark and Targaryen, ice and fire, be the last Houses standing, tasked with replacing or rebuilding the wheel?

        Quote  Reply

    94. ghost of winterfell: Sansa would have known, days before the meeting, that this issue was going to come up, given that the heirs had to be summoned from Last Hearth and Karhold.

      Given how the scene plays out, it seems to me that no one knew beforehand what was on the agenda…

      Did Jon not tell anyone he had summoned the Karstark / Umber heirs and intended to give his verdict on their future during the meeting ? On the face of it, I, very much like you, would find it bizarre but from what I can see, the King did not tell Tormund of his idea to have the Free Folk man the Wall prior to the assembly either even though securing a “yes” in private from Giantsbane would have been easy enough and would also have protected Jon from the reputational risk of being refused in public. Luckily for him, Tormund agreed but had he said no, the King in the North would have been undermined by a Wildling in front of his lords.
      I am left to wonder how many decisions he makes in the privacy of his mind, without consulting anybody.

      So why does he get the blame and her the sympathy?

      Because he is the King and I am afraid monarchs and their advisors are judged by different standards.

      Jon has the ultimate power; his advisors do not. He gets to decide who does what, how and when. He is entitled to lead and rule, to pass judgment and impose his choices. He has virtually unlimited prerogative over the North, its strategy, its resources, its people.
      Next to that, he also has duties no one else has. It is his responsibility to form a small council, not the small council’s responsibility to coalesce around him. His responsibility to hold meetings with his advisors, not theirs to corner him to talk. His responsibility to inform them of what is on the agenda, not theirs to figure it out.

      I know I already mentioned it and I apologise for repeating myself, but there are three monarchs in Westeros at the moment and only one has an operational cabinet…
      Jon is transposing the Night’s Watch’s form of rulership over his kingdom; all collective meetings and shouting matches, little to no governing body aside from the “chieftain” (Lord Commander / King).

      I am certain that type of governance works perfectly well when the population is 200 men in barracks and the toughest policy ever discussed is who will dig the latrines. ^^
      However, it has proven thoroughly ineffectual, downright suicidal even, in more complex cases. Jeor Mormont died because his men did not understand his decision regarding Craster; Jon died because his men did not understand his decision regarding the Free Folk. In both instances, the matter at hand was both complicated and counterintuitive; and the ruler’s authoritative but singular voice was simply not enough to convince his “subjects”.

      That is when a small council comes in handy. Its members prepare the ruler for opposition, the process of disputation allowing him/her to hammer out policies in order to make them as palatable to the population as possible. Furthermore, cabinet members also work as surrogates; once they understand and accept the ruler’s decisions, they can defend them to the rest of the world, addressing people’s concerns and doubts.

      If Jon does not want a small council, that is perfectly fine by me. He is King and can do whatever the hell he wants. But that is his responsibility, no one else’s.

      PS I do tend to be harsh on monarchs so, with three of them on the menu, I think I am going to have fun this season 😛

        Quote  Reply

    95. Ramsay’s 20th Good man:
      I’m not a Jon/Sansa “shipper”, but there’s a litany of hints, imagery and symbolism going all the way back to Season 1 that’s impossible for me to ignore. Especially the Ned/Cat comparisons and imagery that we saw last season, and which are now continuing into this season.

      You are utterly right; there are many callbacks and parallels between Jon/Sansa and Ned/Catelyn or Robb/Catelyn.

      My take on it is that they are intended as a compare-and-contrast exercise. A bit like a seven errors game. By making so many elements (situations, settings, decors, costumes, etc) similar, the differences become all the more glaring : Ned and Catelyn were lovey-dovey when Sir Rodrick interrupted them, Sansa and Jon were arguing when Maester Wolkan showed up; Robb and Catelyn were always on the same side during public meetings, Jon and Sansa are demonstrably not, etc.

      Sansa could become Catelyn 2.0 and Jon could be the new version of Ned / Robb. But Catelyn, Ned and Robb are dead and Jon and Sansa’s purpose should be to avoid to follow them down that path. That is precisely what Sansa told Jon : do not make the same mistakes as our father and brother, do not try to be them, be different, be smarter. It is all the more important considering Jon is still quoting Ned (goddammit ! ^^)
      Both siblings have to find their own ways, their own voice, out of their predecessors’ shadows.

      Since two different directors have now focused on such actions it must be a direction from Weiss and Benioff.
      So is it just meant to be an illustration of Sansa’s newfound assertiveness? Is it meant to be a illustration of her powers of manipulation? Or is it meant to illustrate her specific comfort with Jon?

      I would vote for option number 3 (and a bit of numbers 1 and 2, to be honest). Sansa grabs Jon because he is her brother and she feels comfortable doing do; I believe it is a subtle allusion to her and Theon holding hands during their escape from Winterfell. A show of trust and solidarity : we are in this together and we are not letting go of each other.
      She also touches him to make and emphasise her points; it prevents him from running away and appears to distabilise him at times so she goes for it.

      As for Jon’s puzzled reactions, I would assume it has a lot to do with his complicated relationship with women.
      Jon grew up looking at women from afar : Catelyn dismissed him and Sansa stopped interacting with him when she understood what “half-brother” meant. The only exception was Arya and she was a tomboy. After that, he joined the Night’s Watch and became surrounded exclusively by military men not keen on giving anyone a hug. He did find female companionship in Ygritte, of course, but she was a tomboy too and they did not really touch in a non-sexual context.
      So Sansa’s physical contact must feel extremely alien to Jon : she is a girly girl, a sister who used to ignore him and her touch is not erotic… The poor man has to be gobsmacked by the concept !

      Siding with Cersei at this moment would be an unwise move. But perhaps that’s why Littlefinger has yet to make his move in the North. Maybe he wants to see how things develop before deciding who to truly throw his hat in with.

      That does sound an awful lot like Petyr Baelish ^^
      But if he does align with Cersei at some point, it will be with a plan to backstab her in the next five minutes… He really does not like her, me thinks.

      As for the disappearing Houses of Westeros, I am, like you, extremely curious to see where that is going. We might have got a hint of things to come thanks to both Tyrion and Sansa. Tyrion’s softspot for “bastards, cripples and broken things” announced the new type of key figures the country would be ruled by and Sansa’s plan to have the Umbers and Karstarks replaced by loyal families may be a reference to the future emergence of newer, lower-born people (like Davos or Bronn) taking over from the old aristocracy.
      On a broader level, I believe there is a distinct possibility the Seven Kingdoms will melt into one : the Great Houses were the guardians of this “federal” organisation, the relics of formerly independent regions. After the Great War and the unity required to fight it, and with most Great Houses all but extinct, this structure may no longer have any raison d’être.

        Quote  Reply

    96. ACME: Given how the scene plays out, it seems to me that no one knew beforehand what was on the agenda…

      Did Jon not tell anyone he had summoned the Karstark / Umber heirs and intended to give his verdict on their future during the meeting ?

      If Jon does not want a small council, that is perfectly fine by me. He is King and can do whatever the hell he wants. But that is his responsibility, no one else’s.

      PS I do tend to be harsh on monarchs so, with three of them on the menu, I think I am going to have fun this season 😛

      It’s just your assumption based on nothing,( that Jon kept the summons from the others), to justify Sansa’s non communication. My assumption is that she knew, just never bothered to talk to him about it. Ned Umber and Alys Karstark were right there in Winterfell. There is no way that Sansa would have been unaware of their presence beforehand.

      The idea that the lack of a small council is an adequate reason for Sansa, his own sister and the Lady of Winterfell, to not approach Jon beforehand about this matter, especially given that she is so desperate to have her voice heard, is not something I can agree at all. She is as responsible as him for this lack of communication. There was nothing stopping her from approaching him.

      As for Jon and Cersei not having a functional government the way Dany has, probably some allowance needs to be given to the fact that they were just made monarchs, likely just couple of weeks ago and Dany has years of experience ahead of them. Her system did not come into place overnight. It took time, time which Jon hasn’t had yet.

        Quote  Reply

    97. ghost of winterfell: It’s just your assumption based on nothing, (that Jon kept the summons from the others), to justify Sansa’s non communication.

      I respectfully disagree with the idea that my assumption is based on nothing.

      It is based on the fact that Jon did not tell Tormund of a policy that directly concerned him and his people before mentioning it in front of everyone, even though Giantsbane is easily reachable (he must live at or around Winterfell) and is one of Jon’s closest allies… From this precedent of (one-sided) lack of communication, I extrapolated another, similar and simultaneous instance.

      You can find this argument unconvincing or flimsy, I do not have any problem with that. But denying its existence is not quite fair.

      As for Jon and Cersei not having a functional government the way Dany has, probably some allowance needs to be given to the fact that they were just made monarchs, likely just couple of weeks ago

      A cabinet is not that complicated a thing to put together, to be honest. It can be done in a day so having waited weeks is already a problem.

      Jon, contrarily to Cersei, has no shortage of people to choose from. Winterfell is full to the brim with potential advisors; all he has to do is name six or seven and meet with them on a regular basis to discuss his projects and plans.
      The list is hardly challenging to draw : Tormund (Free Folk representative), Lyanna (Northern nobility representative), Davos (general advisor, King’s Landing connaisseur), Edd (absentee, Night’s Watch representative), Lord Royce / any Knight (Vale representative), Sansa (consultant on Cersei-related matters ^^). I would also argue in favour of Baelish (keep you friends close and your enemies closer) and Brienne (Stormlands specialist) being included but those are disputable.

      Most of the names on that list belong to people Jon knows fairly well already; he does not need to “size them up” to determine their qualifications. You, me, anyone can do it in under one minute. Why hasn’t the King in the North done it in at the very least fourteen days ?

        Quote  Reply

    98. ACME:

      It is based on the fact that Jon did not tell Tormund of a policy that directly concerned him and his people before mentioning it in front of everyone, even though Giantsbane is easily reachable (he must live at or around Winterfell) and is one of Jon’s closest allies… From this precedent of (one-sided) lack of communication, I extrapolated another, similar and simultaneous instance.

      What you are not taking into consideration is that Sansa, unlike Tormund, is the Lady of Winterfell. Even if Jon did not directly inform her about the summons (which is purely an assumption since the show hasn’t said anything one way or another), she still would have known. Jon would not have gone into the rookery by himself to send those summons. He would have got the Maester (in this case Maester Wolkan) to do it, who would have then informed the steward about the impending arrival of the guests, whose duty it would then be to consult the Lady of the house for the same. There would be no way for the Lady of the house to be unaware of the expected guests in her own house, unless Jon were activity plotting to keep these things hidden from her.
      Sansa would have known beforehand. She could have consulted him in private beforehand. She didn’t.

      As for his system of governance, wasn’t it similar to Robb’s who also tended to hold these open courts without any fixed advisory roles for anyone. The same applied to Ned, whose only advisor was Maester Luwin. So this seems to be the Northern way of ruling, a more authoritarian way. Now we can argue that this is not the best system obviously, and Ned and Rob suffered because of this. But this is the only way Jon has known. He is of the North who hasn’t been exposed to the southern way. Of course, there are a couple of people in his inner circle who have seen other styles of functioning and who could advise him about this. Since they apparently have no intention of doing this, I do not blame Jon if he takes a little time to figure out more effective ways of ruling.

        Quote  Reply

    99. ACME,

      Thanks for your point of view.

      I agree, they’re definitely using the Ned and Cat imagery to compare and contrast. Especially when it comes to Jon’s suicidal honour and Sansa’s potential for making rash decisions like Cat (arresting Tyrion, freeing Jaime). And some of this imagery may have been included just as stylistic touches.

      I’m already steeling myself for the possibility that Sansa might not make it to the end of this season, let alone the entire show. So I’m open-minded about what all of this imagery could mean or not mean.

      I just find it hard to ignore the irony that it is Jon and Sansa together, out of all of the Starks, who retook Winterfell and are reforming its household, acting effectively as Lord and Lady, while all this Ned & Cat imagery is laid on thick for good measure.

      It’s hard not to wonder if they’re subtly building towards a pay-off, especially since some of the groundwork was laid even as far back as Season 1.

      I agree about the possibility of the Seven Kingdoms dissolving into one nation. That was the vibe that Daenerys’ “break the wheel” speech gave off; and with all the Great Houses collapsing of their own accord that may be what they’re building towards. This unified nation may emerge from the ashes of the great war to come.

      The only problem with that theory is that Westeros is so damn huge that the feudal system is probably the best way to manage it. But the show has never been particularly fussed about the logic of such things, so perhaps they’ll just overlook the practicalities of how Westeros will have to be run.

      And I don’t mean to keep pushing this whole Jon/Sansa thing, since I’m definitely starting to sound like a “shipper”. But if all of the Great Houses need to disappear in order for the new order to emerge, then House Stark either has to be head of that new order, has to collapse entirely or has to merge with the new order.

      If Arya were to disappear off West of Westeros and Bran does whatever Three-Eyed Ravens do. What happens to Sansa? Well, she either has to die (most likely), become part of a Stark-centric new order, or merge with the (Targaryen?) new order via Jon.

      It’s all just wild speculation until we get closer to the ending. But a Jon/Sansa endgame is more of a likelihood than people are prepared to admit.

        Quote  Reply

    100. ghost of winterfell: There would be no way for the Lady of the house to be unaware of the expected guests in her own house

      She probably would have been informed were the Umber and Karstark heirs expected to stay at Winterfell for more than a one-day visit because then, they would have to be given rooms. However, if they had been given rooms, then Sansa would have guessed what Jon’s decision regarding them would be. After all, no one grants a chamber to a dismissed lord/lady.

      If she not only knew they were staying but also deduced what their fate would be, why did she look so surprised ? Was she faking ?

      As such, I believe we have two options available to us : either Jon summoned the Karstark/Umber children for a one-day visit without telling anyone around him, including Sansa; or Sansa knew all along not only that her brother had invited the heirs but also that he was going to pardon them yet she kept her mouth shut for weeks and feigned surprise and shock in the Great Hall specifically so she could disagree with the King in public and undermine him.

      As for his system of governance, wasn’t it similar to Robb’s who also tended to hold these open courts without any fixed advisory roles for anyone. The same applied to Ned, whose only advisor was Maester Luwin.

      To be fair, Robb was a terrible king and Ned was more of a manager than a ruler, given that the ultimate authority in the North was not his, but King Robert’s. The Stark patriarch oversaw his region in the name of the real ruler.
      Conversely, we saw that Lyanna Mormont has a small council; she was surrounded by advisors when the Starks came to her for help. Yet Bear Island is as Northern as it gets.

      I agree that this is authoritative, thoroughly autocratic form of governance is all Jon has witnessed, especially from his time in the Night’s Watch, under the tutelage of his mentors (Mormont, Thorne, Stannis). However, he is also painfully aware of what happens to rulers who operate in that fashion : Robb was abandoned, Mormont was overthrown, Thorne was executed in front of his men and Stannis lost all his supports. He also knows what happened to him the last time he governed like these men; he got killed by mutineers, including a boy who used to worship the very ground he walked on, and virtually all his “subjects” approved of the assassination.
      I apologise for the almost rhetorical question but if one occurrence is an accident, two a coincidence and three a rule, what is five ?
      Jon does not need other people to tell him it is a remarkably risky type of government, he knows it. He has seen it and lost his life because of it.

      I was terribly proud of him when, shortly after his resurrection, he stated he had failed. To me, it proved he was able and willing to accept his mistakes and learn from them. A tremendous quality in a ruler. However, now, I am left to wonder whether he has correctly identified what those mistakes were… I know Davos told him to fail again but I am not sure Seaworth meant it as an encouragement to do the exact same things all over again and hope for a different result ^^

      Furthermore, Jon received the education of an aristocrat; he knows how the Westerosi government works. He knows it all the more because his own father was made Hand of the King, the leading member of the small council. Jon is not ignorant, in any way, shape or form. Nor is he stupid, naive or illiterate. He knows that cabinets exist and what they are for; if he has not assembled one yet, it can only be because he does not want to. Which, again, is fine by me but the consequences of that choice are Jon’s to face, not anyone else’s.

      Jon is King. The bucket stops at his feet. This is the price he has to pay for the power, authority, control, prerogatives and privileges he enjoys as ruler. I do sincerely hope he will figure it out; he is more than capable.

        Quote  Reply

    101. Ramsay’s 20th Good Man:
      I just find it hard to ignore the irony that it is Jon and Sansa together, out of all of the Starks, who retook Winterfell and are reforming its household, acting effectively as Lord and Lady, while all this Ned & Cat imagery is laid on thick for good measure.

      I couldn’t agree more with you in regards to the irony.

      Jon and Sansa are the least “legitimate” people to rebuild House Stark; him because he is a bastard (and technically not a Stark) and her because she has always been the “bad Stark”, the reluctant Direwolf. By all rules of tradition, these two should not be leading the Stark resurgence but in a world of chaos, tradition no longer applies. So whoever is willing and able gets a shot.

      Broadly speaking, Westeros has become a playground for people who, in the former “world order”, never would have mattered in the first place : Cersei (woman), Daenerys (woman, youngest child of her parents), Tyrion (short, second son), Jaime (cripple), Jon (bastard, second son), Sansa (woman, second child), Arya (woman, third child), Bran (cripple, second son), etc. The misfits are now in charge.

      In regards to the “new order” that will arise from the ashes of the Great War, I share both your interest and your questioning.
      I have always been of the opinion that the story will close with magic disappearing from Westeros, like it opened with its reawakening. Mystical creatures, beings and entities are already starting to die out (the Children of the Forest are extinct and so are the Giants, the Direwolves are being dispatched at an alarming rate…) and I believe the Great War will accelerate the process : the magical Wall will fall, the dragons will die and the Others will too.
      If this is true, then the closer a character is associated to magic, the more likely s/he is to disappear along with his/her world and the continent will be inherited by “normal” people. That might be the only “plot armour” Sansa has : she is as non-fantasy as they come. ^^

      House Targaryen is fundamentally magical. From their looks to their mores to their symbiotic relation to dragons, its members are otherwordly. Thus, I sadly do not have that much hope for Daenerys’s chances of survival but Jon, being only half-Targaryen, could very well make it. Though he has always been a warg and is also a fire-wight now so who knows ?
      Regardless, I do not think House Targaryen will exist as such in the new world order nor do I believe it will be at the center of it.
      I would put more money on the Starks and the Lannisters…

        Quote  Reply

    102. ACME: I have always been of the opinion that the story will close with magic disappearing from Westeros, like it opened with its reawakening. Mystical creatures, beings and entities are already starting to die out (the Children of the Forest are extinct and so are the Giants, the Direwolves are being dispatched at an alarming rate…) and I believe the Great War will accelerate the process : the magical Wall will fall, the dragons will die and the Others will too.

      I love the idea of that the only people surviving a magical apocalypse are the non-magical ones… but I pretty much doubt it would be the case here. I agree that Dany’s days are numbered and I share the same concerns about Sansa’s fate that Ramsay’s 20th Good Man has.

        Quote  Reply

    103. A Dornish Tyrell,
      Very good point !

      I do not think all the non-magical characters will survive and all their magical counterparts will die before the end; those who cannot / will not pass down their magic can survive but not as normal members of society, I believe.

      Bran will very probably make it. Since the powers of the alpha greenseer appear deeply connected with the Children of the Forest and said Children are now gone, the Stark boy is very probably the last Three-Eyed Raven. He can continue to live on the margin of the normal world, so to speak, until his natural death. (Plus, Bran had the very first POV chapter of A Game of Thrones so George RR Martin probably wants him to bookend the story)
      Arya will also probably survive the War. Her Faceless Men magic was taught to her, not baked-in so she is still technically a normal human being. However, like her little brother, I think she will depart the regular world (and go “west of Westeros”).

      Neither of them will die, I believe, but they may end up on the periphery of the normal human society. Sansa, I do not know. It could go either way… But I would put slightly more money on her surviving than on her dying.
      Jon is the real enigma. He is the only 50/50 character to me so I genuinely have no idea. Not even a guess.

        Quote  Reply

    104. ACME,

      I very much agree with you! I don’t see Bran or Arya “going back to normal” in the post-apocalyptic Westeros. Bran being the new 3ER cannot possibly be part of the “normal world” as you mentioned. And Arya never had the intentions to do so. I cannot imagine her wanting to marry and have children to perpetuate House Stark. I think that is a fitter role for Sansa (if she makes it). The Stark who didn’t want to be a Stark has now the duty to carry on the family line (there’s a precedent of a female Stark passing on her last name).

      As you’ve said, Jon is 50/50… Although I find it hard to believe that he would die, to be honest (but my certainties have been proven wrong in the past… so, who knows!!!). 🙂

        Quote  Reply

    105. A Dornish Tyrell,
      Abso-bloody-lutely !

      I believe Arya will become an explorer, an adventurer. Like she always wanted. Both following her childhood dream and deciding she may no longer be “suited” for peace.

      Good ol’ Bael the Bard… A source of inspiration for both Rhaegar and Baelish, it seems, given how both men’s actions mirror that of the King Beyond the Wall’s. Apparently, neither of them heard that, at the end, Bael is killed by own son ! ^^

      As for Jon, all I know is that I want him to survive. I just want him to be ok. But George RR Martin does whatever the hell he wants so who knows indeed ! 😛

        Quote  Reply

    Jump to the Top

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *