Glass Candle Dialogue Season 7, Episode 6: “Beyond the Wall”

706 - Beyond - Magnicent Seven

This week, Luka and I deviate a bit from our mostly happy-go-lucky attitude (right?) to don frowny faces and puzzle over Arya and Sansa’s conflict, mourn poor Viserion and freak out over zombie-Viserion (Oh, and Luka squees over cutesy romance stuff too).

Petra: Let me just start off by saying that I’m not trying to feed the Internet’s proclivity for negativity. But this is probably going to be my least favorite episode of the season. I’m not saying it was bad but when season 7 is over and I’m ranking the episodes from favorite to least favorite I’m pretty sure this one will make the bottom of the list.

Luka: For me, it had some of the highest highs, but also some of the lowest lows … or at least some of the huh?-est huh?s. I’m talking about Winterfell here. If “Beyond the Wall” had limited itself to its titular Magnificent Seven quest and the Dragonstone scenes, it would be one of my favorite episodes of the season. As it stands, it may not be my least favorite but it’s certainly the most confusing in terms of character choices.

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Luka: We’ve been discussing Arya a lot this season. You once told me, “I just don’t know what’s going on with this girl.” But you said it sympathetically. You were worried about Arya as a person, not Arya as a fictional character, as a narrative construct.

Petra: I wasn’t worried about the quality of the writing.

Luka: We can still claim that “we don’t know what’s going on with this girl,” but our meaning has changed. Arya hasn’t gone quite so far that she can’t come back but she’s right at the edge. When she pulled the knife on Sansa and threatened to kill her, I didn’t recognize Arya anymore. Maybe that was the point. My feelings on Arya may change depending on what happens in the finale (or, more importantly, how it happens).

706 - Winterfell - Sansa

Petra: My initial reaction about this storyline wasn’t very positive but I couldn’t quite articulate why. Arya seemed erratic but it was Sansa’s decision-making that really bothered me. On the whole, I liked how she handled Arya. She remained levelheaded and reasonable … until she confided in Littlefinger. At this point, if a pair of socks go missing in Winterfell, she should blame Littlefinger. If somebody orders a decaf coffee and they get it caffeinated, she should blame Littlefinger. If anything goes wrong, particularly something that causes a rift between the siblings and threatens her power, the last thing she should do is confide in Littlefinger. Yet, that’s what she does.

Luka: That was my first impression as well. But I missed something crucial. I don’t think this is one of those convoluted theories: it was subtle, but Sansa was playing Littlefinger there, I believe. She may not trust him but she knows she must listen to him and take his “council” in order to stay one step ahead. Petyr told Sansa to keep Brienne near to protect her from Arya. So what did Sansa do in her very next scene? Send Brienne away.

Petra: I didn’t understand why she did that or why she was so snippy with Brienne, but that’s a really good point! I like it: Sansa’s following the adage that you should keep your friends close but your enemies closer. That’s a reading of her behavior I can get behind. So Arya’s the only disturbing wild card here … which, let’s be fair, makes perfect sense. If one of the sister’s going to be the wildcard it should be Arya. But still…

706 Winterfell Arya

Luka: I just feel confused about Arya. In this episode felt I could see the writers’ strings pulling her along to serve the plot. She felt more like a narrative tool than a character in her own right. Sure, she’s a wildcard, she’s emotionally compromised after all the trauma she’s experienced but even so the explicit threat against Sansa was a step too far for me. Maybe she was sending Sansa a message when she gave her the knife, like a, “Take care of Littlefinger if you want to prove your loyalty.” But if that’s it, it wasn’t telegraphed well enough for me. If it really was the threat it appeared to be, the writers pushed her too far. Maybe we’ve lost Arya, tragically – but not tragically in an intended narrative way.

Petra: She seems to oscillate between being a compassionate, interesting character and existing in Terminator Mode. There was that beautiful scene with Hot Pie in which she started out in Terminator Mode, but then she found out that Jon is King in the North and we saw her humanity come back. So it’s odd that her interactions with her sister bring this coldness out in her again. I get that she and Sansa never got along but it’s really strange to see her use those sort of intimidation tactics on her own sister.

Luka: Her way of handling it is psychotic, but her motivation makes sense to me: Arya sees Sansa as a potential enemy for Jon. It’s not fair but, from her POV, I can see it.

Petra: Her primary motivation in all of this is clearly to protect Jon against what she perceives to be Sansa’s treachery. I can appreciate it if we look at it as a grown-up extension of their childhood dynamics, in which Arya and Jon were close, Sansa and Arya clashed and Sansa was rude to Jon for being a bastard. Those childhood experiences formed the foundations of their relationships, and for everything else that’s happened, they keep reverting to their old ways. To be fair, that’s very true to life.

Luka: That reminds me of something I really enjoyed. Arya said that women can’t choose what they become in their world: she wanted to be a knight, but she couldn’t, so she became the dark, twisted version of her childhood aspiration. Sansa wanted to be a queen with Joffrey, but she couldn’t so maybe Arya’s assuming that Sansa’s going to take the dark twisted path to achieve her girlhood dream of becoming queen.

Petra: Arya does seem to bring up Sansa’s girliness a lot. She belittled her preference for knitting and pretty dresses, which is what a lot of fans disliked about her at first.

Luka: As Chrys Watches GoT pointed out in a way that made me laugh out loud, Bran also disturbed her with an unnecessary mention of her dress. Poor Sansa.

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Petra: In a similar vein to how suddenly Arya turned on Sansa, I didn’t quite buy Dany’s suspicion of Tyrion. I still don’t buy into this fear she will become a Mad Queen.

Luka: Her reaction made sense insofar as her barrenness is a touchy subject for her.

Petra: True. It’s interesting that they brought that up again in the same episode in which one of her magical dragon-children died.

Luka: And later Jorah made a reference to Jon’s future children. That’s not a coincidence.

Petra: Oh yeah. They’re really promoting the baby-making with those two. I get that she’s angry that she’s losing the war but questioning Tyrion’s loyalty to her feels forced.

Luka: What did you think of their conversation about succession, politically speaking?

Petra: I think it’s interesting that they brought it up.

Luka: Tyrion said “the Night’s Watch has one method, the Ironborn have another.” He’s describing a proto-democratic presidential system instead of an inherited system.

Petra: Ooh, that’s a good point! Daenerys talked about breaking the wheel again this episode but she hasn’t said much about what she’ll replace the wheel with. Introducing Westeros to a proto-democratic system would be a concrete way to indicate that Westeros is going to change for the better rather than leave us with a Tolkien-like stirring speech about good monarchs empowering the smallfolk.

Luka: It was a nice touch that Tyrion was at a loss for words and had to dance around the concept of a democracy because Westeros has no vocabulary for such a thing yet. The only thing he can do is draw comparisons to the Night’s Watch and the Ironborn.

Petra: I also liked Dany’s point about heroes and how they’re stupid and how they get themselves killed. I thought back to that when Jon was unnecessarily fighting further and further away from the dragon instead of hopping on the dragon and flying away.

706 Wall - Beyond Frozen Lake 7x06 Jon

Luka: Jon is all about sacrifice.

Petra: Jon is an idiot.

Luka: Well, if self-preservation was his goal, he would be. He wanted to make sure that everyone else got safely on Drogon before he did because he didn’t give a fuck about his own safety. It calls back to the conversation with Beric about their purpose: “I am the shield that guards the realms of men. Maybe that’s enough.” They are there to fight for the living despite themselves. I see Jon being sacrificial as a key point here.

Petra: Look, I want to make clear that I don’t hate Jon. Maybe one day I’ll write a very long think piece about how I feel about him. I like certain aspects of him a lot but his honorable decision-making annoys the hell out of me. If it weren’t for deux ex machinas, his honor would have gotten Jon killed several times over by now. How many times has he lead his men into some sort of massacre? Just recently, he was saved by Sansa with the Knights of the Vale and then by Daenerys with her dragons, and Benjen.

Wall - Beyond Frozen Lake 7x06 Dragons Drogon Viserion Rhaegal Wights

Petra: I did love the imagery of Daenerys coming to the rescue with her dragons. That was beautiful. It felt reminiscent but also subversive of the eagles’ intervention in The Lord of the Rings. Birds are often used as a symbols of heaven but here we got fire-breathing dragons – about as hellish as you can get – saving our heroes instead.

Luka: Before we get too far into that dragon sequence and its consequences, what did you think about the interactions between the Magnificent Seven?

Petra: I expressed concern last week that we weren’t going to have enough time to build the comradery of the group in a single episode. I was happy to be wrong. They did a fantastic job at getting the characters to interact appropriately.

706 - Beyond - Tormund Jon

Luka: First we have Tormund and Jon discussing Mance Rayder. Hearing a Wildling concede that bending the knee might be preferable is a real epiphany for Jon.

Petra: It means a lot to Jon to hear a Wilding effectively give him permission to bend the knee to Daenerys. And Tormund was basically expressing my own opinion on the matter: you can go on about your right to rule all you want but you’re getting people killed for your pride, or for the pride of your people. I appreciated that point.

Luka: You know what I appreciated?

Petra: … Jorah?

Luka: JORAH!

706 - Beyond - Jon, Jorah 1

Luka: That scene between him and Jon went exactly as I’d hoped it would.

Petra: I like that they afforded Jorah time to think back on the consequences of the decisions he made. His father died under really horrible circumstances thinking he’d never see his son again. That’s a kind of pain that stays with you.

Luka: And one of the things that I was hoping would be addressed was the ownership of Longclaw. So, I’m glad that they got around to discussing that. I’d hoped Jon, Gendry and Sandor would talk about Arya but … nope. That was my one disappointment here.

Petra: That was a lost opportunity. But Tormund and Sandor’s conversation about Brienne was the cutest thing. I don’t have anything terribly analytical to say about it but it warmed my heart. Oh, they introduced dialectic differences between Free Folk and Westerosi’s speech: Tormund calls him “the dog,” as if the Wildlings don’t have the word “hound”; and then he wasn’t familiar with the term “dick.” But he liked it. And the way he reacted when Sandor told him that Brienne just wants to cut him up and eat his liver –

Luka: “So you DO know her!” He’s so pure!

706 - Beyond - Tormund

Petra: And he didn’t die, which shocked me. The moment he mentioned wanting to have babies with Brienne I started drafting my Curtain Call for Kristofer Hivju in my head.

Luka: They gave us a real fake-out too. That looked like a death scene on the frozen lake. Because I’m deeply immersed in spoilers, I thought I knew that he would survive but when the dead started piling up on him I thought that perhaps I’d received the wrong information and that he really was going to die. Do you agree with the criticism that nobody dies on Game of Thrones anymore? I don’t value the quality of a show by the number of people who die. I realize that that’s part of what made Game of Thrones famous in the mainstream but that’s not why it’s good. It’s rather superficial, as criticism.

Petra: I value quality over quantity.

706 - Beyond - Beric Thoros

Luka: As for Thoros, I really felt his death, in large part because of Beric. Beric and Thoros are like an old married couple, so Beric’s reaction was really powerful. I also enjoyed that we got some good characterization for him in his conversation with Jorah. “I thought you were the bravest man I ever saw.” “No, just the drunkest.”

Petra: Which ties in with Daenerys’ comment about heroes.

Luka: There was another death this episode. I don’t know if you want to move onto that.

Petra: Ah, yes. Poor Viserion.

706 - Beyond the Wall - Frozen Lake - Viserion 2

Petra: I’ve had some strong feelings about the treatment of those dragons for a while now. I probably wouldn’t have never noticed had I not listened to the audio commentary for How To Train Your Dragon, of all things. At the end of the movie, the main character, Hiccup, wakes up and finds out that he’s lost a leg and in the final version, Toothless, the dragon, is there with him to comfort him and help him walk. In an earlier version, Hiccup was alone when he woke up and he had to cope by himself. According to one of the directors on the commentary, it was Steven Spielberg’s suggestion to include Toothless in that scene because he felt that by the end of the movie the relationship between Hiccup and Toothless had devolved into that of a cowboy and his horse, that Toothless wasn’t a character anymore so much as a means of transportation and a tool. I feel like that’s what’s happened to the dragons on Game of Thrones. I realize that there are budgetary limitations but we had those lovely bonding moments between Daenerys and her children in the early seasons and we’ve completely lost those.

Luka: Really? This reaction surprises me. Mind you, I agree that Viserion and Rhaegal have always been backgrounded, but are you including Drogon in that?

Petra: He’s clearly her favorite and I have issues with mothers who favor a child …

Luka: I just mean that Daenerys and Drogon have had plenty of scenes together.

Petra: True. With Viserion and Rhaegal, though, they haven’t been treated like characters since Tyrion unchained them in season 6. Daenerys locked them up and then, in “Battle of the Bastards” they broke out helped their mother destroy the slavers’ ships and … that was kind of it. It was odd that Daenerys locking up her children for months had no consequences. It made it harder for me to feel sorry for Viserion – no, wait, that’s not true! I felt sorry for Viserion but in a way I don’t think I was meant to. I pitied him for being the sad middle child that no one wants. Even though they’re triplets.

706 Beyond Frozen Lake Daenerys Jorah

Petra: I have to say Emilia’s performance in that scene was not … it-it’s wasn’t her best. There was a Behind the Scenes video in which she and the directors discussed how challenging it was for her to emote when there was nothing to look at but green screen. That said, Daenerys’ reaction should have been on par with Catelyn at the Red Wedding, with Cersei watching Myrcella’s body return from Dorne. And it was not.

Luka: I’m so tired of the hate on Emilia, and she did some of her most wonderful work this episode, but in this case I agree. There’s that pan across all of the riders reacting to what’s happened. We see Tormund’s shock and Jorah’s wonderful pained reaction and then you expect Emilia’s expression to be the most heartbreaking and … it wasn’t.

Petra: She seemed more upset by Jon’s loss than by her child’s.

706 Ship Eastwatch Daenerys

Luka: Her initial reaction was underwhelming but once she’d had time to internalize it, I found her grief when talking with Jon completely believable, and heartbreaking.

Petra: Emilia started crying as if she’d been holding back for a long time. That was good. And Kit’s performance when he looked at her and said, “I’m so sorry” was very powerful. But still, I felt the focus of that scene was their sexual tension, not the loss of Viserion.

Luka: I thought the scene had two phases. At the beginning it was 100% about Viserion but then it moved on to focus on the BEST relationship we’ve ever had on this show!

Petra:

Luka: I don’t even believe that, necessarily. I just wanted to rile you up a bit.

706 - Ship - Daenerys, Jon 1

Petra: I mean, look, I thought the performances were good, and I liked the handholding. I’m not going to criticize every aspect of every scene between Jon and Daenerys just because I don’t ship them. That wouldn’t be fair.

Luka: You don’t love them, you don’t hate them. You just couldn’t give any less of a shit.

Petra: That’s it exactly! But I did like the moment where he was holding her hand and she started to pull away and he held onto her. We got a nice sense of their intimacy.

Luka: It was beautiful! Honestly, I just want to squee like an excited child now! [Squees]

706 - Beyond the Wall - Frozen Lake - Wight Viserion

Luka: Okay, so we’ve grieved for Viserion. But now he’s back.

Petra: Yes. This is gonna be fun.

Luka: Do you want to discuss where they got those chains for 30 minutes or do you think there’s something more interesting to focus on?

Petra: I think they bought those chains from the same store where Euron got his thousand ships. And I am fine with that. I am thrilled we have a zombie ice dragon now.

Luka: Well, you call him a zombie but I thought his eye looked more like White Walker eyes than Wight eyes. I don’t know if, with a dragon, that’ll make any difference practically speaking, but maybe Viserion will maintain his intelligence.

Petra: Oh, yeah! Because the Night King approached to actually touch him, and that’s how he converts babies! So Viserion is a White Walker, now. Well, a White Flyer!

178 responses

Jump to (and Always Support) the Bottom

    1. I actually understand Arya 100%. To me the show has painted Sansa as someone who has embraced the lessons of Cersei, Littlefinger and Ramsey as a result of both hanging around them and to keep herself safe. As she told Jon last year, no one can protect anyone. She is trying to protect herself by coldly looking out for her interests which is why she kept the Knights of the Vale back and did not tell Jon in the Battle of the Bastards. Jon also clearly thought she was undermining him early in the season.

      Arya sussed this out as was made clear in Eastwatch. Do we really think Arya wouldn’t act aggressively towards her for that particularly on top of all the resenment from childhood she holds towards Sansa?

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    2. So I had a thought/question about Viserion:

      We’ve seen (in Hardhome) that the Night King doesn’t need to physically touch corpses to make them rise up as wights. When he touched the baby back in Season 4, that was presumably to turn it into a White Walker itself.

      So is Viserion a full-on White Walker (…Flyer?) rather than just a zombie? Or does the show not care about consistency at this point? (*Edit: haha, I see you guys discussed this very idea!)

      PS. I really really dislike the instant-win button “kill the Night King and beat the whole army” idea. Feels like a lazy way to beat a level in a video game, not resolve a thousand-year-long conflict. I doubt the books will have such a simple solution, and I’d rather Jon negotiate a pact or truce with the White Walkers rather than completely defeat them, which should be impossible.

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    3. She may not trust him but she knows that she has to listen him and take his “council” in order to stay one step ahead. Petyr told Sansa to keep Brienne near to protect her from Arya. So what did Sansa do in her very next scene? Send Brienne away.

      I’m pretty sure he was implying the reverse: that Brienne would protect Arya if Sansa needed to get rid of her, so Sansa sends Brienne away in case of that eventuality. Hence, in one of Alan Taylor’s interviews, he refers to Sansa sending away Arya’s “natural protector”.

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/game-of-thrones-director-teases-dark-fate-for-arya-and-sansa_us_599b2db0e4b0771ecb065bf8

      Maybe she was sending Sansa a message when she gave her the knife, like a, “Take care of Littlefinger if you want to prove your loyalty.”

      The big issue with that is that Littlefinger has quite literally never come in any of the confrontations between the sisters. Arya has never interrogated Sansa about their relationship, or even hinted that she suspects anything to do with Littlefinger, so it would be pretty impossible for Sansa to make that connection. Indeed, other than following him around for that one scene (which served to have her get the message), Arya has been 100% fixated on Sansa in this storyline.

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    4. Sean C.,

      Agree. Sansa sending Brienne away was so she could make a move. It was actually very similar to last year when Littlefinger told her your half brother’s army and she began lying to Jon about the Blackfish’s army and the Knights of the Vale and even sent Brienne away then as well so she could do shady stuff.

      Not sure why Arya gave her the knife but i could see Sansa thinking Littlefinger is behind this since the last time she saw the knife she was insistent about mentioning Littlefinger must hVe given it to Bran for a reason

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    5. Wow I disagree so much regarding Daenerys’ reaction when Viscerion was shot. I think she did a magnificent job in that scene and I really felt her pain and shock.

      Also, I think Jon and Dany feel a connection but don’t quite understand it. I don’t think we need to “ship” them. I think there’s a connection there and I hope that they find out they are family at some point and realize what that connection was/is

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    6. Luka: I don’t value the quality of a show by the number of people who die. I realize that that’s part of what made Game of Thrones famous in the mainstream but that’s not why it’s good. It’s rather superficial, as criticism.

      Petra: I value quality over quantity.

      Yes to this, a thousand times over. I would have been heartbroken if Tormund had died on the frozen lake. I also would have accepted it, and considered it a death worthy of such a great character. But I definitely didn’t need him to die solely to fulfill some sort of blood quota, or for the show to prove its commitment to making hard sacrifices yet again. Ditto for Beric Dondarrion and Jorah Mormont, both of whom I’m very happy to still have around as part of this story. The writers have a plan, and those characters clearly still have a purpose – especially Beric, who taIked a lot about destiny and faith in this episode. He has a role to play in the Great War, and now, he’ll get that chance. (Jon, Sandor, and Gendry were the three that I was always sure would be safe).

      I did love the imagery of Daenerys coming to the rescue with her dragons. That was beautiful. It felt reminiscent but also subversive of the eagles’ intervention in The Lord of the Rings. Birds are often used as a symbols of heaven but here we got fire-breathing dragons – about as hellish as you can get – saving our heroes instead.

      Yes to this as well. This hour contained perhaps the most high fantasy elements of any GOT episode yet. That may be part of why it’s polarizing for some – it’s definitely a departure from the show’s baseline. But I absolutely loved it. The moment when Dany soared in over Jon’s head, her dragons breathing torrents of fire as Ramin Djawadi’s epic score swelled in triumph … I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched that scene. I live for that shit.

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    7. Luka: Well, you call him a zombie but I thought his eye looked more like White Walker eyes than Wight eyes. I don’t know if, with a dragon, that’ll make any difference practically speaking, but maybe Viserion will maintain his intelligence.

      Petra: Oh, yeah! Because the Night King approached to actually touch him, and that’s how he converts babies! So Viserion is a White Walker, now. Well, a White Flyer!

      This is a really interesting point. I wonder though; the WW-to-be baby was still alive when the NK “turned” him. Maybe this was just a case of hand-crafted limited edition versus mass-production to ensure the quality of Viserion’s wightification (read: perhaps a master’s touch is required for things like flight and functional fire- (or whatever-) breathing apparatus)?

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    8. I thought Emilia handled both scenes terrifically.
      If they wanted her to do a more obvious breakdown, they would’ve directed her to do so.

      She did it with Drogo in season 1, so shes perfectly capable of it.

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    9. I don’t think Arya ever forgave Sansa for Mycha’s death. I think Sansa blames Arya for Lady and just generally being difficult. I get this. I get that the past has bubbled back up (especially for Arya) and is causing frustration. I get that LF needs to be a wedge. Here’s what I don’t get.

      1) Arya’s dancing in between “no one” and petty vengeful sister. I don’t want to harp on Arya’s time in Braavos but how she left is relevant here. She’s using the FM magic to carry out personal vendettas (Walder, Meryn, Sansa?). Yes, she went north at the crossroads but she just switched Cersei for Sansa. There has to be repurcussions for Arya’s abomination (😉 Haggon) of not completely committing to being no one. She’s using it now to punish Sansa for perceived slights on Jon. Which leads me to…

      2) Sansa’s decisions last season. First, she pleads with Jon to retake Winterfell and save Rickon. Then she tells Jon there’s no hope of saving Rickon. Then she hides the Vale army. Then she reveals the Vale army. So much to unpack but the relevant part is the the writers’ needed to commit to Sansa using Jon and his army as bait if they wanted this season’s tension to feel real. Instead, Sansa simply doesn’t tell Jon for…reasons? Like Arya, they needed to commit to a characterization. This isn’t a grey, it’s two characters haphazardly jumping between black and white.

      The other isssue is that Sansa is the rightful heir to WF in so many more ways than Jon. By my count 3 (Trueborn, Ramsay’s widow, her alliance won the battle). That doesn’t even get into Jon’s NW vow and parentage. And yet, Sansa is super cool about Jon taking the title and Arya still gives her shit.

      I need Sansa to truly be conspiring (she’s not) or Arya to have a good reason to think Sansa is (she doesn’t).

      The worst outcome I can see is Bran “fixing” this. That’s unfair to both female characters and it opens a whole new can of worms because now Bran has time to squash petty beefs but not time or foresight to help Jon with the wight mission.

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    10. I believe Sansa and Arya are playing Littlefinger. The writers are just trying to not be too obvious so they can have their big twist later.

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    11. Great write-up, guys! While I don’t agree with all of your criticisms, I can’t really argue with them either. The episode wasn’t perfect, but I still enjoyed the hell out of it.

      I will say, while there is stuff in this episode that I think is worthy of criticism (the Sansa/Arya stuff, Benjen coming back for, like a minute, only to die…), I don’t agree at all with the people who say the writing has gone downhill. I loved the dialogue between Tyrion & Dany, between all the people north of the Wall, and Arya’s story about Ned. Like all writers (including GRRM), D&D are not infallible, and can slip up from time to time, but that doesn’t mean I think the writing on the whole show has become terrible.

      I read Dany’s reaction to seeing Viserion die as her being devastated, but at the same time, understanding that things are about to become so much worse, so there’s no time to dwell on it. Later, with Jon, when the threat is passed, she is finally able to express her emotions about losing one of her children. Personally I thought that was some of Emilia’s best work.

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    12. Tycho Nestoris,

      Why do you think they have not commited to a characterization for Sansa?

      There is so much evidence at this point to go with the Machiavellian Sansa interpretation they just have not come out and explicitly made it clear. Its been subtle. But even this year having two in universe characters say Sansa is undermining Jon speaks volumes.

      Of course, it has been so subtle for so long I worry they won’t have the courage to come out with it explicitly. If they back away from the clues they have left throughout the last two seasons will be shitty writing.

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    13. As for Jon/Dany – I agree with Dee. They feel a connection, but they don’t fully understand it yet. I never really “ship” people (just not my thing), but I am interested in seeing this relationship develop further.

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    14. Dee Stark:
      Wow I disagree so much regarding Daenerys’ reaction when Viscerion was shot. I think she did a magnificent job in that scene and I really felt her pain and shock.

      Yeah I agree. I think Emilia was fine in that scene. Dany was in shock and didn’t snap out of it until Jon yelled at her to go.

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    15. As always, great discussion. Oddly, I disagreed more than I agreed this week, but you guys articulate your points well.

      I actually like the Sansa/Arya stuff more. I thought the first scene they had was excellent. Arya’s experiences with Sansa are all telling her that Sansa cares more about being queen than her family, so the idea that she colluded with the Lannisters and is working against Jon now makes total sense to her. I loved Sansa’s reaction to her, calling her out for not doing what she expected Sansa to do, and go globe-trotting while Sansa fought to take Winterfell.

      I get why the later scene in Arya’s bedroom is throwing some people for a loop, though. I think we have to remember that Sansa broke into Arya’s room in an attempt to take away Arya’s hold over her. Arya saw that as evidence that Sansa wants to do something against Arya’s interests or Arya herself. I think Arya’s threat (which she didn’t act on) was an attempt to scare and intimidate her against doing anything against her . I get that this was maybe not clearly communicated, though. Maybe she should have made the intention of her threat more explicit, since it was an escalation even from how she was acting in their previous conversation. All I can say is that I found Arya’s behavior disturbing but believable.

      I am actually more critical though of the Beyond the Wall sequence than Luka and Petra. I don’t think deaths should be done willy-nilly, treating characters we love like redshirts. However, I do think sequences like this have more impact if someone we care about dies during them. The trick is to make the death feel like a significant and appropriate end for the character, thereby giving a proper farewell to them while raising the stakes of the overall conflict. I think they did a good job of that with Thoros, for example. I think the deaths at Castle Black and Hardhome did a good job of that as well. It’s not my biggest criticism but I think the sequence in this episode could have similarly benefited from that kind of emotional stakes.

      And I think the survival of almost everyone in the group goes hand-in-hand with the overall criticism of the sequence, which was that circumstances surrounding it and it’s consequences feel a bit contrived – which I think is a legit criticism of the episode.

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    16. Nice Discussion as usual guys!

      I did not understand the hate this episode got, especially compared to the totally underwhelming Ep5!

      Regarding Sansa and Arya: so I will admit upfront that I was cheesed as hell last season when Sansa and Jon Drama occurred, and also Arya’s arc in Braavos was the stupidest shit ever. However, I feel like those bothered me more than this because those particular arcs were not, IMO, organic. In the case of Jon/Sansa I felt OK about Sansa’s trust issues, but it went too far and there was an easy fix – Sansa tells Jon about the Vale knights at the last minute – it doesn’t change anything, but it resolves the tension in a satisfactory way. Arya’s plot was incomprehensible and moronic almost from start to finish, but the worst of it was her standing around undisguised like an arrogant idiot and getting stabbed to death.

      However I somehow find Arya and Sansa’s conflict MUCH more organic.

      Reason 1: Arya and Sansa parted on poor terms. I have no trouble believing that Arya thinks Sansa cared more about Joffery than her father. Arya doesn’t know what Sansa has been through. She doesn’t know that Sansa believed Joff was a monster from that moment – and in any case, the fact that Sansa didn’t think he as a Monster after Mycah already makes Sansa very complicit

      Reason 2: Arya still believes in Black and White Morality for the most part. This is why she left the Hound for dead (basically torturing him). This is why she could never be a facelessman, and why she couldn’t kill the actress in s6. She almost killed those Lannister Guardsmen and only didn’t because they proved themselves so freaking adorably wholesome. She wiped out an entire family because they were complicit in the death of her family. She believes Sansa is complicit in the death of Ned. The only reason she hasn’t killed Sansa already is because she is family.

      Reason 3: Arya is not that smart nor is she a master of subterfuge. She is arrogant & hot headed. See Bravos s6. I easily believe she would be played by Littlefinger.

      Reason 4: I believe Sansa sent Brienne away for 2 reasons. First, she’s afraid to go to King’s Landing because Cersei would almost certainly kill her. Second, she’s desperately afraid of Arya and for very good reason. Sansa thinks Brienne will prevent her from taking pre-emptive action against Arya. I don’t think Sansa would harm Arya, but she might try to lock her up. I think Brienne would not be cool with this (obvs).

      I just have to assume that Bran will save the day at this point. I do hope the girls contribute positively in some way, and end up playing LF. But I’m not optomistic. Sometimes old wounds fester and you need a psychic demi-god to rescue you.

      Luka: You know what I appreciated?

      Petra: … Jorah?

      Luka: JORAH!

      Right with ya Luka! It’s Jorah’s best season since S1, and OH MY GOD am I both 100% surprised and delighted that he is not dead?!?!?

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    17. Dee Stark:
      Wow I disagree so much regarding Daenerys’ reaction when Viscerion was shot. I think she did a magnificent job in that scene and I really felt her pain and shock.

      Also, I think Jon and Dany feel a connection but don’t quite understand it. I don’t think we need to “ship” them. I think there’s a connection there and I hope that they find out they are family at some point and realize what that connection was/is

      Well said. I thought Emilia’s acting was particularly good in both scenes.

      And yes, we don’t need to ship J & D. I thought their connection was obvious and was central to how the perceive themselves and the role they will play in the war to come.

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    18. Tycho Nestoris,

      But Jon didn’t take WF from Sansa. She’s Lady of WF. He’s not Lord of WF. She’s pissed off that Jon got elected King in the North, because she wants to be Queen. She believes Jon is a loser.

      In her deluded mind, she’s thinking: “They know I saved the city. They know I won the war. I broke Stannis at the Blackw….”. Oops wrong delusional character.
      When she told Arya she should be kissing her ass because she [Sansa] won the BoB and retook WF after Jon had “lost”, it showed a ridiculously inflated sense of self-importance. Arya is right: Sansa probably does harbor desires to depose Jon as king.

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    19. House Monty,
      Jared,
      Tycho Nestoris,
      Hodor Targaryen,
      QueenofThrones,

      Reading all your thoughts on the Sansa and Arya scenes has made me reconsider them to some extent. In particular, you helped me see the issue from Arya’s POV more effectively, which I have always been able to do, but I couldn’t really this episode (I still think that’s a writing issue.)

      Anyway, this is a large part of the fun with these dialogues; reading the comments and continuing the conversation. I’m sure Petra and I will come back to the topic in next week’s dialogue and I’ll give you guys my final thoughts on the storyline then, but if the finale sticks the landing with these two, I believe I may retroactively like these scenes much more. We’ll see.

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    20. BigMac:
      Great write-up, guys! While I don’t agree with all of your criticisms, I can’t really argue with them either. The episode wasn’t perfect, but I still enjoyed the hell out of it.

      I will say, while there is stuff in this episode that I think is worthy of criticism (the Sansa/Arya stuff, Benjen coming back for, like a minute, only to die…), I don’t agree at all with the people who say the writing has gone downhill. I loved the dialogue between Tyrion & Dany, between all the people north of the Wall, and Arya’s story about Ned. Like all writers (including GRRM), D&D are not infallible, and can slip up from time to time, but that doesn’t mean I think the writing on the whole show has become terrible.

      I read Dany’s reaction to seeing Viserion die as her being devastated, but at the same time, understanding that things are about to become so much worse, so there’s no time to dwell on it. Later, with Jon, when the threat is passed, she is finally able to express her emotions about losing one of her children. Personally I thought that was some of Emilia’s best work.

      Agreed with everything here. D&D get credit for the bad writing, but none of the credit for the good. I would say most of the dialogue scenes this season have been very strong.

      Also agree on Emilia. Not the same as Cat’s reaction to Robb’s death, but she seemed shocked to me, which was an appropriate (but not the only) reaction. If anything the instinct to compose oneself and get out of there, to save the rest of your loved ones, is probably more believable than breaking down like Cat while two of her kids are still in danger.

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    21. BigMac,

      I also thought that all of the scenes that you cited were fantastically written. Arya’s story about Ned, Tyrion’s conversation with Dany, and all of the interactions north of the Wall, especially Beric’s conversation with Jon.

      I don’t say this lightly, but after five days and seven viewings of the episode, I genuinely think that two-minute exchange between the two men that the Lord of Light saw fit to return from death has secured its place among my ten or so favorite scenes that this show has ever done. Beric’s “Death is the enemy” monologue could very well serve as a thesis statement for this entire story. And it’s all credit to Benioff and Weiss, since with Beric long dead by this point in the novels, he won’t be giving this speech any time soon.

      Game of Thrones still does one-on-one character interactions better than everyone else, IMO. And I often find them even richer now, in the latter seasons, now that they carry the weight of such history.

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    22. QueenofThrones,

      I agree with you on Reason #4: Sansa got rid of Brienne because Sansa is planning a preemptive strike against Arya.

      They had both sisters acting weirdly though. As Luka said. “the explicit threat against Sansa was a step too far for me.” There is NO way Arya would channel Hannibal Lecter and muse about carving off Sansa’s face. But now Sansa is probably freaked out and planning on putting Arya in a straitjacket and hockey mask, tied to a dolly, and thrown in a basement cell.

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    23. Luka Nieto,

      I rewatched season 1 around a month or so ago and I was amazed at how many of the scenes in the first season were setting up arcs that paid off in later seasons (including this one).

      Robert B for all of his drunk bluster called a lot of things; his take on the Dothraki in his convo to Cersei, his call of a war to come in his convo with Ned. I think each season has to judge not just in it’s singular entirety, but in it’s relation to the entire series as a whole.

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    24. Jared: I don’t say this lightly, but after five days and seven viewings of the episode, I genuinely think that two-minute exchange between the two men that the Lord of Light saw fit to return from death has secured its place among my ten or so favorite scenes that this show has ever done. Beric’s “Death is the enemy” monologue could very well serve as a thesis statement for this entire story. And it’s all credit to Benioff and Weiss, since with Beric long dead by this point in the novels, he won’t be giving this speech any time soon.

      This was one of the most fascinating scenes of the entire season, and it gave voice to what I’ve been saying about Jon since he came back to life. Beric’s speech basically encapsulated Jon’s current story arc. When he came back to life, for a while he was completely lost, until he found a purpose again, and now he’s completely mission-focused and he will be the shield against the enemy that is death, even if it means his own death. It was a beautifully written scene, and Richard Dormer’s acting was as amazing as it’s ever been.

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    25. One last little grievance: I wish the show didn’t make both sisters so gullible, and fail to impart basic information to each other, just to elevate WeaselFinger and propel Stupid “Plan” # 66.

      Sansa already expressed remorse (S6e2) for ditching Brienne and sticking with LF, but now she’s making the same mistake again.
      Instead of speaking in riddles, Arya should have and would have told Sansa “I saw LF get the scroll from Maester Wolkan at your request.” (Then Sansa would reply: “What a conniving, lying snake ! Let’s go build a Moon Door so we can punt his ass out of it”)
      Also, I don’t understand why Sansa is fretting over the scroll. As another commenter noted, the Northern lords with Robb already saw it and knew it was Cersei who dictated it.
      And if Sansa is supposed to be a “savvy politician”, a letter she wrote under duress when she was a child should be a “nothingburger”. It should be a simple matter to spin it the right way and defuse it.

      Now on to the great stuff I enjoyed in the episode …

      To be cont…

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    26. Luka Nieto,

      Yes! Ever since Jon was brought back to life, people both inside the story and outside of it have been wondering why both the show and the character haven’t made a bigger deal out of it. I thought that this scene did a beautiful job of addressing those questions.

      Jon clearly feels unworthy of the second chance that he’s been given, and more than a little ashamed. He doesn’t understand anything about this supposed gift. Why him? Why does he deserve this? Is deserve even the right word – why has he been cursed or burdened with this? What is he supposed to do? Beric, who has been wrestling with those exact same questions, helps him to understand that he’s not supposed to know – in fact, he can’t know. That’s an impossibly thing for Jon to hear. But they come to understand that they can still serve the side of the light. They can still help more than they’ve harmed. They can still be “the shield that guards the realms of men.”

      I fucking love it!

      I also think this scene pairs absolutely beautifully with another long-running thread related to Jon’s resurrection that pays off in this episode: Dany learned in an off-hand manner that Jon “took a knife in the heart for his people”. Jon has been trying to play down or conceal that truth from her all season, but when she finally sees the ragged, unmistakably fatal scars on his chest, she finally understands the enormity of the sacrifices that he’s made.

      In that case, dialogue wasn’t necessary. The look on Dany’s face said everything that she and the audience needed to know (another wonderful moment of acting by Emilia Clarke there).

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    27. Hey, Petra and Luka. I was tapping my fingers waiting for your conversation! You always make me reconsider stuff that went on during each episode!

      There are two issues that I would like to comment:

      First, the Arya-Sansa scenes: It hurt watching them. I was not expecting a super nice bond between them, but not that level of creepiness that left me feeling really uneasy. However, everybody has been talking about this the whole week, so even if it is a plot device, it apparently worked because it stirred the fandom’s guts and feelings.

      After thinking a bit about it, I now understand Arya’s motivations, because it is not just that Sansa and her did not get along growing up because they were too different. Arya has what she considers damning evidence about Sansa’s selfish aspirations (and I am not referring to the letter, which constitutes a second proof). Back in season 1, Mycah and Lady ended up dead as a direct consequence of Sansa lying to protect Joffrey, an action that contributed to further strain the Lannister and Stark relationship.

      I understand that Arya needs to know where Sansa stands right now, because Jon’s tenure of the North is on the line. She felt strongly about Mycah’s death, but Jon is a whole different ballgame for Arya!

      Given the skills Sansa has developed for manipulating people and her resilience against all the terrible things that happened to her -which she brought up to Arya’s attention when she said she doubted Arya could survive what she went through-, if Arya just asked about it… she might have not been successful in learning about Sansa’s true feelings and motivations (remember how easily she lied protecting LF when he was accused of killing Lysa). Arya needed to spike up terror to the highest level in order to obtain a real answer from Sansa.

      After a few days of simmering, my somewhat optimistic take of the whole interaction between the sisters is this: Sansa passed the medieval lie-detector test (that is why Arya gave her the Valyrian steel dagger at the end) and Sansa is not sure of what to do (she’s considering options) but by sending Brienne away she’s giving Arya a message (the one who can kill you is gone) and at the same time she has more leeway to conduct whatever she’s planning to do: if she moves against Arya, Brienne will not be there to intervene, but if she sides with Arya against LF, Brienne will not stand in the way chastising them for becoming monsters and reminding them about what Catelyn would have done (Brienne swore to protect the sisters, but if both of them murdered a high lord in cold blood, I don’t see Brienne being OK with this).

      I think Arya is telling Sansa… I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt. I’ll be watching you like a hawk. If I wanted to kill I would have done so without telling you about it, but you take the dagger because you need to use it on someone else who has collaborated against the Starks in the past. We’ll see what happens on Sunday. I believe the ball is on Sansa’s side now.

      Regarding Jon’s “stupidity”. Petra, don’t be so hard on the poor guy! I agree with Luka that he’s all about sacrifice. But in this case there is something else. He’s a military guy, he came on a mission: capture a wight and bring it to King’s Landing as evidence of what’s going on behind the Wall. If he had taken Dany’s hand and hopped on Drogon, like the others did, without securing that the wight was on board, he would have been forfeiting the mission and then Viserion’s death would have been trully for nothing.

      During the fight he was protecting the evidence. Once Daeny got there and extended her hand to him, he saw a wight coming over to attack them, so he started fighting to protect the others, but particularly to protect the Hound, who was carrying the captured wight. If you watch the scene, the Hound is one of the last ones to hop on Drogon, if not the last one (given the order they are seating when they see Viserion die: Dany, Jorah, Tormund, Beric, Sandor).

      So… What Jon is, is a man on a mission: he needs to make everybody understand the immense threat from the North and needs to convince them to unite in the fight against it. Up to this point, despite all the near-deaths, and actual death experiences he’s not doing that bad: he has united the unthinkable, the Wildlings, the North (though this is a very shaky alliance) and now Daeny’s invading forces.

      On a side note: I loved to see his face lit up when he was able to finally articulate the purpose of his second life: he’s the shield that guards the realm of men. Short, sweet and clear, uniting his past and his present.

      He had several moments of truth during this episode… And what I have always loved about Jon is that he may not have all the answers, but he’s always looking for them, he pays attention, he learns and then does something with what he learns (contrary to the maesters).

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    28. Chuck:
      Luka Nieto,

      I rewatched season 1 around a month or so ago and I was amazed at how many of the scenes in the first season were setting up arcs that paid off in later seasons (including this one).

      I had the exact same feeling the other day I was watching Jon’s scenes from all seasons. I was amazed at how things tie up: not only do they recover phrases told by different characters, but also there are mirroring situations. In Jon’s case it was amazing to see how each mentor has left him with valuable lessons but also with some “riddles” to be solved later on.

      For example: Mance was the one who told him that the only way to unite all the disparate Wildling tribes was telling them that they were all going to die, something Jon has been repeating to everyone since then. But Mance told him he would not kneel and that it was not a pride issue. Jon maintained Mance’s stance with Dany until he understands that he needs to do what he needs to do in order to achieve a greater goal.

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    29. I didn’t dislike the Arya/Sansa stuff this episode as much as some people did, but I didn’t find it very strong either. However, like Luka, after reading some of the posts on this thread (particularly from QueenOfThrones and GhostCR), I have come to look at it in different ways, and can understand both of their motivations a lot better.

      I would say that if there WAS a real slip-up in this storyline, it was that they didn’t make the reunion between the two sisters (in episode 4) awkward enough. It made it seem like everything was fine between them, when that was clearly not the case.

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    30. House Monty,

      You may be right about who saw the Sansa letter with Robb. I was relying on another poster. I’d have to go back and look.

      I just don’t see it as something Sansa needs to get bent out of shape over. Easily explained away for a “savvy politician.”

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    31. Ten Bears,

      Jon personally told her that she was responsible for retaking Winterfell in the Season 6 finale.

      Jon – 6×10 – “You’re the Lady of Winterfell. You deserve it. We’re standing here because of you. The battle was lost until the Knights of the Vale rode in. They came because of you” – she subsequently apologises for not telling him about them.

      Sansa – 7×06 – “We’re standing in Winterfell again because of me. You didn’t win it back. Jon didn’t win it back. He lost the Battle of the Bastards. The Knights of the Vale won the battle and they rode north for me.”

      She’s practically quoting Jon verbatim and yet people condemn her for daring to state reality.

      It’s strange.

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    32. Luka Nieto,

      I was going to say that Beric/R. Dormer was a real star of this episode. He had so much pithy dialogue – and truly lit up the screen with his unforgettable ignoring of his flaming sword – that I was sure he was going to be a casualty.

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    33. Ten Bears,

      Makes more sense why she would be bent out of shape if she is trying to position herself for the lords to depose Jon and proclaim her Queen in the North.

      For them to make that move she has to be impecable. Reminding them the northern lords about how she used to be married to hated houses and did their bidding would make becoming Queen a much tougher sell.

      The fact that she is concerned strikes as as evidence of the manipulative game she is playing. If she didn’t have higher ambitions I agree she shouldn’t care.

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    34. The dragon to White Walker moment got me thinking about Bran’s vision of the dragon fling over King’s Landing. I’m pretty sure everybody thought that it was Drogon. What if it’s the Night King on Viserion?

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    35. House Monty,

      She outlines her concerns in the scene with Littlefinger discussing the potential impact of the note.

      And all of her concerns appear to revolve around the possibility of Jon losing the support of the Northern Lords and their armies.

      “Their loyalty is to Jon. Jon is not here. I haven’t heard from him in weeks”.

      “Yes, they turned their backs on Jon when it was time to retake Winterfell. Then they named him their King. And now they’re ready to turn their backs on him again. How far would you trust men like that?

      “If they found out that I wrote that letter… a woman who’s already married not one but two enemies of her House… by the time Jon comes back he’ll have no army left”.

      How many times does she have to mention Jon before we can conclude that her concern is actually for him and her ability to do what he expects of her, ie. hold the North together?

      I guess it’s possible she could also be manipulating and misdirecting Littlefinger by constantly mentioning Jon, but I’m not sure what the point of that would be from either Sansa’s or the writers’ perspectives.

      And let’s not forget that the Northern Lords have already suggested that they may have been better off supporting her. If usurping Jon is her aim then she should’ve been all over that, right?

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    36. Ramsay’s 20th Good Man,

      That is a great point and quote.

      Maybe we should take her at face value.

      I am still somewhat skeptical we can take her at face value but less so after reading that quote you brought up.

      My main source of skepticism is:

      1.) In general they seem to be speaking rather cryptically in the scene. For example, Littlefinger tells her how good it is that Lady Brienne is there to help which clearly meant get her away so you can make a move on Arya if need be.

      2.) the scene you referenced about glover and royce expressing support. Arya was right. She was very tepid in saying Jon was King. What they were saying was borderline treasonous and yet she didn’t really say a single word more than the bear minimum.

      3.) Jon and Arya have accused her this season of undermining Jon. Two in world characters making the accusation suggests something is indeed there.

      4.) the director of the episode mentioned in an interview this week that we are starting to realize Sansa has gone someplace dark, and has learned from cersei.

      So perhaps its not correct to say her concern about the note is driven by her ambition, but there is clearly enough there to think she has unpure motives of some sort.

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    37. Ramsay’s 20th Good Man,

      Touche. You’re right.
      I was going to say that it’d be more accurate that Jon almost lost the battle because of Sansa, and won the battle because of Sansa. However, it’s the way his character perceives the events that constitutes the “in-universe” account. (The concealment vs. credit debate raged on long enough; i wouldn’t want to rekindle it. )

      Sansa’s recital reminded me of the recurring theme of the disparity between historical reality and legend. I remember watching S6e10 when Lord Manderly proclaimed “Jon Snow avenged the Red Wedding!” My first thought was: “Wait a minute. Ramsay Bolton had nothing to do with the Red Wedding. Walder Frey was the scoundrel who perpetrated the Red Wedding, and his two “damn moron sons” were the knife-wielding executioners. Arya Staek just carved up all three of them. SHE avenged the Red Wedding.”

      Then earlier this season, the Hot Pie News Network reported that “Jon Snow and a Wildling army came down from CB and won the BoB.” So it looks like that is the version the general public believes.

      (This reality vs. legend disparity also came up in Ep 6 when Jorah reminded Thoros of his legendary charge with his flaming sword through the breach at the siege of Pyke.
      Jorah: “I thought you were the bravest man I ever saw.”
      Thoros: “Just the drunkest.”

      The reality was Thoros was so drunk he didn’t even remember doing his “heroic” feat. )

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    38. I must be one of the few people who don’t put Arya in a pedestal… It amazes me how people go extra miles to excuse Arya’s almost psychotic behavior. Here you have a teenage girl who has always been hot-headed and not particularly sharp, who has always had a binary vision of the world (black and white morality), who doesn’t not have (nor care for developing) political acumen and who has been traumatized in many ways. Now this young woman has been taught how to kill and how to deceive, and you expect her to use her new lethal skills wisely… to become this assassin with a heart of gold? With all that anger and frustration bottled up inside? To idly wait for Jon’s return? She needs to lash out. She needs to find someone to terrorize and on whom pour her wrath. Sansa is the perfect target.

      I don’t think Arya is far gone yet… But she’s not a functional person anymore.

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    39. House Monty: 2.) the scene you referenced about glover and royce expressing support. Arya was right. She was very tepid in saying Jon was King. What they were saying was borderline treasonous and yet she didn’t really say a single word more than the bear minimum.

      Lord Royce (as well as the KotV) are not vassals of Jon. They are allies. And allies can choose to change alliance whenever they want. That’s not treason.

      Sansa explained particularly well what her duty was: to listen to their complaints. Chopping heads might be satisfaying but it’s not always useful, ask Robb about Lord Karstark.

      Ramsay’s 20th Good Man,

      Sansa is one of those characters who, not matter what they do or do not do, they are always guilty in the eyes of the fans.

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    40. GhostCR,

      You wrote:
      ” I was amazed at how things tie up: not only do they recover phrases told by different characters, but also there are mirroring situations…”
      ______________

      Coincidentally, I was about to list my favorite scenes, one of which was Beric telling Jon: “You and I won’t find much joy while we’re here. But we can help keep others alive.” This preceded Jon’s affirmation of his NW vow: “I am the shield that guards the realms of men. ”

      When I heard Beric’s line, I immediately thought of Maester Aemon telling Jon [paraphrasing]: “You will find little joy in your command.” This was part of their conversation when Jon intended to ask Aemon for his advice on whether to proceed with his unpopular plan to save the lives of the wildlings.

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    41. In a similar way to our two famous commentators, Petra and Luka, I never felt a bound towards Arya while I always liked how Sansa grew into her character. And not being sympathetic to Arya, perhaps I was blinding myself to why she was actually acting like that. But once you decide to become the devil’s advocate, perhaps it makes sense after all.

      Arya always has sensed Sansa was the ‘weak’ one. This was especially vibrant when she found the message she wrote to Robb. She also knows LF was an ally to the Lannister and betrayed her father. So in Arya’s point of view, it would look like Sansa, LF and the Lannister are the same pack. Arya probably think Sansa is still under ‘duress’, being scared to obey and serve Cersei and LF. She is secretly serving Cersei and is therefore an enemy of the Stark.

      Arya was perhaps telling her “If you have secret, I will discover them. If you are betraying us, I will kill you, replace you and find out for myself.” And I also believe like Petra that Arya giving her the knife was also a way of refering to LF and death at the same time, therefore telling her there is only one way for her to prove her loyalty : killing LF.

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    42. That said, Daenerys’ reaction should have been on par with Catelyn at the Red Wedding, with Cersei watching Myrcella’s body return from Dorne. And it was not.

      But it really should not have been: Daenerys is a very different person emotionally than Catelyn is. Moreover, Catelyn had several moments to take in the situation and had several time to hope against the outcome. Daenerys, on the other hand, was taken completely by surprise, and it probably had not registered on Daenersy that anything could actually harm her dragons. Moreover, her reaction – dumbfounded shock – is a very common one when sudden death happens. People basically cannot believe what they just saw when death comes out of the blue.

      (As for Cersei, we never saw her reaction to Myrcelle dying, did we? She wigged out when Joffery died: but, there again, Joffery took some time to die.)

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    43. GhostCR:
      Given the skills Sansa has developed for manipulating people and her resilience against all the terrible things that happened to her -which she brought up to Arya’s attention when she said she doubted Arya could survive what she went through-, if Arya just asked about it… she might have not been successful in learning about Sansa’s true feelings and motivations (remember how easily she lied protecting LF when he was accused of killing Lysa). Arya needed to spike up terror to the highest level in order to obtain a real answer from Sansa.

      After a few days of simmering, my somewhat optimistic take of the whole interaction between the sisters is this: Sansa passed the medieval lie-detector test (that is why Arya gave her the Valyrian steel dagger at the end)

      That doesn’t make any sense, because Arya doesn’t ask any questions. All that pretending to be a skin-peeling psycho would have determined is that Sansa sincerely believes Arya might kill her.

      House Monty:
      3.) Jon and Arya have accused her this season of undermining Jon. Two in world characters making the accusation suggests something is indeed there.

      Jon asked her not to get into arguments with him in council. She wasn’t doing anything other than offering her opinion.

      Arya, meanwhile, says she wants to be the ruler. And she probably does. That’s not a crime. She hasn’t actually done anything to move toward that, but Arya acts like anything less than 100% satisfaction with Jon being king is evidence of disloyalty.

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    44. thorne garnet:
      “The dragon to White Walker moment got me thinking about Bran’s vision of the dragon fling over King’s Landing. I’m pretty sure everybody thought that it was Drogon. What if it’s the Night King on Viserion?

      Holy cow! Good call! That would be quite a twist.

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    45. Juri,

      Didn’t Lord Royce stand up and declare Jon his King at the end of Season 6? They have not gotten into the politics of it but the Vail has never been said to be an independent Kingdom and based on the scene in the Winds of Winter seems to have declared for Jon. Has there been an example in the show where declaring for a King or Queen is seen merely as an alliance between two political equals?

      Sean C.,

      Jon says more than don’t get into arguments with him. He specifically uses the term undermining on two occassions. Once right after they waledk out of the council meeting where he pardoned the Umber/ Karstark Lords and after the conversation where he says that he will listen to her but she needs to not undermine him. That word feels fairly loaded.

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    46. Thank you Luka and Petra for yet another honest and entertaining candle dialogue.

      Episode 6 suffered from terrible, poor writing, but also really poor acting, and it left me feeling a little worried about season 8 altogether. I still am.

      On a positive note, I usually don’t care one whit about the demise of CGI beings whether they be direwolves, giants, or dragons but for me, the most emotional scene in episode 6 was Viserion’s death. Well done, CGI crew! That was quite a sad moment (and I think my face showed more emotion than his mother’s did.)

      As it is, I’m living for the upcoming episode 7. It can only get better.

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    47. Fancy word for a sellsword

      I believe Sansa and Arya are playing Littlefinger. The writers are just trying to not be too obvious so they can have their big twist later.

      You may be right about this, but LF must have some high tech listening devices. All of the scenes I remember with Arya and Sansa have been alone in a room with the door closed. How would LF listen in? But you still may be right. I am not nearly as disturbed by Arya’s actions. Think about how she lived in the dark halls of the house of B&W for so long. They were always creeping around those halls while Jaqen was carving faces. To me, Arya was harnessing her inner Waif in her scenes with Sansa. That’s partially why I think people have reacted so harshly to her. Everyone hated the Waif too. If she’s not just putting on a show for LF, she’s getting Sansa to face some real truths about herself so they can come together. Once everything is out in the open the sisters can be sisters. It may have sounded creepy, but Arya could take Sansa’s face any time she wanted. It’s a fact, even though Arya would never really want to wear pretty dresses. I agree that is a line that sounds untrue. The Waif probably would have whacked her hand for that lie.

      I’m waiting to see Jaqen return in season 8. I still think he had a plan for Arya. The sad thing is though, if Arya would have continued on to Kings Landing, Cersei may not have been a threat anymore since she was definitely in No One mode, so perhaps that wasn’t the greatest decision. She could have returned home after finishing up her list.

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    48. Jared,

      I agree! The dialogue is on par with the rest of the show, I believe it’s the direction that is messing with our perceptions. The choices weren’t clear enough and that can be mainly the directors fault, because we have proof the others are spectacular. Same happened last couple of episodes. I very much miss Sapochnik and Podeswa.

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    49. singedbylife,

      Who would you say acted poorly in ep 6? The only good stand outs to me were Tormund and Hound. Everyone else was just average, did well with what they were given but nothing exceptional. Jon and Jorah dialogue felt kind of forced in beginning of conversation.

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    50. Tron79,

      Darn. I was so hoping the sisters would bond when Arya returned home, eg:

      Sansa: It was horrible! Joffrey had Ser Meryn punch me in the stonach and beat me !

      Arya: You mean Meryn F*cking Trant?

      Sansa: Yeah.

      Arya: He punched me in the stomach and hit me too. But you should see what I did to HIM!

      Sansa. Ooh! Tell me!

      (Girls whisper, giggle and high-five. Exchange hugs. Then talk about Sandor.)

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    51. I want to elaborate on what I said though – professional actor’s do not show up feeling cranky one day and just mess a scene up, this is rehearsed for months, spoken about, filmed on many outlets and tried in many iterations. Especially in film&TV, a scene will turn out to be exactly what the director wants it to be. I didn’t like Danys reaction to the death of the dragon but I dont blame Emilia Clarke for it missing the mark, she has proven herself many times to be a spectacular actress and to have a very Expressive face. Overall from the long conversation to the awkwardly long moments, I think the director is the only one to blame, also throwing in a bit of sourness to the writing decision for things to move oh so fast. That last one is a personal preference and a deviation from the depth of the show I really appreciated though so it’s not so serious a critisism.

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    52. Ten Bears,

      But Jon didn’t take WF from Sansa.

      Technically, no. It is a strange situation though, where the King is not Lord of any house nor does he hold a seat. Or does he? One of those titles (lady of wf and kitn) is pretty much a name only. Can Sansa be Lady of WF if Jon is King? Can Jon be King without in some way taking WF as his own? Shipping would’ve solved it but eww.

      I think Arya made a great point about women not getting to choose their path (ugh where was Brienne to hear this) and then antagonizes Sansa for infringing on Jon’s rule. Imo the craziest part is that Sansa has not taken any action to do so. She’s holding Jon’s kingdom together AND taking heat for undermining him.

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    53. ygritte,

      I thought Maisie was particularly bad and sadly, Emilia and Kit rarely impress me which was also the case in this episode. The Jorah/Jon moment didn’t work for me either. As you sad, it felt forced. Much can be blamed on the dialogue and the horrendous plotting. It’s just not very subtle writing and it suffers extra when some of the actors given the biggest parts are unable to bring depth into their characters.

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    54. Boromir:
      So I had a thought/question about Viserion:

      We’ve seen (in Hardhome) that the Night King doesn’t need to physically touch corpses to make them rise up as wights. When he touched the baby back in Season 4, that was presumably to turn it into a White Walker itself.

      So is Viserion a full-on White Walker (…Flyer?) rather than just a zombie? Or does the show not care about consistency at this point? (*Edit: haha, I see you guys discussed this very idea!)

      PS.I really really dislike the instant-win button “kill the Night King and beat the whole army” idea. Feels like a lazy way to beat a level in a video game, not resolve a thousand-year-long conflict. I doubt the books will have such a simple solution, and I’d rather Jon negotiate a pact or truce with the White Walkers rather than completely defeat them, which should be impossible.

      That’s a Bloody good question, and I feel the exact same, about the instant win button to me that’s what lazy writing is

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    55. Jared: Yes to this, a thousand times over. I would have been heartbroken if Tormund had died on the frozen lake. I also would have accepted it, and considered it a death worthy of such a great character. But I definitely didn’t need him to die solely to fulfill some sort of blood quota, or for the show to prove its commitment to making hard sacrifices yet again. Ditto for Beric Dondarrion and Jorah Mormont, both of whom I’m very happy to still have around as part of this story. The writers have a plan, and those characters clearly still have a purpose – especially Beric, who taIked a lot about destiny and faith in this episode. He has a role to play in the Great War, and now, he’ll get that chance. (Jon, Sandor, and Gendry were the three that I was always sure would be safe).

      Yes to this as well. This hour contained perhaps the most high fantasy elements of any GOT episode yet. That may be part of why it’s polarizing for some – it’s definitely a departure from the show’s baseline. But I absolutely loved it. The moment when Dany soared in over Jon’s head, her dragons breathing torrents of fire as Ramin Djawadi’s epic score swelled in triumph … I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched that scene. I live for that shit.

      That! Totally agree 🙂

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    56. Jared:

      Jared I love your posts. You mirror my thoughts perfectly – and must say much better articulated then mine! I would name you my Hand (in posts) any day!

      That said, I have enjoyed Petra’s and Luka’s discussion as always, even when I disagree at points: the critique is made with good intentions and with a genuine wish to understand the characters 🙂

      I agree with Dee Stark, about the Dany – Jon relationship. It’s not a matter of whether we ship them or not. Mr Martin himself has stated that everything that has been done until now was to bring those two together. And as mentioned before, it’s inevitable and essential to the story.

      I LOVED LOVED LOVED both Emilias and Kit’s acting in their intimate scene. When she sees his wounds and realizes that this guy actually did take a knife in the heart for his people, that he is indeed willing to sacrifice his life; Jon’s ‘I’m so sorry’ was so incredibly touching and Dany’s reaction, as she slowly unveils her vulnerability and emotion to Jon, was heartbreaking. And them holding hands, in a rare occasion that these two people can just be human and vulnerable in the presence of another. It was pure gold.

      I also loved the way they handled Dany’s reaction at the Vicerion death scene: exactly the reaction of the Dany that has to put her emotion aside and be strong in order to save the others – dragons and humans.

      Her shock that NK can actually kill one of her dragons, her sadness, her anger, her confusion at what just happened and her enormous try not to break down at that moment, was perfectly acted with just that long stare at Vicerion’s body going down the lake.And Ser Jorah’s look to her, because he knows what dragons mean to her. It was a heartbreaking moment that had me in tears – and that despite the fact I was accidentaly spoiled about that death!

      Lastly, I totally agree about Beric’s – Jon’s discussion. That was crucial moment for the story, and for Jon too; Beric’s presence at these dark times, I suspect, is essential, as for all the remaining characters. They all have an important part to play in the future.

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    57. Reading the comments on this thread has been such a relief to me. I’m seen such a high proportion of negativity about it, I was starting to get a bit disheartened. I also thought that maybe I was going stupid because I actually LIKE how Arya and Sansa are interacting at the moment and Im looking forward to the pay off. Arya is being a douche, but she will realise it. And it will be awesome.

      This has to be one of my favourite episodes. Is was spectacular in nearly every way and it makes me happy to read that a lot other people enjoyed it for the same reasons I did. 🙂

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    58. As a side note, Im off on holiday and out of wifi range for 2 weeks tomorrow. Can someone hurry up and leak the finale already so I can watch it before I go 😉

      Failing that, does anyone know what channel shows GoT in Italy?

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    59. Fancy word for a sellsword: I believe Sansa and Arya are playing Littlefinger. The writers are just trying to not be too obvious so they can have their big twist later

      I want to believe this, too. I’m prepared for some seriously nasty shit, though.

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    60. Ramsay’s 20th Good Man:
      Ten Bears,

      Jon personally told her that she was responsible for retaking Winterfell in the Season 6 finale.

      Jon – 6×10 – “You’re the Lady of Winterfell. You deserve it. We’re standing here because of you. The battle was lost until the Knights of the Vale rode in. They came because of you” – she subsequently apologises for not telling him about them.

      Sansa – 7×06 – “We’re standing in Winterfell again because of me. You didn’t win it back. Jon didn’t win it back. He lost the Battle of the Bastards. The Knights of the Vale won the battle and they rode north for me.”

      She’s practically quoting Jon verbatim and yet people condemn her for daring to state reality.

      It’s strange.

      Thus contradicting herself. In the previous episode she told Arya they all won together – houses of the North, wildlings and knights of the Vale. Now it’s “I alone won…” They are trying hard to picture Sansa as the conflicted personality she is, not sure if they’re doing good enough job or just a mess.

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    61. Great exchange Luka and Petra. I personally loved this episode, altho the WF storyline has become strange.

      Thanks for your comments and those on the thread for building out thinking on the Sansa/Arya storyline. It helped me reach the conclusion that I am (perhaps overly) hung up on the juxtaposition between the apparently genuine warmth exhibited by the end of the initial meeting between Sansa and Arya in the crypt and the follow on scene with Bran (where Sansa and Arya seem to both be in agreement about distrusting LF), and the rapid deterioration into menace that leads to the creepy confrontation at the end of episode 6 in Arya’s quarters. This development still seems jarring to me despite efforts to show why Arya’s suspicions grow over time.

      I also am confused by the narrative purpose of this storyline, and am withholding judgment on all the WF scenes until the end of this season. Is it to just set up LF’s ultimate demise? Is it establishing a divided and confused North that must face a Targaryen Queen and a KITN that is not Ned Stark’s son? Or is there something about how Sansa has to learn that political intrigue is a game that works in KL but needs to be tempered in the North to be a true leader? Or that to lead House Stark, all personal ambitions must be set aside, even latent ones, in order to be a servant leader? Does Arya have to learn that poisoning and thoat slitting are not the only ways to achieve ones goals and that a more human answer is sometimes the better answer?

      Looking forward to Sunday!

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    62. singedbylife:

      I see a lot of people agree they don’t like Maisie’s acting now. But I think they might just be missing old Arya. She is acting almost like a sociopath would, starting from the beginning of the season really, but I chalk that up to direction. For some reason they seem to want Arya appearing cold, as if she lost an essential part of herself, and to me she’s doing decent job of that, so I can’t blame the acting yet.

      Kit has matured into the role very well for me, he’s had stand out moments all through the series but I don’t recall any having been from this season so far. Oh yes, with Drogon his expressions were very convincing, but what took me out of the scene was that it didn’t look like he was really touching the dragon, more like hovering lol.

      Emilia has not impressed me much before but she’s had a few good convincing scenes this season where she’s conveyed emotions in a way I didn’t think we’d ever see. It’s weird with Dany because it’s almost like there’s a split personality now. She does better with the vulnerable, humbling scenes. The shot where she’s reaching her hand to Jon upon Drogon was the only thing that stood out badly.

      I agree with you, some of the characters are now suffering from lack of depth. It’s unfortunate, but hopefully short lived.

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    63. Anyone else get the feeling the reason Beric Dondarrion will last till the end because his purpose is to pass his life force to Dany/Jon- one of whom will fall in the Battle against the Night King?

      Beric Dondarrion’s story has to be very significant, he’s been brought back six times. It’ll be weird if he finally sees death at the hand of some random Other.

      Dany will have to go up against undead Viserion, I have a feeling Rhaegal will fall and be converted by Night King as well. Drogon and Dany will die taking down Viserion and Rhaegal.

      Jon takes a bleeding Dany in his arms and watches her die. Then as he gets up and clutches Longclaw, the blood from his hands trickles down and the sword catches fire-Lightbringer is formed.

      An epic showdown between Jon and NK follows, Jon slays the NK once and for all. Then as he crawls over to where Dany lies and cries his heart out ( we the viewers along with him ) Beric steps forward and passes his life force to Dany.

      Jon and Dany both live on as fire wights.

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    64. <stron

      GhostCR: Back in season 1, Mycah and Lady ended up dead as a direct consequence of Sansa lying to protect Joffrey, an action that contributed to further strain the Lannister and Stark relationship.

      Tycho Nestoris: I don’t think Arya ever forgave Sansa for Mycha’s death. I think Sansa blames Arya for Lady and just generally being difficult.

      Let’s not forget that another consequence of this was Arya’s loss of her own wolf. She was forced to drive Nymeria away to save her from the fate that befell Lady.
      —————————————

      I think it’s quite natural that the Arya-Sansa reunion was more affectionate than their subsequent interactions. The Jon-Sansa reunion was similar. After all their characters have been through, being reunited with a family member is emotionally charged because it represents a return to happier times. But it’s also natural that the deeper feelings they had towards one another would resurface after the initial euphoria.

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    65. Arya/ Sansa.. this storyline had baffled me for weeks but I read a great article the other day indicating that Arya and Sansa are both playing LF (but not necessarily together). Arya wasn’t sure of Sansa motivations but after the game of faces she knows Sansa is loyal. It’s clear to me now that Arya deliberately wanted LF to know she was following him (I mean jeez, Arya- if you’re gonna hide then don’t stand in full view of LF when he speaks to that serving girl) 😂

      Jonerys… I was so against this for a long time but in all fairness Kit and Emilia have done an excellent job here, their chemistry is fantastic. Especially the boat scene. I’m on that ship now in a first class cabin! 🙈

      I also felt Dany was a little too composed when Viz died, but I guess she was in survival mode at that point. But by no means were Cersei’s reactions at Joffrey/ Myrcellas deaths anyway realistic. She was way too composed – she should’ve been tearing her hair out.

      As for those chains.. I’m over it now. Seems the NK was waiting all along to nab that dragon for “reasons”. And there’s a barge/ferry at that lake that you can see at the very end. I’m guessing that’s where the chains came from.

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    66. How come we question where the night king got chains from but not where the white walkers have got their weapons from, which they’ve had since season 1 ????

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    67. ygritte,

      Hah, no, I was just rewatching episode 6 and some of Beric’s words made me think he has a big role. “The Lord brought us back, just you( Jon ) and me, no one else”.

      Ofcourse book Beric is already dead but the person who has the lifeforce now is a certain Tully whose biggest regret is probably the way she failed to love and accept Jon. Hmmmmmmmm. Sorta rings poetic to me.

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    68. Not that I care about the stupid debate about where the chains came from, but you can actually see in a brief glimpse that the chains came from a ship that was sticking out from the ice. At least, that’s what it looked like.

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    69. My prediction is that the Golden Company will attack Winterfell to attempt the kidnapping of Sansa and Arya. The note calling Sansa to KL was a ruse that was meant to be refused but would have worked just as well if she had come.

      Cersei did say she wanted something back that she felt belonged to her.

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    70. Mr Derp:
      Not that I care about the stupid debate about where the chains came from, but you can actually see in a brief glimpse that the chains came from a ship that was sticking out from the ice.At least, that’s what it looked like.

      It may not have been a ship but it did look like a chain-carrying sledge. They are not far from the coast. They could all be from the wreckage of slaver ships in the bay.

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    71. I think it’s quite natural that the Arya-Sansa reunion was more affectionate than their subsequent interactions.The Jon-Sansa reunion was similar.After all their characters have been through, being reunited with a family member is emotionally charged because it represents a return to happier times.But it’s also natural that the deeper feelings they had towards one another would resurface after the initial euphoria.

      _________________________________

      I agree, which is why I am over it, but think about how much commonality they developed in that episode: 1) they are both survivors, 2) they both have had long difficult journeys; 3) they both have more story in front of them, 4) they agree that Jon is closer to Arya (Arya pleased), 5) they both wished they had killed Joffrey, 6) they both don’t trust LF; 7) they both know that WF can never be the same for them and are concerned about Bran’s transformation, and probably more. This seems to suggest a deep connection. The move the following episode to deep suspicion just seemed like a fast downshift, with Arya not giving Sansa any benefit of the doubt (explained by her mindreading of LF and Sansa of course, plus their previous history–still . . .). Again, waiting for this week to see how they tie this off so that the “pack survives.”

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    72. ygritte,

      I’ve had similar feelings about Dany, I think she has a ‘Queen mode’ and a more human side. Last season we saw Queen mode Dany throughout, and I struggled to understand her character/feelings because of it, sometimes I just find her inscrutable. I really missed the presence of Barristan, his interactions with her were wonderful in season 5, I felt like we saw the real Dany in those few scenes.

      Thankfully she has had a few humanising scenes again this season, and i’ve been happy with her performance. Although I did feel a bit underwhelmed by her reaction to Viserion’s death, Jorah was more in line with what i’d expect in that moment.

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    73. Ramsay’s 20th Good Man:
      Ten Bears,

      Jon personally told her that she was responsible for retaking Winterfell in the Season 6 finale.

      Jon – 6×10 – “You’re the Lady of Winterfell. You deserve it. We’re standing here because of you. The battle was lost until the Knights of the Vale rode in. They came because of you” – she subsequently apologises for not telling him about them.

      Sansa – 7×06 – “We’re standing in Winterfell again because of me. You didn’t win it back. Jon didn’t win it back. He lost the Battle of the Bastards. The Knights of the Vale won the battle and they rode north for me.”

      She’s practically quoting Jon verbatim and yet people condemn her for daring to state reality.

      It’s strange.

      Ok, but think about this: If Sansa had told Jon about the Knights of the Vale, and the Northern/Wildling troops waited for them to arrive before fighting Ramsay, then they would have won….

      Wait for it….

      TOGETHER!!

      THAT is why I take umbrage with Sansa’s holier than thou attitude about the battle. She basically sacrificed Jon’s troops and is trying to act like a hero who got back Winterfell.

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    74. Alexis: Ok, but think about this: If Sansa had told Jon about the Knights of the Vale, and the Northern/Wildling troops waited for them to arrive before fighting Ramsay, then they would have won….

      Wait for it….

      TOGETHER!!

      THAT is why I take umbrage with Sansa’s holier than thou attitude about the battle. She basically sacrificed Jon’s troops and is trying to act like a hero who got back Winterfell.

      Nope. Though the Vale could have acted sooner to break the shield wall, Their presence on the field would have caused Ramsey to leave the field instead of commit his reserves. They would have retreated in good order behind the Walls of Winterfell. With no siege Weapons Jon’s army would have starved and broken.

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    75. I always love to read your discussions guys, but I think Petra, like a lot of others, is really underselling Jon here. I disagree with her views on Jon.

      How many times has he lead his men into some sort of massacre? Just recently, he was saved by Sansa with the Knights of the Vale and then by Daenerys with her dragons, and Benjen

      Jon is an idiot.

      I thought back to that when Jon was unnecessarily fighting further and further away from the dragon instead of hopping on the dragon and flying away

      I thought it was quite clear (even Benioff explained this in “Inside the Episode”) that the reason Jon was fighting the wights instead of getting on the dragon was that he was trying to fend them off till the others could get on the dragon. The others were behind and if he hadn’t fought to keep off the wights they would have been swarmed by the wights before they could climb on to Drogon. He was essentially saving their lives, by risking his own! The writer himself said that what Jon did was the rational thing to do. Not idiotic, rational!!

      I also don’t get, how is Jon leading his men into slaughter here? This was Tyrion’s idea, approved by Daenerys. In fact Jon saved their lives. Without him, they might well have faltered at the first step itself, as it was Jon who killed that white walker, automatically destroying all the other wights, except for the one they needed, conveniently lol.

      I also don’t think Jon was proving Dany right about heroes being stupid, I think it was the other way round. This whole season has been about the two of them finding their respect and admiration for each other increase gradually. Why should Dany admire Jon for proving her cynical statement about heroes right? Why would she be impressed by him acting like an idiot? Idk, that doesn’t make sense. What she had said was that heroes tend to get themselves killed by trying to outdo one another. But in Jon’s case, she saw that he doesn’t fight to outdo others or show his might, like Drogo or Daario, rather he fights to save others’ lives. He was essentially disproving her statement about heroes, that’s why she admires him.

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    76. Apollo: Kit and Emilia have done an excellent job here, their chemistry is fantastic.

      Heh, romantic chemistry is like other emotional reactions: there is no one form that works for everyone! I’ve read people diss it as awful: “no chemistry!” And I’ve read your reaction. I happen to agree with your reaction, but, then, I’ve also seen this sort of “chemistry” in the real world quite often! And that’s a think key: if you’ve seen real romances where it’s obvious that both parties are either clueless or in denial, then this looks familiar. If you have not, then it looks weird. If you’ve seen other people just go blank after witnessing a tragedy, then it looks familiar on RV. If not, then it looks weird.

      (In all honesty, it reminds me of the inevitable grad student romance between a pair that’s had only one or two boy/girlfriends before grad school, and who also are so serious about their work that it never occurred to them that colleagues might also be attractive people. Not that I was ever like that. Nope. Not me. Not at all….)

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    77. Alexis,

      It was odd, and I’ve never been able to justify her decision, especially when Jon asked outright what he should do, and she gave him nothing beyond a few vague warnings about Ramsey’s vile nature.

      She held back the one thing that could have helped him, and then complained that he wouldn’t listen to her. I don’t actually hold it against Sansa though, I feel it was done to create a last minute Riders of Rohan moment for her, and if the Vale army had been there, they may have been caught up in the disaster created by Jon anyway. So they were better off out of it, despite it making little sense.

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    78. Alexis: Ok, but think about this: If Sansa had told Jon about the Knights of the Vale, and the Northern/Wildling troops waited for them to arrive before fighting Ramsay, then they would have won….

      But, again….

      Jon could not have waited. How does he keep his army together without disintegrating? How does he keep them provisioned? When is the Vale coming? Er: do we know that they are actually coming?

      Once you assemble an army like that, you have very little time to do anything. Discipline and morale deteriorate rapidly once armies get stuck into place. It gets worse when you basically have an uneasy alliance between traditional enemies. And, of course, there was nothing to stop Ramsay from hitting them.

      Shock Me: Nope. Though the Vale could have acted sooner to break the shield wall, Their presence on the field would have caused Ramsey to leave the field instead of commit his reserves.

      Good points!

      Keep in mind that we almost certainly will see something similar in the book. The difference will be that Sansa will be riding for the Vale with the Vale army all along. The Vale will play Rohan (or the Prussians!) because… well, ever since von Blucher, it is obligatory.

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    79. The abuse of deus ex machina’s and clichés on this episode was outraging.

      With all the hype based on the seasonn’s shortening (therefore more spectacular episodes) I find 6th season very superior to 7th.

      -I don’t recall any shocking moment the caliber of Jon and Sansa reunión, Hodor’s death, blasting of Baelor’s Sept…

      -Less quality scripting and directing.
      There was not emotional bond between Viserion and the audience. True. But that bond neither existed with Rickon Stark, and his death sequence is spectacular and touching.

      -Hardhome and Bastard Bowl were far better to me than Riverrun, altough this was great, dragon sequences specially

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    80. seenGhost?,

      It’s just a mess, frankly. And that’s why I dislike this forced Sansa/Arya drama so much.

      On the one hand they have done nothing substantial to portray Sansa being intent on usurping Jon.

      She challenged him on a couple of major decisions early in the season, as is her right, but since then they have clearly portrayed her attempting to justify Jon’s faith in her by preparing for winter and the threat beyond The Wall, giving Littlefinger short shrift, refusing to risk losing the support of their bannermen by making rash decisions, and on more than one occasion expressing her wish that Jon was at home with them all.

      But then on the other hand, they use Deus Ex Arya’s supposed superhuman lie detector powers to cast doubt on Sansa’s loyalty, contrary to everything else they’ve depicted on-screen, and viewers eagerly lap it up.

      Yet even after Arya makes her accusations, they still depict Sansa’s apparent focus on Jon losing his support and her apparently rejecting Littlefinger’s malevolent advice about using Brienne to shut Arya up.

      And the conclusion is likely to be unsatisfactory, mainly because it’s a no-win scenario for Sansa’s character.

      If she is suddenly revealed to have been plotting all along, then it undermines her character and contradicts 95% of what’s been depicted of her on-screen this season.

      Alternatively, if she proves her loyalty by killing Littlefinger or standing up for Jon then, due to the contradictory manner in which the plot and characters have been depicted, the victory may appear to be Arya’s.

      Sansa’s loyalty may appear to have been secured only through the pressure Arya put on her, thereby undermining Sansa’s character by serving as further “proof” of her disloyalty and self-interest.

      Maybe the writers thought that by putting Sansa through a test of loyalty by Arya, she would emerge with Arya’s and therefore the viewers’ seal of approval. When in reality, I think it’s only served to cast further doubt on Sansa’s character.

      And Arya doesn’t exactly emerge smelling of roses either, having menaced her brutalised sister in her own home, cruelly accused her of being complicit in their father’s death and minimised her undoubted suffering.

      I guess we’ll see where the characters end up after the finale. But I think this plot has been unnecessary and poorly handled.

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    81. I’m so glad you guys mentioned Dany’s nonreaction when Viserion died. I obviously don’t know what it’s like to watch a child die, but I could understand if, in the moment, she was in a bit of disbelief. I was hoping they’d show something, some grief, and they did.

      I think if we would have had more time, a scene with her alone, where it really hits her, would have helped.

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    82. Night Knight,

      Yeah that’s a fair point. I still think there’d be *some* amount of head scratching from the northern lords about Jon’s vow and death. It was a pretty uneventful transition in terms of the lords not questioning it. That gets in to just how in general, Jon’s rez has been, imo, glossed over.

      I still think the greater point stands; Sansa has a lot of reasons to be the leader but barely bats an eye when Jon gets “elected” and Ayra still feels it necessary to intimidate her.

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    83. Alexis,

      Perhaps.

      Or perhaps due to the delay Ramsay may have got wind that the Vale were on their way and never met Jon and his army on an open field, choosing instead to stay behind the walls of Winterfell.

      And who knows how a siege of Winterfell would have turned out.

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    84. Jorah, The Mormon:

      -Hardhome and Bastard Bowl were far better to me than Riverrun, altough this was great, dragon sequences specially

      Blackwater Rush (loot train battle in show speak) not Riverun.

      But I ride or die for Hardhome as much fun as Bastard Bowl was.

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    85. ghost of winterfell,

      I struggle with this one. It was Tyrion’s idea. But as the expert on fighting the walkers – he did see into the Night King’s eyes after all – Jon should have pushed back on the idea if he thought it was a dumb idea. He could have said great idea just not possible to do. The fact that he went with it and decided to lead it gives him a strong sense of ownership. Especially since he was the one who convicned Dany to go along with his talk about trusting him. Which I think is why he apologizes to her. He asked her to trust him and she had to end up saving him and lost one of her children in the process.

      I totally understand how they ended up on this plan. Tyrion was desperate to end the war after the Field of Fire so he suggested something that could lead to the start of a diplomatic track. Jon was desperate to convince people of the threat and knew he had to show not tell after his talk with Tyrion on the cliffs in the Queen’s Justice. Dany decided to trust her crush.

      I actually don’t think it was that dumb a plan either. The dumb part was having Jon and Jorah go which forced Dany to go in after. Had it just been twelve warriors then it would have been a high risk but ultimatley low cost plan that could lead to a diplomatic process.

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    86. Dee Stark:
      Wow I disagree so much regarding Daenerys’ reaction when Viscerion was shot. I think she did a magnificent job in that scene and I really felt her pain and shock.

      Also, I think Jon and Dany feel a connection but don’t quite understand it. I don’t think we need to “ship” them. I think there’s a connection there and I hope that they find out they are family at some point and realize what that connection was/is

      Dee,
      I have to say I don’t think they just “feel” a connection. I think it’s a strong, mutual attraction. Remember when Davos hinted to Jon that he had “eyes” for Dany? Jon made a face and basically said there’s no time for that. Tyrion mentioned Jon along with Dario and Drogo and Dany made a face. I believe (and could be wrong) that they both have feelings for the other, but they both also know that all their time and energy right now has to be upcoming battles. For that reason they both need to pull away. I said the other day that my worse fear is that GOT will end and the “bittersweet” part that George told us would be the end game, is that Jon will never know he isn’t a bastard and that he is actually a Prince. But then again, you could be right!:)

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    87. Wimsey: But, again….

      Jon could not have waited.How does he keep his army together without disintegrating?How does he keep them provisioned?When is the Vale coming?Er: do we know that they are actually coming?

      Once you assemble an army like that, you have very little time to do anything. Discipline and morale deteriorate rapidly once armies get stuck into place.It gets worse when you basically have an uneasy alliance between traditional enemies.And, of course, there was nothing to stop Ramsay from hitting them.

      All good points.

      About the one in bold, during the scene where Jon and Sansa are in camp arguing over going to Castle Cerwyn to seek further support and Jon insists “there’s no time… we fight with the army we have”, they show the Wildlings and Northerners at each other’s throats.

      A fight breaks out between some of them and when Ser Davos tries to intervene they turn on him too. We see Jon having to march over to try and deal with the situation.

      If Jon is adamant that there’s no time even to seek more support from Northern Lords, then would he have considered there was enough to time seek the support of the Knights of the Vale? Probably not.

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    88. Great article. I do agree with the Arya/Sansa issues. The traveling and pacing concerns others have don’t bother me one bit, but this one just really sticks out to me. I only liked their first scene talking about Ned but even then Sansa really bugged me with her “I won the Battle of the Bastards” line. Funny how she didn’t include the part about withholding information to Jon about about possible reinforcements, but I’ll just leave it at that. Arya also seems so far gone and maybe it is all an act that many are assuming, or maybe another possibility is she actually is almost to the point of no return but then Jon or Gendry will “bring her back” so to speak. On the other hand I was fine with Dany’s reaction to Viserion’s death. I took it as she was simply in shock. The action sequences were amazing but I also really enjoyed all the conversations the “magnificent seven” had with each other. Can’t wait for the next episode!

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    89. Has anyone read the preliminary outline for this season? No leak talk just yes or no answer. For those who have:

      I’m talking the actual 100 page script outline. One can gain extra insight into the characters by reading this. I’m actually freaking surprised at the way the writers view some of the characters, or rather how differently they make them appear in the final scripts.

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    90. House Monty,

      The thing is, Dany herself was not taking the threat seriously, even after believing him. She was still prioritizing her fight against Cersei. If she hadn’t done that, if she had truly realized how serious Jon was about this threat, maybe they could have done the whole operation in a different way, maybe by deploying the dragons from the beginning itself as cover or by taking more men on the mission. That’s why she tells Jon that he shouldn’t apologize, despite Viserion’s death, because she had to see the threat with her own eyes to believe.

      Ultimately, I think everyone, including Jon, Tyrion and Dany are all responsible, in a way, for what happened. One person can’t be blamed for everything. But at the same time, it’s understandable why each of them would react the way they did.

      One could argue that Jon shouldn’t have gone on the mission himself. But at the same time, he was the key to the success of their mission. He is the reason they have the wight. So it’s hard to judge, either way.

      As for Viserion’s death, how could he have predicted that the NK is a greenseer who was waiting for this moment with an ice spear, ready to attack? There is no way Jon could have known this beforehand, and it’s not fair to blame him for it, imo. And it’s understandable why they would want to use dragons in their fight. What’s the point of having dragons if they are going to be too afraid to use them to fight? They can’t be hidden forever, to protect them. When they are your best weapons, it’s only reasonable to use them.

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    91. I agree with Petra in that I don’t really understand why the show is still trying to tease this “mad queen” business with Daenerys. Tyrion has been walking on eggshells this whole season with his planning in order to avoid any mad king comparisons, and I think it’s a bit over the top.

      First of all, the mad king killed his enemies with wildfire, not dragonfire, yes?
      Secondly, the current queen, Cersei, whom apparently the people of Westeros support, blew up her perceived enemies with WILDFIRE.

      Therefore, by this mad queen logic, shouldn’t the people of Westeros be much less supportive of Cersei than they currently are? And wouldn’t it make them MORE likely to support Daenerys over Cersei?

      Between the mercurial people of King’s Landing to the flip-flopping Northern lords, there’s some fickle mo-fo’s in this show

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    92. Ramsay’s 20th Good Man:

      If Jon is adamant that there’s no time even to seek more support from Northern Lords, then would he have considered there was enough to time seek the support of the Knights of the Vale? Probably not.

      The Northern houses barely had a 100 men to provide between them. The knights of the Vale numbered in thousands, with mounted knights themselves numbering in thousands. I doubt Jon would want to reject an army that would have given him a big numerical advantage over his enemy.

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    93. Mr Derp,

      I think its a case of Dany adjusting her style of rule to fit a more ‘civilised’ society. She was brutal in some ways in Essos (crucifixion anyone?) but Essos was full of brutality. Westeros requires a softer approach, or so Tyrion thinks.

      In some ways I think he’s right, the people of Westeros remember her father and remain suspicious of Targaryens, killing people with Dragon fire doesn’t exactly calm their fears. Its not fair, but she is being judged because of her father, and if he had had Dragons, he would have used them instead of wildfire.

      Its a case of better the devil you know for some of them, they hate Cersei, but they know her and don’t want to be conquered by a ‘foreigner’, so they are stuck.

      I’m not sure if anyone knows Cersei blew up the sept, or whether they believe it was an accident?

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    94. ghost of winterfell,

      Great point about Dany recognizing she should have taken the threat seriously from the beginning. Didn’t quite read it as her own sort of apology but makes a lot of sense.

      A lot of people have hated on the episode, but for me it was one of the best if for no other reason than the Dany stuff. Her arch in the episode, embracing becoming the hero and having Jon recognize her for it by bending the knee even though he didn’t have too was great stuff.

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    95. Jennipeg,

      And I think you make good points. I just think it’s so stupid for the people of King’s Landing to reject Dany because of what she MIGHT do, versus their current ruler, who already IS doing it.

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    96. Mr Derp,

      I had forgotten about Hot Pie, so if everyone knows, I can’t really understand why they follow Cersei, how was she allowed to become Queen in the first place? I can understand them coming together to fight Dany, there are crazy rumours about her actions in Meereen, but is that worse than what they have? I’m at a loss on that one.

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    97. My thought on the Arya/Sansa plot: Arya understands that Sansa was made to write the letter and that Littlefinger had a hand in all the treachery against the Starks. Giving Sansa Littlefinger’s dagger is essentially telling Sansa “Look, I’m giving you the tools you need to get revenge on the man who put you through so much…the death of our father and essentially selling you to the Bolton’s. It’s time for you to get the revenge you’re seeking. Come be an assassin like me and use his own weapon against him…”

      I really want to believe this is true, otherwise I’m going to scream that these two characters are at each other’s throats when they should be banding together for the “wars to come”. It seems like a pointless struggle at this stage of the game. And truthfully, it hurts my head.

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    98. Sean C.: I

      The big issue with that is that Littlefinger has quite literally never come in any of the confrontations between the sisters.Arya has never interrogated Sansa about their relationship, or even hinted that she suspects anything to do with Littlefinger, so it would be pretty impossible for Sansa to make that connection.Indeed, other than following him around for that one scene (which served to have her get the message), Arya has been 100% fixated on Sansa in this storyline.

      Great point! They must not mention him if they are conning Littlefinger. It seems likely their conversations are intended to be overheard, so this is important if they don’t want to set off his alarm bells. What they want him to think is that the feud is genuine and that Sansa is genuinely scared of Arya and has naturally turned to him for help. And his Brienne suggestion could be taken both ways, but I think that because she wanted help, the best thing to do was handle Arya problem. And Brienne would get in their way,

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    99. Juri,

      Very true, but I think the Noble Houses will accept Dany when they see her fight the WW. It almost removes politics from the situation, what better way to get them onside?

      Tyrion’s advice will be more useful when/if she becomes Queen, I think he knows how to rule Westeros (not like Meereen for a start) and will guide her well in the early years (if she lives of course).

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    100. Elizabeth,

      I think that would be an terrific tragedy ending. Frustrating and extremely real. Jon a true king without the benefit of heritage.

      Perfect conclusion for him because he MADE himself into a hero. Blood be damned.

      The chances of Jon finding out are actually quite small if you think of it. Books have only Howland Reed alive from that hot mess in Dorne that knows the truth and he’s not telling it. Show has multiple sources: Gilly and Sam, anybody that wonders into HighSepton’s autobiography basically but that will need to connect Ned getting a child from ToJ, Bran. So you kind of expect him to find out.

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    101. Ramsay’s 20th Good Man,

      The problem here is how she did it. She was willing to sacrifice men, including her own blood, to have a better chance to take the castle. Not cool. At least by many of us. It would have been a different story had she told Jon the Vale was in play, if Jon decided then to still sacrifice himself fine. That’s Jon. But Sansa kept major -and crucial I might add-information from Jon that could have saved many lives. If she was ok with the possibility of Jon dying as long as she took Winterfell – well that is just something I’m not willing to overlook. I don’t hate the character, she’s Stark, I have defended her before and wish her well but I will not side with her if she decides to harm Jon in any way because he doesn’t deserve it. Also, in my mind, you got to actually fight in order to claim you won a fight/battle. She didn’t really win the battle, the Knights of the Vale won it for her. I guess I would have been more impressed had she been able to manipulate sweet Robin into giving her the army instead of once again just happening to say yes to a Littlefinger suggestion.

      I would say this much about Sansa though, I won’t be surprised if she’s the last Stark left when all is said and done. Passive characters have a better chance at surviving than the actual fighters.

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    102. I think that “breaking the wheel” without a doubt means democracy, or at least some form of it. Perhaps allowing each one of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros to choose their own ruler, or have their own king/queen instead of one monarch who rules over them all.

      Sansa in Winterfell
      Theon in the Iron Islands
      Gendry in the Stormlands
      Tyrion in the Westerlands
      Edmure Tully in the Riverlands?

      Not sure bout the others or if Im right at all (Im probably not), but I have a feeling that by the end of the show there will not be one monarch to rule them all. Feel free to tear this post to pieces if you disagree 🙂

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    103. Mr Derp,

      The one problem i have with breaking up westeros is that before the Iron Throne all the kingdoms fought each other non stop. Is that what we want to go back to?

      I think we will end up either in a democracy for all of Westeros or once Jon and Dany have a kid they are conflicted about truly going to a democracy versus keeping a heridtary monarchy and it is one final moment of the human heart in confict with itself.

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    104. Mr Derp,

      True. But the crux of the fighting is over succession which theoretically a more democratic system could solve.

      Will be interesting to see how this all ends. 7 episodes left and I don’t really have any idea.

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    105. A Dornish Tyrell,

      Yea, it could certainly be an option. Maybe each kingdom elects their chosen ruler, and the 7 chosen rulers vote on who should be the monarch? I dunno. Could be anything really. We are 7 episodes away from the end and I still have no idea lol

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    106. Danny: that could have saved many lives.

      So? Robb and Jamie actively sacrificed thousands of men. Stannis the same.

      As Lord Tarly would say: “no easy choices in war.”

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    107. Juri,

      Yes, many commanders do this all the time. They usually, I would hope, don’t do this in secrecy, hiding their true intentions. Hopefully, soldiers understand the sacrifice they are being asked to commit to. Sansa one could argue as people have, used her brother and his army as bait without their knowledge. I repeat, her brother. The brother she convinced to take back Winterfell when he told her he was tired of fighting. If you don’t see what is wrong with that, then you and I simply have different views on morality, that is all. I don’t believe for a second that Robb would have done the same to Jon. Nor do I believe Jamie would have done the same to Tyrion.

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    108. Danny,

      For your supposition to be true, we’ll have to be absolutely certain that Sansa knew for sure that the KotV were coming, the precise time of arrival and the amount of time she let Jon fight before intervening… We just don’t know that exactly. The show hasn’t provide us with those clues… So at the end it’s what you make up in your mind regarding preconceived ideas about a given character… You choose to see Sansa as the worst of the worst, fine. That’s you. I choose to give her the benefit of the doubt. That’s me.

      As for soldiers dying with or without knowing they are being sacrificed, the result is the same: a pile of bodies.

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    109. Danny: The problem here is how she did it. She was willing to sacrifice men, including her own blood, to have a better chance to take the castle. Not cool.

      Except that’s NOT what was depicted on-screen, despite some people’s insistence on viewing things that way and making such assumptions.

      If Sansa was willing to sacrifice Jon and his men in order to take Winterfell, then why was she still bothering to argue with Jon over his battle plans and begging him not to fall for Ramsay’s traps right up to the night before the battle?

      If Jon and his men were just cannon fodder, meant to increase her chances of capturing Winterfell with the Knights of the Vale, then why would she care if Jon’s plans were flawed or that he might fall into Ramsay’s traps?

      Sansa: “Just listen to me, please! He wants you to make a mistake!”

      Sansa: “Just don’t do what he wants you to do.”

      Sansa: “If you had asked for my advice earlier I would have told you not to attack Winterfell until we had a larger force…”

      This is all utterly redundant and illogical if she’s banking on the Knights of the Vale rocking up to win the battle regardless.

      She even warns Jon that he may have to be willing to give up on Rickon if he is to have any chance of winning. Why would she bother to lay such an ugly truth on Jon if his life and his success on the battlefield wasn’t a priority for her?

      And, as the real clincher, she warns Jon that she intends to take her own life if they lose the battle. A confession that is completely and utterly redundant if she’s expecting Jon and his men to fail and the Knights of the Vale to ride to the rescue.

      The fact is that there is no indication that Sansa was aware that Littlefinger and the Knights of the Vale had responded to her appeal.

      All we saw was her sending the raven. We saw no response and her actions and dialogue in the meantime (such as those quoted above) indicate that she’s unaware that her appeal had been successful.

      Otherwise, why on earth would she be engaging in a heated argument with an apparently condemned man over not having enough men to win? It doesn’t make any sense.

      Also, if we think about things logically, it is to Littlefinger’s advantage not to inform Sansa of his movements, since he certainly would benefit from Jon dying.

      That was, of course, his original plan for dealing with Stannis and the Boltons. Let them fight it out and then sweep in and claim Winterfell. Jon is simply fulfilling the Stannis role in that same plan.

      Yes, Sansa should have told Jon first of all about the availability of the Knights of the Vale and later about her decision to appeal for their help. But to suggest that she was willing to sacrifice Jon and his men in order to increase her chances of capturing Winterfell is simply not supported by what’s shown on screen.

      The only way to come to that conclusion is if you are intent on assuming the worst about Sansa.

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    110. Ramsay’s 20th Good Man,

      I don’t see a problem for Sansa’s character here.

      Yes, Sansa would like to be Queen in the North. Arya detects this but didn’t we already know it?

      Yes, if Jon were to die, Sansa is prepared to become queen, and some of what she does is designed to make this a smooth process if it occurs.

      She is following Littlefingers’ advice which I think is fine advice in this case. She needs to consider each possible outcome and prepare for it – to fight every battle in her mind. She can’t rely on others – she has to protect herself because no one can protect anyone. If Jon comes back, great. She will continue to support and advise him. If he doesn’t, that will be sad, but she’s preparing for it. And why shouldn’t she?

      With Arya, Sansa is again trying to be ready for any outcome. She sends Brienne to KL because she does need someone there who is absolutely loyal to her. Secondly, Sansa has to be ready to take action against Arya, if Arya should prove actually dangerous. If Arya backs off, great, then there’s no problem.

      Meanwhile, Arya considers the fact that Sansa is even thinking about what to do if Jon dies – scheming or preparing at all – to be treasonous in itself. Their world views here are simply incompatible.

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    111. thorne garnet:
      The dragon to White Walker moment got me thinking about Bran’s vision of the dragon fling over King’s Landing. I’m pretty sure everybody thought that it was Drogon. What if it’s the Night King on Viserion?

      1) That might explain why it was hard to tell if it was snow or ash falling through the ruined ceiling of the throne room in Dany’s vision. Maybe White Viserion breathes a lethally cold version of a ski resort snow cannon that shatters everything in his path!
      ————–
      2) My biggest wish, going forward, is that D&D let Jon learn about his true parentage and familial relationship with Dany BEFORE they hop into bed. If those two are endgame, so be it, but having them fall in love before knowing the truth seems like the lazy way to avoid backlash over the incest issue, especially when incest was portrayed as a fatal character flaw from Season 1, Episode 1. Yes, siblings who grew up together are more negatively incestuous than an Aunt/nephew who did not but regardless, if Jon and Dany accept the family bond and forge a romantic bond anyway, it seems a more honorable storytelling choice.

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    112. House Monty: Didn’t Lord Royce stand up and declare Jon his King at the end of Season 6? They have not gotten into the politics of it but the Vail has never been said to be an independent Kingdom and based on the scene in the Winds of Winter seems to have declared for Jon.

      Ah, no. Royce hailed Jon as ‘King in the North’. This means he respected the right of the Northern Lords to declare their King and acknowledged Jon as such.
      It may also make him a rebel against the Iron Throne (I’m sure Cersei would see it that way), as he is acknowledging that The North is not subject to the Iron Throne, so leaving the status of The Vale (which is not in The North) rather ambiguous.
      But he is not accepting Jon as his own overlord – which would be SweetRobin, whether within the seven Kingdoms or outside it.

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    113. Mr Derp: I’m sure the Vale is thrilled to death to have such a great guy like Robin as their Lord.

      Aye. But he’s what they’ve got. And he is Royce’s Lord Paramount.

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    114. Juri:
      Mr Derp,

      I’m sure the Lords of the Vale would rather deal with Sweet Robin than with LF.

      Thats like deciding between getting punched in the face or the stomach. Tough choice, although Robin is easily manipulated, so I guess Robin would be the better option. Almost anyone is a better option than Littlefinger.

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    115. Indeed. But Robin Aryn is the Lord Paramount of the Vale, and until he comes of age (which is when??) LF is the Lord Protector. Unless, of course, somebody manages to break this.

      (book spoiler in greyscale)

      In the books, Robin is younger, and is VERY difficult to deal with, mostly managed by Sansa and/or by drugging with rather dodgy, but necessary, substances. Otherwise they would have never got him down from the Eyrie to the Vale proper.

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    116. This continues to be what I look forward to most each week on WOTW – Always a great read with such observers at the helm in Petra and Luka!

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    117. QueenofThrones,

      In fact, I would even doubt wheter Sansa wants to be a Queen in the North – at least not a queen regnant. Now she is in a position of a queen-consort but even this is a bit too stressful for her. Sansa has always been a passive women who always wanted nothing but a comfortable (and beautiful) life with pretty dresses, loving husband, a bunch of kids, and no problems whatsoever. Basically, that was her mother’s life and, though Sansa repeatedly taks about no-one being able to protect her, she wants to be protected nonetheless. When Jon said that he was going to Dragonstone and put her in charge she was genuinly scared and, though she accepted this responsibility as her duty and so far proved to be able to deal with that, she is still scared as hell that something will go wrong at any moment and she will fail Jon and he will get angry. Yes, I think than unconsciously Sansa wants to please Jon and by extension her father and Robb and prove that she is not worhless despite of being a stupid girl and a coward most of the time.
      Now Arya acts as a reminder of her sins in a way: IMO Sansa is continuously blaming herself for her mistakes and trying to justify herself. The conflict between the sisters is a very fundamental conflict between two life strategies. Sansa is a cowardish conformist, Arya is a non-compromisig fighter. Consciously or not Arya is pushing Sansa to the edge and focing her to make a move, but I would say that fear is not the best motivator. Sansa may and probably will take out Littlefinger but not because he deserves it but because now she is scared of Arya more that she is scared to lose the KotV. And that may have further ramifications, because now Arya has robbed Sansa of the safety of her own home and family cirle. That fear may push Sansa to seek power further – just to protect herself, especially when/if Jon returns with the Dragon Queen at his side. So, I guess that whatever happens between Sansa and Arya next episode, the final conclusion of this conflict will occur only in the last season.

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    118. Petra: That said, Daenerys’ reaction should have been on par with Catelyn at the Red Wedding, with Cersei watching Myrcella’s body return from Dorne. And it was not.

      I disagree, Dany is in the middle of a battle against enemies she met for the first time, she always thought dragons were invincible, she was focus in the rescue and didn´t see how and who took Viserion down, she has to process a lot of things and can´t afford to break down right there she could have lost another dragon. Dany was shock but also in pain, I can see it in her eyes.

      In the scene with Jon she allowed herself to break her shell, she almost burst in tears when Jon said “I’m sorry”

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    119. I was about to post the same thing BranTheBlessed wrote, but then I did not because of the sunny weather we see in the vision. I thought that if White Flyer Viserion was to fly over King’s Landing he would bring the storm with him?

      ygritte:
      BranTheBlessed,

      Err OK I actually think you’ve spoiled the ending for everyone No seriously, this sounds like really real!

        Quote  Reply

    120. Sean C.:
      Ten Bears,

      Alan Taylor, in the interview I linked above, notes that when Sansa says she won the battle that she is right.

      “Jon Snow came down from Castle Black with a wildling army and won the Battle of the Bastards.”
      – HPNN (Hot Pie News Network)

      “Sophie says she won the Battle of the Bastards. And she’s right.”
      – Alan Taylor

      “The Northerners, the free folk, and the Knights of the Vale fought bravely, fought together, and we won.”
      – Jon Snow

      “Jon lost the BoB. The KotV won it. They came because of me.”
      – Sansa

      “I won the battle. The KotV came because I offered them to Sansa” (part of my devious plan to control the North with Sansa as pliable puppet)
      – Littkefinger

      “I won the battle. I decided to help my cousin Sansa, and ordered the KotV to head north.”
      Robyn Arryn.

      “I won the battle. Ned Stark fostered in the Vale. I led the KotV to aid his kids against the Boltons.”
      – Lord Royce

      “Snnnnooooowww!”
      – Ghost of Wun Wun

      “I won the b…” – Lord Glover
      Everyone: “Shut the f*ck up”

      “I won the battle. I delivered Sansa’s “on second thought, please come” letter to LF. If it weren’t for me, they would’ve lost the battle.”
      – Raven #56

      “Get that microphone out of my face you moron”
      Lady Mormont.

      “Well technically, we won the Battle of the Bastards.”
      – Ramsey’s starving dogs

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    121. ygritte,

      In the books he does less fighting and he has to deal with political situations at the Wall with the Wildlings, the unhappy NW, Stannis & Co. (particularly Selyse). He makes some administrative and financial decisions that in my opinion make him cooler (considering he is a really inexperienced guy). In the show he’s more of a military commander. I like both characters but sometimes I feel the show streamlining oversimplyfied him.

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    122. Danny:
      Ramsay’s 20th Good Man,

      I would say this much about Sansa though, I won’t be surprised if she’s the last Stark left when all is said and done.Passive characters have a better chance at surviving than the actual fighters.

      Tyrion said something to that effect many seasons ago…

        Quote  Reply

    123. A Dornish Tyrell:
      Mr Derp,

      Is it wrong for me to be more interested in the political aspect of the aftermath than in the actual war against the WW?

      No, I believe the end result is very much the point of this whole series. However the war against the WW is the big elephant in the room and it has to be taken care before any post war decisions are made: we need to know who’s left, so we may have an idea of what might happen. There is a possible scenario where the last ones standing are Cersei and Euron…

        Quote  Reply

    124. Ten Bears,

      S7e6: Favorite Scenes

      1. Sandor, bored, sitting around with his other marooned compatriots in the middle of the partially frozen lake, starts throwing rocks at the Wight army surrounding them.
      His first shot nails a skeletal wight square in the jaw, and he growls, “dumb cunt.” His second shot comes up short, lands on the ice, and incites the wights to cross over the now-frozen lake. “Oh f*ck”, he mutters.
      I don’t know why I liked this so much. Maybe because it was absurd and surreal – yet classic Sandor behavior. Like saying “f*ck the king” in a roomful of King’s soldiers.

      2. Gendry, Thoros, Beric and The Hound

      ***

      Gendry: … I wanted to join the Brotherhood. But you sold me off, like a slave! You know what she did to me? She stuck me down on the bed, she stripped me naked…

      Beric?: Sounds alright so far.

      Gendry: And put leeches on me!

      Thoros?: Was she naked too ?

      Beric?: She needed your blood.

      Gendry: Yes, thank you, I know that.

      Sandor: Could’ve been worse.

      Gendry: She wanted to kill me! If it weren’t for Davos…

      Sandor: But they didn’t, did they? So what are you whinging about?

      Gendry: I’m not whinging.

      Sandor: You’re lips are moving and you’re complaining about something. That’s whinging.
      (Points to Beric).
      This one’s been killed six times and you don’t hear him bitching about it.

      ————–

      3. Sandor + Tormund

      *****
      Sandor: Will you f*ck off.

      Tormund: I don’t think you’re truly mean. You have sad eyes.

      Sandor: You want to suck my dick, is that it?

      Tormund: “Dick”?

      Sandor: Cock.

      Tormund: Ah, dick, I like it.

      Sandor: I bet you do.

      ————–

      4. Beric & Jon

      Beric: You and I won’t find much joy while we’re here. But we can keep others alive.

      [Sounds a lot like Maester Aemon telling Jon, “You won’t find much joy in your command”or “you’ll find little joy in your command”]
      ——–
      5. Dany rejecting Tyrion’s advice to “do nothing ” because she’s too important to risk her own life, and flying off with her dragons to rescue the besieged wight hunters.
      ————–
      6. Any time Beric ignited his sword. Or spoke.
      ______________
      7. Sandor saves Tormund from being mauled by wights and dragged into the water.

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    125. Very interesting discussions on a myriad of angles. I especially appreciate Jared’s views -yes, I could nitwit till the cows come home ( chain, time travel etc etc ad nauseum) but my outstanding memory will always be the moment, and the music when Jon is outlined in fire as he ducks when the dragon arrives. If I had had a bowl of popcorn it would have been sprayed all over the livingroom. I felt five years old again and that was the BIGGEST tv moment for me since Jon decked Ramsay. Pure FUN.
      I also thought the ship cabin scene was flawlessly directed and acted. Plenty of chemistry there – just not in-your-face instant passion, and all the better for it.

        Quote  Reply

    126. QueenofThrones

      Meanwhile, Arya considers the fact that Sansa is even thinking about what to do if Jon dies – scheming or preparing at all – to be treasonous in itself. Their world views here are simply incompatible.

      For centuries it was indeed treason in England to speak of the death of the King. To conceive of such an ideas was presumably an indication of planning said death. Arya just needs to know that Sansa IS loyal to Jon, even if she does want to be a queen. And since Sansa is loyal, they can work together to get rid of Littlefinger. Actually, Arya is by now a terrific planner. She planned (in her lair scene in Episode 6.6) her dangerous gamble to escape the FM by killing the Waif (an experienced, superior fighter prone to overconfidence) and graduating FM school. Also, she later planned the poetic deaths of the 3 main Freys and after a fortnight, the elimination of the rest of the guiltiest Freys. They’re more compatible than you allow. They’re employing different methods and going after LF, apparently together. And they are both Starks and loyal to Jon, no matter what (though Arya is a little more loyal). And apparently the writers (knobs!) have contrived to have neither of them consult Bran yet.

      Tron79,

      “You may be right about this, but LF must have some high tech listening devices. All of the scenes I remember with Arya and Sansa have been alone in a room with the door closed.”

      LOL. He had the best low-tech listening devices then available: spies and his own ears. Most of the contention between them was out-of-doors or with doors open. A master eavesdopper like LF probably would listen in on every word, do they said what they wanted him to hear. Only their exchange about the faces in Arya’s chambers is behind closed doors. I thought Arya surprisingly calm and measured finding Sansa snooping AND discovering Arya’s deep, darkish secret. I think she expected Sansa’s search. If my little sister had done that, I would have called out the Royal Marines on her. Whatever they said, the key moment of Arya’s handover of the Dagger was wordless. So had LF tapped the room, he still would not have known that Arya signaled Sansa with LF’s dagger. Handover of a weapon and turning one’s back is a sign of trust. I think this actually was Arya’s signal (possibly pre-arranged) that it was time to spring the trap. Sansa of course was worried and conflicted, but I’m sure she will act. If nothing else, she’ll go to Bran and ask for LF’s Bran.net’s browsing dossier.

      Shock Me,

      Nope. Though the Vale could have acted sooner to break the shield wall, Their presence on the field would have caused Ramsey to leave the field instead of commit his reserves. They would have retreated in good order behind the Walls of Winterfell. With no siege Weapons Jon’s army would have starved and broken.

      So the girl who admitted she knew nothing about battle, who had never touched a weapon other than kissing Joffrey’s sword, the sheltered would-be politician who Jon allowed to attend his war council is suddenly a master strategist? Suddenly she is able to out-think an experienced soldier and commander? and feels entitled to decide wha to limit him from knowing? And when he asked her help, she withheld what she knew to be very important information. That should have earned her a court-martial. There is no excuse! It doesn’t matter if Jon won because she brought the dastardly Littlefinger to the rescue–what she did was wrong! I’d be furious about what she said to Arya about falling on her knees because Jon lost and she won the battle if she hadn’t said it as part of their feigned animosity to destroy LF (though she probably believed it). By the way, are you a military strategist–you certainly state what would have happened with confidence. IF Jon had had Sansa’s crucial information, he probably would have been able to explore many options and maybe even able to defeat Ramsay with fewer casualties. She took away his chance.

        Quote  Reply

    127. Ramsay’s 20th Good Man,

      Those are great arguments. The reason why I entertain the more skeptical interpretation of her is because: 1.) In the inside the episode for S6E5 D&D said Littlefinger still had a hold on her 2.) The other Stark Children have taken on parts of their surrogate fathers so Sansa should have as well. 3.) In S7E1 she talks about how much she learned from Cersei and Jon says she talks as if she admires her.

      But i agree with your arguments that you can construct a positive interpretation of her actions with what we know in universe. Just like I think you can take a more skeptical view. Ultimately its all still ambigious and I am hopeful the show at some point clears up the mystery.

      spaewife,

      I think there is reason to think Sweet Robin also declared for Jon. We know Sweet Robin does what Uncle Petyr wants. Littlefinger said as well in S6E10 that he has declared for House Stark. The Vale is not an independent Kingdom. Its monarch is either Cersei or Jon and it looks based on what we know that it is Jon. Of course this would all be cleared up if Jon were the King of the North and the Vale.

        Quote  Reply

    128. Ten Bears,

      Luka, Petra and others here had pointed out how problematic Arya’s behavior at Winterfell has become. She’s become a vigilante and Sansa’s jugde, jury and (potential) executioner.

      Saying that Arya was “surprisingly calm and measured” when she found Sansa in her room is bending over backwards what we actually saw: a threatening Arya subjecting Sansa without her consent to the “game of faces” and then coldly and menacingly stating how she could kill Sansa and wear her face… That’s not calm and measured. That’s psychotic.

      If this ends up being a ruse to fool LF, it reamins to be seen… But it’s still problematic for all the reasons Ramsay’s 20th Good Man stated above.

        Quote  Reply

    129. ghost of winterfell:

      Wholeheartedly agree!

      Stark Raven’ Rad:

      Yes, yes, and YES. Very well said! Sansa apologised to Jon for what she had done, and rightly so. I’d like to think that Sansa didn’t mean what she said to Arya, because that would mean that she pretended to be sorry for what she did to Jon, and therefore that she plays everyone and that she’s LF’s misprinted female version. (In which case I would expect her head next to LF’s and that arc would definitely be totally dissapointing).

      I think that those fights between Arya and Sansa were made to be heard in public so that LF’s spies would tell him what he wants to hear. It also doesn’t make any sense why Sansa who has repeatedly stated that LF is NOT to be trusted, trusts him with her ‘worries’ about what Arya will do: that proves there’s something else that’s going on. It is obvious that the Stark sisters are working on a plan, and until now it’s working perfectly: LF has taken the bait. I’m looking forward to see how they take him out AND keep the Vale troops too. Come on girls, make it happen! 😀

        Quote  Reply

    130. Juri,

      Ahh. Thanks for explaining. I agree Arya is exhibiting [out of character] “psychotic” behavior, though I don’t think “vigilantism” applies. Yet.

      Damn it. I want the real Arya back. Not this weirdo:

      “Well, I’d love to chat longer Sansa, but I’m having an old friend for dinner.”

      – Arya, S7e7, as credits roll

        Quote  Reply

    131. House Monty: Littlefinger said as well in S6E10 that he has declared for House Stark. The Vale is not an independent Kingdom. Its monarch is either Cersei or Jon and it looks based on what we know that it is Jon. Of course this would all be cleared up if Jon were the King of the North and the Vale.

      Indeed it would be cleared up – but the Vale is not part of The North, and LF or Robin declaring for Jon would mean they support him as KitN – they are allies (for the time being). It would mean Cersei seeing the Vale as in rebellion, but doesn’t mean it’s part of the North or that Jon is their King. He is not claiming to rule the Seven kingdoms, but only chosen by acclamation as King in the North. Politics, politics…

        Quote  Reply

    132. On the Arya/Sansa stuff:
      I don’t have a major problem with Arya’s behavior in this season, I think it’s mostly in-character and I still love her. Whatever she said to Sansa, was true. Sansa may not betray Jon and doesn’t do anything to take away his kingdom, but she thinks of it. Unfortunately, Arya can see this. and she is doing everything to find out how far Sansa would be willing to go. BTW, when Sansa said that she won the BotB, she was clearly right. the Vale came because of her. But she didn’t take Winterfell back. Without Jon and the wildlings (WunWun) she wouldn’t have been able to take the castle, not even with the help of the Vale. Those knights were useless against Ramay the moment he returned to the castle. Sansa won the battle but it was Jon who retook the castle. Somehow everybody seems to forget it.

      Basically everything Sansa does right now, even if it doesn’t undermine Jon, is done because Sansa wants the Northern Lords to see her as a potential ruler. She is not doing it for Jon, she is doing it for herself. That’s why she is so scared of that letter. And it proves to Arya that she has darker intentions, even when she hasn’t done anything yet. The fact that Arya hasn’t killed her yet for treason against Jon proves that Arya is NOT a psycho, that she cares for her family, even for Sansa in a way, and she gives her a chance to prove herself. And she makes sure Sansa knows that she is not afraid of her. But handing her the dagger speaks volumes. Now it’s Sansa’s turn, to prove whose side she is on.

      Another thing that bugs me: Sansa asks that why hasn’t Arya went to help Ned, killing everyone in her way, and that stuff. Arya just said that she wanted to, and Sansa interrupts that “OK, but you didn’t” . but she actually did, and never says so. She started, but then was stopped (physically) by Yoren, who held her tight until the execution was over.

        Quote  Reply

    133. Apollo,

      So… Am I the only one who thought it was Alys Karstark whispering something to Littlefinger, and not a serving girl? Have my middle-aged eyes failed me, or is this a major plot point that isn’t being discussed because our heads are spinning about all the other things we’re trying to absorb/explain/prepare for?

        Quote  Reply

    134. Ramsay’s 20th Good Man,

      I couldn’t agree more.

      It’s utterly confounding to me that Sansa is shown as confident and decisive in certain areas, but reverts to insecure 14-year-old in others, and it’s equally confounding to me that Arya, after all that physical and psychological training in the HoBaW, has reverted to the (no pun intended) black-and-white “morality” of her younger years. It makes no sense to me whatsoever.

        Quote  Reply

    135. ygritte,

      Book!Jon is waaayyy tougher, savvier, and more pragmatic than Show!Jon. Show!Jon is a character worthy of The Lord of the Rings, definitely not the, um, vibe GRRM was going for when writing ASoIaF. Mind you, I love him and Kit Harington’s portrayal of him, but he is most definitely a different creature from the one on the page.

        Quote  Reply

    136. Jennipeg,

      Fear. They fear her, as they feared the Mad King.

      (puts on tinfoil hat)

      It’ll be screamingly funny if it turns out that Tyrion is Tywin’s only true-born son, and Cersei and Jaime are actually the children of the Mad King (who, after all, was infatuated with Joanna Lannister). It would totally explain the brother-sister love, and Cersei’s glee when she saw the Sept explode…

      (takes off tinfoil hat, pours another glass of Dornish red)

        Quote  Reply

    137. A Dornish Tyrell,

      No, not at all!!!

      That’s one of the reasons GRRM wrote this story, and not an LotR-type story; because as much as he loves and respects Tolkien, he was far more interested in how Aragorn would have ruled (the dirty details of real history) than how he got there (the big picture of mythology).

        Quote  Reply

    138. Karenchasez,

      Very true. Cersei had the luxury of being in the safety of her private harbor at King’s Landing in a time of “peace”; Dany had just crashed a battle between a handful of living men and thousands of dead ones. Very different circumstances indeed.

        Quote  Reply

    139. GhostCR,

      As did Brienne when Jaime told her, “In my experience, girls like her don’t live long.” Brienne’s response was something along the lines of, “I don’t think you’ve met many girls like her.”

        Quote  Reply

    140. Ten Bears,

      TB, if you see this, accept my congratulations on your riff on who won the BoB. I’m going with the Raven, the missing link. And any chain is only as stong as its strongest link.

        Quote  Reply

    141. Aszusz,

      She started, but then was stopped (physically) by Yoren, who held her tight until the execution was over.

      Like the Theon/Asha/Euron, I don’t get the reasoning for running to save them? Arya would just be captured and Euron would kill Asha. This isn’t Jon Snow we’re talking about (he’d survive). What is Arya going to do if Yoren doesn’t stop here?

      I don’t see how sprinting to certain death improves a character’s argument/intentions. It just makes them irrational (unless that person is Jon fookin Snow).

        Quote  Reply

    142. Wolfish,

      They basically have the same name, backstory, disposition, and major plot developments, but that’s about it. Book Jon is occasionally hotheaded, but his berserker moments stand out because most of the time he limits himself to “tranquil fury.” He does put his sense of duty ahead of his own desires, mainly because he’s resigned himself to never getting anything he wants, but “honorable to a fault” does not describe him. He isn’t Ned 2.0 no matter how badly he wants to be. Show Jon is a different animal, but while none of his book counterpart’s cunning, sarcasm, perceptiveness, or pragmatism have made it from book to screen, he only acts like a “heroic idiot” when it’s convenient for D&D. This is the same guy who agreed with Alliser Thorne that they shouldn’t avenge the slaughter of Olly’s village because they couldn’t afford to be drawn out into the open by the wildlings south of the Wall, and had no intention of avenging Mormont’s death or searching for Bran north of the Wall until he realized that the mutineers at Craster’s Keep might give up crucial information to Mance Rayder if left alive. Jon lost that self-restraint once D&D ran out of book material to adapt. Interestingly, though, while people are quick to recognize when Tyrion or Arya act OOC for plot purposes, they’re all too eager to completely ignore the first five seasons of the show anytime Jon gets thrown the idiot ball.

      That said, in a post-episode interview that Alan Taylor gave to an Australian media outlet, he confirms that most of the crap Jon’s getting for the rescue scene is unwarranted and based on misleading editing and directing. I’ll just quote the relevant bit since the interview has been re-posted by online tabloids that have zero qualms about putting outright spoilers in their headlines:

      The director also responded to the episode’s most frustrating scene — when Jon Snow keeps fighting despite everyone waiting on the dragon so they can escape.

      “If there were people that wondered that then maybe we screwed up,” he said.
      “The intention was two things. One is that they’re climbing on the dragon and it’s a slow process. Their flank is unprotected and we see that there are whights coming towards them, so he had to battle those guys back. The other thing is that it is just very Jon Snow of him,” he laughed.

      So Jon was never meant to be perceived as holding up the rescue, and in fact his actions were what allowed them to secure the wight in the first place. He’s the guy “throwing himself on the grenade” for the team, to echo D&D’s sentiments on that scene.

        Quote  Reply

    143. Wolfish:
      Ramsay’s 20th Good Man,

      I couldn’t agree more.

      It’s utterly confounding to me that Sansa is shown as confident and decisive in certain areas, but reverts to insecure 14-year-old in others, and it’s equally confounding to me that Arya, after all that physical and psychological training in the HoBaW, has reverted to the (no pun intended) black-and-white “morality” of her younger years. It makes no sense to me whatsoever.

      Er, sibling rivalry? Maybe they bring it out in each other. My younger sister and I are that way. But our father’s recent illness and death had utterly united us, and now we’re more tolerant of each other (till the next issue, LOL). I’ve sounded like a broken LP on WotW lately about my theory that they’re both working to destroy LF. probably together. They’re like Bad Cop, Good Cop. It did take to cautions took two hugs when they reunited. With a known enemy to both, I still suspect they’re much more united than we think. I guess we’ll know tonight.

        Quote  Reply

    144. Stark Raven’ Mad,

      I take your point about sibling rivalry, but damn. It just seems to have overtaken everything else (Walkers to the North, Cersei to the South, Ned’s admonishment about “not fighting amongst ourselves”), and leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I want Winterfell, dammit, not Keeping Up With the Starkashians.

      As you write… “we’ll know tonight.”

        Quote  Reply

    145. Wolfish,

      I’m really looking forward to see whether the finale redeems the Winterfell melodrama. The Starks-Littlefinger intrigue was fine by me until “Beyond the Wall,” so the finale could very well fix it retroactively… let’s wait and see!

      Wolfish,

      I don’t think Petra or I were implying Dany’s reaction should’ve been like Cersei’s when Myrcella’s body arrived. We said it should’ve been on par with that. I’m not even sure I still believe Clarke played that wrong (it does read as shock well,) but I just wanted to point out the difference there…

        Quote  Reply

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