Looking Forward, Game of Thrones Season 5 Part 2: The Story That Shan’t Be Told

bran (1)

Holiday greetings to you and yours and welcome to another edition of Looking Forward where Unsullied, village-idiot, show-watchers only woefully attempt to make sense of Game of Thrones news and views and clues that have been left under the tree during seasons past.

This installment is brought to you by Watchers on the Wall in a partnership with the Uneducated Unsullied Academy of Astapor (UUAA) where a man has been busy training other Unsullied warriors the ins-and-outs of the art of knowing absolutely nothing (Jon Snow campus opening soon).

In keeping with the theme of knowing nothing, our lesson today will focus on the story that apparently won’t be told in season 5.  Please show up to class on time and be prepared to learn very little. 

Sullied are encouraged to attend, but are discouraged (heavily) on adding spoiler discussion.  Besides, what else do you have to do?  You are either waiting on the jolly fat man to slide down your chimney with a new book, or you are waiting on Santa Claus. 

Regardless, class starts now…

So, let me get this straight.

We go on a journey.  And it is a major storyline with plot points as big as a billboard with a man as big as a house who can only speak one word. This particular storyline is obviously quite important due to the amount of screen time allotment in a series where screen time is a valuable commodity.    

You leave us with one of the few remaining Starks (that has not been dismembered or beheaded or stabbed or butchered) under a tree, after being attacked by naked wights who are in turn blown up by mythical fireballs thrown by an odd looking child who could have been an extra in The Goonies

Meanwhile, you kill off the lead guitarist and arguably the most compelling character in the band while leaving us with the grand cliffhanger of “But you will fly.”

And none of the remaining members of Bran and the Traveling Hodors are expected to be included in the entire next season? Um…    

Oh but wait, Johnny, we’re not done yet!  As a parting gift and just to confuse you a little more and throw the masses into frenzy, you start an advertising campaign based on the same storyline, where you flash up visions similar to those of the character who will not be appearing in season 5 and still expect everyone to say “thank you.”

And to further invoke rioting among the masses, you will implore people to sign up but will then show your harsh nature by making it available for viewing only once and only on mobile devices and only to a select few that signed up. Great.

You will call it threeeyedraven.com where the show will undoubtedly pick back up (because you know, that would make sense), except Bran who has been seeking the three-eyed raven for the better part of two years won’t be making an appearance in season 5, thus leaving fans with nothing but visions of sugarplums dancing in their heads. Cool, huh? Huh?  Order Now!!!

W. T. F.?

You could have saved yourself a lot of trouble and just sent me a glittery seasonal greeting card that said, ”Merry Christmas, fantasy assholes.”

End rant here. 

And now, a message from disclaimer:

Disclaimer: I am sure that somewhere in the far reaches of the internetisverse or Twittersphere or the Book of Faces that there lies the real reason that Bran and company will not be appearing in season 5. However, my job here is to NOT venture in to such territory that could be spoilery or glutted with clues from the written verse. 

My oath is my vow to remain Unsullied, from this day until my last day (or until the show reaches conclusion, whichever may occur first).  For how else would a man come up with such an embarrassingly stupid Unsullied theory such as the one you are about to digest?

So before you state the obvious with something along the lines of, “Oz, you are an idiot,” understand that I am well aware and that this statement is indeed true and has long been an established norm. 

One of my contributing responsibilities is to give Sullied readers a vision as to the sight of an Unsullied, show-viewer only (pun intended, and don’t worry… this vision will still be here should you decide to refresh later). 

Here goes:

Theory #1: Bran’s story arc has simply caught up with the aforementioned written verse.  This seems unlikely since there are two more books before the clock strikes midnight.  However, I guess it would be plausible that the best course of action for D&D would be just to hold it up for a season in hopes that Saint Nicholas will shove the next book down the chimney before filming season 6. 

But given the fact that the slow-cooking George R.R. Martin has supposedly already shared future secrets of his creation with the show-runners, I find this one highly unreasonable, especially since it has to be a forgone conclusion the show will indeed beat the books to denouement (unless the show goes for 8 seasons, and even then… ).  Besides that, this theory is just too damn simplistic.      

Theory #2:  Bran and Dany’s story arcs are directly linked and one must catch up with the other. 

Yes, I think Bran and Dany’s respective stories will intertwine at some point in the future.

This theory is admittedly based on a couple of important assumptions: 1. That Bran’s journey and subsequent actions are as important to the future of the series as the show-runners have led us to believe, and 2. Dragons can be warged. 

I would think it is fairly logical to believe through the eyes of a viewer that Dany, accompanied by her army of Unsullied, the Second Sons, and a trio of dragons, remains the early favorite to end up on the throne when all is filmed and written. 

But this piece is based on the importance of the story of that whose characters are NOT expected to make an appearance this coming season (Dany will get her own post later). 

Part of what I try to accomplish with these Looking Forward posts is to decipher instances in the show alone that might lead to an idea of where we are headed.  But unlike seasons past, season 4 left a lot more questions than answers due to the heavy amount of deaths that transpired, as well as the plentiful number of remaining characters who are making major location changes. 

One of the more information-filled episodes of the season, in my opinion, came from “First of His Name.”  Near it’s conclusion, the intriguing Jojen (damn you people for killing this great character) sees a vision of the weirwood while telling Bran that the rest of them are essentially just in attendance to help him get to the raven and that luckily, Craster’s was indeed not the last stop for him. 

Meera inquires as to how they will know the end is near to which Jojen responds, “You’ll know,” while holding up a vision of his hand on fire. 

Dragon shadowObviously, this vision could be symbolic of a great many things. 

But if you combine this with the earlier vision Bran has of a dragon flying over King’s Landing, and the fact that the dragon in the vision is actually a shadow like a dragon might see if it was looking down, you start getting the idea. Couple this with the tree-rooted man stating “But you will fly,” and just maybe one or two weird-ass show viewers get the same inclination as this village idiot. Then again, maybe not. 

If by chance this is somewhat correct, it would make sense that Bran’s traveling side show would need a season on the sideline while Dany cleans up the dumpster fire that is Slaver’s Bay.  Of course, this doesn’t mean that other Unsullied will necessarily comprehend why a cliffhanger will have to be shelved for a year. 

But hey, at least we have a new website with disappearing visions that contain one second clips of the new season for the holidays. Merry Christmas!

On a serious note, I sincerely want to thank all of you for helping us build the Wall here at WotW.  We are nothing without you, and I think I can speak for all of the staff when I say that we are happy to have this establishment as our new home.  Please spread the good cheer and share our site with other GoT lovers.

Until next time, Happy Holidays to you and your House and may there always be peace in your realm.  –Oz

“Unbowed.  Unbent.  Unsullied.”

Follow Oz of Thrones on twitter. 

Part 1:  A Blind Attempt

REMINDER: Please be mindful of the Unsullied and refrain from posting ANY information from the books in the comments!!

55 responses

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    1. Turncloak,

      1, it wasn’t much of an explanation, and 2, the post is about a lot more than that.

      (And anyway- Oz is Unsullied, so Unsullied shouldn’t know what Bran is going to be doing in advance. That’s kind of the point.)

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    2. I would have to agree…but I fell as though they could of done some awesome flashbacks through Brans powers (just to keep him relevant)…which I guess they could do without him actually being in the season…thoughts?

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    3. Sue the Fury,

      I see what you’re saying but since the words came from David Beinioffs mouth I do consider them very minor spoilers in reference to what Bran will be doing.

      This seems straight forward enough.

      I do agree that the marketing of the threeeyedraven has been a disaster and poorly executed

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    4. You are either waiting on the jolly fat man to slide down your chimney with a new book, or you are waiting on Santa Claus.

      You sunuvabish! This is not one of those “I did this when I read this” posts that didn’t actually happen and is only written in order to get attention…. I WAS DRINKING WATER while reading that sentence and coughed it up through my nose! YOU BASTARD!

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    5. Yeah I’m deleting ANY POST that has book info in it. Seriously, this is not a new thing. Anything that happens after Three-Eyed Raven says the thing to Bran in the underground tree place is a spoiler.

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    6. Wouldnt be surprised actually if there was somehow an appearance from the gang !

      As always, great to read you Oz ! Keep up the great work ! 😉

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    7. Thanks Oz and Merry Rh’istmas to you all!

      I always enjoy reading your POV and it’s great to get a fresh set of eyes on something speculated upon by we spoiled souls…

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    8. I feel that Bran’s story has suffered the most from the stubborn refusal to include flashbacks on the show. It’s no suprise why unsullied tv critics are glad he’s taking a season off.

      I think the Bran feels like the opposite coin of Daenerys meaning his story is quite disconnected from the going-ons in much of Westeros. However, I do think they have handled Dany better than Bran.

      A bit of foreshadowing on who the three eyed raven is could have also gone a long way. Why should show watchers care about Bran and the Three Eyed Raven at this point based on what they’ve seen so far?

      Now putting him on the bench for a season only validates the initial opinion of show only watchers about Bran being wasted time(not talking about Oz here but other unsullied based on what reactions I’ve read). Very curious indeed considering they did their best to keep Theon and Jaime involved despite opportunities to also bench them in previous seasons.

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    9. If there’s nothing for him to do then I’m quite happy for him not to be in. There’s a lot to cover so why waste the screentime on Bran sitting around doing nothing or filler. I’m hoping that Brienne and Sansa make some legit progress into their WoW storylines or I’d have been all for leaving them on the sidelines a bit this season too. There’s a lot to get it in and they’re already cutting stuff I deem important or at least enjoyed in the book so I want them to make the most of the stuff they are putting in and not filler just to keep a character doing something until they become relevant again.

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    10. outdoorcats:
      cracking up at ‘…the dumpster fire that is Slaver’s Bay’ — Merry Christmas Oz!

      I came to comment on the exact same thing, love it!

      Thanks for another great column, Oz, and Merry Christmas!

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    11. I used to feel despair about the glacial pace of Martin’s writing, and I don’t wish to spoil non-book readers, which appear to make up about half of the GoT audience.

      A lot is contingent upon when The Winds of Winter gets published. It could answer so many questions. But I doubt we’ll see it until after Season 5 airs. (Come on, George!) More likely, we’ll have it prior to the airing of Season 6, which will heavily feature events in The Winds of Winter…

      Season 7 will (probably) be the final season of the show. Benioff and Weiss have said that numerous times. Few people, however, believe that the 7th volume, A Dream of Spring, will be out before Season 7 airs. Which is unfortunate for book readers, but on the bright side, sullied and unsullied alike won’t know what’s happening next in the show, and we’ll all be on the edge of our seats.

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    12. Thanks, Oz, for another great post, and a very Merry Christmas to all WOtW staff and community! Thanks, WOtW, for giving us an early Christmas present by establishing this site!

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    13. Greenjones,

      It said months ago though, before they even started filming. I would take that with a massive grain of salt. No, I don’t think we’re seeing Bran or Leaf or any of them.

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    14. For the record Oz you are not an idiot. Whether your theories are right or wrong (or somewhere in between) is irrelevant. Based upon the information that you have at hand, your analyses use sound and logical thinking. You’ve at times picked up on things from the show and made connections that I (a sullied) have missed. combined with your humorous style it means I’ll always enjoy reading your posts. And us sullied are getting less and less sullied as plot X gets changed and plot Y catches up with the books. Next year they should all be plot Y. Personally I’m disappointed with the decision to bench Bran and co too. They should have given him something this coming season even if it’s just one scene with little consequence (like Yara’s last appearance) to keep him relevant to the audience. Merry Christmas fellow watchers.

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    15. Sue the Fury,

      Are we allowed to discuss how much unadapted material is left for Bran in the books without discussing actual content? Or is that going to get deleted too. Just wanting to clarify the rules.

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    16. I just can’t wait for the season to start!! Been rewatching the 4th season and it’s even more epic a second time around (OK, I’ve definitely watched it more than 2 times…). Just give us a great trailer to drool over for a month or 2!

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    17. King in the North Carolina,

      yeah, I’d say before the end of Season 1 maybe 5% were book readers… maybe 10%.
      now the show has definitely gotten a lot more people reading the books, but I’d say the percentage of book readers to non is about 8/92%

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    18. Of the Night,

      can’t get into book talk at all- because even getting into chapter quantities is spoiling plus you know people will post more spoilers. This is really meant to be an Unsullied post.

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    19. Ser Matt the Sullen,

      I don’t think they have contractual guarantees. The writers simply felt there was a story to tell there, and they clearly prefer to keep characters around if possible – and I think the negative reactions to, for instance, Theon’s material in season 3 influenced their approach to this issue in subsequent seasons.

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    20. You’re really overthinking this and you’ve been misinformed.

      [snip- NO BOOK TALK PERIOD.]

      That’s it.

      Though…up until this moment I never realized how utterly absurd it is to attempt to make a viral marketing campaign based on the “Three-eyed Raven” subplot when the executive producers have OPENLY STATED that they won’t be revisiting it next season.

      This is a failure to communicate between the writers and whoever they hired to make their crap viral marketing campaign.

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    21. I have no idea.

      The simple answer seems to be that the show is having trouble juggling too many disparate subplots as it is (in case the Unsullied haven’t noticed…the Greyjoys have barely been in the last two seasons)….and the casting announcements let you know that House Martell of Dorne will be a major feature next season. So faced with juggling so many subplots, and the dreaded risk of Bran’s storyline going past the end of its print material, it just seemed logical to put it on the back burner for a season, completely.

      I, for one, think this was probably a smart move…though I wish we’d at least get a Bran cameo in the premiere or finale of Season 5, just to touch base with him.

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    22. Oz, as always, your posts are a joy to read, thank you for your intelligent perspective

      Wishing everyone a joyful whatever-you-happen-to-celebrate on this cold dark December night, and may everyone have at least one new book waiting to be read!

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    23. Is it possible we still might get visions with Bran and T3ER doing voice overs?

      Then they would not technically be appearing.

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    24. OZ!!! Man, have I missed you! So glad to see you back and in such fine form. Looking forward to more of your Looking Forward posts as we move forward to the premiere date. Just keep us moving forward, ok?

      Merry merry and happy happy to the whole community here. Thanks for all of the great entertainment, Watchers!

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    25. Hello Oz.
      I like your style, it makes me laugh, and I like your contents, it makes me think.
      However, if I may be allowed constructive criticism, you could tone down on the self-whipping, “I’m just an idiot and please take this with a grain of salt”… Be a proud writer, ’cause we like to read your prose. If some readers are not intelligent enough to understand what unsullied speculation is, then why would you bother with what they think of your wits?

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    26. As a sullied (no book talk I promise) I find your posts very insightful and far from stupid Oz. And I agree that using a plot elememt from a character who will be sidelined next season for your promotional campaign is kind of bizarre. Bran has always been one of my favourite characters, I know that his journey hasn’t really been that exciting but as a character I find him fascinating. So I don’t really like it that they just decided to push him out of the season like that, hopefully when he’s back it’ll be worth the wait.

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    27. These posts are always great. And it’s always entertaining to watch the dummies who post comments containing book info get taken to task for it. How does anybody still not know the rules?

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    28. Jaime’sHand1220,

      Agree, all they needed was a few tokenistic voice-overs from Bran and BR while giving cameo appearances to favourite characters who are dead and his growth could have been implied from that

      They had a rule but obviously a lot of people would like to see the dream sequences/flashbacks

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    29. The thing I find most troubling about the lack of Bran in this next season is that it shows a lack of foresight. I have been feeling more and more like the show writing is being done season by season with very little thought into how it will impact the story in the future. I understand that perhaps the reality of TV demands this type of writing but I though GOT had the potential to be truly revolutionary in planning a 7 year show right from day 1. There were some very clever nuggets that they had in season 1 that I thought “wow that’s going to be awesome when that pays off in 4 years” and then season 4 roles around and it’s like “who the F is Tysha?”

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    30. Brandon Stark’s Monster:
      The thing I find most troubling about the lack of Bran in this next season is that it shows a lack of foresight. I have been feeling more and more like the show writing is being done season by season with very little thought into how it will impact the story in the future. I understand that perhaps the reality of TV demands this type of writing but I though GOT had the potential to be truly revolutionary in planning a 7 year show right from day 1. There were some very clever nuggets that they had in season 1 that I thought “wow that’s going to be awesome when that pays off in 4 years”and then season 4 roles around and it’s like “who the F is Tysha?”

      Damn right!

      I think they panicked because they thought “stupid casual viewers won’t even remember that we mentioned Tysha last season”…in which case…MENTION HER MORE THIS SEASON!

      I mean, there are viewers who have no idea who Roose Bolton is, even now (I have family members who honestly had no idea who he was, even as the Red Wedding was occurring – and I think Season 2 did a good job of setting him up).

      They have to stop pandering to the very casual viewers who don’t even remember anyone’s name. Yes, they are the largest number of fans….sort of like a pyramid scheme. Book fans at top, then a larger number of “attentive TV-first viewers”….and then the “I watch it for the sex and violence” viewers.

      You can’t both write Emmy-quality material, AND pander to casual unattentive viewers, AT THE SAME TIME.

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    31. The Dragon Demands: MENTION HER MORE THIS SEASON!

      This is TV. There is no “mention”: there is only “show.” So, they needed to show her more that season: which created a slight logistic problem! (In a sense, though, they did, through the art of adaptation!)

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    32. Brandon Stark’s Monster,

      I think the only way that could have happened would have been if they had gone to HBO, gotten guaranteed clearance for 7 seasons, and then had a couple of years just to work on scripts. But since they were operating on a season-by-season basis up until this season it was never feasible for them to spend the precious extra time on future scripts that they needed for filming and post-production. Based on reports I’ve read, it takes a couple of months just to get one season of scripts hammered out. Would it have been nice if they could have had the time and job security to spend a year-plus writing scripts for all 7 seasons at once? Yeah, totally. But they didn’t, so some inconsistencies are inevitable.

      In terms of Bran’s plot specifically, I think that Oz makes good points. I also think that in terms of predicting show direction, his theories are as good as anyone’s–maybe even better since his vision is not clouded by whats “supposed” to happen according to the books.

      I do have a bit of a sub-theory to add to the mix:

      I think it’s clear that a lot of Bran’s story revolves around his visions. So far the show has steered away from any visions/flashbacks that are not immediately relevant to the plot that is happening in current or future show-time (rather than the pre-S1 past). Danny’s visions in the House of the Undying were altered from the books to be more immediately relevant, so I think it’s reasonable to assume that Bran’s visions will receive similar treatment. D&D either have to give him visions about a past that show-only fans probably don’t care about, or give him relevant visions with heavy potential for spoiling the audience. I mean, even the split second of dragon-shadow has given fans ideas that only a few book readers had come up with (i.e. Bran possibly warging a dragon). Ditto Danny’s vision of the destroyed throne room (before that I hadn’t considered the idea that the battle for the throne might totally destroy the Red Keep). So more Bran would mean more spoilers–for book readers as well as show watchers. Personally I’m ok putting that off for another year.

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    33. Blind Beth,

      They would not have scripted all 7 seasons at once if they could have. The creative processes prevent even novelists from doing that. Martin is proof of that: despite having the general plots and stories outlined years ago, he found it necessary to heavily revise sections, add things and delete them. Another fantasy novelist of a similar vein, Pattrick Rothfuss, found that he had to entirely rewrite the 2nd and 3rd books of his trilogy after final revisions to his first book.

      Cinema gets the added element of writers and producers not being able to fully “see” what they have written until the actors do it. You don’t think to elevate Robb Stark from a secondary character to a lead character until you watch Maddon seize the character. You watch Dance deliver Tywin and then think: we have to do more with this. And, of course, there might be cases where you watch things and think: ugh, there just is not a way to make this character cinematic. This is why TV and movie scripts are so heavily rewritten on the spot all of the time.

      Of course, the other issue is that they have to tell a cohesive story every year. Audiences for these series probably pay a bit more attention than typical audiences. However, they won’t be remembering small details from prior years. In classic speak, you cannot really hang guns for Season 4 in Season 2: anything that will be major in Season 4 must be re-introduced then. If a character is going to be important in the finale, then he/she must be shown doing something that we will attach to that a couple of times in that season. Ditto that for any object.

      We cannot forget that for every hardcore watching, there are dozens and dozens of more casual fans. The high ratings and critical acclaim for this and every other popular TV show or movie comes from how well a production caters to casual fans. The rules are for how to convert the masses, not how to preach to a choir.

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    34. Wimsey,

      Those are all good points. The intended main idea of my post was that the level of foresight and planning that Brandon Stark’s Monster wants from the show is unreasonable. As you point out, it’s not only unreasonable but impossible.

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    35. Blind Beth,

      All true: I should have phrased things a bit more clearly in the introduction to make it clear that I was elaborating on the point! Mea culpa!

      Perhaps the classic case of what you can/cannot do was J. Michael Straczynski’s Babylon 5 series. (That really is the one that set the stage for series like Game of Thrones, for whatever that is worth.) Of course, that was even more “seat-of-the-pants” because it began in syndication: lots of smaller networks had to pick it up for it to keep going. JMS wasn’t able to get back actors from the pilot: so he had the choice of recasting the roles or transferring their story lines to new characters. (He went for the latter because after only one show, why not?) The biggest spanner in the works came when the executive producers essentially sacked the lead actor (the stories behind it vary immensely), forcing JMS to heavily rewrite in order to create a new lead character!

      Moreover, what Brandon Stark’s Monster’s wanted from the show was not provided. Tyrion talking about XXX (

      Tysha

      ) in Season 1 did not set up anything for her in Season 4. Showing XXX in Season 4 is the only thing that would have set up anything for her at the end of Season 4. All characters on TV are the actors/actresses who play them, not the names used for them. Moreover, big guns to be fired late in a season must be hung earlier that season, NOT in the prior to that season. So, a name with no face hung three years earlier was not a setup.

      (ALSO: the TV show actually took that gun off the wall pretty quickly when Shae noted that no woman who had nearly been raped was going to just jump into bed with someone right away; in truth, I doubt that this is a romantic fiction many women would write….)

      All of that written, I think that B&W did as good a job with Bran’s arc as they could have given the source material. This was going to be a tough one: Martin had a tough time padding it in the books, after all. Although some fans didn’t like it, adapting the “sack” of Craster’s Keep from

      having Cold Hands single-handedly exterminate the lot of them “off-camera” with only an unrealized (in two senses of the word!) threat to Bran to [spoiler] Jon et al. doing it with Bran & Co. very much threatened was good adaptation. The action was transferred from a tertiary character to a protagonist, another protagonist had a direct threat rather than one he only vaguely realized, and we got the “oh, the brothers just missed each other again!” Oh, and we didn’t have to go: [spoiler]“um, Bran: don’t eat the ‘pork’…..” 🙂

      Otherwise, it would be just “Are we there yet?” in the snow: and that’s not good cinema!

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    36. Bran’s absence next season will actually work pretty well with the way Isaac is physically changing as he matures. We won’t have the problem that ROME had with Octavius, necessitating different actors for the same character in a single season.

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    37. Just to say,somewhat belatedly, that as usual I enjoyed your feature, Oz. (I don’t suppose you are anywhere nearer to getting an interview from the elusive Ms Dickie? Though I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s something that happens when one least expects it).

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    38. You’re so interesting! I do not think I’ve read through a single thing like that before. So great to discover another person with a few genuine thoughts on this topic. Seriously.. thank you for starting this up. This site is something that is required on the web, someone with some originality!

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