What Comes After the Long Night: We’re in the Endgame now. And Summer is Coming.

Cersei Lannister Euron Greyjoy Season 8 804 2

When you play the Game of Thrones, you win or you die.

Yes, Cersei. We know.

In the season seven finale of Game of Thrones, “The Dragon and the Wolf,” Cersei Lannister opted to take actions benefiting herself by not engaging with a game carrying more serious stakes and more serious risks. In “The Long Night,” the North, featuring a coalition of House Stark and House Targaryen forces, squared off without Lannister support against a nightmare horde of wights to achieve a Pyrrhic victory (look it up).

Cersei: Fools.

Although the North won and ended the existential threat that promised doom to the entire continent, the Lannister queen is now positioned strongly for the endgame, with her remaining Lannister regular forces supplemented by Euron’s Iron Fleet and the 20,000 strong sellsword army, the Golden Company. But no elephants.

Cersei: I wanted those elephants.

Having the political momentum shift back towards Cersei is not an atypical event. It happened at the end of season six when Cersei’s enemies in the Faith Militant (among others) were destroyed by her fortuitous employment of wildfire, and her alliance with the King of the Iron Islands and his Iron Fleet kept Daenerys Targaryen from being able to stampede over Cersei when the Targaryen arrived in force the following season.

But Queen Cersei shouldn’t get too cocky or be too comfortable about the North’s diminished troop strength and relative weakness in regards to her position on the virtual cyvasse playing board.

Because things might not work out as she expects.

THE LONE WOLF DIES BUT THE PACK SURVIVES

There are many unknowns in regards to how many troops survived the battle of Winterfell – starting with how much of the fighting forces of the North were physically at the castle’s location when the Long Night battle was fought. Only the northernmost houses – Mormont, Umber, Karstark, and Glover – were accounted for during the conlict. Mormonts, Karstarks, and Umbers fought in the battle (with the Umbers fighting for the other side) and the Glovers of Deepwood Motte were absent – having sent a note asserting they had a scheduling conflict and maybe they could make it next time.

The other named houses – Cerwyn, Hornwood, and Manderly – didn’t seem to be present. In the season premiere, Sansa said that, as soon as they’d heard about the Wall, she “called all [their] banners to retreat to Winterfell,” but it’d make sense to prioritize the populations most at risk, those nearest the Wall, which is exactly what we saw then with the Umbers and Karstarks (uh, with a 50% success rate.)

Therefore the North might still have some fighting resources south of Winterfell to leverage if hostilities against the south will proceed. In theory, this could include the Glovers, who may be the target of some scorn by the survivors of the battle. Lord Robett would have to work hard to redeem his reputation.

Walder Frey: Get used to being called the “late” Robett Glover.
Robett Glover: Aren’t you dead?
Walder Frey: Maybe Arya Stark killed my twin brother, Argus. Plot twist!

Alas, it doesn’t appear like Tim McInnerny is back to play the part of Robett this season.

Jorah Ghost Dothraki Fiery Arakhs Season 8 803 The Long Night

But even if the northmen can cobble together something like an army, the forces that Daenerys brought with her from Essos did not fare well during the battle.

The Dothraki were essentially eliminated during the initial rush against the wights. Were they destroyed to a man? No. We saw a small number running back on foot to Winterfell with Ser Jorah, and likely even more survived. But there’s no mighty horde anymore.

A bigger question would be how many Unsullied survived.

When the battle began in earnest, most of the Unsullied were arrayed just beyond the yet-to-be-lit fire trench. Their phalanxes covered the retreat of the less disciplined, non-professional northern forces. By the time the trenches were ablaze, the Unsullied had been overrun and wights had massed up along the flaming perimeter.

The Unsullied are hardy. Some may have been able to retreat. Others might have formed up small porcupine-like squares and just dug in, but that doesn’t seem right, with Daenerys ending up outside the trench and on foot, with only Ser Jorah to defend her; the Unsullied would not have sat out their queen being in danger. So, speculation on any but a handful of Unsullied surviving the battle should be approached with skepticism.

With the loss of her personal forces, elite light cavalry and infantry, Daenerys took the brunt of the losses. Losses which extended beyond her military personnel.

Jorah, season 8

Daenerys had already lost Viserion to the Night King. Then, her trusted advisor and queensguard Ser Jorah Mormont perished protecting her. And, with the revelation that her lover Jon Snow is also a Targaryen, her claim to the Iron Throne is in the air. The fact that Jon is, as Daenerys stated, “the last male heir”, is only somewhat relevant. Though Westerosi society had favored males over females with stronger claims in times past, Jon has a stronger claim without it being a gendered issue: as Rhaegar Targaryen’s son, Jon comes before Rhaegar’s younger siblings in a traditional line of succession.

Dany now finds herself unlikely to have the military forces to challenge Cersei’s Golden Company. Her dragons are tremendous weapons of mass destruction, but they’re not invulnerable. And as the Targaryens discovered in trying and failing to pacify Dorne – to control a region requires humans and not just the threat of dragons.

To make her move, Dany’s going to need the support of the war-weary North.

Ser Davos Seaworth: The northmen are loyal to Jon Snow. Not to her. They don’t know her. The Free Folk don’t know her. I’ve been up here awhile and I’m telling ya, they’re as stubborn as goats. If you want their loyalty, you have to earn it.

The day before the battle, Sansa Stark asked Daenerys what would happen after the Army of the Dead were defeated. Dany was focused on retaking the Iron Throne, but Sansa’s position was focused on maintaining northern independence. Unfortunately, these negotiations went unresolved as Theon Greyjoy’s arrival interrupted the two leaders, and the opportunity for the resumption of diplomacy never returned.

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Now the question of northern independence seems rather straightforward. Without her personal forces, Dany will have to be more open to compromise: it’s better to give up something to gain something rather than refuse to compromise and end up with nothing. She might not even have to compromise much, since Dany must have earned some respect from the northerners by literally putting her forces on the line for them.

Seeking compromise would set Daenerys apart from Cersei Lannister, who is playing a winner-take-all zero sum game.

GAME THEORY OF THRONES

Last season, Cersei was offered a truce largely so Daenerys could comfortably withdraw from her southern campaign to address the problem of one hundred thousand wights (at least one hundred thousand) bent on death and destruction.

At the time, Cersei went beyond accepting a truce; she agreed to send troops to support the effort. She only asked that she should be remembered for offering to help without expecting any promises or assurances of goodwill afterwards.

Jaime Trial 802 Season 8

As Ser Jaime reported to the Winterfell court after defecting from Cersei’s service and volunteering as a one-man Brienne-knighting army, the Lannister host was not coming north. Queen Cersei was going to retake any regions that had sworn themselves to Daenerys, and she had reinforced control of the kingdoms with sellswords.

When it came to the supernatural threat rolling down from the lands beyond the Wall, Cersei was less interested in the responsibility to protect and serve the public, but rather the opportunity it provided her. This is somewhat of an echo to season two, when Tyrion remarked that it was good fortune for the Lannisters that the two enemy Baratheons seemed to hate each other more than their mutual foes in King’s Landing.

Cersei’s rationale to her field marshall Ser Jaime stated that whomever won in the north, her Golden Company would be able to deal with.

Daenerys could have made a similar decision.

Jon: We northmen won’t bow to you, but it would be awesome if you could come to the North with your dragons and guys, and help fight a zillion zombies.
Dany: Tempting. But I’m busy now. And that seems an awful long way to travel. How about I stay in the south and crush Cersei, whose army is sadly lacking in sellswords and elephants, and you plucky lads take the first crack at the walking dead? If you lose, the zombies will come south to me and my dragons anyway. They can make that exhausting trip. And the climate will be warmer as well.

But Dany didn’t make that decision.

Cersei seems to have fans observing the show and pointing out how smart she is for opting out of the war against the dead.

Her decision to stay out of the northern conflict does have a certain amount of rational thought to it. Dany and Cersei both weighing their options to participate or not brings to mind Game Theory economics and the Prisoner’s Dilemma.

(I am not an economist, so I promise not to make this a long, detailed section.)

Cage

Simply put, imagine two prisoners in separate cells. The police have some evidence against each one for a lesser charge, and suspect without evidence that each of the prisoners is guilty of some more-serious crime. Each prisoner can independently take one of two actions: either stay silent and do not cooperate with the police; or cooperate with the police and inform on the other prisoner, in exchange for leniency.

If  both stay silent, both spend some time in jail since the police have evidence of lesser charges and there is no leniency. If both inform on the other, each gets jail time for the serious charge, but it is reduced because of the cooperation. If only one cooperates and the other remains silent, the informant goes free and the uncooperative gets jail time for the serious charge and no leniency.

If we consider the prisoner’s dilemma exercise in Game of Thrones terms, both Dany and Cersei can commit forces to the North or not. With Daenerys committing forces and Cersei not doing so, she enjoys something like the benefit of the prisoner who informs on the other prisoner, the silent prisoner. She receives no downside in the scenario and Daenerys takes the full penalty.

In the prisoner’s dilemma, if one prisoner knew that the other would remain silent (as Cersei knew that Dany was going to go North to fight wights) the rational decision is to take no losses and maximize a win.

Which is why Cersei is considered the winner in this scenario.

Except that the situation in Westeros is not analogous to the prisoner’s dilemma, with its clean actions and consequences. The consequences of neither Dany nor Cersei assisting the North is the high likelihood that Winterfell falls and Bran is killed by the Night King, with Arya unable to make her move because she was overwhelmed with wights before she could be inspired by Melisandre to try for the Night King.

Arya-Stark-Night-King-Season-8-803-The-Long-Night~2

Someone needed to assist the North. And had Dany and Jon’s forces failed in their attempt to slow the Night King down so Arya could kill him, it wouldn’t be just the Army of the Dead heading south to overrun the elephantless Golden Company: they’d be joined by the Army of the Northern Dead. Wight Lyanna Mormont would be formidable.

Cersei: Fine. But it worked out. More wine. Strickland, you’re sure you didn’t bring some elephants? Disappointing. You can redeem yourself by bringing me the Targaryen girl’s head along with Ned Stark’s bastard’s when they come knocking.

But it’s one thing to occupy a strong position; it’s another thing to maintain it.

DIVIDED LOYALTIES

When Sansa and Tyrion were waiting out the battle down in the assumedly safe crypts, Sansa considered that her marriage to Tyrion would not have worked out in the current situation, based on his divided loyalties between her, the Lady of Winterfell, and Daenerys, the Dragon Queen. Tyrion might be concealing divided loyalties, not necessarily between Dany and Sansa, but in regards to Dany and Cersei, or at least the concept of his Lannister family embodied in Cersei and her unborn child.

We didn’t witness the full extent of his meeting with Cersei. Tyrion may have made a secret deal or merely taken pity on his pregnant sister and fallen for her lies; so he’s “either a traitor or a fool,” as Daenerys put it. His divided loyalties should complicate the northern coalition’s operations when it comes to dealing with toppling his sister.

Sansa Stark Tyrion Lannister Crypts Season 8 803 The Long Night

But there’s a more obvious player to consider with divided loyalties. Euron Greyjoy.

Although it’s unfair to say that he has divided loyalties at all. He’s loyal only to himself.

Euron is currently providing Cersei with her military supremacy: his fleet and the Golden Company he ferried to Cersei from Westeros. The Golden Company famously does not break their contracts, but did Cersei check out the fine print on the Golden Company contract when the negotiations were finalized by Euron in Essos picking up the sellswords? Are the Golden Company in Cersei’s employ? Or the Greyjoy king’s?

Euron told Cersei that his life’s dream is to marry a beautiful queen. Cersei assumed he meant her, but there’s another queen on the scene, younger and arguably more beautful.

Maggie the Frog: This sounds familiar… I’m calling my lawyer!

With Daenerys armyless and dealing with northern allies who may be tired of fighting, if Euron would offer Dany the Golden Company and the Iron Throne as a wedding gift, she’d have to make a decision on how badly she wanted that uncomfortable chair.

WHAT IS THIS SHOW ABOUT ANYWAY

With the defeat of the Night King, there was some backlash about how the show had changed: it had once been a political drama with some light magic, then with Hardhome it had unexpectedly (to some) turned into a zombie horror show; and now it had reversed course to become a political drama again, with Cersei as its “big bad.”

But the show hasn’t changed. The priorities in dealing with the issues have.

In the very first episode of Game of Thrones, these elements stood out:

  • Undead monsters north of the Wall.
  • Exiled royals dreaming of reclaiming their rightful seat of power.
  • The mystery of Ned Stark’s murdered mentor.
  • A northern lord entering into dangerous politics.
  • Conflict between two nobles houses, as an incestuous knight defenestrates a child.

Although all of those elements might not be equally important, they all were important.

Jon Arryn’s death was avenged last season and the undead threat has been neutralized in the first half of this season, but the political storylines remain: Daenerys has returned to Westeros with an army to pursue her dream of wearing a crown; Jon Snow is a northern lord with a destiny that could be in opposition to Daenerys’s dream; and, although Jaime Lannister has received some kind of an absolution from the Starks, his sister has not.

The show has been about more things than politics, but those elements have been dealt with. Just as Arya didn’t stop when she killed the first person on her list, the show isn’t going to stop resolving its issues. It’s time to move on the final items on the show’s list.

The threat of the White Walkers was not a distraction, it was a Life-threatening complication that had to be addressed. It represented Winter in a very literal sense, but also in the sense laid out in Ned Stark’s talk with Arya all the way back in season one:

Arya Ned Season 1 103 Stark

You were born in the long summer; you’ve never known anything else. But now winter is truly coming. And in the winter, we must protect ourselves, look after one another. —Ned Stark to Arya in Season 1 Episode 3, “Lord Snow”

The squabbles represented by anyone’s desire for the Throne have a time and a place, but not during Winter. It was correct for Dany to set her desire aside so the Army of the Dead could be defeated. And wrong for Cersei not to set aside her squabbling.

But Winter fell at Winterfell. And now there is a time for squabbles. And wolves.

For Cersei Lannister, Summer is coming.

215 responses

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    1. Great article.

      And I think Cersei has the upperhand, The ground troups aren’t that impressive for the north + Dany, even when they both work together against Cersei. Meaning dragons.

      But I think after Cersei suspected that one dragon died, she knew dragons could be killed, and she has worked months on defenses against the dragons, that probably can kill them.

      I wouldn’t be surprised if Cersei will kill Rheagal and taking Jon prisoner as a leverage.

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    2. Great article.

      House Reed also refused the call, multiple times. They hold the Neck, the gate between North and South. Surely that has to come into play, eventually? Wouldn’t it be silly for the North to give their Southernmost sworn House a free pass considering the strategic importance of both their location and their physical numbers? There is also the handy fact the Howland is the only human alive who has firsthand knowledge of the real story of RL (which is why we haven’t seen him in the books yet, but hey…all in good time?)

      I have no doubt Cersei has more up her sleeve with Qyburn, this goes far beyond military strength. Her plans for Dany are not about killing her. It creepily reminded me of Myranda telling Sansa that Ramsay had plans for her “parts.” Shudder.

      Endgame could be Sansa/Gendry.

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    3. Enjoyable article.

      I love the theory that it is Euron who controls the Golden Company and I would just love it so much to see Cersei be tricked and played by Greyjoy and to have her army yanked out from under her and given to her enemy. It would be such a beautiful moment.

      With the Freys decimated and presumably Edmure freed and returned as Lord of Riverrun, would he not call his banners to join Dany’s cause at the request of his nieces? He has reason to loathe the Lannisters – they murdered his nephew, his sister and they threatened to kill his son. They forced him to betray the Black Fish. Surely since that moment, when his soldiers looked at him in disgust as he ordered the gates be opened to let in the Frey forces, his authority is in tatters. This may be the moment he has been waiting for, to reestablish his authority and do what is morally right: overthrowing the mad queen.

      Then there is Dorne (who leads them now?), who hate the Lannisters more than most as well. They have large numbers of soldiers untarnished by war so far. They haven’t been involved in any of the battles so far in the show, so their military forces are surely superior to most of the other regions? They would surely rise up with Dany to topple Cersei?

      I feel like if they can mobilise these forces, they could build a formidable army even if the GC don’t turn on Cersei. Maybe they can dust off LF’s jet pack and send Varys and other envoys on some missions to gather some allies in this coming episode. Or possibly, jet packs won’t be required as there are scrolls lying on the battle map in front of Varys in the war council. Maybe Dorne will refuse to join but will be a last minute arrival in the battle just as Dany’s forces need them akin to the Rohirim in the battle for Helm’s deep.

      Also, I wonder if Daario is gone for good. Dany is still queen of Dragon’s Bay. Could she send those ships to collect the Second Sons? Daario swore he would fight for her till his death did he not? I wonder if that part of the story is totally wrapped up now.

      One thing is for sure; it’s very exciting not knowing how this is going to unfold and the AOTD being defeated does allow for more exciting plot developments.

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    4. Some hint we were too see Edmure Tully this season?
      He can bring something?
      He sure would have a lot of reason to even scores.

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    5. Priority number one should be keeping Cersei and Euron and her troops in King’s Landing. Take the dragons and burn the Iron Fleet. Bring the Dornish up from Dorne and surround the city. Then go around to every kingdom in the land and see who they really want to swear allegiance to. The queen who murdered the last queen and drove the king to suicide, who has tried to destroy or actually destroyed practically every other great house in the realm, or Jon and Daenerys who just saved humanity? They’ll have the North, the Vale, the Iron Islands, the Riverlands, and Dorne for sure. Give the Reach to Sam and House Tarly. Give the Stormlands to House Baratheon and a legitimized Gendry. Send Jaime back to Casterly Rock to swear the Westerlands to Jon and Dany.

      Cersei won’t even be able to keep her own home. Let her have her stupid castle. She’ll be the queen of pig shit and cum. If she wants the rest of the realm, she’ll have to send the Golden Company out to take it, and 20,000 men isn’t enough to take back the entire country, each kingdom of which may or may not send troops to help take King’s Landing, but they’ll sure as heck defend their own homeland if Cersei comes trying to take it.

      Of course, the show won’t do this because they aren’t going to depict a five-year siege and attrition strategy in three episodes, but this is absolutely what they should do and it’s what we’d see them do if it was season three. It’s what Tywin would do. Hold back and let Cersei and Euron tear each other apart. The realm is more than one castle and ruling it is more than who sits on a chair.

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    6. Varys has a pile of scrolls, absolutely, he also has a new network of little birds. It seems like our favorite spider has been very busy behind the scenes, we’re in need of an info dump of the status of the rest of the Kingdoms.

      Dorne and the Reach have already been mentioned but we also have the Vale of Arryn – which will obviously continue to back the Starks – and the Stormlands. Support from the Stormlands would be greatly increased if Gendry is legitimized, and we have yet to hear from House Tarth despite Brienne being such a significant character.

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    7. Thank you, Patrick, for this insightful and entertaining article.

      As to

      The fact that Jon is, as Daenerys stated, “the last male heir”, is only somewhat relevant.

      I’d like to point out a real life fact. Everybody knows the British monarchy. They practiced absolute male primogeniture. The law was changed a few years ago to absolute genderless primogeniture, though not retroactively (makes no difference, all the relevant first-born are male anyway).

      So if Prince Charles (Rhaegar) dies before Queen Elizabeth (Aerys), the claim does not go to Prince Andrew (Viserys), or to Prince Edward or to Princess Anne (Daenerys) but to Prince Charles’s children, with Prince William (Jon Snow) next in line.

      Jon besting Dany’s claim is not about “male charaters ursurping strong female characters”, as I’ve seen suggested online. It’s just the succession practice in Westeros. First-born son, his male kids, then his female kids, that failing, his brother, the second born son etc. The Targaryens established an even more restrictive succession, no female could succeed because an uncle or a male cousin would have precedence.

      So this presents a dilemma for Dany. She’s not the rightful Targaryen heir. Her self-identity has just been shattered. She can’t be Queen unless she conquers the Iron Throne and disregards Targ succession rules. Human heart in conflict with itself.

      Same for Jon. His self-identity has just been shattered. He doesn’t want to be King, but if he sees it as his duty… sigh.

      I’m rubbing my hands in glee. This should get interesting!

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    8. Boojam,

      I think they were smart and preserved their horses. The Dothraki horses are gone but the Vale horses might still be somewhere.

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    9. “The threat of the White Walkers was not a distraction”

      Except that it was, narratively speaking. From a storytelling perspective, as things currently stand, it had nowhere near the impact that it should have.

      When you set up an apocalyptic threat from the very first scene of the show and first chapter of the books, it needs to be a definitive game changer. It needs to dramatically impact and change the world that the characters live in, and change the status quo significantly.

      The characters and story need to be heavily impacted.

      But given that the WW never got past Winterfell, nothing really changed. Dany suffered significant losses, and Theon died. Okay.

      But Westeros was not changed forever by this threat. Most of Westeros got through Winter just fine. And the status quo has not changed at all.

      Dany is right back where she was in Season 7. About to fight Cersei for the throne.

      Not to mention that Dany’s losses should hardly compromise her chances against Cersei. Cersei only has 20,000 men (maybe 30,000 if you count whatever is left of the Lannister forces and some Ironborn). But Dany still has two dragons, and could theoretically have the armies of Dorne and the Reach. Furthermore, Arya is a Faceless woman who already infiltrated the Twins with ease and murdered like 50 men. Why couldn’t she infiltrate the Red Keep ?

      Our heroes also have Bran, who could easily spy on Cersei and expose all of her battle plans and tactics.

      We know Cersei is going down. Ultimately, the WW were indeed a narrative distraction. They only delayed what was already an inevitable conflict between Dany and Cersei. They just postponed the great showdown, and slightly (very slightly) increased Cersei’s chances.

      This was no game changing horror, it was a mere detour.

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    10. I’m thinking Daenerys might also have some Unsullied and/or Dothraki tucked away at Dragonstone… not very many, but a small garrison to hold it in her absence. I can’t imagine she’d just have sailed off and left her home completely undefended when it’s practically right on Cersei’s doorstep.

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    11. For years to come, we’ll be debating “If only Cersei had had those elephants, she could’ve won.”

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    12. talvikorppi,

      Exactly.

      Even if you ignore that the Targ line of succession is ended, Daenerys’ quest is one big “Ooops”!!

      Even if she marries Jon she will be wife queen and not ruling queen. So she has to take the throne by conquest and somehow rid herself of Jon if she wants to be ruling queen.

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    13. 1) A lot of the drama from here on will involve the resolution between the three Lannisters about the future of their House and Westeros. They are the core characters remaining from the persons involved in the political story from the earlier seasons. Among the Starks, Sansa is the closest to the political story so let us see how she develops from her. Jon was mainly a part of the monster story.

      2) Jaime does not need absolution from the Starks and I like that he point blank told Sansa that he was not requesting it. Sansa owes him, not the other way around.

      3) He apologized to Bran but as Bran said he was doing what he had to do at the time. I am interested in what happens further between Jaime and Bran. I think there is more story here. And more story for Bran as a character.

      4) Cersei and Euron will end badly.

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    14. Nick20,
      We gained a lot from the AOTD/NK story.

      1) The AOTD and NK events resulted in Jaime Lannister leaving his place in Westeros. It broke the Lannister twin apart completely. Jaime has been barely holding on as Cersei degenerated – but this broke it completely. It set up a possible major conflict. Watch this space.

      2) It resulted in the rebalancing of the strength of the Daenerys army and therefore making the competition with Cersei more realistic. Watch this space.

      3) It reunited Jaime and Tyrion. Jaime and Brienne. Tyrion and Sansa. Watch this space.

      4) It fulfilled Jon’s main purpose. (Yes, he may have a further purpose.) Many of his fans are disappointed because they thought NK would be what showed that Jon was all-powerful King. Jon may have been Lightbringer to spread the word and get the armies north.

      5) I still expect more from Bran. What happens with him?

      6) It actually made Arya’s arc make more sense.

      It was not a waste of time. Thank goodness, GOT did not become a zombie show.

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    15. You gotta love people declaring that the White Walker threat wasn’t a game changer and had no significant impact… before they’ve seen the conclusion of the story.

      What they really mean is that it didn’t impact the story the way that they wanted or expected it to.

      Why else would you preemptively declare the impact of the conflict a damp squib before you’ve seen how events play out?

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    16. talvikorppi:
      Same for Jon. His self-identity has just been shattered. He doesn’t want to be King, but if he sees it as his duty… sigh.

      Seeing as Jon was totally fine with giving up the crown the Northern lords gave him and constantly says he has no desire to be king, why would he suddenly turn into Stannis?

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    17. Boojam:
      ShameShameShame,

      The Knights of the Vale were important to the BoB but I did not see them last episode. Tho there was some foot soldiers.

      Bronze Yohn Royce ate all the Vale cavalry horses. Possibly on a bet.

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    18. Ramsay's 20th Good Man:
      You gotta love people declaring that the White Walker threat wasn’t a game changer and had no significant impact… before they’ve seen the conclusion of the story.

      What they really mean is that it didn’t impact the story the way that they wanted or expected it to.

      Why else would you preemptively declare the impact of the conflict a damp squib before you’ve seen how events play out?

      That defused nuclear bomb was just a distraction narratively speaking. It should have gone off and killed James Bond, so Q and M could have some powerful emotional scenes dealing with the loss.

      Yeah.

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    19. Che:
      Enjoyable article.

      I love the theory that it is Euron who controls the Golden Company and I would just love it so much to see Cersei be tricked and played by Greyjoy and to have her army yanked out from under her and given to her enemy. It would be such a beautiful moment.

      I don’t think the GC commander likes Euron.

      But Cersei definitely isn’t in as secure a position as she thinks, and she’s surrounded with questionable allies.

      I’m wondering if the Iron Bank controls the GC. They could make things interesting.
      There has been a lot of mention of the IB in a warning fashion throughout the series. Tywin, Olenna, Tyrion etc. I was very surprised that the bank guy was so helpful and flattering to Cersei. Even when she paid back the debt I was like-it can’t be that easy.

      As for Euron, he wants to be with a beautiful queen on the throne, and he told Yara he could switch at any time already-so that’s almost a given.

      I just remember Tywin warning her that she wasn’t half as smart as she thought she was. He was mean as a snake and a crappy father, but he was spot on about strategy.

      Also could Jaime get the Lannister men to follow him as the heir of Casterly Rock? And would he? Maybe if Bronn lets him know what her plan was. We’ll see.

      I just can see her being in a desperate, “All I have is crazy Qyburn, his experiments, my throne and my wildfire” situation. Still VERY dangerous. She’s always more dangerous when she’s feeling cornered.

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    20. I’d just like to point out that winter is not over. White Walkers or no, it’s still going to have an impact. The Riverlands and Westerlands have been on fire for the past six years, not exactly stocking up food. The Reach had been doing okay, but then Randyll Tarly and company rounded up all their harvests to bring to King’s Landing, except Drogon torched it before it could get there.

      We’ll never see it because there are only three episodes left, but way more people will suffer and die because of this. Little Sally and whatever her dad was named that the Hound said would be dead when winter came were dead, well before the Night King could have come to take them. They killed themselves because they ran out of food. They won’t be the last.

        Quote  Reply

    21. kevin1989:
      Great article.

      And I think Cersei has the upperhand, The ground troups aren’t that impressive for the north + Dany, even when they both work together against Cersei. Meaning dragons.

      But I think after Cersei suspected that one dragon died, she knew dragons could be killed, and she has worked months on defenses against the dragons, that probably can kill them.

      I wouldn’t be surprised if Cersei will kill Rheagal and taking Jon prisoner as a leverage.

      Cersei should have a big advantage in the quality of her troops. I have competing opinions on if any dragons will still live at the end of the series, or if we’ll end up with more baby dragons.

        Quote  Reply

    22. Adam:
      I’d just like to point out that winter is not over. White Walkers or no, it’s still going to have an impact. The Riverlands and Westerlands have been on fire for the past six years, not exactly stocking up food. The Reach had been doing okay, but then Randyll Tarly and company rounded up all their harvests to bring to King’s Landing, except Drogon torched it before it could get there.

      We’ll never see it because there are only three episodes left, but way more people will suffer and die because of this. Little Sally and whatever her dad was named that the Hound said would be dead when winter came were dead, well before the Night King could have come to take them. They killed themselves because they ran out of food. They won’t be the last.

      Adam, I do agree that it is still seasonal winter, and the food situation should play into this.

        Quote  Reply

    23. talvikorppi:
      For years to come, we’ll be debating “If only Cersei had had those elephants, she could’ve won.”

      I’m just sad there were no wight mammoths.

        Quote  Reply

    24. Patrick Sponaugle,

      I think the way it was supposed to go is that Bond and M survive the original nuclear blast, which decimates NATO’s militaries.

      In the meantime, they quickly dispose of Le Chiffre, discuss strategy and ferry people into bomb shelters while the ensuing nuclear holocaust wipes out the population of the planet. Before killing Blofeld and miraculously defusing the final nuke that would’ve eradicated the last survivors five minutes before the end of the movie.

      After which Bond quickly dies of radiation sickness, M is declared king of the world and the last remnants of humanity face up to the nightmare of surviving the nuclear winter.

        Quote  Reply

    25. Mango,

      Agree. The NK/AotD story was a catalyst for a lot of character development, and a coming together of pretty much all the main characters (except for Cersei) giving them all a common enemy. As an overwhelming force of death that everyone has to face, it stands in contrast to the backstabbing, deceptive, and manipulative nature of human-on-human conflict.

      There was absolutely a point to this part of the story, and it would have been massively different without it.

        Quote  Reply

    26. I know this isn’t the place to discuss Ramin Djawadi’s masterpiece, “The Night King”. But I have to voice my thoughts and feelings somewhere.

      I’m a very unmusical person. I can’t even clap in rhythm at concerts of my favourite bands, that’s how bad I am. I know of musical theory, major and minor keys, happy and sad music.

      And I was totally confused during the last minutes of S8E3. They’re all gonna die, so why the fuck is the music so uplifting, almost triumphant and happy? Building up, happy, until it is undercut, falls off to be sad. But the triumphant, happy was there. I’m like WTF. They’re all gonna die, why is the music strangely happy and triumphant?!? Of course because Arya was going to jump in and do the deed. Whew. The living won.

      “The Night King” is a masterpiece by Ramin Djawadi.

      Really, listen to it. It’s a masterpiece of starting out with “We’re fucked, no hope” to triumphant human resilience. To finding some hope. It ends up so angry and triumphant.

      What would D&D have done if they hadn’t had Ramin Djawadi? FAAAIL is my guess.

        Quote  Reply

    27. Mango,

      “2) Jaime does not need absolution from the Starks and I like that he point blank told Sansa that he was not requesting it. Sansa owes him, not the other way around.”

      Neither Sansa nor any Northerner owes Jaime anything. Jaime saw the good sense in uniting the forces of all Westeros in facing the existential threat of the NK and fully committed to doing his part in the confrontation. He was not at Winterfell to fight for the North or the Starks, he was there to fight for the living. The fact that he was doing this fighting on Stark land was irrelevant.
      Much of the strength of the acting in GoT results from the body language and more specifically the facial expressions of the players. When Jon is referred to at Jaime’s inquest, he simply states,”We need every man we can get.” almost off-handedly considering the background of the characters. Jaime’s response was that of bemused recognition of the concentrated practicality of Jon’s attitude. i.e. “Fuck the Starks, Lannisters, Targaryens and the Iron Chairs – We have a crises to deal with!” As for the remainder of the show, well, that issue has apparently been settled and we’ll see how the showrunners develop Jaime’s identity and place in the new world order.

        Quote  Reply

    28. Hizdahr: “Politics is the art of compromise, Your Grace.”
      Daenerys: “I am not a politician. I am a queen.”

      Maybe compromising does not seem so far-fetched now. The moral price for any alternative might be too high this time. On the other hand, Dany’s homecoming to Westeros was not at all what she had hoped for. From her point of view, drastic decisions might now be the only way forward.

      Fighting “Jon’s war” has cost her a lot, both militarily and personally. And even her political alliance with the North turned out to be not at all what Dany expected. She relied on Jon’s authority as king. But the power structure in the North is a bit more complicated. During Jon’s absence Sansa has proven herself as Lady of Winterfell, defended Jon’s position as KITN against the flimsy Northern Lords, and protect their family against Littlefinger. Then Jon came home no more a king but with the rather empty title of Warden of the North. So the two of them seem to be sort of co-regents now. Additionally we still need to find out what the parentage reveal will mean for the North/ House Stark. And of course we need to know what it will mean for Dany’s conquest/House Targaryen.

      After so many setbacks I think it’s entirely plausible for Dany to rely more on her instincts (as demonstrated in season 3 before the gates of Astapor).

      Olenna: “The lords of Westeros are sheep. Are you sheep? No you are a dragon. Be a dragon.”

        Quote  Reply

    29. talvikorppi:
      I know this isn’t the place to discuss Ramin Djawadi’s masterpiece, “The Night King”. But I have to voice my thoughts and feelings somewhere.

      I’m a very unmusical person. I can’t even clap in rhythm at concerts of my favourite bands, that’s how bad I am. I know of musical theory, major and minor keys, happy and sad music.

      And I was totally confused during the last minutes of S8E3. They’re all gonna die, so why the fuck is the music so uplifting, almost triumphant and happy? Building up, happy, until it is undercut, falls off to be sad. But the triumphant, happy was there. I’m like WTF. They’re all gonna die, why is the music strangely happy and triumphant?!? Of course because Arya was going to jump in and do the deed. Whew. The living won.

      “The Night King” is a masterpiece by Ramin Djawadi.

      Really, listen to it. It’s a masterpiece of starting out with “We’re fucked, no hope” to triumphant human resilience. To finding some hope. It ends up so angry and triumphant.

      What would D&D have done if they hadn’t had Ramin Djawadi? FAAAIL is my guess.

      I would disagree, the whole piece screams sad and tragic to me.

        Quote  Reply

    30. talvikorppi:
      For years to come, we’ll be debating “If only Cersei had had those elephants, she could’ve won.”

      Considering that the GC doesn’t appear like they’ll be laying siege to anything I don’t know what real use they’d be. Yeah, they’re large animals that could cause some chaos, but being standard elephants they’d be taken down with arrows and spears a lot easier than the LotR Oliphaunts. In this story it’s likely they’d just be charred, shredded and eaten by dragons too.

        Quote  Reply

    31. Enharmony1625:
      Mango,

      Agree. The NK/AotD story was a catalyst for a lot of character development, and a coming together of pretty much all the main characters (except for Cersei) giving them all a common enemy. As an overwhelming force of death that everyone has to face, it stands in contrast to the backstabbing, deceptive, and manipulative nature of human-on-human conflict.

      There was absolutely a point to this part of the story, and it would have been massively different without it.

      Yes, the main characters minus one have fought together. That is a bonding force.

      I wrote a long long note on another thread on Jaime’s options. (I use Jaime as my focal character in the story.) I could simply have written a short note that says: Jaime has very few options now but to fight Cersei to get back his country, his House, his army, his life. Even if he simply wants to marry Brienne and live on Tarth, he may have to destroy Cersei. He needs to ally with Tyrion to do that as he has no army now.

      Funny thing – he was willing to sacrifice Bran to protect others (his family and avoid Tywin declaring war). He may have to sacrifice his own child to protect others from Cersei. Would that not be poetic?

      As for the Jon/Deanerys and Sansa/Daenerys divide, let us see how that goes.

        Quote  Reply

    32. steff666,

      You don’t hear the happy, hopeful notes in it?

      That’s why I was so confused. Everybody is dying, why the fuck is the music so happy? Or maybe not happy but hopeful. Hopeful happy sad. Listen to it. The music has so many moments of happy and triumph… only to be undercut by a discordant note, sad tones. Turning it into sad music.

      Bravo, Ramin Djawadi. Perfect music. Thank you.

        Quote  Reply

    33. Zen-Face:
      Mango,

      “2) Jaime does not need absolution from the Starks and I like that he point blank told Sansa that he was not requesting it. Sansa owes him, not the other way around.”

      Neither Sansa nor any Northerner owes Jaime anything. Jaime saw the good sense in uniting the forces of all Westeros in facing the existential threat of the NK and fully committed to doing his part in the confrontation. He was not at Winterfell to fight for the North or the Starks, he was there to fight for the living. The fact that he was doing this fighting on Stark land was irrelevant.
      Much of the strength of the acting in GoT results from the body language and more specifically the facial expressions of the players. When Jon is referred to at Jaime’s inquest, he simply states,”We need every man we can get.” almost off-handedly considering the background of the characters. Jaime’s response was that of bemused recognition of the concentrated practicality of Jon’s attitude. i.e. “Fuck the Starks, Lannisters, Targaryens and the Iron Chairs – We have a crises to deal with!” As for the remainder of the show, well, that issue has apparently been settled and we’ll see how the showrunners develop Jaime’s identity and place in the new world order.

      Brienne told Sansa that Jaime saved Sansa’s life. As simple as that. He made it happen to settle a debt with Catelyn for his release and also for Bran whom Jaime discussed with Catelyn. So yes, Sansa may not owe Jaime anything as saving her life settled a previous debt. But he did do it as Brienne told Sansa.

      I am not at all concerned with Jaime’s contribution to the fighting. Jaime came because he considered it his moral duty. The north owes him nothing on that score.

      As for Jon, he was completely numb to the discussion. Plus Jon was already expecting Jaime to turn up with his army. This is why Jon went to Dragonpit, right?

        Quote  Reply

    34. Clob: Considering that the GC doesn’t appear like they’ll be laying siege to anything I don’t know what real use they’d be.Yeah, they’re large animals that could cause some chaos, but being standard elephants they’d be taken down with arrows and spears a lot easier than the LotR Oliphaunts.In this story it’s likely they’d just be charred, shredded and eaten by dragons too.

      I do not know how the elephants would help. Maybe they would not be easily routed by the Dothraki because of their mass.

      Maybe the dragons would think they look tasty, pick up one and fly off with it to have lunch.

      Who knows?

        Quote  Reply

    35. Adam,

      There you go again, making sense and shit.

      /s

      Of course I’m looking forward to what D&D have concocted for the endgame. I’m also terrified of seeing any more phenomenally illogical plot developments.

      Sigh.

        Quote  Reply

    36. Clob,

      D&D: We want huge dragon battles.

      CGI department: OK.

      D&D: And we want Ghost.

      CGI department: OK.

      D&D: And we want elephants.

      CGI department: NO.

      I love how Cersei is so meta. “I really wanted those elephants.”

        Quote  Reply

    37. Jon better give Dany her due on this one. She sacrificed literally EVERYTHING – all her armies, and two of her dragons, to save the north and in fact all of humanity.

      If Jon really is as reluctant to rule as he’s always claimed he should support her – she has nothing because of him. However, I suspect he’s going to actively back out of their deal of supporting her taking King’s Landing now, say they need to stay north and rebuild. Or he’ll just do nothing and brood. Because why, because she executed Sam’s evil father for treachery – along with his brother who was stupidly loyal to said evil person? And because he no longer wants to f— her because they’re related? Because technically he has a “better” claim in a stupid and arbitrary feudal inheritance system that isn’t even being followed in practice now with Cersei on the throne? Well, I pre-emptively call bullshit on that Jon Snow – you’re a selfish coward if that’s what you do.

      Sansa and Arya won’t be having it though – they know Cersei must be dealt with or they will never be safe. They’ll support the whatever gets rid of her.

        Quote  Reply

    38. Mango,

      (Across the Atlantic, Googles “damp squib”)

      EDIT: That was Ramsay’s 20th Good Man. Scrolling and writing on my phone is an unexpectedly challenging task on Saturday mornings.

        Quote  Reply

    39. I’m beginning to think Brienne will be the big death in episode 4. Bronn will try to kill Jaime, but somehow misses en hits Brienne. That would make Jaime angry, Sansa and Arya. And also Tormund, Tyrion and maybe Sandor. They all would be angry that Cersei did send an assassin to Winterfell. That could put a lot of things in motion.

        Quote  Reply

    40. talvikorppi: So this presents a dilemma for Dany. She’s not the rightful Targaryen heir. Her self-identity has just been shattered.

      In a world where Cersei sits the iron throne this is a pretty silly argument to be having. Claim has little relevance, apparently, given the realm follows her though she has literally no claim.

      Dany saved the realm and gave up everything for it. A technicality about a claim that many will doubt need not stand int he way. Unless Jon wants to press his claim against her. Will he? If he does, he’s an ungrateful asshole.

        Quote  Reply

    41. kevin1989:
      Great article.

      she knew dragons could be killed, and she has worked months on defenses against the dragons, that probably can kill them.

      It’s not an accident that the Checkov’s ballista that Qyburn hung last season is now in the opening credits…

        Quote  Reply

    42. Chilli,

      Actually here’s what will happen (not mine, c/o tumblr)

      Bronn: *points crossbow at Jaime*
      Pod: *jumps in front of Jaime*
      Brienne: *jumps in front of Pod*
      Jaime: *rushes forward to protect his wife*
      Pod: *rushes forward to protect his parents*
      Bronn: ….
      Bronn: ah for fook sak

      😀

      I don’t think Brienne will die. I think she’ll be there when Jaime confronts Cersei. Pod might die instead though, he’s almost the perfect sacrificial lamb… 🙁

        Quote  Reply

    43. QueenofThrones,

      Did you just miss the bit where I mentioned her self-identity?

      GRRM and D&D following him write about the human heart in conflict with itself.

      Dany learning she’s not the last Targaryen, not even the rightful heir, is a shock to her, shatters her very being, her identity.

      Sure, she came north and fought in the war for the living. Lost most of her armies. She’s proved herself. At least in the eyes of the North. The southerners won’t know it. Grumpkins and snarks, haha. The northeners tell a story, haha.

      It’s sooo unfair but that’s how it’ll probably go.

        Quote  Reply

    44. QueenofThrones:
      Chilli,

      Actually here’s what will happen(not mine, c/o tumblr)

      Bronn: *points crossbow at Jaime*
      Pod: *jumps in front of Jaime*
      Brienne: *jumps in front of Pod*
      Jaime: *rushes forward to protect his wife*
      Pod: *rushes forward to protect his parents*
      Bronn: ….
      Bronn: ah for fook sak

      😀

      I don’t think Brienne will die.I think she’ll be there when Jaime confronts Cersei.Pod might die instead though, he’s almost the perfect sacrificial lamb…🙁

      Ah, the poor lamb. 🙁

        Quote  Reply

    45. Adam,

      Yes to all of this.

      For those of us sorely disappointed in the dénouement of the story having been so incomprehensibly sped up since S7, this is the crux of the NK’s ending having fallen flat. For me, it’s not because I wanted to see three more battle episodes (I don’t), or even because I necessarily wanted to see the NK in KL (I wasn’t particularly invested in him making it that far). It’s because it’s one thing to know how much has been destroyed (virtually everything north of Winterfell), and something else entirely to actually see it and empathize with the victims. Now that we’re almost at the end, I’ve concluded that this was one of D&D’s failures in adaptation: When excising so much of the source material (as was necessary), they virtually eliminated all of the peasantry, except for the few instances in which their presence bolstered a named character’s arc. We saw no Wildling settlements other than Hardhome, no villages other than Olly’s, no farmhouses other than Sally’s—hell, we didn’t even see the hamlet outside Winterfell until S8. The end result is that while we have an abstract sense of the enormity of loss of life, there is little commensurate emotional investment in it. To me, this is akin to being an upper-middle-class person who can enumerate the number of homeless people in the city and makes a regular donation to the shelter… but has never helped build a house or cooked a Thanksgiving meal for the dispossessed.

      I didn’t mean to write such a long response, but these thoughts have been percolating in my mind for six days.

        Quote  Reply

    46. Anyone else not want the endgame to just be “the good guys” vs. Cersei? I’m cool with going down the political route at the very end and not the WW but I want to be conflicted in terms of who wins, otherwise aren’t we just repeating the first half of the season with lower stakes? Since, if Cersei wins, at least it won’t be the end of the world…
      IMO it’d be interesting if the survivors at Winterfell split into two groups so we have a three way battle for the throne. I dunno, maybe that’s dumb. I just don’t want the last episodes to be too predictable (gather up an army, big fight, some favourites die, Cersei loses, whoever is still alive with the best claim takes the throne)

        Quote  Reply

    47. talvikorppi,

      I rewatched the episode alone and in total quiet, and Djawadi’s music brought me to tears.

      On that note (no pun intended), you’ve made several comments about being an “unmusical” person. Have you ever watched the wonderful documentary “Musical Minds,” by the late, great neurologist Oliver Sacks? It’s a gem, and only an hour long. I think you’d really enjoy it.

      https://www.learnoutloud.com/Free-Audio-Video/Social-Sciences/Psychology/Musical-Minds/79239

        Quote  Reply

    48. talvikorppi,

      I guess I don’t see why it has to shatter her, if Jon doesn’t press his claim?

      She’s more than only her claim, more than just her father’s daughter. As she pointed out to Jon when they first met, she is here because of what she has endured, what she has overcome. She literally birthed dragons. She freed slaves and overturned an entire civilization. She has many titles, “true heir to the 7k” is only one of them.

      Ultimately I feel it is up to Jon to make this an issue, which he need not do.

        Quote  Reply

    49. Crannogman Matt: IMO it’d be interesting if the survivors at Winterfell split into two groups so we have a three way battle for the throne.

      I fully expect there to be conflict. Some northerners won’t want to participate in the southern conflict and will favor staying north. Dany will (I think not unreasonably) see this as a treachery given what she’s done and sacrificed for them. Where the Starks will fall is somewhat up in the air. I think it would be most interesting if there’s divided loyalties towards Dany within the ranks of the Starks.

      Also what exactly will people like Jaime, the Vale lords, the Riverlands do? I don’t see Jaime going back to Cersei, but will he fight with the north against her? He’s still a free agent now he’s completed his oath to fight for the living. The Vale and the Riverlands (if brought back into play other than as extras in the northern army) are I think likely to side with anyone that wants to take out Cersei. But who knows? Maybe Sweetrobin will want to stay safe in the Aerie. Maybe Dany or Jon can give him a ride on their dragon like Rhaenys did during Aegon’s conquest.

      I would love to see Edmure Tully again, it would be a juicy scene if Jaime were the one to parlay with him. But maybe send Sansa since they’re related?

        Quote  Reply

    50. QueenofThrones,

      I’ll be furious if we don’t see Edmure again. They can’t possibly conclude this story without addressing Riverrun and the Twins, ffs. I actually expected Jaime to appear at the Twins in Ep1, but I suppose that would have been far too risky. The intelligent thing to do now would be to go as part of a coalition force. Send a raven!

        Quote  Reply

    51. Crannogman Matt:
      Anyone else not want the endgame to just be “the good guys” vs. Cersei? I’m cool with going down the political route at the very end and not the WW but I want to be conflicted in terms of who wins, otherwise aren’t we just repeating the first half of the season with lower stakes? Since, if Cersei wins, at least it won’t be the end of the world…
      IMO it’d be interestingif the survivors at Winterfell split into two groups so we have a three way battle for the throne. I dunno, maybe that’s dumb. I just don’t want the last episodes to be too predictable (gather up an army, big fight, some favourites die, Cersei loses, whoever is still alive with the best claim takes the throne)

      I think it is more interesting the way you suggests with several competing interests.

      Jon and Daenerys have clashing interests. Even if Jon declines his place in the Targ succession, Daenerys may have to eliminate him to secure her throne if she gets on it.

      Jaime wants his country, house and life back but will find supporting Daenerys difficult. He will resist the return of the Targs. But he may want/need to ally with Tyrion who is with dragongirl.

      Sansa wants independence for the north and so will have problems with both Cersei and Daenerys. Will Daenerys offer the North independence for support?

      Sam has issues with Daenerys.

      Tyrion does not yet know about Jon and his claim. Where does that leave Tyrion? Where does that leave Varys?

      Sansa does not yet know about Jon. How does Jon’s news affect her view of the leadership of the north?

      Bran needs a tree. Arya and Gendry need moon tea.

      Bronn – is he going to do it?

      When will Euron fail Cersei? If he kills her – then he forces Jaime and Tyrion to fight him.

      What about the Lannister army? Will they ever be at Jaime’s back again?

      What about Harry?

        Quote  Reply

    52. Maise and Sophie are so close.

      If Maisie has a sex scene – perhaps D&D will give Sophie one as well…

      Sansa may be a candidate to become queen so she may already have a big role to play.

        Quote  Reply

    53. Mango,

      I agree. I think there has to be something between Jon and Dany somehow, otherwise it does just seem like it will be good guys vs Cersei.

      I’m interested to see how Sansa takes Jon’s ‘news’ and whether she will still accept him as one of the family. Can’t see Arya seeing Jon as anything but her brother.

        Quote  Reply

    54. QueenofThrones,

      Maybe Sansa can be Queen in the North (North, Vale, Riverlands), Yara Queen of the Iron Islands, Gendry & Arya the southern half of Westeros and AeJon&Daenerys rule the regions of Dragon’s Bay. 😆

        Quote  Reply

    55. Clob,

      While we’re at it why don’t we give everyone a kingdom!? Tormund the lands beyond the Wall – and tear that bitch down. Grey Worm & Melisandre get Naath. Brienne & Jaime the tiny island kingdom of Tarth. Tyrion can have the Arbor – screw the Redwynes and their non-participation on the show.

        Quote  Reply

    56. Wolfish: I actually expected Jaime to appear at the Twins in Ep1, but I suppose that would have been far too risky.

      I was also disappointed this did not occur, but now that we unexpectedly have 3 episodes left to deal with the south, there should be plenty of time!

        Quote  Reply

    57. Clob:
      Clob,

      While we’re at it why don’t we give everyone a kingdom!?Tormund the lands beyond the Wall – and tear that bitch down.Grey Worm & Melisandre get Naath.Brienne & Jaime the tiny island kingdom of Tarth.Tyrion can have the Arbor – screw the Redwynes and their non-participation on the show

      Surely Tyrion gets the rock!!

      …You get a castle, and YOU get a castle…

        Quote  Reply

    58. Clob,

      LOL! I do think that this might well be heading to the seven kingdoms being united as one. I do think there will be someone on the throne but the IT itself may not survive. I really don’t think it is logical for any kind of democracy. Democracy was built very slowly over hundreds of years so a sharp change isn’t going work. Really not sure who will rule, but I think someone will.

        Quote  Reply

    59. Mango: If Maisie has a sex scene – perhaps D&D will give Sophie one as well…

      They might well have done that in small part as a favor to Williams. She’s stated several times that she wants to play all sorts of roles in the future, including romantic leads; however, women cast in romantic leads usually look more like Turner than like Williams. Having given Williams a chance to do such a scene might make casters envisioning a Turner to consider Williams. And, in a way, one could argue that the story “owed” Williams this sort of scene: she’s spent 7 years playing the archetypal tomboy and there is a very real chance that the show would permanently typecast Williams as such. This at least puts something on Williams’ resumé.

      The other thing to keep in mind is that the possibility of a romantic link between Arya & Gendry was setup in the very first episode, before Gendry even appeared! Arya has been one of the “arciest” of the characters, and this was yet another arc ending (or near-ending) for her.

      Neither condition applies to Turner or Sansa. The characters has no such arcs to be played out that would set up this possibility. Even if there were, the story does not “owe” Turner the opportunity that she can play this sort of role: Turner has not been playing an “anti-feminine” role for many years. And, as Williams tacitly notes, Turner looks more like the actress that is going to get plenty of offers for the types of roles for which sex scenes are common.

      Mango: Sansa may be a candidate to become queen so she may already have a big role to play.

      There has been nothing set up to make Sansa the possible Queen of Westeros. What has been setup is that, in the end, Sansa might refuse to go along with Daenerys at all; despite the fact that Daenerys has put a huge army at Winterfell to defend against Dead, Sansa makes it quite plain that “the Dragon Queen” stands between her and Daenerys’ allies. Now, that might get altered now that Sansa might fully appreciate just what they were up against. But we don’t know that.

      For all the talk of Tyrion betraying Daenerys, at this stage, we have had much more put in place for Sansa being the one to let down the “alliance.” People can write about Tyrion’s divided loyalties, but deep down, he hates his sister passionately. And we’ve not seen anything that might have changed his feelings towards her.

        Quote  Reply

    60. Oh no. Uh. Remember when Lady Crane/Cersei said she would get her revenge in this life or the next?

      IMO there are tons of clues that Qyburn has been Frankensperimenting with more than Ser Gregor. I’m fairly convinced Septa Unella has been used as a surrogate for monster babies. Possibly Elia as well. I know people hate this idea.

      Why would Cersei and Qyburn – both completely amoral – shy away from trying to create a whole army of Gregors? Or try to at least harness his “immortality” for their own ends?

      What is dead may never die.

      I originally thought the Lady Crane/Waif arc was hinting that Arya kills Cersei, but I don’t think the show is giving Arya that kill.

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    61. QueenofThrones,

      Yes. That’s her self-identity, the identity she has built for herself, to deal with all the shit. That she is the last Targaryen, the last and only dragonrider. The rightful heir. She’s not doing it out of some Targ arrogance but to protect herself. She’s not some superhero but a young woman, unsure of her way, even vulnerable.

      Now, someone… not just anyone someone but the man she has opened up to, let herself love, he comes up to her and tells her things that take away the underpinnings of the identity she has built for herself. Tell me that’s not a place for a major crisis.

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    62. just a quick thought if Sam is the last Male tarly ie lord of the reach as they are the second house after the tyrells, surely he could call the banners to help them. (or Jon if he talks him into betraying Dany.). that’s part of what I think may happen. not sure that raegel will follow Dany as ihe has now bonded with Jon as his rider.

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    63. Wolfish:
      talvikorppi,

      I rewatched the episode alone and in total quiet, and Djawadi’s music brought me to tears.

      On that note (no pun intended), you’ve made several comments about being an “unmusical” person. Have you ever watched the wonderful documentary “Musical Minds,” by the late, great neurologist Oliver Sacks? It’s a gem, and only an hour long. I think you’d really enjoy it.

      https://www.learnoutloud.com/Free-Audio-Video/Social-Sciences/Psychology/Musical-Minds/79239

      Thanks, Wolfish. I think I’ll watch it right now.

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    64. How mad will be if Cersei will attack Dany with wildfire and she will emerge from those flames alive to show all she is touch by the god of light?

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    65. On the topic of Arya and Gendry… I’m very interested to see where it picks up in e4. Being one of those that foresaw or shipped them while reading I’d like it now to actually work to and past the end of our story.

      The scene in e2 happened as pretty much a “we could die so why not” instead of something involving emotions. The preview kiss has to make us think it will take a step towards more of a connection, right? I think Gendry could be or will be the major element that brings Arya completely back to “normal.” Of course, even while normal she’ll still be badass ASNAWP when the occasion calls for it.

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    66. Nick20,

      I agree half with you, except one point, it did change the course of the storry. Yes Dany has 2 dragons, yes she can win the war with that. But then she can’t be the breaker of wheels. Then she just let the people feel like she is her father, she can’t go that route. She has the win the iron throne with an army with people, so that means she needs the north.

      The Many-Faced Goddess,

      If she did that, that army would be dead, 20.000 Golden company + Euron fleet sailed passed it.

      talvikorppi,

      Because as the name stated, it was not meant to be taken as triumph of our heroes but that of the NK himself, he got his goal the dead of the 3ER. At least I think that was Ramins view, maybe i’m wrong.

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    67. Thank you Patrick for another fantastic article. I also think of Euron as a bit of a wildcard. Specifically, I wonder if he told the Golden Company who they would be fighting against. Sure he may have given them gold and informed them that they would be fighting for Queen Cersei, but I can’t help but think that [Book Spoiler]

      The GC will break their contract (as they did in the books) in order to fight for true Targaryens, i.e. Dany/Jon (if he chooses to make his parentage public knowledge).

      Also, I fear that the survivors of “The Long Night” will underestimate Cersei (as many have before) and will view her as a “lesser” threat. Unlike Olenna and the High Sparrow, Sansa knows the extent to which Cersei will go to in order to maintain power. I expect that Sansa could act as a sort of informant on Cersei. While Jaime defected, I don’t expect him to fully betray Cersei in that way. Additionally, Bronn can pop up in Ep. 4 and kill Tyrion and/or Jaime. Perhaps we’ll see one or two deaths in Ep. 4. Perhaps Bronn kills Tyrion and someone kills Bronn (while a very entertaining character I think he should have died way back in S2).

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    68. Does anyone know what happened to the Lannister and Tarly soldiers captured in season 7 episode 5? Surely that weren’t all Dragon chow!

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    69. Hello! I’m a first time-commenter (though I’ve been following WOTW for quite a few years now). The arcticle touched many interesting aspects and had me thining about a few things.

      As pointed out in the article, there are still many houses who have not taken part in the great war nor in the war for the Iron Throne. Jon and Dany’s forces may have been decimated but they won against the army of the dead, something that seemed impossible to think at for the people of Westeros. For centuries, the white walkers have been a legend, a scary story for children, something so horrible that people could not think to be true anymore. That must mean something, not only in terms of recognition and gratitude toward those who fought, but also in terms of respect – and fear.

      And here comes House Reed: what was the point of Jojen and Meera being Reeds if their house – and their father – are never important to the story? Howland Reed was a great friend of Ned Stark, and the only one, other than Ned himself, who knew about Jon’s real parentage. And he’s always been loyal and never betrayed that secret. Of course, Jojen and Meera didn’t help Bran because of that, but because Jojen had visions and knew how important Bran was. So he would’ve helped Bran anyway. But the fact that Jojen and Meera are Howland Reed’s children must be segnificant to the story, it can’t be just a coincidence. I think that Meera will proably go back to Winterfell with her father, who will support Jon’s claim to the Iron Throne.

      I also have a doubt about the White Walkers. I’m not sure they are really completely defeated. I’m not saying they will come back in the series, but they could still be a threat for the future. When Jon was in Dragonstone he descovered some primitive graffiti on the walls of a cave. The children of the forest had made them. One of these drawings depicted some white walkers: all of them had long hair, excepst one who had spikes on his head, therefore we must assume he was the night king. The strange thing is that he appears to have a long beard. So… was he not the same night king that Arya killed? Is it possible that when a night king dies, another rises? Also, the White Walker who were present at Winterfell seemed to be a small number. Is it possible that other WW stayed back in the land of always winter? I know that when the NK dies, all his “creatures” die with him, but still, I expected to see way more WW so this keeps me wondering. (https://assets3.thrillist.com/v1/image/2690625/size/tmg-slideshow_l.jpg)

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    70. Wimsey,

      Yes, you may be right on both counts. Let us see.

      I did think it was a very good career move for Maisie. And it worked better than I thought it would.

      As for Sophie, I have not followed her career so I do not know if she has had a love scene yet in other things. It may also be a good career move for her in GOT. My view would be to treat them equally, not say – Maisie since you are not so (traditionally) pretty let me help you out. Sophie you will be Ok. Even pretty girls need career equity if it is at all possible.

      Sophie was married (sort of) to Tyrion. On their wedding night, Tyrion said…”My watch begins’. So we could see it end. Even for a one-night stand. For a woman that has been raped, it would be great to see her have a consensual sex scene even if they do not reconcile forever or if either dies.

      As for the queen business, two comments. If the north ever becomes independent then Sansa could be queen. If Jon becomes King, he could grant the North independence and a friendly treaty.

      As for queen of Westeros, that is less likely. However, in these things non-combatants are not to be counted out. Sansa was to be wife queen after her marriage to Joffy – so it is not completely out of the previous discussion. There was a line at which she said to Cersei, I will be a good queen like you. Lol!

      I see the Tyrion chatter on the internet – Possible but I am prepared to wait and see.

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    71. Wolfish:
      Yes to all of this.

      For those of us sorely disappointed in the dénouement of the story having been so incomprehensibly sped up since S7, this is the crux of the NK’s ending having fallen flat. For me, it’s not because I wanted to see three more battle episodes (I don’t), or even because I necessarily wanted to see the NK in KL (I wasn’t particularly invested in him making it that far). It’s because it’s one thing to know how much has been destroyed (virtually everything north of Winterfell), and something else entirely to actually see it and empathize with the victims. Now that we’re almost at the end, I’ve concluded that this was one of D&D’s failures in adaptation: When excising so much of the source material (as was necessary), they virtually eliminated all of the peasantry, except for the few instances in which their presence bolstered a named character’s arc. We saw no Wildling settlements other than Hardhome, no villages other than Olly’s, no farmhouses other than Sally’s—hell, we didn’t even see the hamlet outside Winterfell until S8. The end result is that while we have an abstract sense of the enormity of loss of life, there is little commensurate emotional investment in it. To me, this is akin to being an upper-middle-class person who can enumerate the number of homeless people in the city and makes a regular donation to the shelter… but has never helped build a house or cooked a Thanksgiving meal for the dispossessed.

      I didn’t mean to write such a long response, but these thoughts have been percolating in my mind for six days.

      Yeah, basically. They have been hints of the true devastation that has been suffered. The last scene of Arya and the Hound leaving the Riverlands to set out for the Vale stands out. Literally the entire country is on fire. Some of Robb’s early scenes with Talisa in the Westerlands when she is trying to impress on him how hard this war is hitting all these families who are losing their sons for nothing, who don’t care one bit who sits the throne. This game played by the high lords is cruelly indifferent to them.

      The early tilt of Daenerys’ story really did paint her as different. Her earliest followers were freed Lazhareen slaves, and she built up her army from more freed slaves. If the show wanted to stay true to her character and quit trying to build up this mad queen nonsense in the fandom, take King’s Landing the way she took Yunkai and Meereen. So what if there are 20,000 Golden Company and however many Lannister soldiers left? The population of the city is supposed to be 1 million. As the High Sparrow said, “you are the few. We are the many.” Any person who could actually stand for the smallfolk and have their genuine support would be unstoppable. Prove Tyrion wrong. Let’s see how much the inhabitants of her city are really willing to stand behind her after she ended the Faith that was trying to stand up for them and is apparently now herding peasants into the Red Keep to use as human shields.

      Bring back her original character, the girl who won people over with the force of her conviction and took Slaver’s Bay with baby dragons and hardly an army. Together with Jon, the man who won all of his followers by rescuing them from torture and death at the hands of the Boltons and the Army of the Dead. Who died because he stood up for people no one else would. We don’t need to see these two at each other’s throats, betraying every ideal they’ve ever held to, just because the fandom is out for blood and want their damn “bitter” ending. There is no reason at all they shouldn’t be working together. Daenerys needs to remember why she wanted the throne in the first place, not because it was hers by right, but to use it for good, to punish tyranny, not to become a tyrant.

      I don’t care at this point if this ends with our heroes winning or it ends with every last one of them dead and Cersei still on the throne. Just keep them true to themselves, true to who they’ve been for 9 years. We don’t need last minute heel turns just for the sake of more twists so all the fan-theorists out there with their insight porn can feel vindicated that they saw it coming. These have been sometimes poor strategists, but basically good people trying their best to do what is right. If they fail, they need to fail doing what is right. Bran isn’t secretly evil. Dany doesn’t become the Night Queen. If the ending has to be sad, just let them fail. But they fail staying true to themselves and true to each other.

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    72. talvikorppi: Yes. That’s her self-identity, the identity she has built for herself, to deal with all the shit. That she is the last Targaryen, the last and only dragonrider. The rightful heir. She’s not doing it out of some Targ arrogance but to protect herself. She’s not some superhero but a young woman, unsure of her way, even vulnerable.

      It is also a very different social system than that to which we are used. She is doing it out of a sense that she is a Targaryen, but not arrogance: instead, it is morality. It is dishonorable in their culture to not uphold your family’s interests.

      I’ve read about at least one Japanese businessman who committed ritual suicide because the family business that had been run by his family for generations (going back to mercantile times) collapsed and disappeared. That might seem odd to Westerners, but that sort of honor system is much closer to what the Westerosi are supposed to have than to what we have.

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    73. Several are talking about Rhaegal bonding with Jon so now Daenerys only has Drogon. (I’m just guessing most that are concerned about that also want Daenerys to die immediately.) Yes, in the books Rhaegal should be bonded now… but they haven’t really been making that a thing on the show. Daenerys was just like, “oh yeah, go ahead and take him for a ride,” like a dragon is just an extra bicycle leaning against the wall in the garage.

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    74. Sou: Did anyone see what happened to Lord Royce?

      My theory is that he was cowering in the corner of a cellar pissing himself like Slynt the whole time. That dude should have been front and center and died. They put Lyanna smack in the middle of the courtyard but Royce wasn’t seen once.

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    75. Ryan:
      “What is dead may never die”

      Thats in the show for a reason.

      But rises again harder and stronger. (probably just words. But if it was important which I doubt that means that the WW will return even stronger. Or maybe death comes again but not in Ice, but in Fire.)

      Henry Gordon: What is dead

      True, it’s going to play a part.

      And I’m wondering if the Ice in the title sequence made place for fire.

      night queen,

      Depends if the Night watch will be “closed” legally, yes Sam can be the lord of the house, if not it goes to either his mother or sister, I don’t know who goes before who.

      And isn’t the army of the reach already in the hands of Dany, 7×05.

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    76. kevin1989,

      I initially thought that but we haven’t seen them at winterfell I thought they would be more loyal to a tarly than Dany especially as her dragons are so far away. it was just a thought anyway.

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    77. Mango:
      Maise and Sophie are so close.

      If Maisie has a sex scene – perhaps D&D will give Sophie one as well…

      Sansa may be a candidate to become queen so she may already have a big role to play.

      This is one theory or idea I don’t understand. I like Sansa’s character (especially this season), but I really don’t understand how she would be queen. She isn’t a conqueror and she has no “rightful” claim. If there is a iron throne, I really can only see three people with a shot of being on it. Cersei (the current queen), Dany (the conqueror), or Aegon (the “rightful” heir). Even Gendry (with no real claim and not a conqueror) would be a more likely monarch than Sansa.

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    78. Adam,

      Yes. More or less that’s my view of things too.

      I’m at a loss when it comes to tinfoiling after ep3. Perhaps ep 4 will position the characters in a different way which might illuminate the points of interest in the next episodes.

      We’ll soon find out how they’ll handle the remaining arcs and the story, and I’m curious to see where they go from here.

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    79. JSchmeh,

      I don’t think Jon and Dany will rule together, because I don’t think GRRM set out to write a sweeping epic with an incest love story being the happy ending.

      If we just think about marriage matches and not about who will be dying before they can sit the throne…whoever sits the throne will need to eventually marry.

      There are slim pickings for Jon. It won’t be Dany or Cersei (obvs). Sansa is the most eligible female left. As is Arya. No way will Jon marry his sister-cousins. There is Yara Greyjoy, maybe Meera Reed or Alys Karstark. Nothing strategic in marrying any of them. Jon would need an alliance with someone Southern. There are none to speak of. I don’t think Jon will sit the throne.

      Dany has options. She would marry Jon with no problem, but see above. Tyrion or Jaime would be excellent matches. As would Euron of course. There is no one else left. If Dany sits the throne, I predict a Lannister husband.

      Cersei will be the queen of ashes, all bets are off. If she was smart, she’d vie for Jon when she finds out about his claim.

      Gendry is the wildcard. If Gendry is legitimized, he is has a better claim to the throne than ever Jon Snow, and if he sits the throne, he has the choice of consorts. Arya would be the twist, in that she never envisioned that sort of life for herself. But Sansa has been preparing to rule and be a Queen since episode 1. The other option of course is a legitimized Gendry and Dany.

      Who else is left to make meaningful alliances.

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    80. JSchmeh,

      Jaime and Tyrion are currently Cersei’s heirs.

      It may not matter as Daenerys has 2 dragons and conquest very looks likely. And Euron is now in the picture and a baby may be on the way.

      Jon? The Targ line has ended so he has to rely on conquest as well – I suppose via Daenerys who wants the throne for herself.

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    81. ShameShameShame: Who else is left to make meaningful alliances.

      Not that I’m thinking about the marriage game, but Sam’s sister didn’t sound enthused about her groom-to-be. Not to mention, he may well have died during the Loot Train Fiasco.

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    82. Clob,

      I think, Rhaegal now ist bonded to Jon, yes, but nevertheless he ist Dany’s “child”, he won’t forget this, as children don’t forget, who their parents are, when they fall in love with someone and marry etc.
      Parents don’t go mad then (mostly not) and/or die, why should Dany?

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    83. Mango:
      JSchmeh,

      I answered in a note to Wimsey.

      If Jon Targ becomes King of Westeros – he could grant independence to the North, why not?

      That is a good point. I thought everyone was talking about her being Queen of the Seven Kingdoms. Queen of the North is absolutely possible, maybe even likely.

      ShameShameShame:
      JSchmeh,

      I don’t think Jon and Dany will rule together, because I don’t think GRRM set out to write a sweeping epic with an incest love story being the happy ending.

      If we just think about marriage matches and not about who will be dying before they can sit the throne…whoever sits the throne will need to eventually marry.

      There are slim pickings for Jon.It won’t be Dany or Cersei (obvs).Sansa is the most eligible female left.As is Arya.No way will Jon marry his sister-cousins.There is Yara Greyjoy, maybe Meera Reed or Alys Karstark.Nothing strategic in marrying any of them.Jon would need an alliance with someone Southern.There are none to speak of.I don’t think Jon will sit the throne.

      Dany has options.She would marry Jon with no problem, but see above.Tyrion or Jaime would be excellent matches.As would Euron of course.There is no one else left.If Dany sits the throne, I predict a Lannister husband.

      Cersei will be the queen of ashes, all bets are off.If she was smart, she’d vie for Jon when she finds out about his claim.

      Gendry is the wildcard.If Gendry is legitimized, he is has a better claim to the throne than ever Jon Snow, and if he sits the throne, he has the choice of consorts.Arya would be the twist, in that she never envisioned that sort of life for herself.But Sansa has been preparing to rule and be a Queen since episode 1.The other option of course is a legitimized Gendry and Dany.

      Who else is left to make meaningful alliances.

      You make some very good points. Especially if this were taking place in the real world.

      I don’t think Aegon and Dany will rule together very long if at all. But I dint see either one marrying anyone else at this point. Plus there could be a Targaryen baby, that would take care is succession.

      The problem I have with Gendry being legitimized and taking the throne, is that it would require either Aegon or Dany already being King or Queen to legitimize him. They would both then need to die so that there would be no Targaryen heir. I just really don’t see that happening.

      Now, with all that being said, I could be completely wrong. This is one of the reasons I am looking forward to the last three episodes. There are so many things that need to be wrapped up and so many ways they could go.

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    84. ShameShameShame,

      Interesting discussion of marriage alliances. Never thought thru much of this before…

      Perhaps (?) asking Bronn to kill Jaime and Tyrion makes political sense for Cersei I suppose – it makes it more difficult for Daenerys to control/compete for the south???. I wonder if this is why she did that.

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    85. Jade,

      Welcome to commenting!!!

      I’m plumb out of tinfoil theories about the NK and WW, but I’m in full agreement with you about the Reeds. I was rather perplexed by a couple of commenters’ apparent fury at the Reeds for not coming north; while I do realize that Sansa called all the banners to Winterfell, as the southernmost house and guardians of the Neck it seemed far more important to me that they stay put and try to prevent any of Cersei’s forces from invading the North to pick off any potential survivors. I do fervently hope we see Greywater Watch, or at the very least, meet the elusive Howland Reed at last.

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    86. ShameShameShame:
      Cersei will be the queen of ashes, all bets are off.If she was smart, she’d vie for Jon when she finds out about his claim.

      A twisted part of me would kind of love if Cersei married Jon. It’d be horrible but… yeah, I’d be down for it, just to see what it’d look like 😉 Or Jaime and Dany. But Cersei is kind of fun.

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    87. Wolfish,

      That would actually be very sweet, but I don’t see that being the grand endgame statement of GoT.

      Who do you think will sit the throne?

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    88. ShameShameShame,

      I’m starting to feel it might be Jon who does sit the IT. I have previously dismissed this as I just didn’t think that was his arc. I can see that perhaps we go full circle with a king who doesn’t really want to rule, like Robert didn’t, but Jon will do his duty and will rule properly.

      I don’t see Cersei living and at the moment I’m 50/50 on Dany.

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    89. kevin1989:

      Because as the name stated, it was not meant to be taken as triumphof our heroes but that of the NK himself, he got his goal the dead of the 3ER. At least I think that was Ramins view, maybe i’m wrong.

      Maybe I’m wrong, haha. But seriously. Forget the name of the piece, it’s not important. Try to forget what we saw on screen while the music was playing. Just listen to it. There’s so much hope, light in it. Or more like hope building up and being undercut, time and again. But the hope, light is there.

      And no, I don’t think Ramin was trying to tell the Night King would triumph. I think he was telling us there’s hope for humanity.

      Seriously, this piece of music is messing with my brain. I’m not much of a music person so maybe I get things wrong.

      But I remember watching the episode for the first time and feeling all confused. They’re all dying, why is the music so happy?!? Not happy happy joy joy, but not all sombre and doom as you’d expect.

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    90. JSchmeh,

      Gendry could sit the throne without Jon and Dany dying. There could still be some bittersweetness there (I’m fairly sure one of them may die) in giving up the throne.

      Many seems so sure Dany is pregnant, I actually hope she isn’t because it would unfairly force Jon into a marriage with Dany because he never wanted to sire a bastard. But she does have a prophecy to fulfill, even if it’s not literal. When all is said and done, I could see her choosing to raise a child quietly, in a house with a red door.

      Jon’s aversion to creating bastards might actually be the impetus to legitimize Gendry, both to cancel his bastard status and to make him marriage material for Arya, especially if they’ve been intimate.

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    91. Adrianacandle: A twisted part of me would kind of love if Cersei married Jon. It’d be horrible but… yeah, I’d be down for it, just to see what it’d look like Or Jaime and Dany. Cersei is kind of fun.

      hahhahhaha! CerseiJon would be quite a fun ending!! lol!

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    92. Mango,

      Very good point. Cersei does want to punish them for being traitors, but eliminating them from possible strategic marriage alliances is good thinking too.

      Now that I think about it, if Dany is the younger more beautiful queen who will cast her down, the woods witch said she would take everything Cersei holds dear. That would be Jaime more than Tyrion. So I guess that’s an argument for Dany/Jaime – wow that would be an incredible match.

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    93. ShameShameShame,

      Oh, I wasn’t thinking “grand endgame statement,” or even of Jon specifically—just that Horn Hill has enormous wealth and someone will want to marry into it. As for your question—I’m in the camp of no Iron Throne in the end, but I really have no brilliant ideas about rulership. I do enjoy reading all my fellow Watchers’ speculations, though!

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    94. talvikorppi,

      I’ve been listening to it all day while I do housework (not my usual housework EDM, lol), and I’m in full agreement with you. It’s incredibly complex.

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    95. Mango: hahhahhaha! CerseiJon would be quite a fun ending!! lol!

      The more I think about it, the more I want it 😉 What would that ship name be called? Jonsei? Jersei? Jersey? WHATEVER. I’M ON BOARD. Is bitterfun a thing?

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    96. Dark Sister:



      Perhaps Bronn kills Tyrion and someone kills Bronn (while a very entertaining character I think he should have died way back in S2).

      Nooooo! I don’t think Tyrion will die.

      Bronn’s good for a laugh, but if he tries to complete his mission then he deserves to die. We’ve been told over and over that he’s all about the money, so I’m hoping that was a red herring. I’m hoping he won’t be able to follow through with it.

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    97. talvikorppi,

      I love that piece of music, it starts so bare with the single piano notes, and then how the strings layer over it forcefully as Theon is squaring off with the NK. And then it runs through Jorah’s death, and gets bare again at the end when Mel makes her exit. Just thrilling really.

      “Light of the Seven” was also stunning. It was so lovely and then went all bonkers ;later with the Phantom of the Opera -type organ interlude! So good.

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    98. Samwell finds himself unemployed, since nobody needs a maester at the broken Wall. He also no longer fears his dead father, and his brother is out of the succession. Maybe Sam can return and revive House Tarley to align it with The North. He would still be a valued advisor, and it’s not like they need his fighting skills.

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    99. Dothraki Scum,

      Seems pretty likely Sam sent a raven off to his mother/sister, doesn’t it? He’d want to know if they were safe etc. I’m certain House Tarly would align with Jon Snow (but might be wary of a Targ of any name).

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    100. ShameShameShame,

      I would think that Sam must have sent a raven to check that they were safe. Yeah, House Tarly (under Sam) would definitely follow Jon. I don’t think Jon being a Targ would create a problem as Sam would just point out that Jon is his best friend and trusts him completely. Although I suppose, others may not be too happy about it.

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    101. Adrianacandle: A twisted part of me would kind of love if Cersei married Jon. It’d be horrible but… yeah, I’d be down for it, just to see what it’d look like 😉 Or Jaime and Dany. But Cersei is kind of fun.

      Can you imagine the wine she would have to drink to put up with show-Jon’s stupidity. 😂 “You know nothing, Jon Snow!”

      She thought Jaime was stupid, but even he called Jon Sansa’s dolt brother.

      He is the most ‘good’ character in the show and she, arguably, the least ‘good’. It’s a sitcom in the making.

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    102. QueenofThrones,

      I remember her saying she didn’t want to change the wheel, she wants to break the wheel. Seems she has done this in Meereen and other places across the Narrow Sea by freeing the slaves and ending the Masters. She cannot do this in Westeros by following the same dynastic formulae and ruling the world from one seat.
      Let’s see if she can still put her beliefs before her ambition and pride. What would democracy look like in Westeros and would the Iron Bank tolerate it?

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    103. Dothraki Scum,

      I know a lot of people see Dany’s ‘Break the Wheel’ speech as bringing democracy but I never saw it like that. (Democracy can only be a slow, gradual change.)

      I interpreted it like this. I saw it as she would be the absolute ruler (like in Slaver’s/Dragon’s Bay) and she would stop the different houses challenging her power and therefore the other houses could never be ‘on top’. I felt she believes she would be best for the common people rather than houses vying for power, for example the Tyrells steadily gained power over the series.

      My only question was, what happens afterwards? She says she can’t have an heir so it would all collapse again which is why Tyrion was worried.

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    104. Che,

      LOL! The dinner scenes, the holidays, visiting Jon’s family, seating plans! [brooding intensifies]

      No, there wouldn’t be enough wine at all 😉

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    105. Ghostgirl,

      … what is more: Jon is Sam’s “brother”, I’m sure, he would always stay to Jon.
      If not (od what reason ever) – that would really be a twist!

      I’m irritataded by the considerations who can/would marry whom – but really, one is to think about that! As Tyrion pointed out: what about a heir? Who shall rule, when/if you die? The first thing as ruler is to assure succession.
      Dany refused clearly to talk about and grew angry, Cersei knows. Whether Cersei is pregnant or not, at the moment it’s enough to make everybody think, she is, her heir is coming.
      Jon seems to be far away from thinking about heir, these thoughts – if he had at all – died, when he took the knife etc.
      Sansa? Sansa seems to be done with men.
      Tyrion? Is done with his gonadals.
      Jamie? Feels his children would be too condamned to early death.
      Gendry? Is dumb and boring *sorry*
      Arya? Has other plans.
      Oh, and Euron? He would marry everyone, sure as the sun will rise.
      Marriages!
      What about Sam and Gilly?

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    106. No elefants.

      As we know, direwolfs are extremely costly , so those seconds of screen time Ghost is getting drained the CGI budget completely. Which is also the reason the NK failed so quickly and miserably – he had no ice spiders, only one zombie bear and only one zombie giant. Poor guy was fighting a loosing battle all along. Here’s to Ghost, the saviour of humanity!

      If we’ve learned anything about previews, teasers etc. on GoT, it’s that they are intentionally misleading. What do we see about the next episode? Cersei and Euron smiling in the sun, happy, relaxed and care free. This and the resolving of the WF drama won’t take 80 minutes. And come on, after the death of LF, Euron is the most honest and straightforward guy on the show – he also just wants everything and will kill/betray anyone on his way, when the time is right. No drama, no conflicting loyalties. Just turn your back to him for a second and your name is off the opening credits.

      Right now Cersei appears to have the upper hand, pretty much as Daenerys at the end of season 6. Then everybody was convinced there will be a twist to alter the balance of forces and Euron duly provided it. With the bonus of taking away the Sand Fakes whom I’ve been happily forgotten, until the hype about the Crypts of Winterfell in ep2 and what ( didn’t) happen(ed) there in ep3 reminded me of the glorious Dornish plot line.
      Another thing is : Daenerys did the same what Stannis did: abandoned the war in the South and moved North to protect the whole realm. This was another good advice from Davos which might finally bear fruit seasons later, shifting loyalties within Westeros/convincing some of the still undecided ones who to support. Especially as the other queen chose to break her own word, turning her back on the realm in it’s darkest hour. Jaime won’t be the only one aggravated by this, and unlike all the rest, he used to love Cersei.

      There’s also one minor unresolved issue – right before the Battle of Blackwater Bay, The Hound and Bronn were about to jump on each other for no obvious reason. I would like to see this resolved, one way or another, rather than wondering what was it all about. Not placing too much hope on this happening, though.

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    107. talvikorppi,

      absolutely. only the people of the vale will corroborate the north’s tale of dead man walking. But, the rest of the realm will not want to hear it. Their cynicism towards grumpkins and snarks will be even more barbed than it was prior to this most recent showdown with the aotd. imo the people of essos will be given a better acount of the battle with the aotd than the remainder of the people of westeros, simply because the people of westeros need to hide from the fear of such a threat. It kept them awake at night when they were children.

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    108. Adam,

      Agree with those who feel more emphasis should be placed on the “common” inhabitants of Westeros as well as the sacrifices of the Unsullied and Dothraki. I ‘m not in the camp that thinks alot of main characters need to die in order to up the drama. How many soldiers and conscripted civilians died saving Westeros? Why not place plot emphasis on this generational sacrifice by having the main characters meditating on it, having to deal with the aftermath of it, and trying to make a sea change for the continent? In other words, as a viewer, I don’t need main characters dying to affect me emotionally. I DO need them to remind me of how their emotional and physical plight is linked to that of others and to realize the extent to which they can/should affect those around them. If that is done, then all character deaths have more equitable importance.

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    109. The actor who plays Dany, Emilia Clarke, is so completely adorable. She puts me in mind of a neighbor’s daughter who is kind and attentive to her parents and brings nothing but credit to her family and town.

      I’d be sadly disappointed if she doesn’t get to be Queen and King jointly with Jon, have a whole passle of children, and spend the rest of her life doing the hard work of making correct decisions about boring, practical, economic matters the rest of her life while she grows old.

      I do hope, though, that she redecorates the throne room (that Iron Throne has to go) and makes the Hound High Septon. Not a bit of hypocrisy about that character. He deserves that job. He actually likes people despite his gruffness.

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    110. talvikorppi: talvi

      Ghostgirl,

      Of course they won’t introduce modern democracy to Westeros overnight. This will be plain stupid storywise ( IRL too, but this is a story ).
      Still the wheel has to be broken, after this being mentioned again and again. Some wheel anyway, as we don’t know yet exactly what this means.
      Right now many Great Houses and plenty lesser ones are either gone or left with the most unlikely and unusual ( Sam, Tyrion ) or unwilling heirs ( Jon, Bran, Jaime – if he survives ). And we’re just half way through the season, so at the end House Targaryen could easily be the one with most heirs. To break the wheel that started turning 300 years ago, the Targs must go… a bitter, but definitely a wheel-breaking twist. Still can’t figure out the sweet part, but probably it will be just for some of the characters, not for the realm as it is atm.

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    111. cos alpha,

      How about – Sam turns out to be Jon’s twin, then we’re all set!

      I see Sam and Gilly founding a school/library or something similar. I hope we’ll get to see them married.

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    112. Clob,

      It really does seem like there will more to their relationship than a one-night stand. And I’m grateful for that, because I always felt that they had a connection that went beyond just that.

      I’ve been wondering lately what the possibilities are of Arya ending up pregnant. I think it makes sense on many levels, especially if House Stark will continue on at the end of the story. I’m a bit weary on a marriage or a happily settling down scenario for them, but a child could add an extra bit of heartbreak if Arya ends up having to leave home and sail west of Westeros for some reason (maybe Jaqen does return intending to finally kill her, so to protect her child and family she is forced to leave?). So people who are saying that there has to be a cost to her time as a FM, this could be it.

      Having said that, there are some wrinkles in that theory, such as if Gendry is legitimized and becomes a Baratheon, would he be okay with their child being called Stark? (Although after Arya saved humanity by killing the NK, I think she should get the honour of naming any child she has “Stark”. 🙂 ).

      As for other possibilities of keeping House Stark alive, Jon’s potential child with Dany would undeniably be more Targaryen, and Sansa’s only potential suitor at this point is Tyrion, and I don’t see that working out in favour of a Stark successor either.

      Anyway, just random thoughts I’ve recently been having on this subject. Likewise, I’m very curious to see where they take their relationship.

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    113. Mango:
      Wimsey,
      My view would be to treat them equally, not say– Maisie since you are not so (traditionally) pretty let me help you out. Sophie you will be Ok. Even pretty girls need career equity if it is at all possible.

      “Traditional” or not, I personally find Maisie/Arya very attractive, and it’s a shame Hollywood can be so parochial when it comes to these things. Sure, for a lot of the series Arya is dressed as a boy and unkempt, but seeing her now in nice clothes with her long hair back, she is absolutely (as Hot Pie so boldly said) “pretty”.

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    114. There are only two rational endings at this point:

      1: Arya waltzes in and slaughters Cersei and crew without breaking a sweat. Because she clearly can, given how the show has depicted her the last few seasons.

      2: The Faceless Men kill her first, preventing her from doing such

      I am not expecting a rational ending (though #2 would make my day)

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    115. Jade,

      if you look at the end of episode 2, when the aotd turns up the ww stretch along the front of the aotd. there looks to be 30 maybe 40 just there in that quarter mile front. that is what it looks like to me. Take a close look and understand that aotd do not ride horses, only ww do, and all those walkers in the front are all mounted.

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    116. I hope the show answers all the questions I have about Varys, whom I’ve always thought was a secret Targ. He’s certainly mysterious.

      Reasons I think he’s a Targ – He keeps his head shaved so no one knows he has white hair. The spelling of his name, ending in “ys” just like Daenerys and Viserys. Why did the sorcerer choose him specifically to use in performing blood magic if there isn’t anything special about him?

      Why is there a web with a spider in it in Daenerys’ vision of the Throne Room in the House of the Undying?

      If Varys, after hearing about Jon’s parentage, switches his allegiance to Jon, will Dany burn him alive? If she does, what would Tyrion do? I can’t imagine he would still support her after that.

      He has only had a few lines of dialogue so far this season, which also puzzles me. Why are they keeping him around if he doesn’t have some important part to play?

      What the h*ll did the flames say??? I need answers!

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    117. Adam,

      nice speech, but the filming has already wrapped. what will be will be. nothing we can do or say to change that now.

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    118. seenGhost?,

      …To break the wheel that started turning 300 years ago, the Targs must go… a bitter, but definitely a wheel-breaking twist…

      I tend to agree. At this point, I just hope it means (mostly) voluntary exile for Dany, Jon, and any remaining dragons rather than death.

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    119. From the trailer and pictures released for episode 4, it looks like Varys is back in the foreground. If he still has access to his spy network, I wonder how much trust he can put in the info he receives since Qyburn took over as spymaster and was shone to be willing to use his little birds to kill others (e.g. stabbing Pycelle, snubbing Lancel).

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    120. CHAD BRICK:
      There are only two rational endings at this point:

      1: Arya waltzes in and slaughters Cersei and crew without breaking a sweat. Because she clearly can, given how the show has depicted her the last few seasons.

      2: The Faceless Men kill her first, preventing her from doing such

      I am not expecting a rational ending (though #2 would make my day)

      Your #2 woke me up! I’ve been in a daze today counting the hours until episode 4. If anything, Jaqen would land a hand! I can’t see him killing her. He would stand with a half smile along with Sandor as they both proclaim, “That’s our girl”. Perhaps if Cersei paid the FM price and put Arya’s name on their list, it’s possible a FM would be obliged to come after her. But I think it’s highly doubtful. It also didn’t turn out so well for the last FM who tried.

      —-
      I watched the first episode of Deep State today with Joe Dempsie to pass the time. He’s really great as “Harry”. I look forward to seeing where Arya and Gendry are headed in episode 4.

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    121. Adrianacandle,

      You must absolutely hate jon. I too would be very interested in the result, it would be an extraordinary union. but, gawd, subjecting jon to cersie for the rest of his life would be like forcing jon to do sams bedpan job at the citadel for the rest of his life.poor jon.

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    122. cos alpha,

      Agree 100%. Nobody else can ride Rhaegal while Jon lives, but that doesn’t mean Rhaegal’s bond with Dany has been severed. She never rode him, yet he was bonded to her as his “mother.”

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    123. The only way I could be incredibly disappointed with the show from now on is if Cersei lives.

      This is going by wayyyy too fast. 😳

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    124. ShameShameShame:
      JSchmeh,

      I don’t think Jon and Dany will rule together, because I don’t think GRRM set out to write a sweeping epic with an incest love story being the happy ending.

      If we just think about marriage matches and not about who will be dying before they can sit the throne…whoever sits the throne will need to eventually marry.

      There are slim pickings for Jon.It won’t be Dany or Cersei (obvs).Sansa is the most eligible female left.As is Arya.No way will Jon marry his sister-cousins.There is Yara Greyjoy, maybe Meera Reed or Alys Karstark.Nothing strategic in marrying any of them.Jon would need an alliance with someone Southern.There are none to speak of.I don’t think Jon will sit the throne.

      Dany has options.She would marry Jon with no problem, but see above.Tyrion or Jaime would be excellent matches.As would Euron of course.There is no one else left.If Dany sits the throne, I predict a Lannister husband.

      Cersei will be the queen of ashes, all bets are off.If she was smart, she’d vie for Jon when she finds out about his claim.

      Gendry is the wildcard.If Gendry is legitimized, he is has a better claim to the throne than ever Jon Snow, and if he sits the throne, he has the choice of consorts.Arya would be the twist, in that she never envisioned that sort of life for herself.But Sansa has been preparing to rule and be a Queen since episode 1.The other option of course is a legitimized Gendry and Dany.

      Who else is left to make meaningful alliances.

      IMO Sansa is still technically married to Tyrion. From what I understand about Westeros law, you can’t get an annulment unless it is done by the High Septon. Of course, Cersei blew up the High Sparrow and all his little Sparrows so they would have a bit of a problem getting the marriage annulled. They never consummated, but from what I understand the marriage is still valid until the High Septon says so. I suppose whoever sits on the throne would need to appoint a new High Septon first. Tyrion and Sansa can take care of consummating in episode 6! Sansa’s marriage to Ramsay was never legal IMO.

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    125. Renly’s Peach,

      Why would they want to train her in all their methods and then let her walk away, no strings attached?

      I would like to see some resolution to the issue of Arya’s powers, because characters rarely walk away at the end of a story like this having been bestowed with godlike powers without consequences.

      Bran is no longer Bran Stark.

      Daenerys will probably lose her dragons, if she survives, or they could even turn out to be key to her downfall.

      Jon, I’m not sure. Maybe he’ll die properly once the Lord of Light is finished with him. Or perhaps he was brought back to do something that carries a bitter or heartbreaking twist, contrary to his character.

      Arya’s magic gifts need addressing too. Even if it’s just Jaqen turning up with a cease and desist letter from Titans of Braavos LLP to make her stop using them.

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    126. the unburdened,

      I agree. The music, especially this episode, reminds me of the music for “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” by YoYo Ma. Somber and emotive. Djawadi is an amazing composer.

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    127. Ramsay’s 20th Good Man:
      Renly’s Peach,

      Why would they want to train her in all their methods and then let her walk away, no strings attached?

      I would like to see some resolution to the issue of Arya’s powers, because characters rarely walk away at the end of a story like this having been bestowed with godlike powers without consequences.

      Ramsay’s 20th Good Man,

      Good point. But if that’s the case, then why did Jaqen just nod and smile like a proud parent when she proclaimed that her name was Arya Stark and she was going home? He could have killed her then had he wished.

      My thoughts were that Jaqen originally befriended Arya in season 1 for a reason. That he was there in KL for a reason, specifically to meet up with Arya (why else was he there? He could have escaped at any time, being a FM), and that her training was meant to be used to ultimately take out the NK. If that were the case, she did what they wanted and they have no reason to wish her dead.

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    128. Tron79,

      I agree with you totally tron except for the annulment part. I know that you are meaning ‘in world’ annulments, but, annulments in westeros would need to work similar to our world annulments for them to be equitable. Annulments are not automatic. On does not get a marriage annulled on the grounds of non consummation until one of the parties involved declare the lack of consummation. There would be medical checks and an enquiry involved if there was a challenge.
      Ramsey’s marriage to Sansa was never a legal marriage, you are correct.

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    129. I can’t be the only person who thinks Cersie will blow them all up with wildfire except Dany will survive and be left alone with a burning thrones and no one in KL

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    130. I, too, look forward to the Jon/Aegon reveal to Sansa, Arya, Tyrion and Varys. During Jon’s first fly-by on Rhaegal over Winterfell, both Tyrion and Varys stared up at Jon. I suspect that these two have already figured it out.

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    131. Renly’s Peach: Why would the FM want to kill Arya?

      She went rogue and is now using their techniques outside their system. Nothing in the show’s universe can stop Arya other than the FM. She’s beyond invincible.

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    132. I’m always confused by this desire to reestablish Tyrion and Sansa’s marriage, despite what the show has told us repeatedly.

      Littlefinger said in Season 5 “by the law of the land, she is no man’s wife”. Her marriage to Ramsay has always been painted as legitimate.

      In Season 7 Tyrion called their marriage a sham and in the last episode he said that perhaps they should have “stayed married”, as in they are no longer married.

      I don’t know what point is served by denying the fact that their marriage didn’t amount to anything.

      It’s not going to serve as some unseen twist that they’re actually still married on a technicality. And if they need to get married again, they’re both free to do so.

      It’s a moot point.

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    133. I’m not saying they will bring any of them back, but I was just making a list of all the stories/characters hanging out there outside of the main arc that could still come back into play.

      Daario and Second Sons
      Dorne-it still exists
      Salladhor Saan-pirate friend of Davos-last seen in season 4
      Illyrio Mopatis-Varys buddy who introduced Dany to Drogo
      Faceless Men
      Iron Bank
      Kinvara or another Lord of Light rep
      The Reeds
      The Citadel (if they were smart they’d order one of the head maesters to Winterfell to record what happened)
      Moon Door Robin
      Edmure Tully

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    134. There are only two things I will predict for sure. The Hound will face the Mountain. And because there was zero purpose to showing Tyrion and Sansa cowering in the crypts, it must mean they end up together. They didn’t even show them fighting for their people after that interlude, so it must mean a love/arrangement is in the future.

      Other than that, I’m lost.

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    135. Ramsay’s 20th Good Man:
      Renly’s Peach,

      We don’t know why they let her walk away. That’s why it would be helpful to have some resolution, whatever that may be.

      I agree. She took faces like Walder Frey’s and used them for personal vengeance, which is usually kind of a big no-no for them. On the other hand, she did just kill the one guy who kept stealing deaths from the many faced god ie not letting people rest in peace/turning them into a zombie army.
      They might have wanted something like this from her all along if you think about how aggressively Jaqen pursued a friendship with her, kept her safe and then followed her to give her the coin etc. Don’t even get me started on my crazy Syrio theories. 🙂
      Still, they’ll probably want her to quit while she’s ahead. It would be really awkward if they cornered her in the Red Keep while she was wearing Littlefinger on her way to kill the queen.
      Oops.

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    136. Ramsay’s 20th Good Man,

      I agree with your reasoning, but I think at this point it might be interesting for them to actually want to get back together for the simple reason that they like and respect each other. It would be a most unfeudal, ungamey thing for two people who have learned the game to do. It would also, imho, suit these two characters and their arcs.

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    137. Tron79: IMO Sansa is still technically married to Tyrion.From what I understand about Westeros law, you can’t get an annulment unless it is done by the High Septon.

      That’s how it works in the books (and in the show in the first four seasons). The show retconned that in Season 5 to make the Ramsay marriage happen, when Littlefinger and Roose Bolton discussed the validity of Sansa marrying Ramsay and said that it was allowed because the previous marriage was unconsummated and nothing further was required. Nothing since on the show has challenged this interpretation, despite what some have insisted. The characters themselves do not consider themselves to still be married.

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    138. the unburdened:
      Adrianacandle,

      You must absolutely hate jon. I too would be very interested in the result, it would be an extraordinary union. but, gawd, subjecting jon to cersie for the rest of his life would be like forcing jon to do sams bedpan job at the citadel for the rest of his life.poor jon.

      I know! It’d be horrible!! But my love for Jon vs. my twisted glee at the thought of a Cersei/Jon union, it’s an inner conflict 😉

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    139. Oh. OH! My comment is awaiting moderation? I’ve got three posts, maybe four tops, left in me before this whole thing goes away. And this is how I am treated? I need to speak to a manager. This offense shall not stand.

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    140. Enharmony1625: As for other possibilities of keeping House Stark alive, Jon’s potential child with Dany would undeniably be more Targaryen, and Sansa’s only potential suitor at this point is Tyrion, and I don’t see that working out in favour of a Stark successor either.

      There’s always Bronn :). He seemed to think Sansa was quite attractive during the Tyrion era, and even helped Tyrion come to her assistance when Joffrey had Meran Trant beat on her. Winterfell might now be a fixer-upper, but it’s a darn good castle.

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    141. Adam: Yeah, basically. They have been hints of the true devastation that has been suffered. The last scene of Arya and the Hound leaving the Riverlands to set out for the Vale stands out. Literally the entire country is on fire. Some of Robb’s early scenes with Talisa in the Westerlands when she is trying to impress on him how hard this war is hitting all these families who are losing their sons for nothing, who don’t care one bit who sits the throne. This game played by the high lords is cruelly indifferent to them.

      The early tilt of Daenerys’ story really did paint her as different. Her earliest followers were freed Lazhareen slaves, and she built up her army from more freed slaves. If the show wanted to stay true to her character and quit trying to build up this mad queen nonsense in the fandom, take King’s Landing the way she took Yunkai and Meereen. So what if there are 20,000 Golden Company and however many Lannister soldiers left? The population of the city is supposed to be 1 million. As the High Sparrow said, “you are the few. We are the many.” Any person who could actually stand for the smallfolk and have their genuine support would be unstoppable. Prove Tyrion wrong. Let’s see how much the inhabitants of her city are really willing to stand behind her after she ended the Faith that was trying to stand up for them and is apparently now herding peasants into the Red Keep to use as human shields.

      Bring back her original character, the girl who won people over with the force of her conviction and took Slaver’s Bay with baby dragons and hardly an army. Together with Jon, the man who won all of his followers by rescuing them from torture and death at the hands of the Boltons and the Army of the Dead. Who died because he stood up for people no one else would. We don’t need to see these two at each other’s throats, betraying every ideal they’ve ever held to, just because the fandom is out for blood and want their damn “bitter” ending. There is no reason at all they shouldn’t be working together. Daenerys needs to remember why she wanted the throne in the first place, not because it was hers by right, but to use it for good, to punish tyranny, not to become a tyrant.

      I don’t care at this point if this ends with our heroes winning or it ends with every last one of them dead and Cersei still on the throne. Just keep them true to themselves, true to who they’ve been for 9 years. We don’t need last minute heel turns just for the sake of more twists so all the fan-theorists out there with their insight porn can feel vindicated that they saw it coming. These have been sometimes poor strategists, but basically good people trying their best to do what is right. If they fail, they need to fail doing what is right. Bran isn’t secretly evil. Dany doesn’t become the Night Queen. If the ending has to be sad, just let them fail. But they fail staying true to themselves and true to each other.

      This is an excellent post, Adam. I agree with everything you have stated.

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    142. If they do deal successfully with Cersei, the political solution to the other drama should be resolved by compromises and sacrifices. Daenerys wants the Iron Throne? Fine, Jon should help her take it, swear to remain silent on his true identity but in exchange for two things: To be legitimize as a Stark (this only works if no one else besides Jon, Sam, Bran and Dany finds out the truth) and for the North to be given independence. Dany sacrifices the chance of having a family but she gains the throne she invested so much of herself in. Jon sacrifices the right to ever claim his true identity but he secures the independence his people clamor for. As Jon Stark, he could cede the ruling part to Sansa and he could go claim any other castle in the North and find himself a good wife and have a family. Everybody ends up a semi-winner in terms of their priorities. Of course this won’t happen because I doubt R+L=J remains a secret.

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    143. Danny,

      This would be the absolute worst thing for all parties, not just jon. You must never hide the truth. you must always display it for all to see and deal with it. There is always another littlfinger coming through the ranks somewhere. And, if there is a hidden truth any where to be found, that worm will use it to extort and blackmail at the most inconvenient times. And, irrespective of that, jon would know that he is deceiving. Regardless as to what end he is trying to achieve, his sense of self worth would diminish the longer the ruse was maintained. You can not be a person of principle and hide shit. That is unworthy. Jon would know this better than anyone. and Ned would have been at pains to steer Jon, rob, sansa, arya, and all his children away from hypocracy all their life. For a noble, Hypocracy is the worst sin. ‘do as i say, not as i do’, will before long, earn you an angry lynch mob outside your home to drag you outside and hook you up to a tree.

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    144. the unburdened,

      I understand that you will probably site Neds own lie about jon’s parentage as a counter to my assertion, but, truly that is different. In that case there is an innocent child involved and a promise to a dying sister. On this issue, I would be confident that Ned would be quite prepared to die if the truth became known. He knows full well that Robert would want jon dead if he found out the truth and this is one devide where Ned would be willing to take the starks up against the baratheons. It is not a truth where Bran, and Sam, and Daeny know and he has zero control over their reactions. Only he and Howland knew and so therefore only those two were the weak link. Ned could talk in his sleep or howland could turn on him at some point in time. Only those 2 things could happen that would let the cat out of the bag and clearly Ned was prepared to take the gamble on those 2 outcomes outliving Robert. But, this situation is totally different. There is not innocent to pay the price for the lie, and there is no way that sooner or later, Bran in his purely objective state wont blurt it out.

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    145. the unburdened,

      While I agree with much of your comment, you might have thought twice about citing Ned as an example of never hiding the truth. I might be full of Dornish red, but…

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    146. Ramsay’s 20th Good Man,

      It’s not a moot point to me, but in the story, I suppose if Tyrion and Sansa decide to be together they could just reaffirm their vows in a new ceremony.

      I’m not a fan of the rulers who just make the law whatever they want because they can. I think Little Finger changed the law because it suited him. He just had to get enough people to agree with him so it would be true. As he said…”A story we agree to tell each other over and over until we forget that it’s a lie” I do get your point through since Tyrion considers their marriage to have been a sham and to be over from his line in season 7.

      Cersei tore up Robert’s last wishes and pretty much said F this piece of paper I’m the law now…try to stop me. I think there is something to be said about when leaders stop respecting the law, the people pay for their arrogance down the road.

      I’ll let this go for now by quoting another LF line that I think echoes your point. “The past is the past, the future is all that is worth discussing.” I do hope that Tyrion could be in Sansa’s future.

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    147. Sean C.,

      But this is a different situation. Jon didn’t want the Northern crown because he was a bastard and didn’t think he had the right to have it. Now, as a trueborn heir to the IT it would be his duty to accept it. It would be immoral of him not to do so. All the people he looked up to around him did the same. Ned became Lord of Winterfell after his father and brother died. Robb didn’t run away from succeeding his father and being proclaimed King in the North. Take for example the Targaryen side of his family. After the death of Rhaegar, Aerys and baby Aegon, Viserys, who was just a child was proclaimed king on Dragonstone by his mother and he kept it even as a beggar king exiled in Essos. When he died, it was Daenerys who assumed the title in exile. It is a matter of duty, responsibility and honour to uphold the family claim you received at birth in a feudal society such as Westeros.

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    148. Tron79,

      Tyrion considers their marriage to have been a sham

      imo, Tyrion does not consider their marriage to be a sham in the sense that it was not a marriage. I feel that he thinks that it was a sham in the sense that they were both more or less forced to the marriage rather than chose each other to be married to. It was most definitely a legal marriage, witnessed by hundreds of people and the prelates of the realm.

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    149. Adrianacandle,

      Well, that would be cruel to Jon!

      But on another note, your post reminded me how a possible meeting between Jon and Cersei would be quite interesting because of certain issues from the past that would arise if Cersei is aware of Jon’s parentage. During her wedding night drunk Robert who was forever in love with Lyanna Stark whispered her name. Cersei never forgave him that slight. Furthermore, she was in love with Rhaegar and never quite got over it that they didn’t marry (at least it is so in the books) but it would now appear that Rhaegar and Lyanna married and had a child. She was, in a way, beaten by Lyanna twice and if I were Jon, I wouildn’t want to find myself at her mercy. Unfortunately, Jon knows nothing, so…

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    150. Patrick, thanks for this illuminating essay, and pointing out the many threads we still need to wind up.

      Mango,

      I agree with a lot of your post. I just finished watching Ep3 for the second time, after adjusting TV for light etc. I noticed a number of elements, and have been trying to figure out how Ep3 fits into a 3-4-5 arc, as Sapochnik indicated.

      1. Rebalancing for forces. I think your are exactly right — Daenerys came to Westeros overpowered, although the Lannisters made some clever moves to thwart her immediate ambitions. In any case, on a military level, she was more than highly advantaged. The events of season 7 and 8 so far have now left her with a much smaller force and two dragons, both of whom seem injured. This will force Daenerys to reach political accomodation and seek allies in the Riverlands, the Vale (which I believe also has more forces in reserve, and elsewhere. (While many have criticized the charge of the Dorthaki, it is true that they were likely to be seen as much more effective in the open field than either waiting for the last minute to charge or being behind the walls of Winterfell. And of course, it made for good spectacle. So between the somewhat understandable military value, the spectacle, and the plot device of it all, I was not bothered by it.) I think this could lead as the trailer and others have suggested to many going different directions, with interesting plot developments along the way.

      2. Jon, Dany, Dragons and the North. Watching the episode a second time, I was more focused on the charge of the dead after the fall of the Dothraki. It seemed to me that the weight of the charge was about to immediately overwhelm all the defenders. It was only Daenery’s decision to abandon the plan of waiting for the Night King and break up the initial assault with dragonfire that kept the forces from being overrun. I think what was important here as we move forward was you get a view of Sansa and Arya seeing the dead about to swamp the defenders and then Drogon and Rhaegal flaming the dead and stopping their headlong rush. With the reminder from Missandei that they would all be dead without the Dragon Queen, I wonder if the Stark sisters will be warm to Daenerys, as opposed to being upset that she has earned others allegiance. “We find our true friends on the battlefield.” Well, at least that will be Jon’s line again!

      3. Daenerys and Jon relationship. How the battle affects their relationship is one of the most interesting aspects of Ep4 for me. Jon will recognize how much Daenerys has sacrificed, and how he was save a second time by timely Drogon dragonfire. Daenerys should be grateful to Arya for her heroic stand against the Night King. Somehow, when she saves Jon, the exchange between them (“Bran!” and “Go!”) gave me a Nephew-and-Aunt-in arms vibe. But that could just be me.

      4. Relatedly Aejon’s future. I have to note here that I agree with you that looking at seasons 5-8, Jon has done plenty in his arc to combat the NK and the AoTD. Winterfell is obliterated without 1) Jon bringing the threat to everyone; 2) Securing the Dragons and the Unsullied (who saved the day at least twice in Ep3); 3) Bringing Dragonglass to WF; and 4) attracting Arya back home to be the ultimate assassin. So he didn’t kill the NK. If GoT is in part about leadership and governance being as important as heroism, Jon, despite his many flaws, certainly showed that. But it does leave the question hanging, what now? One arc ended, and the hidden king arc to be the focus of 4-6?

      5. Bran. Bran deserves at least some credit for engineering the NK’s demise, at great personal risk to himself. But his time traveling ability to affect the past has been hung out there and has to be fulfilled. I would think this is not a dangling narrative device but we will see.

      6. Jaime and his divided loyalties. What now for Jaime? I think he stays with the Northern Alliance, but I am sure he will be conflicted!

      I think Episode 4 will feel quite different than 2. Everyone was at Winterfell for Ep2. We can see from the trailer that there will be a lot of movement, and I do expect some action. things I do hope to see:

      1. Podrick Knighted (upon view, he was in the thick of things and fought bravely). He deserves it. (BTW, on my second rewatch with better light, although we get scared everyman Sam at various points, we see him fighting bravely as well, including at Grey Worm’s side.) Maybe this will come later, but I somehow think it would be an end to his arc that would then really end in Episode 5 (sigh).

      2. Dragons taking on Euron’s fleet. This may be in Ep5, but I would like to see part of the Iron Fleet (but not the silence) intercept the returning Unsullied but then get their comeuppance.

      3. The Vale join the frey. We know we will see Robbyn this season; it should be Ep4 or Ep6. I would love to see Sansa return to the Vale to help convince Robbyn to fully commit to overwhelming Cersei.

      4. Edmere recovers the Riverlands. We don’t know what happened after the Frey mass poisoning. Could this be where Jon goes, perhaps WITH Jaime? With Brienne as well? That would be fun! (Although perhaps Sansa would be better going there.)

      5. Bran heads to the Isle of the Faces. Another interesting plot development but we may have to wait until Ep6 for this.

      All of these (except for Pod being knighted) are elements that could bring our favorite characters South and lead to more chaos. This is so exciting!

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    151. If the NK returned after Azor Ahai, he can return in a distant future.

      And they can make a sequel about It

      From a bussines point of view its such a good perpective that I can’t imagine the showrunners and GRRM not doing it

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    152. Obviusly to do that they neef to revive the WW menace before the show ends

      Any coherent idea on how they can do It?

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    153. Nkforever:
      Obviusly to do that they neef to revive the WW menace before the show ends

      Any coherent idea on how they can do It?

      It could go back to Bran. It has been suggested that there will be some montage showing how Bran has already affected the Past to achieve the outcome that has resulted (or something like that). During that he could see the arising of the NK the second time. Coming out of the vision, he could say, “There will always need to be a Three Eyed Raven. Because there will always be a Night King.”

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    154. Nkforever,

      Don’t you think they exploded into ice cubes when the NK did, as the other WW’s did?

      Wow – that would have been mind blowing if they had showed the WW nursery and them all blowing up as part of the montage!

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    155. Ramsay’s 20th Good Man:
      Renly’s Peach,

      Why would they want to train her in all their methods and then let her walk away, no strings attached?

      I would like to see some resolution to the issue of Arya’s powers, because characters rarely walk away at the end of a story like this having been bestowed with godlike powers without consequences.

      Bran is no longer Bran Stark.

      Daenerys will probably lose her dragons, if she survives, or they could even turn out to be key to her downfall.

      Jon, I’m not sure. Maybe he’ll die properly once the Lord of Light is finished with him. Or perhaps he was brought back to do something that carries a bitter or heartbreaking twist, contrary to his character.

      Arya’s magic gifts need addressing too. Even if it’s just Jaqen turning up with a cease and desist letter from Titans of Braavos LLP to make her stop using them.

      Yes, even a cease and desist letter.

      The story has several magic characters: Jon, Dany, Arya, Bran still remaining. I expect them to exit the story or be de-activated in some way. Beric and Mel died after heroic actions, I do not know if that is the plan for everyone. Arya and Bran – I hope they are de-activated and survive.

      The non-magic characters (except Cersei, Euron and maybe one or two more) will be most important in the future of Westeros.

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    156. The ending does seem to be going in the direction of Dany and Jon vs Cersei and most likely the good guys win. This would be somewhat boring, imo, and very un-GOT.

      To me there has to be something that happens which leads to a conflict between Dany and Jon. Something that isn’t of their own making but causes division. Otherwise, it just becomes the same plot that we regularly see where the good guys defeat the bad guys.

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    157. David A,

      I’m inclined to think there is a difference between dead bodies revived and living beings turned WW.

      Of course, one tends to think that this is the regular procedure the Nk has to create WW’s, so they should have exploded.

      But this wasn’t stated neither in the show nor in the books as far as I know.

      And all the work It implies to turn this babies!!

      Complex ceremonials, carry them from Caster place to WW’s lair, the fact that they are offered “to apease them”. If that doesn’t matter they could turn any free folk slaughtered family baby. But they don’t. They specifically turn an offered baby.

      Combine this with the fact that somehow, after being defeated by Azor Ahai the WW’s menace managed to come back.

      If there is a way, and they are going to show It, my bet is on Craster babies. Last scene of GoT.

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    158. I mean, we are assuming he is creating WW’s, and its the most logical thinking.

      But who knows, maybe the ceremonial we had seen has another meaning.

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    159. Milutin:
      But this is a different situation. Jon didn’t want the Northern crown because he was a bastard and didn’t think he had the right to have it.

      Nothing of the sort has ever been suggested. He was quite honoured to be elected as king, as he himself said; he never considered himself unworthy of it.

      the unburdened:
      imo, Tyrion does not consider their marriage to be a sham in the sense that it was not a marriage. I feel that he thinks that it was a sham in the sense that they were both more or less forced to the marriage rather than chose each other to be married to. It was most definitely a legal marriage, witnessed by hundreds of people and the prelates of the realm.

      Under Westerosi law in the show, a marriage is null and void unless consummated, per Season 5 onward. You simply have to look at Tyrion’s own behaviour; he does not consider himself to still be married to Sansa. Hence why he suggests they should have “stayed” married.

      If we were supposed to think that they were technically still married, there were innumerable ways the show could have indicated that. But we’ve seen the opposite.

      This began as early as when Littlefinger tells Cersei about the impending marriage of Sansa and Ramsay, which, were it to be illegal, that would obviously have been Cersei’s rejoinder.

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    160. Nkforever:
      David A,

      I’m inclined to think there is a difference between dead bodies revived and living beings turned WW.

      Of course, one tends to think that this is the regular procedure the Nk has to create WW’s, so they should have exploded.

      But this wasn’t stated neither in the show nor in the books as far as I know.

      And all the work It implies to turn this babies!!

      Complex ceremonials, carry them from Caster place to WW’s lair, the fact that they are offered “to apease them”. If that doesn’t matter they could turn any free folk slaughtered family baby. But they don’t. They specifically turn an offered baby.

      Combine this with the fact that somehow, after being defeated by Azor Ahai the WW’s menace managed to come back.

      If there is a way, and they are going to show It, my bet is on Craster babies. Last scene of GoT.

      One thing that I thought interesting regarding this was, In an earlier topic i noticed someone referring to viserion as a white walker level character, and I thought at the time ‘hey! I am not sure about that, let me check it out. I am sure I saw something that was contradictory to that belief’ So, I checked it out and sure enough, when unViserion dies, he does not turn into ice cubes as per a white walker. He just turns into decomposed matter like any aotd.

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    161. Nkforever,

      Are we sure that AA defeated the NK? We were told that Rhaegar kidnapped Lyanna, and found out that wasn’t true. I highly doubt the stories and prophecies are all true. That has been a constant theme of ASOIAF. The good news is that we will find out what really happened when the new show airs.

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    162. talvikorppi: I know this isn’t the place to discuss Ramin Djawadi’s masterpiece, “The Night King”.

      Going back to this… During first watch I was so focused on what was happening that I mostly just noticed the elements of “Light of the Seven” mixed into it. That was mostly what I responded with in initial reaction to Jack’s question about which of the two pieces is better. On subsequent viewings I was able to fully appreciate it, especially the times I listened through ear buds. It really is fantastic!

      I recall “Light of the Seven” not being eligible for an original score Emmy because it had elements of other pieces within the show previously. Something like that. I’m assuming that “The Night King” will fall in that category then as well, which is a shame.

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    163. RG:
      They might have wanted something like this from her all along if you think about how aggressively Jaqen pursued a friendship with her, kept her safe and then followed her to give her the coin etc. Don’t even get me started on my crazy Syrio theories.

      Well, my theory is that they did want this from her all along. Killing the NK (death) is quite a bit more important than worrying about Arya’s revenge killing. I’ll be p*ssed if they punish her now. Which I have to admit had never occurred to me, so thanks everyone for putting that worry into my head. 🙂

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    164. David A: During that he could see the arising of the NK the second time.Coming out of the vision, he could say, “There will always need to be a Three Eyed Raven.Because there will always be a Night King.”

      Or it could go the other direction. Perhaps now that there is no NK, there is no need for a 3ER. I’d like to see Bran go back to being a normal person. Maybe that’s what it was foreshadowing when Jon said to Bran, “You’re a man now”, and Bran replied, “Not yet.”

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    165. Nkforever,

      We do have a Craster baby handy. I was surprised that hasn’t already been a topic at Winterfell, since the WWs practically had him on their GPS trackers north of the wall.

      If anyone threaten’s Gilly’s baby, Sam will be all over that. I wonder if that will be what causes a rift between Jon and Dany?

      On another note, I want to see Arya interacting with other characters. She’s never spoken to Dany or any of Dany’s crew, or Tyrion or Jaime or Varys… it was so cool to see Davos reacting to her.

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    166. Renly’s Peach,

      I think of it not in terms of the punishment, but rather of the price: only death can pay for life etc. Arya never payed any real price and now she has turned into a fully disney-ish ASNAWP with Gendry at her side. Looks like an omen and a very bad omen. I have no more worries for Jon who has just been robbed of his ultimate kill or Dany who has been equally robbed of her stance as a rightful heiress to the IT or Tyrion who has discovered to be a fool: now the big three can rise from the ashes and conclude the show on a high note. But Arya and Bran are both on the peak of their glory and seem to be pretty fine in the promo (especially Arya) and both of them are the most magical characters, so nemesis should be comming for them in some magical and therefore unindentifyable form.

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    167. JSchmeh,

      JSchmeh:
      Nkforever,

      Are we sure that AA defeated the NK? We were told that Rhaegar kidnapped Lyanna, and found out that wasn’t true. I highly doubt the stories and prophecies are all true. That has been a constant theme of ASOIAF. The good news is that we will find out what really happened when the new show airs.

      We know he existed back then, we know he tried to asolate Westeros.

      Somehow he was stopped. I don’t see any other way to stop a Night King that killing him.

      Seems improbable you can get partial victories against a enemy of this nature. Did he run out of dead people to revive?

      So assuming he was defeated same way we saw last Sunday, well, somehow he was back or ours was a different Night King.

      Remember the crowned figure in Dragonstone cave paintings representing the WWs appeared to have a beard.

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    168. Renly’s Peach: Or it could go the other direction.Perhaps now that there is no NK, there is no need for a 3ER.I’d like to see Bran go back to being a normal person.Maybe that’s what it was foreshadowing when Jon said to Bran, “You’re a man now”, and Bran replied, “Not yet.”

      He didn’t say “not yet.” He said “almost.”

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    169. While reading this article I had a thought that I would like to present to you 🤓

      What if the Golden Company defeats Cersei just like the Lannister army did with the Targs to end Robert’s Rebellion?
      The GC would be inside KL, Cersei would think they are friends, not foes. Euron sees Dany, who’s the more beautiful potential queen and turns against Cersei.
      The series would go full circle again.

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    170. Miss Comfypants: What if the Golden Company defeats Cersei just like the Lannister army did with the Targs to end Robert’s Rebellion?

      That would be a very arbitrary. The climax should rest on decisions made by one or more of the five primary protagonists, and their actions should follow upon everything we’ve seen them do leading up to this.

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    171. Inga:
      Renly’s Peach,
      I think of it not in terms of the punishment, but rather of the price: only death can pay for life etc. Arya never payed any real price and now she has turned into a fully disney-ish ASNAWP with Gendry at her side. Looks like an omen and a very bad omen. I have no more worries for Jon who has just been robbed of his ultimate kill or Dany who has been equally robbed of her stance as a rightful heiress to the IT or Tyrion who has discovered to be a fool: now the big three can rise from the ashes and conclude the show on a high note. But Arya and Bran are both on the peak of their glory and seem to be pretty fine in the promo (especially Arya) and both of them are the most magical characters, so nemesis should be comming for them in some magical and therefore unindentifyable form.

      Arya paid a huge price, just as all of the other primary protagonists have. We’ve seen each of them go through a “phoenix” cycle in which the character gets laid utterly low and then rebounds. For Arya, it was everything she went through with the Faceless Men. That had really strong parallels with everything that Bran goes through to become the 3-Eyed Raven in particular because both characters flirt with loss of identity (although Arya might have better succeeded in retaining hers than did Bran); however, it also has strong parallels with the fallout from the assassination attempts on Jon and Daenerys in that, in all three cases, the phoenix gets reduced to ashes for doing what he/she thought/felt should be done rather than what they were told that they should do.

      This might be something to pay attention for the final three episodes: “loss of self” is one of the big aspects of the “bastards, dwarfs and broken things” arcs of the main characters, and this might be a big piece of the way the story gets told in the end.

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    172. JSchmeh,

      The meaning is the same in context, no? It seems to indicate that Bran will change in some way. What does everyone think he meant by that? Or am I reading too much into this?

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    173. Renly’s Peach:
      JSchmeh,

      The meaning is the same in context, no?It seems to indicate that Bran will change in some way.What does everyone think he meant by that?Or am I reading too much into this?

      I take “not yet” to mean he would be a man sometime. I take “almost” to mean that he isn’t a man, but is something close. Like a kitten is almost a tiger. It’s not, but is closely related.

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    174. JSchmeh,

      I think my point is being missed over pedantics. The statement indicates (either way) that Bran doesn’t see himself as a man, but expects to be one soon. What does he think will make him a man? It seems like one of those lines dropped by the writers that foreshadow something. What, I don’t know.

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    175. Renly’s Peach:
      JSchmeh,

      I think my point is being missed over pedantics.The statement indicates (either way) that Bran doesn’t see himself as a man, but expects to be one soon.What does he think will make him a man?It seems like one of those lines dropped by the writers that foreshadow something.What, I don’t know.

      As 3 eyed raven, he is not exactly a regular man – I think that is what he meant by almost a man. He is not quite a man, he is something else like a man but not really.

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    176. Mango,

      Thanks, Mango. That may very well be what he meant. Occam’s Razor. It just seemed odd. But then Bran is quite odd, so, there’s that. 🙂

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    177. Milutin,

      All true!!

      I was going to quip about her winning sense of humor and excellent cheekbones making up for all that but… after this episode… I take it back, I take it back, I take it back!!!!!!! Forgive me!!

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    178. WARNING: With spoilers!

      [ spoiler ]
      I am deeply disappointed after the third instalment of Season 8! Here is first a list of why:

      1. The directors really should have asked someone with a military background for advice before setting this up.

      a) The charge of the Dothraki unsupported by infantry and air force (dragons) was doomed from the outset. If the storytelling goal was to reduce the number of Dothraki serving Dany after the battle, then perhaps placing them some distance away in order for them to appear suddenly from the rear of the attacking forces at a critical moment in the battle. They could still be enveloped and killed by the ice and magic of the NK. The effect, though, would have been utterly different. Imagine, just when things look really bad and the castle defences appear to be breaking down, then the formidable horsemen (still with fiery weapons) would come charging into the unsuspecting enemy forces and bring hope for a victory, only to leave the defenders even more lost and empty, as ice engulfs the horsemen. The storytelling effect would be the same, but have a much greater impact on the morale and emotions of the defenders and viewers.

      b). Placing the war machines in the front line IN FRONT of the infantry as well as in front of the defensive trench is just plain stupid. One shot and they are out of it.

      c) Placing the elite infantry in front of the trench instead of behind it is akin to sacrificing them (and incidentally increasing the enemy forces by elite spearmen). Also totally stupid.-

      2. The plot armour protecting far too many characters. For instance, it would have been good to see Brienne get killed and die in the arms of Jamie. Not because I dislike Brienne, by far not. However, Jamie has learned much about true love, and of being human and respect from Brienne. And seeing her die will complete his turning away from Cersei. Grey Worm surviving was surprising, good because this was unexpected. However, it would have been brilliant if the rise of the dead in the crypts could have caused casualties amongst e.g. Sam, Missandei and Sansa, particularly because these were expected to survive. It would have been even better storytelling if the undead slaying e.g. Sansa was Lyanna Stark and if other known Starks were amongst the faces of the wights from the crypts. And if they really wanted to surprise everybody, they would have allowed Jorah to survive till the end and beyond, despite being so clearly and obvious candidate to die defending Dany sooner or later.

      3. If the NK had marched on with a smaller force (being able to raise dead from the thousands of dead people between Winterfell and the south should ensure that he has another army to tackle queen Cersei!) and Winterfell anyway had been overrun, leaving scattered groups of survivors to escape from wight-infested crypts and tunnels (undead chasing the living from Winterfell could lead to e.g. Jon fighting Lyanna or Rob or something like that in order to escape), we would have a two-horse race to reach King’s Landing first. Plus kept the ‘Winter is coming’-threat very much alive, instead of finishing it way too early after my taste. This would have allowed the characters to realize that the NK knew how to manipulate them and why he could set up the trap that ultimately killed Viserion (Season 7 silliness! For instance, they should start to ask themselves why it was possible to find exactly the one group of White Walker & Wights where all the Wights would die except the one they were in need of… plus why the NK suddenly had started to carry dragon killing spears… it was all a set-up, a trap, to lure the dragons north as he need at least one.). This could storytelling-wise be used to make the question what Bran is doing and perhaps show that the NK is tricking Bran or controlling him.

      I could go on. While the actors did a splendid job (thanks!), and the battle occasionally was engaging and well made (though it did not reach the quality of Hardhome, my personal favourite), the storytelling let the BIG BATTLE down. Sadly. Shame on you D&D.
      [ / spoiler]

      However, you write above: “The day before the battle, Sansa Stark asked Daenerys what would happen after the Army of the Dead were defeated. Dany was focused on retaking the Iron Throne, but Sansa’s position was focused on maintaining northern independence. Unfortunately, these negotiations went unresolved as Theon Greyjoy’s arrival interrupted the two leaders, and the opportunity for the resumption of diplomacy never returned.”

      Correct. I have an idea about an ending. I do not think I have seen this mentioned elsewhere before, but if it has, my apologies.

      What if the reason for the plot armour is that the writers need both Jon and Dany to survive till the end. After defeating Cersei (perhaps with the help of Vary/Tyrion buying/having already bought the Gode Company before the GC met with Euron?) they both realize that they are in love with each other, but that they are in family with the other. At the same time ALL people in the north will reject Dany as ruler and by default Jon as well. Therefore Dany (and fire) will control the south, while Jon (and ice) will control the north. As we can see in the pre-season trailer where fire and ice meets. They divide the lands between them and can sit on each their own throne, just dreaming about each other and about a unified kingdom. THAT would indeed be bittersweet, right?

      Just a theory that is most bittersweet if it is Jon rather than Sansa who is sitting on the throne in the north.

      Hope everybody else enjoyed the season 8 episodes more than me and that the remaining episodes will bring quality and excitement back!

        Quote  Reply

    179. Ghostgirl,

      I also tried to comment yesteday. Nothing showed this morning. If it had been removed by a moderator for some reason, I would have appreciated a notification mail telling it had happened and explained why… weird.

        Quote  Reply

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