Isaac Hempstead Wright on which scene was cut from the finale and that Night King theory

Isaac Hempstead Wright as Bran.

Isaac Hempstead Wright as Bran.

How the Arya-Sansa-Littlefinger intrigue at Winterfell ended elicited a mixed response from viewers, but it’s generally accepted that Bran was able to tap into his Three-Eyed Raven abilities to put the final nail in Littlefinger’s coffin (pardon me while I savor his demise one more time…mmm). Actor Isaac Hempstead Wright confirmed in a recent interview with Variety that a scene confirming as much was filmed for the season 7 finale, “The Dragon and The Wolf,” but that it didn’t make the final cut.

“We actually did a scene that clearly got cut, a short scene with Sansa where she knocks on Bran’s door and says, ‘I need your help,’ or something along those lines,” Hempstead Wright said. “So basically, as far as I know, the story was that it suddenly occurred to Sansa that she had a huge CCTV department at her discretion and it might be a good idea to check with him first before she guts her own sister. So she goes to Bran, and Bran tells her everything she needs to know, and she’s like, Oh, s—.’ ”

Hempstead Wright also talked about filming scenes again with co-stars Maisie Williams and Sophie Turner after years of largely interacting with them outside of the Thrones setting.

“I’m used to seeing most of them at events and press stuff. It’s like, ‘It’s weird seeing you in ‘Game of Thrones’ clothes rather than a pretty dress or a nice suit,’ ” he said. “[G]etting back with the Starks is such a big thing. We literally only ever had one scene together, with all three of us together onscreen, so it was almost like this was the first time working together, which is bizarre.”

Isaac Hempstead Wright would prefer not to be compared to an ancient ice zombie, thanks.

Bran would prefer not to be compared to an ancient ice zombie, thanks.

As for Bran’s future — or is it his past? — Hempstead Wright also discussed one of the most popular fan theories out there: that Bran is the Night King.

“[I]t’s gotten a little bit crazy because people are now putting pictures of me and the Night King together and going ‘Yep, that confirms it! They look identical!’ And it’s like, ‘Do I really look like an ancient ice zombie? Thanks guys,’ ” he said in a separate interview with Insider.

He added that it sounds “fairly farfetched” to him, but it’s understandable, given that we still don’t know exactly how Bran’s powers work — but he was happy to clear that up as much as he could.

“The way [it] works at the moment is that he’s basically got a Kindle library of the whole history of the universe,” Hempstead Wright said. “He just hasn’t read every book yet. And the old Three-Eyed Raven has sat in that tree for a thousand years and read through every piece of history and has accessed it all. … for now he needs people to tell him what they want him to see. Like Samwell Tarly saying, ‘Can you see this?’ and Bran goes and accesses it and says, ‘Oh yep, that does happen.’ So it’s not like Bran just has everything at his fingertips, he’s still got to look it up in the dictionary.”

The full Variety interview is available here, while the Insider interview can be found here.

160 responses

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    1. Oh man, that IS a disappointment. So Sansa was clueless the whole time? She wasn’t playing LF until the very end AND she was seriously going to have Arya despatched.

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    2. Lmao so they weren’t plotting to get rid of CIA all season and Sandra “the great politician” still got tricked by him and possibly her sister? looool

      http://imgur.com/he8pykM

      Terrible storyline. Arya and Bran deserved better.

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    3. I mean maybe cause I read the leaks and the outline and knew all along but this has always been my belief.The rift and the tension were real.Why would they even need to fake it lol??But during her last talk with LF Sansa understands that something is not right here and goes to Bran which clarifies everything.Then they meet Arya and set up the whole Great Hall scene.I wish they had kept it in but I totally get why they cut it.Totally reveals the twist and they wanted the tension when she turns to him and says Lord Baelish.

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    4. A scene that would have changed the entire narrative, adding a mere 4 extra minutes to a 79 minute episode. But presumably deleted for shock value on the demise of LF?

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    5. I so much laughed and laughed and laughed when people were all conspiracy-theory “they are playing Littlefinger!” after episode 6. When will this fandom ever learn that this show lays out things so very, very straightforward? There was one scene where the Starks played Littlefinger. One. The last one. And it referenced the previous one exactly to tell you that. But noooo…. The tension can’t be real. Must be some sort of a conspiracy.

      I’ve lost my hope about the fandom. Thankfully, there’s only six episodes coming.

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    6. No, this doesn’t mean Sansa was clueless the whole time.

      It means she didn’t have enough on Littlefinger to satisfy the Vale and the other lords that he deserved to die.

      That’s why the scene with Bran parroting the “Choas is a ladder” bit works so well. It shows Littlefinger is unnerved by Bran.

      Sansa was reading some charges that couldn’t be proven, but Littlefinger heard Bran and panicked and that panic made him look guiltier.

      My read has always been:
      There was tension between the sisters, who were never close and took very different paths to survive. Littlefinger exploited it as far as he could go, with his high point getting Sansa to send Brienne away.

      Then, Arya decided to test Sansa and Sansa somehow passed (the writing and acting on this scene was really not great — sorry, I don’t worship the cult of Maisie. She’s over her skis with the Junior Hannibal Lecter routine).

      Then, Littlefinger overplays with the “Arya wants to be Lady of Winterfell” thing. She brings in Arya. Sansa decides to play HER cards “I saw you push the Lady of the Vale out the window!” and uses Bran to rattle Littlefinger.

      Had Bran not been there, Littlefinger might have skated. Or at least, the Vale lords wouldn’t have been cool with his death and bailed.

      This all works. The biggest flaw is that weird scene in Arya’s chambers. It needed rewritten.

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    7. WorfWWorfington:
      No, this doesn’t mean Sansa was clueless the whole time.

      It means she didn’t have enough on Littlefinger to satisfy the Vale and the other lords that he deserved to die.

      That’s why the scene with Bran parroting the “Choas is a ladder” bit works so well. It shows Littlefinger is unnerved by Bran.

      Sansa was reading some charges that couldn’t be proven, but Littlefinger heard Bran and panicked and that panic made him look guiltier.

      My read has always been:
      There was tension between the sisters, who were never close and took very different paths to survive. Littlefinger exploited it as far as he could go, with his high point getting Sansa to send Brienne away.

      Then, Arya decided to test Sansa and Sansa somehow passed (the writing and acting on this scene was really not great — sorry, I don’t worship the cult of Maisie. She’s over her skis with the Junior Hannibal Lecter routine).

      Then, Littlefinger overplays with the “Arya wants to be Lady of Winterfell” thing. She brings in Arya. Sansa decides to play HER cards “I saw you push the Lady of the Vale out the window!” and uses Bran to rattle Littlefinger.

      Had Bran not been there, Littlefinger might have skated. Or at least, the Vale lords wouldn’t have been cool with his death and bailed.

      This all works. The biggest flaw is that weird scene in Arya’s chambers. It needed rewritten.

      Except why would the Lord’s believe Bran is a three eyed raven? They should react the same way Sam sis.

      And Bran shouldn’t have waited so long for Sansa to come to him. He should have stepped in immediately

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    8. The scene was cut so viewers could be surprised but it was still Arya, Sansa & Bran vs LF as some of the accusations were things only Bran could have ‘seen’. Maybe that is why Sansa said, “I’m a slow learner, it’s true.” A little barb aimed at herself.

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    9. Jack Bauer 24:
      Cringed when I heard they cut this scene.

      I didn’t and am fine with it after the fact considering how they wanted to do the ‘trial scene.’ They probably could have still done a quick scene of JUST Sansa asking Bran for help and no other conversation.

      It became evident that both Arya and Sansa spoke with Bran when they mentioned his involvement in events and his dagger. Showing that conversation would have lessened the judgement scene of Littlefinger though.

      After the outcome of the entire arc I don’t believe Arya was playing a game with Sansa or that either of them were going to go after each other unless things escalated. I think Arya in her own way was forcing Sansa to do what she should, fully support the Stark family and eliminate bad outside influence (Baelish). I see that supported in Arya’s questions to Sansa when she was brought to the great hall. By that point they’d have already spoken about what needs to be done but Sansa was scared. She made her final decision to go ahead with it while she stood alone on the battlements. Arya comes in and asks her, “Are you sure you want to do this?” Sansa confirms that she knows she has to for honor. “… what does honor demand?” Sansa’s response indicates that she now knows that she can’t let Littlefinger weasel around anymore and has to punish him for what he’s done. Arya is essentially her support to give her strength to go ahead with it. She has Sansa reaffirm to herself that she has to and then tells her to “get on with it.”

      They of course set the scene so we’d think she was trying Arya, but after the fact it makes sense in this manner. It was a good scene that would have had to be different with a different feel to it if the viewers knew the Starks were working together. Most or all of the tension would have been gone.

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    10. Jack Bauer 24,

      I’m sorry but why would Bran step in?He is very much in his own world right now and probably didn’t even realize his sisters were fighting.And he didn’t know the details of LF’s machinations.As we see in the episode and as Isaac says he needs to be pointed in the right direction so he knows where to look.

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    11. I always thought the sisterly tension was real and apt. I also think that right from the first episode of the season, Sansa was quite fed up of LF. This scene with Bran would have been her way of completely confirming other things – she already KNEW that LF murdered Lysa Arryn. I think it goes to show that Sansa doesn’t act rashly, before passing judgement on someone, she really verifies it as well as possible.
      I do wish they had left the scene in. They could still have left Sansa’s motivation about Arya unclear till the judgement scene.

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    12. I’m glad they cut the scene. Better to let the audience connect the dots themselves. Also preserved the tension as Clob said above.

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    13. Clob: I didn’t and am fine with it after the fact considering how they wanted to do the ‘trial scene.’They probably could have still done a quick scene of JUST Sansa asking Bran for help and no other conversation.

      It became evident that both Arya and Sansa spoke with Bran when they mentioned his involvement in events and his dagger.Showing that conversation would have lessened the judgement scene of Littlefinger though.

      After the outcome of the entire arc I don’t believe Arya was playing a game with Sansa or that either of them were going to go after each other unless things escalated.I think Arya in her own way was forcing Sansa to do what she should, fully support the Stark family and eliminate bad outside influence (Baelish).I see that supported in Arya’s questions to Sansa when she was brought to the great hall.By that point they’d have already spoken about what needs to be done but Sansa was scared.She made her final decision to go ahead with it while she stood alone on the battlements.Arya comes in and asks her, “Are you sure you want to do this?”Sansa confirms that she knows she has to for honor.“… what does honor demand?”Sansa’s response indicates that she now knows that she can’t let Littlefinger weasel around anymore and has to punish him for what he’s done.Arya is essentially her support to give her strength to go ahead with it.She has Sansa reaffirm to herself that she has to and then tells her to “get on with it.”

      They of course set the scene so we’d think she was trying Arya, but after the fact it makes sense in this manner.It was a good scene that would have had to be different with a different feel to it if the viewers knew the Starks were working together.Most or all of the tension would have been gone.

      I like all of this except why did Sansa say she didn’t want to do it but that honor demands it? After everything LF has done setting up the entire conflict between the Starks and Lannisters she didn’t want him dead? She was only doing it for honor?

      And they still had no proof of LF betraying Ned except for Bran’s words so why would the Vale and the Northern Lord’s believe he can see the past and is a three eyed raven? There was still no physical proof.

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    14. Jack Bauer 24,

      I don’t want to speak for Clob but I think it might be because LF was still a big part of Sansa’s life.He was her mentor and for some time the only person she had.Yes he did harm her in many ways but he also did some good things for her.And as she herself said he did love her in his own fucked up way.It’s a difficult emotional situation to be in.Obviously she knew she had to this and he deserved it but it doesn’t mean it wasn’t hard for her.And for the Bran thing.Obviously by now everybody accepts his powers are real.After all they believe the white walkers.But even if some Vale lord doubts he needs only to give his name and Bran can prove to him in seconds that his powers are real by revealing something personal to the lord.

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    15. Jack Bauer 24: I like all of this except why did Sansa say she didn’t want to do it but that honor demands it? After everything LF has done setting up the entire conflict between the Starks and Lannisters she didn’t want him dead? She was only doing it for honor?

      She did not say she didn’t want it.

      She said “it’s not about what I want.”

      Meaning yes, of course she fucking wants his head on a spike, but that’s not WHY she’s doing it.

      And they still had no proof of LF betraying Ned except for Bran’s words so why would the Vale and the Northern Lord’s believe he can see the past and is a three eyed raven? There was still no physical proof.

      Northern Lords don’t care – They are loyal to Sansa who is Lady of WF. She is loved and respected by them. If she believes he’s guilty of crimes in the north and against northerners, then Sansa is like Ned:Judge, Jury, and Excutioner (well that last is Arya). (how many Vale Lords protested when Lysa and Cat brought Tyrion up on much less substantiated charges?).

      Vale Lords = Royce. LF tried to have Royce killed. “I think not.”

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    16. Jenny:
      Jack Bauer 24,

      I don’t want to speak for Clob but I think it might be because LF was still a big part of Sansa’s life.He was her mentor and for some time the only person she had.Yes he did harm her in many ways but he also did some good things for her.And as she herself said he did love her in his own fucked up way.It’s a difficult emotional situation to be in.Obviously she knew she had to this and he deserved it but it doesn’t mean it wasn’t hard for her.And for the Bran thing.Obviously by now everybody accepts his powers are real.After all they believe the white walkers.But even if some Vale lord doubts he needs only to give his name and Bran can prove to him in seconds that his powers are real by revealing something personal to the lord.

      Thanks. Maybe you can help with this…So when does Bran need the weirwood tree? He was there when he saw the vision of Sansa/Ramsay, Arya/Crossroads, NK taking down the Wall, but he was able to see the Rhaegar flashback sitting by the fireplace with Sam?

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    17. QueenofThrones: She did not say she didn’t want it.

      She said “it’s not about what I want.”

      Meaning yes, of course she fucking wants his head on a spike, but that’s not WHY she’s doing it.

      Northern Lords don’t care – They are loyal to Sansa who is Lady of WF.She is loved and respected by them.If she believes he’s guilty of crimes in the north and against northerners, then Sansa is like Ned:Judge, Jury, and Excutioner (well that last is Arya).(how many Vale Lords protested when Lysa and Cat brought Tyrion up on much less substantiated charges?).

      Vale Lords = Royce.LF tried to have Royce killed.“I think not.”

      Just rewatched it. She says it’s “Not what I want”…without the “about” you included it changes the entire context.

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    18. That was a smart cut: including it would have totally given away the game to the audience. Indeed, it sort of gave it away that Bran was there at all!

      Jack Bauer 24: There was still no physical proof.

      Nor could there be. In such a world, there would be no “forensics”: testimony was weighted by the assumed character of the witness. Moreover, what possible physical proof could there have been of such an act? Bran provides a weird sort of eye-witness testimony: and, by that point, everyone would have clued in to what he was doing. (Indeed, given the superstitious nature of such people, Bran probably has extra clout at this point.) But suppose they dragged in some gold-cloak who was there. His word would count for zilch against Baelish: Baelish is a lord, and a gold-cloak is a commoner.

      Again, this is basic stuff that the showrunners assume that audiences know because anybody who stayed awake in their history classes knows that this is what our medieval world was like.

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    19. Dear Bran:

      I have some homework for you:

      BranScan_Cersie_Lannister
      BranScan_Daenrys_Targaryen
      BranScan_Jaime_Lannister
      BranScan_Tyrion_Lannister
      BranScan_Euron_Greyjoy

      Thanks,

      Your loving big sis,

      Sansa

      ….

      Well, there just went the season 8 plot.

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    20. Jack Bauer 24,

      Oh honestly I think he doesn’t even need the weirwood anymore,but I don’t think he saw the Sansa and Arya moments during the scenes he told them.I think he saw them beforehand and just told the girls in front of the weirwood.He clearly wasn’t in a vision during those scenes.And I think looking at the Wall fall was just warging considering the ravens.But even if he needs the weirwood I think the explanation is that after Sam says can you see this in a vision?he wheels Bran to the weirwood and he sees it.Obviously we don’t see this cause it would ruin the flow of the scene and clearly the narration to Sam is not happening in vision time because Bran can’t talk to people in the real world while he is in a vision.It happens later but it’s all done for the purposes of the montage.

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    21. Jenny: I don’t want to speak for Clob

      Very much how I would have responded. 🙂
      ——–
      In regards to Bran’s powers and people believing him moving forward. It is or will be very easy for him to prove his abilities to anyone. Objections can be made however whether he is telling people the truth about what he sees. Nobody but Littlefinger knew that Bran was correct in saying he held a knife to Ned’s neck and said those words. Denying that would have made it his word against Bran’s. People that believe Bran is truthful and honorable as a Stark may automatically, but others perhaps not so much. Maybe he’ll attain the ability or be able to control the ability to “bring others with him” in his visions.

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    22. I wish they kept the scene, instead of going for shock value. For me it was no shock: the whole conflict between Arya and Sansa felt too rushed to be realistic. I mean I can fully imagine such conflict between them but not under given circumstances. The very least, it required some proper triggering: Sansa should have really said something bad about Jon not sending ravens or going to Eastwatsh for a stupid wight hunt. BTW it was really weird that Jon (sorry, Aegon) didn’t send a raven to WF after getting a message from Bran, etc.
      I wrote in another thread that IMO the WF would have worked much better, if the showrunners actually showed us the Starks playing Littlefinger cruelly and enjoying the process. Maybe, they would have managed to make us feel some compassion to the outplayed schemer surrounded by the wolves. Or maybe, some playing could really go off the rails and produce a real conflict, but what we got on screen was simply lame.
      Unless Sansa was playing game of faces and trying to prove her loyalty to Arya in order not to get killed by her. LOL, I would like such a twist, but hardly anything like that can be squeezed into six remaining episodes.

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    23. The entire Winterfell storyline was a mess this season. We all knew Baelish would die because it was time, but my god what a waste of a great character. I couldn’t wait for the Winterfell scenes to end, and Arya has become difficult to watch.

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    24. The Sansa/LF/Arya/Bran story line is one that I admit could have used more screen time to marinate. I agree with those who think it was rushed. That said, I didnt have too much trouble connecting the dots. Some people want to see those dots onscreen, but it is what it is.

      Sansa and Arya never liked eachother, and even though they are happy to see eachother, theyve grown further apart as people in their time apart. Little Finger could have been shown to be more cunning over the course of the season, but there just wasnt enough time to really it justice, so it was left for the audience to infer certain things.

      Sansa as has been noted many times has never trusted LF and hes told her his motives and how his mind works. She just finally reached a breaking point when she realized he was trying to convince her that Arya wanted to be her, when she knows damn well Arya doesnt give 2 shits about being the Lady of Winterfell. Thats when she goes to Bran to get some kind of confirmation. And then thats the ball game.

      Little Finger should honestly have left Winterfell once Bran told him “chaos is a ladder.” And he should have left certainly once Arya showed up. He got too cocky, and he paid the price. Bran should have tipped him off that things were getting too dangerous.

      Oh well. I enjoyed it all, but agree that DnD could have milked it more if they had more time.

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    25. Joey,

      Good, because Arya thinks too highly of herself. Its been building up for some time now. And its not a mistake or bad writing/acting I dont think. Its an intentional character flaw.

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    26. I wanted the sisters to be playing LF, but I suspected it was exactly as presented: Sansa and Arya didn’t trust each other. I thought Arya was goading Sansa to make her think, with the goal of ultimately making Sansa see what she’s become under LF’s influence (I though Sansa was the “lone wolf” this season, as even Bran has a closer connection to Arya now than Sansa).

      And I thought Sansa was truly afraid of Arya, and maybe even considered the thoughts LF put in her head: to have Arya kiled – or at least try to. Which is why Brienne had to be sent away, because Brienne would have taken Arya’s side (because whatever side LF is on, is the wrong side).

      But I think if they left the cut scene in, it should have been BOTH Sansa and Arya talking to Bran. First, because Arya clearly has information from Bran before she kills LF, so either they spoke to Bran together, or Arya has been talking to Bran all along (which makes Sansa look even dumber by comparison), and second, because wouldn’t Sansa and Arya at least TRY to work out their dispute with a neutral party (Bran) before taking any drastic action?

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    27. Jack Bauer 24,

      IMO, Sansa simply liked the idea that she is a subject of some unrequited love. She is a young woman and a pretty one, but all the men she ever met had zero affection to her (except of Tyrion, who was not ready to admit it). So, having Littlefinger around repeating every five minutes how much he loves her was pleasing. Poor naive girl: Littlefinger might have desired her for power and wealth she represented, he might have even wanted to fuck her, but that wasn’t love. Not at all, and Sansa still thinks it was.

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    28. Obviously the scene was cut to maintain shock value.

      Some people liked this plot, others didn’t. For me, what a mess this plot was. Just…ugh.

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    29. Inga,

      Im with you that the Winterfell plot was lame, but you actually believe Sansa thought Littlefinger genuinely loved her? I never got that impression at all. There was a lot of confusion going on with this plot, but I dont think Sansa ever really thought Littlefinger had any genuine love for her. She knew Baelish only did things that will help himself and that was his sole motivation.

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    30. Ser Broccoli McBroccoliface,

      I do agree that Arya is being build as overconfident: faces are poison. But the last scene on the WF battlements should have put Arya down: one way or another she was proved to be wrong about her sister. But it didn’t work somehow.
      I guess the showrunners planned to write Sansa as being tempted by power and being brought onto the true path by uncompromising Arya, they hyped that since the Winds of Winter, but they really failed to trigger the conflict in a proper way. I balme the writting of ep 5 primarily. It had to set up two major plots of the second half of the season, namely, the wight hunt and Sansa vs Arya, and it failed dramatically in both cases.

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    31. Glad they cut it. Sansa pretending to fall for LF’s shit is great and doesn’t need a further scene to tell us she’s onto him, plus it ruins the surprise they wanted so badly.

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    32. Mr Derp,

      Well, Sansa said that on the battlements of Winterfell that he loved her in his own weird way. Therefore, it looks like she really believed this. At least, we can assume that her understanding of love is rather weird and corrupted.

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    33. Interesting to have the “Kindle Library” cleared up because it was getting quite confusing having him see stuff without accessing Weir Tree while at other times he’s warging birds

      So Bloodraven saw Rhaegar/Lyanna marriage and Bran was able to access Bloodravens memory.

      I was hoping for some progression throughout the season like last season, eg Tourney at Harrenhall in E4 or so and then the wedding in this one (with a different wig) but oh well

      Just watched a video discussing cut scene, seems they want to end the old “Sansa is naive” by cutting it

      I would have been fine if they realise he is talking crap about Arya, eg the idea she wants to be Lady of Winterfell is a good giveaway, then seeing him push Lysa and the Tears of Lys thing would get her thinking, and THEN go to Bran to understand the full extent,

      eg it would be enough to show she is sussing him out on the one hand so “not naive”, show Bran as being on top of it all the whole time but then completing the entire jigsaw in that scene and having enough to put LF on trial and execute him in such a way so as to not marginalise the Vale troops that they need which

      This would have Sansa being able to achieve the political outcome desired, plus Arya can definitively have an example of Sansa’s loyalty and dedication to put the Stark family first and avenge betrayals and have the wherewithal to jettison troublesome outsiders (LF/Joffrey) even if it means a form of sacrifice (political tutor)

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    34. It’s obvious why they cut the scene, but it should have been obvious from the scripting phase that that would give the game away, and they should have made it obvious from the actual trial scene.

      Because as it is, even many critics went with the “playing him all along” option — which doesn’t make sense, but given how poorly written the whole Stark sister conflict was, people are looking for any explanation that doesn’t make the sisters both look like morons.

      The whole Sansa/Arya conflict may be the show’s worst-ever plotting, frankly. Particularly in how it dredges up a bunch of character conflict, especially from Arya, and then resolves all of it offscreen even though merely killing Littlefinger wouldn’t address the issues between them.

      They should have made the drama be about the sisters hashing out their differences onscreen. The ten seconds or so of fakeout that Sansa is going to have Arya killed isn’t worth losing what should be the actual resolution of the character conflict.

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    35. Inga,

      I mean, I love WOTW in my own weird way, but it aint the same thing as actual love.

      I suppose you could be right that Sansa enjoyed having someone around that cared for her, or at least appeared to care for her, but she basically told him to shutup the majority of the time he spoke, at least early on in the season, so I’m not sure I buy that she kept him around for love and was pleased by any of it. I think she simply kept him around because he helped her take back Winterfell and he was useful for counsil.

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    36. Flayed Potatoes,

      They all deserved better. The whole thing was ridiculously contrived and a disservice to all characters involved.

      All the producers wanted was to get to this show trial “twist” in the finale by any means necessary, even if they had to regress the characters’ development and intelligence and contradict what they’ve previously depicted to do so.

      It’s a genuine shame.

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    37. Moakaka:
      I wanted the sisters to be playing LF, but I suspected it was exactly as presented: Sansa and Arya didn’t trust each other.I thought Arya was goading Sansa to make her think, with the goal of ultimately making Sansa see what she’s become under LF’s influence (I though Sansa was the “lone wolf” this season, as even Bran has a closer connection to Arya now than Sansa).

      And I thought Sansa was truly afraid of Arya, and maybe even considered the thoughts LF put in her head: to have Arya kiled – or at least try to.Which is why Brienne had to be sent away, because Brienne would have taken Arya’s side (because whatever side LF is on, is the wrong side).

      But I think if they left the cut scene in, it should have been BOTH Sansa and Arya talking to Bran.First, because Arya clearly has information from Bran before she kills LF, so either they spoke to Bran together, or Arya has been talking to Bran all along (which makes Sansa look even dumber by comparison), and second, because wouldn’t Sansa and Arya at least TRY to work out their dispute with a neutral party (Bran) before taking any drastic action?

      I would’ve liked a scene where Sansa is being contemplative on the ramparts, then cut to her walking out to see bran at the weirwood. No conversation necessary. Leave it at that.

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    38. Ghost's Lunch:
      Interesting to have the “Kindle Library” cleared up because it was getting quite confusing having him see stuff without accessing Weir Tree while at other times he’s warging birds

      So Bloodraven saw Rhaegar/Lyanna marriage and Bran was able to access Bloodravens memory.

      I was hoping for some progression throughout the season like last season, eg Tourney at Harrenhall in E4 or so and then the wedding in this one (with a different wig) but oh well

      Just watched a video discussing cut scene, seems they want to end the old “Sansa is naive” by cutting it

      I would have been fine if they realise he is talking crap about Arya, eg the idea she wants to be Lady of Winterfell is a good giveaway, then seeing him push Lysa and the Tears of Lys thing would get her thinking, and THEN go to Bran to understand the full extent,

      eg it would be enough to show she is sussing him out on the one hand so “not naive”, show Bran as being on top of it all the whole time but then completing the entire jigsaw in that scene and having enough to put LF on trial and execute him in such a way so as to not marginalise the Vale troops that they need which

      This would have Sansa being able to achieve the political outcome desired, plus Arya can definitively have an example of Sansa’s loyalty and dedication to put the Stark family first and avenge betrayals and have the wherewithal to jettison troublesome outsiders (LF/Joffrey) even if it means a form of sacrifice (political tutor)

      She could only know about the tears of lys from Bran.

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    39. Interestingly, in another interview IHW says “the sisters” came. I wonder when that scene would have been slotted in. As you all say, there are many reasons the scene was deleted. I suspect a primary reason is that it makes Sansa look inconsistent in letting LF ‘play’ her once again, especially after having declared to Jon in.Ep 6.10 “Only a fool would trust Littlefinger”. Perhaps that is why she later says she’s a slow learner but she learns. Most of what the sisters say to each other is genuine; but the intent and its perception are critical. One would think Sansa would turn to Brienne concerning her doubts, and if she truly believes Arya is a threat, why send Brienne and Pod away? She would need protection, especially against a quick strike in the night.

      No doubt Arya was ‘playing’ LF. She knows LF is a threat to Sansa and Winterfell, and Brienne’s quip to Sandor sums it up: the only person who needs protecting is the one who gets in Arya;s way. The first indication is her asking Brienne to spar in the very courtyard that Sansa and LF often walk through. When she glares up at LF, both know it is a battle to the death. Later, after showing her cards (the Faces) she gives Sansa the dagger to say her work is done and it’s up to Sansa now. (The eerie music from her Waif confrontations plays in the background.) At some point Sansa or both ask Bran for data. At the very latest, Sansa is involved before the trial begins. Arya strides in fully armed and utterly fearless. She tellingly checks that everyone is in place, including Littlefinger. She says three things to Sansa, pausing for her responses: “Are you sure you want to do this?” “And what does honour demand?” And ‘All right then. Get on with it.” IMO, the verbal volleys between her and Sansa (and between all three Wolves of the charges against LF) sound almost planned, And then…Sansa bowls a googly. Both Bran and Arya contribute to her litany of charges. The Wolves finally have Littlefinger surrounded; he never stands a chance. This is almost the equivalent of the dragon having three heads.

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    40. Jack Bauer 24,

      The Lords don’t believe Bran is the Three-Eyed Raven. But Littlefinger knows Bran has some weird sight. And when LF reacts the way he does, it is suspicious.

      This is not an American court of law. Littlefinger only has rights if the Vale forces choose to fight over his life. They could produce all the physical proof in the world, and if the Vale chooses to fight, it’ll be ugly.

      They are setting up Bran to have knowledge of all human history. He is a search engine, not an active participant. As soon as Sansa said, “Bran, I need help,” he was able to help.

      Again, my beef is that the conflict didn’t feel fleshed out. I can certainly buy conflict. The last time the girls saw each other, they were only a short time removed from when Sansa choosing Joffrey forced Arya to send away her dog and cost Mycah his life.

      In a longer season, they might have devoted more time to it. You could make it work.

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    41. Stark Raven’ Rad:
      Interestingly, in another interview IHW says “the sisters” came.I wonder when that scene would have been slotted in. As you all say, there are many reasons the scene was deleted. I suspect a primary reason is that it makes Sansa look inconsistent in letting LF ‘play’ her once again, especially after havingdeclared to Jon in.Ep 6.10 “Only a fool would trust Littlefinger”. Perhaps that is why she later says she’s a slow learner but she learns. Most of what the sisters say to each other is genuine; but the intent and its perception are critical. One would think Sansa would turn to Brienne concerning her doubts, and if she truly believes Arya is a threat, why send Brienne and Pod away? She would need protection, especially against a quick strike in the night.

      No doubt Arya was ‘playing’ LF. She knows LF is a threat to Sansa and Winterfell, and Brienne’s quip to Sandor sums it up:the only person who needs protecting is the one who gets in Arya;s way.The first indication is her asking Brienne to spar in the very courtyard that Sansa and LF often walk through. When she glares up at LF, both know it is a battle to the death. Later, after showing her cards (the Faces) she gives Sansa the dagger to say her work is done and it’s up to Sansa now. (The eerie music from her Waif confrontations plays in the background.) At some point Sansa or both ask Bran for data. At the very latest, Sansa is involved beforethe trial begins. Arya strides in fully armed and utterly fearless.She tellingly checks that everyone is in place, including Littlefinger. She says three things to Sansa, pausing for her responses: “Are you sure you want to do this?” “And what does honour demand?” And ‘All right then. Get on with it.” IMO, the verbal volleys between her and Sansa (and between all three Wolves of the charges against LF) sound almost planned, And then…Sansa bowls a googly.Both Bran and Arya contribute to her litany of charges. The Wolves finally have Littlefinger surrounded; he never stands a chance. This is almost the equivalent of the dragon having three heads.

      When Arya said “Alright then, get on with it” it did sound condescending though.

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    42. My take on much S7 controversy: the writers and producers thought that, after giving the world 6 years with these characters (not counting book years, obvs), they could let more stuff happen off-screen and let the viewers figure more stuff out for themselves. I found it refreshing, for the most part, especially when I turned out to be wrong. Others thought it was sloppy, or rushed, or did disservice to beloved characters.

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    43. ginny: I would’ve liked a scene where Sansa is being contemplative on the ramparts, then cut to her walking out to see bran at the weirwood. No conversation necessary. Leave it at that.

      I think some version of this would have been effective and I would have liked it (in part because it would have demonstrated belief and acceptance by Sansa of Bran), but would have undermined the impact of the trial scene for the more casual viewer. Respectfully, those of us who are following this show closely knew all along what would happen and virtually everyone guessed that Bran would be involved in fingering LF. We hoped for that scene but did we really need to see it?

      My interpretation remains that Sansa was never truly fooled by LF but was worried about Arya and her intentions (“Who else is on your list?” was a transparent start to that narrative.)

      As others have mentioned, Sansa knew LF was a threat and, whether she (weirdly) enjoyed the male attention from LF as he “loved her in his own horrible way” (paraphrase) or not, she was always making sure she kept close to him to determine whether he was plotting against her or House Stark, and I interpreted many of her exchanges with him as fencing with him, not necessarily swallowing his manipulations. I hope an interview or making GoT will explain the writers/actors intention of Sansa sending Brienne away, given the multiple interpretations.

      And I agree with the interpretation that Sansa reached her decision because Arya was the catalyt in Ep 6 (handing the dagger to Sansa and basically saying “use me to kill LF”) and because LF overplayed his hand in Ep 7 by both leading her towards Arya as the Lady of Winterfell AND suggesting that Jon could be unnamed as the KItN.

      As I have said on other threads, I do think the plot was important in getting both sisters not only on the same page but in getting each of them to break out of their fundamental distrust of any one else fueled by the trauma that each of them experienced, and seeing they had to trust each other to survive. The politician, the spy/assassin and the Kindle will be a formidable source of support for AeJon in the season to come (assuming they accept him as a Stark and not as a Targ). For their stories are not yet over.

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    44. Sean C.:

      They should have made the drama be about the sisters hashing out their differences onscreen.The ten seconds or so of fakeout that Sansa is going to have Arya killed isn’t worth losing what should be the actual resolution of the character conflict.

      Wasn’t the actual resolution of the character conflict the scene on the battlements post-Littlefinger execution? They acknowledged their stark (pun intended) differences from one another and the tension between them but reaffirmed their allegiance to family.

      I interpret the entire Winterfell plot as Arya arriving, quickly assessing the situation, and pushing Sansa to take the final step regarding Littlefinger. It is my belief that Sansa has always known deep down that this is where it was headed. She just needed the push and the knowledge that others have her back. She got that from Arya and Bran.

      I also believe D&D were having some fun with the will-she? or won’t-she? debate about Sansa’s ultimate loyalties. And also with the extent of Arya’s “darkness”. They wanted to let the audience experience those feelings of uncertainty. Will Sansa actually allow Littlefinger to manipulate her and therefore betray Jon? Has Arya truly become a cold killing machine capable of killing her own sister? By playing with these ambiguities they provided some tension to the Winterfell plot and also further defined Sansa and Arya and where they stand after all they’ve been through. I understand why some weren’t happy with this approach. But allowing ambiguity about characters to marinate is perfectly sound from a writing perspective.

      And now the ambiguity is concluded. We know where they stand as individuals, as sisters and as Starks. I’m satisfied with how everything played out and how the writers pushed Arya and Sansa further along their character arcs.

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    45. I’m glad the scene didn’t make the final cut, as it would’ve ruined the surprise when Sansa turned her head towards Baelish and said his name instead of Arya’s.

      Also, when Sam said “Can you see this?” I was kinda hoping Bran would take him along, because nobody rocks the awestruck look better than John Bradley-West.

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    46. Sean C.: Not from what we see.She falls for his trick hook, line and sinker.

      If you’re referring to the letter, a number of critics have said that she probably wanted him to see her. Since childhood, Arya has always been a girl of action, not one to sit on her hands. She added much needed subtlety and subterfuge in the HoB&W. What she said at the Godswood shows she knew LF was a villain. Besides her finely honed instincts, she heard him tell Lord Tywin that chaos offers opportunity when they talked about Robb. Once she had reassured herself that Sansa is loyal to Jon, which she did In their initial argument, she shifted attention to LF. Arya could not hurt Littlefinger under her own roof, so she wanted Sansa and others to see him for the villain he was. So they played cat and mouse and cat. And Sansa grew increasingly alarmed. But the net effect is that he did get too bold, did go to far, and Sansa realised it. And went to Bran at some point, perhaps with Arya. Anyway, the trial was set up by all three. And it went according to plan.

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    47. Mr Derp,

      I’ll try to put it otherwise. IMO, Sansa liked to have Littlefinger around exactly because she liked to put him down. That gave her a sense of power as a woman, she could have imagined herself as a femme fatale. It was like “Oh, I can do with him whatever I want!” And IMO Sansa quite enjoyed this light psychological sadism. Sure, she was conserned about the Vale and wanted Littlefinger’s wisdom, but besides that she wanted someone to torment and demonstrate her power, so that might have been one of the reasons why it was so hard for her to take him out.

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    48. Stark Raven’ Rad: If you’re referring to the letter, a number of critics have said that she probably wanted him to see her. Since childhood, Arya has always been a girl of action, not one to sit on her hands.She added much needed subtlety and subterfuge in the HoB&W. What she said at the Godswood shows she knew LF was a villain. Besides her finely honed instincts, she heard him tell Lord Tywin that chaos offers opportunity when they talked about Robb. Once she had reassured herself that Sansa is loyal to Jon, which she did In their initial argument, she shifted attention to LF. Arya could not hurt Littlefinger under her own roof, so she wanted Sansa and others to see him for the villain he was. So they played cat and mouse and cat. And Sansa grew increasingly alarmed. But the net effect is that he did get too bold, did go to far, and Sansa realised it. And went to Bran at some point, perhaps with Arya. Anyway, the trial was set up by all three.And it went according to plan.

      “Once she had reassured herself that Sansa is loyal to Jon”

      I’m not convinced she did that early. Even in the finale Sansa has a scene with LF where he says Jon could be unnamed King and instead of outright saying no she says “even if I wanted to, Arya wouldn’t allow it”.

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    49. Sunfyre:
      Wasn’t the actual resolution of the character conflict the scene on the battlements post-Littlefinger execution? They acknowledged their stark (pun intended) differences from one another and the tension between them but reaffirmed their allegiance to family.

      No, because they were already working together before that, and that scene doesn’t actually address any of the things Arya was mad about. If she concluded she was wrong, there was no leadup to her doing so, and Sansa’s sudden appreciation for Arya rings very hollow since all Arya did that season was menace her.

      Stark Raven’ Rad:
      If you’re referring to the letter, a number of critics have said that she probably wanted him to see her.

      No basis at all for that in the narrative. That just reflects some people assuming that Arya wouldn’t be that incompetent and trying to excuse the writing.

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    50. Sean C.,

      I concur. Sansa has never felt into Littlefinger’s manipulations fully: she was scared by Arya, she talked with him, but there was that feeling that she was sort of trying to catch a lie in his voice. But Arya really swallowed the hook, and if I were Sansa I wouldn’t forget all those nasty words I heard from her.

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    51. Jack Bauer 24,

      Because Arya knew soft & fearful Sansa “had to take time to think it over” & was still conflicted over “doing what honor demands”. She said the words but actions speak louder. Arya wanted to see her actually do it. Talk is cheap.

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    52. Sean C.,

      Arya already “rightfully” doubted & questioned Sansa’s loyalties before finding the letter. So the letter didn’t change anything. It only gave Arya something else which she could use to push Sansa to the crossroads.

      Sansa really needed to evaluate herself, the selfish thoughts that she couldn’t shake, & the company she kept. We all must remember her 2 biggest mentors were Cersei & LF. Neither of whom should be trusted. So why should anyone trust Sansa???

      Arya (and Bran with the offscreen reveal) were her new mentors. Would she let fear & selfishness drive her to betray her family again or would she open her eyes, drop the fear, & do what’s best for the Starks & not just Sansa? She chose family, perhaps for the first time in the series.

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    53. Sean C.: Not from what we see.She falls for his trick hook, line and sinker.

      I’m confused. How can she have fallen for the trick hook, line and sinker if she then doesn’t follow through? I interpreted the moment when she handed Sansa the dagger as extremely important. It seems clear as day that Arya knows what Littlefinger is up to. She’s saying “I’m not playing his game Sansa. I see through his manipulation. Here take this dagger (which I could have used to kill you). Now decide finally if you will join me and we will play our own game.”

      And I believe Sansa had already gone down this road in her own head. She knew Littlefinger’s time was ending. She needed that push over the threshold. Arya, and to a lesser extent Bran, gave her the push.

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    54. Aegon the Icedragon,

      Yeah, because “soft & fearful” Sansa faced no confliction over having her abusive rapist husband fed alive to dogs last season.

      But now she simply can’t bring herself to order the execution of the man who abandoned her to said abusive rapist husband, even after having realised that he was still manipulating her and was responsible for the destruction of her family and all the misery they have suffered.

      What utter nonsense!

      If that was the producers’ intent then we as viewers should all feel insulted that they tried to sell us such tripe.

      But, quite honestly, I just see people attributing ideas and intentions to the producers and characters that weren’t conveyed on-screen in order to defend dodgy writing.

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    55. Inga,

      Arya questioned Sansa’s loyalty before the letter. And rightly so. The only person being misled by Littlefinger was the person who kept him around for his council… That’s Sansa who didn’t see clearly until the battlement scene.

      I don’t know if they are getting Sansa’s characterization from GRRM but show Sansa has rarely if ever made a decision on her own. I’m starting to view Sansa’s arch as complete D&D fanfic. They are good at giving Sansa credit at the end but when you rewatch her scenes, she’s always fearful, selfish, or being led by someone else.

      It’s like they want her to be badass but won’t show her becoming badass. So her accomplishments ring hollow & turn the majority of the fans off. Last season it was not telling Jon about an available army twice the size of his. This season she’s being misled by Littlefinger up until the very end. But yet she gets credit for saving the day at the end and Sansa fans twist things to make her a heroine with agency who’s been a great leader & politician, & so smart all season long.

      Sansa herself just said she’s a slow learner. And we’re at the finale of season 7… Slow indeed.

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    56. Gah. I was all set with my reading and then Bran says this. This plot was so convoluted. For god knows how long Sansa doesn’t have a problem with LF’s past (Sam rides that cart across continent), most of which she already knows. It’s only after talking to Bran that she realizes some vague detail the audience gets to infer on? What help did she need that she didn’t already have? The scenes with Arya at WF weren’t even related to evidence at LF’s trial or Sansa’s decision to accuse him? Bran, use ravens to watch over your cousin’s suicide mission instead of helping out your sister’s poorly written “arc”. Remember ladies, D&D know that there’s no problem two women can’t create and no solution a man can’t show them.

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    57. Ramsay’s 20th Good Man,

      That’s D&D’s Sansa fanfic. I wish they would figure out exactly what they want to do with her. Either keep her the sweet innocent but naive character she’s been most of the time or make her badass & let her be badass leading up to these epic endings.

      It takes more than one scene of her telling blacksmiths how to do their jobs & FINALLY executing Littlefinger to make her a great political mind. Give her more to do or stop trying to force us to believe a narrative of political genius that you yourselves don’t believe because you always show her doing things wrong up until the very end.

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    58. Aegon the Icedragon:
      Sansa really needed to evaluate herself, the selfish thoughts that she couldn’t shake, & the company she kept.

      Sansa wasn’t paying any heed to Littlefinger at all before he manipulated Arya into attacking her.

      Arya (and Bran with the offscreen reveal) were her new mentors. Would she let fear & selfishness drive her to betray her family again or would she open her eyes, drop the fear, & do what’s best for the Starks & not just Sansa?She chose family, perhaps for the first time in the series.

      That’s totally absurd. Among other things, if Sansa is “afraid” of anything in this story, it’s Arya’s psychotic behaviour. Choosing “family” when your family is making you fear that they’ll kill you is not any sort of statement of loyalty, it’s Stockholm Syndrome.

      I’d also direct you to Maisie’s interview on Arya’s behaviour in this story:
      http://www.makinggameofthrones.com/production-diary/maisie-williams-thinks-arya-went-hunting-for-trouble-this-season

      Maisie Williams: Everyone wants a happy reunion but that’s not what’s going to happen on Game of Thrones; it’s not realistic for what they’ve been through. It’s important to have this test of loyalty between them; to have something they overcome together as a team. I’m thrilled that we got something cool to do and that they finally got rid of Littlefinger because he was the only real kink in the way that the North was running. You can’t have that great payoff in the final episode if there isn’t a journey to get you there.

      HBO: Does Arya trust Sansa in any way? Why don’t they just talk it out?

      Maisie Williams: Arya is struggling to accept the fact that it’s been hard for everyone. I think Sansa, too. They’ve all been through so much. It’s difficult to have sympathy for any other character coming out of what they’ve just lived.

      Arya is very hot-headed; she’s always been. I’ve always been grateful that it’s been at the right people, and now it’s at the wrong person, but she’s still the same character with that flaw. She struggles to keep her mouth shut. She doesn’t know what Sansa has been through, and she won’t hear it. She’s kind of turned into a little bit of a monster, and it’s directed at the wrong person, but she doesn’t know that.

      HBO: Was that difficult to play?

      Maisie Williams: The things she’s seen have led her to believe Sansa is not doing things for House Stark, she’s doing them for herself. Arya doesn’t realize the circumstances under which Sansa was forced to write that letter. She just thinks she knows best. But Sansa and Arya are very different people. They really wouldn’t have survived what each other has survived; Arya would have been killed a long time ago if she had to live through all of the troubles Sansa’s been through. Arya’s not giving her the credit she deserves. But they realize Littlefinger is playing them and they ultimately pull through together.

      Arya is not some wise sage in this story meant to be guiding poor, wavering Sansa.

      Sunfyre: I’m confused. How can she have fallen for the trick hook, line and sinker if she then doesn’t follow through?I interpreted the moment when she handed Sansa the dagger as extremely important. It seems clear as day that Arya knows what Littlefinger is up to. She’s saying “I’m not playing his game Sansa. I see through his manipulation. Here take this dagger (which I could have used to kill you). Now decide finally if you will join me and we will play our own game.”

      That’s a pretty huge amount to read into an unspoken moment, and nothing about Sansa’s reaction to it or her subsequent scenes suggests that’s what it was about. Nor is there any indication Arya is on to Littlefinger’s game at that point. She has behaved exactly as Littlefinger wanted her to.

      Now, as to what Arya herself was doing, I have no idea. She’s basically written to do whatever the narrative needs her to do at any given moment to heighten the tension.

      Aegon the Icedragon:
      Arya questioned Sansa’s loyalty before the letter. And rightly so. The only person being misled by Littlefinger was the person who kept him around for his council…That’s Sansa who didn’t see clearly until the battlement scene.

      No, Arya was entirely misled by Littlefinger. He played her for a fool and used her to almost push Sansa back into his camp, before Sansa herself (or Bran, depending on how exactly you read it) figured him out.

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    59. mau:
      Mr Derp,

      No. The leaked outline confirmed that Sansa sent Brienne away only so LF can think he manipulated her.

      The scene where she finds Arya’s faces and Arya gives her the dagger is after that so it doesn’t make sense she would send Brienne away if she still wasn’t on Arya’s side.

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    60. Sunfyre,
      Aegon the Icedragon,

      I do agree that Sansa is a coward, but I think that she kept Littlefinger around because she enjoyed tormenting him – at least partly. The other part was that she was afraid to push him aside – maybe, she thought that it would be easier to keep him under control this way. Sure, it was dangerous – Cersei made the same mistake and paid for it with her belover Joffrei’s death.
      But anyway it’s not the point. The point is that Sansa’s cowardice motivates her to keep loyalty to Jon better than anything else. She likes comfort and beautiful things, she may fantasize about being a queen in her own right, but not a war time queen frustrated by all sorts of challenges. So, Sansa would be happpy to hand over her responsibilities to Jon (or Bran), and her discontent with Jon is triggered primarily by the fact that he have left her to deal with all those challenges.
      And Arya complicates things even more. She makes Sansa to fear her own family. I am not quite sure, whether Sansa desided to take out Littlefinger because of what he did or simply because she was affraid of her little sister. And if it’s the later, than it may have ramifications. Sansa may get paranoid not only about Arya but Jon as well, that paranoya may lead her to turning against Jon, etc. Six episodes will all the wars will hardly squeeze any of that, but such development would be a logical progression from S7.
      And that’s why I don’t like the WF plot in Ep 5-7. It’s all rushed, and contrived, and ambiguous. And WHO SENT THE CATSPAW WITH THE DAGGER? Was it Littlefinger at the end? If yes, the entire revelation passed unnoticed, if there was someone else behind him, couldn’t Bran just look into the past and tell the truth? Littlefinger conspired to kill him one way or another, the dagger was his one way or another, so he should have been charged for the attempt to murder Bran, right?

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    61. LoL…I didn’t realize the cult of Arya was so strong here.

      Arya has also been one of the slower Starks and it’s pretty funny how she is portrayed as some guru to push poor naive Sansa. Arya sees all; Arya knows all. She does no wrong. lmao

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    62. mau:
      If the scene is cut that means that it does not exist in the story. No point in discussing it.

      Well we know they shot it for a reason. Im guessing it was the scene intended to be after Sansa walks off of the battlements. She has her epiphany and then goes straight to Bran.

      They could have shot her knocking on the door, him saying come in, and then only showing a close up of her saying “I need your help” and then cut to whatever scene was coming next anyway.

      That would have probably still tipped viewers off that shit was about to get real, but it might have softened some of the criticism as well.

      No big deal either way honestly.

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    63. BobDole:
      LoL…I didn’t realize the cult of Arya was so strong here.

      Arya has also been one of the slower Starks and it’s pretty funny how she is portrayed as some guru to push poor naive Sansa.Arya sees all; Arya knows all. She does no wrong. lmao

      Not a guru. Just less conflicted and more sure of herself. I think that is self-evident. I mean Sansa said it herself in the episode… “I’m a slow learner, it’s true. But I learn.”

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    64. Inga:
      Sunfyre,
      Aegon the Icedragon,

      I do agree that Sansa is a coward, but I think that she kept Littlefinger around because she enjoyed tormenting him – at least partly. The other part was that she was afraid to push him aside – maybe, she thought that it would be easier to keep him under control this way. Sure, it was dangerous – Cersei made the same mistake and paid for it with her belover Joffrei’s death.
      But anyway it’s not the point. The point is that Sansa’s cowardice motivates her to keep loyalty to Jon better than anything else. She likes comfort and beautiful things, she may fantasize about being a queen in her own right, but not a war time queen frustrated by all sorts of challenges. So, Sansa would be happpy to hand over her responsibilities to Jon (or Bran), and her discontent with Jon is triggered primarily by the fact that he have left her to deal with all those challenges.
      And Arya complicates things even more. She makes Sansa to fear her own family. I am not quite sure, whether Sansa desided to take out Littlefinger because of what he did or simply because she was affraid of her little sister. And if it’s the later, than it may have ramifications. Sansa may get paranoid not only about Arya but Jon as well, that paranoya may lead her to turning against Jon, etc. Six episodes will all the wars will hardly squeeze any of that, but such development would be a logical progression from S7.
      And that’s why I don’t like the WF plot in Ep 5-7. It’s all rushed, and contrived, and ambiguous. And WHO SENT THE CATSPAW WITH THE DAGGER? Was it Littlefinger at the end? If yes, the entire revelation passed unnoticed, if there was someone else behind him, couldn’t Bran just look into the past and tell the truth? Littlefinger conspired to kill him one way or another, the dagger was his one way or another, so he should have been charged for the attempt to murder Bran, right?

      I thought it was established from the beginning that LF sent the dagger? Also, he was being executed anyway so what would be the point in adding Bran’s murder charge to his crimes?

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    65. We may as well be arguing about how many angels can dance on a pinhead. The fact of the matter is that there is no sensible explanation for what we saw in Winterfell this season. Every time you try to plug one hole in the plot, you create two more.

      Does BranVision really allow Bran to intentionally seek any information he wants? Then why hasn’t he or Sansa figured out that he needs to scan Cersei’s life immediately, and thus blowing up the entire plot for the remainder of the story? And why did he need Sansa’s prompting, given that he had LF’s “Chaos is a ladder” several episodes earlier? If it is more random (as it has always appeared to be in the past), then was it just dumb luck that he happened to have the right vision at the right time in E10? Either way, Littlefinger, Sansa, Bran and Arya were all idiots the entire season. It was annoying as bleep. And if Sansa was really clueless, why did she send Brienne away? And what did their stupid trial add, when they simply could have arrested LF and called the bannermen to assemble for a trial (other than TV shlock)?

      Given that LF was a dead man walking for a full season now, it was obvious going into E10 that either Team Stark was playing him, or they were all idiots but something in E10 would turn on the light switch. After watching it, I was still unsure of which. This can be a good thing in certain circumstances (say, like The Usual Suspects, Six Sense, or Fight Club), but this requires having two *good* explanations, not two, neither of which add up. After-the-fact interviews make it clear that “idiots” was the correct answer, but that doesn’t remove the inconsistencies. Particularly, if BranVision is so easily targetable, then no one can deceive the Starks and Jon will known of Cersei’s treachery the moment he gets home.

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    66. Jack Bauer 24: I thought it was established from the beginning that LF sent the dagger? Also, he was being executed anyway so what would be the point in adding Bran’s murder charge to his crimes?

      I agree. I actually think that dramatically *weakened* the scene, because if Bran told Sansa about how LF betrayed Ned, every other reason she had for turning on him became effectively irrelevant. The betrayal was far, far more than enough to get his head lopped off.

      I actually think the reason this was included is because it will be an element of the books (but likely conveyed by the Hound, not BranVision). Sandor really hasn’t done anything worth bringing a character from the dead for, and a potential CleganeBowl next year would not suffice. I don’t think GRRM would make such an error, and brought him back for a more important reason.

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    67. Jack Bauer 24,

      LF lied to Cat about losing the dagger in a bet with Tyrion. If LF actually supplied the sssassin with his own dagger, he’d be an idiot. I don’t think it was ever established that LF was complicit in the assassination attempt on Bran. All I heard Arya (?) say at LF’s surprise “trial” is that LF lied to Cat about the ownership of the dagger.

      I guess LF sealed his fate when he pissed away the opportunity to defend himself by commanding Lord Royce to “Get me outta here.”

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    68. Ten Bears:
      Jack Bauer 24,

      LF lied to Cat about losing the dagger in a bet with Tyrion. If LF actually supplied the sssassin with his own dagger, he’d be an idiot. I don’t think it was ever established that LF was complicit in the assassination attempt on Bran. All I heard Arya (?) say at LF’s surprise “trial” is that LF lied to Cat about the ownership of the dagger.

      I guess LF sealed his fate when he used the opportunity to defend himself to command Lord Royce “Get me outta here.”

      If LF didn’t supply the dagger to the assassin why would he need to lie about losing the dagger in a bet?

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    69. Chad Brick,

      “Sandor really hasn’t done anything worth bringing a character from the dead for…”
      —————-

      That’s for S8 when he conquers his fear of fire, learns the flaming sword trick, and becomes the Warrior of Light aka Sandor Ahai. 🔥🐶🐓

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    70. Loooooooooooooooooooooool.

      For fuck’s sakes.

      It makes complete sense, as obviously the best player in the game would almost need someone with that CCTV footage to truly take him down. But now we’re back to making Sansa a REALLY ‘slow learner’. I’d really rather have been able to just give her and Arya more credit, even knowing Bran obviously contributed.

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    71. Jack Bauer 24: If LF didn’t supply the dagger to the assassin why would he need to lie about losing the dagger in a bet?

      To falsely implicate Tyrion setting off a chain of events which eventually escalates into the War of the Five Kings? Or maybe I’m not following your train of thought here.

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    72. Wow, this was an active topic of discussion before the interviews and now it has been given another life! Many good points w/ good reasons supporting them on this and other treads. There was room for interpretation and people have taken it, which, if I was the producer of this show, I’d be thrilled about because it shows the level of interest by the viewers.

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    73. Aegon the Icedragon:
      Inga,

      I don’t know if they are getting Sansa’s characterization from GRRM but show Sansa has rarely if ever made a decision on her own. I’m starting to view Sansa’s arch as complete D&D fanfic.They are good at giving Sansa credit at the end but when you rewatch her scenes, she’s always fearful, selfish, or being led by someone else.

      It’s like they want her to be badass but won’t show her becoming badass. So her accomplishments ring hollow & turn the majority of the fans off. Last season it was not telling Jon about an available army twice the size of his.This season she’s being misled by Littlefinger up until the very end. But yet she gets credit for saving the day at the end and Sansa fans twist things to make her a heroine with agency who’s been a great leader & politician, & so smart all season long.

      I agree with all of this.

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    74. Ser Broccoli McBroccoliface:

      Sansa and Arya never liked eachother, and even though they are happy to see eachother, theyve grown further apart as people in their time apart. Little Finger could have been shown to be more cunning over the course of the season, but there just wasnt enough time to really it justice, so it was left for the audience to infer certain things.

      Sansa as has been noted many times has never trusted LF and hes told her his motives and how his mind works. She just finally reached a breaking point when she realized he was trying to convince her that Arya wanted to be her, when she knows damn well Arya doesnt give 2 shits about being the Lady of Winterfell. Thats when she goes to Bran to get some kind of confirmation. And then thats the ball game.

      Little Finger should honestly have left Winterfell once Bran told him “chaos is a ladder.” And he should have left certainly once Arya showed up. He got too cocky, and he paid the price. Bran should have tipped him off that things were getting too dangerous.

      Things could have turned out a lot differently had Arya had been brought up by anyone but Ned Stark. In the commercials for season seven SANSA repeats the quote about the lone wolf. I took it to mean one thing family solidarity. Family can have fights with each other, not always like each other, but when threatened join as a pack to survive the winter or worse. When SANSA was listening to LF what her father taught her saved the family from turning on each other. My personal thought is that SANSA spoke to Bran then brought Arya in to figure out what to do about it. Getting rid of BRIENNE was to get rid of the protector of both girls and that move would help LF think he was in control of the game.

      You’re right that being Lady of Winterfell is not who Arya is.

      LF did a lot of things wrong. Left where he plays the game the best. Knew SANSA wasn’t getting over her sale to the Bolton’s. Knew Aryan was a faceless assassin and didn’t run. Thought Ned Stark’s love of honor and loyalty to family wouldn’t be passed on to his children. LF died because he thought everyone was like him, the worst.

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    75. I always enjoy what Isaac has to say, if it weren’t for his interviews I’d be a bit confused about Bran this season,
      Also I’ve heard about a Varys scene being cut from the final, If what I heard was true THAT would’ve been a great scene.

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    76. Jack Bauer 24,

      The dagger was a big deal. It started the war etc. IMO, Littlefinger could have justified himself for betraying Ned: he could have said, that Janos Slint was not cooperative, and that he put a dagger to Ned’s throat to save his life – remember, the plan was to send Ned to the Night’s Watch, and it could have worked, if Joffrei listened to his mom. But Bran’s assasination attempt was on a different level. By all means, Bran should have checked the ownership of the dagger as soon as he got it or Sansa should have asked him to do that, and then the mystery would have been resolved in Ep 4.
      Now the major plot of S1 was left sort of hanging in the air. OK, it was Littlefinger’s dagger and he sent the catspaw to kill Bran in order to fuel the conflict between the Sarks and the Lannisters, but this major revelation got lost among other things and we haven’t got a proper explanation. So, it’s a bad storytelling: every detective story should end with a dénouement which answers all the questions and leaves no room for speculations. In this case, the dénouement was lame: we heard things we alredy knew, we learned nothing new, and some questions remained hanging. And yes, the Starks looked like idiots – all three of them. They had every possible insight and skill to deal with Littlefinger in 5 minutes, but they nearly fell into his primitive trap without any good reason. I appreciate what D&D are doing but in this case they should have consulted Craig Mazin and they definitely have to consult him before filming the upcomming season.

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    77. I think much of these ”Arya and Sansa were playing LF all along” theories spring from the need of viewers who like Arya to explain her behaviour and actions in a good light.

      Unless you say Arya was playacting, she comes across as stupid (lords express displeasure at Jon -> ”chop their heads off”; falling for LF’s game hook, line and sinker), childish and petty (”your pretty handwriting”), almost misogynistic (sneering at Sansa’s ”knitting” and ”pretty dresses” – implication being that these pursuits and preferences are somehow inferior to Arya’s own). She also seems to favour unquestioning, blind loyalty as demonstrated by her reaction to the lords questioning Jon’s actions and Sansa defending Jon but not forcefully enough for little Miss Assassin – oh, yes, she also comes across as cocky, self-righteous, judgemental and hypocritical. She didn’t offer unquestioning, blind loyalty to the Faceless Men (instead uses their magic for selfish ends). She criticises Sansa for writing a letter under duress as a child, but conveniently forgets to mention she herself served Tywin to survive and failed to kill him when she had a golden opportunity. All this unpleasantness can be explained away by saying Arya was only playacting, although there’s no indication of that in the show, and in her interview, Maisie Williams says she wasn’t.

      It is entirely understandable that Arya, who never much liked her sister, Arya, who’s always been rather hot-headed and black-and-white, would act this way after all her traumatic experiences and her FM training (which aims at dehumanizing the trainee). This is a young woman who committed mass-murder in the opening minutes of the season, and smiled about it.

      Arya is right that LF is a malign influence in WF… and then goes after her sister, just like LF wants! She is right that Sansa has ambitions but fails to see that as Lady of WF, Sansa is also duty-bound to consider what happens if Jon doesn’t return from his diplomatic mission (I don’t think they know about the wight hunt). I think it was fortunate that Arya tested Sansa’s loyalty to Jon/House Stark – Sansa needed to think deeply about it, her loyalty has been a bit wishy-washy – but Arya did it in such an OTT threatening and creepy way that it almost pushed Sansa to LF.

      Sansa knows some of the incriminating things that LF has done, knows that he cannot be trusted, but she is too passive about dealing with him, for fear of losing half of Jon’s armies (the Vale). Also, remember, she is implicated in the cover-up of Lysa Arryn’s murder, so she has to somehow find a way to save her own arse and keep the Vale armies. She’s trying to figure out LF’s game, waiting for him to slip. She should’ve trusted her brother and sister more but Bran creeps her out by reminiscing about her rape and Arya is acting all threatenig and creepy. I think Sansa was also being kind of stupid by not properly figuring out LF’s game until he insinuates that Arya wants to kill her to become Lady of Winterfell herself. Only then Sansa remembers she has a brother with unlimited CCTV footage and goes to him to get more dirt on LF (apparently enough to overlook her complicity in the Lysa Arryn coverup…)

      I’m glad they didn’t include the scene where Sansa goes to Bran for help because it would’ve taken away from the initial dramatic tension of the LF ”trial” scene. However, it is clear that by this time the three Starks are working together. Sansa wouldn’t have Bran there if she was intending to try Arya, and Arya is fully armed.

      I like the idea that old resentments and and the way they’ve changed through their experiences put Arya and Sansa at loggerheads, but in the end they resolve their differences and work together to eliminate an enemy. However, this storyline wasn’t executed all that well. For instance, I’m still scratching my head a bit about Brienne. Did Sansa send her away in case she needed to go after Arya? Or was she lulling LF into false confidence that she was following his lead? Or was she trying to protect Brienne (and Pod)? Or maybe she just needed to send a trustworthy envoy to KL, lol!

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    78. I’m glad that IHW clarified the ”Kindle library” nature of his knowledge. That’s what I thought from what we’ve seen on the show but nice to have it confirmed.

      Also, in the Sam/Bran scene, Bran says he sees the past and the present. He doesn’t say he sees the future, which I’m glad about, it would be terrible for storytelling to have a character who knows the future. It’s problematic enough to have someone with a Kindle library of the past and present, I’m glad it has this limitation that Bran needs to know what to look for.

      Jojen Reed had prophetic “greendreams” but they seem to have been symbolic/metaphorical, not “CCTV footage” of the future.

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    79. I find it very curious how people are getting so hung up on this storyline.Yes it could have been clearer on screen but considering they wanted the last scene to be a twist I get why they played it this way.I don’t even think it’s bad like people say it’s just the least interesting storyline this season.Yes the conflict was real.There is no reason to think otherwise in the show or in the interviews.Yes LF played Arya with the letter.Why is that so hard to believe?Isn’t he supposed to be the best player in the game?Plus Arya already suspected Sansa’s motives.They never liked each other and have become so different people and gone through so many traumatic experiences.Sansa freaked out and sent Brienne away so if she did anything against Arya she wouldn’t intervene.Yes they could have killed each other lol.If Sansa had actually done something against Jon she would have killed her and if Sansa had continued to listened to LF and not caught on to his think the worst game,she could have had Arya killed.At least finally she had the foresight to ask Bran and Voila the pack survived lol.That’s it.Maybe it’s hard for some people to believe because of their preconceived notions about the characters but for me it’s easy.

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    80. Wow some comments.. LOL

      Why in God’s name would the Starks have been playing LF all season?

      Firstly, Sansa has spent MORE time with LF then with her sister (in her adult years).. so I actually give her more ammunition to trust LF more than Arya … especially given how much Arya has changed. That does not, by any means, mean Sansa trusted LF at all either. The tension and rift was real.. and made sense.

      Then LF started displaying stranger behaviours, pushing hard against Arya and the family. Sansa picked this up… and she did her research

      Whats so hard to believe. Some people around here really need things spelt out for them.

      A B C D E F G H

      God.

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    81. Jenny: Sansa freaked out and sent Brienne away so if she did anything against Arya she wouldn’t intervene.

      Did she though?

      We don’t actually know.

      That’s one of the biggest problems with this storyline. The resolution failed to resolve most of the issues it raised.

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    82. Jenny,

      I wasn’t thrilled with PsychoArya or GullibleSansa, but their final scene on the battlements was wonderful, eg

      S: “You’re the strongest person I know.”

      A: “I believe that’s the nicest thing you’ve ever said to me.”

      S: “Well, don’t get used to it. You’re still very strange and annoying.”

      And then each of them reciting back what Ned taught them about looking after one another…

      PS: I’ve never been on TeamSansa, but I have to say Sophie Turner was MVP of that episode. “Do you deny it?”

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    83. Sean C.:
      Ten Bears,

      That moment is wholly unearned, though.For instance, what about the last few episodes would lead Sansa to call Arya “the strongest person I know”?

      Well, Sansa has spent a lot of time around a bunch of wimps, physical and mental. 🙂

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    84. Inga:
      Jack Bauer 24,

      The dagger was a big deal. It started the war etc. IMO, Littlefinger could have justified himself for betraying Ned: he could have said, that Janos Slint was not cooperative, and that he put a dagger to Ned’s throat to save his life – remember, the plan was to send Ned to the Night’s Watch, and it could have worked, if Joffrei listened to his mom. But Bran’s assasination attempt wason a different level. By all means, Bran should have checked the ownership of the dagger as soon as he got it or Sansa should have asked him to do that, and then the mystery would have been resolved in Ep 4.
      Now the major plot of S1 was left sort of hanging in the air. OK, it was Littlefinger’s dagger and he sent the catspaw to kill Bran in order to fuel the conflict between the Sarks and the Lannisters, but this major revelation got lost among other things and we haven’t got a proper explanation. So, it’s a bad storytelling: every detective story should end with a dénouement which answers all the questions and leaves no room for speculations. In this case, the dénouement was lame: we heard things we alredy knew, we learned nothing new, and some questions remained hanging. And yes, the Starks looked like idiots – all three of them. They had every possible insight and skill to deal with Littlefinger in 5 minutes, but they nearly fell into his primitive trap without any good reason. I appreciate what D&D are doing but in this case they should have consulted Craig Mazin and they definitely have to consult him before filming the upcomming season.

      Is it only established in the books that it was Roberts dagger and Joffrey stole it?

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    85. Sean C.,

      Well, obviously it was the bag of human faces she found in her room, which she’s apparently totally cool with.

      My sister the face-carving, throat slashing assassin, huh? So strong and strange and annoying.

      It’s nonsense. It really is.

      But, hey, Littlefinger’s dead and that callback to things Ned Stark used to say was kinda cool, I guess.

      And that’s all that matters, right? Not internal logic or consistent and reasonable characterisations.

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    86. talvikorppi: I think much of these ”Arya and Sansa were playing LF all along” theories spring from the need of viewers who like Arya to explain her behaviour and actions in a good light.

      Unless you say Arya was playacting, she comes across as stupid (lords express displeasure at Jon -> ”chop their heads off”; falling for LF’s game hook, line and sinker), childish and petty (”your pretty handwriting”), almost misogynistic (sneering at Sansa’s ”knitting” and ”pretty dresses” – implication being that these pursuits and preferences are somehow inferior to Arya’s own). She also seems to favour unquestioning, blind loyalty as demonstrated by her reaction to the lords questioning Jon’s actions and Sansa defending Jon but not forcefully enough for little Miss Assassin – oh, yes, she also comes across as cocky, self-righteous, judgemental and hypocritical. She didn’t offer unquestioning, blind loyalty to the Faceless Men (instead uses their magic for selfish ends). She criticises Sansa for writing a letter under duress as a child, but conveniently forgets to mention she herself served Tywin to survive and failed to kill him when she had a golden opportunity. All this unpleasantness can be explained away by saying Arya was only playacting, although there’s no indication of that in the show, and in her interview, Maisie Williams says she wasn’t.

      It is entirely understandable that Arya, who never much liked her sister, Arya, who’s always been rather hot-headed and black-and-white, would act this way after all her traumatic experiences and her FM training (which aims at dehumanizing the trainee). This is a young woman who committed mass-murder in the opening minutes of the season, and smiled about it.

      Arya is right that LF is a malign influence in WF… and then goes after her sister, just like LF wants! She is right that Sansa has ambitions but fails to see that as Lady of WF, Sansa is also duty-bound to consider what happens if Jon doesn’t return from his diplomatic mission (I don’t think they know about the wight hunt). I think it was fortunate that Arya tested Sansa’s loyalty to Jon/House Stark – Sansa needed to think deeply about it, her loyalty has been a bit wishy-washy – but Arya did it in such an OTT threatening and creepy way that it almost pushed Sansa to LF.

      Sansa knows some of the incriminating things that LF has done, knows that he cannot be trusted, but she is too passive about dealing with him, for fear of losing half of Jon’s armies (the Vale). Also, remember, she is implicated in the cover-up of Lysa Arryn’s murder, so she has to somehow find a way to save her own arse and keep the Vale armies. She’s trying to figure out LF’s game, waiting for him to slip. She should’ve trusted her brother and sister more but Bran creeps her out by reminiscing about her rape and Arya is acting all threatenig and creepy. I think Sansa was also being kind of stupid by not properly figuring out LF’s game until he insinuates that Arya wants to kill her to become Lady of Winterfell herself. Only then Sansa remembers she has a brother with unlimited CCTV footage and goes to him to get more dirt on LF (apparently enough to overlook her complicity in the Lysa Arryn coverup…)

      I’m glad they didn’t include the scene where Sansa goes to Bran for help because it would’ve taken away from the initial dramatic tension of the LF ”trial” scene. However, it is clear that by this time the three Starks are working together. Sansa wouldn’t have Bran there if she was intending to try Arya, and Arya is fully armed.

      I like the idea that old resentments and and the way they’ve changed through their experiences put Arya and Sansa at loggerheads, but in the end they resolve their differences and work together to eliminate an enemy. However, this storyline wasn’t executed all that well.

      All of this!

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    87. Jenny: Maybe it’s hard for some people to believe because of their preconceived notions about the characters but for me it’s easy.

      I believe you hit the nail on the head on this one… Though I am not entirely convinced by the Brienne explanation, I have to confess. Had a deadly conflict arisen between the sisters, wouldn’t Brienne’s duty have been to side with Sansa (the one receiving the death threat) and not Arya (the one making the death threat) ? Therefore, Sansa’s decision to send Brienne away, though politically justified in that she did not want to respond to Cersei’s invitation in person, seemed very off to me….

      I think the reason why the “Stark sisters were playing Littlefinger all along” theory gets so much traction is because many of us do not really want to believe that Arya would threaten to kill her sister over matters as relatively trite as being critical of Jon or writing a letter that ultimately played no part whatsoever in the way the Starks operated during the War of the Five Kings.
      In truth, the (over)reaction is not surprising given the history of animosity that colours the sisters’ interaction. The show compared their relationship to that of Catelyn and Lysa, and it is hard not to notice that Arya’s frequent references to past affronts are but veiled narrative references to Lysa’s own charges against her older sister. However, if one thinks of Arya as “pack-obsessed”, the idea that she would kill one member of said pack (especially over some fairly petty childhood stuff) can be shocking.

      After some thought, I have come to realise that my fundamental problem with the Winterfell storyline is Bran’s “chaos is a ladder” line in the fourth episode. From that point on, we know that the youngest Stark has been digging in Littlefinger’s past and we can infer that he already is aware of many of the treacherous things the Mockingbird has done (if his exchange with Sam proves anything, it is that he can now access any past moment / event at will). Why wait three episodes to tell his sisters ? Why not warn them immediately and have Littlefinger killed right there and then ?
      The “choas is a ladder” quote makes the whole storyline pointless !

      If we remove it and therefore assume Bran did not pay attention to Littlefinger until he was asked to do so by his sisblings, the story flows better :
      – Arya shows up at Winterfell and quickly demonstrates her potential for deadliness as well as her Stark-centeredness (apologies for the dreadful neologism);
      – Littlefinger decides to kil two birds with one stone : get rid of Arya (who would stand in the way of the Sansa takeover of the North he has been planning for) and rebuild his relationship with Sansa, aware as he is that she views him with extreme suspicion;
      – so he taps into Arya’s ancient resentment of her older sister (like he did with Lysa) and hopes she will turn herself into a threat. He also bets that Sansa, terrified and desperate, will come to him for help;
      – it works;
      – however, he overplays his hand and advocates a touch too hard for Sansa to have her sister killed;
      – Sansa remembers to be suspicious of his intentions (assume the worst) and wants to find out how Arya discovered the fateful letter (does she remember that Baelish was present when she wrote it ?)… So she goes to Bran;
      – Bran realises that Littlefinger played Arya and starts looking into his past and… Oh boy ! ^^
      – the three siblings then have a private talk and decide to eliminate Baelish.

      The omission of Bran’s “chaos is a ladder” reference does not fix all the plot holes (the set up is lacking in many ways, Lord Royce’s participation is downright bizarre, etc.) but it helps a great deal. I suppose the writers could not resist the temptation of an early “gotcha” moment but, unfortunately, it voids the storyline’s progression.

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    88. ACME: I believe you hit the nail on the head on this one… Though I am not entirely convinced by the Brienne explanation, I have to confess. Had a deadly conflict arisen between the sisters, wouldn’t Brienne’s duty have been to side with Sansa (the one receiving the death threat) and not Arya (the one making the death threat) ? Therefore, Sansa’s decision to send Brienne away, though politically justified in that she did not want to respond to Cersei’s invitation in person, seemed very off to me….

      I think the reason why the “Stark sisters were playing Littlefinger all along” theory gets so much traction is because many of us do not really want to believe that Arya would threaten to kill her sister over matters as relatively trite as being critical of Jon or writing a letter that ultimately played no part whatsoever in the way the Starks operated during the War of the Five Kings.
      In truth, the (over)reaction is not surprising given the history of animosity that colours the sisters’ interaction. The show compared their relationship to that of Catelyn and Lysa, and it is hard not to notice that Arya’s frequent references to past affronts are but veiled narrative references to Lysa’s own charges against her older sister. However, if one thinks of Arya as “pack-obsessed”, the idea that she would kill one member of said pack (especially over some fairly petty childhood stuff) can be shocking.

      After some thought, I have come to realise that my fundamental problem with the Winterfell storyline is Bran’s “chaos is a ladder” line in the fourth episode. From that point on, we know that the youngest Stark has been digging in Littlefinger’s past and we can infer that he already is aware of many of the treacherous things the Mockingbird has done (if his exchange with Sam proves anything, it is that he can now access any past moment / event at will). Why wait three episodes to tell his sisters ? Why not warn them immediately and have Littlefinger killed right there and then ?
      The “choas is a ladder” quote makes the whole storyline pointless !

      If we remove it and therefore assume Bran did not pay attention to Littlefinger until he was asked to do so by his sisblings, the story flows better :
      – Arya shows up at Winterfell and quickly demonstrates her potential for deadliness as well as her Stark-centeredness (apologies for the dreadful neologism);
      – Littlefinger decides to kil two birds with one stone : get rid of Arya (who would stand in the way of the Sansa takeover of the North he has been planning for) and rebuild his relationship with Sansa, aware as he is that she views him with extreme suspicion;
      – so he taps into Arya’s ancient resentment of her older sister (like he did with Lysa) and hopes she will turn herself into a threat. He also bets that Sansa, terrified and desperate, will come to him for help;
      – it works;
      – however, he overplays his hand and advocates a touch too hard for Sansa to have her sister killed;
      – Sansa remembers to be suspicious of his intentions (assume the worst) and wants to find out how Arya discovered the fateful letter (does she remember that Baelish was present when she wrote it ?)… So she goes to Bran;
      – Bran realises that Littlefinger played Arya and starts looking into his past and… Oh boy ! ^^
      – the three siblings then have a private talk and decide to eliminate Baelish.

      The omission of Bran’s “chaos is a ladder” reference does not fix all the plot holes (the set up is lacking in many ways, Lord Royce’s participation is downright bizarre, etc.) but it helps a great deal. I suppose the writers could not resist the temptation of an early “gotcha” moment but, unfortunately, it voids the storyline’s progression.

      Isaac said in an interview he thinks Bran doesn’t interfere earlier because it’s not his place to do so. It’s between Arya and Sansa. Also he said that he knew Sansa would eventually come to him since he can see “destinies” so he knew it would never get to the point of one of them killing each other.

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    89. Ramsay’s 20th Good Man:
      My sister the face-carving, throat slashing assassin, huh? So strong and strange and annoying.
      It’s nonsense. It really is.
      But, hey, Littlefinger’s dead and that callback to things Ned Stark used to say was kinda cool, I guess.

      I may be overly optimistic here (for once) but I feel that the last scene between the sisters is more complex than a straightforward reconciliation.

      There is indeed an obvious element of truce in there insofar as the sisters acknowledge and accept each other’s path. But there is also a vague sense of placation, I believe…
      The scene starts with Sansa “mourning” Littlefinger, in a way. She tries to examine his feelings and, by implication, her own in regards to him and his death (since Littlefinger’s demise plays out as a strange redux of Tywin’s death at the hand of his son, it is not unexpected for Sansa to feel as ambiguous about her execution of her mentor as Tyrion does about his murder of his). However, the contemplation is cut short by Arya who simply reaffirms the deed’s righteousness. There and then, the conversation shifts gear, away from complexity and moral greyness and onto a paint-by-numbers Stark (read Ned) fetishisation, at Arya’s behest.

      Now, it so happens that we, the audience, know that the Stark sisters are in for a surprise in regards to their beloved daddy’s legendary “honesty” so their celebration of his mantra is, to a degree, coloured by a sense of doom. We also have yet to see the Northern lords’ reaction to Jon’s decision to bend the knee and the revelation of his Targaryen identity which, given what we have seen of them, should be interesting !
      Furthermore, Sansa has been shown to be critical of Ned’s decisions in the past (cf. her argument with Jon about being better than their father) and is no stranger to paying lip-service to creeds she truly believe in (cf. her time at King’s Landing).
      Therefore, I am left to wonder how deep the reconciliation truly runs for, all in all, nothing has been truly resolved between the sisters. The conclusion was that loyalty to the pack is paramount (the pack survives)… Great ! But what if the members of the pack disagree ? Who gets to decide what the pack should do ? Is there a vote ? Is blind allegiance required ? If so, is it to be celebrated ?

      I believe these questions matter and put a different light on the sisters’ “reconciliation” because, interestingly enough, the episode ends on the emergence of what could be seen as a new crack in the Starks’ façade, namely the uncovering of the true nature of Lyanna and Rhaegar’s relationship. Bran’s reaction to it is quite telling : he seems genuinely flabbergasted and, dare I say, appalled to find out that Robert’s Rebellion was caused by a lie which neither his aunt nor her husband felt the need to rectify. Is it meant to indicate that Bran might question Lyanna’s behaviour and, by implication, Ned’s devotion to her ?
      If so, no amount of mantra-chanting and pack-worshipping will save the Starks from the introspection they so desperately need.

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    90. Jack Bauer 24: Isaac said in an interview he thinks Bran doesn’t interfere earlier because it’s not his place to do so. It’s between Arya and Sansa. Also he said that he knew Sansa would eventually come to him since he can see “destinies” so he knew it would never get to the point of one of them killing each other.

      If he truly does not want to intervene, why indicate to Littlefinger that he knows about his past in the first place ? The “chaos is a ladder” reference serves no narrative purpose at all since neither Bran nor Baelish act upon it : Bran does not immediately denounce Littlefinger to his sisters and Petyr does not try to have Bran killed.

      The quote was put there by the writers for no other reason than to give Bran what I can only assume they thought would be a “gotcha” moment in which he appears to threaten Littlefinger. Cute but utterly counterproductive as far as the story’s logic is concerned.

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    91. Ser Broccoli McBroccoliface: Little Finger should honestly have left Winterfell once Bran told him “chaos is a ladder.”

      This made me laugh!
      I realise that people use the word as a filler and/or intensifier, but the thought of Littlefinger doing anything “honestly” LOL

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    92. Grandmaester Flash,

      Yes those pesky idiomatic expressions dont always make sense when you objectively analyze them. I honestly believe that ^_^ And yes, had LF smartly left WF there would been nothing honest about it.

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    93. ACME,

      I took Bran’s “Chaos is a ladder” simply as an indication that his mental library was still in some disorder. LF mentioning the word ‘chaos’ just rang a bell. I don’t think Bran was necessarily able at that point to find and read all the relevant scenes, but it served as a sort of bookmark.

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    94. This is such an interesting discussion in the sense that there is such passion for both Arya and Sansa as characters that a less than fully satisfying coherent story is a huge disappointment for so many fans.

      I am actually fine with what happened on screen, and for me, watching all the Arya-Sansa-LF scenes from season 7 back to back actually gives me more narrative clarity and establishes the narrative purpose of this story pretty clearly. And I am happy at guessing some of the ambiguity (eg, Sansa’s motive at sending Brienne away; assuming that Sansa was always fencing with/smoking LF out, not just being gullible; over analyzing when Sansa decided to go after LF). Of course, I have to admit to being a Sansa fan and feeling satisfaction with Sophie’s performance during the trial scene.

      Yet reading all these comments made me realize that the argument for a longer season 7 is very valid here. Imagine some scenes with Glover, Royce, Arya and Sansa (in various combinations), and call backs to the time that Ned was fostered at the Eryie or Ned’s relationship to House Glover (given how much Ned Stark shows up in 7/7) imparting information that might have pushed this storyline further. Or getting to know Maester Wolkin better. And of course something that suggests that Sansa is increasing accepting of Bran’s Greenseer abilities (which could have been set up so it is ambiguous as to whether Sansa was looking for info on Arya’s past or LF’s). All of this could have added to make this a deeper and (perhaps) more satisfying plot line. But there was no time for that.

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    95. ACME,

      The problem (one of the problems) with Winterfell storyline was that Bran did next to nothing. He spied on the Night King and found out that he was matching on Eastwatsh, but Jon has predicted this without any greensight and then the Hound had a vision, so it was nothing new. There were two ways to make Barn involved into overall story: he could and shoul have had played some part in the wight hunt (he could have sent a raven to Dany, for instance, and/or contacted uncle Benjen – BTW that would have explained why he missed most on the squabble between his sisters); and he should have played a more active role in Littlefinger’s demise. Moreover, some bigger revelation was required: he should have discovered somehing we haven’t seen on the show. The very least, he should explicitely said that it was Littlefinger who sent the assassin. And sure, Littlefinger’s demise should have happened in Ep 5 – there was no need to drag it to the finale.
      As for the conflict between Sansa and Arya, I could have bought it if done properly, because it was the fundamental conflict between two life strategies: conformism in Sansa’s case and resistance in Arya’s. Unfortunately, what we got was lame and shallow, and it’s simply hard to get over it.

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    96. ACME,

      Always a pleasure to read you, ACME! I wholeheartedly agree with your points on how the Arya-Sansa-LF debacle was handled. Season 7, although I enjoyed it immensely, would have benefited from more episodes.

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    97. Inga,

      I think the challenge when it comes to Bran as a character is he’s ridiculously superpowered now. He has an extraordinary supernatural ability to see everything that has happened in the past and what is happening in the present all over the world. The writers have to place limits on his power or the show will become boring as all hell. Want to know everything Littlefinger has ever done? Go ask Bran. It’s too easy when a character actually knows everything. The answer for the show appears to be for Bran to have trouble dealing with the amount of information and having to “learn on the job” when it comes to finding exact moments of time/past events or interactions between characters.

      So I don’t begrudge the writers using Bran sparingly in the Season 7 Winterfell plot. Otherwise it would open too many doors where everyone would be “hey we have a problem. Well… Bran can solve it. You know, why don’t we just go ask Bran for all the answers?” At any rate I’m sure in season 8 he’ll go from Padawan to Jedi, so to speak. And then the main impediment to his power will be the Night King himself.

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    98. Grandmaester Flash,
      You may be right. Perhaps the writers did intend for the line to indicate that Bran was not in full control of his powers yet and could be “overcome” by visions when faced with the proper stimulus. However, the way the line is used and the manner in which the scene plays out do not really carry that meaning. Bran’s delivery is too pointed, too direct : he does not seem one bit confused by it (admittedly, facial expressions are now a thing of the past for Bran ^^).
      So the most immediate and obvious interpretation of the exchange is that Bran is already familiar with Baelish’s past.

      Inga,
      Bran, overpowered yet useless 😛

      Overall, I do agree that, paradoxically enough, Bran played little to no role this season. Indeed, it would have been nice for him to uncover something yet unknown about Baelish’s past betrayals. I admit that I, for one, am not a fan of the idea that Littlefinger was the one who ordered the hit on Bran (in the books, it is fairly clear Joffrey did it) but any other “new” treacherous deed would have worked.

      As for the Sansa vs. Arya confict, I would not phrase it in terms of conformism vs. resistance but pragmatism vs. idealism. However, I do agree with you. That feud was meaningful and surprisingly well-framed, a heady mix of ideological differences and interpersonal resentments. So its conclusion, as it stands for now, is disappointing.

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    99. A Dornish Tyrell,
      An utter delight to read you too, dear Dornish Tyrell ! 😉

      I couldn’t agree with you more. In terms of ideas and concepts, this season was by far one of the best. There were many great notions, many deep and meaningful thematic setups ; redemption with the Hound; the conflict between faith and critical judgment with Tyrion, Varys and Missandei; the dangers of blind allegiance with Arya and Jaime; the toxicity of resentment with the Sands, Cersei, Olenna and Arya; the downsides of running away from one’s past and its lessons with Sansa; the difference between ruling and leading with Daenerys and Jon; etc.
      Furthermore, quite a few interesting political entities emerged as independent players : the Riverlands, the Reach and Dorne (now that all their former wardens are dead, who’s in charge ?), the Vale (what is the nature of their allegiance to the North ?) and the Iron Bank (what do they truly want and how do they intend to get it ?)

      Unfortunately, most of those narrative threads were seemingly dropped the one after the other, never explored beyond the somewhat superficial. There was more than enough material for an eighth, possibly even a ninth, episode. I get that the writers wanted a healthy percentage of their budget to go to the dragons, the White Walkers and the battle scenes (mostly Fields of Fire 2.0 and Hardhome/BotB redux) so they had to cut down the number of episodes but surely a bit less spectacle and a bit more narrative depth would have been a better balance.

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    100. David A,

      In fact, it was a crime not to use Lord Royce as a trigger for Littlefinger’s demise.
      I’ve just imagened how it could have worked.
      Ep5: Lord Royce who has already noticed that Sansa is dismissive towards Littlefinger finds a moment to chat with her and sais something like: “My Lady, the Knights of the Vale came here because of you and not because of Littlefinger, and he is not trusworthy as you know, so, we should find the way to free your little cousin from his influence.” Sansa is on board, she arrests Littlefinger, but he threatens her, that he can tell a few things about her too (basically, how she lied about aunt Lysa’s death).
      Ep6: Sansa is frustrated, Arya realizes that her big sister is hiding some dirty secret. They have a heated discussion about fear and anger, maybe, threatens to kill her, if she continues to play on Littlefingers’ side. Bran is busy saving Jon and misses most of that, but finally he rolls in and realizes that he has to do something about WF troubles too.
      Ep7: Littlefinger’s trial. Sansa accuses him, Littlefinger accuses her, lords get mad, but Bran take a word explaining that killing Lysa was Littlefinger’s plan all along, and that he has successfully manipulated much more experienced men and women, icluding his own father and queen Cersei; he tells everything about Littlefinger’s machinations (for instance, that he not only betrayed Ned in the throneroom, but also persuaded Joffrei to chop his head off); after all these shocking revelations Sansa is pardoned and Arya cuts Littlefinger’s throat.

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    101. talvikorppi,

      Excellent, excellent post! Especially regarding Arya and Arya fans. You also made excellent points about Sansa, who needed a bit of a push to come to a firm decision about what to do with LF, and her own status as Lady of Winterfell.

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    102. Grandmaester Flash:
      ACME,

      I took Bran’s “Chaos is a ladder” simply as an indication that his mental library was still in some disorder.LF mentioning the word ‘chaos’ just rang a bell. I don’t think Bran was necessarily able at that point to find and read all the relevant scenes, but it served as a sort of bookmark.

      Yes. That’s how I took that scene too. Bran this season was dealing with the mega download he received and his RAM still isnt adequate to handle it. Hes been suffering from slow connection speeds all season.

      Inga has an interesting idea of how the WF plot could have been done differently but the way it played out didn’t bother me much.

      As Ive and others have pointed out, more scenes would have given more time to flesh the story in WF out more but there just wasnt enough time with the extra production requirements. Its a shame but the season overall was still great in my opinion.

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    103. Ser Broccoli McBroccoliface:
      The Sansa/LF/Arya/Bran story line is one that I admit could have used more screen time to marinate. I agree with those who think it was rushed. That said, I didnt have too much trouble connecting the dots. Some people want to see those dots onscreen, but it is what it is.

      Sansa and Arya never liked eachother, and even though they are happy to see eachother, theyve grown further apart as people in their time apart. Little Finger could have been shown to be more cunning over the course of the season, but there just wasnt enough time to really it justice, so it was left for the audience to infer certain things.

      Sansa as has been noted many times has never trusted LF and hes told her his motives and how his mind works. She just finally reached a breaking point when she realized he was trying to convince her that Arya wanted to be her, when she knows damn well Arya doesnt give 2 shits about being the Lady of Winterfell. Thats when she goes to Bran to get some kind of confirmation. And then thats the ball game.

      Little Finger should honestly have left Winterfell once Bran told him “chaos is a ladder.” And he should have left certainly once Arya showed up. He got too cocky, and he paid the price. Bran should have tipped him off that things were getting too dangerous.

      Oh well. I enjoyed it all, but agree that DnD could have milked it more if they had more time.

      This ^^
      Sansa put LF in her sights in 6-10, and by 7-4 sort of new the angle, when Arya mentioned vows, LF was going to use Brienne’s honor and vows to separate the girls.
      The letter from KL was fortuitous, it allowed Sansa to remove LF, game piece without suspicion. Arya and Sansa conflict was all real, you don’t have someone with 6+ years of questions and anger about another sibling ( especially with Arya’s memories lacking critical facts )just vanish, though 3 episodes aren’t enough either, there were enough bread crumbs to get you a proper end. One that bedroom scene concluded we can assume; Arya believed Sansa, Sansa got verification that Arya can be trusted since both are confirmed with Arya giving the dagger. We can also assume that after that point Sansa returned the dagger to Arya either in presence of Bran or they went to Bran later. Not only Bran being there gave the outcome away, but the fact that neither Needle or the dagger were removed from Arya, if Sansa felt Arya a danger to her or Bran, her sister be brought in shackled and with only a shift on.

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    104. when S8 starts, will Sansa and Arya know about Jon, like Bran and Sam?
      I thought, the only thing that could make Sansa go against Jon, would be what he did.
      I would think she also wouldn’t want the lords to know about it, before Jon and Dany arrived in WF.

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    105. Sean C.: Not from what we see.She falls for his trick hook, line and sinker.

      I saw it as LF playing Arya, and Sansa playing LF, Arya sees, Royce and Wolcum along with Glover and a maid.
      I think Sansa talked to Bran early, and Bran,Wolcum and Royce were in her circle, she didn’t trust Arya or Glover.
      Arya was let in after the bedroom scene, and they got on board with a plan that brought down LF.
      Noticed it was only Sansa,Bran,Arya, Wolcum and Royce, no northern Lords in the great hall.

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    106. Ser Tinfoil of Hat:
      My take on much S7 controversy: the writers and producers thought that, after giving the world 6 years with these characters (not counting book years, obvs), they could let more stuff happen off-screen and let the viewers figure more stuff out for themselves. I found it refreshing, for the most part, especially when I turned out to be wrong. Others thought it was sloppy, or rushed, or did disservice to beloved characters.

      How I took it, I played it back in my head 7 seasons, and when Arya mentioned vows, it brought back : Brienne’s vows to Cat, hers to Jamie’s, hers to Sansa’s and Sansa’s to Brienne and Jamie’s so many vows which do you choose. all this tied in with the quick look to Sansa and her dagger glance to LF, add that to his lesson about fighting all battles in your mind, and Sansa figured his game, she just needed info that Royce would believe and info on LF in the throne room.

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    107. Catspaw Assassin:
      I’m glad the scene didn’t make the final cut, as it would’ve ruined the surprise when Sansa turned her head towards Baelish and said his name instead of Arya’s.

      Also, when Sam said “Can you see this?” I was kinda hoping Bran would take him along, because nobody rocks the awestruck look better than John Bradley-West.

      I think the only thing I would add is having Sansa rise as she’s addressing defending the house and North followed by the crimes.

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    108. Aegon the Icedragon:
      Inga,

      Arya questioned Sansa’s loyalty before the letter. And rightly so. The only person being misled by Littlefinger was the person who kept him around for his council…That’s Sansa who didn’t see clearly until the battlement scene.

      I don’t know if they are getting Sansa’s characterization from GRRM but show Sansa has rarely if ever made a decision on her own. I’m starting to view Sansa’s arch as complete D&D fanfic.They are good at giving Sansa credit at the end but when you rewatch her scenes, she’s always fearful, selfish, or being led by someone else.

      It’s like they want her to be badass but won’t show her becoming badass. So her accomplishments ring hollow & turn the majority of the fans off. Last season it was not telling Jon about an available army twice the size of his.This season she’s being misled by Littlefinger up until the very end. But yet she gets credit for saving the day at the end and Sansa fans twist things to make her a heroine with agency who’s been a great leader & politician, & so smart all season long.

      Sansa herself just said she’s a slow learner. And we’re at the finale of season 7…Slow indeed.

      The person being misled is Arya, all her memories and facts of what she sees are completely wrong , her last vision of seeing Sansa screaming stop him, stop him as she’s held by KG, then passed out on the dais from shock and Arya equates that as helping the enemy?, Sansa was expecting Ned to be sent to the wall, not killed, and while Sansa was on knees for her father, or forced to write a letter under duress, where was Arya? she was chasing cats or dancing lessons, the only one there for Ned was Sansa. Arya has no right to call the kettle black either she was serving Tywin, and foolishly misused 3 names ( I give her a pass on Gendry ).

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    109. Pigeon:
      Loooooooooooooooooooooool.

      For fuck’s sakes.

      It makes complete sense, as obviously the best player in the game would almost need someone with that CCTV footage to truly take him down. But now we’re back to making Sansa a REALLY ‘slow learner’. I’d really rather have been able to just give her and Arya more credit, even knowing Bran obviously contributed.

      I don’t know why they added slow learner in, Arya herself said ( book) Sansa was smart and picked things up quick, the only thing she was bad at was math ( which most people are, until they use it every day ). Yet for such a slow learner she’s running that castle and holdings like a boss. Jon,Ned and Catelyn be damn proud of her.

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    110. T Rufus Martin: Things could have turned out a lot differently had Arya had been brought up by anyone but Ned Stark. In the commercials for season seven SANSA repeats the quote about the lone wolf. I took it to mean one thing family solidarity. Family can have fights with each other, not always like each other, but when threatened join as a pack to survive the winter or worse. When SANSA was listening to LF what her father taught her saved the family from turning on each other. My personal thought is that SANSA spoke to Bran then brought Arya in to figure out what to do about it. Getting rid of BRIENNE was to get rid of the protector of both girls and that move would help LF think he was in control of the game.

      You’re right that being Lady of Winterfell is not who Arya is.

      LF did a lot of things wrong. Left where he plays the game the best. Knew SANSA wasn’t getting over her sale to the Bolton’s. Knew Aryan was a faceless assassin and didn’t run. Thought Ned Stark’s love of honor and loyalty to family wouldn’t be passed on to his children. LF died because he thought everyone was like him, the worst.

      Yup Sansa removed a chess piece from LF, side of the board, the letter from KL help keep him from being suspicious, as he knew Sansa herself wouldn’t go.

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    111. talvikorppi:
      I think much of these ”Arya and Sansa were playing LF all along” theories spring from the need of viewers who like Arya to explain her behaviour and actions in a good light.

      Unless you say Arya was playacting, she comes across as stupid (lords express displeasure at Jon -> ”chop their heads off”; falling for LF’s game hook, line and sinker), childish and petty (”your pretty handwriting”), almost misogynistic (sneering at Sansa’s ”knitting” and ”pretty dresses” – implication being that these pursuits and preferences are somehow inferior to Arya’s own). She also seems to favour unquestioning, blind loyalty as demonstrated by her reaction to the lords questioning Jon’s actions and Sansa defending Jon but not forcefully enough for little Miss Assassin – oh, yes, she also comes across as cocky, self-righteous, judgemental and hypocritical. She didn’t offer unquestioning, blind loyalty to the Faceless Men (instead uses their magic for selfish ends). She criticises Sansa for writing a letter under duress as a child, but conveniently forgets to mention she herself served Tywin to survive and failed to kill him when she had a golden opportunity. All this unpleasantness can be explained away by saying Arya was only playacting, although there’s no indication of that in the show, and in her interview, Maisie Williams says she wasn’t.

      It is entirely understandable that Arya, who never much liked her sister, Arya, who’s always been rather hot-headed and black-and-white, would act this way after all her traumatic experiences and her FM training (which aims at dehumanizing the trainee). This is a young woman who committed mass-murder in the opening minutes of the season, and smiled about it.

      Arya is right that LF is a malign influence in WF… and then goes after her sister, just like LF wants! She is right that Sansa has ambitions but fails to see that as Lady of WF, Sansa is also duty-bound to consider what happens if Jon doesn’t return from his diplomatic mission (I don’t think they know about the wight hunt). I think it was fortunate that Arya tested Sansa’s loyalty to Jon/House Stark – Sansa needed to think deeply about it, her loyalty has been a bit wishy-washy – but Arya did it in such an OTT threatening and creepy way that it almost pushed Sansa to LF.

      Sansa knows some of the incriminating things that LF has done, knows that he cannot be trusted, but she is too passive about dealing with him, for fear of losing half of Jon’s armies (the Vale). Also, remember, she is implicated in the cover-up of Lysa Arryn’s murder, so she has to somehow find a way to save her own arse and keep the Vale armies. She’s trying to figure out LF’s game, waiting for him to slip. She should’ve trusted her brother and sister more but Bran creeps her out by reminiscing about her rape and Arya is acting all threatenig and creepy. I think Sansa was also being kind of stupid by not properly figuring out LF’s game until he insinuates that Arya wants to kill her to become Lady of Winterfell herself. Only then Sansa remembers she has a brother with unlimited CCTV footage and goes to him to get more dirt on LF (apparently enough to overlook her complicity in the Lysa Arryn coverup…)

      I’m glad they didn’t include the scene where Sansa goes to Bran for help because it would’ve taken away from the initial dramatic tension of the LF ”trial” scene. However, it is clear that by this time the three Starks are working together. Sansa wouldn’t have Bran there if she was intending to try Arya, and Arya is fully armed.

      I like the idea that old resentments and and the way they’ve changed through their experiences put Arya and Sansa at loggerheads, but in the end they resolve their differences and work together to eliminate an enemy. However, this storyline wasn’t executed all that well. For instance, I’m still scratching my head a bit about Brienne. Did Sansa send her away in case she needed to go after Arya? Or was she lulling LF into false confidence that she was following his lead? Or was she trying to protect Brienne (and Pod)? Or maybe she just needed to send a trustworthy envoy to KL, lol!

      Bingo, we got a winner!

      ETA : I think Sansa figured it out in 7-4 and that’s why she sent Brienne’a away, she removed LF, Chess Piece.

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    112. D&D want to present Sansa as a great politician and yet in the original version of the episode she couldn’t figure out that LF is playing her without the help of her magic brother.

      Why do they keep doing this to her character…

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    113. Sunfyre:
      Inga,

      I think the challenge when it comes to Bran as a character is he’s ridiculously superpowered now. He has an extraordinary supernatural ability to see everything that has happened in the past and what is happening in the present all over the world.The writers have to place limits on his power or the show will become boring as all hell. Want to know everything Littlefinger has ever done? Go ask Bran. It’s too easy when a character actually knows everything. The answer for the show appears to be for Bran to have trouble dealing with the amount of information and having to “learn on the job” when it comes to finding exact moments of time/past events or interactions between characters.

      So I don’t begrudge the writers using Bran sparingly in the Season 7 Winterfell plot. Otherwise it would open too many doors where everyone would be “hey we have a problem. Well… Bran can solve it. You know, why don’t we just go ask Bran for all the answers?”At any rate I’m sure in season 8 he’ll go from Padawan to Jedi, so to speak. And then the main impediment to his power will be the Night King himself.

      Everything LF has done. If Bran has such a power, Sansa would have him scanning Cersei, Jamie, Tyrion, Dany, Varys, Euron, etc asap. Clearly, he cannot have such a power, or we couldn’t have a plot for the rest of the story. Bran would know everything about everyone.

      Obviously, his power must be more limited than that. Slower, more random, harder to control. But if that is the case, was it just dumb luck that revealed the LF/Ned conflict at just the right time?

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    114. Grail King: I don’t know why they added slow learner in, Arya herself said ( book) Sansa was smart and picked things up quick, the only thing she was bad at was math ( which most people are, until they use it every day ). Yet for such a slow learner she’s running that castle and holdings like a boss. Jon,Ned and Catelyn be damn proud of her.

      IMO, the fact that Arya handed her the dagger, and then obviously got it BACK from her, meant that at least something had to have been brewing between them (and Bran perhaps) close to that time. I think Arya showed Sansa just what she was capable of doing, but yet wouldn’t. And Sansa showed Arya that she was doing what she thought best. You don’t give someone back a dagger if you really think they are gonna off you. I mean, unless you’re incredibly stupid.

      And I don’t think Sansa is stupid. Naive, yes, less so now. Done stupid things? Sure. They say there are different kinds of smart, and I think that’s very true. Littlefinger was correct when he told Sansa that she was handling things ‘ably’ in Jon’s absence. She is able. She has a knack for handling household (….castlehold? whatever) affairs and planning for the future of the people. She isn’t a soldier, or an assassin, or a trickster, or the best politician in the world (yes yes I know, we’re supposed to be seeing that she is). And she doesn’t have to be. I think that one thing that irritates people about Sansa, maybe even subconsciously, is that she’s closer to being like most of us would be than anyone in the show. Those of us not living in Flea Bottom, anyway. Trying to just survive was her story for a long while. An ‘ordinary’ person (of some standing) whose personality has been too trusting, too gullible, and has been required to be too dependent on other people since her parents died.

      I think she’s doing alright. And I was glad that she wasn’t all ‘ra ra!’ about sentencing LF. She spent YEARS with him, guided by him, taught by him, and yes used by him. Of course it’s going to be strange for her, even if it’s a positive turn.

      Every time I rehabilitate or raise an injured or orphaned songbird and release it after weeks of care, it doesn’t just immediately fly out of my hands. It has gotten used to me to an extent, even though it didn’t have a choice at first. It takes a little time, sometimes only seconds, sometimes minutes, to look around, get its bearings, realize that it is free, and fly.

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    115. Vincent Stark:
      D&D want to present Sansa as a great politician and yet in the original version of the episode she couldn’t figure out that LF is playing her without the help of her magic brother. Why do they keep doing this to her character…

      The ways of Dan and Dave are indeed passing strange. They do want Sansa to have learned after her denseness during the first three seasons, but that scene would have done her no favours. If she were really clueless until she spoke to Bran, that makes her rather pathetic or even retrograde. Maybe that’s why she calls herself a slow learner. I believe she’s better than that, though not as quick as Arya. But with such a dearth of clues, who can blame us for pouncing on this tidbit from IHW? In any case, we simply must not put too much credence on a scene that was filmed but deleted. The story is what the episode shows.

      God knows, parsing the Winterfell plot requires a deal of attentiveness, recognition of hints and symbols, logic, and balanced conjecture to determine what D&D kept ambiguous. Most of the reviews of Ep 7 expressed relief that the girls were ‘playing’ Littlefinger. But it’s still hard to pin down. Sansa may have started a ruse as early as her ‘undermining’ scenes with Jon. Arya no doubt started once she concluded Sansa was loyal to him. At least we get to see her at work, though it’s not clear in that particular scene who’s the cat and who’s the mouse. (Tellingly, the EW cover article said “Arya’s story is ” top secret!”) Were the sisters working together all along? Certainly the three Starks planned the trial and their parts. We should feel complimented that D&D credit the viewers with the ability to sort this all out, but it’s bloody hard!

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    116. Pigeon: She has a knack for handling household (….castlehold? whatever) affairs and planning for the future of the people.

      AKA ruling ? 😛

      I think that one thing that irritates people about Sansa, maybe even subconsciously, is that she’s closer to being like most of us would be than anyone in the show.

      I couldn’t agree more. She is an entirely non-fantastical, non-magical character in a story in which fantasy and magic have slowly but surely become prominent. As such, she may seem out of place, not aspirational enough. Undeserving even.

      I think she’s doing alright. And I was glad that she wasn’t all ‘ra ra!’ about sentencing LF. She spent YEARS with him, guided by him, taught by him, and yes used by him. Of course it’s going to be strange for her, even if it’s a positive turn.

      Very true indeed. However counterintuitive it may seem, she is bound to miss him, especially considering that her entourage is now made up of a robotic brother who believes that narrating her rape to her is an appropriate way to reconnect and a sister who threatened to murder her and steal her face… Dinner time at Winterfell must be a real blast ! ^^

      Stark Raven’ Rad: God knows, parsing the Winterfell plot requires a deal of attentiveness, recognition of hints and symbols, logic, and balanced conjecture to determine what D&D kept ambiguous. (…) We should feel complimented that D&D credit the viewers with the ability to sort this all out, but it’s bloody hard!

      Or maybe, just maybe, the emperor truly is walking butt-naked in the streets. Stranger things have happened ^^

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    117. Grail King: The person being misled is Arya, all her memories and facts of what she sees are completely wrong , her last vision of seeing Sansa screaming stop him, stop him as she’s held byKG, then passed out on the dais from shock and Arya equates that as helping the enemy?, Sansa was expecting Ned to be sent to the wall, not killed, and while Sansa was on knees for her father, or forced to write a letter under duress, where was Arya? she was chasing cats or dancing lessons, the only one there for Ned was Sansa. Arya has no right to call the kettle black either she was serving Tywin, and foolishly misused 3 names ( I give her a pass on Gendry ).

      1) You’ve apparently forgotten that Arya actually pulled out Needle and jumped into the crowd trying to save Ned, but Yoren grabbed her! 2) For a minute or two, Arya watched while Sansa stood next to Cersei and Joffrey. Arya did not see much of Sansa’s distress pushing through the crowd or crushed against Yoren’s chest. Nor did she hear it due to crowd noise. In fact, once Joffrey called for Ned’s head, Arya probably didn’t even notice Sansa. No wonder all she remembers is Sansa standing there, which she told Yoren a few episodes later when the memory was fresh. 3) Arya only knows what she saw, but by God she was there for her father, which he actually knew!. She was 11YO at the time and had no concept of what might happen behind the scenes. 4) As to calling the kettle black, recall that a few months later Arya was one of the prisoners due for torture till Tywin stopped the Mountain and his crew. She nearly killed Tywin anyway, spied on him and his war councils, and was intent on escaping to Robb to give him her information. Oh, because people were being tortured she also put the Mountain and a torturer on her List. She had Jaqen kill him. Not bad for an 11YO, right? The kettle had aligned with Joffrey and Cersei since S1E2, didn’t stop Joffrey from killing Arya (Nymeria did) and then lied about the Mycah incident to the king. That all incidentally got Mycah and Lady killed. That sort of thing should be remembered.

      So why did Arya not even bother to correct Sansa on the ‘coming to the rescue’ part? Because it didn’t matter since Arya was playing Littlefinger by then and she surely guessed Sansa would run to LF with her fears about Arya. Arya was acting the Bad Cop, and eventually LF would overplay his hand. And by then Arya had given Sansa the dagger to signal that the ball was in her court. I suspect that’s when Sansa went to Bran. Soon after all three planned the trial.

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    118. Stark Raven’ Rad: 1) You’ve apparently forgotten that Arya actually pulled out Needle and jumped into the crowd trying to save Ned, but Yoren grabbed her! 2) For a minute or two, Arya watched while Sansa stood next to Cersei and Joffrey. Arya did not see much of Sansa’s distress pushing through the crowd or crushed against Yoren’s chest. Nor did she hear it due to crowd noise.In fact, once Joffrey called for Ned’s head, Arya probably didn’t even notice Sansa. No wonder all she remembers is Sansa standing there, which she told Yoren a few episodes later when the memory was fresh. 3) Arya only knows what she saw, but by God she was there for her father, which he actually knew!. She was 11YO at the time and had no concept of what might happen behind the scenes. 4) As to calling the kettle black, recall that a few months later Arya was one of the prisoners due for torture till Tywin stopped the Mountain and his crew. She nearly killed Tywin anyway, spied on him and his war councils, and was intent on escaping to Robb to give him her information. Oh, because people were being tortured she also put the Mountain and a torturer on her List. She had Jaqen kill him. Not bad for an 11YO, right? The kettle had aligned with Joffrey and Cersei since S1E2, didn’t stop Joffrey from killing Arya (Nymeria did) and then lied about the Mycah incident to the king. That all incidentally got Mycah and Lady killed. That sort of thing should be remembered.

      So why did Arya not even bother to correct Sansa on the ‘coming to the rescue’ part? Because it didn’t matter since Arya was playing Littlefinger by then and she surely guessed Sansa would run to LF withher fears about Arya. Arya was acting the Bad Cop, and eventuallyLF would overplay his hand. And by then Arya had given Sansa the dagger to signal that the ball was in her court. I suspect that’s when Sansa went to Bran. Soon after all three planned the trial.

      I didn’t forget that, it would had got her killed.

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    119. Stark Raven’ Rad: 1) You’ve apparently forgotten that Arya actually pulled out Needle and jumped into the crowd trying to save Ned, but Yoren grabbed her! 2) For a minute or two, Arya watched while Sansa stood next to Cersei and Joffrey. Arya did not see much of Sansa’s distress pushing through the crowd or crushed against Yoren’s chest. Nor did she hear it due to crowd noise.In fact, once Joffrey called for Ned’s head, Arya probably didn’t even notice Sansa. No wonder all she remembers is Sansa standing there, which she told Yoren a few episodes later when the memory was fresh. 3) Arya only knows what she saw, but by God she was there for her father, which he actually knew!. She was 11YO at the time and had no concept of what might happen behind the scenes. 4) As to calling the kettle black, recall that a few months later Arya was one of the prisoners due for torture till Tywin stopped the Mountain and his crew. She nearly killed Tywin anyway, spied on him and his war councils, and was intent on escaping to Robb to give him her information. Oh, because people were being tortured she also put the Mountain and a torturer on her List. She had Jaqen kill him. Not bad for an 11YO, right? The kettle had aligned with Joffrey and Cersei since S1E2, didn’t stop Joffrey from killing Arya (Nymeria did) and then lied about the Mycah incident to the king. That all incidentally got Mycah and Lady killed. That sort of thing should be remembered.

      So why did Arya not even bother to correct Sansa on the ‘coming to the rescue’ part? Because it didn’t matter since Arya was playing Littlefinger by then and she surely guessed Sansa would run to LF withher fears about Arya. Arya was acting the Bad Cop, and eventuallyLF would overplay his hand. And by then Arya had given Sansa the dagger to signal that the ball was in her court. I suspect that’s when Sansa went to Bran. Soon after all three planned the trial.

      Arya wasn’t playing LF, not one bit.

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    120. Vincent Stark:
      D&D want to present Sansa as a great politician and yet in the original version of the episode she couldn’t figure out that LF is playing her without the help of her magic brother.

      Why do they keep doing this to her character…

      I think she figured it out all by herself, she just went to Bran (off-screen) for extra “evidence”/confirmation.

      I’m not sure she’s a great politician yet, but she’s certainly the most politically-minded Stark.

      BTW, the original version of the episode was the one we all saw last Sunday. The scene IHW talks about was not included in it.

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    121. talvikorppi:
      BTW, the original version of the episode was the one we all saw last Sunday. The scene IHW talks about was not included in it.

      This. Deleted scenes are not canon. They’re interesting behind-the-scenes material but people using them to bolster arguments are on fairly shaky ground.

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    122. Stark Raven’ Rad: We should feel complimented that D&D credit the viewers with the ability to sort this all out, but it’s bloody hard!

      Quite the opposite. The viewers should feel annoyed and insulted that the producers regressed the characters and concocted a nonsensical plot simply to reach an entirely predictable “twist” in time for the finale.

      They didn’t trust the viewer to appreciate drama between the Stark sisters without being confused over their motives and intentions in order to justify the “twist” at the end.

      They could have built towards a near identical conclusion without assassinating the characters or manufacturing unnecessary confusion.

      The Stark girls could have been (as they should have been) on the same page regarding Littlefinger’s malign influence, but merely divided over how to deal with him – Sansa more cautious and political, Arya more forthright and violent.

      Their longstanding personal issues, questions of loyalty and fractured relationship could have played out in their struggle to compromise on how to be rid of him, while Littlefinger still futilely attempted to pit them against one another and sew discontent in The North.

      They could still have built towards an eventual epiphany, the intervention of Bran and the table-turning moment in the Great Hall.

      But instead, the producers’ focus was on creating confusion and added suspense ahead of the “twist” and they sacrificed reason and character development to do so.

      When the viewers would have been just as appreciative of solid drama based around the Stark girls’ different points of view and experiences, rather than on their contrived stupidity and inability to communicate basic facts and reason until the last minute.

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    123. A Dornish Tyrell,

      ACME,

      Kay,

      Grail King,

      Thank you, all, for your kind words.

      I must confess, yesterday, after writing my original long post ( @ 5:34am, 31 Aug, actually early afternoon for me in my country), I hovered over “send” for quite a while, unsure if I’d want to send it, in case I got a nasty backlash from ardent Arya fans, because in the first couple of days the comments and reviews from 3rd party sources were full of “Arya and Sansa together played LF the whole time”. What if my interpretation was way off? But all I could do was to try and explain what I saw and how I interpreted it.

      I’m not a particular Arya or Sansa fan (everybody knows I’m a JAIME FAN, lol!) but I’ve always liked them both, and I didn’t want to get labeled as some “Arya hater” or some such and be pelted with all kinds of internet manure.

      Ah, I underestimated our WotW community. Nobody attacked me, not even our resident ardent Arya fans, Ten Bears and Stark Raven Rad. Hey, guys, there’s nothing wrong in being an ardent Arya fan. I like it, how you can be enthusiastic but civil and reasonable about it.

      Gods, old and new, WotW is one of the best little corners of the internet!

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    124. Ramsay’s 20th Good Man:

      They didn’t trust the viewer to appreciate drama between the Stark sisters without being confused over their motives and intentions in order to justify the “twist” at the end.

      They could have built towards a near identical conclusion without assassinating the characters or manufacturing unnecessary confusion.
      ….
      But instead, the producers’ focus was on creating confusion and added suspense ahead of the “twist” and they sacrificed reason and character development to do so.

      I think you might be hitting the nail on the head about what the showrunners might’ve wanted to do! It is confusing, and with all those claustrophobic castle balconies, corridors, interiors, us viewers not knowing what’s going on… It’s Kafkaesque! lol!

      Remember, D&D first met in Dublin when they both were post-grad studying James Joyce at Trinity College (the Irish equivalent of Oxford or Cambridge), so they are quite cerebral and well versed in modern, early 20th century, high-brow literature. Kafka is a contemporary of Joyce.

      Or not. I just find it a neat idea that GoT is now so big that D&D could inject something Joycean or Kafkaesque in it, for some shits and giggles, to see who gets it. Almost nobody did, and I don’t think they actually did it, and if they did, it didn’t work too well. But thanks, Ramsay’s 20th Good Man, for prompting me to think about this intriguing idea. I’m having a shits and giggles moment about it, haha.

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    125. Is confusion necessarily a bad thing for an audience to experience? When I watched Chinatown for the first time I was confused until I discovered exactly what was going on. I was confused about Evelyn Mulwray’s intentions and motivations until the end. Didn’t make me angry at Towne or Polanski or Faye Dunaway. I was intrigued. That’s just one example off the top of my head because it is a favorite of mine. But it’s the same for any number of classic films and television shows. Sometimes stories and characters are murky and difficult to penetrate. Must we understand everything that is happening when it is happening at every single moment?

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    126. Stark Raven’ Rad: 1) You’ve apparently forgotten that Arya actually pulled out Needle and jumped into the crowd trying to save Ned, but Yoren grabbed her!

      Like the Hound prevented Sansa from pushing Joffrey off the bridge. And both Yoren and Sandor did it for the same reason : hadn’t the girls been stopped, they would have died, very probably for nothing.

      2) (…) No wonder all she remembers is Sansa standing there, which she told Yoren a few episodes later when the memory was fresh.

      So Arya is human and her perception can at times be flawed and she can at times draw the wrong conclusion based on said flawed perception.

      3) Arya only knows what she saw, but by God she was there for her father, which he actually knew!

      Like Ned knew Sansa was trying everything during his captivity to have him pardoned or, at the very least, freed. Varys told him as much.

      4) As to calling the kettle black, recall that a few months later Arya was one of the prisoners due for torture till Tywin stopped the Mountain and his crew.

      The Mountain and his crew worked for Tywin Lannister; that is why he had the authority to stop them in the first place. At Harrenhal, there never was any doubt or mystery surrounding the Old Lion’s authority or influence; to anyone, it was clear he was the grand general of the Lannister forces. As Cersei reminded Tyrion, Tywin was the cornerstone of the Lions’ organisation, both military and political; therefore, during the War of the Five Kings, killing him as quickly as possible (not spying on him) should have been a priority in any pro-Stark strategy worth its salt.
      Furthermore, since the Mountain and the Tickler obeyed Tywin’s every command, eliminating the Lannister patriarch would have negatively affected their power of nuisance.

      Why focus on the underlings when the Big Bad is right here ?

      As it turns out, Arya did not ask Jaqen to kill Tywin until after it was too late because she had formed an unlikely but understandable emotional bond with him (a preview of her relationship with the Hound, in many ways). She begrudgingly liked the man who had shown her respect, given her validation and even mentored her ever since the very first moment they had met. There is nothing wrong with that of course; it was strategically unsound in the great scheme of things but so what ? It made perfect sense on a sentimental level.

      So why did Arya not even bother to correct Sansa on the ‘coming to the rescue’ part?

      For the same reason Sansa did not even bother to correct Arya’s assumption that she had stood still, prettily dressed, while Ned was being decapitated ? Both sisters had more important topics to discuss ?

      Arya was acting the Bad Cop, and eventuallyLF would overplay his hand.

      How could Arya possibly have guessed that ? Littlefinger, as the cocky-yet-meticulous gambler he was, only rarely overplayed his hand. From what we have seen, he only did it four times in his “career”, so to speak : when he baited Cersei with his “knowledge is power” motto, when he tried to “seduce” Catelyn after delivering Ned’s remains, when he kissed Sansa at the Eyrie and when he pushed too hard for Sansa to have Arya killed. The younger Stark daughter was not a witness of any of those occurrences so she would have had no way to know. Unless we assume she has magical, telepathic abilities ^^

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    127. talvikorppi: Or not. I just find it a neat idea that GoT is now so big that D&D could inject something Joycean or Kafkaesque in it, for some shits and giggles, to see who gets it. Almost nobody did, and I don’t think they actually did it, and if they did, it didn’t work too well.

      Ha ! Maybe that was indeed their intention… But by gosh, was it poorly executed ! ^^

      The main problem, as Ramsay’s 20th Good Man pointed out, is that the writers tried to inject suspense where none was either needed or even believable. Littlefinger’s demise was never a “maybe”; ever since he held that dagger to Ned’s neck, he has been marked for death and everyone knows it. So turning the narrative process leading to it into a gothic murder mystery was unnecessary. Counterproductive even.

      Indeed, the Winterfell storyline is, at its core, full of great ideas. Littlefinger’s desire to both eliminate Arya and reestablish his relationship with Sansa makes perfect sense. His scheme was delightful in its similarities with his War of the Five Kings plot : activating the younger sister’s (Arya/Lysa) profound resentment towards her elder sister (Sansa/Catelyn) so she turns into a threat, using a letter (Lysa’s letter to Catelyn / Sansa’s letter to her brother and mother) to force said elder sister’s hand, etc. The conflict between Arya and Sansa felt organic and warranted, both on an intellectual and emotional level… With such good elements, the arc could have worked out !

      And indeed, it would have worked out had the writers focused on its resolution (the discovery of Littlefinger’s scheme and the sisters overcoming their differences) instead of jumping straight to its conclusion (Baelish’s death) for “shock” value.

      Not only would it have made more sense narratively speaking, it also would have been great character development. After all, Littlefinger’s greatest strength was that he only ever used what was already there, readily available in people’s thoughts and feelings. He did not create Lysa’s resentment (hatred even) of Catelyn, he simply used it to his advantage. He did not make Arya threaten Sansa, he simply used her violence to his advantage. He did not make Sansa believe in self-preservation above all else, he simply used her philosophy to his advantage.

      Therefore, all those horrible things the Stark sisters said to and felt towards each other during their feud were not Littlefinger-induced; they were simply Littlefinger-revealed. They are still there and should have been resolved and overcome beyond the purely cosmetic reconciliation we got after Baelish’s execution. That was the emotional core of the arc and it was not addressed for the sake of “suspense”.
      Fingers crossed for next season ! ^^

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    128. ACME:
      …. the last scene between the sisters is more complex than a straightforward reconciliation.

      … She [Sansa] tries to examine his feelings and, by implication, her own in regards to him [LF] and his death … However, the contemplation is cut short by Arya who simply reaffirms the deed’s righteousness. There and then, the conversation shifts gear, away from complexity and moral greyness and onto a paint-by-numbers Stark (read Ned) fetishisation, at Arya’s behest.

      Now, it so happens that we, the audience, know that the Stark sisters are in for a surprise in regards to their beloved daddy’s legendary “honesty” so their celebration of his mantra is, to a degree, coloured by a sense of doom. We also have yet to see the Northern lords’ reaction to Jon’s decision to bend the knee and the revelation of his Targaryen identity which, given what we have seen of them, should be interesting !
      Furthermore, Sansa has been shown to be critical of Ned’s decisions in the past (cf. her argument with Jon about being better than their father) and is no stranger to paying lip-service to creeds she truly believe in (cf. her time at King’s Landing).
      Therefore, I am left to wonder how deep the reconciliation truly runs for, all in all, nothing has been truly resolved between the sisters. The conclusion was that loyalty to the pack is paramount (the pack survives)… Great ! But what if the members of the pack disagree ? Who gets to decide what the pack should do ? Is there a vote ? Is blind allegiance required ? If so, is it to be celebrated ?

      I believe these questions matter and put a different light on the sisters’ “reconciliation” because, interestingly enough, the episode ends on the emergence of what could be seen as a new crack in the Starks’ façade, namely the uncovering of the true nature of Lyanna and Rhaegar’s relationship. Bran’s reaction to it is quite telling : he seems genuinely flabbergasted and, dare I say, appalled to find out that Robert’s Rebellion was caused by a lie which neither his aunt nor her husband felt the need to rectify. Is it meant to indicate that Bran might question Lyanna’s behaviour and, by implication, Ned’s devotion to her ?
      If so, no amount of mantra-chanting and pack-worshipping will save the Starks from the introspection they so desperately need.

      I really wanted to quote these parts (actually most of) of your great, analytical, intelligent post (I always enjoy reading yours, even if I don’t always agree… Can we sometime talk about Jaime and fatherhood, lol?)

      Like you, I feel that the Stark sister conflict… dare I say it, animosity?… has not been resolved for all time. Their final scene on the battlements of Winterfell was wonderful, heart-warming… But it was a respite, I feel they’ll be at loggerheads again.

      Sansa has affirmed her loyalty to House Stark, as of S7E7. What about Arya? Was all that talk of pack just so much BS and she’ll be blindly, unquestioningly loyal to Jon? Arya is a wonderful character, but she needs to learn some lessons, snap out of her childish black-and-white judgemental frame of mind and see the bigger picture. I mean, how will she deal with her sainted Jon bending the knee and actually doing the kinds of things “political” and “disloyal” Sansa would do.

      Issues that could arise in S8 include learning the truth of Jon’s parentage, especially if it’s generally accepted (that is by no means guaranteed).

      Then what? Let’s put Dany’s reaction to the side for a moment, just concentrate on the Stark and Northern lords reaction.

      The Jon Snow = Aegon Targaryen, rightful heir to the Iron Throne, reveal. So he’s the head of House Targaryen (as the oldest surviving son of the oldest son) … and he’s NOT the head of House Stark. Sansa is. All male heirs of Ned are either dead or have abdicated (Bran) so the Stark line continues through Sansa (or Arya after her). There’s precedent in the books of husbands of heiresses taking her family name (it’s happened to the Starks, the Lannisters, probably many others. It also happened IRL in medieval Europe).

      All this “politicking” would be a test for Arya. Is she loyal to House Stark (as she likes to brag about) or to Jon personally (her favourite brother… actually a cousin, but they grew up as brother and sister)? Is all that talk of “Stark pack” just so much BS to her while her true allegiance is to Jon personally, even if he is the head of House Targaryen and their houses might be in conflict? I don’t know what’s going to happen but this little conflict is something I immediately thought of. I hope we get some exploration of this in S8 but there’s probably not enough time to flesh out any of this. Ho-hum, I’m not going on an internet rage rampage about it.

      Arya is prone to black-and-white blind allegiance (a cult?) where the leader must not be questioned in any way. I hope Jon teaches her a lesson or two about compromise – that’s what he’s been doing for years, FFS! (Arya might not like the new girlfriend, though, lol!)

      (Poor Jon, after all he’s been through, having to face squabling sisters. The poor guy can never catch a break, lol!)

      Aah, I’m sooooo looking forward to S8. Maybe many of my fav questions won’t be answered (they only have so much time) but I’ll always have enjoyed the ride.

      Apologies for an overly long post. (I tend to waffle on…)

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    129. Ramsay’s 20th Good Man,

      Well said! I agree with regard to the way D&D went about it. It would have been preferable (and heartwarming) if the sisters clearly had been shown either working together or separately and then uniting. The twist wasn’t worth all the obfuscation. Anyone with sense would know Arya would never kill Sansa and vice versa, so at the trial very few viewers thought that Arya was in danger. And when she calmly strode in wearing both weapons, they knew. Plus with all the hype and predictions, even many casual viewers expected LF to go down, and that was clearly the time and place it was going to happen. What I meant is that D&D at least thought the audience was intelligent enough to perceive the off-screen machinations behind the on-screen events.
      Even the critics and Youtubers writing about episodes 5 and 6 were scratching their heads about what was happening and why. But most thought the dagger exchange was significant; I think it was the defining moment. And the reviews of episode 7 mostly concluded the sisters together had been playing Littlefinger like a fiddle. Perhaps, but they were probably doing it individually IMO.

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    130. Pigeon:
      ….

      Every time I rehabilitate or raise an injured or orphaned songbird and release it after weeks of care, it doesn’t just immediately fly out of my hands. It has gotten used to me to an extent, even though it didn’t have a choice at first. It takes a little time, sometimes only seconds, sometimes minutes, to look around, get its bearings, realize that it is free, and fly.

      Thank you, Pigeon, for this touching, beautiful, and insightful recounting of a thing in real life, directly applicable to Sansa.

      You are, of course, aware that in the books the Hound always calls Sansa “little bird” (in a golden gage). Right?

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    131. Stark Raven’ Rad:


      Anyone with sense would know Arya would never kill Sansa and vice versa, so at the trial very few viewers thought that Arya was in danger. …

      What I meant is that D&D at least thought the audience was intelligent enough to perceive the off-screen machinations behind the on-screen events.

      Dear Stark Raven Rad, I admire your dedication to the Arya cause, but there was no off-screen machinations redeeming Arya’s arsey and misguided behaviour.

      As to the first paragraph. Sansa would never kill a family member. I’m not too sure about Arya. She’s learned the short way to solve problems, people disagreeing with her, whatever, is to KILL them. So… if Sansa disagrees…

      I hope the “badass” murder assassin reconsiders and comes back as the wonderful, fierce, loyal, quick-witted and morally fairly well compassed young woman that we all like. She’s a wonderful character. But she’s not perfect.

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    132. talvikorppi,

      ACME: And indeed, it would have worked out had the writers focused on its resolution (the discovery of Littlefinger’s scheme and the sisters overcoming their differences) instead of jumping straight to its conclusion (Baelish’s death) for “shock” value.

      Not only would it have made more sense narratively speaking, it also would have been great character development. After all, Littlefinger’s greatest strength was that he only ever used what was already there, readily available in people’s thoughts and feelings. He did not create Lysa’s resentment (hatred even) of Catelyn, he simply used it to his advantage. He did not make Arya threaten Sansa, he simply used her violence to his advantage. He did not make Sansa believe in self-preservation above all else, he simply used her philosophy to his advantage.

      Therefore, all those horrible things the Stark sisters said to and felt towards each other during their feud were not Littlefinger-induced; they were simply Littlefinger-revealed. They are still there and should have been resolved and overcome beyond the purely cosmetic reconciliation we got after Baelish’s execution. That was the emotional core of the arc and it was not addressed for the sake of “suspense”.

      Very well said!!! I couldn’t agree more… I find myself shamelessly “fanboying” (or fangirling for that matter) over your and talvikorppi‘s comments. Both of you have made (as per usual) very cogent and eloquent arguments about some of the shortcommings of the whole Arya-Sansa-Littlefinger debacle… and the risks and contradictions of becoming an “Arya apologist” at all cost.

      I wish I had something of substance to add to this discussion, but you’ve have already said (much more articulately) pretty much what I think.

      I will just say this to ACME: The Fingers remember. 😉

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    133. talvikorppi: All this “politicking” would be a test for Arya. Is she loyal to House Stark (as she likes to brag about) or to Jon personally (her favourite brother… actually a cousin, but they grew up as brother and sister)? Is all that talk of “Stark pack” just so much BS to her while her true allegiance is to Jon personally, even if he is the head of House Targaryen and their houses might be in conflict?

      As per usual, you hit the nail very squarely on the head for that is indeed the absolute crux of the matter !

      A House is, above all else, a political unit. It is of course also a family, with all the sentimental dynamics it implies, but that aspect is secondary. As it happens, Arya is sentimental, profoundly so. Her allegiance to House Stark is entirely driven by her love for some of its members, namely Jon, Ned and Robb.
      Tellingly, when discussing Sansa’s letter, Arya argued her sister had betrayed Robb but left out Catelyn (to whom the message was also addressed). As a matter of fact, Arya has not mentioned her mother once since returning to Winterfell : Ned, yes; Jon, all the time; Robb, yep; Catelyn… Not a word, even though she was as much a member of House Stark as her husband of children, even though she rallied more men to the Stark cause than Robb himself.
      Now, there is no doubt Arya loves her mother, like any child loves their mum. However, she never felt close to her; they had very different tastes, different manners, etc. Catelyn never validated Arya in the way Ned, Jon or Robb ever did. So the younger Stark sister leaves her out of the House she considers Sansa betrayed.
      That is demonstrably not a political approach of the situation but a purely sentimental one. As was her reaction to Lords Royce and Glover’s complaints about Jon. I dare not imagine how she would have reacted had she been there when Glover said Robb had got himself killed and had married a foreign whore; she probably would have slaughtered him there and then.

      The theme of allegiance, as well as its nuances and contradictions, has always been a major thread of ASoIaF and GoT and I think it has never been explored more thoroughly and pointedly as this season. Jon’s internal debate over the decision to bend the knee, Tyrion’s troubled faith in Daenerys, Varys’s ever-shifting support, the lords’ disappointment in Jon, Jaime’s eventual abandonment of Cersei, Brienne’s “fuck loyalty”, etc. Therefore, I cannot imagine how Arya’s own brand of unquestioning affection-based allegiance could possibly go unaddressed in the future.

      Love is grand but, when applied to politics, it rarely leads to anything but totalitarism, especially when, as is the case for the Starks, it comes with a ridiculously idealised view of the object of love.
      Jon and Arya do not love Ned as much as they worship a distorted, false even, version of him. Demonstrably, Jon’s decision not to keep his allegiance to Daenerys a secret was motivated by what he thinks was his father’s philosophy. But that is quite the pile of bull excrement since Ned was a gifted secret-keeper when properly motivated, wasn’t he ? ^^
      The same logic applies to Arya’s love for Jon. In her mind, her brother can do not wrong; he is perfect. Therefore, when she hears lords criticise his rule, she immediately equates it with treason, not contemplating for even a minute that their complaints may have some validity to them.

      Given those circumstances, whatever reality check is in stores for the Starks is bound to be painful as hell.

      (Poor Jon, after all he’s been through, having to face squabling sisters. The poor guy can never catch a break, lol!)

      Bah, Jon has participated in his share of sibling rivalries. He’ll manage… But yeah, the man truly cannot catch a break 😛

      (I always enjoy reading yours, even if I don’t always agree… Can we sometime talk about Jaime and fatherhood, lol?)

      Ha ha ! I would love to 😉

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    134. A Dornish Tyrell: and the risks and contradictions of becoming an “Arya apologist” at all cost.

      Ha ha ha ! You are, as per usual, absolutely right.

      Though I suppose, being my unsufferably nitpicky self, I would call it idealism rather than apologism.
      Apologism is fine, to a large degree. We are all somewhat guilty of it, showing more forgiveness and understanding to characters we like than to characters we do not. Idealism is a different ball of wax though… Arya is flawed, like everyone else. She makes mistakes, like everyone else. If she were not and did not, she would be boring as hell 😉

      I will just say this to ACME: The Fingers remember.

      Ha ha ha ! I love it ! 😉
      You bet they do, my friend ! The digits never forget, the digits never forgive 😛

      On a sidenote, the one aspect of the Winterfell storyline I genuinely did enjoy, in spite of its too many flaws, was how similar in its dynamics and stakes it was to Tyrion’s murder of Tywin.

      Tyrion likes to say that he killed his father as punishment for attempting to have him executed for a crime he did not commit, however that is demonstrably untrue. Tyrion initially went to Tywin’s chamber unarmed ! He only picked up the crossbow after having killed Shae… Therefore, I can only conclude that the last straw, as far as Tyrion was concerned, was not the trial for regicide at all; it was Shae’s betrayal, which Tyrion saw as the product of Tywin’s machinations. It is because Tywin had turned someone he loved into a threat that Tyrion killed him.
      And now, even though he feels justified in his action, Tyrion is devastated by his father’s death (“Yes I killed him. Hate me for it if you want, I hate myself for it in spite of what he was. In spite of what he did to me”)

      A ruthless and questionable mentor who teaches as well as damages a reluctant yet fascinated student eventually crosses the only real line (forcing the student’s hand by using one of the student’s loved ones as a weapon) and pays the ultimate price for it when the student uses the mentor’s own teachings against him. The student, though certain the killing was necessary, has highly ambiguous emotions about the loss of the mentor.

      Ah, if only the Winterfell plot had been better executed… ^^

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