GRRM publishes a new sample chapter from The Winds of Winter

After recently mentioning the possibilty of more The Winds of Winter sample chapters (though he thinks he is approaching the limit of what he is prepared to reveal ahead of time), George R.R. Martin surprised everyone today by putting a new chapter online at his website.

Discuss all the aspects of it below. For obvious reasons, the chapter and the discussion in the comments constitute SPOILERS for The Winds of Winter.

The chapter is named Alayne, after the alias Sansa takes on in the Vale.

Consider this a placeholder. Other writers might chime in with their take on it here or in the comments.

367 responses

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    1. Yes GM. In some circles you are still relevant. Here’s a nice big pat on the back for ya! Hopefully Alayne is on time for her rape you creepy bastard! 🙂

      FaB!

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    2. Sansa! (ssssh! I mean Alayne) It's been 10 years! Welcome back! You're like a breath of fresh air! 🙂

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    3. King Tommen:
      I never understood why releasing upwards of 5 sample chapters well ahead of a book release made sense.

      We all await your great novel where you can show us all how it should be done… until then, we’ll enjoy the way GRRM does it.

      Any way, loved the chapter. I think it also fits with what we’ve heard happens in 5.01 of GOT. As he did last year with Arya, he’s showing us how D&D have changed things but still using things he’s already written.

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    4. Not gonna read this one. With all the sample chapters I feel I already know too much. Even with the show overtaking the books I’d rather read TWOW in one piece when it comes out.

      Mercy last year and this Alayne chapter somehow feel like feeble attempts at delaying the inevitable.

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    5. I love how the chapter was so enjoyable and lighthearted.
      I love reading these chapters just about court life and tournaments. There hasn’t been anything like it since Book 1.

      And wow, Sansa has grown so much. Nice to see her so sassy, confident, clever, and cynical, lol.
      Shes playing everyone to her own beat =D

      Rygar:
      Yes GM. In some circles you are still relevant.Here’s a nice big pat on the back for ya! Hopefully Alayne is on time for her rape you creepy bastard!

      FaB!

      Go quietly sit in a corner.
      The show maybe as good as an adaptation as is possible, but nothing is like reading the books and immersing yourself in the world and the characters

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    6. GeekFurious: We all await your great novel where you can show us all how it should be done… until then, we’ll enjoy the way GRRM does it

      Yes, excellent point. Nobody should be allowed to have opinions or musings unless they have first “written a great novel”.

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    7. King Tommen,

      Well, these are all part of ADWD, in a way. Each and every one of them was taken away from ADWD, which lacked a climax because of it. If this bothers you, try to see it as GRRM slowly giving us the “ADWD Extended edition.”

      As I said in the other thread, here are my thoughts:

      Last year, GRRM did something similar with an Arya chapter (”Mercy”), presumably because the show was about to spoil an element from it. Obviously Arya’s story wasn’t that far ahead, but in the fourth season Arya kills Polliver exactly like she would later kill Raff the Sweatling in TWOW —by repeating what he had said to Lommy before killing him. However, since there is no Raff in the adaptation and Polliver took his role, the producers brought that monologue forward, and GRRM did not want it to be spoilt so he published the Mercy chapter. What does this mean? Considering Sansa’s story in the show has reached the end of the published material, probably there is something in this chapter that is going to be used for her arc this coming season. Obviously, they are going a different way in terms of the plot —Sansa is going to Winterfell during the Bolton occupation, after all. However, just as in the case of Mercy, I’d say that at least an element of this chapter will feature in season five.

      Sansa’s marriageability is immediately brought up. Petyr did not mention this thorny issue when he revealed his plans, but readers have been asking for a while —how can Sansa marry Harry, the next Lord of the Vale if (when) Robert dies, if she’s still married to Tyrion?

      No man can wed me so long as my dwarf husband still lives somewhere in this world. Queen Cersei had collected the head of a dozen dwarfs, Petyr claimed, but none were Tyrion’s.

      Generally, it’s great to see that Sansa is considerably more grown up since last we saw her: she’s plotting her own schemes —this whole tourney, an excuse to bring in Harry the Heir, was her idea; and her verbal sparring equals Tyrion’s now. These made me laugh out loud:

      And there he stood, Harry the Heir himself; tall, handsome, scowling. “Lady Alayne. May I partner you in this dance?”
      She considered for a moment. “No. I don’t think so.”
      Color rose to his cheeks. “I was unforgivably rude to you in the yard. You must forgive me.”
      “Must?” She tossed her hair, took a sip of wine, made him wait. “How can you forgive someone who is unforgivably rude? Will you explain that to me, ser?”

      “Saffron?” Alayne tried not to laugh. “Truly?” Ser Harrold had the grace to blush. “Her father says she is more precious to him than gold. He’s rich, the richest man in Gulltown. A fortune in spices.”
      “What will you name the babe?” she asked. “Cinnamon if she’s a girl? Cloves if he’s a boy?”

      For a moment he looked shocked. But as the song was ending, he burst into a laugh. “No one told me you were clever.”
      He has good teeth, she thought, straight and white. And when he smiles, he has the nicest dimples. She ran one finger down his cheek. “Should we ever wed, you’ll have to send Saffron back to her father. I’ll be all the spice you’ll want.”
      He grinned. “I will hold you to that promise, my lady. Until that day, may I wear your favor in the tourney?”
      “You may not. It is promised to… another.” She was not sure who as yet, but she knew she would find someone.

      Though maybe it has been a more exhilarating read than it deserves merely because it’s Sansa’s first chapter in so many years, it truly was a very fun chapter. Yes —fun. Honestly, I didn’t expect the chapter to be so entertaining and actually funny, or for Sansa to be so amazing in this. There is a noticeable jump from her chapters in A Feast for Crows here. She’s grown up a lot in these real ten years, which are merely weeks or a few months at most within the narrative. Is that too much of a change? I don’t care. Just as her scenes in “The Mountain and the Viper”, this chapter is a welcome leap in Sansa’s characterization.

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    8. Cue the GRRM bashers and the same old discussions, I presume (unfortunately). Good sample chapter.

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    9. Quite a dull chapter. More of Robyn mewling, lame interactions with one dimensional characters. Only good part was the Dance with Harry.

      If this is any indication of the pace of her storyline, it’s going to be quite a slog

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    10. YAY! What a nice surprise! Although, the state of the text seems to confirm that he is truely nowhere near done, unless, of course, he just grabbed an approved-but-not-integrated version of the text to quickly post, but I digress…

      Sansa showing lots of moxie and wit, coming up with ideas like a pro. Makes me think that show!Sansa will not be the bride in the Winterfell storyline, but just a witness. Her future seems to be to control the Vale and perhaps the Riverlands as Littlefinger’s plans for revenge continue to expand. Can’t wait to see how she eventually dispenses with Littlefinger! Go, Little Bird, go!

      Thanks for the original post, Luka!

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    11. Nuncle? check. Tummy? check. Food list? check. Heraldry? check. Four and sixty? check.

      BINGO!

      TWOW is going to blow.

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    12. It’s a snoozefest with at least some interesting aspects. Getting her out of the Vale on the show doesn’t seem to be such a bad idea.

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    13. Yung Wolf,

      That’s just not true tbh.

      Anywho, I thoroughly enjoyed it, definitely had a first book feel in terms of light-heartedness. Loved her interactions with Harry. Alayne snatching wigs with wit and sass. I hope we get to see some of that this season.

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    14. I expect them to use the same lines in S5…

      LF: And how your first meeting with Ramsey Bolton?
      Sansa: He’s horrible.
      LF: The world is full of horrors, sweet. You’ve seen enough of them. There is no justice in this world not unless we make it. By now you ought to know that.
      Sansa: Yes,but why must he be so cruel?
      LF: This betrothal was never his idea. He does not trust you, and he believes that you’re beneath him.

      Bringing you here was the first step in our plan, but now we need to act, and only you can do that. He has a weakness for a pretty face, and whose face is prettier than yours? Charm him. Entrance him. Bewitch him.

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    15. Yung Wolf:
      I think the majority of us can agree that Sansa/Alayne is the worst POV remaining in the books.

      Its been quite a while since I read A Feast, but I do recall skimming thru many of the Sansa chapters. I just couldn’t get into them.

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    16. Seriously? that’s his new sample chapter?
      As he so proudly states that he edits it all over and over again, and as the absolute lack of editing of any kind is so apparent that it makes me cringe, I wonder if this is the best he’s been able to come up with over the last 4 years.
      even without editing, it beats the crap out of that “mercy” chapter. Mercy, indeed – please, have mercy on us and don’t write anything like that ever again – little girls not even into puberty yet using sex and seducing older men so that she can turn around and kill them?
      ugh
      u

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    17. It’s a tribute to how annoying Book Sweetrobin is that he makes Show Sweetrobin seem like Child Lord of the Year.

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    18. Ashara D,

      You’re welcome. You should thank BryndenBFish, I saw him mention it on Twitter.

      My biggest takeaway from this, in regards to the show? Now it’s obvious what they were doing with Sansa in 4×08. Some book readers, who insist on viewing her as a pure virginal fairy, were a bit horrified by Sansa’s introduction as a seductress in 4×08. Now we see where D&D got that from:

      “Should we ever wed, you’ll have to send Saffron back to her father. I’ll be all the spice you’ll want.”

      Now I can see quite clearly what they were doing, and what they intend to do in season five.

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    19. Turncloak,

      Great comebacks. So sassy.

      I don’t get the negative reception by some people here. It was a very fun read. Sansa has grown up so much in so little time.

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    20. Luka Nieto,

      Each complaint from book purists does not make any sense, as always.

      D&D made ​​her development a lot more compelling, as I expected.

      GRRM suddenly put her in role od seductive girl and real genius who organizes tournaments for political gain.

      Her fake crying at the end of the fourth season is a far more convincing.

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    21. Luka Nieto,

      Interesting that Elio just commented on Westeros that the supposed “controversial” aspect of the chapter was “The sexuality of the character,” Imho, this is an excellent progression for Sansa as she matures and plays the game with LF. Elio confounds me with that laughably obtuse observation.

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    22. mau,

      Ramsey=Harry the Heir confirmed

      I concur after reading this chapter, Harry’s personality is strikingly similar to what show Ramsay would say upon meeting Alayne as well as his behavior at the dance. If you remember the pic of the Bolton reception line and the disdain on Ramsay’s face, clearly he is replacing Harry, so purists go ahead and rant, get it all out before the season airs.

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    23. Hodor’s Bastard,

      He seems to be one of those who saw her as pure and virginal, I’m afraid. And I agree, this is an excellent progression, both in the show and the books, even if it’s a bit of a leap (in both, too.)

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    24. mau,

      Lol. I thought the exact opposite! I guess it depends on how the storylines eventually merge down the road whether it matters that she controls the Vale or the North. If Sansa “marries” Ramsey, how will the Battle of Winterfell (Stannis’ storyline) play out? If Stannis wins the Battle, then would Sansa (and Littlefinger) survive? If Stannis loses, then Sansa is stuck in Ramsey’s clutches. Yikes! I guess Littlefinger could try to play the “I was saving Sansa and helping your cause” card and Stannis could welcome her as Joffrey’s murderer, but that’s got problems for Stannis’ characterization then. So hard to predict!

      Hope this makes sense. Thinking through my fingers…

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    25. I don’t it’s a coincidence this chapter is released now (like Mercy last year)….

      Based on this chapter I’d say

      Sansa (as Alayne) will most certainly marry Ramsay

      this season. And now that I understand the logic behind it, I’m fine with it.

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    26. tyjon:
      mau,

      I concur after reading this chapter, Harry’s personality is strikingly similar to what show Ramsay would say upon meeting Alayne as well as his behavior at the dance. If you remember the pic of the Bolton reception line and the disdain on Ramsay’s face, clearly he is replacing Harry, so purists go ahead and rant, get it all out before the season airs.

      Show Ramsey is much nicer than his book version. He was very polite with Fat Walda and has an almost normal friendly relationship with Locke.

      I’m sure Ramsey will not torture her. He will find another victim.

      He is cruel, there is no dispute, but he is also reasonable. Now and then.

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    27. I LOVE the sassy Sansa! And I can’t tell how delighted I am to finally read a chapter where she’s come into her own and is actually enjoying herself.

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    28. Hodor’s Bastard:
      Luka Nieto,

      Interesting that Elio just commented on Westeros that the supposed “controversial” aspect of the chapter was “The sexuality of the character,” Imho, this is an excellent progression for Sansa as she matures and plays the game with LF.Elio confounds me with that silly, slightly-ignorant observation.

      Unless you’re a Puritan, there’s nothing controversial about it.

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    29. Ashara D,

      I will quote myself. 😀

      LF’s motives are very clear and actually very smart. He will use that marriage to infiltrate the Vale army in the North as Bolton’s allies.

      It’s not just revenge for Cat. This is his plan to take over the North, just like in books.

      He will wait for battle to begin , wait for both sides to be exhausted and he will then slaughter the Boltons and he will open the gates of WF for Stannis.

      After all this, he will reveal Sansa’s identity to Stannis and Stannis will proclaim her lady od WF.

      I think that Stannis will be grateful to LF for help. But he will also be too weak to eventually fight with relatively rested Vale army.

      Sophie Turner mentioned Sansa’s brothers in one interview about S5.

      What if Greatjon or some other Umber appears in this season and he tells Sansa that Rickon is in his castle?

      Then she hides that information from everyone waiting for the right moment to reveal?

      Perhaps Sansa will thus prevent some LF’s plans in S6?

      LF’s whole agenda is based on the fact that she is heir of WF. But she is not. If they belive that Bran id dead, Rickon is the heir.

      This may cause LF’s downfall.

      It is possible that Umber get to Stannis and Davos, and not vice versa, and then at the end of the season he reveals that he have Rickon.

      But what does this mean for possibly alliances between Stannis and LF? Stannis will not accept Sansa if he knows that Rickon is alive.

      Rickon as Sansa wild card against LF is the most interesting. She will work secretly with Umber and they will conspire against LF.

      There is another option. Stannis will have Rickon, and LF will have Sansa.

      Stannis will be too weak after the battle and he will have to temporarily accept an “alliance” with LF. He will use Rickon againts LF when the time comes.

      They will cross paths in the books also, because both of them are interested in the North.

      In the show they may at first be allies, and then enemies.

      I think that relations between LF and Stannis will be very similar to what awaits us in TWOW.

      They will also interact in the books in some way, that’s for sure.

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    30. The funny thing is, if we consider the sort-of-tourney in 5×01 to be a sort-of-adaptation of this tourney, 5×01 will be adapting stuff from 4 books: ASOS for Jon (dealing with Stannis for the first time), Sam (introducing the incoming choosing) and Dany (the fall of the Harpy statue); AFFC for Cersei, Jaime (the funeral) and Sansa (down from the Eyrie, Littlefinger discusses his own plans and Cersei’s reign with Sansa) ; ADWD for Tyrion (he arrives in Pentos and is given a new purpose, to seek and serve Dany), Dany (the Sons, Hizdahr suggesting opening the pits, negotiating with Yunkai, Daario comes back from his mission) and Jon (Mance’s burning); and TWOW for Sansa (Alayne and Littlefinger organize a tourney in the Vale.)

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    31. Mickey2093,

      Actually, it looks to me like an electronically edited file that didn’t have the changes “accepted” before being converted to straight text and then coded for the webpage. An error in version selection. There are also missing paragraph breaks that also suggest this scenario. It is certainly a pre-final edit version.

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    32. Wow, didn’t expect an Alayne chapter.. But holy cow it’s a welcome sight!

      It may have seemed like a lighthearted chapter, with Sansa scheming this tourney, but during the entire thing, I felt something like a strain. Almost everybody there, aside from Uther Shett and the teatwatcher are twofaced or/and ticking timebombs.

      Yivo:
      Quite a dull chapter. More of Robyn mewling, lame interactions with one dimensional characters. Only good part was the Dance with Harry.

      If this is any indication of the pace of her storyline, it’s going to be quite a slog

      Honestly, most of these characters aren’t that onedimensional as you might make them out to be. Sweetrobin is a ticking timebomb, Lady Waynwood probably has her own agenda, she’s no fool. Lyn Corbray could be exactly what Sansa thinks of him, which makes him twofaced. Ser Shadrich is obviously after Sansa. Myranda Royce likely knows more then she shows and could possibly foil the entire plot, while Littlefinger is Littlefinger, playing around with the Lords he bought.

      mau:
      I expect them to use the same linesin S5…

      Agreed.. I didn’t think much of Sansa being the bride in Winterfell, but this actually makes it seem likelier then before. Also, Sansa in the vaults, Sansa in the crypts?

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    33. Well, this was a nice surprise to savor my morning coffee over. Thanks to Luka Nieto for linking this in the other thread!

      First Sansa chapter in 10 years (well, five for me since I only read the books a few months before the show began), and it’s a good one! As others have noted, Sansa does indeed seem more confident, clever, charming, and perceptive, with a nice dash of cynicism thrown in at times. Her inner monologue was a genuine pleasure to read, especially during the dancing sequence. I particularly enjoyed her repartee with Harry the Heir, who is every bit as charming and charismatic as I thought he would be. (That is, he’s a total ass). Her evolution has been a slow burn, but she’s reached a new level now.

      Myranda Royce remains a delight. I really enjoyed her walk-and-talk with Sansa as they navigated the various knights of the Vale, from the colorfully named Uther Shett to the dangerous Lyn Corbray. To balance that out, we got to spend some quality time with Robin (after the show, I always think of him as Robin, even though he’s referred to as Robert here), who remains the absolute worst.

      And, of course, we got a description of a sumptuous feast complete with … a fucking 12-foot lemon cake. George is straight trolling us now. 😉

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    34. Ashara D,

      Yeah, there are a few bizarre goofs for a public distribution of a draft. Like when unhappy Corbray responds…

      “How kind of him.” Corbray’s lips drew back in something that might have been meant as a smile, though it gave Alayne a chill. “But what need have I for heirs when I am landless and like to remain so, thanks to our Lord Protector? No. lord father I need none of his brood mares.”

      Tell your The venom in his voice was so thick that for a moment she almost forgot that Lyn Corbray was actually her father’s catspaw, bought and paid for. Or was he? Perhaps, instead of being Petyr’s man pretending to be Petyr’s foe, he was actually his foe pretending to be his man pretending to be his foe.

      In any case, watch out for Corbray, Sansa!

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    35. Do u guys expect a damn sample chapter to have major developments and action…

      Its not like AGOT didn’t have chapters like these. This chapter is almost like a mirror to Sansa’s stuff with Joffrey @ the first tourney, only now we see Sansa more matured and cynical.

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    36. What a brilliant chapter. Sansa was brilliant and all the little details were delightful. Worth the wait (but now I want the next one!).

      Much as I love the show (and I really do), I feel deep relief at seeing “book stuff” like the Harry plot continue apace, particularly with all those typical GRRM details like a giant feast (including descriptions of food) and a dozen interesting background characters (like the stammering knight). In a sense, it really doesn’t matter whether the shows include a plot or not, as long as GRRM writes it in the books. He’ll do justice to his own world.

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    37. mau,

      Thanks. That is really chopping A LOT of book stuff, but that is how it needs to be if they intend to finish in 7 seasons. If your prediction is correct, the books have a long road ahead to tie up all the plot threads that G has set up to eventually arrive at the same place as the show. Two more books hardly seems adequate. Sigh. It is gonna be a while before the book!story comes to a conclusion. Thank goodness for the show! Can’t wait for it to start!

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    38. Rygar,

      If it had made sense before, we wouldn’t have been discussing it (Sansa in WF? Never!) to death on this very site. We could guess away obviously, but now have an actual chapter to base that speculation on.

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    39. Wow, I love Sassy Sansa! 🙂 Sassy and witty and bold. That’s all I have to say…

      Particularly the line “have you seen all those maids?” since it’s the exact same thing I keep saying whenever some magazine pronounces someone “the most beautiful woman in the world” etc.

      But, is this really the chapter that was supposed to be controversial? LOL
      You can see that Elio hadn’t read “Mercy” when he first said that.

      Hodor’s Bastard:
      Luka Nieto,

      Interesting that Elio just commented on Westeros that the supposed “controversial” aspect of the chapter was “The sexuality of the character,” Imho, this is an excellent progression for Sansa as she matures and plays the game with LF.Elio confounds me with that laughably obtuse observation.

      Sexuality? Really? There was far less sexuality on Sansa’s part in this chapter than compared to some of the previous ones from ASOS and AFFC (her make-out fantasy with Loras, her multiple fantasies about Sandor). In this one, she just observes who’s handsome, nothing she didn’t do since AGOT, and flirts. In the TV show, we didn’t see anything about Sansa’s own sexuality in season 4.

      But maybe it’s just me – when I hear the word “sexuality”, I tend to think about a person’s own desires; not their use of their sexual attractiveness to flirt and manipulate people. Which is why I don’t see “Mercy” as telling us much about Arya’s sexuality, either.

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    40. tyjon:
      mau,

      I concur after reading this chapter, Harry’s personality is strikingly similar to what show Ramsay would say upon meeting Alayne as well as his behavior at the dance. If you remember the pic of the Bolton reception line and the disdain on Ramsay’s face, clearly he is replacing Harry, so purists go ahead and rant, get it all out before the season airs.

      That might mean the character

      who dies in the series and is alive in the books is Ramsay

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    41. Hodor’s Bastard: “But what need have I for heirs when I am landless and like to remain so, thanks to our Lord Protector? No. lord father I need none of his brood mares.”
      Tell your The venom in his voice was so thick that for a moment she almost forgot that Lyn Corbray was actually her father’s catspaw, bought and paid for.

      Pretty sure the “Tell your” in “Tell your The venom” is supposed to go after the “No” and in front of: “lord father”. Meaning that he basically says: “No. Tell your lord father”

      Dutch maester:
      Rygar,

      If it had made sense before, we wouldn’t have been discussing it (Sansa in WF? Never!) to death on this very site. We could guess away obviously, but now have an actual chapter to base that speculation on.

      It still doesn’t make sense. Why the eff would Roose Bolton – lord in Winterfell and the Dreadfort and warden of the North! – marry his only heir off to a bastard daughter of the Lord paramount of the Trident, protector of the Vale and the Lord of Harrenhal? I get that getting into an alliance with that is profitable, but couldn’t Roose make a marriage pact to marry off Ramsay for when LF has a trueborn daughter? That’s the part that’s the most frustrating about this. Everything else seems like a good fit.

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    42. mau:
      Luka Nieto,

      Each complaint from book purists does not make any sense, as always.

      D&D made ​​her development a lot more compelling, as I expected.

      GRRM suddenly put her in role od seductive girl and real genius who organizes tournaments for political gain.

      Her fake crying at the end of the fourth season is a far more convincing.

      How did they make her development “more compelling”? By cutting out almost all of her development in King’s Landing, portraying her as an idiot in season 3, and then having her become a “player” overnight – as shown in… her dressing up in a black dress with feathers and walk down the stairs in a ridiculously OTT scene?

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    43. Yivo,

      Yep. I was sad and baffled by Arianne’s absence during casting, but now, seeing the streamlining that D&D are doing with Dorne and Mau’s predictions for the show!North, the books have more than a few Meerenese-type knots to unravel to find the end. I wouldn’t say “never,” (ever the optimist) but it certainly will be A WHILE.

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    44. Annara Snow,

      I don’t have a problem w/ the way they ended her arc in 4×08. All she did was tell a lie and make a fancy dress.
      But yes, they cut out a lot of her development in season 3, development that they did really well in the end of 1 and all of 2. I was annoyed by the whole Loras match, and how she so stupidly asked, CAN MY FAMILY COME TO MY WEDDING…….

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    45. First 60% of it was meh, but when Harry sounds off it became a decent read.

      Littlefinger is bankrupting the Vale, he has halted exports while he spends lavishly. He promises to recoup it all in the Winter, but he and the gold will be long gone by then.

      The poster “mau” has it: Does Sansa know LF betrayed her Father? She calls him father here and almost forgets the “Lord Eddard Stark” is her true father. Through Sansa, we are looking back on summer in Westeros for the last time. Winter is here, and the decadent, frivolous ways will be swept away.

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    46. Yivo:
      Ashara D,

      The books will never be finished. Even if he somehow manages to finish book 7, he’ll need 8. Chapters like this and Ariannes make that clear

      Unfortunately, I have to agree. Too much detail, too many characters , too much politics,…

      Usually it is interesting to follow the political machinations, but then you start to think about how it will all end?

      I like that GRRM wants to present the “game to the thrones” in all regions equally. We keep track of politics in the Vale, Dorne, North, Mereen, Iron Islands, Riverlands, not only KL.

      I expect similar with Reach and the Westerlands.

      It is widely storytelling, detail and rich, but I do not think that’s always in the best interest of the story.

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    47. mau: Show Ramsey is much nicer than his book version. He was very polite with Fat Walda and has an almost normal friendly relationship with Locke.

      I’m sure Ramsey will not torture her. He will find another victim.

      He is cruel, there is no dispute, but he is also reasonable. Now and then.

      Yes, he’s such a nice guy. It’s just that he likes hunting and killing girls, flaying people after having promised them safety, and torturing and brainwashing prisoners and chopping their dicks off. I must have missed the part where it was revealed that Harry has the exact same hobbies.

      Oh, FFS. This attempt to justify the “Ramsay = Harry” idea is beyond ridiculous. The fact is, apart from being apparently able to enjoy consensual sex with someone who’s just as twisted and sadistic as himself, show!Ramsay is every bit as horrible as book!Ramsay. I’m pretty sure that book!Ramsay did not start growling and slobbering when Roose introduced him to Fat Walda, either. He also has his accomplices (minions) who just happen to be male unlike Myranda, and he was perfectly capable of pretending to be Theon’s friend and loyal servant when he was posing as Reek. And, lest we forget, EW confirmed that show!Ramsay finds a “new plaything to torture” this season.

      I guess being played by a cute actor is enough to change people’s perceptions completely, eh?

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    48. If you know anything about the SF field, you should know that writers do readings at cons and signings, ESPECIALLY when you are the Guest of Honor. It is EXPECTED that it will be something new or relatively new. Pretty much every pre-published chapter was pre-read at a con or was read at a con shortly after its publication on GRRM’s website OR was a “special preview” chapter that his publishers included with a previous book (e.g., the paperback of ADWD). Therefore, several of the comments above barely even rise to troll-lol-lol and are even worse than book purism. Go peddle it to your hamster.

        Quote  Reply

    49. Disappointing chapter. If I have to wait 10 years for a chapter, “shudder” had better be spelled correctly. More confirmation that the Vale plotline is dull as dirt. Small wonder that D&D appear to have

      written the Vale storyline out

      .

        Quote  Reply

    50. Stannis the Mannis:
      First 60% of it was meh, but when Harry sounds off it became a decent read.

      Littlefinger is bankrupting the Vale, he has halted exports while he spends lavishly. He promises to recoup it all in the Winter, but he and the gold will be long gone by then.

      The poster “mau” has it: Does Sansa know LF betrayed her Father? She calls him father here and almost forgets the “Lord Eddard Stark” is her true father. Through Sansa, we are looking back on summer in Westeros for the last time. Winter is here, and the decadent, frivolous ways will be swept away.

      1) She doesn’t, how would she know?
      2) She’s called LF Father in AFFC Alayne I and II, too – what’s new about that?
      3) Actually, it’s the opposite. She thinks of Ned as her father, but then has to check herself and remind herself that she’s Alayne and that she’s not supposed to think of him as her father. In other words, same as in AFFC Alayne I and II.

        Quote  Reply

    51. Is it just me, or does anyone else think that Harry will be “accidentally” injured when facing against Lyn Corbray in the tourney the next day?

        Quote  Reply

    52. Annara Snow: Yes, he’s such a nice guy. It’s just that he likes hunting and killing girls, flaying people after having promised them safety, and torturing and brainwashing prisoners and chopping their dicks off. I must have missed the part where it was revealed that Harry has the exact same hobbies.

      I guess being played by a cute actor is enough to change people’s perceptions completely, eh?

      Please do not be arrogant and aggressive. There is no need for that . Relax. Ok?

      I did not say that Ramseya is a nice guy, I said that he is nicer in the show. This is a fact.

      He is more reasonable and polite. I cited ma examples.

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    53. Dutch maester:
      I don’t it’s a coincidence this chapter is released now (like Mercy last year)….

      Based on this chapter I’d say

      this season. And now that I understand the logic behind it, I’m fine with it.

      What is the logic behind it? Please tell.

        Quote  Reply

    54. mau: Please do not be arrogant and aggressive. There is no need for that . Relax. Ok?

      I did not say that Ramseya is a nice guy, I said that he is nicer in the show. This is a fact.

      He is more reasonable and polite. I cited ma examples.

      Ramsay is a monster in book and show. Comparing him to some dude who’s just a bit of spoiled, arrogant dick is like comparing Jeffrey Dahmer to Justin Bieber.

        Quote  Reply

    55. So…given all this talk of show!R=HtH, do you-all think that D&D are going to put poor little Lino out of a job this season? Perhaps at the tourney?

        Quote  Reply

    56. That was a fun read, makes me even more excited for Sansa in season 5 and hopefully TWOW next year.

      PS: Now I want lemoncakes!

        Quote  Reply

    57. Annara Snow, considering you railed at great length against the stupidity of the idea that Sansa would be at Winterfell in Season 5 and insulted other posters for even suggesting that would be the case, only to be proven wrong, maybe you should think twice before denouncing other posters’ theories about Sansa in Season 5. It’s not a good look, particularly given your track record.

        Quote  Reply

    58. Annara Snow: Ramsay is a monster in book and show. Comparing him to some dude who’s just a bit of spoiled, arrogant dick is like comparing Jeffrey Dahmer to Justin Bieber.

      All right. Think whatever you want. You’re too passionate about Sansa to think rationally and you usually have wrong predictions about the show. In a few weeks you will see.

        Quote  Reply

    59. Annara Snow: Yes, he’s such a nice guy.

      Oh, FFS. This attempt to justify the “Ramsay = Harry” idea is beyond ridiculous. The fact is, apart from being apparently able to enjoy consensual sex with someone who’s just as twisted and sadistic as himself, show!Ramsay is every bit as horrible as book!Ramsay. I’m pretty sure that book!Ramsay did not start growling and slobbering when Roose introduced him to Fat Walda, either. He also has his accomplices (minions) who just happen to be male unlike Myranda, and he was perfectly capable of pretending to be Theon’s friend and loyal servant when he was posing as Reek. And, lest we forget, EW confirmed that he finds a “new plaything to torture” this season.

      I guess being played by a cute actor is enough to change people’s perceptions completely, eh?

      Point is, that if it’s family (aka not Ironborn aka invaders of the north/land or just a whore), Show!Ramsay hasn’t shown that side of him. He has that side, that’s for sure, but he doesn’t show it to things he can’t just ditch. After he sees that he can use Theon so that his father acknowledges him, he suddenly gives Theon a bath. Manipulative? Yes. No doubt. But still it shows that show!Ramsay will not act on whims if it gains him what he wants.

      Sure, in the books he still marries and then rapes and starves Lady Hornwood just because he thinks that expanding the Bolton lands will make his father more prone to acknowledging him, but here they would need Sansa alive to secure the Vale forces (which is what Roose is planning if they wed).

        Quote  Reply

    60. Annara Snow:
      ….In the TV show, we didn’t see anything about Sansa’s own sexuality in season 4.

      Oh, when LF was pounding Lysa and Sansa was listening to her aunt’s nutty screams of delight while lying in bed, I bet there were a few fantasies (Sandor, Loras, etc) running through Sansa’a head! It wasn’t all uncomfortable in her formative mind. She is maturing well in book and show, as expected.

        Quote  Reply

    61. As for how the content of this chapter and the timing of its release potentially relate to the show … I agree that most of this chapter has been rendered moot by the developments that happened in Sansa’s storyline at the end of Season 4. (I think that’s just as well – it likely wouldn’t have made great TV anyway. Maybe for a scene or two, but probably not as a full-season arc). But there is one passage that I think is going to be highly relevant, and may explain why GRRM decided to release this particular chapter early.

      “He’s horrible.”

      “The world is full of horrors, sweet. By now you ought to know that. You’ve seen enough of them.”

      “Yes,” she said, “but why must he be so cruel? He called me your bastard. Right in the yard, in front of everyone.”

      “So far as he knows, that’s who you are. This betrothal was never his idea, and Bronze Yohn has no doubt warned him against my wiles. You are my daughter. He does not trust you, and he believes that you’re beneath him.”

      “Well, I’m not. He may think he’s some great knight, but Ser Lothor says he’s just some upjumped squire.”

      Petyr put his arm around her. “So he is, but he is Robert’s heir as well. Bringing Harry here was the first step in our plan, but now we need to keep him, and only you can do that. He has a weakness for a pretty face, and whose face is prettier than yours? Charm him. Entrance him. Bewitch him.”

      “I don’t know how,” she said miserably.

      “Oh, I think you do,” said Littlefinger, with one of those smiles that did not reach his eyes.

      Here, we see Sansa and Baelish having a conversation about the necessity of her charming someone who is brutish and disinterested in the service of a greater goal. That goal, of course, is ultimately to reclaim Winterfell. Baelish and Sansa are discussing to Harry the Heir, but with a little reworking, the words they speak – particularly the bolded ones – could very easily refer to another character: Ramsay Bolton.

      I have to agree with mau – I think that the dialogue from the passage above will be given to Littlefinger as part of his “Avenge them” speech before Sansa goes to Winterfell. Whether or not Sansa actually marries Ramsay her guise as Alayne (and I’m starting to think that this is more likely), the strategy that Baelish lays out for Sansa here will certainly help her survive in dangerous circumstances.

      I’ll concede that the book version of Ramsay might not be quite as susceptible to such advances. But I think that the show’s version Ramsay is a different character – still cruel and sadistic, to be certain, but one who’s a bit more interested in the psychological aspect of the games he plays (and more willing to engage with a woman if she appears to share his interests, as his interactions with Myranda have shown). I could easily imagine Sansa’s new-found confidence and charm intriguing him – much as it intrigues Harry in this chapter. Of course Ramsay’s a far more dangerous character than Harry, but I believe that Sansa is going to demonstrate a level of personal and political savvy beyond what she demonstrates even in this chapter (I see no reason to believe that she will backslide into becoming a helpless victim. None. It’d be counterproductive on all levels). The stakes will be higher, but that can only serve the show well.

      As Luka Nieto has eloquently pointed out above, George’s decision to this release this chapter could parallel almost perfectly with his decision releasing the “Mercy” chapter last year before elements of it were incorporated into the Season 4 premiere. The inn scene in “Two Swords” also pulled elements from TWOW and re-appropriated them for the show in a slightly different context. In the end, however, both the scene on the page and the scene on screen accomplished the same overall goal.

      I think it would be quite an elegant and efficient piece of adaptation, to be honest. In fact, that’s the way I feel about the entire Sansa-to-Winterfell arc at this point. I was skeptical about that speculation before it was confirmed, but I’ve come around quite strongly. At this point, it’s perhaps my single most anticipated storyline, and I’m very eager to see how it plays out.

        Quote  Reply

    62. Annara Snow,

      Yes. She was sexy as fuck all in black and compelled LF to take a cold shower due to his multiplying chills. Newton-John would have been proud. Tell me about it, stud.

        Quote  Reply

    63. Hodor’s Bastard,

      I believe Elio said that some people in the fandom might find it controversial. Not that he himself found the chapter controversial. Considering the fandom, I don’t think Elio was off base with his prediction.

      Though I highly disagree with whomever thinks negatively of this chapter. I found Sansa’s growth magnificent

        Quote  Reply

    64. What I loved about this chapter the most is that it had a vivacious spirit that I haven’t felt since book 1. It reminded me of the chapters in early Winterfell and when Sansa and Arya first arrived in Kings Landing. It was a breath of fresh air, and it was made even better by Sansa’s developing wit and sass =).

      I expect the show to take aspects from this chapter, but it will be a lot more dark/tense as it will be with Ramsay.

        Quote  Reply

    65. Rygar,

      I first saw the link to the new chapter when Luka posted it in the Harry Lloyd “Supreme Tweeter” thread, so that’s why I extended my thanks to him. Of course I’m grateful to Sue for linking to the chapter as well, and to Marko for getting this post up for discussion.

        Quote  Reply

    66. Turncloak,

      Consider yourself a target of my omnipotent wrath since you squashed my prediction a few weeks back that there would be a Sansa chapter released before S5 started. 🙂 (jk)

      In the meantime, watch out for Corbray! He isn’t happy!

        Quote  Reply

    67. Good chapter – finally, an update on Sansa! It’ll be fun to see what elements make it into the show.

      Yivo:
      Ashara D,

      The books will never be finished. Even if he somehow manages to finish book 7, he’ll need 8. Chapters like this and Ariannes make that clear

      Maybe instead of keeping readers waiting for an official complete book volume, Martin should set up separate websites dedicated to WoW, ADoS and possibly Book #8, and post chapters online as he completes them. It’ll be a “work-in-progress” site that can satisfy book fans who don’t want to wait so long to find out what happens. While I think WoW can still be published before the show ends, the last books may take a while.

      Only 10 days left!

        Quote  Reply

    68. Moonlight:
      Is it just me, or does anyone else think that Harry will be “accidentally” injured when facing against Lyn Corbray in the tourney the next day?

      The next day.. sigh.. Whenever the day comes that Grrm publishes Winds we’ll know. As for what will go down at the tourney, I don’t think it will be more then a nuisance for LF.. What does Harry being dead do for him or against him? If Harry dies on his order (by Corbray), that will only halt his gloryroad to the North and would make the Vale pointless: Harry dead, Robert likely being poisoned, so no reason for the LD to follow LF anymore = wasted time and development. Myranda Royce plotting with Shadrich to abduct Alayne, because she wants to marry Harry? Killing Robert due to the likely following panic attack? Which would be putting Littlefinger in a tightspot, because she’s just his bastard daughter, right? Which might be how Sansa’s secret gets found out by the Lords Declarant in the books.

        Quote  Reply

    69. Ser Oromis Locke,

      I was thinking more of what Sansa thought about Lyn possibly being a double agent. If he did do something to Harry, I don’t think LF would know ahead of time.

        Quote  Reply

    70. Hodor’s Bastard: Oh, when LF was pounding Lysa and Sansa was listening to her aunt’s nutty screams of delight while lying in bed, I bet there were a few fantasies (Sandor, Loras, etc) running through Sansa’a head! It wasn’t all uncomfortable in her formative mind. She is maturing well in book and show, as expected.

      Probably. But it’s not like you could know that just by watching the show.

        Quote  Reply

    71. How is Sansa not able to figure out LF is the reason why Ned went to Kingslanding and her house going to war? Sansa seriously needs to stop being a dumb ass and step her game up.

        Quote  Reply

    72. M: Annara

      I did that because the idea of Sansa in Winterfell IS stupid. Though nowhere near as stupid as the idea of Sansa marrying Ramsay.

      My mistake was simply in giving D&D too much credit. If they really have Sansa marry Ramsay, we’ll know that they are indeed hacks who have totally lost the plot.

        Quote  Reply

    73. Rygar:
      Annara Snow,

      Yes.She was sexy as fuck all in black and compelled LF to take a cold shower due to his multiplying chills.Newton-John would have been proud.Tell me about it, stud.

      Yes, I chatted with Sue on another thread, and feel we’ve made progress.

      Edit: haha. Obviously this wasn’t the post I had intended to quote.

        Quote  Reply

    74. Stark Fan,

      Stop trolling
      How would she know?

      Annara Snow: I did that because the idea of Sansa in Winterfell IS stupid. Though nowhere near as stupid as the idea of Sansa marrying Ramsay.

      My mistake was simply in giving D&D too much credit. If they really have Sansa marry Ramsay, we’ll know that they are indeed hacks who have totally lost the plot.

      Stop trolling
      Have you seen the critical reviews of this show???? Look @ rotten tomatoes

      U r @ this point just baiting people

        Quote  Reply

    75. mau:
      Annara Snow,

      Can you please tell me what is Sansa’s plot in TWOW and ADOS? It is obvious that you are the one who knows that, and not that “stupid hacks ”

      To be fair, we know that D & D are dreadful when it comes to writing story. Craster’s Keep, Shae, The Iron Islands, Theon’s torture, Dany season 2.

      This is a consistent pattern. The weakest plot points in the show are all the plot points they made up.

      They’re great with character, they just aren’t very skilled, *in my opinion*, when it comes to creating story.

        Quote  Reply

    76. Chriss,

      I agree to a certain extent.
      But, they are at their best when they write scenes their own scenes that exist within the book’s plot.

        Quote  Reply

    77. Chriss: To be fair, we know that

      They’re great with character, they just aren’t very skilled, *in my opinion*, when it comes to creating story.

      They never create a story, only shortcuts.

      And Dany’s story in Season 2 except HoU is much more exciting on the show. It is a same situation with Craster’s Keep.

        Quote  Reply

    78. HelloThere:
      Chriss,

      I agree to a certain extent.
      But, they are at their best when they write scenes their own scenes that exist within the book’s plot.

      Totally agree. They do brilliant dialogue, and they totally bring Martin’s characters to life. At this point. I don’t even know if my favourite characters would be my favourite characters without their writing. People like Cersei, for instance. I wonder if I’d like her half as much without D&D.

        Quote  Reply

    79. Called this ages ago. I was convinced he’d release sampe chapters that would take some of the characters roughly up to where they are in the show. Obviously there’s some changes and some will still be a bit ahead but I think it’s a happy middle-ground for readers and show watchers. Still reckon TWoW will be out before Season 6 airs too which would leave Season 7 as the only one to fully be ahead of the books.

        Quote  Reply

    80. This chapter also gives some nuances to Myranda’s character and her conniving personality and sexual appetites. Obviously GRRM is working toward something big concerning Myranda and her jealously toward Alayne because of Harry, Furthermore the indication I get from her statements concerning her father and the untimely death of her husband in conjunction with Myranda’s slow character reveal from this and previous chapters indicates that show Myranda is the replacement for book Myranda, that Myranda probably sexually tortured her husband to death, if you get my drift, I wondered why the same name but different locales, and now with this chapter it is becoming evident that D&D were planning this all along, they knew the truth behind her character and probably read this and perhaps another chapter still unknown to the reader. Therefore they streamlined Sansa’s story, making it more relevant to the goings on in the North, where the action occurs.
      If I get anything out of this read, it is the fact that D&D are brilliant, all this shite over show Myranda and now the truth is out there, she is book Myranda, just relocated because Harry and Ramsay are merged. Damn D&D rule.

        Quote  Reply

    81. mau: They never create a story, only shortcuts.

      And Dany’s story in Season 2 except HoU is much more exciting on the show. It is a same situation with Craster’s Keep.

      I guess we’ll just need to agree to disagree on that one. If I’m not mistaken, isn’t the Craster’s arc the lowest rated of any episodes on IMDB, etc?

        Quote  Reply

    82. Chriss,

      But I think when given room, they could do really well with writing plot on their own. At this point, they’ve only written short cuts that they’ve had to reel back in to fit into GRRM’s tightly woven story.

        Quote  Reply

    83. Hodor’s Bastard:

      Oh, when LF was pounding Lysa and Sansa was listening to her aunt’s nutty screams of delight while lying in bed, I bet there were a few fantasies (Sandor, Loras, etc) running through Sansa’a head! It wasn’t all uncomfortable in her formative mind. She is maturing well in book and show, as expected.

      If by “fantasies” you mean Sansa feeling relief that she and Tyrion never had sex, because judging by Lysa it sounds gross and embarrassing, then I agree.

      I don’t think “SanSan” will exist on the TV show.

        Quote  Reply

    84. Hodor’s Bastard,

      Lol yea that was a good prediction by you. Though GRRM did say he wouldn’t release any more sample chapters. Guess he changed his mind since in ep1 we are going to see a Vale Tourney. Seems like this is a Mercy chapter situation

        Quote  Reply

    85. Chriss: I guess we’ll just need to agree to disagree on that one. If I’m not mistaken, isn’t the Craster’s arc the lowest rated of any episodes on IMDB, etc?

      It is not.

        Quote  Reply

    86. Stark Fan,

      Maybe she will eventually ok…
      Stop trying to drag her down just because shes not a 13 year old genius politician.
      If they was, then this would be horrible writing.

        Quote  Reply

    87. tyjon:
      This chapter also gives some nuances to Myranda’s character and her conniving personality and sexual appetites. Obviously GRRM is working toward something big concerning Myranda and her jealously toward Alayne because of Harry, Furthermore the indication I get from her statements concerning her father and the untimely death of her husband in conjunction with Myranda’s slow character reveal from this and previous chapters indicates that show Myranda is the replacement for book Myranda, that Myranda probably sexually tortured her husband to death, if you get my drift, I wondered why the same name but different locales, and now with this chapter it is becoming evident that D&D were planning this all along, they knew the truth behind her character and probably read this and perhaps another chapter still unknown to the reader. Therefore they streamlined Sansa’s story, making it more relevant to the goings on in the North, where the action occurs, so they moved Myranda and merged Harry and Ramsay. I Wonder if Lyn Colbray’s character will make an appearance in some form.

      I think tyjon is on to something (although I dunno about Myranda torturing her husband to death). It seemed strange when a “Myranda” was cast for Season 3 who had nothing to do with Myranda Royce, but if TV Myranda and Book Myranda converge in the way that’s being speculated (with Myranda being the jealous rival), then that would explain why the characters have the same name. Of course, that means that D&D have been planning this Sansa/Ramsay plot deviation since writing Season 3 (or since 2012).

        Quote  Reply

    88. Sweet jesus christ…. this new chapter is more boring than “Mercy” chapter.

      Talk of names, food, clothes, walking left and right only to end in nothing.

      Its like the chapter was a a part of AFFC! … ohh wait … it was a part of that fillerfest

      Has George written anything new? All he seem to be putting out are the old AFFC/DWD chapters?

      #AFFCFILLER
      #ALMOSTFELLASLEEP

        Quote  Reply

    89. tyjon:
      This chapter also gives some nuances to Myranda’s character and her conniving personality and sexual appetites. Obviously GRRM is working toward something big concerning Myranda and her jealously toward Alayne because of Harry, Furthermore the indication I get from her statements concerning her father and the untimely death of her husband in conjunction with Myranda’s slow character reveal from this and previous chapters indicates that show Myranda is the replacement for book Myranda, that Myranda probably sexually tortured her husband to death, if you get my drift, I wondered why the same name but different locales, and now with this chapter it is becoming evident that D&D were planning this all along, they knew the truth behind her character and probably read this and perhaps another chapter still unknown to the reader. Therefore they streamlined Sansa’s story, making it more relevant to the goings on in the North, where the action occurs, so they moved Myranda and merged Harry and Ramsay. I Wonder if Lyn Colbray’s character will make an appearance in some form.

      Show Myranda and the jealouse Myranda Royce…

      Can’t be a coincidence. Ramsay marries Sansa CONFIRMED!

        Quote  Reply

    90. Chriss:If I’m not mistaken, isn’t the Craster’s arc the lowest rated of any episodes on IMDB, etc?

      No. The episodes with the lowest IMDB ratings:
      -The Night Lands (Season 2, Episode 2) – 7.9
      -Dark Wings, Dark Words (Season 3, Episode 2) – 7.9

        Quote  Reply

    91. I didnt want to do that but I cant help myself, I need to ask… Sue if you ever read this… well, first of all, I wish you the best recovery possible from what you suffered recently, and secondly… *taking a very timid voice* … erm.. can you say anything about Ghost screentime in the screeners you’ve seen ? We need way more Ghost this season !
      🙂

      I’d perfectly understand if you cannot answer, but Ghost’s presence on screen is one of the things I look foward most of this season and I hope he wont be underused as he’s been so far !

        Quote  Reply

    92. mau,

      I think it’s no coincidence that Ramsay’s girlfriend is also named Myranda. I think the reason for her appearing in 4 episodes in season 5 is for her to exchange snark with Sansa. And she will become jealous when Sansa is betrothed to Ramsay. Just how Randa Royce is jealous of Alayne being betrothed to Harry.

        Quote  Reply

    93. Rygar,

      You’ll like the sausage comment (by Myranda) and Sansa’a subsequent giggles.

      Flora Linden,

      I’m simply extrapolating from AFfC into the show. Sansa will always have Sandor in her head.

        Quote  Reply

    94. M: I think tyjon is on to something (although I dunno about Myranda torturing her husband to death). It seemed strange when a “Myranda” was cast for Season 3 who had nothing to do with Myranda Royce, but if TV Myranda and Book Myranda converge in the way that’s being speculated (with Myranda being the jealous rival), then that would explain why the characters have the same name. Of course, that means that D&D have been planning this Sansa/Ramsay plot deviation since writing Season 3 (or since 2012).

      It is quite possible . We have evidence for this long plans in some other storylines.

      For example, Barristan’s absence from meetings of the Small council in S1.

      Lord Walder becomes lord of Rivereun immediately after RW in S3(to cut Jaime in Riverlands).

      etc.

        Quote  Reply

    95. mau: It is not.

      My apologies. You are correct. The three episodes in the arc are the lowest rated in season 4. Not the lowest rated in the show.

        Quote  Reply

    96. tyjon:

      If I get anything out of this read, it is the fact that D&D are brilliant, all this shite over show Myranda and now the truth is out there, she is book Myranda, just relocated because Harry and Ramsay are merged. Damn D&D rule.

      I agree . Now everything fits . It’s amazing how D&D planned everything in advance.

        Quote  Reply

    97. I quite enjoyed the chapter, a did have quite a fun, naive feel to it. However, like some others it worries me that this is a chapter in book 6 of a seven book series, rather than say book 3 or 4 (yes I know it was pushed back, but the point still stands).

        Quote  Reply

    98. Balon01: No. The episodes with the lowest IMDB ratings:
      -The Night Lands (Season 2, Episode 2) – 7.9
      -Dark Wings, Dark Words (Season 3, Episode 2) – 7.9

      Quite right you are! Thanks.

        Quote  Reply

    99. mau,

      I know, it just blows my mind that D&D probably planned this back in 2012 and it flew over all our heads because we assumed that they were just reusing the name Myranda because they liked it, when there’s been no other character in the show who coincidentally had the same name as a book character but was in a completely different storyline.

        Quote  Reply

    100. tyjon:
      This chapter also gives some nuances to Myranda’s character and her conniving personality and sexual appetites. Obviously GRRM is working toward something big concerning Myranda and her jealously toward Alayne because of Harry, Furthermore the indication I get from her statements concerning her father and the untimely death of her husband in conjunction with Myranda’s slow character reveal from this and previous chapters indicates that show Myranda is the replacement for book Myranda, that Myranda probably sexually tortured her husband to death, if you get my drift, I wondered why the same name but different locales, and now with this chapter it is becoming evident that D&D were planning this all along, they knew the truth behind her character and probably read this and perhaps another chapter still unknown to the reader. Therefore they streamlined Sansa’s story, making it more relevant to the goings on in the North, where the action occurs.
      If I get anything out of this read, it is the fact that D&D are brilliant, all this shite over show Myranda and now the truth is out there, she is book Myranda, just relocated because Harry and Ramsay are merged. Damn D&D rule.

      I thought this too when I read Mau’s prediction. Explains G not complaining about using the name like he did with Jayne Westerling. Will D&D keep the “friendship” with Alayne when they meet up at Winterfell, I wonder? And what of SR? He’s a dangling thread now (or just a fade out, perhaps?). I’d love to be a fly on the wall in the writer’s room as they run “what if” scenarios!

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    101. Turncloak:
      mau,

      I think it’s no coincidence that Ramsay’s girlfriend is also named Myranda. I think the reason for her appearing in 4 episodes in season 5 is for her to exchange snark with Sansa. And she will become jealous when Sansa is betrothed to Ramsay. Just how Randa Royce is jealous of Alayne being betrothed to Harry.

      She looks jealous or dissatisfied in the trailer.

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    102. Isn’t Ramsay’s girlfriend Myranda in the show? Harry/Myranda, Ramsay/Myranda?

      Annara Snow,

      Based on this phrase “Alayne loved it here. She felt alive again, for the first since her father… since Lord Eddard Stark had died.”

      I’m not saying that if you sat down Sansa with a #2 pencil that she wouldn’t circle the bubble for Eddard Stark if asked “Who sired you?” What I am saying is that George is revealing a change in her subconscious. For instance, she may be consciously trying to seduce Harry as part of a Littlefinger plot, but she actually finds him handsome. That is not a conscious thing, that is primal, subconscious.

      In regards to the tactical release of sample chapters, George doesn’t want the show to spoil the books. Benioff respects that. We will get WoW before season 6, and we will get sample chapters from Dream before season 7. I suspect that after the successful trial balloon of the IMAX GoT, the money men are busy laying the groundwork for a finale that will be on the silver screen. That will buy a motivated George time to get Dream done in conjunction with a motion picture release.

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    103. I can fully believe that Book Myranda is bad news, even if she doesn’t appear to be a psychopath like TV Myranda. Book Sansa has a horrible record with women posing as her friends and then screwing her over. If Book Myranda is the timebomb that goes off in the books, it would explain why D&D went to some trouble to set up some version of Myranda in the show, even as they seem to be writing around the Vale in Season 5.

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    104. Tyjon:
      – Book!Myranda’s jealous of Alayne being betrothed to an heir.
      – Show!Myranda’s jealous of Alayne being betrothed to an heir?

      I mean it’s clear to see that show!Myranda would get PO’d at Alayne for stealing the guy she’s trying to get hitched with, more so then just sexually I presume.. I take this as the final nail in the coffin, along with Sansa’s now more bewitching appearance, that Sansa will be the Belle to Ramsay’s Beast.

      mau: They never create a story, only shortcuts.

      And Dany’s story in Season 2 except HoU is much more exciting on the show. It is a same situation with Craster’s Keep.

      Oh god I can’t even remember what happened in Book!Qarth aside from.. initially meeting with Quaith in the Garden of Bones and the HotH and I guess XXD not dying. Were the important plotpoints that I’ve missed that weren’t best omitted? I recall three factions vying for power in Qarth. Did we really want to see that in the show? All people wanted from Qarth was Dany’s teat hanging out of her dress the entire season. #truthtea.

        Quote  Reply

    105. mau,

      There is no way that this is done with only seven books. No way!

      I’ve never understood why people think this. Both Winds and Dream are supposedly going to be as long as, if not longer than, Storm. When you consider the ridiculous amount of plot progression that occurred in book three, what makes you think its impossible to wrap it all up in two massive books?

      Sure it may take another decade to get there, but as the storylines all draw back towards one another and (probably) half the characters get killed off, I don’t see any huge problems concluding it in 7 books.

        Quote  Reply

    106. Not too sure about the merging of Harry and Ramsay if it happens. I mean Harry seems a bit of a dick but he’s not on the same psycho level as Ramsay. Still hope Sansa is visiting Winterfell not for marriage but sadly it seems to be looking more likely they could be marrying. Still hoping Ramsay is marrying Myranda but perhaps his head is turned by Sansa/Alayne which causes some jealousy and she attempts to dispose of Sansa only to perhaps have Theon rescue her to redeem himself. I honestly don’t know. This part of the plot is starting to get quite messy. I would have just left Sansa in the Vale and let the perfectly fine Northern story play out as it did in the books.
      Sansa as some sort of seductress just doesn’t work for me with Ramsay. This chapter shows she still has quite a childish approach to romance and marriage. She can flirt and even seduce a knight of the Vale but having her seduce a flat out psychopath like Ramsay is too much of a stretch for me. She would be petrified and act much like she did with Joffrey (perhaps worse as Joffrey was sick but stupid, Ramsay is twisted yet possesses quite a bit of intelligence). Of course she could have learned from the Joff Experience but there are no signs that she has here and I don’t think it would be enough to prepare her for the Bastard of Bolton .

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    107. Ser Oromis Locke,

      I can forgive the plot holes of show Qarth,
      but I cannot forget how they wrote Dany’s character. They wrote her going around screeching at people to give her ships or she will burn them with fire and blood, they wrote her bitching at Jorah for no reason… For me thats the biggest misstep the show ever took. Its like they accidentally thought she was Viserys.

      But I let it go as soon as I saw the “Dracarys” scene

        Quote  Reply

    108. mau:
      M,

      It also denies those stupid book purist’s theories about BwB and Balon G. and how D&D have forgotten them.

      “Stupid” is harsh; let’s say “misguided.”
      Season 6 should see Yara contend with Euron for the Islands, and Euron link us to the Maesters and Sam. The BwB…hmm…running with the Blackfish to depose the Freys? Nice!

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    109. HelloThere,

      Well, it WAS annoying, but what petulant child isn’t? Since the show “shows” and doesn’t “tell,” they needed to make her outwardly childish, not just inwardly naïve. It was annoying and grating at the time, but in hindsight, I see it.

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    110. Ashara D,

      Maybe you are right.
      I had just finished book 2 when I saw that season, and it just struck me as jarring. And I guess it made the sack of Astapor scene even more epic.

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    111. Annara Snow: 1) She doesn’t, how would she know?
      2) She’s called LF Father in AFFC Alayne I and II, too – what’s new about that?
      3) Actually, it’s the opposite. She thinks of Ned as her father, but then has to check herself and remind herself that she’s Alayne and that she’s not supposed to think of him as her father. In other words, same as in AFFC Alayne I and II.

      Agreed. It also reminds me of Arya having to always remind herself that she’s No one, not a Stark and yet still has wolf dreams.

      Some people think Sansa lost her Starkiness, but I’ve always disagreed.

      Both girls must convince not only others, but themselves that they are someone else. Ultimately, they can’t be.

        Quote  Reply

    112. HelloThere,

      That’s what I’m most looking forward to this season: instead of winding our way through pages and pages of descriptions and machinations and dead ends to the WTF moments, we’ll be getting a few scenes that tie into the past seasons and BAM! WTF moments! Yipee! better than a roller coaster! I’ll still enjoy the slog when the books come out ’cause that’s the book nerd in me, but who doesn’t love a roller coaster? 🙂

        Quote  Reply

    113. TheTouchOfFrost,

      Hmm, I hadn’t thought of Theon having to save Sansa from Myranda and not necessarily Ramsay. There’s a lot of clues that they may crush all of our souls by marrying her off to that psycho, but EW did make it sound like Ramsay was marrying a different girl (perhaps the Winterfell worker), and Gamenguide.com claims that there have been leaked photos of Ramsay’s wedding with an unknown girl (if there actually are, I haven’t seen them). Personally, I think the scene in the crypts will replace the one with with Theon and Barbery, where they discover that the swords are missing, and that that might be when Sansa begins to realize that her brothers managed to escape.

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    114. Iwan Rheon said at the world premire that” I think he gets a little bit worse actually. He,s got more power now which is the worst thing you can give a psychopath. He gets more nasty”. From the mirrors coverage of the event. he is not taking on harry the heirs personality.

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    115. … And still nothing happens with Sansa. Where is that “controversial chapter”? And it didn’t seem edited at all, a lot of half sentences in there.

      Sansa in Winterfell will definitely be better than this.

        Quote  Reply

    116. Once again D&D made a minor change that seems unnecessary but bothers me more than Sansa going to Winterfell. Why make Alayne Stone Littlefinger’s niece and not his bastard daughter? The thing I got from this chapter is that Sansa refers to Littlefinger as her father even in her thoughts. That is pretty twisted and awesome in terms of conflict and loss of identity. In the show she will call him uncle? I feel like that tiny change takes a lot out of the relationship.

      Not to mention if they somehow kept her as a bastard and have Ramsay relate to her and actually be kind to her of all people because shes a bastard. What if instead of Ramsay abusing Sansa he influences her to take part in the abuse of others basically Sansa will help him mistreat Theon and others?

        Quote  Reply

    117. Glad to get some new material at last, and to finally not have to listen to people speculate about the “controversial chapter” involving Sansa’s rape and murder.

      Between this and “Mercy”, it definitely feels like GRRM is just going to write the younger characters as if they’re five years older and ignore their ages as much as possible, because the difference between this Sansa and the Sansa from the end of AFFC is pronounced (though it all flows logically enough). Lord Robert, who’s now talking about marrying Alayne or making her his mistress, also feels older.

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    118. Moonlight:
      TheTouchOfFrost,
      Gamenguide.com claims that there have been leaked photos of Ramsay’s wedding with an unknown girl (if there actually are, I haven’t seen them).

      Not an “unknown” girl, but a “Frey girl.” I’ve been following the spoilers pretty closely, and no such photos have been leaked. If they had, they would have made it on to one of the major spoiler sites (of which Gamenguide.com is not one), like Reddit, the Westeros.org speculation threads, or WOTW pretty quickly, much like the

      Tyrion and Dany

      photos.

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    119. HelloThere: who doesn’t love a roller coaster?

      Wasn’t the “where are my dragons!” episode written by Vanessa Taylor? Episode 4 (the arrival) and 6 (where are my dragons!) of Season 2. So giving D&D crap for that would be unwarranted. They did write episode 5, the one where Dany meets Quaithe and Pyat Pree, and where Jorah gives advice about conquering Westeros..

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    120. Pretty average chapter really, not bad but nothing like the quality of the first three books. Bit apprehensive for TWoW now unless things pick up after these (presumably) early chapters. I’m glad that the show appears to be speeding up Sansa’s story.

        Quote  Reply

    121. Bard,

      It’s a great idea. Question is, how well will D&D execute it? Because it can end up being utter crap in the show, if they do some weird stuff

        Quote  Reply

    122. Multiple mentions of the mad
      Mouse. He’s going to make his move.

      LF scheming with the hoarding of food. The use of the undamaged army clamoring for battle.

      I really liked this chapter for reinforcing what LF plans to do and giving us a Sansa who is confident and assured. George is great at changing our perceptions of characters and allowing them to grow.

      Can’t wait for the book and for season 5.

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    123. I also was one to give D&D flack for not planning ahead but it looks like I was completely wrong. If Ramsay’s Myranda is actually Myrands Royce than D&D deserve a lot of credit.

        Quote  Reply

    124. jentario,

      this was the controversial chapter. Elio said it would be controversial to some readers due to Sansa’s sexuality. They read this chapter long before Arya’s mercy chapter which is much worse in terms of sexuality (Arya is 11)

        Quote  Reply

    125. tyjon,

      You may be on to something with this. The shot of Ramsay kissing Myranda’s neck in the trailer while she looks less than enthused generated a lot of discussion when it first aired (some of it in support of the defunct Myranda-as-fArya theory). The context of that scene now seems to be more evident. Ramsay learns that he will be marrying someone else (likely Sansa, in her guise as Alayne) to secure an alliance. He attempts to reassure Myranda that nothing will change between them. She’s jealous, and she isn’t having it. I could see her taking that anger out on Ramsay’s betrothed – verbally at first, then physically later on in the season. How that turns out for her remains to be seen.

      As an original character – or at most a female equivalent of the Bastard’s Boys – I had thought Myranda was a strong candidate for death this year. She could have been one of the mysterious casualties in Winterfell, or die in pursuit of Theon after he escapes. But if her character can actually trace her origins to the books, she may have a more significant role to play. Some seem to believe that the Sansa-goes-to-Winterfell-in-Season-5 development was only conceived of this year (or, at most, the year before) as part of a forced, last-minute attempt to condense the remaining story into 7 seasons, prior set-up be damned. But it may have been in the works for far longer.

      This is all theoretical at this point. Obviously, we have no guarantee that Myranda Royce’s jealousy over Sansa’s prospective marriage to Harry will indeed prompt her to turn on Sansa later on in TWOW. But if she does, it’s possible that the character Myranda on the show could have been created with that development in mind. Charlotte Hope joined the cast in Season 3. Benioff and Weiss had their first major sit-down with Martin to discuss the future of the series between Seasons 2 and 3 (there had been some preliminary discussions before, and they’ve had other sessions since). If this Sansa chapter is the same one that was removed from ADWD, then it’s existed for years – dating back to the time before the show even premiered. If so, Benioff and Weiss would have had access to it pretty much since the beginning or close to it. They may have been laying the groundwork for this storyline even then.

      Myranda may not be Myranda Royce, as it’s hard imagine a circumstance in which a Vale lord’s daughter would have been serving as the hunting companion and casual lover of a Northern bastard for years before the Boltons rose to power. But it’s very possible that the two women may wind up sharing a plot function and a lot of similar characteristics as well as a name. If Benioff and Weiss truly had this planned out since that time, I’m quite impressed.

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    126. Moonlight:
      M,

      So do you think Gamenguide is on to something, or are they just full of garbage?

      Hard to say, but when I see sites that aren’t one of what I consider the big three (WOTW/Reddit/Westeros) reporting something that all these sites have supposedly missed…I’m skeptical. I’m not prepared to rule out the wedding involving a random girl–Frey or otherwise–at this stage, because there isn’t enough information, but a second-tier spoiler site making reference to leaks that no other site has picked up on? I have questions.

      Sansa’s Season 5 arc is a mystery to me, since half the interviews talk about how strong Sansa is in Season 5, how confident, how self-assured, how powerful, how Sophie is relieved not to be playing a crying and timid Sansa, etc. etc., and the other half talk about all the “hardships” she’ll have to endure, that her main goal is to stay alive, that she’ll be in a “super traumatic” scene, etc. etc. It almost seems as if they’re talking about two different characters: the first is in control of her destiny and taking charge, and the second is victimized and abused. The only way I can reconcile them is Benioff saying that the sisters’ confidence won’t necessarily lead them to bright and sunshiny places, and Sophie saying in a few interviews that Sansa will have a lot of hardships, but she will approach them differently. Maybe Sansa starts out very secure, confident and in control of her life, but things go south very quickly and she winds up in survivor mode for the latter part of the season.

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    127. Read it again, love it even more. Really refreshing to see Sansa confidently call out Harry. Her reading of people and situations has definitely matured, she knows which buttons to press. Also loved the seeds being sewn for Myranda’s revenge against Alayne, it’s all playful now but there was some serious jealous undertones when Myranda pinched Alayne for taking Harry. Alayne better watch her back!

      I still need to get my head around Harry=Ramsey mostly because there could have been a slight chance of a friendship between Alayne and Harry, their exchanges had some charge and easy flirtation about it. That’s obviously not going to happen with Ramsey, although I don’t think it’s out of the realms of possibility that she’d entrance him, I mean physically Alayne/Sansa/Sophie is beautiful and character-wise she is coming into her own. Cersei’s talk of the “weapon between the legs” comes to mind. Just the thought of Sansa losing her virginity to that sadistic nasty makes me gag! Still hope at least we won’t have to witness that and she gets out of WF before it happens, if trajectory is going that way. This could be the super traumatic scene Sophie referred to.

      Genuinely interested to see Winterfell this season, mostly because of not knowing how it’ll pan out in the end even if we can speculate a bit from the evidence we have.

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    128. Jared:
      Benioff and Weiss had their first major sit-down with Martin to discuss the future of the series between Seasons 2 and 3 (there had been some preliminary discussions before, and they’ve had other sessions since).

      The big info dump was between seasons 3 and 4, not 2 and 3.

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    129. I think Sansa being in the same room with Theon, the man that betrayed her brother and killed her other brothers, and the Boltons, the men that betrayed her brother and killed that brother, could be considered hardships and trauma.

        Quote  Reply

    130. Jared,

      Great thoughts, although I’m still very skeptical on the WF storyline this season. Will take it one episode at a time.

      Anyone else notice in the artwork that accompanied the new chapter on GRRM’s website that the oh-so-pensive Sansa/Alayne (not how I read her in the “new” text, btw) was wearing a mockingbird sigil on her dress AND she was wearing her infamous hairnet? Hmmmm….

      book! hairnet poison = show! necklace stabby-stabby dagger?

      Next chapter please…

      (nice leggings too)

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    131. Turncloak,

      Pfffffft! Don’t hold your breath out for that.

      Anyway the chapter was great. Even though technically this was part of ADWD originally.

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    132. Alex Greyjoy,

      Hes not gonna give us anything major in a preview chapter. We already know book 6 starts off with two huge battles.

      And IMO, the mercy chapter ranks in my top 10 in the whole series

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    133. Hodor’s Bastard:
      (nice leggings too)

      Though she has some unfortunate condition where her left and right feet have switched places. It looks like the artist forgot that she has her legs crossed when painting her feet.

      Edit: Actually, maybe not. But that’s an awkward-looking pose if her legs aren’t meant to be crossed.

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    134. If this chapter release was so that the words by GRRM weren’t spoiled in show, similar to Mercy, maybe it means that this chapter is the most spoiled early chapter, which would be good for those not wanting to get spoiled.

        Quote  Reply

    135. Mickey2093:
      Seriously?that’s his new sample chapter?
      As he so proudly states that he edits it all over and over again, and as the absolute lack of editing of any kind is so apparent that it makes me cringe,I wonder if this is the best he’s been able to come up with over the last 4 years.
      even without editing, it beats the crap out of that “mercy” chapter.Mercy, indeed – please, have mercy on us and don’t write anything like that ever again – little girls not even into puberty yet using sex and seducing older men so that she can turn around and kill them?
      ugh
      u

      Sorry, but this is just such a simplified, simpleminded reactionary post.

      The “average” girl of Arya’s age has not witnessed the murder of her Father, pretended to be a boy, witnessed heaps and heaps of torture and murder at Harenhall, “contracted” Jaqen to kill 3 men, travelled with the hound and BWB, had her own personal kill list that she recites for months and months, already killed on her own, then gone to a foreign land where she received the training she did with the Faceless Men. Given all that, there is nothing out of character about the Mercy chapter and its your own contextual application of modern day standards and not taking account Arya’s own personal journey in a fictional world that cause whatever “discomfort” or “distaste” you have for the Arya/Mercy chapter

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    136. Moonlight,

      I really don’t know what they’re planning. Still no sign of any Northern Lords but perhaps the Vale entourage will replace them and

      Mance if he’s still alive will sow descent between the Boltons and them (maybe on Stannis’s or Jon Snow’s orders)? Sansa could take on Mance’s role but it just doesn’t fit her character in the slightest.

      . It would make sense if Myranda is revealed to actually be Myranda Royce as you’ve got that connection to the Vale already there. Myranda may become jealous of Sansa or possibly finds out that she is Sansa ( but is killed before she can tell anyone else) and she ends up getting killed by a combination of Sansa and/or Theon which would sow major distrust between the two factions mirroring the Northern Lords/Boltons storyline.

      Theon gets his redemption arc by saving Sansa (maybe even taking her to the Wall if the Vale is being abandoned), she gets to return to whatever awaits her in the Vale, Ramsay is left even crazier than before and perhaps LF can point Ramsay at Stannis (maybe referencing how Renly was killed in mysterious circumstances) to set that battle up. Perhaps LF was visiting KL early in the season to receive orders to finally stop Stannis?

      . Obviously we’re all throwing a lot on conjecture around at the moment but that’s all we’ve got!

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    137. I think its to be expected that the first few season 5 episodes are a slow burn
      still excited.
      Especially for Cersei!

      This season is still going to be like AFFC/ADWD, its going to build towards the ending climaxes of the series. But we will get huge moments at the end w/ Daznaks Pit and the Walk of Shame

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    138. omg I LOVED IT!!! Sansa was totally channeling Lady Mary from Downton Abbey, charming her suitors with her jabby wit, and I loved Myranda Royce and Sansa as a pair!

      I’m guessing the wings tourney will be in episode 1 of the show? I hope they show Sansa getting the idea from her charming of sweet robin, man it was cool how she manipulated him out of his “i want to marry you” insistance!

      And it took me a few lines to pick on Sir Shadrich being the Mad Mouse, uhoh!

      Quick question: is her hair black or red? She’s Alayne but Littlefinger said her hair would shine next to the fire?

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    139. Sean C.,

      Melissa Maerz wrote the review, so I’m not surprised. She actually thinks Cersei would be a good ruler. :p

      And does she even know how to spell Jaime’s name correctly?

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    140. Also, did anyone shiver when she said “that was well struck?” to Lyn Corbray? Joffrey flashbacks

      And when she thought about Robb 🙁

      Also, GRRM can’t rewrite and edit his chapters that much, bearing in mind this is at minimum 4 years old and there was 4/5 really offputting spelling/missing out words mistakes

        Quote  Reply

    141. Jared,
      mau,

      I agree with you both about the

      Sansa WF story line

      –I think D&D have planned this out very well to match her book plot points. As to the difference between book!Ramsay and show!Ramsay, the easiest way to describe it is: disorganized psychopath and organized psychopath. The key being that the book character can’t seem to help himself from being sadistic even when it’s not in his or his father’s best interest whereas the show character controls himself around Daddy and channels his inner sadist on behalf of his father’s interests. It would be like comparing Ted Bundy to Jeffrey Dahmer. They’re both psychopaths and both evil, so the difference is slight but still important in light of this

      predicted marriage with show!Ramsay. Ultimately I think she will marry him or at least be engaged to him and that she won’t become his new plaything. I’m betting one of three things will happen: 1) Ramsay will restrain himself (for any number of reasons because we know he can do it when he wants to), or 2) Roose will straight out tell him, “use and abuse a common girl but leave this one alone”, or 3) Roose will say “wait until after the wedding” and then the wedding never happens or it happens too close to the fall of WF.

      And in regards to those saying she’ll be losing agency instead of gaining it, her willingly entering into the dangerous arrangement is still agency–just not something we’re happy to see. But I don’t see it as a step backwards. Everyone in the story is in a more dangerous place and there is no reason to expect that Sansa will get off lightly just because she has suffered so much already. Furthermore, GRRM has been very clear that he doesn’t have his characters only progress forward–it is always a back and forth journey just like real life. What it does accomplish is to build a tremendous amount of tension and it gives Sansa the opportunity to show how she has matured.

      It will take a grown woman to use her skillz at handling another cray-cray young man, pretending to be someone else, and not lose her shpadoinkle and collapse into a puddle of tears and fear. So I think she’ll be in incredible danger but I think she’ll come out of relatively intact. I say relatively because didn’t someone say that she will lose her virginity this season or was that disproved?

      Now THAT I’m worried about. How they do that, IF they do that, it will be very important and if done badly will be a MUCH bigger controversy than SeptRapeGate.

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    142. Laughing Storm:
      mau,

      I’ve never understood why people think this. Both Winds and Dream are supposedly going to be as long as, if not longer than, Storm. When you consider the ridiculous amount of plot progression that occurred in book three, what makes you think its impossible to wrap it all up in two massive books?

      The fact that in all released sample chapters the plot still moves at glacial pace? About half a dozen chapters about a certain battle were released and that battle didn’t even start in earnest.

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    143. M: I think tyjon is on to something (although I dunno about Myranda torturing her husband to death). It seemed strange when a “Myranda” was cast for Season 3 who had nothing to do with Myranda Royce, but if TV Myranda and Book Myranda converge in the way that’s being speculated (with Myranda being the jealous rival), then that would explain why the characters have the same name. Of course, that means that D&D have been planning this Sansa/Ramsay plot deviation since writing Season 3 (or since 2012).

      I concur.

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    144. I don’t mean to be rude here, but anyone else find the writing rather poor? Since when does George use so many adverbs? There’s like 5-10 adverbs in every paragraph for crying out loud. I’m not one who believes in the no adverb principle, but too much of something isn’t good either. I’m going to chalk it up to a rough draft and an unfinished edit.

        Quote  Reply

    145. TheTouchOfFrost,
      W. Targaryen,
      It’s not a literal switch. D&D have to hit certain plot points in a lot less time. Sansa’s TWOW plot points are

      to be willingly engaged to be married in furtherance of LF’s and her own long term plots to improve his/their power position and secure the North. D&D also have to hit certain plot points for Theon. He has to rescue someone from WF, redeem himself (or at least try to) by saving her, he needs to be removed out from under Ramsay’s control and he has to end up in Stannis’ hands. Since they have to move focus to WF because of Stannis or just to focus on the North in general because of the overarching “ice zombies are coming” story and they already have the Boltons there, it makes sense to ditch the Vale location and combine them into WF. The only marriagable man is Ramsay and everything else falls in place quite naturally.

      . So no it’s not Harry the Heir = Ramsay but we know that she goes there from the recent trailers and we know she gets married via interviews so the rest is fill-in-the-blank.

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    146. I am grateful he did not detail each of the 64 courses of food this time. Instead he just glossed over it with one paragraph. That is one way to streamline the story and stay on topic

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    147. Pohye:
      I don’t mean to be rude here, but anyone else find the writing rather poor? Since when does George use so many adverbs? There’s like 5-10 adverbs in every paragraph for crying out loud. I’m not one who believes in the no adverb principle, but too much of something isn’t good either. I’m going to chalk it up to a rough draft and an unfinished edit.

      Agreed, clearly some here loved it but to me it was a long way off the quality of the writing in the first three books – and did did we really need yet another long meal description?

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    148. I’m looking for the last sample chapter GRRM released last year, the “Mercy” chapter.
      I keep searching, but it is nowhere to be found, not even on on george’s website.
      Would someone be so so kind as to give me a link of the chapter ?
      (I just finished reading ADWD and I just began reading the sample chapters from The Winds Of Winter)

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    149. Pohye:
      I don’t mean to be rude here, but anyone else find the writing rather poor? Since when does George use so many adverbs? There’s like 5-10 adverbs in every paragraph for crying out loud. I’m not one who believes in the no adverb principle, but too much of something isn’t good either. I’m going to chalk it up to a rough draft and an unfinished edit.

      Not just you. Very poor writing.

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    150. Ashara D: “Stupid” is harsh; let’s say “misguided.”

      English is not my first language , so sometimes I sound rougher than what I mean. In my language , ” stupid ” is not so harsh word.

      But I understand what you wanted to say. 🙂

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    151. So who ends up

      winning this tournament? Gravedigger gonna show up and smash the mad mouse in the main event?

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    152. Dutch maester: I don’t it’s a coincidence this chapter is released now (like Mercy last year)….

      My thought process is that, as with the “Mercy” chapter released prior to “Two Swords,” episode 4×01, this Alayne POV chapter covers material in the upcoming tourney episode. Will we see Harry, or Ramsay? Come on Harry!

      Beronn Stark:
      I’m looking for the last sample chapter GRRM released last year, the “Mercy” chapter.
      I keep searching, but it is nowhere to be found, not even on on george’s website.
      Would someone be so so kind as to give me a link of the chapter ?
      (I just finished reading ADWD and I just began reading the sample chapters from The Winds Of Winter)

      Well, the links to the “Mercy” chapter now point to “Alayne” instead. Apologies for the lack of formatting:

      Mercy JANUARY 27, 2013 [Warning: Major (potential) spoilers for S5]

      She woke with a gasp, not knowing who she was, or where.
      The smell of blood was heavy in her nostrils… or was that her nightmare, lingering? She had dreamed of wolves again, of running through some dark pine forest with a great pack at her heels, hard on the scent of prey.
      Half-light filled the room, grey and gloomy. Shivering, she sat up in bed and ran a hand across her scalp. Stubble bristled against her palm. I need to shave before Izembaro sees. Mercy, I’m Mercy, and tonight I’ll be raped and murdered. Her true name was Mercedene, but Mercy was all anyone ever called her…
      Except in dreams. She took a breath to quiet the howling in her heart, trying to remember more of what she’d dreamt, but most of it had gone already. There had been blood in it, though, and a full moon overhead, and a tree that watched her as she ran.
      She had fastened the shutters back so the morning sun might wake her. But there was no sun outside the window of Mercy’s little room, only a wall of shifting grey fog. The air had grown chilly… and a good thing, else she might have slept all day. It would be just like Mercy to sleep through her own rape.
      Gooseprickles covered her legs. Her coverlet had twisted around her like a snake. She unwound it, threw the blanket to the bare plank floor and padded naked to the window. Braavos was lost in fog. She could see the green water of the little canal below, the cobbled stone street that ran beneath her building, two arches of the mossy bridge… but the far end of the bridge vanished in greyness, and of the buildings across the canal only a few vague lights remained. She heard a soft splash as a serpent boat emerged beneath the bridge’s central arch. “What hour?” Mercy called down to the man who stood by the snake’s uplifted tail, pushing her onward with his pole.
      The waterman gazed up, searching for the voice. “Four, by the Titan’s roar.” His words echoed hollowly off the swirling green waters and the walls of unseen buildings.
      She was not late, not yet, but she should not dawdle. Mercy was a happy soul and a hard worker, but seldom timely. That would not serve tonight. The envoy from Westeros was expected at the Gate this evening, and Izembaro would be in no mood to hear excuses, even if she served them up with a sweet smile.
      She had filled her basin from the canal last night before she went to sleep, preferring the brackish water to the slimy green rainwater stewing in the cistern out back. Dipping a rough cloth, she washed herself head to heel, standing on one leg at a time to scrub her calloused feet. After that she found her razor. A bare scalp helped the wigs fit better, Izembaro claimed.
      She shaved, donned her smallclothes, and slipped a shapeless brown wool dress down over her head. One of her stockings needed mending, she saw as she pulled it up. She would ask the Snapper for help; her own sewing was so wretched that the wardrobe mistress usually took pity on her. Else I could filch a nicer pair from wardrobe. That was risky, though. Izembaro hated it when the mummers wore his costumes in the streets. Except for Wendeyne. Give Izembaro’s cock a little suck and a girl can wear any costume that she wants. Mercy was not so foolish as all that. Daena had warned her. “Girls who start down that road wind up on the Ship, where every man in the pit knows he can have any pretty thing he might see up on the stage, if his purse is plump enough.”
      Her boots were lumps of old brown leather mottled with saltstains and cracked from long wear, her belt a length of hempen rope dyed blue. She knotted it about her waist, and hung a knife on her right hip and a coin pouch on her left. Last of all she threw her cloak across her shoulders. It was a real mummer’s cloak, purple wool lined in red silk, with a hood to keep the rain off, and three secret pockets too. She’d hid some coins in one of those, an iron key in another, a blade in the last. A real blade, not a fruit knife like the one on her hip, but it did not belong to Mercy, no more than her other treasures did. The fruit knife belonged to Mercy. She was made for eating fruit, for smiling and joking, for working hard and doing as she was told.
      “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy,” she sang as she descended the wooden stair to the street. The handrail was splintery, the steps steep, and there were five flights, but that was why she’d gotten the room so cheap. That, and Mercy’s smile. She might be bald and skinny, but Mercy had a pretty smile, and a certain grace. Even Izembaro agreed that she was graceful. She was not far from the Gate as the crows flies, but for girls with feet instead of wings the way was longer. Braavos was a crooked city. The streets were crooked, the alleys were crookeder, and the canals were crookedest of all. Most days she preferred to go the long way, down the Ragman’s Road along the Outer Harbor, where she had the sea before her and the sky above, and a clear view across the Great Lagoon to the Arsenal and the piney slopes of Sellagoro’s Shield. Sailors would hail her as she passed the docks, calling down from the decks of tarry Ibbenese whalers and big-bellied Westerosi cogs. Mercy could not always understand their words, but she knew what they were saying. Sometimes she would smile back and tell them they could find her at the Gate if they had the coin.
      The long way also took her across the Bridge of Eyes with its carved stone faces. From the top of its span, she could look through the arches and see all the city: the green copper domes of the Hall of Truth, the masts rising like a forest from the Purple Harbor, the tall towers of the mighty, the golden thunderbolt turning on its spire atop the Sealord’s Palace… even the Titan’s bronze shoulders, off across the dark green waters. But that was only when the sun was shining down on Braavos. If the fog was thick there was nothing to see but grey, so today Mercy chose the shorter route to save some wear on her poor cracked boots.
      The mists seemed to part before her and close up again as she passed. The cobblestones were wet and slick under her feet. She heard a cat yowl plaintively. Braavos was a good city for cats, and they roamed everywhere, especially at night. In the fog all cats are grey, Mercy thought. In the fog all men are killers.
      She had never seen a thicker fog than this one. On the larger canals, the watermen would be running their serpent boats into one another, unable to make out any more than dim lights from the buildings to either side of them.
      Mercy passed an old man with a lantern walking the other way, and envied him his light. The street was so gloomy she could scarcely see where she was stepping. In the humbler parts of the city, the houses, shops, and warehouses crowded together, leaning on each other like drunken lovers, their upper stories so close that you could step from one balcony to the next. The streets below became dark tunnels where every footfall echoed. The small canals were even more hazardous, since many of the houses that lined them had privies jutting out over the water. Izembaro loved to give the Sealord’s speech from The Merchant’s Melancholy Daughter, about how “here the last Titan yet stands, astride the stony shoulders of his brothers,” but Mercy preferred the scene where the fat merchant shat on the Sealord’s head as he passed underneath in his gold-and-purple barge. Only in Braavos could something like that happen, it was said, and only in Braavos would Sealord and sailor alike howl with laughter to see it.
      The Gate stood close by the edge of Drowned Town, between the Outer Harbor and the Purple Harbor. An old warehouse had burnt there and the ground was sinking a little more each year, so the land came cheap. Atop the flooded stone foundation of the warehouse, Izembaro raised his cavernous playhall. The Dome and the Blue Lantern might enjoy more fashionable environs, he told his mummers, but here between the harbors they would never lack for sailors and whores to fill their pit. The Ship was close by, still pulling handsome crowds to the quay where she had been moored for twenty years, he said, and the Gate would flourish too.
      Time had proved him right. The Gate’s stage had developed a tilt as the building settled, their costumes were prone to mildew, and water snakes nested in the flooded cellar, but none of that troubled the mummers so long as the house was full.
      The last bridge was made of rope and raw planks, and seemed to dissolve into nothingness, but that was only the fog. Mercy scampered across, her heels ringing on the wood. The fog opened before her like a tattered grey curtain to reveal the playhouse. Buttery yellow light spilled from the doors, and Mercy could hear voices from within. Beside the entrance, Big Brusco had painted over the title of the last show, and written The Bloody Hand in its place in huge red letters. He was painting a bloody hand beneath the words, for those who could not read. Mercy stopped to have a look. “That’s a nice hand,” she told him.
      “Thumb’s crooked.” Brusco dabbed at it with his brush. “King o’ the Mummers been asking after you.”
      “It was so dark I slept and slept.” When Izembaro had first dubbed himself the King of the Mummers, the company had taken a wicked pleasure in it, savoring the outrage of their rivals from the Dome and the Blue Lantern. Of late, though, Izembaro had begun to take his title too seriously. “He will only play kings now,” Marro said, rolling his eyes, “and if the play has no king in it, he would sooner not stage it at all.”
      The Bloody Hand offered two kings, the fat one and the boy. Izembaro would play the fat one. It was not a large part, but he had a fine speech as he lay dying, and a splendid fight with a demonic boar before that. Phario Forel had written it, and he had the bloodiest quill of all of Braavos.
      Mercy found the company assembled behind the stage, and slipped in between Daena and the Snapper at the back, hoping her late arrival would go unnoticed. Izembaro was telling everyone that he expected the Gate to be packed to the rafters this evening, despite the fog. “The King of Westeros is sending his envoy to do homage to the King of the Mummers tonight,” he told his troupe. “We will not disappoint our fellow monarch.”
      “We?” said the Snapper, who did all the costumes for the mummers. “Is there more than one of him, now?”
      “He’s fat enough to count for two,” whispered Bobono. Every mummer’s troupe had to have a dwarf. He was theirs. When he saw Mercy, he gave her a leer. “Oho,” he said, “there she is. Is the little girl all ready for her rape?” He smacked his lips.
      The Snapper smacked him in the head. “Be quiet.”
      The King of the Mummers ignored the brief commotion. He was still talking, telling the mummers how magnificent they must be. Besides the Westerosi envoy, there would be keyholders in the crowd this evening, and famous courtesans as well. He did not intend for them to leave with a poor opinion of the Gate. “It shall go ill for any man who fails me,” he promised, a threat he borrowed from the speech Prince Garin gives on the eve of battle in Wroth of the Dragonlords, Phario Forel’s first play.
      By the time Izembaro finally finished speaking, less than an hour remained before the show, and the mummers were all frantic and fretful by turns. The Gate rang to the sound of Mercy’s name.
      “Mercy,” her friend Daena implored, “Lady Stork has stepped on the hem of her gown again. Come help me sew it up.”
      “Mercy,” the Stranger called, “bring the bloody paste, my horn is coming loose.”
      “Mercy,” boomed Izembaro the Great himself, “what have you done with my crown, girl? I cannot make my entrance without my crown. How shall they know that I’m a king?”
      “Mercy,” squeaked the dwarf Bobono, “Mercy, something’s amiss with my laces, my cock keeps flopping out.”
      She fetched the sticky paste and fastened the Stranger’s left horn back onto his forehead. She found Izembaro’s crown in the privy where he always left it and helped him pin it to his wig, and then ran for needle and thread so the Snapper could sew the lace hem back onto the cloth-of-gold gown that the queen would wear in the wedding scene.
      And Bobono’s cock was indeed flopping out. It was made to flop out, for the rape. What a hideous thing, Mercy thought as she knelt before the dwarf to fix him. The cock was a foot long and as thick as her arm, big enough to be seen from the highest balcony. The dyer had done a poor job with the leather, though; the thing was a mottled pink and white, with a bulbous head the color of a plum. Mercy pushed it back into Bobono’s breeches and laced him back up. “Mercy,” he sang as she tied him tight, “Mercy, Mercy, come to my room tonight and make a man of me.”
      “I’ll make a eunuch of you if you keep unlacing yourself just so I’ll fiddle with your crotch.”
      “We were meant to be together, Mercy,” Bobono insisted. “Look, we’re just the same height.”
      “Only when I’m on my knees. Do you remember your first line?” It had only been a fortnight since the dwarf had lurched onto stage in his cups and opened The Anguish of the Archon with the grumpkin’s speech from The Merchant’s Lusty Lady. Izembaro would skin him alive if he made such a blunder again, and never mind how hard it was to find a good dwarf.
      “What are we playing, Mercy?” Bobono asked innocently.
      He is teasing me, Mercy thought. He’s not drunk tonight, he knows the show perfectly well. “We are doing Phario’s new Bloody Hand, in honor of the envoy from the Seven Kingdoms.”
      “Now I recall.” Bobono lowered his voice to a sinister croak. “The seven-faced god has cheated me,” he said. “My noble sire he made of purest gold, and gold he made my siblings, boy and girl. But I am formed of darker stuff, of bones and blood and clay, twisted into this rude shape you see before you.” With that, he grabbed at her chest, fumbling for a nipple. “You have no titties. How can I rape a girl with no titties?”
      She caught his nose between her thumb and forefinger and twisted. “You’ll have no nose until you get your hands off me.”
      “Owwwww,” the dwarf squealed, releasing her.
      “I’ll grow titties in a year or two.” Mercy rose, to tower over the little man. “But you’ll never grow another nose. You think of that, before you touch me there.”
      Bobono rubbed his tender nose. “There’s no need to get so shy. I’ll be raping you soon enough.”
      “Not until the second act.”
      “I always give Wendeyne’s titties a nice squeeze when I rape her in The Anguish of the Archon,” the dwarf complained. “She likes it, and the pit does too. You have to please the pit.”
      That was one of Izembaro’s “wisdoms,” as he liked to call them. You have to please the pit. “I bet it would please the pit if I ripped off the dwarf’s cock and beat him about the head with it,” Mercy replied. “That’s something they won’t have seen before.” Always give them something they haven’t seen before was another of Izembaro’s “wisdoms,” and one that Bobono had no easy answer for. “There, you’re done,” Mercy announced. “Now see if you can keep in your breeches till it’s needed.”
      Izembaro was calling for her again. Now he could not find his boar spear. Mercy found it for him, helped Big Brusco don his boar suit, checked the trick daggers just to make certain no one had replaced one with a real blade (someone had done that at the Dome once, and a mummer had died), and poured Lady Stork the little nip of wine she liked to have before each play. When all the cries of “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy” finally died away, she stole a moment for a quick peek out into the house.
      The pit was as full as ever she’d seen it, and they were enjoying themselves already, joking and jostling, eating and drinking. She saw a peddler selling chunks of cheese, ripping them off the wheel with his fingers whenever he found a buyer. A woman had a bag of wrinkled apples. Skins of wine were being passed from hand to hand, some girls were selling kisses, and one sailor was playing the sea pipes. The sad-eyed little man called Quill stood in the back, come to see what he could steal for one of his own plays. Cossomo the Conjurer had come as well, and on his arm was Yna, the one-eyed whore from the Happy Port, but Mercy could not know those two, and they would not know Mercy. Daena recognized some Gate regulars in the crowd, and pointed them out for her; the dyer Dellono with his pinched white face and mottled purple hands, Galeo the sausage-maker in his greasy leather apron, tall Tomarro with his pet rat on his shoulder. “Tomarro best not let Galeo see that rat,” Daena warned. “That’s the only meat he puts in them sausages, I hear.” Mercy covered her mouth and laughed.
      The balconies were filling too. The first and third levels were for merchants and captains and other respectable folk. The bravos preferred the fourth and highest, where the seats were cheapest. It was a riot of bright color up there, while down below more somber shades held sway. The second balcony was cut up into private boxes where the mighty could comport themselves in comfort and privacy, safely apart from the vulgarity above and below. They had the best view of the stage, and servants to bring them food, wine, cushions, whatever they might desire. It was rare to find the second balcony more than half full at the Gate; such of the mighty who relished a night of mummery were more inclined to visit the Dome or the Blue Lantern, where the offerings were considered subtler and more poetic.
      This night was different, though, no doubt on account of the Westerosi envoy. In one box sat three scions of Otharys, each accompanied by a famous courtesan; Prestayn sat alone, a man so ancient that you wondered how he ever reached his seat; Torone and Pranelis shared a box, as they shared an uncomfortable alliance; the Third Sword was hosting a half-dozen friends.
      “I count five keyholders,” said Daena.
      “Bessaro is so fat you ought to count him twice,” Mercy replied, giggling. Izembaro had a belly on him, but compared to Bessaro he was as lithe as a willow. The keyholder was so big he needed a special seat, thrice the size of a common chair.
      “They’re all fat, them Reyaans,” Daena said. “Bellies as big as their ships. You should have seen the father. He made this one look small. One time he was summoned to the Hall of Truth to vote, but when he stepped onto his barge it sank.” She clutched Mercy by the elbow. “Look, the Sealord’s box.” The Sealord had never visited the Gate, but Izembaro named a box for him anyway, the largest and most opulent in the house. “That must be the Westerosi envoy. Have you ever seen such clothes on an old man? And look, he’s brought the Black Pearl!”
      The envoy was slight and balding, with a funny grey wisp of a beard growing from his chin. His cloak was yellow velvet, and his breeches. His doublet was a blue so bright it almost made Mercy’s eyes water. Upon his breast a shield had been embroidered in yellow thread, and on the shield was a proud blue rooster picked out in lapis lazuli. One of his guards helped him to his seat, while two others stood behind him in the back of the box.
      The woman with him could not have been more than a third his age. She was so lovely that the lamps seemed to burn brighter when she passed. She had dressed in a low-cut gown of pale yellow silk, startling against the light brown of her skin. Her black hair was bound up in a net of spun gold, and a jet-and-gold necklace brushed against the top of her full breasts. As they watched, she leaned close to the envoy and whispered something in his ear that made him laugh. “They should call her the Brown Pearl,” Mercy said to Daena. “She’s more brown than black.”
      “The first Black Pearl was black as a pot of ink,” said Daena. “She was a pirate queen, fathered by a Sealord’s son on a princess from the Summer Isles. A dragon king from Westeros took her for his lover.”
      “I would like to see a dragon,” Mercy said wistfully. “Why does the envoy have a chicken on his chest?”
      Daena howled. “Mercy, don’t you know anything? It’s his siggle. In the Sunset Kingdoms all the lords have siggles. Some have flowers, some have fish, some have bears and elks and other things. See, the envoy’s guards are wearing lions.”
      It was true. There were four guards: big, hard-looking men in ringmail, with heavy Westerosi longswords sheathed at their hips. Their crimson cloaks were bordered in whorls of gold, and golden lions with red garnet eyes clasped each cloak at the shoulder. When Mercy glanced at the faces beneath the gilded, lion-crested helm, her belly gave a quiver. The gods have given me a gift. Her fingers clutched hard at Daena’s arm. “That guard. The one on the end, behind the Black Pearl.”
      “What of him? Do you know him?”
      “No.” Mercy had been born and bred in Braavos, how could she know some Westerosi? She had to think a moment. “It’s only… well, he’s fair to look on, don’t you think?” He was, in a rough-hewn way, though his eyes were hard.
      Daena shrugged. “He’s very old. Not so old as the other ones, but… he could be thirty. And Westerosi. They’re terrible savages, Mercy. Best stay well away from his sort.”
      “Stay away?” Mercy giggled. She was a giggly sort of girl, was Mercy. “No. I’ve got to get closer.” She gave Daena a squeeze and said, “If the Snapper comes looking for me, tell her that I went off to read my lines again.” She only had a few, and most were just, “Oh, no, no, no,” and “Don’t, oh don’t, don’t touch me,” and “Please, m’lord, I am still a maiden,” but this was the first time Izembaro had given her any lines at all, so it was only to be expected that poor Mercy would want to get them right.
      The envoy from the Seven Kingdoms had taken two of his guards into his box to stand behind him and the Black Pearl, but the other two had been posted just outside the door to make certain he was not disturbed. They were talking quietly in the Common Tongue of Westeros as she slipped up silently behind them in the darkened passage. That was not a language Mercy knew.
      “Seven hells, this place is damp,” she heard her guard complain. “I’m chilled to the bones. Where are the bloody orange trees? I always heard there were orange trees in the Free Cities. Lemons and limes. Pomegranates. Hot peppers, warm nights, girls with bare bellies. Where are the bare-bellied girls, I ask you?”
      “Down in Lys, and Myr, and Old Volantis,” the other guard replied. He was an older man, big-bellied and grizzled. “I went to Lys with Lord Tywin once, when he was Hand to Aerys. Braavos is north of King’s Landing, fool. Can’t you read a bloody map?”
      “How long do you think we’ll be here?”
      “Longer than you’d like,” the old man replied. “If he goes back without the gold the queen will have his head. Besides, I seen that wife of his. There’s steps in Casterly Rock she can’t go down for fear she’d get stuck, that’s how fat she is. Who’d go back to that, when he has his sooty queen?”
      The handsome guardsman grinned. “Don’t suppose he’ll share her with us, afterward?”
      “What, are you mad? You think he notices the likes of us? Bloody bugger don’t even get our names right half the time. Maybe it was different with Clegane.”
      “Ser wasn’t one for mummer shows and fancy whores. When Ser wanted a woman he took one, but sometimes he’d let us have her, after. I wouldn’t mind having a taste of that Black Pearl. You think she’s pink between her legs?”
      Mercy wanted to hear more, but there was no time. The Bloody Hand was about to start, and the Snapper would be looking for her to help with costumes. Izembaro might be the King of the Mummers, but the Snapper was the one that they all feared. Time enough for her pretty guardsman later.
      The Bloody Hand opened in a lichyard.
      When the dwarf appeared suddenly from behind a wooden tombstone, the crowd began to hiss and curse. Bobono waddled to the front of the stage and leered at them. “The seven-faced god has cheated me,” he began, snarling the words. “My noble sire he made of purest gold, and gold he made my siblings, boy and girl. But I am formed of darker stuff, of bones and blood and clay… “
      By then Marro had appeared behind him, gaunt and terrible in the Stranger’s long black robes. His face was black as well, his teeth red and shiny with blood, while ivory horns jutted upwards from his brow. Bobono could not see him, but the balconies could, and now the pit as well. The Gate grew deathly quiet. Marro moved forward silently.
      So did Mercy. The costumes were all hung, and the Snapper was busy sewing Daena into her gown for the court scene, so Mercy’s absence should not be noted. Quiet as a shadow, she slipped around the back again, up to where the guardsmen stood outside the envoy’s box. Standing in a darkened alcove, still as stone, she had a good look at his face. She studied it carefully, to be sure. Am I too young for him? She wondered. Too plain? Too skinny? She hoped he wasn’t the sort of man who liked big breasts on a girl. Bobono had been right about her chest. It would be best if I could take him back to my place, have him all to myself. But will he come with me?
      “You think it might be him?” the pretty one was saying.
      “What, did the Others take your wits?”
      “Why not? He’s a dwarf, ain’t he?”
      “The Imp weren’t the only dwarf in the world.”
      “Maybe not, but look here, everyone says how clever he was, true? So maybe he figures the last place his sister would ever look for him would be in some mummer show, making fun of himself. So he does just that, to tweak her nose.”
      “Ah, you’re mad.”
      “Well, maybe I’ll follow him after the mummery. Find out for myself.” The guardsman put a hand on the hilt of his sword. “If I’m right, I’ll be a ma lord, and if I’m wrong, well, bleed it, it’s just some dwarf.” He gave a bark of laughter.
      On stage, Bobono was bargaining with Marro’s sinister Stranger. He had a big voice for such a little man, and he made it ring off the highest rafters now. “Give me the cup,” he told the Stranger, “for I shall drink deep. And if it tastes of gold and lion’s blood, so much the better. As I cannot be the hero, let me be the monster, and lesson them in fear in place of love.”
      Mercy mouthed the last lines along with him. They were better lines than hers, and apt besides. He’ll want me or he won’t, she thought, so let the play begin. She said a silent prayer to the god of many faces, slipped out of her alcove, and flounced up to the guardsmen. Mercy, Mercy, Mercy. “My lords,” she said, “do you speak Braavosi? Oh, please, tell me you do.”
      The two guardsmen exchanged a look. “What’s this thing going on about?” the older one asked. “Who is she?”
      “One of the mummers,” said the pretty one. He pushed his fair hair back off his brow and smiled at her. “Sorry, sweetling, we don’t speak your gibble-gabble.”
      Fuss and feathers, Mercy thought, they only know the Common Tongue. That was no good. Give it up or go ahead. She could not give it up. She wanted him so bad. “I know your tongue, a little,” she lied, with Mercy’s sweetest smile. “You are lords of Westeros, my friend said.”
      The old one laughed. “Lords? Aye, that’s us.”
      Mercy looked down at her feet, so shy. “Izembaro said to please the lords,” she whispered. “If there is anything you want, anything at all… “
      The two guardsmen exchanged a look. Then the handsome one reached out and touched her breast. “Anything?“
      “You’re disgusting,” said the older man.
      “Why? If this Izembaro wants to be hospitable, it would be rude to refuse.” He gave her nipple a tweak through the fabric of her dress, just the way the dwarf had done when she was fixing his cock for him. “Mummers are the next best thing to whores.”
      “Might be, but this one is a child.”
      “I am not,” lied Mercy. “I’m a maiden now.”
      “Not for long,” said the comely one. “I’m Lord Rafford, sweetling, and I know just what I want. Hike up those skirts now, and lean back against that wall.”
      “Not here,” Mercy said, brushing his hands away. “Not where the play is on. I might cry out, and Izembaro would be mad.”
      “Where, then?”
      “I know a place.”
      The older guard was scowling. “What, you think can just scamper off? What if his knightliness comes looking for you?”
      “Why would he? He’s got a show to watch. And he’s got his own whore, why shouldn’t I have mine? This won’t take long.”
      No, she thought, it won’t. Mercy took him by the hand, led him through the back and down the steps and out into the foggy night. “You could be a mummer, if you wanted,” she told him, as he pressed her up against the wall of the playhouse.
      “Me?” The guardsman snorted. “Not me, girl. All that bloody talking, I wouldn’t remember half of it.”
      “It’s hard at first,” she admitted. “But after a time it comes easier. I could teach you to say a line. I could.”
      He grabbed her wrist. “I’ll do the teaching. Time for your first lesson.” He pulled her hard against him and kissed her on the lips, forcing his tongue into her mouth. It was all wet and slimy, like an eel. Mercy licked it with her own tongue, then broke away from him, breathless. “Not here. Someone might see. My room’s not far, but hurry. I have to be back before the second act, or I’ll miss my rape.”
      He grinned. “No fear o’ that, girl.” But he let her pull him after her. Hand in hand, they went racing through the fog, over bridges and through alleys and up five flights of splintery wooden stairs. The guardsman was panting by the time they burst through the door of her little room. Mercy lit a tallow candle, then danced around at him, giggling. “Oh, now you’re all tired out. I forgot how old you were, m’lord. Do you want to take a little nap? Just lie down and close your eyes, and I’ll come back after the Imp’s done raping me.”
      “You’re not going anywhere.” He pulled her roughly to him. “Get those rags off, and I’ll show you how old I am, girl.”
      “Mercy,” she said. “My name is Mercy. Can you say it?”
      “Mercy,” he said. “My name is Raff.”
      “I know.” She slipped her hand between his legs, and felt how hard he was through the wool of his breeches.
      “The laces,” he urged her. “Be a sweet girl and undo them.” Instead she slid her finger down along the inside of his thigh. He gave a grunt. “Damn, be careful there, you — “
      Mercy gave a gasp and stepped away, her face confused and frightened. “You’re bleeding.”
      “Wha — ” He looked down at himself. “Gods be good. What did you do to me, you little cunt?” The red stain spread across his thigh, soaking the heavy fabric.
      “Nothing,” Mercy squeaked. “I never… oh, oh, there’s so much blood. Stop it, stop it, you’re scaring me.”
      He shook his head, a dazed look on his face. When he pressed his hand to his thigh, blood squirted through his fingers. It was running down his leg, into his boot. He doesn’t look so comely now, she thought. He just looks white and frightened.
      “A towel,” the guardsman gasped. “Bring me a towel, a rag, press down on it. Gods. I feel dizzy.” His leg was drenched with blood from the thigh down. When he tried to put his weight on it, his knee buckled and he fell. “Help me,” he pleaded, as the crotch of his breeches reddened. “Mother have mercy, girl. A healer… run and find a healer, quick now.”
      “There’s one on the next canal, but he won’t come. You have to go to him. Can’t you walk?”
      “Walk?” His fingers were slick with blood. “Are you blind, girl? I’m bleeding like a stuck pig. I can’t walk on this.”
      “Well,” she said, “I don’t know how you’ll get there, then.”
      “You’ll need to carry me.”
      See? thought Mercy. You know your line, and so do I.
      “Think so?” asked Arya, sweetly.
      Raff the Sweetling looked up sharply as the long thin blade came sliding from her sleeve. She slipped it through his throat beneath the chin, twisted, and ripped it back out sideways with a single smooth slash. A fine red rain followed, and in his eyes the light went out.
      “Valar morghulis,” Arya whispered, but Raff was dead and did not hear. She sniffed. I should have helped him down the steps before I killed him. Now I’ll need to drag him all the way to the canal and roll him in. The eels would do the rest.
      “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy,” she sang sadly. A foolish, giddy girl she’d been, but good hearted. She would miss her, and she would miss Daena and the Snapper and the rest, even Izembaro and Bobono. This would make trouble for the Sealord and the envoy with the chicken on his chest, she did not doubt.
      She would think about that later, though. Just now, there was no time. I had best run. Mercy still had some lines to say, her first lines and her last, and Izembaro would have her pretty little empty head if she were late for her own rape.

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    153. M,

      I found the prose quite juvenile and simplistic, but I think that’s just because I’ve been reading other authors. George is renowned for his simplistic prose, although he didn’t really have the same flow here.

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    154. Sean C.,

      I don’t recognize the critic. The review doesn’t give much detail about anything, other than Cersei/KL and a short mention of the SS. I’ll wait for the more extensive reviews from critics I know better before judging. I’m sure many people will jump at the comment about the SS, claiming that her opinion confirms their doubts about the characters.

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    155. Almost reads like fanfiction. Damn shame that George’s writing (if it is George’s writing) is on a rapid downhill trajectory. The last two books were poor at best, and this reads as more of the same.

        Quote  Reply

    156. Is there another link to read it somewhere else. The website seems to have crashed from everybody going to it all at once.

        Quote  Reply

    157. Pretty much nothing happened. Sansa flirted a little and people call this an exhilarating chapter? The standards are pretty low.

      She isn’t even Sansa anymore. She’s more like show-Margaery. I used to like Sansa, but this new direction has lost me and the Alayne storyline is just too dull for me.

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    158. Didn’t the Maester say in AFFC that one more dose of Sweet Milk would kill Sweet Robin? And Sansa said he would be Sweet Milked up for the feast? I’m guessing he’s going to die at this tourney pretty soon

      And luckily Sansa’s already entranced his heir better than Lady Olenna could… so all that really needs to happen for her to become Lady of the Vale is getting permission from the High Septon… then it’s onwards to meet Rickon

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    159. Mickey2093

      Can’t see why u’r surprised? GoT ‘n the books consist of the same ingredients: i) erotica & passion (raping, adultery, prostitution, incest, sexual torture ’n sadism, romance, nudity, flirting); ii) political context & violence (wars, massacres, ambushes, deadly plots, torture); iii) mystery, (religious) miracles, ‘old’ legends ‘n myths. But, believe it or not, GoT n’ the books are family stuff, the stuff that can offer a little bit of something for everyone: granddads, grandmas, papas, mamas, young adults, adolescents, kids. They all are (still) intrigued by (soft) porn/sex, (medieval) politics, violence, and/or mystery. That’s why they read the books, and above all watch/love the ‘all-included’ fantasy show that allows them to retreat into a kinky fantasy world.

      Although GoT is family stuff (in the sense that people of all generations watch it), it’s awkward for lots of TV viewers to sit through the show with their relatives. Obviously sexual content is still kinda taboo. And that sucks. In what crappy world do we live? In the world where merely nudity (or consensual sex involving an adult fe/male and an underage fe/male) is more controversial than slaying people? That is really lurid.

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    160. days,

      It’s called exposition. You’re in a new setting. Meeting new characters. A major plot point in the form of Harry was introduced and established to now be under the control of Sansa.

      Seriously, what the shit more do you people want? There were chapters like this scattered ALL THROUGHOUT the first three books. Have you forgotten? Or do you just want to bitch for the sake of bitching?

      This fandom has gotten so ridiculous that it’s not even tolerable anymore.

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    161. I liked the chapter! Great to see something that’s not totally depressing, Sansa is coming into her own and being sassy as hell! Get to see some of Petyr’s scheming, and foreshadowing trouble with Myranda, Lyn Corbray, and the Mad Mouse.

      I agree with Luka‘s assessment on timing, makes sense.

      I don’t understand why everyone hates on Sansa chapters (don’t ever want to see Damphair again!!), especially given her wit and vivacity here, she has come a long way from the whiny younger version!

      Wish that lady from EW would learn to spell Jaime’s name correctly…

      No comment on Ramsay = Harry. Seems likely, but the season starts in 10 days. As for Ramsay marrying Sansa, could be her or another girl, is that scenario is true, Myranda could go after Sansa either way.

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    162. Do you think this is Sansa’s original post-5-year-gap chapter? She knows the name and banner of every minor knight of the Vale and she’s matured A LOT as a character since her AFFC

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    163. Renly’s Peach,

      All of this!! The passive aggressive remarks on her as well…Lord!

      I think the people who aren’t impressed by this exposition-heavy chapter, are those that would rather Sansa sit on an Ice Dragon she unlocks from the crypts of her ancestors! Yassss action!!

      There’s always going to be a vociferous section of the fandom that can’t get into Sansa. We all have POVs that we don’t find enjoyable. Generally speaking the chapter is being received well online from what i’ve seen on social media.

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    164. A more positive review (although it doesn’t tell us anything we didn’t already know) here: http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/tv/game-thrones-review-season-5-doesn-dawdle-article-1.2171494

      “Many shows are starting to run out of gas by Season 5. “Game of Thrones,” partly because it’s as cold-blooded as its characters in treating personnel turnover as the natural order, seems to have little trouble keeping its pedal to the metal.”

      Edit: Beaten to it 😉

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    165. days,

      I’m saying you have no perspective on what actually matters. So saying “nothing happens” is a borderline stupid statement. That blunt.
      I have to assume you either have no real grasp on what makes a chapter, or are in the perpetual GRRM-bashing camp because that’s what’s hip around here.

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    166. Renly’s Peach:
      days,

      It’s called exposition. You’re in a new setting. Meeting new characters. A major plot point in the form of Harry was introduced and established to now be under the control of Sansa.

      The chapter is ok . Nothing special, but nothing particularly bad.

      But this is not exposition. This chapter was cut from AFFC(or ADWD?). And if we go by that logic this is actually the culmination of Sansa’s arc.

      The problem with GRRM’s writing in his last three books(AFFC,ADWD,TWOW) is that you do not have the feeling that there are beginning or ending.

      If one chapter can be a culmination or exposition depending on where you put it, there is a big problem

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    167. Surprised people are making the jump that because this chapter was “boring” and “poorly written” that the rest of Winds of Winter will be an insufferable nightmare, or that somehow this is the reason as to why it will never be completed.

      Extrapolate much? Anyone need a “jump to conclusions” mat?

      We don’t know roughly 96% of Winds of Winter, so how can that even be a logical thought process?

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    168. Jaime’s girl:
      I don’t understand why everyone hates on Sansa chapters (don’t ever want to see Damphair again!!), especially given her wit and vivacity here, she has come a long way from the whiny younger version!

      On the whole I like Sansa and her POV chapters regardless of whether they have “action” – but this one just doesn’t do it for me. Honestly the writing just feels a bit perfunctory, GRRM has said he finds Sansa the most difficult POV character to write and this seems to come across here. I don’t think it’s that bad but just OK and I expect better than that after several thousand pages.

      I am still looking forward to how Sansa’s story plays out though in the books.

      Sorry to Renly’s Peach and his ilk, I guess unless we’re prepared to gush and fawn over it we should just keep quiet…

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    169. Jared,

      I share all those sentiments. Included your initial reticence and now coming around to the idea. I’m now very excited about Sansa in Winterfell, especially after figuring out how it could possibly work, for which this chapter was quite invaluable. Just as you suggested, I’m sure we’ll see a version of those words in bold in 5×02 or 5×03, when Littlefinger gives Sansa the “avenge them” speech.

      Arkash,

      Considering Summer is taking a year off alongside Bran & company, I would hope that Ghost gets more screentime. Hopefully Sue can confirm if he appears in the first four episodes, at least 😉

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    170. Renly’s Peach:

      This fandom has gotten so ridiculous that it’s not even tolerable anymore.

      Meh, I agree with you to an extent, but truthfully, I feel it’s more along the lines of having knee-jerk reactions and the need to post about it immediately. Also, this is the comments section of an internet blog. Logic has no power here. KingTheoden.jpg

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    171. mau,

      I completely agree. It’s not so much that this is a bad chapter; it’s quite nice, but I bet if you asked someone who had never read the series before which book it came from, they would say one of the first 3, not 6. I think this is why people have issues with it.

      Elio’s ‘controversial’ remark just adds to some people’s frustration with George (not that that is his fault).

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    172. mau,

      That’s some pretty subjective stuff you’re throwing around. And opinions are like buttholes. This is, by definition, exposition; a lot of pretty important stuff regarding her story and plot. And the culmination (or beginning) of the next big phase in Sansa’s arc.
      You found the writing to be lame? Well, that’s like, your opinion. But what isn’t and SHOULDN’T be questioned is whether or not it matters.

      Arya havin’ a larf?:

      Sorry to Renly’s Peach and his ilk, I guess unless we’re prepared to gush and fawn over it we should just keep quiet…

      That’s probably a good idea. Especially when the things being criticized are nonsense.

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    173. Renly’s Peach:
      days,

      Seriously, what the shit more do you people want? There were chapters like this scattered ALL THROUGHOUT the first three books. Have you forgotten?

      Holy shit! You’re right! I had totally forgotten about exposition!

      Here’s the thing, bub; the proliferation of POVs and characters has thrown the books out of balance, in my opinion. Thousands of pages in, many fans are fatigued with GURM’s world-building. At some point it becomes unsustainable and I think we crossed that bridge about 3/4 the way through AFFC.

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    174. Arkash:
      I didnt want to do that but I cant help myself, I need to ask… Sue if you ever read this… well, first of all, I wish you the best recovery possible from what you suffered recently, and secondly… *taking a very timid voice* … erm.. can you say anything about Ghost screentime in the screeners you’ve seen ? We need way more Ghost this season !

      I’d perfectly understand if you cannot answer, but Ghost’s presence on screen is one of the things I look foward most of this season and I hope he wont be underused as he’s been so far !

      You took the words out of mind.
      I wanted to know if Ghost gets some screen time as well.

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    175. Jeb,

      Jeb:
      mau,

      Elio’s ‘controversial’ remark just adds to some people’s frustration with George (not that that is his fault).

      People are assuming that this is the controversial Sansa chapter, as if this were the only POV chapter in the book for her. Er, Alayne. I highly doubt that that’s the case.

      Elio’s access is understandable, but I wish he hadn’t mentioned the possibly controversial chapter. It’s not helpful.

      For that matter, I’m still irritated with Hibberd for including in his EW piece the conversation with the unnamed actor that was killed unexpectedly in the show, which triggered weeks of speculation, tempest in a teacup style.

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    176. I would guess some of the comments about this chapter being boring stems from all the talk and build-up about the Sansa chapter some would find controversial. A big deal has been made about it for quite some time. I’d guess there are those who clicked on the link, saw it was a Sansa (Alayne) chapter, though, oh, here’s the oft-mentioned possibly controversial Sansa chapter, read through it waiting for something to happen someone could actually consider controversial, and were disappointed to finish the chapter with nothing even remotely controversial (at least in my view) happening.

      I enjoyed the chapter, if for no other reason than it was good to see Sansa feeling comfortable enough to have a little fun.

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    177. @ Renly’s Peach

      So who made you the arbiter of who should post and what they should write?

      We all have opinions and no-ones stopping you from writing yours but you seem awfully keen to act as a censor BTW.

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    178. Nymeria Warrior Queen,

      I don’t think Elio meant that he thought the chapter would be controversial, but that many readers would. I think it’s indicative of the contempt he (and the author) have for much of the fandom.

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    179. TheTouchOfFrost,

      There are signs of Northern lords though. We see them in the second trailer as Sansa and Littlefinger are entering Winterfell.

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    180. Arya havin’ a larf?,

      Not Renly, but…

      Of course, anyone and everyone are free to announce their opinions on the matter, and if they do not like the chapter – no harm no foul. I didn’t LOVE it, but I also expected I wouldn’t because I’ve never really cared for Sansa’s arc.

      Also, if you don’t like the way it was written, the language used, or the structure or flow of the syntax – great. By all means, share that to the world and voice your displeasure. It felt a little “lower” than what I consider to be GRRM’s standard of writing, stylistically at least.

      But if you’re jumping to conclusions based on 4 pages of a 1000+ page book…You will be mocked for your failure to think with logic.

      Fair enough?

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    181. Cumsprite,

      None of that is relevant to this chapter. I know your heart is still sore about Arys Oakheart being a POV for one chapter — we all are — but at some point you’re gonna have to let go and forgive, buddy.

      Maester of Ceremonies,

      This.
      If you’re disappointed because you were expecting BIG CONTROVERSY, you have only yourself to blame. Even if this WAS the chapter in question, who in the hell would take Elio’s word so seriously?

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    182. Nymeria Warrior Queen:
      I would guess some of the comments about this chapter being boring stems from all the talk and build-up about the Sansa chapter some would find controversial.A big deal has been made about it for quite some time.I’d guess there are those who clicked on the link, saw it was a Sansa (Alayne) chapter, though, oh, here’s the oft-mentioned possibly controversial Sansa chapter, read through it waiting for something to happen someone could actually consider controversial, and were disappointed to finish the chapter with nothing even remotely controversial (at least in my view) happening.

      I enjoyed the chapter, if for no other reason than it was good to see Sansa feeling comfortable enough to have a little fun.

      Good points. Luckily for me, I was unaware of any mention of controversial chapters being released. I also have a relatively high threshold of what I would consider controversial, as broad of a term that it is.

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    183. Maester of Ceremonies,

      I get the impression that he regrets it to, because he did slightly backtrack a few months back. I’m just happy we have got another sample. Let’s hope this time next year we have the whole book, so we don’t have to make broad assumptions based on very little.

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    184. Renly’s Peach:
      mau,

      That’s some pretty subjective stuff you’re throwing around. And opinions are like buttholes. This is, by definition, exposition; a lot of pretty important stuff regarding her story and plot. And the culmination (or beginning) of the next big phase in Sansa’s arc.
      You found the writing to be lame? Well, that’s like, your opinion. But what isn’t and SHOULDN’T be questioned is whether or not it matters.

      It is not subjective stuff. It is a fact that this chapter was the last Sansa’s chapter.

      I did not say that writing is lame. I said it is ok.

      But there is one major problem that has nothing to do with the quality of this chapter. This chapter was first used as a culmination , and then as the exposition. GRRM has a problem with the structure of his story. You can not deny that.

      The beginning , middle and end are not placed in one book , but scattered in several books. After 15 years we still do not have the culmination of Tyrion’s story post ASOS. It’s become ridiculous.

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    185. mau: It is not subjective stuff. It is a fact that this chapter was the last Sansa’s chapter.

      I did not say that writing is lame. I said it is ok.

      But there is one major problem that has nothing to do with the quality of this chapter. This chapter was first used as a culmination , and then as the exposition. GRRM has a problem with the structure of his story. You can not deny that.

      GRRM agrees with you on the placement of this chapter. That was why he moved it into the next book, because he decided it worked better as the beginning of a new plot.

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    186. Arya havin’ a larf?,

      I agree completely, Sansa’s are not GRRM’s strongest. Now that she’s a bit older I don’t find them particularly difficult to read, especially compared to some of the minor POVs in Feast. I know everyone has their favs and their POVs they just hate. But you know, I would put myself in the camp to just cut Sansa some slack, now that she’s growing up her chapters are much improved. No one liked her whiny little girl chapters, but these are markedly different.

      I’m definitely excited to confirm the direction of her storyline in TWOW and Season 5! 🙂

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    187. Renly’s Peach,

      Son, it is absolutely relevant. More heraldry, more names, more food stuffs in a shotgun blast of who gives a fuck. More nuncles. Sansa’s “tummy”. All that bullshit that drove many readers up the damned wall are out in force. A twelve-foot lemoncake because GURM thinks it’s funny or wishes his lance was made of the same for those hungry nights editing Wild Cards in his library tower.

      Requires an amount of dexterity I think the old boy no longer possesses.

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    188. Cumsprite,

      I found nothing remotely controversial about the chapter, and I couldn’t even find anything I could imagine anyone else finding controversial. Then again, when certain factions of people start in with their blind defense of anything and everything about Sansa, my eyes tend to glaze over, and I find myself just skipping most of it.

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    189. Cumsprite,

      More superior humor and much needed critical analysis from Cumsprite. Keep slaying those book purists and putting “GURM” back into his proper place as the shitty writer he is.

        Quote  Reply

    190. I am a bit surprised by this Ramsay/Sansa theory. I don’t think any of that will happen. First, let me say I enjoyed the new chapter greatly. I have always thought of Sansa as having a delightfully elaborate “princess” storyline. To me, this chapter is consistent with that idea (Many suitors, secret agenda, etc.).
      I agree that it is likely some aspects of this chapter may appear in S5. If that is so,
      [ spoiler ]Then it is more likely that Fake Arya will come into play. She would be presented at the wedding where LF and Sansa would be guests. Sansa would recognize instantly that the girl was not her sister and know what the Boltons were really up to[ / spoiler ]
      This would put Sansa in an interesting position for future events, and leave other aspects of this chapter to future episodes or seasons.

      The North Remembers!

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    191. Nymeria Warrior Queen,

      Agreed. I think Elio underestimated the reader. This is a logical progression for Sansa’s character. Maybe he was trying to generate some buzz or, possibly, the “controversy” comes later.

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    192. A few weeks back I was promptly grumbled at for suggesting that show Myranda could line up with book Myranda. Today, a few likeminded comments aren’t getting same treatment from Mr. “there’s no way.” 😉 He should stop reading now.
      I know it’s written that there are three weddings this season… but imagine the chaos if one of those weddings is a double wedding: Royce/Greyjoy and Stone-Stark/Bolton. LF could suggest this to Royce at the tournament (possibly neither of them knowing about Theon’s missing junk). Royce would likely want his surviving daughter out of Ramsey’s hands, send a larger contingent to WF, making it more tense and overcrowded (as it should be when Stannis arrives).

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    193. Cumsprite,

      From the way Elio responded to the Vulture article, I think it was clear that they took what he thought was a casual observation and misrepresented it, turning it into a big controversy. He was always uncomfortable with the “controversial chapter” talk, and was constantly trying to tamp it down without actually spoiling the content.

      mau,

      It ends on a cliffhanger, teasing the beginning of Littlefinger’s new plan. Works fine, and Sansa’s AFFC storyline, like those of her siblings, is ultimately not allowed to go very far due to theirs being stories that would have most readily accommodated the five-year-gap.

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    194. Sean C.,

      It was a casual observation, but there was no misrepresenting it. He said Sansa’s development would be controversial to some readers. Very simple.

      He should just sit there and look pretty while Linda handles the heavy lifting.

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    195. Cumsprite:
      Son, it is absolutely relevant. More heraldry, more names, more food stuffs in a shotgun blast of who gives a fuck. More nuncles. Sansa’s “tummy”. All that bullshit that drove many readers up the damned wall are out in force. A twelve-foot lemoncake because GURM thinks it’s funny or wishes his lance was made of the same for those hungry nights editing Wild Cards in his library tower.

      And this, ladies and gentlemen, is a perfect example of someone bitching for the sake of bitching. You’re trying too hard now. If your biggest problems are food mentions and “nuncle” — just stop reading dude. The journey’s over for you; back to the shire.

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    196. Cumsprite:
      It was a casual observation, but there was no misrepresenting it. He said Sansa’s development would be controversial to some readers. Very simple.

      He said that some “might” find it a bit controversial. The interview turned this into “sure-to-be-controversial”, which has very different connotations.

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    197. Am I the only one that found the “lemons from Dorne” line interesting… Still waiting for the show to reveal a house with a red door and a lemon tree somewhere “unexpected” this season.

        Quote  Reply

    198. Renly’s Peach: And this, ladies and gentlemen, is a perfect example of someone bitching for the sake of bitching. You’re trying too hard now. If your biggest problems are food mentions and “nuncle” — just stop reading dude. The journey’s over for you; back to the shire.

      Please, you’re no Tolkien. No one goes back to the Shire!!! So heavy on invented archaism and food description is what some truly believe is a characteristic of bad writing. I do not share that opinion and obviously neither do you. That being said, it’s a critique. He’s not criticizing your mother.

      And on topic: I loved it!

      I think Sansa is nicely trying out her coquettish persona. She’s a work in progress. So she’s still insecure, and by the looks of it retains her naive and hopeful self somewhat, or she would not have instinctively thought in the lines of: “I hope he likes me at first sight, even though he doesn’t love me… yet” when she should know better. Horrible Harry. I hope he treats her well in the end.

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    199. Renly’s Peach,

      I take it you loved the braidtwisting in Robert Jordan’s series?

      I did not say they were my biggest problems with it, son. You did, son. I would thank you not to put words in my mouth. Sue has not yet accepted my “Seven Reasons GURM Hates the Books, the Show and You” submission, but it’s a doozy and “nuncle” is waaaaaay down the rankings.

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    200. Tormund’s Woman,

      I consider it bad writing because GURM switched horses midstream. If he had started out with ye olde Rennfaire leetspeak in the first book, it is … still bad. But more acceptable.

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    201. Dame Pasty,

      I would like to add to your list of 1) 2) 3) a fourth possibility when it comes to

      Ramsey / Sansa marriage not being fully consummated or her coming out relatively ok out of it.
      4) Perhaps Ramsey dies/is killed during the wedding or the wedding night.
      Out of all the characters that could die this season, this could be one of them. Would solve Sansa’s problem if it turns out she’s the bride.

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    202. Sean C.,

      Yeah, they didn’t know everything until when they wrote season 4, but I’m starting to think they still knew a lot going into season 3. They knew enough about their Riverlands plot to know they could kill Talisa, introduce Blackfish and have him escape, and separate Gendry from the Brotherhood all without breaking anything. They knew enough about their future Greyjoy plot to set up Yara’s weird story. And they knew enough about whatever they’re doing up North to send Rickon to the Umbers and maybe to introduce this version of Myranda with the Boltons.

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    203. Since there’s a stubborn part of the fandom that keeps telling me I didn’t enjoy the last two books because my expectations were just all wrong, this time I was expecting to be bored as fuck. Huzzah, my expectations were met. Some people here said that these kind of chapters were all over the place in the first three books too (full of exposition, low on action), but for me the slow chapters in the first three books were written with some pazazz that is clearly lacking in this sample chapter. Only at the end of the chapter the pace picks up and the chapter reads a bit more naturally (note how GRRM isn’t describing what every dancepartner of Alayne is wearing and how they are smelling, but is just telling in a succinct paragraph who she danced with before Harry comes up to her). Alas, it’s the old trick he used too much: things get interesting aaaaand… end of chapter.

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    204. Cumsprite,

      We’ve discussed this already. You are complaining of style, when you talk about nuncles, but content and story are just as important. To truly qualify for bad writing (for me and many others) you’d have to have shit for everything. Plus I don’t find his prose dense like you do because of the archaic words. I find it gives a flavor to his story, which is why he’s using it I would assume. (Don’t even try telling me what the flavor is. Your snark will so not be appreciated right now in this instance!)

      And to top it all off, you cannot complain of changing horses midstream. You already complained he’s not changing anything! I mean I could look for your ADWD criticism that said that, but it would take too long.

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    205. One of Roose Bolton’s leeches,

      They don’t seem to be anything more than props though. We have no named northern Lords as far as I’m aware so I can’t see how they can effectively work in the role they should be doing.

      I hope Sansa’s story gets more interesting. Reading about her social climbing is painfully dull. There’s a place for a novel of manners but not in A Song of Ice and Fire where it’s made to look pedestrian next to everything else that’s going on!

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    206. Cumsprite,

      You’re no father of mine. And if I had a crossbow I’d show you the extent of my love.
      That’s right, that was a threat. Wanna fight about it? I’ll be waiting outside, punk.

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    207. Ashara D: Sansa showing lots of moxie and wit, coming up with ideas like a pro.

      Yes, this is as major a departure from Sansa as her striding down the stairs a la Maleficent. We saw a first hint of it in her last chapter (10 years ago!), but she’s actually verbally sparring with someone. Swords Sansa would never have thought to joke about Cinnamon or Cloves: she would have been still in too great a shock to see yet another Storybook Knight who acts nothing like the stories. And Pointy Beard?

      I do wonder where this is going: I cannot see Harry being the longterm plan.

      And I agree with Luka: it is too bad that this was not in Dragons. Heck, I wish it had been in Crows: it would have made it much clearer what the story was that GRRM was trying to tell.

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    208. Holy shit. I see now what Elio was talking about. He thought the chapter will cause certain shippers to be crushed.

      SanSan will never die.

        Quote  Reply

    209. My 2 cents

      The tournament in the Vale is being set up as something huge and almost similar in scale to Daznak Pit. There is so many important characters there and lot of smaller ones (but with their own agenda), too. The whole place is a fucking minefield waiting to blow up!

      It will seemingly end with something bloody, and might result in the Vale going into war at once. Just imagine that – Shadrich recognizes Sansa and causes a mess, Littlefinger reveals Sansa and Mya to everyone, and blames Lannisters for sending assassins.

      But it’s GRRM and he can do better than that. Likely we’ll get an event with 20 sick twists one after another all within 30 pages. Can’t wait!

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    210. Renly’s Peach:
      Cumsprite,

      You’re no father of mine. And if I had a crossbow I’d show you the extent of my love.
      That’s right, that was a threat. Wanna fight about it? I’ll be waiting outside, punk.

      That’s a joke, right?
      Please tell me that’s a joke.

        Quote  Reply

    211. I liked it BUT I do think it shows that GRRM is being influenced by the show. Sassy TV!Sansa/Sophie Turner is very visible there. Which is fine, I do prefer my Starks with a side of sass and snark but if he gets influenced by the show too much, its going to make the books a totally different feel to them. Let’s be honest most of the TV characters are more sassy and bold than the books are. Jon Snow is snarky as hell on the show and not so much in the book. I just can’t imagine his style of writing – which I love, don’t get me wrong – with the more sassy and older characters. Kit Harington’s Jon Snow is in his 20s, book Jon Snow is still in his late teens. Big difference in voice.

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    212. allamaris,

      I’m with you 99.9%. In between Sansa’s banter with the big boys and Myranda are some truly interesting “minefield” possibilities, with the tourney as a focal point. Sansa and LF may be proud of their initiative but I can see it backfiring (or imploding). Watch out for Corbray and Mad Mouse….they’ve got motive and an agenda. Who knows who else will show up? The Riverlands and the Vale is where it’s at!

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    213. Mustafa. S.:
      Am I the only one that found the “lemons from Dorne” line interesting… Still waiting for the show to reveal a house with a red door and a lemon tree somewhere “unexpected” this season.

      It made me pause, too (I notice all things Dorne), but I just chalked it up to too much paranoia when it comes to Littlefinger and his many plots…but could there be a connection there? Discuss!

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    214. Ali Kat: I liked it BUT I do think it shows that GRRM is being influenced by the show.

      This chapter was culled from Dance with Dragons, and thus written long before Turner could have influenced anything. It’s possible that it’s been sitting around since the Bush presidency.

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    215. Ashara D: Littlefinger and his many plots…but could there be a connection there?

      Traders to Dorne seeking lemons might be the ones to bring news of YG’s return. Of course, one would think that ravens might do that first.

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    216. Cumsprite:
      Sean C.,

      It was a casual observation, but there was no misrepresenting it. He said Sansa’s development would be controversial to some readers. Very simple.

      He should just sit there and look pretty while Linda handles the heavy lifting.

      I think he was specifically referring to SanSan shippers.

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    217. Hodor’s Bastard,

      The problem with all that is that it is really very unimportant in the grand scheme of things, and that there’s already so much else going on that he doesn’t need a Vale clusterfuck slowing down Sansa’s progress too. He’s got two books left (supposedly), he should be getting to the important stuff.

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    218. Yivo: He’s got two books left (supposedly), he should be getting to the important stuff.

      Indeed, once word gets out about

      Aegon’s return

      , and once Daeny returns (almost certainly not long after!), the goings-on in the Vale probably will become fairly moot. The issue will be, for what side with the Vale declare? But, then, I suspect that will be the story of Winter.

      Of course, I have held the notion that there will be one Stark in each major camp, and that Sansa will be in YG’s camp. It is possible that this is some foreshadowing of that: Sansa might get something else “tasty” from Dorne…..

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    219. Great! I was really dying to read more about Alayne, and her thrilling adventures at court…

      Wait. Who’s Alayne again?

        Quote  Reply

    220. Yivo,

      Hahaha…I thought I may be missing something, since it didn’t make sense to me, but maybe I wasn’t.

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    221. Nymeria Warrior Queen,

      Yivo,

      Just my two cents, but “Show Purist” is a term I use in my head to describe those for whom there is not a change from the books to the show that they can’t rationalize and justify that it has actually improved things, drastically.

      People who actually, not ironically, use the term “In D&D We Trust”, as short hand for justifying any changes which appear on their face to be flat out ridiculous or nonsensical. Don’t question, man, just believe.

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    222. Matty C,

      Most of those people probably are “story purists”: they understand what the story is that GRRM is trying to tell, and they also understand that what GRRM wrote is a good novel but an awful script.

      Most book purists are indifferent to the story and really interested in the narrative and plot details: they treat GRRM’s stuff as a documentary about a fictional land rather than a story. So, changing things “gets it wrong” because there is “what really happened” and what B&W fabricated for whatever reasons.

      Once you understand that B&W are story purists and not narrative purists, then you can understand why they make the changes that they do.

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    223. been reading the comments on this site for a while and it’s really annoying how people like Renly’s peach can go insulting people he disagrees with no punishment whatsoever, i wish this site had a better moderation policy.

        Quote  Reply

    224. Fun read

      Found the food conversation intriguing, hints at the deep politics with the LD. Foolish if they are selling food

      Good to see Sansa/Alayne more sassy, obviously she is spoken down to but the other side is that as a “bastard girl” some people speak to her more directly than they would to Sansa,

      Lol if HtH ever finds out she is Sansa and on a higher peg than he is

      While I am curious to see this Damphair chapter, this was great and captures the vibe of AGoT

      In terms of the show it will be interesting to observe if they put the Vale tourney in a par somewhat with the Hands tourney in s1, perhaps not I suspect

      In terms of Sansa’s development arc though, it points to the fact she has bottomed out and is indeed re-ascending and is back to where she was in AGoT, with Myranda Royce being an inverse Jeyne Poole, HtH being an inverse Joffrey, “Petyr” (not Littlefinger) being an inverse Ned Stark

      We also see the switch, eg the last of her romantic idealism is flushed out (eg going it’s enough for him to “like” her rather than love her but as soon as that happens she turns the tables when she starts a Tyrionesque taking the piss attitude devoid of all naive romanticism, that was a well written dialogue and personally I wouldn’t be surprised if we expect more of the same, eg she already had the wit to see she had to “cynically” give her favour to someone else)

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    225. Wimsey: This chapter was culled from Dance with Dragons, and thus written long before Turner could have influenced anything.It’s possible that it’s been sitting around since the Bush presidency.

      I doubt he hasn’t touched it in that length of time. I’m sure he edited it before posting it (Not very well in some cases) but to polish it up to be released and if he found something he wanted to change – he did. He’s already admitted to being influenced by the show in some characters like Osha.

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    226. Yivo:
      Hodor’s Bastard,

      The problem with all that is that it is really very unimportant in the grand scheme of things, and that there’s already so much else going on that he doesn’t need a Vale clusterfuck slowing down Sansa’s progress too. He’s got two books left (supposedly), he should be getting to the important stuff.

      Nothing wrong with the Vale clusterfuck as long as it’s an exciting read, has a character development and serves the story.

      Compare this to ‘Arya in Harrenhal’ which was also a clusterfuck with 3 different groups of Lannister thugs and many others. In the end everyone of value have escaped while Lannisters mostly killed off themselves. TLDR nothing happened.
      Somehow, no one complains these chapters sucked thou.

      Sansa needs to gain some skill and confidence before she can truly play the game, and this “clusterfuck” will do just that 😛

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    227. Wimsey,

      You like to redefine terms a lot, huh?

      Well, whatever the Hell you want to call people that justify every single decision D&D make, and go so far as to insist that every one of those changes is not only a good story/plot/character point, but is, in literally every instance, an improvement over the books, I call them just as annoying as book purists.

      You seem to be of the mindset that if only people could understand how things worked, that would make them like things that they do not currently like. Knowing that this is TV versus Books, and there are myriad things to be taken into consideration, such as budget, time constraints, actors, weather, etc, even knowing all of that and comprehending the Herculean efforts of all involved, will not make someone agree with the decision to not have Renly eat a freaking Peach, or to change Littlefinger’s line to Lysa as he pushes her out the door.

      I don’t actually wish to discuss those specific changes, but they are both things that have nothing to do with money or any constraints whatsoever. They were about artistic license, which is fine, but someone cannot be “logicked” into agreeing with those decisions if they inherently disagree with them.

      I personally thought the flow of George’s prose in SOS final chapter :

      “I’ve loved only one woman, I promise you.”

      “Only one? Oh, Petyr, do you swear it? Only one?”

      “Only Cat.”

      …was simply smooth as silk, and much cleaner than what ended up in the show.

      Now, you can explain to me how the story is unchanged, and that is only a surface detail that I’m getting hung up on, and what matters is how Sansa was affected by that action, and since that’s the same, it’s all good, BUT. The language, details, and nuance of a thing DO matter, so it is somewhat lessened in my mind. They had a perfect rose, and chose to trim it one time too many.

      It’s not the end of the world, but despite my complete and total UNDERSTANDING of it, I still didn’t like it.

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    228. Matty C: You like to redefine terms a lot, huh?

      The next time I redefine a term will be the first time I do so! I do, however, use them correctly. For example, not a single thing you mention here has anything to do with the concept of “story” that we all learn in basic literature classes. Last season told a story about conflicted love/hate relationships just like the third book did. What Littlefinger calls Lysa had no effect on the story: just as long as the audience knew that he was saying “Sansa’s mother,” then he could call her McGillicudy. (Of course, like “Cat,” the audience would not have connected that to Sansa’s mother.) Similarly, Renley chewing on a piece of fruit had no bearing on the second season’s and second book’s story about conflicted loyalties. Indeed, as neither Littlefinger nor Renly is a protagonist, all either can do is be a foil for someone else’s contributions to a story. Sansa comprehending Littlefinger a bit better contributed to her story about love-hate relationships; however, Renly’s frugivory did very little to spur on Catelyn’s contribution to the story about conflicted loyalties (although she does make a pretty compelling argument regarding such things while the frugivory occurs: but it’s just as compelling without fruits, vegetables or any other food item.)

      Prose is particularly superfluous to what a story is: that is, by definition, narrative. Now, good narrative can communicate a story better than a bad narrative: but that is just the difference between a well-told story and a poorly-told story; the same story can be told well or poorly. (Editors main jobs are to make published stories better told stories, after all.) Of course, good prose also can communicate non-stories better than bad prose. For example, I just got a manuscript accepted today in which one of the reviewers commented that the writing was much better than the prior version: and that had a lot to do with why it was accepted today and not 6 months ago. Now, that has a thesis, not a story: but the thesis was the same in both version, with one presenting it well and the other one presenting it poorly.

      GRRM is very much from the Faulkner school of telling stories about internal conflict: mixed emotions, inconsistent moralities, struggles between who you are and who you want to be, the angel on your right shoulder arguing with the angel on your left shoulder, etc. GRRM has been quite upfront about this. With this in mind, think of the story as a long-range top-of-the-food-chain carnivore: the book is a great white shark and the TV show is a T. rex. Then remember that sharks on land dessicate and suffocate and T. rexs in the ocean drown.

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    229. Hodor’s Bastard: Interesting that Elio just commented on Westeros that the supposed “controversial” aspect of the chapter was “The sexuality of the character,”

      The only thing shocking in that chapter was Alayne hugging Sandor, I mean, Lothor.

      Stannis the Mannis: Does Sansa know LF betrayed her Father?

      “You told me to put the tears in Jon’s wine, and I did. For Robert, and for us! And I wrote Catelyn and told her the Lannisters had killed my lord husband, just as you said.”

      – Lysa to Petyr in front of Sansa, ASOS

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    230. Ashara D: So…given all this talk of show!R=HtH, do you-all think that D&D are going to put poor little Lino out of a job this season? Perhaps at the tourney?

      Yup

      M: I know, it just blows my mind that D&D probably planned this back in 2012 and it flew over all our heads because we assumed that they were just reusing the name Myranda because they liked it,

      People assumed that? There was speculation Myranda was a Royce.

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    231. Ali Kat: I doubt he hasn’t touched it in that length of time.

      I seriously doubt that he edited it at all. After all, this chapter was almost in Dragons, and once you feel something is good to go, then you worry about other things. It is highly improbable that he edited it shortly before he put it up: when you write as slowly as GRRM does, you spend as little time editing old stuff as possible. Any editing of this chapter since Dragons has been for clarity and English, not adjusting Sansa’s character.

      Moreover, if you read Alayne’s last Crows chapter, then you can see this stuff emerging there. That was her sewing the black dress: this is her wearing it. GRRM promised us years and years ago that we’d start to see Sansa acting like this: heck, Turner was probably still in nappies when GRRM first mentioned that.

      The Osha comparison is very irrelevant. After all, some of the “development” of her character comes from stuff that he wrote for the show. This will affect new stuff that he writes for her. But the stuff that is done and in the bin, he is not going to touch unless he has to do so.

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    232. TheTouchOfFrost: Sansa as some sort of seductress just doesn’t work for me with Ramsay.

      I don’t think she’ll seduce him, but she will use her courtesies on him and if she has to fondle his small curved knife, a lady gotta do what a lady gotta do.

      Hodor’s Bastard: Great thoughts, although I’m still very skeptical on the WF storyline this season. Will take it one episode at a time.

      Deep breaths.

      Dame Pasty: we know she gets married via interviews

      Really? I haven’t read that.

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    233. Wimsey,

      I said “Show Purists”, and specifically defined that.

      You told me that what I probably meant was “Story Purists”, and then delivered a lecture.

      That is redefining terms. (…of a conversation that you weren’t even a part of to begin with)

      I never said any of those things were about story. I was mentioning things being one way in the books and another on television. Things that were written one way and filmed another. That is all. I also did not say that those things being in the show would have changed the story. I actually said that you could tell me all about how the story is unchanged, and you did. In great detail. But I’m talking style, not story.

      And using the word frugivory twice in one sentence? That’s bad style, man.

        Quote  Reply

    234. Ali Kat,

      Wimsey,

      Wimsey is correct. Successful authors working on such large projects or authors who write books tangentially for their jobs (like scientists, law experts, etc.), even serial authors churning ’em out, rarely go back once something is deemed “in the can.” They’re just too busy. That’s what editors, copyeditors, assistants, etc. are for. And creative people can be so hard on themselves that endlessly going back over things can be detrimental to their process and their health.

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    235. I realize that not every chapter can be scintillating, but that was a little vanilla. Good bit vs Alayne and Harry, though.

      How does one ‘shutter’? Is she a camera?

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    236. mau:
      Sansa’s and Ramsey’s marriage will be a great parallel to Joffrey and Marg.

      Sansa will show how much she has learned.

      lol if it happens I hope to see an equivalent of “oh, look the pie”

      Especially if after reading this chapter it happens to be a giant Lemoncake Pie in Winterfell…

        Quote  Reply

    237. Pigeon:
      I realize that not every chapter can be scintillating,but that was a little vanilla. Good bit vs Alayne and Harry, though.

      How does one ‘shutter’? Is she a camera?

      I figured it was meant to say “shudder” lol

      It’s not an action-packed chapter but literary wise I loved it,

      It very much had the feel of the AGoT Hands Tourney and Feasts etc and this is important because it is showing that development wise it shows Sansa has recovered back to AGoT level and is transforming

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    238. Renly’s Peach:
      days,

      It’s called exposition. You’re in a new setting. Meeting new characters. A major plot point in the form of Harry was introduced and established to now be under the control of Sansa.

      Seriously, what the shit more do you people want? There were chapters like this scattered ALL THROUGHOUT the first three books. Have you forgotten? Or do you just want to bitch for the sake of bitching?

      This fandom has gotten so ridiculous that it’s not even tolerable anymore.

      In some respects it makes me glad I’ve only recently read it recently

      I suspect that some people have too much time on their hands, they develop great theories but then time between books goes on so long that people get overly attached to certain theories

      Or in this case overly attached to action, people need to get it comes in waves, you need the slower moments to flesh out the positioning for events ahead but also to set up the magnitude of those action-packed events

      In this case they are all being hinted at
      eg – LF versus LD and the issue of food
      – Maestar Coleman drugginf Sweetrobin and keeping fledgeling Greenseer/Warg abilities dulled ala Maestar Luwin with Bran and its inferences re the GMC
      – Shadrich as the Mad Mouse; Littlefinger versus Varys
      – Corbray being married to a merchants daughter – LF Burgeoise revolution agenda
      – Tapestries and the tantalising notion of what they are depicting

      Mostly people need to be able to appreciate the subtleties involved with character development

      One thing as a relative newbie is I don’t understand the invective directed at someone like Preston Jacobs on Youtube, if you don’t agree with him just state why and move on. End of the day he is just speculating like everyone else and I enjoy the format though I don’t always agree

      People seem to be able to explore Heresy and Planetos theories etc

        Quote  Reply

    239. Sean C.,

      Between the work on seasons 3 and 4, but between the airing of seasons 2 and 3. And I don’t think Myranda was name dropped in season 3…

        Quote  Reply

    240. This chapter appears to be intentionally Austin-esque, what with its courtly intrigue, romances and lighthearted vibe. I feel this was done to shock readers with what will inevitably be a dark, explosive arc in the Vale.

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    241. patchface:
      That was the controversial chapter? LOL
      It’s good to see that Sansa is becoming smarter though.

      This is NOT the real Patchface, someone is impersonating me again! BTW, the new release is hardly a surprise, I have been reporting the release of a new chapter (in addition to Mercy) since September. Glad GRRM fnally did it, although he was expected to release it around December…

      Someone please do something about the impersonator!

      @patchface, assuming you are not doing this on purpose, could you please use a different name? Trolling is not that kewl, you know…

        Quote  Reply

    242. Patchface,

      He’s not impersonating you. Or trolling you, for that matter. You may notice this person didn’t pretend to give anyone scoops from the show. He simply chose the name of the same character as his moniker… a character from ASOIAF, on a Game of Thrones fansite. There was bound to be more people who use the same name.

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    243. Luka Nieto,

      You may be right, that’s why I asked him nicely to choose a different name. However, I do find it as an odd coincidence that someone is posting with the same name only after I’ve announced that I will be away for some time… Then again, I like to give people the benefit of the doubt.

      I realize I do not have a TM or exclusive right to the name “Patchface” (quite the contrary, actually), but in the name of good faith and common courtesy I am asking this other person to choose a different name, or if he really wants to keep using it, at least alter it a bit so as to avoid confusion: i.e. “The” Patchface, A patchface and so on… (there is already a Patchy Face, I have no problem with that).

      I hope you would agree with that…

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    244. I just read the chapter. I find it quite good to be honest…

      I wonder whether

      the Mad Mouse will recognize Sansa? Also, after the reading the chapter I have a feeling Harry will bite the dust during the tourney. Eh?

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    245. I loved the chapter. I had to wait 10 years for the next Sansa chapter (the last one being published in 2005), and it was well worth it. Now I just hope he doesn’t rush writing the next Sansa chapter (or any other as far as I am concerned), I rather wait another 10 years to learn who were the knights participating in the tourney, what were their sigils, and what they ate for breakfast, than being presented by some high-octane mess of action-filled chapters of little artistic value.

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    246. I´m Georges BIGGEST FAN but again we got a slow paced filler filled chapter.

      80% of it could be cut easily.

      Short version:
      -Alayne talks to Robert
      -goes to find LF only to meet HH and company with Myranda already there
      -Finds Lf and overhears his plans
      -Feast, dance and THE END

      See how simple can it be if you cut the filler out?

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    247. Facepatch,

      The chapter was released because there is a tourney in the Vale in the TV show. So, you will learn what happens at the tourney from the series, albeit only the major plot with some changes of course…

      @ Annie Wilkes: This chapter as well as the previously released Mercy chapter were published only to give the book readers some background on the story lines in the series that are still follow the books. That’s why it is what it is…unfinished and full of details with no climax.

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    248. Patchface: The chapter was released because there is a tourney in the Vale in the TV show.

      But there isn’t a tourney at the Vale in the first episode, and I can’t imagine we’ll be going back there.

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    249. Annie Wilkes,

      That’s not the short version. That’s literally all that happens.

      It’s an incredibly short and succinct chapter. There’s no filler. People are whining that “here goes GRRM again, wasting pages on descriptions of food”, when there’s barely a paragraph about it.

      Oh well…

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    250. jentario,

      I think Winds will be finished before the year’s end and published before next season airs completely. A Dream of Spring is another story: GRRM will publish more D&E before finishing it, so as to get the foundation for a Dunk and Egg prequel series.

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    251. Patchface,

      The “tourney” in the show isn’t as a real tourney at all; just Robin fucking up his training. Maybe they got the general idea from this chapter, but it’s not really much of an adaptation. It has to be something else. I’m pretty sure that what’s being adapted from this chapter is Littlefinger convincing Sansa to seduce Harry, and explaining how, though of course it won’t be Harry in the show.

      Or, of course, maybe the release of this chapter doesn’t have anything to do with season five. Though I personally believe it does.

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    252. jentario:
      Patchface,

      Who said there’s a tourney in the show? I thought it was just Robert practising (and failing)

      I was under the impression there was a tourney or some sort of fight in the series… I could very well be wrong…

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    253. I think people rushing Mr. Martin to finish his masterpiece #6 before the season 6 airs just don’t understand how writing art works. Now we have first confirmations of Valese knot, and I don’t think that this knot can be resolved that easily. As far as I am aware Mr. Martin had already figured out who is present at the tourney, and who wins it, but hasn’t yet figured out in what succession (in other words, who wins semifinals, quarterfinals, what are the pairings etc). Wearthead assured me that Mr. Martin wrote different Alayne chapters with different outcomes and pairings from 2005 on, but was never satisfied how it all turned out. We either have to wait a bit longer (not that I mind) for him to finish Alayne III and Alayne IV (the chapters that deal with the tourney, as Alayne II deals mostly with the breakfast before the tourney and Robin throwing up), or he’ll move Alayne IV and tourney semifinals to the ADOS. I like the second option more, as it would end the Vale storyline with a cliffhanger.

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    254. Facepatch:
      I think people rushing Mr. Martin to finish his masterpiece #6 before the season 6 airs just don’t understand how writing art works. Now we have first confirmations of Valese knot, and I don’t think that this knot can be resolved that easily. As far as I am aware Mr. Martin had already figured out who is present at the tourney, and who wins it, but hasn’t yet figured out in what succession (in other words, who wins semifinals, quarterfinals, what are the pairings etc). Wearthead assured me that Mr. Martin wrote different Alayne chapters with different outcomes and pairings from 2005 on, but was never satisfied how it all turned out. We either have to wait a bit longer (not that I mind) for him to finish Alayne III and Alayne IV (the chapters that deal with the tourney, as Alayne II deals mostly with the breakfast before the tourney and Robin throwing up), or he’ll move Alayne IV and tourney semifinals to the ADOS. I like the second option more, as it would end the Vale storyline with a cliffhanger.

      Who is Wearthead? And is this info you are posting fact or speculation?

      If I were to guess, we won’t have champions in the tourney at all, a death or two will prevent that… Someone dying in front of all the nobility gathered around there would exonerate LF of all suspicion…

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    255. Luka Nieto,

      I think the whole Harry the Heir/wedding dynamic was just thrown onto Ramsay. The purpose is the same (securing the North, with the Vale already secured in the show). Then the wildcard shows up and ends up helping Sansa escape, or perhaps stealing her away (which will be Theon in the show).

      I just hope Sansa gets to play the game a bit and doesn’t instantly become a helpless little girl again. I hope that her needing Theon’s help will be more because of Theon’s position and closeness to Ramsay than because she is really THAT powerless.

      And I really, really don’t want to see Sansa tortured by Ramsay in any way- most of all, sexually. Hopefully he restrains himself to please daddy, at least until shit hits the fan.

      Anyway… I think the Sansa-Theon dynamic will be a highlight this season. Especially the scene at the crypts (which is likely a nod at that Lady Dustin scene from the books).

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    256. jentario,

      Agreed completely on your speculation and your hopes, though I think I’m more optimistic and my hopes are outright expectations now. They’re not gonna suddenly backtrack on Sansa’s development.

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    257. Patchface: Who is Wearthead? And is this info you are posting fact or speculation?

      Sorry to be so misleading, I speculate to accumulate. All speculations, zero facts, all little lies, no truth. Only mislead, lead nowhere. And I don’t really know who’s Wearthead, I just felt like one.

      Apologies, again.

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    258. Ashara D: And creative people can be so hard on themselves that endlessly going back over things can be detrimental to their process and their health.

      It is the same with scientists. There is not a paper I have more than a few years old that I don’t partially wish that I could do over again. But if I did that, then I’d never get anything new done. It is Voltaire’s “the perfect is the enemy of the good” issue: just accept that what you have is good enough and move on to the next project.

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    259. Facepatch,

      Ah, ok. No need to apologize mate. Someone said people don’t get sarcasm online, well I guess (s)he was right cause I surely have trouble with it… I must be slow today, although I already had 3 large cups coffee and it’s barely past noon here.

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    260. Matty C: And using the word frugivory twice in one sentence? That’s bad style, man.

      If it was, then it had zero impact on the point that I was making: and that in itself was the point that I was making. (Of course, as I am a biologist, I am used to seeing such words multiple times in a paragraph!)

      Again, forget the details and focus on the story. We are all “purists” for one thing or another: it just so happens that some of us are purists for the same thing that B&W are, and others of us are not.

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    261. Wimsey,

      Don’t be so apologetic. I’d rather be a purist for actual substance —story—, than, for example, lines that have become catchy just because of the story they’re telling, though their fans don’t seem to realize it. “Only Cat” was great because of what it signified in that moment. “Your sister” works just as well. Sadly, people got hung up on something as silly as the specific words Littlefinger used instead of the actual story that was being conveyed at that moment.

      That’s an extreme case, of course. But the same goes for plot details and secondary characters. Yes, even changes as apparently dramatic as Jaime going to Dorne —the truth is D&D could’ve included the whole Riverlands subplot and completely fuck up Jaime’s actual story (just as they can tell that story perfectly well in Dorne —or anywhere but King’s Landing, away from Cersei, actually.) But I’m completely sure some book readers —those who care more about plot than story; and worse, treat it as gospel— would complain much less vehemently about the former than the latter, despite Jaime’s story being what matters, not the subplot in which he’s involved.

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    262. I have been threatened with physical violence. Why does this keep happening to me? I am a nice person and deserve nice things.

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    263. Lemons lemons lemons…..from the Martell’s private orchards maybe?

      Also…if I ever have a bastard daughter I am sooooo naming her “Saffron.”

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    264. Cumsprite,

      Oh, do put a sock in it Mr Sprite! You are such a drama king. Renly’s Peach, is obviously joking and you probably know it but milking this thing for all it’s worth stirring up trouble. Besides, where on earth would he wait “outside” to physically fight you?! Westeros?! I swear sometimes I think you are more trouble than it’s worth it. But then I somehow always reconsider.

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    265. Rygritte,

      Correction on my part….we know that there will be

      3 weddings this season and a process of elimination combined with what we do know about Sansa’s arc from the books PLUS what we know in the show

      many of us are pretty certain. But if I end up being wrong then I’ll be the first to say mea culpa.

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    266. Cumsprite:
      Renly’s Peach,

      I take it you loved the braidtwisting in Robert Jordan’s series?

      I did not say they were my biggest problems with it, son. You did, son. I would thank you not to put words in my mouth. Sue has not yet accepted my “Seven Reasons GURM Hates the Books, the Show and You” submission, but it’s a doozy and “nuncle” is waaaaaay down the rankings.

      Only 7 reasons?
      Post is somwhere and gives us a link 🙂

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    267. “I think the Sansa-Theon dynamic will be a highlight this season”

      Yes! Before this season, I never even thought of a possible dynamic between the two of them…but the parallels between them are too undeniable to resist.

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    268. Turncloak: Without a doubt. He’s in Cersei’s pocket correct?

      Actually he claimed to be working for Varys when he met Brienne:

      “Aye, love of gold. Unlike your good Ser Creighton, I did fight upon the Blackwater, but on the losing side. My ransom ruined me. You know who Varys is, I trust? The eunuch has offered a plump bag of gold for this girl you’ve never heard of. I am not a greedy man. If some oversized wench would help me find this naughty child, I would split the Spider’s coin with her.”

      The last line of this scene makes me pretty sure the Mad Mouse has recognized Sansa:

      Just thinking about it was enough to make her head spin. Alayne turned abruptly from the yard… and bumped into a short, sharp-faced man with a brush of orange hair who had come up behind her. His hand shot out and caught her arm before she could fall. “My lady. My pardons if I took you unawares.”

      “The fault was mine. I did not see you standing there.”

      “We mice are quiet creatures.” Ser Shadrich was so short that he might have been taken for a squire, but his face belonged to a much older man. She saw long leagues in the wrinkles at the corner of his mouth, old battles in the scar beneath his ear, and a hardness behind the eyes that no boy would ever have. This was a man grown. Even Randa overtopped him, though.

      “Will you be seeking wings?” the Royce girl said.

      “A mouse with wings would be a silly sight.”

      “Perhaps you will try the melee instead?” Alayne suggested. The melee was an afterthought, a sop for all the brothers, uncles, fathers, and friends who had accompanied the competitors to the Gates of the Moon to see them win their silver wings, but there would be prizes for the champions, and a chance to win ransoms.

      “A good melee is all a hedge knight can hope for, unless he stumbles on a bag of dragons. And that’s not likely, is it?

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    269. Casso: Actually he claimed to be working for Varys when he met Brienne:

      Not working for Varys personally. He’s hunting for the reward Varys put out in his capacity as Master of Whisperers, before he fled the capital. So he is talking about claiming the Lannisters’ reward.

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    270. Matty C,

      Thanks for the explanation.
      I don’t fall into either purist camp. I love both the books and the show. In terms of changes from the books to the show, there are some I’ve really liked, and some, to put it the way you did, while I understood why those choices were made, I didn’t like them. For instance, “your sister” didn’t bother me in the least, while Talisa did. I understood the reason for both, insofar as I think I can accurately guess why both were done, but I couldn’t understand the uproar over one, but did understand the complaints about the other.

      In terms of trusting D&D, from my perspective, they have absolutely earned my trust. For whatever “misses” they’ve had, and a couple of them were doozies, imo, they’ve gotten much more right, again, in my opinion. Thus, I am willing to wait to see how whatever changes play out before I judge them. I’m not going to freak out over something I have yet to see (as I have seen some who would probably fall under the category of “book purist” do), but I’m not going to blindly defend it, either (as I would guess what you call “show purists” would do), since I won’t know if it works until I’ve actually seen it. Even if I don’t like a change, though, I’m not one to freak out about it. I won’t call D&D hacks, just as I won’t call Martin some of what people call him.

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    271. Rygritte,

      I can honestly say I have no idea where they’re going with this marriage if it goes ahead. At the point it makes little to no sense. Sansa is now a catch 22. She either makes an unrealistic leap at being able to handle a psychopathic betrothed or she regresses back to pathetic helpless Sansa again. Just hope it doesn’t ruin the Northern storyline which I think most people agree was one of the strongest aspects of the last couple of books.

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    272. Facepatch:
      I loved the chapter. I had to wait 10 years for the next Sansa chapter (the last one being published in 2005), and it was well worth it. Now I just hope he doesn’t rush writing the next Sansa chapter (or any other as far as I am concerned), I rather wait another 10 years to learn who were the knights participating in the tourney, what were their sigils, and what they ate for breakfast, than being presented by some high-octane mess of action-filled chapters of little artistic value.

      Same here, don’t want the books rushed by the show, just keep the depth which people can continue to pore over for years picking out stuff

      Books are an artistic entity in itself

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    273. I wonder, like last year with Mercy chapter, how did the producers have access to these information and were able to use it in the show, when it is not yet in the books? I understand they have access to the general storyline of each characters, but the dialogues between Mercy in the excerpt and in the show were so similar…Has George granted access to all his written material?

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