Heisting Wights: Why the Season 7 setpiece may not have been such a bad idea after all

Wall - Beyond Frozen Lake 7x06 (3)

In every season of Game of Thrones, there are important events that set the tone. Ned’s beheading. The Red Wedding. Anytime Daenerys says “dracarys.” These are dramatic moments that often redefine the political landscape of the show. Occasionally, there are moments that are not so revered. Jaime and Bronn fighting the Sand Snakes. Daenerys yelling “Where are my dragons?” Arya vs the Waif.

Season Seven, despite featuring amazing action sequences, also drew its share of criticisms. Some felt Tyrion was not up to his usual brilliant self. The manufactured crisis between Arya and Sansa. Ed Sheeran.

And then there was the Wight Heist.

Tyrion: We’re gonna have to heist a wight.
Jon Snow: Can we?
Tyrion: It won’t be easy. We’ll need some muscle. Our own undead knight might be nice.
Jon: And someone who can run fast. You always need that.
Davos: I know a guy. I don’t know how fast he can run, but he’s the only guy I know.
Jon: Just as long as he’s not prettier than me.
Tyrion: Relax, Jon. You’re the Brad Pitt here. And I’m the Clooney. Why are you all laughing?

THE HEIST

The explicit declaration of the wight heist (I prefer the term Wight Heist over the more commonly used phrase Wight Hunt, because heist communicates such an Ocean’s Eleven vibe) happened in the fifth episode “Eastwatch”, which not only introduced the plan but included negotiations between the Lannister brothers, showed the recruitment of the individual team members, shipped everyone at the King’s Landing latitude to Eastwatch, and saw the dream team heading out into the true North. Even in a season where an Ironborn fleet can be near King’s Landing at the beginning of an episode and lobbing firebombs near Lannisport at the end of the episode, that’s a lot of activity and passage of time for one episode.

The motivating event to the wight extraction plan’s creation was an intelligence report from Bran Stark.

Jon: Bran saw the Night King and his army marching towards Eastwatch. If they make it past the Wall –
Varys: The Wall has kept them out for a thousand years. Presumably.
Jon: I need to go home.
Daenerys: You said you don’t have enough men.
Jon: We’ll fight with the men we have. Unless you’ll join us?
Dany: And give the country to Cersei? As soon as I march away, she marches in.
Tyrion: Perhaps not. Cersei thinks the army of the dead is a story made up by wet-nurses to frighten children. What if we prove her wrong?

The inarguably rushed planning and travel time presented within the episode was not warmly received by the fan audience. Particularly because the stated goal of the heist was to convince Cersei Lannister to consider the long term survival of humanity. On the face of it, not likely to succeed. Because of this perceived flaw in the mission objective, the enjoyment available in the following episode where Jon and his companions marched heroically and dramatically into adventure was undercut.

That episode – “Beyond the Wall” – was not perfect on its own merits. The logistics involved with Gendry being sent at a run for Eastwatch to send a raven on a trip halfway along the long axis of the continent to Dragonstone, requesting Daenerys to return with dragons was absolutely ridiculous.

Gendry Beyond the Wall 706

Even if Daenerys had received a letter days in advance by a prescient Bran directing her to saddle up and fly to the expedition’s rescue – Jon Snow should have no expectation that his plan to send Gendry could ever work. Unless he’s never seen a map of Westeros.

Sandor: So, why does that kid get to survive this and not us?
Jon: Relax, he’s going to call for help. Just hunker down. How long could it take?
Maester Luwin’s Ghost: This is my fault. I should have tried harder to teach Jon geography.

But improbable rescues aside, the episode featured some of what Game of Thrones does best: having characters talk to one another with the intersections of past character beats brought into a current context.

  • Jon and Beric talking about death
  • Jon and Jorah talking about Longclaw
  • Tormund and Sandor talking about Brienne
  • Everyone dismissing Gendry’s legitimate grievances

But the shadow of the rushed mission premise hung over the episode. For some, it was hard to appreciate the drama of the events north of the Wall if it was hard to accept the reason for them to be there in the first place.

With flaming polar bears, icy standoffs, fiery bombardments, dragonslaying missiles, and last moment rescues by undead uncles, the episode provided not only spectacular action beats but a wight to be taken on a trip to the sunny south.

In the season finale, Cersei was presented with this wight as proof of a pressing need for the cessation of hostilities with Daenerys. Cersei’s deceptive reaction—to falsely promise aid while planning a new offensive—was interpreted as a failure of the wight heist. After all, if the point of the heist was to convince Cersei about the danger then the entire operation failed. Since the plan failed, the rush to make it happen by the showrunners earlier in the season was also deemed a failure, justifying the earlier complaints and repudiating the spectacle of the Beyond the Wall episode.

That might all be true.

True, if the point of the wight heist was to convince Cersei. But that was not the main purpose of the expedition.

CONVINCING A QUEEN

Cersei Lannister and her opinions of an army of the dead was ultimately of secondary importance to the entire operation. The primary focus, i.e. the queen who needed to be influenced, was not Cersei but Daenerys Targaryen.

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Jon Snow came to Dragonstone for two reasons. One was to obtain obsidian for use against the White Walkers and wights. The second reason was to get Daenerys to commit her living weapons – her dragons – to the defense of humanity. Jon needed Daenerys to bring her metaphorical children to the North, since that kingdom would be the first to face the White Walkers when they breached the Wall.

Face to face at Dragonstone, Jon was unable to convince Dany, not even with a stirring speech by Ser Davos about corpses on the Iron Throne, that the army of the dead was a pressing threat and one that should take priority over the current mundane and non-apocalyptic political games happening in the south.

With diplomacy failing, Jon and Tyrion commiserated during a cliffside brooding session.

Jon Snow: It’s hard for me to fathom. If someone told me about the White Walkers and the Night King … you probably don’t believe me.
Tyrion: I do actually.
Jon Snow: Grumkins and snarks, you called them.

Tyrion asserted that the entire notion of a horde of walking dead and Jon’s insistence that Daenerys should prioritize the defense of a kingdom in rebellion over retaking the Iron Throne nearly in her grasp was unreasonable. Tyrion truly believed Jon’s reports, not only because of his personal experience with Jon, but with the deceased Lord Commander Mormont. But even though Tyrion was convinced, he wasn’t the one who had dragons at their disposal.

Jon Snow: How do I convince people – who don’t know me – that an enemy they don’t believe in is coming to kill them all?
Tyrion: Good question.
Jon Snow: I know it’s a good question. I’m looking for an answer.
Tyrion: People’s minds aren’t made for problems that large. White Walkers, the Night King. Army of the dead. It’s almost a relief to confront a comfortable, familiar monster like my sister.

Eventually, Tyrion did convince Daenerys to agree to one of Jon’s requests.

Daenerys: I will allow you to mine the dragonglass and forge weapons from it. Any resources or men you need, I will provide for you.
Jon: Thank you. So you believe me then, about the Night King and the Army of the Dead?
Daenerys: You’d best get to work, Jon Snow.

Daenerys did not believe in Jon’s concerns, and was not going to re-prioritize her campaign against Cersei. Because Cersei was a more comfortable monster to deal with. The devil you know rather than the devil you don’t know.

Game of Thrones is a rich and complex story, and often allusions are made to other works of literature. The assassination of Jon Snow brings out references to Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. Lyanna Stark’s elopement with Rhaegar is framed as a re-telling of the root cause of Homer’s Iliad. But Game of Thrones is such an expansive story that the latter seasons can be examined as echoes to events early on in the show.

History does not repeat itself, but it often rhymes
— proverbial wisdom often misattributed to Mark Twain

Daenerys being asked to choose between pursuing a conventional campaign against the Lannisters or withdrawing from the south to defend the North from threats beyond the Wall is a situation that another resident of Dragonstone previously faced. Stannis Baratheon chose to go to the North.

Stannis 310

It wasn’t an easy decision for Stannis to make. He felt that the throne was his by right, and any of Cersei’s children ruling from King’s Landing was an abomination. But his options in the south had successfully gotten worse and worse. The bulk of his military forces were defeated at the Battle of the Blackwater, and his witchy advisor Melisandre’s magical promises were rendered null and void when his nephew Gendry – a candidate for blood sacrifice – escaped with the aid of the moral Ser Davos.

Rather than punishing Ser Davos for his stubborn resistance to the ends not justifying the murderous means, Stannis pulled up his stakes, went deep into debt with the Iron Bank to finance troops and ships, and rescued the Night’s Watch, an ancient and vulnerable public institution, from the depredations of the wildlings.

Daenerys, although suffering similar military setbacks due to Euron and his Iron Fleet, was not quite in the same desperate position as Stannis when Jon first brought her word of the army of the dead. Later, when word came from Bran that the White Walkers were on the move, Dany’s forces had recently claimed momentum in the battles between Targaryens and Lannisters. She’d crushed Jaime’s army and had compelled Lannister bannermen to bend the knee to her.

Her successes made it even more unreasonable to insist that she abandon the south and side with the North against monsters.

Jon: We’ll fight with the men we have. Unless you’ll join us?
Dany: And give the country to Cersei?

Tyrion: It’s almost a relief to confront a comfortable, familiar monster like my sister.

Even though the stated goal of the wight heist was to convince Cersei that monsters were real and that she should take a break from being a monster at the moment, the real goal was to change Daenerys’s comfort level in regards to the risk of leaving the south to Cersei’s tender mercies.

CERSEI IS NO STANNIS

With a viable wight procured, the combined Stark and Targaryen delegation presented Cersei with proof that there’s at least one feral walking dead creature in the world. (She’d have to take their word that there were another hundred thousand of the ghouls.)

The negotiation request was simple: cease hostilities until after the army of such creatures and their inhuman masters were dealt with. Cersei wasn’t asked to yield or surrender, or even contribute to the general welfare of the realm. Just to not take advantage of Dany’s absence to further the Lannister ambitions. By agreeing to these terms, Daenerys could comfortably choose to go North and possibly save the realm.

Cersei Lannister Dragon and the Wolf 707

Initially, Cersei could not agree.

Or rather, she indicated that she could agree to those terms if Jon Snow would pledge to not contribute to Daenerys’s later efforts to retake the throne, after the war against the dead was done. Jon, who’d sworn fealty to Daenerys after she’d saved the day, could not agree to Cersei’s counter-offer. Nor could he pretend to agree and then go back on his word later.

With the negotiation at an impasse, Dany had to reconsider the Baratheon decision of either continuing her martial interest in the south or to commit to responding to the terrifying threat in the north, one that she’d seen firsthand and one that had claimed the life of one of her dragons. She could no longer pretend that the threat might not be real, as she did when humoring Jon as a potential ally.

Dany: You were right from the beginning. If I had trusted you, everything would be different.
Jon: So what now?
Dany: I can’t forget what I saw north of the Wall. And I can’t pretend that Cersei won’t take back half the country the moment I march north.
Jon: It appears Tyrion’s assessment was correct. We’re f&*^ed.

And then, Cersei made a surprise move.

Cersei: My armies will not stand down. I will not pull them back to the capital. I will march them north to fight alongside you in the great war. The darkness is coming for us all. We will face it together. And when the great war is over, perhaps you’ll remember that I chose to help. With no promises or assurances from any of you.

So what had changed? Why was Cersei not only setting aside her request for northern neutrality in a later conflict, but offering military support?

The private meeting with Tyrion had orchestrated this sea change in Cersei. After the temporary breakdown in the talks, the viewing audience saw some of the tense conversation between Cersei and Tyrion. She was reluctantly hesitant to have Ser Gregor kill Tyrion, and Tyrion learned that his sister is pregnant. The scene otherwise had little information to offer and ended abruptly, followed by Tyrion scuttling ahead of Cersei’s contingent coming to make her royal proclamation of support.

My speculation is that Tyrion impressed upon Cersei that it was in her best interests to at least appear amenable to Daenerys and Jon’s needs. Dany had brought her army to King’s Landing. If she couldn’t get assurances from Cersei, it could easily lead to bloodshed. Tyrion probably gave Cersei similar advice to what he gave to Daenerys when Jon came asking for help in the great war.

Tyrion: You don’t have to believe him. Let him mine the dragonglass. If he’s wrong, it’s worthless. You didn’t even know it was here. It’s nothing to you. Give him something – by giving him nothing.

Daenerys’s permission to Jon, authorizing him to mine the dragonglass was not exactly an empty gesture on her part, but it cost her little and gained her Jon’s goodwill.

Jon: Thank you. So you believe me then, about the Night King and the Army of the Dead?
Daenerys: You’d best get to work, Jon Snow.

I assume the conversation went something like this:

Tyrion: They’re not going to leave with nothing, Cersei. You’ll have to do something so unexpected, they’ll believe your lies.
Cersei: Hmmm. What would Stannis do?

Because Cersei is not going to follow through on her statements – she’s not going to send her troops north – her gesture of support is an empty offer. But it’s not worthless to Dany. Now Daenerys doesn’t have to make a hard choice. Now they don’t have to feel f&*^ed.

Tyrion Lannister Dragon and the Wolf 707

Tyrion would expect them to accept such an offer without questioning it too closely, because both Jon and Dany desperately want this kind of gesture from Cersei. Daenerys needs to get her dragons to the North, as soon as possible. But that’s hindered by her belief that she has to remain in the south to counter Cersei. The comfortable monster.

But now the comfortable monster is no more. Cersei presented herself as the one making the decision that Dany wants to make, the Stannis decision. Dany and Jon want to believe it is true, and so they do. The phenomenon of confirmation bias had been brought up earlier on the show by Tyrion, a keen observer of psychology.

Daenerys: And what do you think about this army of the dead – and White Walkers – and Night Kings?
Tyrion: I would very much like to believe that Jon Snow is wrong. But a wise man once said that you should never believe a thing simply because you want to believe it.
Dany: Which wise man said this?
Tyrion: I don’t remember.
Dany: Are you trying to present your own statements as ancient wisdom?

Tyrion understands biases and the danger they pose to decision making. He also understands that not everyone thinks things through like he does. He could coach Cersei on what to say to salvage the diplomatic summit and achieve his goals. Is Tyrion betraying Daenerys by aiding Cersei with his counsel, so Daenerys would abandon the battle in the south and go north?

Stannis: Yes. Tyrion is betraying the Targaryen girl by conspiring with that Lannister bitch.
Davos: Sort of like how I betrayed you by allowing your nephew to escape. To free you from having to burn him.
Stannis: Something along those lines.

So the wight heist succeeded in two ways. It gave Daenerys first-hand exposure to the dangers posed by the White Walker, which forced her into considering a Stannis Baratheon decision point. And the wight display in the dragonpit gave Cersei the opportunity to fake an imitation of Stannis, pretending to set aside her southern ambitions so Dany would go north.

Tyrion: Mission Accomplished.

RUSHING THE HEIST

Although I don’t agree that the wight heist was a waste of time, or crazypants (as I have seen it described) and I do suggest that it is an under-appreciated element of Season Seven, the wight heist is not above criticism. The introduction and pre-expedition execution was a lot to cram into one episode that basically sets up the most critical part of the season.

Everything in the season leading up to the Eastwatch episode (in regards to the Cersei-Dany conflict) was prologue to the wight heist: resetting the perceived power balance between Dany and Cersei (since everyone assumed Dany would roast Cersei in episode one), and giving Dany narrative momentum from the Spoils of War episode so she’d have something to lose if Dany went North.

Everything after the Eastwatch heist-planning episode was the execution of the heist and the fallout, which vindicated the mission goal of freeing Dany from her hesitation to commit to fighting the White Walkers.

Therefore, the wight heist operation was the spine of Season Seven. It was the defining sequence, even more so than the Loot Train battle at the end of episode four.

Highgarden Field of Fire 7x04 (22)

Not everyone is going to agree with that assessment, but I’d suggest that the rushed nature of the seventh season, with less episodes to space out events and allow plot points to be introduced and develop more naturally, hurt the presentation of this most critical element of the season.

It’s not that the wight heist made Season Seven bad, but that the the structure of Season Seven did not properly serve its most important aspect.

One argument dismissing the wight heist would be the observation that Dany’s rescue of the adventuring party handed the Night King his means to breach the Wall and swarm into the kingdom of the North. The speculation is that had Jon and his team not gone hunting wights, they wouldn’t have been threatened and in need of rescue, and Viserion would not have died and then raised as a Wall-bashing thrall for the Night King.

This is entirely a fair read, assuming that in an alternate universe where Dany ignored Jon’s concerns entirely, the White Walkers are just pacing back and forth along the boundary of the Wall, awake, active, but unable to do anything about it.

Edd: I know I usually see the bad side of any situation, but this seems like a win-win. We don’t have to do any more northern ranging, and there’s never any wildling raids anymore – since they’re all undead and stuck beyond the Wall. Nothing bad can come from this situation.

Except – the northern narrative guarantees that the White Walkers would eventually come south. Almost everything Jon does since Season Four was based on the idea that the White Walkers and the army of the dead was an imminent threat.

  • Jon brought wildlings through the Wall because he was saving them from the White Walkers.
  • After Jon was betrayed and murdered by his comrades, he was resurrected specifically because he was needed in the fight between the dead and the living.

If the White Walkers were never a serious threat, what was that all for? What was Hardhome for? Did Karsi die for nothing? Olly died for nothing?

Or maybe Jon’s mission was fated to happen, as was the rescue attempt by Dany and the loss of Viserion, but if that’s the case then the wight heist has been justified by Fate, and there’s no need to be angry about that.

The more satisfying conclusion would be that Jon’s concerns were valid. That the White Walkers would eventually get through and the living had to prepare for that eventuality. That had the Night King not gotten his hands on a dragon, then they’d have found some other way past the Wall. Maybe they’d amass a large enough of a wight army to just topple over a section, or that the ancient wards would fail and they’d scuttle over, or Cersei would exile the entirety of Dorne to the Wall and their spicy pepper meals would melt the ancient barrier.

If that were the case and humanity had been aware of the threat but had taken no action in preparation based on the idea that the Wall was impenetrable… that would have been far more nonsensical than going north to fetch a wight.

Wall - Beyond Frozen Lake 7x06 (13)

Jon: Was it nonsensical? In Season One we brought back two wights. Just found them lying around. Seems like good odds we’d find wights again.
Bran: Especially since I told you where they were.
Tyrion: And should Ser Jorah Mormont and the King in the North happen to not come back from this dangerous assignment, at least Queen Daenerys would continue to benefit from my excellent advice.
Daario: It’s funny how everyone in the Khaleesi’s inner circle gets sent away.
Barristan’s Ghost: Or dies.
Lady Olenna’s Ghost: It is rather suspicious.

Regardless if someone thinks that the mission to acquire a wight was ill-conceived, or that the desired goal of the mission could be achieved by other means, or that the execution on-screen was flawed (parts of it were) – Daenerys has taken her forces northwards because of the heist.

And Cersei, thanks entirely to a captured wight, gets a chance to shore up her position in the south.

The political landscape on the show has again been redefined. And that’s not a bad thing.

181 responses

Jump to (and Always Support) the Bottom

    1. Very enjoyable essay.

      To further your argument, Jon specifically said he had to convince both Queens at the end of 705 to Tormund. So it is very clear that convincing Dany is a big part of this.

      The big question mark for me is did Tyrion really suggest to Cersei that she needed to appear to give them something or was he just as fooled as the rest of them.

      In the Inside the Episode to 707, D&D imply that Cersei fools Tyrion as well.

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    2. House Monty: In the Inside the Episode to 707, D&D imply that Cersei fools Tyrion as well.

      This is one example as to why I’ve been a bit frustrated with the way Tyrion has been written lately. After all that Tyrion has been through with Cersei, he was actually gullible enough to believe that she’d help fight the AOTD?

      I find that incredible.

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    3. If you take a look at where we left off at the end of season 6 (Daenerys’s huge armada on its way to Westeros outnumbering all Westerosi forces combined), the Season 7 plot served to shift the logical course of events from destroying Cersei first and then dealing with the northern threats (whether it be North itself or AotD) to the opposite i.e. fight the AotD first and leave Cersei as endgame material. I still think this overhaul wasn’t done convincingly.

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    4. Milutin,

      I feel that way too, in S7 Daenerys seems depowered compared to the previous episode. Same with Tyrion and Sansa, they act as a dumber version of themselves.

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    5. Great read. unsure if I am in minority or not but I liked the episode taken for what it is.

      I am in the camp that believes there had to be a large portion of the Cercei/Tyrion conversation that we didn’t see. Did Tyrion betray Jon and Dany? Did Cercei trick Tyrion? who knows. There has to be more to this.

      Tyrion’s assessment of “we’re F’d” clearly didn’t mean that because of the parlay outcome they didn’t have any options, it is that they didn’t have any good options. Dany had the entirety of her military force plus Dragons outside the gates. They could have taken King’s Landing and the Throne right then. It would have been messy and would have delayed getting back to defend the North against AOTD. And if she wanted to do that fast, thousands of civilians would have burned.

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    6. From what I remember when reading the books I never really thought that a human-vs-human war would be the final war. It certainly didn’t involve Cersei being the final obstacle for the kingdom to overcome. It sure seems to be looking that way with what little we’ve been able to use to guess about the timeline. OR, maybe it’s more likely that the human-vs-human war will be completed during and by the events of the human-vs-NK war.

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    7. Thanks for this analysis! It’s made more sense out of Season 7 than I’ve so far seen. Things would have been more understandable and justifiable, from a character and plot perspective, if there had been less rush, more episodes, more of those human-human interactions, particularly if they could have toned down on the excessive spectacle some. Based on Season 7, Season 8 will be much more of the same – tiny vignettes of character interaction that we will endlessly dissect and wish there were more of, with way too much over the top and unnecessary battle action.

      Well, that’s just my opinion. I realize that a lot of people live only for the over the top battle action – and if anything conforms to the known laws of physics, it’s boring. Video in the 21st century! I do want sufficient dragonfire, though.

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    8. Mr Derp,

      I don’t think its unreasonable to think she would fight. The AOTD is a threat to her and her child why wouldn’t she fight? The crazy thing is to risk everything for an outside chance at staying in power. The Cersei he knew was one who priotized her children over anything.

      But I do understand your problems with Tyrion. We like to think of him as smart and super capable. And both in Season 6 and Season 7 he makes some big misjudgements. Even though individually I can explain and understand each one, collectively it just feels like he has been fucking up a lot.

      Will be interesting to see where this goes and what his final chapter holds.

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    9. mass:
      Next week is True detective finale and we are getting closer and closer to release of first trailer. just 6 days…

      They just dropped the Veep trailer and poster today and Veep premieres March 31st, 2 weeks before GoT. Hopefully a GoT trailer is a couple weeks away. Early March.

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    10. House Monty,

      Tyrion should know better than anyone not to trust Cersei. It’s that simple. If she tells you that she’ll commit forces to fight the AOTD, then it should be assumed that she’s lying.

      She loved her children, yes, but she wouldn’t do anything for them, no matter what was quoted in the show. If that was the case then she would’ve made a better effort to help her son Tommen become a better king. She did absolutely nothing to help him at all. She cared more about getting back at Margery. Her son was collateral damage just so she could get revenge on Margery.

      No matter what anyone claims, it’s clear to me that Cersei only cares about herself. Her children are like possessions to her. She cares about them because they are hers. She doesn’t actually care about them as people.

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    11. House Monty:
      Very enjoyable essay.

      To further your argument, Jon specifically said he had to convince both Queens at the end of 705 to Tormund. So it is very clear that convincing Dany is a big part of this.

      I appreciate you reminding us of that detail!

      The big question mark for me is did Tyrion really suggest to Cersei that she needed to appear to give them something or was he just as fooled as the rest of them.

      In the Inside the Episode to 707, D&D imply that Cersei fools Tyrion as well.

      I try not to pay attention to what the showrunners say, but you bring up a good point. It just seems more likely that Tyrion would engineer this than Cersei. But obviously, I won’t debate them.

      I suppose we might find out in a few months.

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    12. It’s not unreasonable to suppose that Tyrion became overconfident and stopped learning from his mistakes and failed to adapt to new situations, while everyone around him that got outwitted by him early on learned from their experiences and got smarter because of it.

      Cercei for instance started off as an entitled idiot thinking she’s smart to someone who actually learned to outwit people smarter than her.

      For me this works perfectly if I’m honest. I don’t see the same character issues with Tyrion as some do.

      And even so, none of his plans were bad on the surface and just because he was outwitted doesn’t necessarily mean the plans weren’t good.

      You could come up with the most ingenious plan ever and still lose to someone who anticipated it.

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    13. Mr Derp,

      Why should Tyrion know Cersei better than Jaime? Jaime I would think knows her way better. They grew up together, have been lovers and just spent more time together. Yet he also did not think she was lying.

      Also, I understand your take. But I don’t think that is really what the authors are going for. D&D have talked consistently about the fact that she does love her kids. Which is why she is even willing to go public with the bastardy to protect Tommen from Tywin and Margery. She may have a sick possessive love of them, but the narrative and the writers of the show stress repeatedly that it is love.

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    14. Milutin:
      If you take a look at where we left off at the end of season 6 (Daenerys’s huge armada on its way to Westeros outnumbering all Westerosi forces combined), the Season 7 plot served to shift the logical course of events from destroying Cersei first and then dealing with the northern threats (whether it be North itself or AotD) to the opposite i.e. fight the AotD first and leave Cersei as endgame material. I still think this overhaul wasn’t done convincingly.

      I don’t know if your numbers on troop strength can be definitively backed up, since the number of Dany’s Dothraki cavalry are never explicitly stated (I ballpark it around 40,000 just from Drogo’s reputed troop strength, but we don’t know.)

      But that all aside, Season Seven might have done a less than satisfying job rebalancing the perception of power between Dany and Cersei, but that isn’t the fault of the wight hunt.

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    15. zandru,

      Thanks! I am a fan of the spectacle so I am looking forward to it in Season 8, but like you said, I’d like it grounded by quality non-spectacle (but still spectacular) moments.

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    16. House Monty,

      I honestly don’t think Tyrion has been messing up as much as people think. His offer to the slavers in season 6 was sensible and they would have been fools to turn it down. Naturally, they did, and they paid for their blunder with their lives. That was the slavers’ fuck up, not Tyrion’s. Before that, not only did he keep Meereen from falling apart while Danerys was away, the city was thriving under his rule.

      In season 7, he did make miscalculations but Tyrion was thinking long term rather than short term. Tyrion knew that Danerys’s victory was all but assured, so he was concentrating on how she won the throne, rather than the act of winning it, which is more important.

      The idea behind the wight hunt wasn’t bad. People say that Tyrion should have known how Cersei would have reacted meeting a wight for the first time, but I disagree. The precedent hasn’t been set yet to how Cersei would react to an Ice Zombie Apocalypse. The execution of the wight hunt, however, was heavily flawed, but I put the blame of that on everyone, not just Tyrion. They should have known that a dragon would be their only means of escape. I don’t think it would have been too much trouble for Danerys to lend them one.

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    17. mass:
      Next week is True detective finale and we are getting closer and closer to release of first trailer. just 6 days…

      I really hope we get one at that time!

        Quote  Reply

    18. King in the North East:

      And even so, none of his plans were bad on the surface and just because he was outwitted doesn’t necessarily mean the plans weren’t good.

      You could come up with the most ingenious plan ever and still lose to someone who anticipated it.

      100% agree.

      I thought Tyrion’s plans were very rational throughout the season. Even his clandestine meeting with Jaime paid off by allowing the dragonpit meeting in the first place, and probably contributed to Jaime taking a stand and leaving Cersei.

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    19. House Monty,

      Because Tyrion knows the bad side of Cersei far more extensively than Jaime does. So does Sansa. If Sansa knows not to trust anything Cersei says then there’s really no excuse for Tyrion.

      Jaime always tried to look at Cersei in the best possible light because of their relationship. Unfortunately, because of that mindset, he missed a lot of the obvious signs that she wasn’t someone to be trusted at all. He only realized it at the end of season 7.

      When Jaime shows up to WF and tells everyone that Cersei lied about helping, do you really think anyone will be surprised upon hearing that? They shouldnt be.

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    20. Mr Derp,

      Tyrion did not fall for her deception because he trusted her.

      He fell for her deception because he thought it was in her interest to help out.

      Its the same thing in Season 6. He thought the masters would keep the deal because it was in their interest to do so not because he trusted them.

      “I don’t trust the Masters. I trust their self-interest. They’re trustworthy if they’re convinced that working with me is in their self-interest.”

      His failure was not one of trust. It was a failure to see how she perceived her interests.

      Also, the claim that Jaime does not know the badside of Cersei I am not sure really stands up to scrutiny. Jaime seems to know what his sister is capable of. “Why have the gods forced me to love such a hateful woman”

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    21. Mr Derp:
      House Monty,

      Ok, then it’s even dumber for them not to know that they shouldn’t trust Cersei.

      Again, if Sansa knows not to trust Cersei, then why doesn’t Tyrion?

      Because it seems pretty reasonable that someone who is about to be invaded by ice zombies might want to do something about it.

      But lets agree to disagree.

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    22. House Monty: Because it seems pretty reasonable that someone who is about to be invaded by ice zombies might want to do something about it.

      But lets agree to disagree.

      I agree with you. Team Reasonable also didn’t know about Cersei’s plan to bring in the Golden Company, and her opinion that they can keep the south safe from whomever wins in the North. (Explicity stated later to Jaime.)

      My gut says that Tyrion didn’t care if Cersei believed them or not, if she helped them or not. Just that she could fake it enough for Dany to believe and head North.

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    23. House Monty:

      In the Inside the Episode to 707, D&D imply that Cersei fools Tyrion as well.

      Not everything in the Inside the episode is always true, its true for now until a new episode states something else. They are not going to reveal a big plot twist in an inside clip.

      Miguel,

      They didn’t act dumber than themselves. People tend to forget somethings:
      1. Cercei is very cunning. The only thing that keeps her “dumb” is her love for her children, she acts unlogical to keep them safe or she can react emotional when concerning them. Like in season 2 where she reacts when Tyrion ships off Myrcella. Her frustration gets the better of herself. At the end of season 6 all her children are death. She converts her sadness and anger towards her enemies, she doesn’t need to concern for the safety of her children anymore, she can go as far as she pleases. No bondaries.
      2. Tyrion is a very smart guy, but he is torn between his family and doing the right thing. It was clear with the loot train battle. He didn’t like what he saw there. He got conflicted, his thinking will not be as good as before that. And don’t forget his drinking, if you think that’s healy for a mind think again.
      2a. At the end of the season Tyrion thinks of Cercei as the old Cercei the one who gets emotional for her kids and that he could read her, but she has changed. She could even use that to her advantage now. And another way is that Tyrion is in on it.
      3. Jaime knows his brother, he maybe isn’t that smart as Tyrion, but he is a strategic and a military man. And he learned from the past. Even in the real world, smart guys never outsmart military man when it comes to war strategic. So Jaime outsmarting Tyrion made all the sense in the world.
      4. Dany is not as smart as people think she is. She is bold, and she has a pokerface, which she uses to her advantage. End of 3×04. But she has made some terrible mistakes as well. She learn from her mistakes but still she made them. Trusting Mirri Maaz Dur. (Why she ever trust a woman which her people murdered her family and raped her and think that woman would do everything for her is besides me). Putting slavers to the crosses. Yes it was justice but was it smart? Even when people advice her to not do it (who had the experience how to handle things like that), that action combined with her action at the end of 5×02 lead to the start of the Harpy (if she worked with the good nobles of Mereen who would abolish slavery she could have changes things much better), and that lead to the events of 5×09 where she was attacked in the pit.
      4b. Same with episode 7×04, she showed all her cards to Jaime and Cercei at that moment which they could use later.

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    24. Mr Derp,

      House Monty,

      Both of you are right and wrong at the same time.

      It’s true that Cersei loves power above all; however, this was revealed only in Ep610, when she told Qyburn to burn Thommen’s body. And Tyrion was far and away at that moment as well as Jaime who only started to recognize Cersei’s true nature, when she told him that Tommen had betrayed her in Ep701. But it took him a whole season to get the full picture.

      As for Tyrion, he never saw Cersei’s scheeming against Margeary, he never talked to Tommen who was actually the first to realize that his mother was a total monster, etc.
      All he saw was that Cersei put down Euron to defend her hated brother; so, he had a reason to indulge into wishful thinking that his sis still has some loyalty to her family and love to her children by extension.

      Besides that, he was ringht assuming that given an opportunity to see a wight with her own eyes, Cersei would take it seriously: indeed she got scared to death. But even that didn’t stop her, basicly because Cersei has always been playing a very different game of thrones than Tyrion ever did. Tyrion has always targeted some middle ground – not exactly living in harmony but a compromise nonetheless. But there has never been any middle ground for Cersei: just you win or you die. And being a reasonable man (just like Tywin BTW) Tyrion is completely incapable of imagining such craziness. Just like many other people who lost to Cersei. So, it’s not quite fair to assume that Tyrion should have known and seen through her lies. Quite on the contrary, he couldn’t. He gave her a good adwise: to help without promises or assurances. Not only Jon but also Dany would have been honor-bound to seek some accomodation with her afterwards, had she done that. She could have secured herself personal safety and a good piece of the Seven Kingdoms. But she wants it all or nothing at all, so she will lose just like Tyrion said, but before that she’ll make a great lot of problems to everyone else.

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    25. House Monty,

      It also seems pretty reasonable not to trust the most untrustworthy person in Westeros to help you fight a war. I find it completely mad that anyone who knows Cersei as well as Tyrion does would think otherwise.

      But yes, I think agreeing to disagree is…agreeable.

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    26. Clob,

      +1 I think episode 1 till 3 focused on Human vs NK. Episode 4 and 5 on the more human side of the war. And in episode 6 both will be resolved around the same time.

      Milutin,
      We dont’t know what will happen in the books with Cercei in WW maybe something similar as the show where she will take control.

      King in the North East,

      And don’t forget in season 5 he was a big part drunk, and a big part not playing the game. I think it is the same as with for instance sports, even when you’re the greatest sportsman out there, if you don’t train for months you have a big problem getting back where you were. And he got to Mereen and he thought he had a easier job than in KL, he didn’t really get back where he was. And at the same time Cercei learned a lot, she had her biggest challenge yet. Margerey and The High Sparrow.

      Mr Derp,

      There’s where your wrong. He knew that from season 1. Look at their conversation together. He even stated they should murder everyone who isn’t them. He knew that side but he didn’t care it was there. He was despised by the world (because of Ned) and Cercei made him feel like he was worth something, even when it was Jaime’s bad side. That side of him made Cercei admire (i wouln’t say love) him and that meant that one person in the world made him feel good about himself.

      Then came Brienne who admire him for the past, he got the recognition of a person that wasn’t his sister and that he could be admired and maybe even loved for his good side.

      He knew Cercei the best not Tyrion, he just didn’t care.

      And he knew at the end of season 6 that Cercei couldn’t be helped (cured or what the hell you would name it), but he felt that it was to late for himself, he was doomed no matter what so he sticked with her again as long as they were together. And that’s where Cercei fucked up. He didn’t leave because he saw her true side, he left because he was left out. And on the same day he saw Brienne (Which I think helped a bit) which he knew he should and could choose another path.

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    27. Mr Derp,

      The most untrustworthy person in Westeros was LF and yet Sansa used him to fight a war and won that war because of it despite not trusting him.

      You keep going back to trust but I don’t think its about trust.

      Tyrion misunderstood how Cersei would behave not because he trusted her, but because he thought she would be more motivated to protect her unborn child from ice zombies than retain power.

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    28. House Monty: Tyrion misunderstood how Cersei would behave not because he trusted her, but because he thought she would be more motivated to protect her child than retain power.

      He didn’t know Cersei was pregnant until after this was all set into motion.

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    29. I think the story would have been more interesting if Cersei did send a force North, with plans of betrayal kept from Jaime, and for a while the audience.

        Quote  Reply

    30. Inga,

      About the end of season 6 and 7×01. I always interpreted Cercei different there. I myself am a very emotional person and when my grandparents all died in 2 years and my grandmothers both in 6 months, after that I didn’t feel emotion at all, I felt emotionless, somehow I blocked that emotion.
      And when seeing Cercei in season 6 I had the same feeling with her. And Especially 7×01, you can see she was emotional at the beginning of her sentence and that she switch that to her emotionless side. (which I praise Lena Heady for her acting skills)

      I think she is blocking her emotion on purpose, because when she let that go, I think she will cry for days. And I can’t blame her. Her first son died because he was murdered, because he was a cunt, and she know that was her fault, she raised him to much like a prince, and she should never have let him have power.
      Her daughter was murdered because of her action with the trial of Tyrion, that led to the death of Oberyn and the death of her daughter.
      Samething with Tommen, she murdered Margery which let to his suicide.
      She know she is the one who had a hand in all 3 deaths and she can not forgive herself for that. So she blocks those emotion and resolve to power.

      I think there’s a big chance that she will get a moment in season 7 where that side will come out again.

      About season 7, I think the problem is only episode 5. The set-up of the wight hunt. Because if that made more sense for the viewers (like this article explains) people would love episode 6 more than episode 4 I think.

      I think they should have added 2 scenes.
      1. I think Jorah should have said something about convincing the Maesters in Oldtown because everyone in Westeros would listen to them.
      2. I think the second problem was the time shift, I think Jon and Co were on that island (if you could call that) for about 4 days. I think if they had a remark that they were there for days that it would have made more sense for most viewers. And I think there should have been a sentence when Dany flew away from dragonstone like:
      Tyrion: Your grace, isn’t it smarter to wait for a raven from the north with some news.
      Dany: I’m done waiting.
      And have a scene later that the letter from Gendry arived at dragon stone but only be read by Tyrion.

      This would also strenghten the view on Jon and Dany’s relationship because she flew there not because of some news but because she was worried about Jon.

      Mr Derp:
      House Monty,

      It also seems pretty reasonable not to trust the most untrustworthy person in Westeros to help you fight a war.

      Wasn’t Littlefinger in the north at that time?

      Lord Parramandas,

      +1

        Quote  Reply

    31. Mr Derp,

      No he did not. But that is why he thinks she is going to help out.

      If you are talking about the very idea of the wight hunt, then I don’t think anything really changes.

      His plan is based on Cersei seeing the dead and recognizing the huge threat it poses to her. Not on her being trust worthy.

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    32. Northstar,

      Maybe, but I don’t think so: we would have lost Jaime’s character development in such case. However, there’s still a chance that Cersei will make no obstackles for Jaime to bring at least some of the Lannister troops to the North and we or at least Jaime will be hoping that she has reconsidered.

        Quote  Reply

    33. Patrick Sponaugle,

      Well, if you add the dragons into the count, the odds shift greatly in Daenerys’s favour. A few thousand soldiers up or down doesn’t change much the whole thing.
      Also, if Tyrion’s motives are as described in this article then he acts more as Cersei’s Hand than Daenerys’s. He encouraged Cersei to help him deceive Daenerys and Jon, so that they could get going north?
      One more thing, It looks like you put equal blame for the wight heist on both Cersei and Daenerys claiming they both need convincing. Daenerys is one of my favourite characters so I’ll try to defend her here a bit:) As I see it, Cersei was the one who needed convincing the AotD exists at the moment the wight heist idea comes to the fore and originally that is why this plan was devised by Tyrion. Daenerys needed Cersei to be convinced and it is a legitimate strategic concern, because Daenerys would put her forces between AotD and Cersei and she needed to be assured that Cersei won’t stab them in the back while they fight the AotD.
      Anyway, I want to thank you for this article. I enjoyed reading it. The fact that we disagree with certain parts of it only makes the debate livelier.

        Quote  Reply

    34. From the essay… “Not everyone is going to agree with that assessment, but I’d suggest that the rushed nature of the seventh season, with less episodes to space out events and allow plot points to be introduced and develop more naturally, hurt the presentation of this most critical element of the season.

      If Stannis taught us all nothing else… “fewer episodes”

        Quote  Reply

    35. Mr Derp: Tyrion should know better than anyone not to trust Cersei. It’s that simple. If she tells you that she’ll commit forces to fight the AOTD, then it should be assumed that she’s lying.

      Honestly, I believe that if Tyrion believes her (who knows what was said during that conversation?) this is due to the writing in season seven. Yes Tyrion should know better but to progress the plot they needed Jon, Daenerys, etc. to be convinced that Cersei understood the oncoming danger and for that to happen Tyrion has to believe Cersei … so he did…

      It would not be a unique occurence this season. At Winterfell Arya no longer trusts Sasa due to the letter she sent when she was a hostage in KL? While Robb and Catelyn never made a problem of that very same letter when they received it. And Sansa falls for LF while she intimately knows how untrustworthy he is?

      I find this very unconvincing they mangled both of these characters to create unnecesary tension so I would not be suprised if Tyrion fell victim to the same flaw on the side of the creators.

        Quote  Reply

    36. It was a terrible idea and all the scenes were poorly written.

      Stop making excuses for DnD. The show sucks and that is that. We just have to hope for WoW to come out so we can forget this awful fan fiction and move on with our lives.

        Quote  Reply

    37. House Monty: No he did not. But that is why he thinks she is going to help out.

      It’s been a while since I’ve seen this episode, but I remember that they already had this meeting scheduled, so there logically should’ve been another reason why he thought Cersei would help. I assume he thought that showing her the wight would be enough to get her to help, like you said, but I’m of the opinion that this should’ve been a nonstarter in the first place. Cersei is a different bird. She has a history of siding with her selfish desires over logic and she is not one to make alliances, even if it would be beneficial to her in the end. Just ask the Tyrells. She’s much too selfish for that. Tyrion should know this.

      I’m actually surprised that Cersei’s reaction after seeing the wight wasn’t, “what, only 1 of them? You want me to call a truce over this?. WHy should I believe you that there’s more? Besides, there’s wall holding them back anyway.”

      Any alliance that she’s ever made has ended up badly for the other side and, again, Tyrion knows this. If Cersei says anything that is even slightly hinting at a truce then it should immediately arouse Tyrion’s suspicions, not relieve them.

        Quote  Reply

    38. “Wight heist” or wight hunt; “despite its faults, which are many and its absurdities, which are greater,” it is still an episode to be loathed.

        Quote  Reply

    39. Interesting and entertaining read! Looks like you had fun writing it 🙂

      “Because Cersei is not going to follow through on her statements – she’s not going to send her troops north – her gesture of support is an empty offer. But it’s not worthless to Dany. Now Daenerys doesn’t have to make a hard choice. Now they don’t have to feel f&*^ed.”

      It rather shows his lack of faith in Daenerys. If he thought she would make the right choice he would not need to deceive her this way. In this scenario he does not treat her as a person (whose judgment) he respects.

      Davos: Sort of like how I betrayed you by allowing your nephew to escape. To free you from having to burn him.”

      Indeed Stannis would have burned him. So this brings home once more that Tyrion truly believes in this scenario that Daenerys would prioritize her quest for the throne while she knows first hand how dangerous they are.

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    40. Milutin:
      Patrick Sponaugle,

      Well, if you add the dragons into the count, the odds shift greatly in Daenerys’s favour. A few thousand soldiers up or down doesn’t change much the whole thing.Also, if Tyrion’s motives are as described in this article then he acts more as Cersei’s Hand than Daenerys’s. He encouraged Cersei to help him deceive Daenerys and Jon, so that they could get going north?
      One more thing, It looks like you put equal blame for the wight heist on both Cersei and Daenerys claiming they both need convincing. Daenerys is one of my favourite characters so I’ll try to defend her here a bit:) As I see it, Cersei was the one who needed convincing the AotD exists at the moment the wight heist idea comes to the fore and originally that is whythis plan was devised by Tyrion. Daenerysneeded Cersei to be convinced and it is a legitimate strategic concern, because Daenerys would put her forces between AotD and Cersei and she needed to be assured that Cersei won’t stab them in the back while they fight the AotD.
      Anyway, I want to thank you for this article. I enjoyed reading it. The fact that we disagree with certain parts of it only makes the debate livelier.

      I really appreciate what you’re saying, friend. Right on.

      A little disagreement is great for discussion.

      I sort of addressed the Tyrion topic when I suggested he was betraying Dany the same way Davos betrayed Stannis by freeing Gendry.

      Thank you very much for your comments, and for your engagement. I knew this post would be controversial.

      I also applaud you defending Dany, who I hope is presented in a better light that Cersei.

      I mean, I have no topic heading saying DANY IS NO STANNIS

        Quote  Reply

    41. Occasional misfire,

      I strongly disagree. GOT still continues to be my favorite show. Beyond the Wall wasn’t one of my top episodes, but I still enjoyed it immensely. It’s the books that went downhill for me. Right now, I’m much more excited for season 8 than Winds of Winter.

        Quote  Reply

    42. Stannis Grammaticus:
      From the essay… “Not everyone is going to agree with that assessment, but I’d suggest that the rushed nature of the seventh season, with less episodes to space out events and allow plot points to be introduced and develop more naturally, hurt the presentation of this most critical element of the season.

      If Stannis taught us all nothing else… “fewer episodes”

      I have been appropriately Baratheoned!!!!!!

        Quote  Reply

    43. House Monty: The most untrustworthy person in Westeros was LF and yet Sansa used him to fight a war and won that war because of it despite not trusting him.

      Ok, Cersei is either the 2nd or tied for 1st for least trusted person in Westeros. Hopefully this works better 🙂

      LF was willing to play the game because he loved Sansa. She was his weakness. She was able to manipulate him because of it. Cersei is no LF. She doesn’t want anything like that from the North or Dany. Cersei doesn’t want to play any games. She just wants them to die, so these comparisons don’t hold up.

        Quote  Reply

    44. Occasional misfire:
      It was a terrible idea and all the scenes were poorly written.

      Stop making excuses for DnD. The show sucks and that is that. We just have to hope for WoW to come out so we can forget this awful fan fiction and move on with our lives.

      Did you mistake WotW for westeros.org or what?

        Quote  Reply

    45. This is entirely a fair read, assuming that in an alternate universe where Dany ignored Jon’s concerns entirely, the White Walkers are just pacing back and forth along the boundary of the Wall, awake, active, but unable to do anything about it.

      This seems a false dichotomy to me. Who said that the ‘wight heist’ is the only possible way in which Daenerys might have been notified of the nature and width of the threat beyond the wall?

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    46. Myr:
      This is entirely a fair read, assuming that in an alternate universe where Dany ignored Jon’s concerns entirely, the White Walkers are just pacing back and forth along the boundary of the Wall, awake, active, but unable to do anything about it.

      This seems a false dichotomy to me. Who said that the ‘wight heist’ is the only possible way in which Daenerys might have been notified of the nature and width of the threat beyond the wall?

      I was responding to people who claimed that the Night King wouldn’t have been able to get past the Wall if Dany had not brought him dragons. People have said that. I don’t think I was stating what you are saying.

      But looking over my phrasing, I see how you took that. I meant to say, in an alternate universe where Dany did not fly north of the Wall and lose Viserion.

        Quote  Reply

    47. Myr:
      Interesting and entertaining read! Looks like you had fun writing it 🙂

      Thank you! It is a joy, honestly, to write for Watchers.

        Quote  Reply

    48. Jack Hamm:
      “Wight heist” or wight hunt;“despite its faults, which are many and its absurdities, which are greater,” it is still an episode to be loathed.

      Eastwatch or the Winds of Winter episode? My post mostly talks about them. I barely talk about the actual hunt.

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    49. Northstar:
      I think the story would have been more interesting if Cersei did send a force North, with plans of betrayal kept from Jaime, and for a while the audience.

      That would have been interesting, but everyone would have complained for a year and a half about Cersei’s inconsistent character.

        Quote  Reply

    50. What I wrote at the beginning of my review after watching “Beyond the Wall” episode:

      “BEYOND THE WALL: Okay, time for the real stuff now. The story that really gave me the movie vibe. Yes, I know this story is surrounded by a lot of controversy, but for me, it might have been my favorite part of the entire show so far. There were a lot of signs that made feel like that even prior the episode airing… First of all, it’s an event focusing on a small group of characters, all of them being fleshed out (apart from a couple extras). Second, those characters are all among my favorites… Jorah, Jon, Hound, Tormund, Thoros, Beric. I love character-focused shows and while GoT is (in my eyes) a character focused show, my biggest complaint about it is that the characters are all over the place. But it all started to change in S7 as they’re together now and that leads to some incredible character interractions, that I could very well sense for this episode. Third, we had a »strike team« going beyond the wall, facing death itself… so I could sense that at least one named character would bite the dust in this episode, if not more of them. So yes, my hype was very high and the episode definitely didn’t disappoint me at all.”

      I’m currently rewatching the show and I haven’t watched any episode since S7 stopped airing… so I can say I’m actually really hyped to get to this episode again.

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    51. Lord Parramandas:
      What I wrote at the beginning of my review after watching “Beyond the Wall” episode:

      “BEYOND THE WALL: Okay, time for the real stuff now. .

      I’m currently rewatching the show and I haven’t watched any episode since S7 stopped airing… so I can say I’m actually really hyped to get to this episode again.

      YES

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    52. Patrick Sponaugle: Eastwatch or the Winds of Winter episode? My post mostly talks about them. I barely talk about the actual hunt.

      Both! “But ‘Eastwatch,’ especially, as It set a new standard for eye-roll and cringe. LOL

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    53. Myr:
      Patrick Sponaugle,

      If that was what you meant then I misunderstood you! Apologies.

      I agree that the NK certainly did not need a dragon to cross the wall 🙂

      No need to apologise, it’s all good. My statements are open for questioning. I am glad you asked.

        Quote  Reply

    54. Very enjoyable read, Patrick! On a bell-shaped curve measuring how people feel about “Beyond the Wall”, I’m probably in the top 1% of people who absolutely love it (it has a strong claim on being my favorite episode of the season, even if I think that “The Spoils of War” and “The Dragon and the Wolf” are the best). I’m certainly not blind to the critiques, but the highs of the episode are so damn high for me (e.g. Jon and Beric’s conversation, all of the other conversations North of the Wall, the arrival of Dany and her dragons at the frozen lake, Jon and Dany at the end, etc.) that it’s rapidly become one of my most re-watched episodes. While I have no regrets about that, it can be frustrating at times, because thoughtful discussion of the episode that doesn’t center around travel logistics (those are fine, but decidedly not my area of interest with respect to this or any other episode) can sometimes be difficult to find. And so, as an ardent but realistic defender of “Beyond the Wall”, it was nice to see an analysis that breaks down the central spine of the episode not only on its own merits, but with respect to how it serves the overall arc of the season as a whole. Kudos!

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    55. 1. Thanks Patrick. This is an important point that is not said often enough – the entire effort was to get Daenerys to go north to fight the AOTD.

      2. Daenerys and Cersei took the same decision – to make their political ambitions a priority over the AOTD. Jon and both Lannister brothers took the opposite decision – as did Stannis with danger in the north.

      3. Up to the wight heist, it was understandable that Daenerys would not endanger her campaign on hearsay from Jon when she was making progress. However, how can one explain she went north, saw the AOTD and the NK kills her dragon, yet she STILL prioritized her pursuit of the throne. Or am I confused on the sequence of events? Would it not be better to choose humanity at that point? And take her army head north just like Stannis? If she had put humanity first over her ambitions immediately then the Dragonpit meeting would not be needed? They SHOULD not even needed the wight once Deaneryrs saw the AOTD for herself.

      4. As one would expect Cersei also did not chose humanity either. She went for her political ambitions just like her competition. Cersei is usually the worst, but in this case her poor decision was after seeing one wight and having hearsay on the scope of the threat. But you are right, Cersei was never the point.

      5. I think that at Dragonpit, Tyrion did what was needed to get the Deanerys to go. This required Cersei to say she was going. I think Tyrion told her to say it whether she means it or not. Told her it helps to protect the baby. Cersei saying it, even lying, would be sufficient for him to get Deaneyrs north. I like your idea comparing what Davos did with Stannis – go for the greater good.

      6. Tyrion believed Jon as he had met with the Watch earlier. Jaime also believed it was needed – in Season 1, he mentioned white walkers to Jon, not seriously of course. But clearly both brothers had enough knowledge of the range of possibilities to take it seriously once they saw the wight.

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    56. Lord Parramandas: Did you mistake WotW for westeros.org or what?

      This made me laugh out loud. Thanks I needed that. Best comment award goes to you.

      Lord Parramandas,

      Also one of my favorite episodes of the show. I watch the show for emotional value and landscapes and that episode had a lot of beautiful scenery (don’t care for action but I love nature) and one of the best character moments of the show. Jorah John together got instance. And many more.

      And it had one of the most funny lines of the show thanks to the hound and thormund.

      Personally I think people tend to see problems in later seasons that ironically are also in the first seasons of the show.

      I see that also in other shows that people complain to the makers when they clearly didn’t understand themselfs what happened. Or living to much in nostalgia. (for instance I just finished outlander season 4 and it had its problems but there was a huge down vote of an episode I find the best of the season not because it was bad. But because people complained a character was too young. They said he needed to be 20 he was 8. Funny thing is the complainers could do math because it needed to be 8)

      Ps sorry for the long posts I tend to talk a lot. In real life it’s even worse.

      And about s7. I’m happy that they did what they did. Like every show the last season always tend to be a little bit disappointed because of the plot not doing what it should do. You always see a strange plot twist halfway through a last season. I’m glad got decided to have that lesser moment the season before. Setting everything ready for the last season. It made season 7 maybe a little bit less good. But it made sure those moments are not in the last season.

      About the white walkers. I think the white walkers don’t need to pass the wall. There’s always the gorge and the bay of ice.

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    57. Mango: If she had put humanity first over her ambitions immediately then the Dragonpit meeting would not be needed? They SHOULD not even needed the wight once Deaneryrs saw the AOTD for herself.

      Because if they don’t follow through with the Dragonpit meet, then Viserion would have died for nothing as Daenerys tells Jon.

      I’m grateful for your loyalty, but my dragon died so that we could be here.
      If it’s all for nothing, then he died for nothing.

      And by going through with the meet you at least put a temporary stop on the war, and ensure you’re not attacked on two fronts (North and South), so I’m not really sure how one can argue that is not choosing humanity.

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    58. Mango:

      3.Up to the wight heist, it was understandable that Daenerys would not endanger her campaign on hearsay from Jon when she was making progress. However, how can one explain she went north, saw the AOTD and the NK kills her dragon, yet she STILL prioritized her pursuit of the throne. Or am I confused on the sequence of events? Would it not be better to choose humanity at that point? And take her army head north just like Stannis? If she had put humanity first over her ambitions immediately then the Dragonpit meeting would not be needed? They SHOULD not even needed the wight once Deaneryrs saw the AOTD for herself.

      You haven’t really confused the sequence of events, but I would frame it this way.

      Dany was unwilling to just abandon the south before the heist. When Dany brings back the team and the wight, it’s worth it to her to parlay with Cersei in the hopes that Cersei can be convinced. It’s still a possibility.

      Allegedly, Cersei would have agreed to a truce had Jon agreed to neutrality (I think she was lying) but that would have cleared Dany for heading North.

      Dany was on the cusp of having to do something, when Cersei pledged in bad faith to support them.

      So, you are right that Dany never had to commit, but I have her behaving better than Cersei.

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    59. Patrick Sponaugle,

      Fair enough.

      Jay Targ,

      I take it that this assertion makes sense to you.

      Other reasons one could claim – Viserion died in the effort to save Jon…(my preference). Viserion really died because Jon needed to convince Deanerys. Viserion died because Daenerys put her political concerns ahead of the fight for humanity. Viserion died because Jon could not convince Daenerys. Viserion died because Daenerys did not follow advice from Tyrion. Viserion died because NK has a surprisingly good aim and a strong arm. Viserion died because one person cannot effectively steer 3 dragons. Viserion died because Jon refused to climb aboard quickly.

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    60. Mango:
      Patrick Sponaugle,

      Fair enough.

      Jay Targ,

      I take it that this assertion makes sense to you.

      Other reasons one could claim – Viserion died in the effort to save Jon…(my preference).Viserion really died because Jon needed to convince Deanerys. Viserion died because Daenerys put her political concerns ahead of the fight for humanity. Viserion died because Jon could not convince Daenerys. Viserion died because Daenerys did not follow advice from Tyrion. Viserion died because NK has a surprisingly good aim and a strong arm. Viserion died because one person cannot effectively steer 3 dragons. Viserion died because Jon refused to climb aboard quickly.

      I appreciate all of that “Viserion died” series

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    61. Great article. One thing the harshest critics of the wight heist seem to overlook is what Season 8 would be like in terms of stakes if something like the heist didn’t exist. Imagine it was gone and all anyone in the south (or the north) had to go on was the word of the few who had actually seen the WW. That means neither the nobles nor the smallfolk would have any idea of the impending doom. No mass communication. Just stories no one would ever believe. It would make the southern story feel disconnected as if it were from a different show. You’d have the contingent of northern characters fighting for their lives trying to hold back an undead tide and then cut to Kings Landing where all is well.

      The heist served to define the stakes for everyone and put everyone on the same playing field in terms of information at hand. You need a storytelling device to accomplish this. The wight heist served this function. Exposition is a slog. Better to get it out early so the final season can flow without having to backtrack and explain what’s really going on to key characters. Wight heist was imperfect but essential from a storytelling perspective.

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    62. Sunfyre,

      Yes, I also agree here.

      Something has to be done to get “the fellowship” to move north to the danger. (The fellowship is our gang of relevant characters.) The discussion is really – could D&D have found anything better? They prolly found this way the best they could do and make it exciting.

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    63. Occasional misfire,

      I might have couched it more … diplomatically, but I can’t say I disagree with your assessment.

      (Too bad Edd wasn’t at Eastwatch to tell Jon: “What are you f*cking nuts??? You were at Hardhome. Remember I said “F*ck the glass!!! We’re going to die here!” And now you want to prance out there on foot with a dozen guys to confront the zombie horde – again?”)

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    64. Sunfyre:
      Patrick Sponaugle,

      Hey thanks, but you deserve the applause. Look forward to more articles in the run up to Season 8!

      I have at least one more in me. But I’m looking forward to the show starting up for new inspiration.

        Quote  Reply

    65. Patrick Sponaugle,

      Hey Patrick! As usual, I enjoyed reading your in-depth article.

      It may also give me an opening to finally pose what I call my “Why Panic?” question. Lemme see if I can find it. (It relies somewhat on a scene or two from Monty Python & The Holy Grail, so I hope Pigeon is monitoring these comments.)

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    66. Ten Bears:
      Patrick Sponaugle,

      Hey Patrick! As usual, I enjoyed reading your in-depth article.

      It may also give me an opening to finally pose what I call my “Why Panic?” question.Lemme see if I can find it. (It relies somewhat on a scene or two from Monty Python & The Holy Grail, so I hope Pigeon is monitoring these comments.)

      Thanks! And I look forward to any and all Monty Python references!

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    67. “I’d suggest that the rushed nature of the seventh season, with less episodes to space out events and allow plot points to be introduced and develop more naturally, hurt the presentation of this most critical element of the season.”

      This in a nutshell. The pacing overall was far too fast compared to seasons past. Perhaps many people don’t care now as we all want to see how it ends but I wonder on the re-watch of the box set in the future if it won’t seem somewhat disjointed given how rich and detailed the first few seasons were. Either way, I did enjoy your analysis very much and you brought up some very good points.

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    68. Kevin1989,

      “About the white walkers. I think the white walkers don’t need to pass the wall. There’s always the gorge and the bay of ice.”

      —–
      Ever since Melisandre’s recital of the Warrior of Light (= Azor Ahai) prophecy at the beginning of S2, including the prediction that the “seas will freeze” or something like that, I figured NK would just wait until the sea’s surface froze over and he’d lead his entourage around the Wall.

      Besides, he’s tech savvy enough to make dragon-killing javelins and find massive metal chains. I figure he could easily mass-produce ice skates for his undead minions to speed-skate south of the Wall.

      Speed-skating or snowboarding zombies… 🧟‍♀️🧟‍♂️⛷🏂⛸ That would’ve been a spectacle. 🙂

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    69. Occasional misfire:
      It was a terrible idea and all the scenes were poorly written.

      Stop making excuses for DnD. The show sucks and that is that. We just have to hope for WoW to come out so we can forget this awful fan fiction and move on with our lives.

      My gawd you’re a joy to read comments from on what is suppose be a fan website. Yes, you have the right to express your opinions, but perhaps you should find somewhere to do it where you’ll find more people with a shared opinion. All you’re going to do here with that sort of talk is create trouble. As others have written, George hasn’t exactly improved the material the deeper he’s gotten into ASoIaF as he’s continually expanded and avoided or drug along early stoylines. D&D have had to limit and cut down from the ballooning to produce a story viewers won’t get bored with. What that has resulted in is one of the most popular and awarded TV programs in history. Yes, shame on them. Blech.

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    70. Occasional misfire,

      I don’t have to make excuses. It is literally the episode I most enjoyed in season 7. I also enjoy much more the books than the show, so there’s that.

      Never got why it’s a bad idea from Tyrion since it served half the purpose (Jaime is going North and left Cersei behind). I get that it was executed fuzzy by the director because they couldn’t get the travel timing proper and there’s those chains foreshadowing from NK that one needed to think hard on, in order to conclude as to why NK would have those carried around.

      That being said, it is the ep that combines comedic moments with some excellent closure scenes between characters and with some of the most dramatic action piece of television I’ve seen in a long time that hit me personally with the death of Viseryon and the main characters’ reaction to it. Sure, you can argue that visually the BotB, Loot Train Battle and Hardhome are better, but I didn’t FEEL that. There was no loss to make it personal for me in any of those. (Unfortunately Rickon doesn’t count for various reasons) And therein lies the spark of it all. The ep had heart and it made up for some of us for all the rest of the crap that gets thrown at it. Heart is just as hard to find as good writing.

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    71. Ten Bears,

      FYI: Here’s what I was referring to in my 9:09 pm comment….
      (S2e1 Melisandre’s “Warrior of Light” prophecy)

      “… After the long summer, darkness will fall heavy on the world. The stars will bleed. The cold breath of winter will freeze the seas – and the dead shall rise in the North.
      In the ancient books, it is written that a warrior will draw a burning sword from the fire. And that sword shall be Lightbringer.
      Stannis Baratheon, Warrior of Light, your sword awaits you. Lord, cast your light upon us! For the night is dark and full of terrors.”

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    72. Sunfyre,

      Correct and pretty nicely put.

      Another major point that gets missed a lot but it’s actually pretty important from the Lannister perspective: this heist broke Jaime and Cersei apart, something that had to happen at some point since they eliminated the cheating plot. I know, in the grand scheme of things that doesn’t matter but strange as it may sound, I follow the show for the characters and their stories, not just for the Great War.

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    73. TormundsWoman:
      Sunfyre,

      Correct and pretty nicely put.

      Another major point that gets missed a lot but it’s actually pretty important from the Lannister perspective: this heist broke Jaime and Cersei apart, something that had to happen at some point since they eliminated the cheating plot. I know, in the grand scheme of things that doesn’t matter but strange as it may sound, I follow the show for the characters and their stories, not just for the Great War.

      I completely agree. There are things that can be debated about Season Seven, but Jaime leaving Cersei, by taking a moral stand, is a great thing.

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    74. Clob,

      Curious George always improves and corrects his mistakes. You clearly don’t know what you’re talking about!

      What’s with all the Feast & Dance bashing?!?! Can we just please don’t. I mean dudes, seriously.

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    75. Good essay, to me the big realization from this episode is not so much the heist, it’s the fact they were outmaneuvered by the Night King. In season 6 we learn that he is a seer, therefore he knows they’re coming. I’m in agreement with other posters concerning this and that the NK held back his army till he knew Dany with her dragons was nearby. He wanted to draw her into the trap, after all, he just happened to have three dragon ice spears handy. In the end all best planned tactics fall apart, even his, the courage, determination and desperation of our little band and Dany won their little victory, but at a cost. The NK got his dragon, he wanted all, but needed only one to bring down the wall.

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    76. TormundsWoman,

      Actually that (J&C) is the major output from the Dragon Pit meeting.

      The Jaime and Cersei relationship has been breaking apart for several seasons. Their friction has been apparent for a while. These two were both married, they were siblings and they were partners in a family business (House Lannister) Their break-up was handled a lot like how many long marriages erode (distant today, tomorrow getting along and trying to make it work) until something happens that finally causes the rupture.

      And of course, from a structural point of view, Jaime had to stay in KL until it was time to go north. If he left Cersei earlier they would have to invent a new story plot for him or let him leave the story like Gendry. Further Cersei needed another actor in KL to drive action in this location.

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    77. Mango:
      TormundsWoman,

      Actually that (J&C) is the major output from the Dragon Pit meeting.

      The Jaime and Cersei relationship has been breaking apart for several seasons.Their friction has been apparent for a while. These two were both married, they were siblings and they were partners in a family business (House Lannister) Their break-up was handled a lot like how many long marriages erode (distant today, tomorrow getting along and trying to make it work) until something happens that finally causes the rupture.

      And of course, from a structural point of view, Jaime had to stay in KL until it was time to go north. If he left Cersei earlier they would have to invent a new story plot for him or let him leave the story like Gendry. Further Cersei needed another actor in KL to drive action in this location.

      Maybe we aren’t really arguing. I agree that Jaime and Cersei’s split was output of the Dragonpit diplomatic meeting, but that entire scene was a result of the successful wight heist. So the wight heist was important in setting up the conditions for Jaime to (finally?) break from Cersei.

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    78. I don’t think Dany gives two shits about convincing Cersei, I really don’t. I think she’d happily light Cersei’s ass up if Tyrion the Traitor wasn’t standing in her way. Then she could seize her army and march them anywhere she wants.

      Cersei and Euron and Jaime killed her allies, and Dany promised Olenna that Cersei would pay for what she did to the Tyrell family. Plus, now Dany has scores to settle for the sand snakes and Yara. I do think Dany’s inclination was to set a trap for Cersei at the parlay, except Tyrion advised against it. She will rue the day she ever listened to Tyrion!

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    79. Patrick Sponaugle,

      “Why Panic?”
      (5/28/18 draft; couldn’t find more recent version)

      What was NK’s plan? Was it to scare the sh*t out of everyone until they made some kind of stupid mistake that let him get through the Wall? Everybody was freaking out that “death marches on the Wall”, and the AotD had been spotted headed to Eastwatch.

      But I thought the Wall was infused with magic to keep out WWs, like an electrified fence for outdoor pets.

      According to Benjen in S6e10 (to Meera and Bran, who asked: “You’re not coming with us?”):

      Benjen: “The Wall is not just ice and stone. Ancient spells were carved into its foundations. Strong magic to protect men from what lies beyond. And while it stands, the dead cannot pass. I cannot pass.”

      (There was speculation that Bran’s NK wrist-stamp would break the spell, but apparently that stamp merely allowed Bran to buy drinks at the NightClub. Bran’s passage through the Wall didn’t deactivate its WW-repelling force field.)

      In S7e1, Archmaester Ebrose believed Sam’s assertions that he’d seen the White Walkers and Army of the Dead, but said there was no reason to panic:

      “When Robert’s Rebellion was raging, people said that the end was near. “The end of the Targaryen dynasty! How will we survive?” When Aegon Targaryen turned his eye westward and flew his dragons to Blackwater Rush: “The end is near! How will we survive?” And thousands of year before that, during the Long Night, we can forgive them for thinking it truly was the end. But it wasn’t. None of it was. The Wall has stood through it all. And every winter that ever came has ended.”

      In S7e5, when Jon received a ravengram sent by Bran to him c/o Dragonstone warning that NK was marching towards Eastwatch, Varys echoed Ebrose’s response to “the sky is falling!” anxiety:

      (from S7e5)
      Jon: “Bran saw the Night King and his army marching towards Eastwatch. If they make it past the Wall…”
      Varys: “The Wall has kept them out for thousands of years, presumably.”
      Jon: “I need to go home.”

      [Caveat: “Monty Python and The Holy Grail” references start here]

      If Ebrose and Varys were right, then Tormund, Beric and the others manning Eastwatch could have perched defiantly on the top of the Wall, looked down at NK and the Army of the Dead massed in front of it, and taunted them (in a faux French accent):

      “You don’t frighten us, frosty pig-dogs! Go and boil your bottoms, sons of a silly person. I blow my nose at you, so-called Night King, you and all your silly White Walker kaniggets. Your mother was a grumpkin and your father smelt of kidney pie.
      I don’t want to talk to you no more, you empty-headed corpse-reanimating loser!
      Now go away or I shall taunt you a second time!”

      If NK and AotD persisted and refused to retreat, the men atop the Wall (including Latrine Captain Brian) could’ve dumped raw sewage on them, and used catapults to launch cows, chickens and wooden badgers at them. To drive home the point, the defenders could’ve poured flaming pitch and oil (like medieval castle defenders used) on the wights to set them on fire.

      The encounter would’ve ended with a sh*t-drenched NK telepathically commanding the Wight Walkers: “Run away! Run away!” While atop the Wall, Tormund and Beric would be chortling, giggling and back-slapping each other.

      The Wall was an impenetrable barrier that had successfully kept out the WW for thousands of years. Nothing had given Jon or anyone else any indication the WWs could deactivate the magic shield or breach the Wall – and in fact, they apparently did not have that ability.

      So what possible reason was there to panic? Why do stupid things like go beyond the Wall to kidnap a wight?

      Wasn’t the logical course of action to stay calm and rely on the Wall’s defensive capabilities?

      Edit (2/18/19)
      If anything, since Jon knew the WW’s destination, he could’ve posted a thousand men with dragonglass bolts, scythes, spears, and arrows atop Eastwatch – instead of the skeleton crew that was there (to do what, exactly?)

      If it really became necessary to capture a wight for a show-and-tell, then a roped net or barbed harpoon could’ve been dropped or thrown down from the top of the Wall to scoop one up.

      Also, if NK could’ve traversed the frozen sea, he would’ve amassed his troops at the shoreline and waited a few more days or weeks until the surface froze over – and not, as Bran saw, have the AotD “marching towards Eastwatch.”

      Anyway, my question remains: Why panic? The most prudent course of action was to remain atop or behind the Wall – not venture out to meet up with 100,000 killer ice zombies and hope to capture 1 without the other 99,999 tearing you apart.

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    80. Patrick Sponaugle: Maybe we aren’t really arguing. I agree that Jaime and Cersei’s split was output of the Dragonpit diplomatic meeting, but that entire scene was a result of the successful wight heist. So the wight heist was important in setting up the conditions for Jaime to (finally?) break from Cersei.

      …no thanks to Tyrion who advised Dany to leave the Wight Hunters to die, saying that they knew the risks when they agreed to go.

      Had she listened, the chief architect of the Wight Resistance would likely be dead. Where would that leave Dany?

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    81. Patrick Sponaugle,

      Why did think we were arguing? We are talking boisterously – a very different activity….

      Yes, several things were accomplished using the heist. I can see where viewers could strongly believe that a more elegant plot should have been used. (I have no suggestions for other plots!).

      And I think Jaime’s departure (from Cersei and to the north simultaneously) is very, important storywise, not only characterwise.

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    82. Ten Bears,

      Jon did not infact know that the Wall is impenetrable. It’s all supposition and storytelling really as far as he was concerned. There was no evidence they cannot cross that he could believe as a fact. The worse of it all is that he killed a wight at Castle Black. On the wrong side of the Wall. If these things cannot cross how could he explain his very own experience from season one?

      I don’t understand what exactly you want him to believe? Stories from people who heard stories second hand, eve those handed down generation from generation or his own eyes and experience?!

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    83. TormundsWoman,

      You are on to something that I do not understand.

      How to explain the two dead men that attacked Jeor Mormont? Who raised them up?..Were they converted outside the wall and then brought in for burial without the brothers realizing they had been converted to wights? I was confused because Benjen did assert that he could not come in. And so it was unclear how the AOTD could get in en masse without a hole in the wall? Was it similar to the wildings – intruders came in by climbing the wall so only small numbers made it before the wall broke?

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    84. Patrick Sponaugle,

      I’d high five you if I could, Patrick! 🎉🤗 it’s Jon’s and Jaime’s chapters for me. Also Tyrion, Brienne and Quentin. Asha too, and let’s not forget Barry’s. I’m not ashamed of admitting I’ve reread Reek and Bran’s more than a few times as well. I guess I don’t really have faves…

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    85. Mango,

      Your post made me think about the White Walkers and how much has never really been explained. One that I’ve always wondered about is the significance of the spiral motif at their kill-scenes as in Episode 1 and at the Fist… “always the artists”. Is it connected to the COTF? Wasn’t there a spiral collection of stones at the location where they created the first White Walker?

      Back on specific topic of your post I’ve always wondered about the mechanics of reawakening/animating the wights and how remotely can it be done. This is even more relevant now going forward as the AOTD sweeps south. The wights who attacked Mormont at Castle Black could signal that the NK can do his magic at a very great distance. Or maybe they are just a plothole from a time before these kinds of things had been defined.

      A cool article idea for the site might be a rundown of everything we know about the White Walkers/wights… their origin, history, how their magic works, their abilities, their apparent motivation and goals, hints about their social structure, language, etc. And a list of things we hope to see explained about the White Walkers this season. I do wonder how many answers we’ll get or if they will be left shrouded in mystery. Gotta admit I’ll be frustrated if we don’t learn more about the Walkers and what makes them tick.

        Quote  Reply

    86. TormundsWoman,

      Information imparted by Benjen to Bran in S6e10, before Bran sent his raven-gram to Jon c/o Dragonstone in S7e5.

      Benjen: “The Wall is not just ice and stone. Ancient spells were carved into its foundations. Strong magic to protect men from what lies beyond. And while it stands, the dead cannot pass. I cannot pass.”

      Again, for the sake of argument, let’s say Jon was freaked out by reports that the AotD was marching towards Eastwatch. As KitN, wouldn’t his first reaction be to order 1,000 DG-armed men to beef up the Eastwatch crew?

      Jon’s reaction? “I need to go home.” That’s really sweet. But in the meantime, how about shipping dragonglass straight to Eastwatch and ordering a deployment of a heavily armed battalion of fighters to reinforce the garrison there.

      What were Tormund, Beric and a couple of Wildlings supposed to do – beyond exclaim “Holy sh*t!” At least during the NW vs. Wildling battle (S4e9, I think) we saw the outmanned NW using scythes and other gadgets to repel the 100,000-strong Wildling army.

      To my recollection, the Eastwatch crew didn’t even have smoke signals or some other communications system set up to inform their compatriots: “Red Alert! We got visitors!”

      Of course, I realize nobody expected the Spanish Inquisition – I mean an undead wall-melting ice dragon.

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    87. Mango,

      “How to explain the two dead men that attacked Jeor Mormont? Who raised them up?..Were they converted outside the wall and then brought in for burial without the brothers realizing they had been converted to wights? I was confused because Benjen did assert that he could not come in.”

      _______
      I know. I haven’t been able to reconcile that either. Unless “dead wights” can be carried through the Wall, but animated walking wights can’t. Or perhaps those two guys were in mid-wightification when they were carried in… but I think their eyes were blue and Sam diagnosed that they’d been dead for days.

      F*ck. I don’t know. I like magical and mystical stuff, but it’s got to be its own science, with immutable principles and limitations.

      I thought the Wall had a magic “shield” like the 3ER’s cave did until Brandon “Einstein” Stark decided to go joyriding and inadvertently caused it to be deactivated when NK touched Avatar Bran’s wrist.

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    88. A very good essay. It also underscores the key problem with s7: it was too rushed. You point out wight heist I maintain that the Winterfell story line suffered the most from a lack of time/pacing I’m not saying they needed 10 episodes, but they definitely needed more than seven.

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    89. Sunfyre,

      “Your post made me think about the White Walkers and how much has never really been explained. One that I’ve always wondered about is the significance of the spiral motif at their kill-scenes as in Episode 1 and at the Fist… “always the artists”. Is it connected to the COTF? Wasn’t there a spiral collection of stones at the location where they created the first White Walker?”
      ________
      Bingo!
      I’ve got a tinfoil theory about the spirals – and the other symbol in the cave.
      It’s long and convoluted, with dual rabbit holes. But it’s a solution based on unfired “hung guns” and other embedded clues.
      Give me a couple of days to find my scribblings and type them out – and then you and everyone else can punch holes in my flimsy tinfoil.

      Incidentally …. that spiral pattern was also on the hatch of the dragonglass silo Sam dug up at the Fist of the First Men.

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    90. Sunfyre,

      “cool article idea for the site might be a rundown of everything we know about the White Walkers/wights… their origin, history, how their magic works, their abilities, their apparent motivation and goals, hints about their social structure, language, etc. And a list of things we hope to see explained about the White Walkers this season. I do wonder how many answers we’ll get or if they will be left shrouded in mystery. Gotta admit I’ll be frustrated if we don’t learn more about the Walkers and what makes them tick.”
      _______

      What if the answers to the mysteries are already sprinkled throughout the 67 episodes aired already? Revelations that come out of left field this late in the game would be prohibited deus ex machina devices. We’re ~ 91% through the story (67 out of 73 total episodes.) According to Stephen King, a corollary to the “Chekhov’s Gun” principle is that a “gun” has to be hung early on if it’s going to be fired in the last act.

      I like your proposal for an article.

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    91. Ten Bears:

      Incidentally …. that spiral pattern was also on the hatch of the dragonglass silo Sam dug up at the Fist of the First Men.

      Good catch I missed that one. Look forward to reading any theories. We’re getting down to the nitty gritty of the endgame and it’s exciting. Soon we’ll know what there is to know… maybe?

      It’s not a dealbreaker for me but I’m hoping D&D learned from shows like Lost and BSG when it comes to lore/mythology and endings. Not saying the show needs to answer every question but it would add a nice layer if they wow us with some real mind-blowing answers regarding White Walkers, TPTWP/Azor Ahai prophecies, the veracity of various religions and gods, and connecting dots on reemergence of magic wrt dragons, direwolves, Bran’s destiny, etc. The characters should always come first but retreating to a position of “it’s ALL about the characters forget about all those teases of mystery and plot we’ve fed you for years”. I just want a few juicy reveals while they stick the landings for these characters.

      Edited to add: Agree on no deus ex machinas. But I wonder where the balance will be and if they’ll leave many of the big questions for GRRM to answer in the remaining books.

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    92. They could have killed someone beyond the wall, but near the watch. They could have put him or her or both in a box and waited till sundown. A carriage to kingslanding – finished. Possibly killing a whole family for proving, that no one is safe… some one cersei had knowed and feared… would have been an nightmare version of her own enemy. The first innocent kill / killing on purpose for Jon Snow. Far better for his character development. To save time, he could have ordered Ed to do so as well – something that was impossible till than (“the man who passes the sentence…”) Another option: to unearth dead bodies, bring them beyond the wall, same procedure… At least I ask myself, why cersei hasn’t blown up the hole dragonpit after her “than there’s nothing more to discuss” drama and leaving…

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    93. TormundsWoman:
      Patrick Sponaugle,

      I’d high five you if I could, Patrick! 🎉🤗 it’s Jon’s and Jaime’s chapters for me. Also Tyrion, Brienne and Quentin. Asha too, and let’s not forget Barry’s. I’m not ashamed of admitting I’ve reread Reek and Bran’s more than a few times as well. I guess I don’t really have faves…

      👊🏻👍🏻

        Quote  Reply

    94. NinaD:
      A very good essay. It also underscores the key problem with s7: it was too rushed. You point out wight heist I maintain that the Winterfell story line suffered the most from a lack of time/pacing I’m not saying they needed 10 episodes, but they definitely needed more than seven.

      Yes indeed! We really needed more time for the season.

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    95. Bibibi:
      They could have killed someone beyond the wall, but near the watch. They could have put him or her or both in a box and waited till sundown. A carriage to kingslanding – finished. Possibly killing a whole family for proving, that no one is safe… some one cersei had knowed and feared… would have been an nightmare version of her own enemy. The first innocent kill / killing on purpose for Jon Snow. Far better for his character development. To save time, he could have ordered Ed to do so as well – something that was impossible till than (“the man who passes the sentence…”) Another option: to unearth dead bodies, bring them beyond the wall, same procedure… At least I ask myself, why cersei hasn’t blown up the hole dragonpit after her “than there’s nothing more to discuss” drama and leaving…

      Wait. Are you saying that our heroes should murder some living people north of the Wall, and hope they turn into wights? What if no White Walker was around to animate them? It doesn’t happen magically/automatically at nightfall.

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    96. Ten Bears:
      TormundsWoman,

      Information imparted by Benjen to Bran in S6e10, before Bran sent his raven-gram to Jon c/o Dragonstone in S7e5.

      Benjen: “The Wall is not just ice and stone. Ancient spells were carved into its foundations. Strong magic to protect men from what lies beyond. And while it stands, the dead cannot pass. I cannot pass.”

      Again, for the sake of argument, let’s say Jon was freaked out by reports that the AotD was marching towards Eastwatch. As KitN, wouldn’t his first reaction be to order 1,000 DG-armed men to beef up the Eastwatch crew?

      Jon’s reaction? “I need to go home.” That’s reallysweet. But in the meantime, how about shipping dragonglass straight to Eastwatch and ordering adeployment of a heavily armed battalion of fighters to reinforce the garrison there.

      Well, Benjen never got the memo that some wights did pass at the end of season one.

      As for Jon sending dragonglass armed men to Eastwatch.

      Jon: Oh, Bran says the White Walkers have been spotted near Eastwatch. I’ll write a letter to Sansa sending 1000 men armed with dragonglass to Eastwatch to reinforce the Night Watch and Tormund’s wildlings.

      Jon sends a raven.

      Sansa sends a raven back.

      “We don’t have any dragonglass, Jon. YOU have all the dragonglass with you.”

      Jon: Oh, yeah.

      So no, his first order wouldn’t be to order men with dragonglass to Eastwatch. His first concern would be to get the dragonglass off of Dragonstone to the North. Since his team were armed with dragonglass, he did that.

      He probably didn’t ship enough for an army, but that logistical deal was going to take place later, when everyone went. With dragons, thanks to the wight heist.

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    97. Ten Bears:

      To my recollection, the Eastwatch crew didn’t even have smoke signals or some other communications system set up to inform their compatriots: “Red Alert! We got visitors!”

      You mean, like the beacons of Gondor to summon aid from Rohan? The Night’s Watch doesn’t have the manpower to light signal towers between Eastwatch and Castle Black, or between Eastwatch and Last Hearth.

      They’d have to send ravens (maybe they did) but before Viserion attacks – unless I’m misremembering – Bran has sent a squad of surveillance ravens to Eastwatch. The final scene follows the ravens-point-of-view until we get to Beric and Tormund. And then we’re with them when the AotD shows up.

      So Winterfell should have word of the attack at Eastwatch, without Eastwatch having smoke signals.

      Maybe. The show can do whatever they want.

      Scene – Winterfell
      Tormund: *out of breath* Jon, I just ran here from Eastwatch, and boy are my arms tired!
      Jon: What? Your arms?
      Tormund: I should have said I just flew in, but I messed that joke up. Also – Eastwatch is destroyed!
      Jon: Oh no!
      Bran: Didn’t I tell you that a week ago?
      Jon: Did you? Oh. In my defense, I kind of tune you out. You’re creepy, Bran.
      Bran: Fair.

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    98. Patrick Sponaugle,

      Ten Bears didn’t get the memo either! :p Dany also didn’t since she flew one over the Wall and that thing still kicked its ugly bones when they landed. Frankly even without Vyserion, NK could have just catapulted his peeps above! Lol

      On a more serious note. I think Jon even with the “information imparted” that Ten Bears likes to keep quoting, thought the magic was bullshit and a myth or broken. And he was probably right too. Or it would be extremely difficult to explain the dead at CB. And since that event is from the books I have a feeling Martin put it in with the specific reason to show the myth and magic of Wall spell is not infallible. Which made the heist seem logical or the wight heist plan would have been a complete idiot plan if the KNEW they couldn’t keep it alive when crossing from one side to another. What were they going to show Cersei?! A bag of bones? You can get that in KL cemetery.

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    99. Bibibi,

      He couldn’t lie to save his skin and that of the whole North, let alone rob a grave or kill innocents and wait for them to decompose. There’s such thing as character development and then there’s character assassination. IMO that would have been the latter. You don’t build your hero on truth and justice for 6.5 seasons and then have him turn Theon and Ramsay switching bodies “for the greater good”.

      That’s not him.

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    100. Mango,

      There’s discussions about Othor and Jafer Flowers undead at CB since I can remember when it came to Asoiaf. I don’t think I’ve seen a consensus of how and why. I was looking after reading your comment out of curiosity online to see if anyone came up with a generally accepted theory but no.

      Mine is and always was what I posted earlier. The magic at the Wall is not infallible. It probably developed into a real myth and so people became complacent and then the Others never reappear close to the Wall in thousands of years so the myth remained unchallenged.

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    101. TormundsWoman,

      I don’t think, killing one to save all is comparable to Ramsay… Maybe it would have been a volunteer – a sacrifice for the greater good. Jon Snow is a king now. The story of Dany has told us for 7 seasons, that you can’t become queen or king by staying true to your childish ideals. Power and personal ideals don’t fit. You have to make decisions. And sooner or later you have to decide between holding your position (to ensure at least SOME of your ideals for your realm) or staying true to ALL of your ideals, but loosing your power and influence. The story of Ned has told us this, too. Rob, Bran, Tyrion, Jamie, the Hound, Arya, Sansa… so many characters were loosing their “way”.
      I think, that’s one of the lessons GRRM wants to teach us: You can’t put your ideals / your opinion aboth all. You have to LIVE WITH your ideals. In every situation there’s a new decision: not about which way is ever and ever the right one (for the POV), but which way is (this time) the better one at all. It would be far more reasonable to act like I said. It would have shocked the fans of Jon Snow (=time to wake up. He was never successfull, but always lucky) and safed precious sreentime to tell better stories.

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    102. TormundsWoman,

      I suppose it will never be clear.

      Perhaps intermediates such as Benjen cannot come thru but full wight can? The writers wanted Benjen outside to save Jon anyway so maybe it was a dubious go to story to have him tell Bran that he could not come in.

      It is hard to believe that you do not have any favorites in the story. Your name is a dead giveaway. Or did you mean favorite POV chapters?

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    103. Patrick, does this capture the general idea on why the heist worked?

      I think the complaints about the Wight Heist fall into 2 group: (i) the entire thing was a stupid idea from Tyrion; (ii) it was very poorly executed (ie., that Gendry run, why did they not take horses and wear hats; so lucky that Jon came out of the water next to his sword, so lucky Benjen was passing by).

      However, I think we can agree that it met the major objectives that seemed to be get everyone aware of the AOTD so as to: (1) move Daeneyrs and dragons to the North; (2) move Tryon to the North; (3) move Jaime to the North and as a bachelor due to a policy difference.

      The first two objectives could have been achieved by simply having Deaneryrs believe Jon and decide to help him, maybe even after both flew north to reconnoiter and falling in love/bed. Also, even after the team put Tyrion’s plan into action, the first two objectives, could have been achieved after Daenerys went north and saw the AOTD for herself. A fourth (iv) major objective could also be added and this was also achieved here as well – get a dragon to the NK.

      However, the wight capture and the Dragon Pit events were really needed to get at the Jaime objective. To get that done, Daeneryrs had to decide to choose her pursuit of the throne over humanity (or at least delay humanity’s problems to see if she could still get her objective). And Cersei had to do the same. (It is matter of opinion who is worse here but I am fine with saying Cersei because as the real queen she does have certain responsibilities.) So the wight heist also worked from a character revelation perspective as well as getting specific individuals to move north to be in the right places for S8.

      So idea, decent. Execution, hmmm.

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    104. Mango,

      You forgot handing a dragon over to the Night King. It is still not clear to me whether it should be regarded as a complaint or a major objective to be achieved:) I don’t like that I have to assume that the Wall would fall anyway in order for it to work properly.

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    105. Milutin,

      I have dragon in para 3. I know my post is long so you missed it.

      Yea, it is not clear how many wights would get over the wall if they had to climb over like the wildings managed to do.

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    106. Thanks for the essay!

      On a related note, I was just reading elsewhere that it is canon that a person can only ride one dragon in a lifetime and that is why Jon was not rescued by Dany and Drogon; to preserve his potential dragon riding for Rhaegal. That was news to me!

      If any book readers can confirm or deny that “one dragon per human” is canon, I would greatly appreciate it!

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    107. Excellent piece. 😊 Wholeheartedly agree with your view, which actually helped me put my own thoughts about the wight heist in order! 👍

        Quote  Reply

    108. Thank you, Patrick, for an interesting and well argued piece.

      The only thing I want to add, as a book reader, is that maybe D&D were compelled to bring a wight into Kings Landing because that was GRRM’s plan.

      Now, in the books, Jon doesn’t need to go north of the Wall on a stupid mission. He has placed a couple of dead, probably turned rangers in the ice cells beneath the Wall. He has easy access to wights if he wants to show them to Cersei, Dany, anybody. Provided he’s not dead dead, of course. ;-D

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    109. SiriuslyStark:
      Excellent piece. 😊 Wholeheartedly agree with your view, which actually helped me put my own thoughts about the wight heist in order! 👍

      Right on! I appreciate the feedback. I mostly write these things to be entertaining, but I am glad if people get a good takeaway from them.

        Quote  Reply

    110. talvikorppi:
      Thank you, Patrick, for an interesting and well argued piece.

      The only thing I want to add, as a book reader, is that maybe D&D were compelled to bring a wight into Kings Landing because that was GRRM’s plan.

      Now, in the books, Jon doesn’t need to go north of the Wall on a stupid mission. He has placed a couple of dead, probably turned rangers in the ice cells beneath the Wall. He has easy access to wights if he wants to show them to Cersei, Dany, anybody. Provided he’s not dead dead, of course. ;-D

      Thank you so much! I always appreciate fellow book reader contributions, even if I focus on the show.

      I agree that bodies in ice cells might play into this. And Jon might not be trying to convince Dany and Cersei, but maybe Dany and a kid named Aegon in Kings Landing.

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    111. LadyGoodman: If any book readers can confirm or deny that “one dragon per human” is canon, I would greatly appreciate it!

      I believe it’s that a dragon will only bind to one rider at a time. Daenerys giving Jon or anyone else a ride wouldn’t factor. What it means is that Jon should not be able to ride Drogon alone as long as Daenerys is alive because he’s bound to her. As an example, Balerion lived to around 200 years old and was bound to four Targaryens over that period, but only one at any given period. If Daenerys were to die then he could become bound to Jon… but I’m thinking most people are probably assuming Jon will be bound with Rhaegal.

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    112. Clob,

      * late edit *

      I don’t recall it being written that one person can’t bind to more than one dragon at the same time. I’m not sure it’s necessary…

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    113. Patrick Sponaugle,

      I must confess that I was a Grammar Nazi long before GoT came along. I’m an engineer. Being anal-retentive is somewhat of a prerequisite. 🙂 But I swear it feels like I correct people on less/fewer at least a couple of times a week (my daughter does it deliberately, I’m convinced, to annoy me so I’m not even counting those) and so I’m not surprised that’s the one that Stannis (and later Davos) made famous in the show.

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    114. Patrick Sponaugle,

      Yeah, that’s what I mean. GRRM has envisaged in the books that Jon has to demonstrate the real threat to whoever is in charge in the south. Cersei, fAegon, even Dany (though she probably won’t make it to Westeros by the end of TWOW).

      Anyway, there’s no need for Jon to go on a “wight hunt” in the books because he already has two in the ice cells. Which leads me to reiterate that D&D were probably compelled to bring a wight to KL, and they went about it in their own way. Not very well, to my mind, but the show is what it is, still a very good TV show.

      The books are the books, I enjoy them, they’re “canon”, but I also enjoy the show, even when they’ve made at first seemingly annoying changes, because most of those changes have good TV show payoff.

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    115. LadyGoodman,

      Clob,

      Clob,

      I was looking around for a refresher and found this under “dragons” on AWOIAF:

      Once a dragon has bonded with a rider, that dragon will not allow anyone else to mount it while its rider lives, no matter how familiar said person might be to the dragon, although they are willing to accept another person upon their backs when their own rider has mounted as well. When the rider of a dragon dies, that dragon can bond with a new rider.[6] No rider has ever ridden a different dragon while their current dragon was alive.[34]

      the #34 reference to a chapter in ADwD that I don’t have available right now. I guess my memory was pretty accurate. 😛

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    116. Stannis Grammaticus:
      Patrick Sponaugle,

      I must confess that I was a Grammar Nazi long before GoT came along. I’m an engineer. Being anal-retentive is somewhat of a prerequisite. 🙂 But I swear it feels like I correct people on less/fewer at least a couple of times a week (my daughter does it deliberately, I’m convinced, to annoy me so I’m not even counting those) and so I’m not surprised that’s the one that Stannis (and later Davos) made famous in the show.

      I was gosh darn delighted to be corrected. The less—>fewer sequence is iconic.

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    117. Ten Bears:
      Patrick Sponaugle,

      If Ebrose and Varys were right, then Tormund, Beric and the others manning Eastwatch could have perched defiantly on the top of the Wall, looked down at NK and the Army of the Dead massed in front of it, and taunted them (in a faux French accent):

      “You don’t frighten us, frosty pig-dogs!Go and boil your bottoms, sons of a silly person. I blow my nose at you, so-called Night King, you and all your silly White Walker kaniggets. Your mother was a grumpkin and your father smelt of kidney pie. I don’t want to talk to you no more, you empty-headed corpse-reanimating loser!Now go away or I shall taunt you a second time!”

      If NK and AotD persisted and refused to retreat, the men atop the Wall (including Latrine Captain Brian) could’ve dumped raw sewage on them, and used catapults to launch cows, chickens and wooden badgers at them. To drive home the point, the defenders could’ve poured flaming pitch and oil (like medieval castle defenders used) on the wights to set them on fire.

      The encounter would’ve ended with a sh*t-drenched NK telepathically commanding the Wight Walkers: “Run away! Run away!” While atop the Wall, Tormund and Beric would be chortling, giggling and back-slapping each other.

      Dammit, Ten Bears, I avoid this episode discussion like the Black Beast of Arrrrggghhhhh, and here you go, dragging me back into it. You’re a very naughty boy. Truly one of my favourite quotes, fine-tuned for the situation ol NK and the Cool Gang surely could have faced. 😆

      You have no idea (except you probably do) how often MP&THG pop up at inappropriate times when I watch GoT.

      Opening scene, episode one, season one: Gate rattles open in the Wall to Castle Black. Outside stands a small white rabbit. End series.

      Ned and Arya sit together, Ned speaking of Winterfell’s history.

      Ned: “When our ancestors first came here, this was all swamp. Everyone said they were daft to build a castle on a swamp, but they built it all the same, just to show them…”

      Arya (chin on hands, looking up eagerly): “And? Were they impressed? Were they punished for doubting?”

      Ned: “It sank into the swamp.”

      Arya (wtf face): “……”

      Ned: “So they built a second one. And that one sank into the swamp. Then winter arrived, and the cold and permafrost made it stable enough that they built a third. Then spring came. It got crow-mold, Old Nan farted too close to the fire, the place burned down, fell over, and then sank into the swamp.” (half grin creeping in)

      *Arya looking about done with this*

      Ned: “BUT the fourth one stayed up! And here we are. Did you hear that creaking sound?”

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    118. Excellent article as always. In my opinion “Beyond the wall” is one of the weaker big/pivotal season episodes but it’s not terrible. I agree with how the structure of the season impacts it but would emphasise more the fate element which you briefly touch upon. It felt to me like the whole thing was destined to happen. Remember the Hound had visions in the fire showing him where to go, the Nights King was seemingly waiting there surrounding the island with the survivors holding ice spears. In my view this is setting up something in S8 and we are not done yet.

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    119. LadyGoodman:
      Clob,

      Seven blessings on you for clarifying dragon rider protocols – it is truly appreciated!

      Right. It wasn’t spelled out so much, but Aemond Targaryen refused to try and ride any dragon until he had a chance to ride the huge Vhagr. He didn’t want to commit to any smaller dragon.

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    120. Patrick Sponaugle,

      I honestly still don’t understand, how bodies get turned. Remember the first wights, Jon Snow met at the watch in season one. For the wildlings it seems to be necessary to burn EVERY body and I think, I remember a sentence like “We have to burn them before nightfall.” after some fighting. Are we sure, there have to be White Walkers around to turn bodies…? In my opinion it wasn’t explained yet.

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    121. Bibibi and P. S.,

      My interpretation is “we have to burn every body in case there is or will be a White Walker nearby.”

      It seems a White Walker can energize any dead body within a certain radius that includes a Night Watch lichyard, even on the other side of the wall. Same for the Wildings: they burn their dead.

      Winterfell is out of Walker beam range, apparently, because Winterfell has a lichyard. Note that the Kings of Winterfell are interred surrounded by stone, and not available to the roots of heart trees for data gathering. Available to Walker animation beams? Don’t know.
      So two uses for dead bodies in addition to the uses of the Red gods.

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    122. Bibibi:
      Patrick Sponaugle,

      I honestly still don’t understand, how bodies get turned. Remember the first wights, Jon Snow met at the watch in season one. For the wildlings it seems to be necessary to burn EVERY body and I think, I remember a sentence like “We have to burn them before nightfall.” after some fighting. Are we sure, there have to be White Walkers around to turn bodies…? In my opinion it wasn’t explained yet.

      The only time we explicitly see a reanimation process at work was at Hardhome, when the Night King raises the slaughtered wildlings as a show of power. The dormant wights that Jon and the Nights Watch find at the oath swearing were already wights (there’s book references that make this clear, since their eyes had changed color)

      I don’t recall that specific line you reference, but “before nightfall” is always a factor. Find shelter before nightfall. Find food before nightfall. Burn bodies before nightfall because you don’t want to be collecting firewood in the dark.

      The wildlings might even believe sunset is a factor, but the show hasn’t made that clear.

      But the fact that the team killed a White Walker and his wights then died indicates something. Jorah supposed that those wights died because the White Walker had raised them. So that implies that one of the icy Others is needed for the process, and someone randomly dying north of the Wall might never become a wight.

        Quote  Reply

    123. Patrick Sponaugle,

      I posted this yesterday but forgot to hit reply to a previous comment. Anyway, here goes again.

      Patrick, does this capture the general idea on why the heist worked?

      I think the complaints about the Wight Heist fall into 2 group: (i) the entire thing was a stupid idea from Tyrion; (ii) it was very poorly executed (ie., that Gendry run, why did they not take horses and wear hats; so lucky that Jon came out of the water next to his sword, so lucky Benjen was passing by).

      However, I think we can agree that it met the major objectives that seemed to be get everyone aware of the AOTD so as to: (1) move Daeneyrs and dragons to the North; (2) move Tryon to the North; (3) move Jaime to the North and as a bachelor due to a policy difference.

      The first two objectives could have been achieved by simply having Deaneryrs believe Jon and decide to help him, maybe even after both flew north to reconnoiter and falling in love/bed. Also, even after the team put Tyrion’s plan into action, the first two objectives, could have been achieved after Daenerys went north and saw the AOTD for herself. A fourth (iv) major objective could also be added and this was also achieved here as well – get a dragon to the NK.

      However, the wight capture and the Dragon Pit events were really needed to get at the Jaime objective. To get that done, Daeneryrs had to decide to choose her pursuit of the throne over humanity (or at least delay humanity’s problems to see if she could still get her objective). And Cersei had to do the same. (It is matter of opinion who is worse here but I am fine with saying Cersei because as the real queen she does have certain responsibilities.) So the wight heist also worked from a character revelation perspective as well as getting specific individuals to move north to be in the right places for S8.

      So idea, decent. Execution, hmmm.

        Quote  Reply

    124. Marlana:
      Bibibi and P. S.,

      My interpretation is “we have to burn every body in case there is or will be a White Walkernearby.”

      It seems a White Walker can energize any dead body within a certain radius that includes a Night Watch lichyard, even on the other side of the wall. Same for the Wildings: they burn their dead.

      I agree that the wildlings just burn the dead to ensure there’s no chance of resurrection.

      I don’t know if I agree that the White Walkers can reanimate dead bodies south of the Wall if they are still north – the dead who were brought south in Season One and attacked Lord Commander Mormont we’re already wights (in the books, the rangers remarked that their eyes were wrong, and other signals) but they were dormant.

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    125. Mango,

      Mango, that all sounds about right.

      As for our heroes not wearing hats, based on no one wearing hats (or helmets half the time) in all the previous seasons, it would be weirder for them to wear hats this time.

        Quote  Reply

    126. Mango,

      Your idea of Jon urging Dany just to fly north and see for herself is a good one, I wish that had been done (the suggestion), just so Daenerys could veto it because she had real things going on. It wouldn’t make anyone currently complaining happy, but at least it would have been addressed.

      I’m sorry people think Benjen was just fortunately passing by. As the anti-Other agent working North of the Wall, I would expect he’d be keeping close watch on White Walker troop movements. I mean, he probably followed the army up to the cave so he could save Bran. That is exactly the same as when he saved Jon.

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    127. Patrick Sponaugle,

      Poor Uncle Benjen must be thinking…what the hell is going on? What are Ned’s kids doing way out here? Like a good uncle he made sure he helped them home.

      We still have an open question on Tyrion and what happened with Cersei at Dragon Pit. If we see this a play with multiple Acts, Dragon Pit was the end of an Act. In this one, Tyrion has played a key role in holding Daenerys in check (and at nearly full fighting force) until Jon came to get her to go North.

      Having completed that role, I wonder if we are beginning to see a realignment of Tyrion for the next act. The conversation with Cersei may mark his decision to go for the greater good – like Davos/Stannis instead of pursuing only Daenerys personal goals. He may become the mediator/hub for the Lannisters and Starks. One in which he works closely with Jaime, Sansa, Brienne, Davos, Royce as they fight the AOTD. This does not mean he betrays Daenerys (as is now popular in chatter), it means he is now concerned with a wider group of allies and objectives. For example, you could see how Jaime’s well-being may be a major concern for him.

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    128. Patrick Sponaugle,

      Thanks for the link! Very good read!

      I agree that the actor was a stand out in the Benjen role. He just looked and behaved like who he was supposed to be.

      Lol! And I did not think of Blackfish as a match for Olenna. I was thinking Tywin and the High Sparrow could be considered….but now that you nominated Blackfish, he is a clear leading candidate.

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    129. Mango:
      Patrick Sponaugle,

      Thanks for the link! Very good read!

      I agree that the actor was a stand out in the Benjen role. He just looked and behaved like who he was supposed to be.

      Lol! And I did not think of Blackfish as a match for Olenna. I was thinking Tywin and the High Sparrow could be considered….but now that you nominated Blackfish, he is a clear leading candidate.

      #BlackThorn

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    130. Clob,

      sorry 🙁 I am actually a fan you know. Why I’m so annoyed how poor the show got. I even liked some of the changes in the first 4 seasons from the books.. but from season 5 in particular, I can’t forgive DnD.. rich bastards stealing a living

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    131. mass:
      Next week is True detective finale and we are getting closer and closer to release of first trailer. just 6 days…

      I think you are right, we must be close to a trailer but I just hope it’s the only trailer now given we are only 6-7 weeks away from the premiere now.

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    132. Patrick Sponaugle: But the fact that the team killed a White Walker and his wights then died indicates something.

      My theory is that the WWs use the energy from the curtain of energy at the top of Westeros (book 1 Bran’s first vision shown him by the 3ER).

      Some one has mentioned the concept of ansible – WWs as ansible. I don’t remember all the properties of ansible, other than that they transmit energy and step it up or down like a transformer.

      I think the show is using the concept of each WW animating many corpses without drawing in the book curtain of energy or the horrors which exist beyond the curtain of energy.

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    133. Marlana: My theory is that the WWs use the energy from the curtain of energy at the top of Westeros (book 1 Bran’s first vision shown him by the 3ER).

      Some one has mentioned the concept of ansible – WWs as ansible. I don’t remember all the properties of ansible, other than that they transmit energy and step it up or down like a transformer.

      I think the show is using the concept of each WW animating many corpses without drawing in the book curtain of energy or the horrors which exist beyond the curtain of energy.

      An ansible is a faster than light communication device, coined by Ursula K LeGuin.

      And the curtain of energy:

      “Finally he looked north. He saw the Wall shining like blue crystal, and his bastard brother Jon sleeping alone in a cold bed, his skin growing pale and hard as the memory of all warmth fled from him. And he looked past the Wall, past endless forests cloaked in snow, past the frozen shore and the great blue-white rivers of ice and the dead plains where nothing grew or lived. North and north and north he looked, to the curtain of light at the end of the world, and then beyond that curtain. He looked deep into the heart of winter, and then he cried out, afraid, and the heat of his tears burned on his cheeks.”

      – is probably the Aurora Borealis on Westeros. That entirely natural phenomenon might certainly be a source of magic that the Others are using, that’s no odder than Melisandre getting power from body fluids, so I can accept that.

      But it doesn’t really shine much insight into how the Others are animating corpses. I still say that a White Walker needs to take some action to raise a corpse to life. I’ve always thought that it was something like warging for controlling the dead, which isn’t too different than what you are saying about transmission of energy.

      I think this conversation started with our heroes trying to make their own wights in some kind of controlled way, as opposed to having to go out and hunt one. I don’t think just killing someone north of the Wall, and expecting the corpse to rise up would work. Since a White Walker would have to raise them up, and nowadays, the White Walkers seem to be traveling with an army of wights, which would be dangerous for the experiment if it was successful.

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    134. Occasional misfire:
      Young Dragon,

      lol sure if you change the definition of earn.

      And the definition of steal.

      I sympathize with GRRM that the show cannot adapt his unwritten books, and is going to speed along to a conclusion. I sympathize with D & D that they probably didn’t expect to have to generate so much original content, rather than adapting something fully fleshed out.

      You might not like what they’re writing, which isn’t something worth arguing because that’s very subjective, but they’re within their rights to do what they need to do, to get to a conclusion for HBO.

      Young Dragon is correct that they’re earned this, by getting GRRM’s agreement and by doing a fairly solid adaptation of the first three books over the course of 4 seasons. And maintaining their viewership.

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    135. Occasional misfire,

      How have they not earned it? They’ve been in charge of the entire production since day 1. They’ve written the bulk of the episodes, they’ve directed a few, and have steered the story all the way up to its final season. Whether or not you believe they’ve maintained the quality of the show is a matter of opinion, but it’s clear that the vast majority of viewers really enjoy what they are doing. There’s a reason why viewership grows every year and they continue to win Emmys. The success of the show is due to their hard work.

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    136. Young Dragon,

      Let’s not piss about. Teachers and nurses earn their measly living. When we start saying twats like DnD earn their wealth.. then we are really stretching the definition of earn.

      The production value gets better and better. The writing gets worse. End of.

      They were made for star wars, as that has gone down the sh***er too.

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    137. Occasional misfire,

      It seems to me that your problem is with how much money showrunners in general make in comparison to teachers and nurses, which is a whole other argument. It’s not D&D’s fault that the television industry is highly profitable, and considering they’ve created one of the most popular shows ever, they earned everything they’ve gotten.

      It’s your opinion that the writing has gotten worse, an opinion that is not shared by many people, I’m afraid.

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    138. Patrick Sponaugle,

      I keep returning to the concept that energy is required to move a living body, and I imagine from there that energy is required to move a dead body.

      Warging is controlling a living body to move, so more energy does not need to be input to warg a living body (except perhaps to the brain) . However, a dead body would require the input of energy to impel it to move.

      And is one shot of energy at the resurrection all that is required, or does energy need to be continuously supplied to move those wights? Energy turned on and off could be how those two wights carried into the Night Watch confines appeared dead north of the wall and then became active after being moved south of the wall.

      Continuing on with energy, I have a theory about why obsidian kills WWs. Obsidian is amorphous (that is, not crystalline) silicon dioxide. If the WWs are silicon-based beings, they could be held together by energy within crystalline silicon dioxide. Obsidian could disrupt the energy that holds the WWs together, and we would see what Sam saw when he stabbed a WW with the obsidian knife: the WW dissolved into a mist that blew away.

      Computers contain silicon dioxide, computers handle energy, and computers like cold. Do WWs consist of computer elements?

      Continuing the Fire vs Ice theme, a fire-based characteristic of obsidian is that it results from lava being cooled rapidly, as in magma exploding from a volcano and plunging into the sea. Delving into volcanos is a link to the developers of that portable hot fire delivery system – the dragon. Dragon fire is the second of three means of destroying WWs. The link to the third is that Valerian steel probably contains obsidian instead of carbon.

      So several topics related by energy and obsidian.

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    139. Sunfyre: Look forward to reading any theories about the spiral formations made by the WWs.

      Theory: the spiral formations made by the WWs are phone home signals to their compatriots in the red comet.

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    140. Young Dragon,

      No I get it that we live under a system that doesn’t allocate money and resources fairly. That is a completely different argument for a different forum though haha. DnD still haven’t earned their wealth. Obscene to say so. What next, we gonna start saying billionaires deserve to hoard all that money?

      My main problem, is that they are s***. But as long as they make HBO money they will be seen as doing a great job. The last season started okay, watered down and more hollywood, but okay. End of the season.. the utter crap we have learned to expect from them.

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    141. Occasional misfire,

      But they did earn their money. HBO has paid them handsomely for creating a product that has gained HBO millions of viewers. The GOT audience grows every year because of their hard work. Whether or not you believe they are doing a good job doesn’t matter. What matters is that the vast majority of viewers believe that they are doing a good job.

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