Maisie Williams on the end of Game of Thrones; Miguel Sapochnik talks directing Bastards and the season finale

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Gotta love the run-up to the Emmys, with interviews galore popping up regularly now, as the Game of Thrones contenders put themselves out there. Today, we have two great new interviews to share with you- Maisie Williams speaks with Variety, and GoT director Miguel Sapochnik sits down with the New York Times. 

Looking ahead at the impending end of Game of Thrones, Williams is accepting, telling Variety, “Good things must come to an end or they’re not good anymore. It doesn’t last forever and we’ve done what we came to do, it’s time to wrap this up, and it will have the ending it was always supposed to have, and that’s very special. David [Benioff] and Dan [Weiss] started writing this show knowing the end, not knowing that it might actually come around and we might be allowed to make that many [seasons] — at the beginning we were just willing to make one [season]. They started this with an end in sight, and so it’s exciting to be closing it.”

When it comes to Arya’s bloody execution of Walder Frey in the season 6 finale, Maisie is “so thrilled” about being the one to finish him off. She tells Variety that she checks in with the GoT crew for their reactions on show matters, and that “Everyone, from all departments, said, ‘you have got the best kill of any kill ever. I don’t think there’s a single person in the world that won’t be thrilled that Walder Frey is gone,’ so it felt very, very good. It was such a fun day – so many things just went so well with that scene.”

As for who she’d like to see Arya meeting up with in season 7, the actress says that “It would be wonderful to work with one of the Starks again, but I just want her to see Melisandre or Cersei and not be dead at the end of it.” She explains, “To cross another big name off the list – but then I feel like people might come for me, because although everyone doesn’t like Cersei, we kind of love to hate her and I love to hate her. For the story it would be cool to meet either one of those and put a sword into them.”

Alright you heard her- don’t come for Maisie if Arya takes out your fave!

Visit Variety to read about the best part about Williams’ Emmy nomination, how she thinks Jon would handle the news that he and Arya are cousins, and more.


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Miguel Sapochnik talks to the New York Times about his Emmy-nominated work on Game of Thrones with “Battle of the Bastards” and his direction of the season finale “The Winds of Winter.”

He’s not directing any episodes in season 7, unfortunately. “I’m getting a little breather, but hopefully I’ll be back,” he says. We’ll keep our fingers crossed for season 8!

When asked, Sapochnik explains that the toughest thing to depict was “Having 3,000 horses running at each other, especially after we discovered that horses cannot touch each other. It’s illegal — it’s a very valid rule about protecting the horses. So the very thing we were trying to do was not allowed. And we only had 70 horses.”

They solved the issue by having “one guy run into the frame, and then the horse rider would pull the horse, which means make the horse fall and lie down on its side. Later we would digitally superimpose another C.G.I. horse and make it seem like it had impacted the live one. Pulling horses down, you can do. It’s about turning their necks in a certain direction, and then having two guys with a rope wrapped around the front two legs — they pull the rope, and then it allows them to fall very painlessly onto a bedded mulch base, so they’re falling into a soft surface.”

Sapochnik discusses the choices involved in a shocking scene from the season finale- young King Tommen’s suicide, jumping from the Red Keep after the wildfire explosion.

The director says, “It was scripted as shot — they wanted a single shot of him walking away out of frame, waiting an unusually long moment, and then returning and, without pause, throwing himself off the building. One of the most interesting things was trying to work out how long to have him offscreen before he came back. It’s something I’d never done — how long do I stay on an empty frame?

“I saw this great YouTube clip: It was in a bar, and a bunch of people were watching that scene, and it was amazing. There were these girls at the front, and when Tommen jumped out, they just went bananas. And I couldn’t work it out: Were they bananas because they felt terrible? Or because they loved it?”

The aforementioned video- Tommen reactions are at the 5:00 minute mark:

Miguel Sapochnik has more to say about Battle of the Bastards and The Winds of Winter over at the New York Times.

120 responses

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    1. I really don’t understand those who cheered on Tommen’s death. I even watched the video where people cheered for Cersei blowing up the sept.

      I hope Arya’s storyline is not only killing people one after another and I definitely don’t want her to be the one to kill Cersei.

      I hope Sapochnik returns for season 8. His season 6 episodes were outstanding (ranks 1 and 3 on my list) and Hardhome as well (rank 5).

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    2. Gosh I hate the guy in the front row for laughing when Tommen killed himself. It’s mind boggling how many people in the reactions I’ve watched can’t understand that something horrible just happened.
      Apart from that, I would love a collaboration between Neil Marshall and Miguel Sapochnik for S8.

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    3. That Maisie interview was post-script reading? Woohoo, she’s going south!

      As probably everyone now knows, I hope she kills Mel, but fails on Cersei.

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    4. It’s always nice to hear Maisie talk about Arya. She has a great understanding of the character and what she said about Jon and Arya’s relationship is something I can see happening. If they do reunite in season 7, I hope they’re able to overcome these obstacles and trust each other (I don’t want a repeat of Jon/Sansa).

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    5. LOL, I love that Miguel watched the Burlington Bar reaction video for 6×10. Those videos are one of the best things about watching Season 6.

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    6. Just read the whole interview with Maisie – there has been much discussion about her turning dark Interesting that she shares the same concern:

      Do you think it’s a good progression for Arya, that she clearly gets enjoyment from killing the people on her list?

      It does worry me, because – I’m going to steal something that Kit Harington said in an interview, because it sounded really great – it’s sad when our heroes take it too far and they don’t just do their job, they actually enjoy it and you see a twisted spark behind the eyes. It’s worrying. I think it’s worrying because I care about this little girl, and she is still a little girl. As an audience member, you’re just like “Arya’s a badass and she kills people and it’s cool,” and it’s like, “yeah, thank you, I’m flattered,” but from a personal perspective, you can’t just be like, “I play a really cool character, she kills everyone!” That’s got no drive and no reason and no purpose. To me, as an actress, I try not to be like “this scene’s so cool!” I try and go into it like “why is there this weird smile on her face and how long has she thought about this and when did she find out about Walder Frey killing her family?” You have to justify it and make it a realistic thing.

      For someone so young, she’s so amazingly level headed and mature. She’s one of the reasons why I will be very sad to see this show ends. Think they should do a spin off with Arya and the Hound….or not. Still, fun to read her reactions that are shared by so many others

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    7. I know I’m going to get killed for this, but I’m not nearly as big of a fan of Sapochnik as everyone else. Really really hope that David Nutter gets the series finale, or even Alex Graves (though at this point, I doubt Alex Graves will ever return). I think Nutter is a much better action director than Sapochnik who has had the good fortune of directing some of the series most popular episodes. Don’t get me wrong, he’s done a good job, but I think a lot of people would’ve also done a good job when stepping into such a well oiled machine like Game of Thrones is and having top notch production designers, fight choreographers, and visual and special effects mavens at your disposal.

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    8. Dee Stark,

      Really? You’re so sure David Nutter couldn’t have done as good or better? Now you’re just disagreeing with me just to disagree.

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    9. People cheered / laughed when Tommen died ? Well, that’s… Downright bizarre. Poor Tommen, I doubt anyone could possibly have any form of animosity towards him.

      Maisie Williams is charming, isn’t she ? Delightfully vivacious and profoundly engaging. 🙂
      It is both interesting and somewhat intriguing that she envisages the possibility of Arya “coming back” from the brink, so to speak, after what she did at the Twins. I may be overly pessimistic but I cannot quite fathom how that would be possible.

      While it is entirely true the sixth season was about all the Starks crossing a line and losing their innocence, in a symbolic way, Arya seems a bit too far gone for a return to any kind of “normal”, or even semi-normal, emotional life. Meryn Trant’s death was already a big clue but Walder Frey’s was the last nail in the coffin, I felt. The pleasure she took from cutting the Frey partiarch throat was disturbing in and by itself but the Frey pie was on another level all together… While the concept may be funny (I’ll admit, it kind of is), if one stops for even a minute to contemplate the actual logistics and mindset of such a deed, it is hard not to feel nauseous and entirely disgusted by what Arya did. It went even beyond the mindless brutality of what she did to Trant; in this instance, it was a calculated, thought-out, sadistic butchery. Literally. I do not know how one “comes back” from that.

      While I, like pretty much everyone, wish for a Stark reunion, I cannot quite fathom how that could possibly work out well. Both Bran and Arya have departed the realm of “normal” society, in many ways. They have learnt to exist in a world that runs parallel to that of more ordinary people. Conversely, their siblings have always remained connected to the more basic rules of human interactions. All four of them in a room… I am certain they would have a lot to say to one another (anecdotes galore ^^) but I struggle to imagine any kind of longterm collaboration.

      However, I wholeheartedly agree with her in regards to Arya’s path. She is a tragic figure; a very young girl who has been through a lot without much guidance and, above all, without much if any affection. She has not had many people to trust over the years, not many people to take care of her. Which is why Lady Crane’s death was such a traumatic event. For once, Arya had encountered someone she could confide in and trust; someone who was willing to welcome her and give her some peace. And she died brutally.

      As for Arya in the army, while the idea is a lot of fun, I doubt it would work out. She is an assassin, not a soldier. Her techniques and skills would not necessarily translate well onto a battlefield where sheer brute force is still the ultimate commodity. The Hound made a very good point about it. 😉

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    10. LatrineDiggerBrian,

      No, I am not. That is my view.
      I though that the Winds of Winter, which had many scenes, stories , and characters to cover, was much better than mothers mercy. Not just the content of the episode, just how it was made. Maybe if miguel did it I would have enjoyed it more.

      I think you’re just saying that to be different lol

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    11. LatrineDiggerBrian:
      I know I’m going to get killed for this, but I’m not nearly as big of a fan of Sapochnik as everyone else. Really really hope that David Nutter gets the series finale, or even Alex Graves (though at this point, I doubt Alex Graves will ever return). I think Nutter is a much better action director than Sapochnik who has had the good fortune of directing some of the series most popular episodes. Don’t get me wrong, he’s done a good job, but I think a lot of people would’ve also done a goodjob when stepping into such a well oiled machine like Game of Thrones is and having top notch production designers, fight choreographers, and visual and special effects mavens at your disposal.

      “a good job” HAHAHAHAHA

      He did a phenomenal job, actually.

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    12. Lord Parramandas,

      Hiii

      Oh Good!!! I’m glad. It said MAJOR spoiler!! Good on you
      I never look at spoilers so it’s easy for me 🙂

      What worries me is ppl reading the spoilers and saying them as predictions :s

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    13. What I love about Maisie is that her interviews are always thoughtful and mature, and then she is a complete goofball as well outside of it. But she really does love this show. It must be strange to grow up as part of such a huge production, and think of it ending. I think we’ll see Maisie for a very long time. ☺

      Miguel will be missed in S7, despite having other great directors on board. The logistics of directing GoT completely boggles my mind, and I admire the scores of people working constantly on every aspect.

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    14. Dee Stark,

      I’ve decided that if there is a “spoiler!” in the title, I will (try to) stay away from it. I will still read about casting news, characters returning and the actors’ interviews but try to avoid images from filming sites and serious plot leaks.

      Yes, I agree with your last statement. Even though I did not avoid spoilers (save those which were actual recaps of the scenes) I was seriously pissed about how many things were actually leaked, but covered as “innocent predictions”. I have the same problem with TWD. Those so called “Spoiling Dead” leak basically everything and FB page, youtube comments and TWD Wikia are full of legit spoilers, but people do not even bother to mark them as spoilers. Then I have to distance myself completely, but that diminishes my hype for the show.

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    15. Ok this is probably a withdrawal induced rant, but I am getting kinda worried by what Maisie said about Jon & Arya coz this is sorta like having my worst fear reaffirmed. We know Maisie has already read the script for season 7 & what she is saying here can not merely be her speculation,but parts of actual storyline seeping through her consciousness. And what she is saying sounds kinda like a rewrite of Jon & Sansa from season 6 & Its disappointing.Jon not willing to recognize the skills acquired by his younger sister,until they go into a battle where she proves her worth .
      Ever since they have moved past the books the writers on the show are desperately trying to shove this storyline down our throats, where Jon is supposedly a chauvinist who cannot see women as capable of protecting themselves or be of any use in battle & have to be protected by men. And its frustrating because that’s not how Jon is in the books & & what’s even more frustrating is it doesn’t come across like that on the show either. Kit’s portrayal is not what they keep pitching in the interviews & for that matter his rendition is closest to how we have known Jon in the books.
      Jon has lived with the wildlings where women didn’t live by the conventional gender roles. One of the reason he fell in love with Ygritte was coz she was a strong feisty independent women. There were a few parallels drawn between Ygritte & Arya, and not getting into the creepy side of it but Jon appreciated that about Arya more than anyone ever did & supported her for it.I understand that he would be heartbroken to see his younger sister turned into this ruthless assassin,as that is not the life he would have wanted for her. But none of them had easy going & he would be proud of how she survived on her own & how far they have come. I can totally picture him admiring how efficient & dexterous she is with Needle now.I really really hope the writers have come up with something creative for Jon & Arya, coz I am still reeling from the disappointment that turned out to be Jon & Sansa & not sure I can take that again.
      Rant Over

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    16. Flayed Potatoes,
      It was this part that gave me the impression: “It would be wonderful to work with one of the Starks again, but I just want her to see Melisandre or Cersei and not be dead at the end of it”.

      She talks about the Stark characters collectively, but namechecks Mel and Cersei specifically. This indicates to me that these latter characters are fresher on her mind, which may be because she read about them in the script.

      And she talks about the Stark actors in the second conditional, which is used for unrealistic statements (would) and Mel/ Cersei in the first, which is used for realistic ones (want), and only later salvages herself with the ‘would be cool’. So, unreal vs. real.

      Of course, this is just haruspex augury and whatnot. Good thing is, we’ll know soon! If Maisie is sighted in Spain, Arya’s going south. If on the Winterfell set, north.

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    17. LatrineDiggerBrian,

      Nutter is one of the weaker directors of Thrones. Just watch the Daznak’s Pit scene. Poorly directed. Alex Graves and Sapochnik are simply playing in a different league. Graves, Marshall and Sapo are the best helmers on the show. Shame that the first two won’t return, but Sapo will do a great job with the finale.

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    18. Looking forward to reading these.

      I’ve said here before that the Tommen suicide scene is similar to a suicide scene in a movie I watched recently called “Ida”. Ida’s director is Paweł Pawlikowski. I was almost certain that Sapochnik had been inspired by that scene in Ida. It’s interesting to find out that it’s actually the writers who were inspired by it. …Unless there’s an interview of them saying otherwise.

      It’s just too uncanny. Inspiration isn’t plagiarism.

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    19. ash: For someone so young, she’s so amazingly level headed and mature.

      I agree! I’ve seen some criticize her for being immature simply for, at least as I see it, being genuinely excited about something and sharing her excitement, and I always shake my head. I think the way she conducts herself would serve as an excellent blueprint for other young stars.

      I really hope Sapochnik is given the series finale. In a show that’s had some great directors…really great directors, I think Sapochnik rises above them all.

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    20. Rich Stark,

      I understand that he would be heartbroken to see his younger sister turned into this ruthless assassin,as that is not the life he would have wanted for her.

      I think he would be too. But, if there’s anyone who can save her, it’s Jon. I saw how she slept with needle like one might do with a teddy bear. Needle, and the one who gave it to her, has been Arya’s lifeline.

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    21. Lord Parramandas: I was seriously pissed about how many things were actually leaked, but covered as “innocent predictions”.

      Once I realized some of what I’d read as “predictions” were obviously spoilers people had read elsewhere, but were pretending they were their predictions, I found myself rather annoyed. It gave me a whole list of people’s posts to skip over next season (at least if I remember all of them. I certainly know I’ll remember some *cough* Geek Furious *cough*). I love reading the spoilers we get in articles here during filming. I devour them. Once the season starts, though, I absolutely do not enjoy running across spoilers based on leaks.

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    22. I can’t say I’m comfortable with horses being pulled down. It may be painless but what about the stress it causes to the animal. Imagine someone making you fall without you knowing what is going on. Fake looking or not, CG should be used for things like this.

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    23. Mihnea,

      If you guys truly want to avoid spoilers, the only way to do it is to avoid these comments. Otherwise, expect people to slip up or just not care because they assume everyone else is reading spoilers like they are.

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    24. OT but Jason Mamoa’s most recent Instagram post is tripping me out!

      What does it all mean?? lol I feel like he’s so excited he can’t keep a secret about a Drogo cameo in s7… OR he’s seriously messing with our heads. XD Love that guy either way.

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    25. ash,

      That quote from her interview is a good one…and she’s absolutely right. I’m going to be disgustingly narcissistic here, and quote myself:

      That little girl cut up a man and stuffed him inside a crust. I don’t think that’s so cool for the man, or the girl…

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    26. Rhaenys Stark,

      Gosh I hate the guy in the front row for laughing when Tommen killed himself. It’s mind boggling how many people in the reactions I’ve watched can’t understand that something horrible just happened.

      You hate him…really? That’s interesting. Did you actually weep when Tommen killed himself?

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    27. LatrineDiggerBrian:
      Mihnea,

      If you guys truly want to avoid spoilers, the only way to do it is to avoid these comments. Otherwise, expect people to slip up or just not care because they assume everyone else is reading spoilers like they are.

      Completely distancing myself from a show and its main fansite would diminish my hype. This site was one of the reasons why I enjoyed season 6 so much,

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    28. Lord Parramandas:
      I really don’t understand those who cheered on Tommen’s death. I even watched the video where people cheered for Cersei blowing up the sept.

      I totally cheered when Cersei blew up the sept. It was a total badass move and the sparrows got their just dessert.

      I hope Arya’s storyline is not only killing people one after another and I definitely don’t want her to be the one to kill Cersei.

      I hope Sapochnik returns for season 8. His season 6 episodes were outstanding (ranks 1 and 3 on my list) and Hardhome as well (rank 5).

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    29. Anon:
      Rich Stark,

      I think he would be too.But, if there’s anyone who can save her, it’s Jon. I saw how she slept with needle like one might do with a teddy bear. Needle, and the one who gave it to her, has been Arya’s lifeline.

      I think it is just as likely that Arya could save Jon. 🙂

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    30. Northop,

      Couldn’t disagree more. Daznak Pit was an unbelievable action scene where you never lost perspective of the action because it was so deftly shot. On the other hand, Miguel Sapochnik’s action scenes are much less coherent. Did you ever see Band of Brothers? Some of the most unbelievable war action scenes you’ll ever see and David Nutter won an Emmy for it. He’s been nominated for 5 Emmy’s and won 3. Not very many people in the industry (or even on this board) agree with your assessment of David Nutter.

      I agree with you on Graves.

      Why wouldn’t Neil Marshall return?

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    31. Anon,

      Completely agree! We also saw that when she threw all her earthly possessions in a heartbeat but couldn’t bear the thought of parting with Needle. There is almost a sacred bond between Jon & Arya, And I hope whenever they reunite,they find the trust & connection they once had & truly open up to each other. This relationship doesn’t need any manufactured conflict & I pray to god writers don’t try to create any.

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    32. LatrineDiggerBrian,

      No, I did not avoid spoilers from this site last season. But I was actually very pissed about how many things were leaked but were presented as innocent speculation with no spoiler warning.

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    33. Yaga:
      That Maisie interview was post-script reading? Woohoo, she’s going south!

      As probably everyone now knows, I hope she kills Mel, but fails on Cersei.

      Yeah, except Maisie would give that impression if she read the scripts and it’s aware that Arya is going on a different direction (North). She wouldn’t spoiler it by saying things that would lead people to think Arya’s reuniting with her family. That’s how the GoT cast rolls lol.

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    34. Yaga,

      She could run into Mel before heading North (Mel is heading south after all), so it would explain why Maisie mentioned her specifically. Cersei has been on Arya’s list from the beginning, so I’m not surprised she got a mention. The things she said about the Starks are also a lot more detailed, which makes me think they’ll reunite.

      Rich Stark,

      I agree with you. Let’s not forget that Jon gave her Needle. I really hope they don’t mess his character even more.

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    35. Lord Parramandas,

      The good news is, most folks on this site are considerate enough to either cover their spoilers, or limit their spoilery posts to articles containing spoilers. It’s one of the many great things about this place…not just how the mods are quick to address uncovered spoilers, once they’re brought to their attention, but how most posters on the site work together to “protect” those who don’t want to be spoiled. Sure, everyone is human and makes mistakes (even as vigilant as I try to be, I know there was at least one occasion during season 5 I posted something somewhere I shouldn’t have), but very few just say, “screw it, I’ll just post whatever I want, and if someone doesn’t want to be spoiled, too bad.”

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    36. Nymeria Warrior Queen,

      Yes most people on this site are considerate and yes the mods do a good job of removing spoilers, but I think when you venture into any comments section, it’s inevitable that you’re going to get spoiled eventually no matter how good the people are or how good the moderation is.

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    37. Regarding Arya: We left Arya at RL killing Walder Frey. Somewhere there on her way to the North is Brienne with Pod. In the same place where the Hound is with the BwB. In the same place where Melisandre is heading to. And here we are, we have enough material to fantasize about what is going to happen with all these people in the same place…

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    38. Anon,

      Of course I don’t actually hate the guy, I don’t know him. But I hate his reaction. Please don’t act like you don’t understand what I meant. And yes, I did weep and I felt almost as bad as during the burning of Shireen last year. His death was one of the most tragic moments of the show and the way it was executed was raw and haunting. This is a kid that has been manipulated all his life and just watched dozens of people (including his wife and her family) being killed by his own mother. Laughing while this kid commits suicide is remarkably insensitive and quite shocking to me. Check out Redbeard’s reaction, my reaction was exactly like him, I was devastated. Anyway, this discussion is not the point of this article.

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    39. I watched every reaction video I could find over the couple of weeks following the finale. The reactions of several in this large group Burlington Bar video to Tommen’s jumping out the window are different than nearly all others. I think the drinking and setting made people respond that way. In most of the others the person/people sat there with mouth agape after saying something like, “No, no, no! What the hell!!” as the shot switched to The Twins with Walder’s voice “For House Lannister…” One thing that is the same across all of the videos is the reaction to Arya killing Walder. Arya is still a major fan favorite that is just getting back into the frey (npi). If they kill her off in any fashion before near the series finale there will be riots – maybe even then.

      Speaking of which, a quote of Maisie’s in the linked article:

      she’s far more effective to fight with Jon than any of his other soldiers. She’s been training for years, she’s effectively like a Stark CIA agent, and I think if they would meet again, Jon would brush that off.

      I’ve been considering not just a reunion with Jon for her but with any other characters that know her. Sandor may be the least likely to still look at her as just a little girl, but even he doesn’t know what she’s become. Every other character will look at her and think she’s been a scared child hiding out the entire time. I’m not one that thinks she should join the BwoB, but if she runs into them they’re certainly going to treat her like they did before.

      I really do think that if she does meet up with Jon and Sansa that it should be in a situation where they witness her kickin’ some ass. Perhaps she could be literally disguised as a boy, rather than just posing as one, showing up at Winterfell and being challenged by someone whom she utterly destroys in single combat. Jon and Sansa watch the beat-down and then are shocked as Arya removes the face. Obviously something better could be written but you get the gist.

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    40. Yaga,

      Anyone who loves Jon (as in 99% of the fanbase, myself included) should be hoping that no one kills Mel at this point, no matter how you feel about her character. Given the very real limitations of magic in ASoIaF, it’s fully possible that his life and hers are linked at this point–as they are both undead, if a different type of undead from those who derive their power from the Great Other. We’ve never seen what happens if a Red Priest(ess) is killed, nor have we seen anyone resurrected by the power of Rh’llor die a second permanent death yet. There’s probably a reason for all of that.

      Davos’s decision to confront Jon and Mel over Shireen’s burning–resulting in her banishment from Jon’s side–could prove to be a horrible mistake with unforeseen consequences in the long run, a major theme in this story. Without her around, he has no one to bring him back again (if he even wanted her to, considering their conversation before the Battle of the Bastards)…and she’s a lot more vulnerable out in the open by herself than she was behind the walls of Winterfell.

      If Arya were to kill Melisandre out of her mindless vengeance for taking Gendry away from her, I wouldn’t be surprised if poor Jon crumples into a lifeless flesh heap on the spot. Indeed, all of this would be quite fitting with the tragedy of the narrative in a lot of ways. Whatever happens, though, I’m sure it’ll be far from the predictable fairy tale so many of the fans are making it out to be now, thinking that they have all the major plot beats figured out while conveniently minimizing the chances that their favorites will die before the end. Walder and Ramsay’s deaths might have been hopeful glimmers, but we’ve been told the ending won’t be overly happy, and all of the exec producers (D&D and GRRM) have gone on the record many times that it won’t ever turn into a simple “good vs. evil” story.

      GoT is still GoT.

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    41. ACME,

      I understand your concerns, it is actually one that I wrestle with too – I like the character and wish the best for her, but at the same time it is fascinating to have to deal with these feelings, as most times in these types of story lines you already know how it will end; the better nature always prevails, it is what we want and expect as an audience – but here nothing is a given, and we (the audience) are forced to deal with it. I hope and fear for Arya, and that is what makes her compelling for me. Bran is another one I worry about although to a lesser extent. I never worry about Jon or Tyrion, a little less so for Dany, she at least has many people to advise her.

      One important note that you forget though is that the show runners are trying to take all the characters to the same end game – even if they are taking different paths to get there. There are several things (like the pie) that happen in the book, but are not done by Arya, but the writers want to still get it in there. This has been done to several other characters as well, so we can’t always attribute all character actions in GOT as key factors determining their eventual end game.

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    42. Rich Stark: Ever since they have moved past the books the writers on the show are desperately trying to shove this storyline down our throats, where Jon is supposedly a chauvinistwho cannot see women as capable of protecting themselves or be of any use in battle & have to be protected by men.

      I think you are reading too much into this, I don’t see Jon as a chauvinist at all, at least not in a bad or derogatory way, but more or less reasonable given the age and relationship. He is an older brother, who still has an vulnerable image of his ‘younger’ siblings as being ones he needs to protect.

      So you are saying that Jon not asking Sansa for her opinion is his failing, but I see it more as hers for not speaking up! She doesn’t need his permission to speak and voice her opinions – that was never how she was made to feel by Jon, if she had that would have been chauvinistic. Sansa is being passive aggressive a lot in season 6, she wants to be asked and deferred to, but is either afraid or too unsure to speak up on her own. She wants others to figure out how she feels, rather than she having to tell them how she feels. It was clearly done to create tension, but I don’t think the intent was to make Jon look like a chauvinist – he never told her to leave everything to him as he shoved her out of the tent, or cut her off every time she opened her mouth. It came off more like two people who know each other, but don’t really understand each other and how the other thinks. They don’t have a deep relationship where subtle nuisances and mannerisms are understood and add to that the 5-6 year gap since they last meet.

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    43. ACME,

      I’m quite sure that we’ll get at least get a Jon-Bran reunion next year, but if it’s more than Bran telling Jon about his parentage remains to be seen. I hope it’s more and that Bran is able to return to Winterfell (and see Sansa) but I’m not sure that’ll ever happen.

      Clob
      Maisie’s interviews are as always delightful to read, though I can’t agree with her that Arya would be better in an army than a random soldier. She’s a good assassin and could be an asset as a sort of secret agent (which I hope is what Maisie actually means), but actually in an army? Arya would get slaughtered and Jon would be right to keep her from it, I’d actually hope he’d brush her off, since a battlefield is no place for Arya. I also have a hard time seeing Arya defeating a capable, trained soldier in single combat, no one can deny that Arya is very resourceful but she also has limitations – she is not trained for combat and I don’t think Needle stands a chance against a regular sword.

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    44. Clob:
      Speaking of which, a quote of Maisie’s in the linked article:
      She’s been training for years, she’s effectively like a Stark CIA agent, and I think if they would meet again, Jon would brush that off.

      I like the CIA reference, as I see a lot of Arya’s FM training to be focused on spying than straight out assassinations (more so in the books as she is there longer and jaquen’s role is different). But a lot of spying activities, learning languages, gathering information, wearing disguises, creating personas, infuriating buildings/organizations. I also watch The Americans, and the similarities are obvious. in Westeros.

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    45. Sundae:
      Clob
      Maisie’s interviews are as always delightful to read, though I can’t agree with her that Arya would be better in an army than a random soldier. She’s a good assassin and could be an asset as a sort of secret agent (which I hope is what Maisie actually means), but actually in an army? Arya would get slaughtered and Jon would be right to keep her from it, I’d actually hope he’d brush her off, since a battlefield is no place for Arya. I also have a hard time seeing Arya defeating a capable, trained soldier in single combat, no one can deny that Arya is very resourceful but she also has limitations – she is not trained for combat and I don’t think Needle stands a chance against a regular sword.

      I agree, the reason Arya has been so ‘lucky’ is that everyone she has targeted or killed has dismissed her as not being a threat – she is young, a girl, and weak looking. In a battle, with so much chaos, I don’t know she might be able to do some damage, but eventually she would be noticed. She wouldn’t be able to fight just anyone in single combat the way Brienne can – she isn’t built for it and thus far her training isn’t sufficient either.

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    46. viki:It was clearly done to create tension, but I don’t think the intent was to make Jon look like a chauvinist – he never told her to leave everything to him as he shoved her out of the tent, or cut her off every time she opened her mouth.

      Well, to be fair, had the writers done something like that, Jon wouldn’t have looked misogynistic; he would have looked like an utter a*sehole,on every level ^^
      It is more subtle than that, luckily. Jon does not actively dismiss his sister; he simply “forgets” about her.
      Now, of course Sansa could have spoken up earlier. No one is exonerating her for that.
      However, the battle plan scene in 6.09 is shot in such a way as to highlight Sansa’s isolation. She is directly in Jon’s field of view the entire time and never once does he look at her when discussing Ramsay’s personality. He looks at Tormund and at Davos but does not give his sister even a passing glance… It is so “on the nose”, so to speak, that Kit Harington must have been instructed to play it like that. Forgetful.
      Trying to push aside all the deep-rooted sympathy and admiration we feel for Jon, let us imagine ourselves in his shoes : we are about to face an adversary of some sort, we want to map out his mindset and only one member of our team has intimate knowledge of said adversary, wouldn’t our immediate reflex be to ask that person for their opinion ? Something tells me it would be.
      Yet, it is not what Jon’s guts tell him to do.

      Nor was it what Tyrion’s own internal organs instructed him to do when, in 6.04, he attempted to broker a deal with the masters without consulting Grey Worm and Missandei who know those people much better than he ever will. And their reaction to his “forgetfulness” was very similar to Sansa’s under the tent (as a matter of fact, it feels like the writers basically copied/pasted the lines from one episode to the other 😉 )

      Grey Worm : You don’t know them. You don’t understand them. We are not human in their eyes. They look at me and see a weapon. They look at her and see a whore.
      Tyrion : They look at me and they see a misshapen little beast. Their contempt is their weakness. They’ll underestimate us every time and we will use that to our advantage.
      Grey Worm : You will not use them. They will use you. That is what they do.
      ——–
      Tyrion : Trust me. My own recent experience with slavery has taught me the horrors of that institution.
      Missandei : How many days were you a slave?
      Tyrion : Long enough to know.
      Missandei : Not long enough to understand.

      There is no trace of contempt or disdain in either Jon’s or Tyrion’s actions towards Sansa, Grey Worm or Missandei. There is no hidden agenda, secret disgust or malicious chauvinism. What there is is an inability, at a certain point, to turn to the best informed people and ask for their advice.

      In Jon’s case, this inability may have something to do with what he believes he knows about his sister. Perhaps he remembers her as the girl who wanted to be a pretty, pretty princess and such a girly-girl wouldn’t be assumed to have anything to contribute in a similar situation. So he does not even think to ask. No need to believe him to be a chauvinistic pig 😉
      Furthermore, as you very rightly pointed out viki, Jon is all about protecting people. It is his thing; he is a natural-born saviour. So he takes charge; he places all the responsibilities, all the duties onto his own shoulders and he soldiers on. It is an admirable trait in many ways but to certain people around him, it may very well look like he is sidelining or ignoring them.

      viki,
      Oh, I know you are absolutely right about this. However, Arya’s storyline in the books is haunted by a growing sense of isolation and inadaptation to “normal” life. The show’s Frey pie was merely a blunt shorthand for that, I believe.

      Sundae,
      The Bran-Jon reunion is a given, I wholeheartedly agree. Someone has to tell Jon about his birth parents after all ^^
      My doubts relate more to any longterm cohabitation between all the Stark siblings. Bran is still a “maybe” : on the one hand, his close connection to magic and the supernatural could ultimately separate him from the rest of the world or even kill him (like it did to the previous Three-Eyed Raven); on the other hand, over the course of his travels, he has always maintained relationships with loving, devoted people (be it Hodor, Osha, Jojen or Meera) so he is still accustomed to this kind of bond. Definite maybe for Bran.
      Arya, conversely… I struggle to see how any lasting reunion with her siblings may be in the cards for her. Of course, it is merely the product of my highly subjective understanding of her story arc. ^^

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    47. ACME,

      When a person has accomplished vengeance, it is possible for that person to come back to humanity, even though the acts of vengeance were depraved.

      Also remember, the everyday life in Westeros is nasty and brutish, with people slain and tortured with no recourse. A little vengeance is hardly more cruel than what else is going on.

      If no one knows who did the killing, the killer is not in for the social consequences that a known killer, such as Jaime, receive.

      The Stark siblings can confide in each other, keep their deeds confidential, and go on with their lives.

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    48. From Maisie’s Variety interview:

      Below, the British thesp tells Variety how she tackled Arya’s unorthodox underdog story, and what she hopes to see in the show’s shortened Season 7.

      Bolding mine, obviously. This interview may have been published on August 26, but that doesn’t mean that’s when it was given. Kit gave EW his “I’m not coming back” interview about 6-7 months before it was published. All we know for sure is that this one was conducted after the Emmy noms were announced. Correct me if it’s made explicit in the interview and I missed it, but this doesn’t read to me like it was given after Maisie read the scripts for Season 7. The cast is typically pretty cagey about their teases once they have indeed read the scripts. Having a bit of info seep through is one thing, but Maisie’s not about to give people a direct blow-by-blow of an actual Stark reunion that hasn’t happened yet. This would be the equivalent of Emilia Clarke or Peter Dinklage reading the Season 5 scripts and saying to an interviewer days later, “If Dany and Tyrion ever met, I think they’d be wary of each other at first but she’d ultimately hear him out and ask him to advise her.”

      I’d be willing to bet that this interview was given a couple of days before Maisie read the scripts and that the Season 7 bits are her own speculation. I honestly wouldn’t get too worked up about it. I mean, if we tune in next summer and Jon tells Arya, “I completely forgot that I had a sword custom-made for you in the hopes that you’d actually learn how to use it,” then I’ll start to wonder if the writers were nursing head injuries when they wrote the Season 7 scripts. As it stands now, I’m not worried. To be honest, after Season 6, I stopped paying attention to cast member assessments of any character apart from the one they actually play.

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    49. Maisie is so mature and always well spoken. Love her.

      I sort of understand why they choose some rivalry between Jon and Sansa as they never been close, she’s more like Cat in a view on Jon. It adds something interesting until white walkers storyline.

      Arya on the other hand was his sibling that he bonded mostly with as they both been sort outsiders. Jon bastard and Arya for not wanting to be lady, tomboish like Lyanna. I hope for everyone’s sake they’re not gonna do any distrust thing between them because that would be lunacy. Of course both of them are changed especially Arya but if anyone can open her heart, someone she can talk to or who will be there for her it’s Jon.

      But why I do think that they’ll push Jon more and more towards Targaryen side of his and especially if they make Jon and Arya nothing but loving brother/sister relationship. I understand if he’ll acknowledge that but seems like this. But maybe he’ll find a balance.

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    50. A LASTING reunion? Maybe not. But a reunion–loving, supportive, and perhaps even effective–might work to the good of House Stark and Westeros. Arya has learned MANY times she’s no good in hand-to-hand combat. She was regularly beaten bloody by even a mere slip of a girl. She knew that she had to deliberately expose herself to Waif-attack so that ultimately she could lure the Waif into the candle house where she had hidden Needle and kill her in the dark. And that was probably the only way she could get Jaqen to let her walk away from the FM. Most likely Maisie sees Arya as so cunning and stealthy and wise to the ways of all sorts of people that she could be the advisor Jon would need AND heed. Strategic trickery would be a major addition to Jon and humanity’s arsenal against the Dead.
      Arya may not be as warped as many fans assume. When she killed Black Walder and Lothar she probably only cut off a few fingers as ‘meat’ to taunt their father before killing him. And hope for some eventual normalcy in Arya’s life remains. She still fights and revenges for family AND friends. Even after all she’s seen, note how she warms up and becomes more herself whenever she is treated with kindness. If she survives the series, with some people and somewhere (perhaps west of Westeros), her indomitable resilience will give her a way forward.
      But first, I hope Arya does kill either Cersei or Melisandre. She too is a Valonqar. She could plausibly meet up with Sandor and they could journey to KL together. If Sandor kills the Mountain and Qyburn, it would clear a path for her to kill Cersei.

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    51. ash:
      For someone so young, she’s so amazingly level headed and mature.She’s one of the reasons why I will be very sad to see this show ends.Think they should do a spin off with Arya and the Hound….or not. Still, fun to read her reactions that are shared by so many others

      I agree! After reading her whole interview, I was just, wow, she’s a really intelligent girl. She knows her character well. I particularly liked the part you quoted. It shows she’s not just about “being cool” or doing a “cool scene”. She has a deep understanding of the implications of Arya’s actions.

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    52. Nymeria Warrior Queen: Once I realized some of what I’d read as “predictions” were obviously spoilers people had read elsewhere, but were pretending they were their predictions, I found myself rather annoyed.It gave me a whole list of people’s posts to skip over next season (at least if I remember all of them.I certainly know I’ll remember some *cough* Geek Furious *cough*).I love reading the spoilers we get in articles here during filming.I devour them.Once the season starts, though, I absolutely do not enjoy running across spoilers based on leaks.

      Good for you that you remember some of them! I don’t. Yes, it’s so annoying. I mean, if they want to be spoiled, go ahead but don’t assume everyone wants to. Sometimes, it seems like there are people who want to be spoiled so they can spoil it for others. So, I’d probably read the articles but skip the comments sections.

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    53. Marlana,
      I have very little illusion about Westeros’s level of socially and legally “acceptable” violence ^^ It is indeed a ridiculously brutal environment in which the line between right and wrong is inherently blurred and the slope incredibly slippery.
      Nevertheless, it is not society’s ability to reintegrate Arya I doubt; it is Arya’s ability (or even desire) to be reintegrated.

      It is undoubtedly true that one can “snap” and subsequently return to a normal existence. However, the Frey pie was not a “snap” nor was it an isolated event. It is part of a pattern and, perhaps more worryingly, part of crescendo. Over the course of the years, Arya has escalated from completely accidental killer (the stableboy) to impulsive, vengeful killer (the Frey bannerman), to calm, vengeful killer (Polliver), to violent, vengeful slaughterer (Meryn Trant) to collected, vengeful slaughterer (the Freys).

      Arya killed both Lame Lothar and Black Walder, then she cut up pieces of their muscles, of their flesh, minced them, cooked them and baked them; a process that might have been more time-consuming that the whole Red Wedding. Yet, in and by itself, this accomplished nothing. Lothar andf Walder did not suffer more because pieces of them were turned into food. So what was really the point ? Well, from what we can gather, Arya went through all that trouble just so she could have the pleasure to torment Walder Frey with parts of his sons’ mutilated bodies.
      I apologise for drawing this parallel but it reminded me of Joffrey’s glee at the idea of serving Robb’s head to Sansa at his wedding feast and Ramsay’s own brand of delight when he sent the Greyjoys Theon’s amputated genitals…

      I wish Arya all the best; I really do. I have loads of sympathy for this character who, to me, is beautifully tragic. Furthermore, I do not think she is as unhinged or profoundly dangerous as Joffrey and Ramsay were. However, I fail to see how a good cry or a heart-to-heart with Jon or anyone would suffice to “solve” anything.
      The Rubicon has been crossed and there is no going back, I believe. It is not to say that she will die or, if she lives, that she will never find a form of happiness or contentment (west of Westeros, maybe). But I genuinely struggle to imagine a way in which she could reintegrate any kind of group, be it a family or a brotherhood, for any significant period of time. I wish I could but I find it very difficult.

      Sam,
      Very wise of you 😉

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    54. ACME

      I apologise for drawing this parallel but it reminded me of Joffrey’s glee at the idea of serving Robb’s head to Sansa at his wedding feast and Ramsay’s own brand of delight when he sent the Greyjoys Theon’s amputated genitals…

      Did it also remind you of Sansa’s glee in seeing Ramsay torn apart and eaten by his dogs?

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    55. Rhaenys Stark:
      Gosh I hate the guy in the front row for laughing when Tommen killed himself. It’s mind boggling how many people in the reactions I’ve watched can’t understand that somethinghorrible just happened.
      Apart from that, I would love a collaboration between Neil Marshall and Miguel Sapochnik for S8.

      I thought that too, but if you watch the video you see that all women seem devastated, while all men, or most of them, have these silly reactions. I do not think that all men are jerks. I just think that it is their way to react to things like that. I mean, the women there seized the tragedy of it all. The men probably felt akward. I bet this guy really regrets his first reaction and by no way finds Tommen’s suicide funny. But back then he reacted like your standard guy.

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    56. LatrineDiggerBrian:
      Dee Stark,

      Really? You’re so sure David Nutter couldn’t have done as good or better? Now you’re just disagreeing with me just to disagree.

      Ha ha Brian, everyone is entitled to his/her opinion, but just admit that you LOVE people disagreeing with you!

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    57. Rich Stark,

      I don’t think that they picture Jon as a chauvinist. I think he would have been the same with Rickon or even Bran. I mean he hasn’t followed Sansa’s or Arya’s lives and experiences those past years. He left them when Sansa was an innocent little damsel dreaming of her prince and Arya was a nine year old tomboy. You have to admit that it is not easy to immediately grasp that they are now a hardened scheming politician and a cold blood assassin.

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    58. Meanwhile, I have managed to persuade myself that Arya didn’t really carve up the Frey boys and actually bake them (did the FM give her cooking lessons as well?) but she just killed them, cut a finger and stuck it in a meat pie for shock effect on Walder before slicing his throat. Ok, I know nothing in the show suggests this is what happened, but let me believe it, ok??

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    59. Sundae:
      ACME,
      Clob
      Maisie’s interviews are as always delightful to read, though I can’t agree with her that Arya would be better in an army than a random soldier. She’s a good assassin and could be an asset as a sort of secret agent (which I hope is what Maisie actually means), but actually in an army? Arya would get slaughtered and Jon would be right to keep her from it, I’d actually hope he’d brush her off, since a battlefield is no place for Arya. I also have a hard time seeing Arya defeating a capable, trained soldier in single combat, no one can deny that Arya is very resourceful but she also has limitations – she is not trained for combat and I don’t think Needle stands a chance against a regular sword.

      I agree with this but on the flip-side, look at Brienne. She has had little to no problem handling well-trained, battle-tested soldiers. Multiple of them at once, too.
      Granted, Brienne has a real sword and is about 2 feet taller than Arya but she wasn’t a soldier. She didn’t train with soldiers, hasn’t been to war (training with others who aren’t trying to truly kill you is different) and yet, she seemingly can handle any of the situations that come her way without so much as a scratch. And Pod, not that I want the kid to bite it but his little battle on horse top with the Bolton soldier in episode 1 (season 6) was a bit of fan-service. Of course, I can suspend belief but in a realistic situation he would’ve had a blade through him unless the Bolton soldiers really are that incompetent.

      On the Miguel note up thread…some of the episodes he has directed have definitely been my favorite but I haven’t been disappointed in the direction by any of the directors really. It comes down to the script, so not every episode is a diamond every time. Also, Miguel is lucky to have directed episodes with badass action and probably the biggest budgets to work with. So while he is definitely at the top of the GoT game, I think all of the moving parts gave him a lot of great stuff to work with (script, budget).
      Sign me up as another who enjoys the Burlington Bar reactions (single or couple reviews are my favorites) but am not a fan of the guy in front. The two girls are okay but I think the cameras location means we see more of them then the rest. I just think the guy milks it and he looks like a dick. He is probably a very nice person but as a first (and second…third) impression is that he is someone who talks through an entire movie but will then shush you if you say anything.

      Love Maisie. Still love Arya and think she can “come back” from the blood-lust. She has tunnel vision. I hope reconnecting to Jon will help her realize she can turn that vengeance into something that will make a difference. Or maybe it will be Sandor because now a Sandor/Arya reunion is more exciting to me.

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    60. Arya was right there when Red Wedding happened at The Twins, and the Freys being responsible is common knowledge to anyone in Westeros. Has Maisie forgotten anything in previous seasons, even her own scenes?

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    61. About Arya killing the Freys. The writers also expcted the audience to be disturbed by it, but the fans embraced it like a cool, empowering moment. We can’t blame the writers for how it was received because people are simply desensitized to violence on screen (unless done to their faves), apart from rape for some reason.

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    62. viki,

      Sou,

      I think you misunderstood what I am saying. I am not saying Jon is a chauvinist, exactly the opposite actually! That’s what I meant when I said: its frustrating because that’s not how Jon is in the books & what’s even more frustrating is it doesn’t come across like that on the show either. Kit’s portrayal is not what they keep pitching in the interviews .

      Jon is probably the least misogynistic person in that world & we saw that with his relationship with Arya, Ygritte, Karsi, Lady Mormont. He has immense respect & admiration for strong independent women, and has never shown having any trouble with accepting them for who they are.

      I understand its gonna be hard for Jon to see what his younger siblings had to go through & what they have become. He would want to watch over them & want them to get some shred of innocence back, purely out of love. And we saw where his heart lies when he said ” If I don’t watch over you, father’s ghost will come back & murder me” & it was heartwarming. But by episode 9, in the script it got changed into Jon ignored Sansa because he thinks she doesn’t have any military experience & couldn’t be of much help in battle(albeit true) ,but that’s now how it happened on the show. At every turn Jon turned to Sansa for advice & explicitly asked for her opinion & looked at her to speak first in the meetings with the Northen Lords and basically did her bidding.
      So my problem is when the creators/writers & the actors keep saying contradictory things in the promotional interviews & there is a stark contrast(pun fully intended) between what they are saying & what they are showing. Even David Benioff said in an interview that “Jon didn’t listen to Sansa”, & that worries me because it shows that they created a conflict which wasn’t well thought out. And I don’t want that happen with Jon & Arya,because as I said earlier the bond they share is almost sacred & it doesn’t need any manufactured conflict to make it interesting. They might struggle with each other’s evolved personas,but in my head they are still proud of each other & they can find it in themselves to trust each other & open up to each other. I can almost picture Jon admiring how dexterous Arya is now with Needle.
      I know I am getting way ahead of myself & like I said before this is probably the withdrawal talking, but Jon & Arya storyline is the closest to my heart & I really really don’t want to be disappointed.

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    63. Interesting to read the comments about people laughing at Tommen’s suicide. Personally I didn’t feel the scene worked. There was no shot of Tommen’s face and no indication to the audience of any kind of despair or pain felt by Tommen. A lot of people I’ve spoken too either found him falling out of the window funny or felt indifferent.
      I tend to think it’s because the scene failed in the way it was shot/directed. People falling rigidly forward is often a comedic action (Only Fools and Horses – Del falling through the bar? – UK viewers may remember that one)

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    64. SerNoName: Did it also remind you of Sansa’s glee in seeing Ramsay torn apart and eaten by his dogs?

      Hmm… Nope. How could it ? The point of comparison I was bringing forth was : X used Y’s mutilated body parts to torment Y’s relative, Z.
      Joffrey used Ned’s (and wanted to use Robb’s) mutilated body parts to torment Sansa.
      Ramsay used Theon’s mutilated body parts to torment the Greyjoys.
      Arya used Lothar and Walder’s mutilated body parts to torment their father.
      Sansa used Ramsay’s mutilated body parts to torment… The dogs ? Ramsay himself ? Some unknown Bolton ? What Sansa did was profoundly worrying enough in its own way not to have to try to associate it with a completely different brand of horror to make it so.

      I really do not wish any harm to Arya. I genuinely like her. And I do believe there is hope for her : she may find happiness, serenity and contentment somewhere. It is not out of the question for her. But the idea that she is going to rejoin society or any large groupe of people, be it an army or a brotherhood, seems far-fetched to me.

      I may be entirely wrong but the Frey pie burnt that particular bridge to ashes in my opinion. We, as an audience, are naturally tempted to ignore the gruesomeness of it all because we like Arya and sincerely hate Walder Frey. We can understand the youngest Stark daughter’s rage (it is, indeed, very understandable) and take pleasure in the Freys’ comeuppance. However, our feelings or understanding towards the characters have no bearing on their actions’ nature or implications.
      The writers themselves seem much less “sentimental” in their take on the characters than the overwhelming majority of us which, I would say, is a positive thing 😉

      Rich Stark:
      At every turn Jon turned to Sansa for advice &explicitly asked for her opinion & looked at her to speak first in the meetings with the Northen Lords and basically did her bidding.

      Jon did everybody’s bidding, including his own, to be fair ^^ After the pink letter arrived, everyone was officially under threat : the Free Folk, Rickon, Sansa and even Jon himself. Ramsay went all out with it !

      As for him asking for Sansa’s advice all along the way, he really does not; she advocates it. Very, very forcefully (perhaps way too forcefully at times) ^^
      For the the first 3/4 of the season, Jon is either dead or completely “void” : he knows there is no afterlife; he understands his dead loved-ones are gone forever; he realises the god(s)forsaken world he inhabits is all there is. As a result, he is understandably despondent and merely allows himself to be dragged from one place to the next, not really caring to ask for anyone’s input, be it Sansa’s, Davos’s or Tormund’s. Not really caring to ask for anything at all, in all fairness. He does what is expected of him, passively.

      Rich Stark

      But by episode 9, in the script it got changed into Jon ignored Sansa because he thinks she doesn’t have any military experience & couldn’t be of much help in battle(albeit true) ,but that’s now how it happened on the show.

      Sansa herself admits she has no knowledge of military tactics, so not asking her for her opinion on where to dig trenches is perfectly fine 😉
      However, a huge chunk of the battle plan discussion revolves around Ramsay’s personality, his psychology, what he was likely to do / not do. In this scene, Jon seems somewhat engaged, less “out of it” than in previous episodes : he volunteers his own take on Bolton’s inner workings and seeks Davos and Tormund’s opinions. Yet, right in from of him is someone who lived with Ramsay but he never looks at her, even though she does stare at him quite intently…

      Jon not asking for Sansa’s input and not really listening to her when she volunteers it is no more a subtle indication of hidden misogyny on his part than Tyrion forgetting to seek and pay genuine attention to Grey Worm or Missandei’s opinions is evidence of secret racism. I do not think the writers would even imply such a thing.
      In both instances, it is an unfortunate blindspot motivated by… Who knows ? Perhaps both Jon and Tyrion do not want to hear what they guess those advisors might have to say so they try to sidestep it by not asking… 😉

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    65. ACME,

      The Hound made a very good point about Arya and so did you 🙂 I must admit I cheered when Arya killed Trant but I didn’t when Walder Frey got what he deserved. I have always loved Arya, both in the books and in the show, and I fear for her future. Of course, I dream at a final Stark reunion, but I doubt it will happen.

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    66. Nymeria Warrior Queen: I think the way she conducts herself would serve as an excellent blueprint for other young stars.

      I really hope Sapochnik is given the series finale.In a show that’s had some great directors…really great directors, I think Sapochnik rises above them all.

      I couldn’t agree more! Big Maisie and Sapochnik fan here!

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    67. Sou,

      My opinions are definitely true to my heart and aren’t just made up for attention / to argue with people. I still have PTSD from S6 and expressing my opinion is one way for me to cope. I am trying to be more positive though.

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    68. ACME,

      Jon doesn’t ask for Sansa’s opinion of Ramsay because he knows that she was tortured and raped by him and doesn’t want her to relive it.It’s why during the meet up he says to her you don’t have to be here not because she is a woman but cause he doesn’t want his little sister to see her rapist again.Yes if he was more shrewd he would know that the information is more important but he is her brother first.My brother would have done the same for me.And after she speaks up and says she knows Ramsay better than anyone he doesn’t dismiss her but says you are right tell me what to do.

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    69. LatrineDiggerBrian,

      For me, the one reason that’s preventing me from wanting him to direct all the battles is because he makes them extremely fast paced. It worked very well for Hardhome, but in the Battle of The Bastards it would of been nice to see at least some of the soldiers fight. Where were the 62 good men? If you look back at the previous battles you’ll see what I mean. The shots linger for some time and you get a clear picture of who is winning.
      Other than that he’s one of the best directors the show has ever had.

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    70. ACME,

      Jon did not ask for Davos and Tormund’s opinion either, they volunteered, just like Sansa could have done, just like she had been doing ever since she met him.

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    71. The more I hear from Maisie the more I’m convinced this could be her final season. There’s a finality to what she’s saying, and I just can’t see what show Arya can contribute to the final battle against the WWs, although I really do hope I’m wrong.

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    72. Jenny:
      Yes if he was more shrewd he would know that the information is more important but he is her brother first.

      It is not about shrewdness, I am afraid. It is about understanding…

      Jon’s protectiveness is well established. It is one of his main traits and everyone, including myself (if you forgive me this abhorrent demonstration of self-congratulation), can see that it is an undeniably admirable characteristic. 🙂
      However, this overwhelming desire to protect and defend everyone can blind and deafen him to their words, to their reality. It is made manifest at the very end of the tent scene :

      Sansa : If Ramsay wins, I’m not going back there alive. Do you understand me ?
      Jon : I won’t ever let him touch you again. I’ll protect you, I promise.
      Sansa : No one can protect me. No one can protect anyone.

      Sansa very bluntly tells him that she will commit suicide if the battle is lost. She is not asking for his protection; she is merely declaring that her fate and that of Jon’s army are intrinsically linked. It is a bleek statement of fact, not a call for help. Yet, instead of absorbing this information for what it is, Jon immediately tries to “fix” it with what can only be described as an obviously heartfelt yet noticeably empty promise (if they lose, he will either be dead or taken prisoner, how could he possibly protect her against anything ?)
      His irrepresible need to heal (Freud would have called it his furor sanandi) prevents him for hearing and accepting what she is telling him.

      The same thing can be said about their conversation in regards to Rickon.
      As you rightly said, Jon readily agrees to listen to Sansa when she points out she knows Ramsay better than he does. However, he blocks her out the moment she utters deeply upsetting facts : Ramsay is better than him at laying traps and Rickon cannot be saved.
      Now, I am not exonerating Sansa for her questionable approach and disparaging wording. If anything, I believe the writers designed the scene in such a way that the failure to communicate can be “blamed” equally on both participants : Jon really does not want to listen to the harsh reality she is describing and Sansa fails miserably to make him want to listen to it.
      But since we are currently focusing on Jon’s reasoning, it is quite clear that it is in great parts his eagerness to save everything and everyone that precludes him from allowing in the (awful) truth.

      It does not make him a bad person. Or a misogynist. Or a terrorist for that matter. 😉
      It merely makes him someone who, at times, gets blinded by his own relentless desire to help to the point of forgetting that, on occasion, people do not want to be fought for but would rather be fought alongside with. Not comforted but listened to.

      I am sorry to ask, I really am, but it truly intrigues me : is it such a bizarre or contentious proposition that Jon may, at times, miss the mark ? Or demonstrate qualities that lead to less-than-ideal effects ? Or have blindspots ? Is it so utterly counter-intuitive that it cannot be contemplated ?
      As a reader/viewer who sincerely likes and appreciates the character of Jon but does not think “don’t worry, Jon will take care of it” is the answer to everything (that’s what 42 is for ^^), I am genuinely perplexed…

      ghost of winterfell:
      Jon did not ask for Davos and Tormund’s opinion either, they volunteered, just like Sansa could have done, just like she had been doing ever since she met him.

      He looks at them, which is a visual cue for “go ahead, I am listening to what you have to say”, while he strategically avoids to look at Sansa who is right in front of him…
      Poor Kit Harington actually has to stare down at the table whenever he transitions from looking at Liam Cunnigham to Kristofer Hivju and vice versa because that’s the only way for him not to see Sophie Turner who is directly in his field of view ! His neck must have hurt after a while 😉

      Could Sansa have spoken up during the meeting ? Of course, she could have.
      Could Jon have looked at her and asked what she thought of Ramsay’s mindset ? Of course, he could have.
      Could Missandei and Grey Worm have spoken up during the meeting with the masters ? Of course, they could have.
      Could Tyrion have sought their opinions on the matter ? Of course, he could have.

      Again, the writers have created those scenes so that the “blame”, so to speak, is very evenly spread across the board. Which is why I really struggle to understand why it becomes a bone of contention solely when Jon gets his share.

      Shy Lady Dragon,
      We all keep our fingers crossed for Arya, I think 😉

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    73. mau,

      I would say it’s not a coincidence, that he directed so many cheesy network shows like Supernatural, Arrow, The Flash, and so on. He’s a good director, but not good enough for Thrones. He’s not bad, but I think his direction is uninspired, and he adds nothing to the script.

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    74. LatrineDiggerBrian,

      I’ve read many people say that Nutter is not good with action. And Daznak’s Pit may have been shot in a way that you could always see exactly what was happening, but it lacked tension, pacing, good coreography. Also, the CGI was really bad in that scene. Sapo’s action scenes always have suspense, good coreography, athmosphere, but they also maintain the focus on the characters. BoB was shot in a way to make it look chaotic, that’s why it is hard to make out what’s happening at times.

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    75. Northop,

      Wow. That’s some real cherry picking there. You fail to mention he’s directed episodes of The Sopranos, The Pacific, Band of Brothers, and The West Wing among other things. Not only that, he’s won 3 Emmys.

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    76. ACME,

      Um no I don’t think he is perfect.He has many flaws less than people make it out to be but still has them.He literally died because he couldn’t explain properly to people his reasoning,he’s a bit too trusting even though I don’t necessarily view that as a bad thing and as you said has the “saving people thing”.It’s just that in this case I understand his pov completely.

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    77. ACME,

      You are judging psychological health by current day Western culture values. Looking at characters’ future mental health as if they lived in N America or Western Europe is not realistic in the context of ASoIaF. Also, people vary in how they are impacted by events in their lives. Arya and Sansa have proven to be resilient. It is reasonable to expect that they can continue on coping with the situations they find themselves in and express an appropriate range of emotions.

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    78. ACME,

      I don’t think Jon sought anybody’s opinion,they all volunteered. As ghost of winterfell mentioned above & I agree. He didn’t ask anyone to participate in the planning,he didn’t place people around the table. Everyone shared whatever concern they had & it was deliberated upon. Tormund brought up the carnage Stannis’s horses caused,& then Jon looked up & explained the pincer movement. Throughout this conversation, Jon made eye contact with whomever was speaking, meanwhile Sansa stood in the corner with an indignant expression on her face withholding a very useful piece of information. And when she was explicitly sought for advice,she still wasn’t of much help.

      As for Jon I am not saying he is not flawed,because he is. Jenny, has mentioned them very well. My problem is with shoddy writing which cannot be brushed aside as a character flaw. I have already mentioned it one my previous post & I am repeating it here again.

      The creators/writers wanted Sansa to have a storyline where she was vindicated in a way which was grand & gratifying & which would somewhat rationalize why the trauma she suffered in season 5 was essential for her character development (& expunge the backlash they faced due to that). So they went ahead & overcompensated for that by making her a Knight in shining armor ,which was a little too on the nose & patronizing. They wanted to make her more forceful & assertive, but their idea of that was for her to be constantly disapproving & not agreeing with anything for no apparent reason, which again was a bit contrived.

      And I think the reason they decided she wouldn’t tell Jon about Vale army or Littlefinger’s offer, was because if Jon would openly refuse their assistance coz he is suspicious of Petyr Baelish’s true motives, then Jon would come out as wrong at the end when they are eventually rescued. If he would have accepted it,then they couldn’t have portrayed Sansa as a white kinght. So they decided the non disclosure route as this way no one will emerge as clear right or wrong & the decimation of larger part of Northern forces wouldn’t matter,as most of the characters we cared about survived & the sadistic villain died a fitting gruesome death. Which was fanservice & the writers playing it safe.

      Lastly, Sansa protesting the marginal treatment from Jon can be attributed to shoddy writing at best . Ever since Jon & Sansa reunited this season, Sansa has clearly been the dominant sibling in their relationship, from their chat in his cabin where she basically demands him to forgive her & he obliges. Which fittingly suits their dynamic. She forces his hand & he caves. She had a series of propositions on how to rally the north & Jon was more than willing to do her bidding. She was working alongside him all along & not once it seemed Jon was ignoring her suggestions( unambiguous ones atleast). So her outburst on the eve of battle was totally unnecessary & out of the left field.

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    79. Has anyone verified this spoiler?

      https://twitter.com/GoTsources/status/769746700231671808 Joe Dempsie saying he is not coming back for S7 or 8.

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    80. Nymeria Warrior Queen,
      Hi honey *you know I’m waving*. Guess I’d better not keep on about the Gi*nt Ki*ler Pengu*ns and Fl*ing Zom*ie N*zi Sha*ks then 🙁 Btw someone got me a GoT Hand of the King wax seal thingy as a pressie, so every time I post something now I’m gonna tap it against the screen so it’s official. Well, it’s Hand of the Cats really, they treat me like a servant (as cats do to all humans in general) and can’t actually hold it due to lack of opposable thumbs, which is the only thing stopping them from taking over completely 😀

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    81. Jenny:
      .It’s just that in this case I understand his pov completely.

      And you are absolutely right to do so 🙂
      His is a very understandable point of view indeed; so is, I believe, that of Sansa who feels somewhat stifled and dismissed by the manifestations of her brother’s protectiveness.
      The best and most interesting types of conflicts of interests are probably those in which all parties are somehow right to do what they do and feel what they feel, in their own way ^^

      Marlana:
      You are judging psychological health by current day Western culture values.Looking at characters’ future mental health as if they lived in N America or Western Europe is not realistic in the context of ASoIaF.

      I really do not think I do, though I am of course not impartial in this regard ^^

      All the Stark children have demonstrated tremendous resilience and grit which have allowed them to survive adverse circumstances, it is true. But we can wonder at what cost. Each of them has had to pay a price in exchange for their survival. It is not the same for all the siblings, evidently, as they have all gone through very different events and traumas but they have all paid it.
      In regards to Arya, one may therefore ask : what price did she pay ? To what extent can someone who has spent some of the most formative years of her life on the fringe of “average” society, with little to no real guidance in terms of social and relational skills, successfully reintegrate said society ? To what extent can someone whose sole lifeline, for four to five years, has been revenge let go of it to reengage in more “ordinary” social interactions ?

      Rich Stark:
      And when she was explicitly sought for advice,she still wasn’t of much help

      “Don’t ever do what Ramsay wants you to do” and “he will kill Rickon no matter what because he is a bigger threat to Bolton’s hold on the North than a bastard or a girl” : it did not sound like much but then again neither did Jon’s nor Davos’s respective takes on Ramsay’s mindset. And it was far from inaccurate…

      Rich Stark

      So they decided the non disclosure route as this way no one will emerge as clear right or wrong

      Well… Sansa did apologise to Jon for not telling him about the knights of the Vale. So, within the confines of the story at least, Sansa is saying she was wrong about that.

      Rich Stark

      not once it seemed Jon was ignoring her suggestions( unambiguous ones atleast). So her outburst on the eve of battle was totally unnecessary & out of the left field.

      From 6.07 (before Brienne reached Riverrun, hence before they got an answer from the Blackfish, and just before Sansa decided to call on the knights of the Vale) :

      Sansa : So he’s your most trusted advisor now? Because he secured 62 men from a ten year old?
      Jon : Ser Davos is the reason I’m standing here talking to you and he served Stannis for years.
      Sansa: Stannis who lost the Blackwater, who murdered his own brother, who doesn’t have a head? It’s not enough. We need more men.
      Jon : There’s no time.
      Sansa: If we went down to Castle Cerwyn, I know that Lord…
      Jon : We fight with the army we have.

      Jon ignores her (unambiguous ^^) suggestion here. He does have very valid reasons to do so (he knows Davos to be an intelligent man and he fears another storm might hit so he wants to attack as soon as possible) and Sansa has very valid reasons to advocate for what she does (they really do not have enough men and what little she knows about Stannis does not necessarily inspire great confidence in his second-in-command).
      Whatever we may think of the 6.09 conflict and its writing, it was not quite out of nowhere. It was introduced two episodes prior.

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    82. LatrineDiggerBrian,

      Of course I don’t mention them. They don’t matter here. I only look at what he was able to do with Thrones material, with the guidelines DnD gave him. And come on, Emmys don’t mean anything. They’re pretty, but they’re like the Oscars: sometimes the person who gets it deserves it, but mostly it’s up to awards campaign.

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    83. dragonreborn:
      I can’t say I’m comfortable with horses being pulled down. It may be painless but what about the stress it causes to the animal. Imagine someone making you fall without you knowing what is going on. Fake looking or not, CG should be used for things like this.

      Go back and watch the extra about the joust on the Season 1 DVD. They talk about how specific horses are “fallers”–that’s what they are trained to do and that’s ALL they are trained to do. They know what’s going to happen ’cause it happens all the time. Then they get a drink of water and a piece of apple. 🙂

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    84. ACME: In most cases I concur with your conclusions. Even when I disagree with you, I thoroughly enjoy reading your analyses. They are well thought-out and clearly presented and supported with examples.

      On the issue of the darkness of Arya’s specific revenge on Walder and his two right-hand-man sons, I strongly disagree. Yes, in this act of revenge, Arya turned to the dark side by imposing a little unwitting cannibalism before tauntingly dispatching the sole remaining author of her family’s misery. It was a bit warped, but ever so appropriate AND justified.

      Arya is more of a vigilante than an assassin. While most of her kills are opportunistic, spontaneous and messy, in her mind all are acts of justice or self-defense. She knowingly put herself in peril by breaking with the Faceless Men because they ordered her to commit a patently UNjust killing. She had overheard the Frey soldiers she attacked in season 3 boasting of the roles of Black Walder and Lothar in killing her brother and mother specifically and in the Grey Wind/Robb hybrid that was paraded in front of her eyes. So they HAD to go too. She also heard unremorseful Walder self-congratulating himself for the Red Wedding to Jaime and heard Jaime’s disgusted response. Arya knows the sanctity of guest rights and the lesson of the Rat Cook’s tale. As we viewer/readers know, in most of his scenes, Walder Frey is gourmandising at table. Shouldn’t he die there? Arya’s approach to killing Walder is both poetic and cosmic justice.

      Moreover, Frey pies really shouldn’t bother our consciences too much. There is ample precedent in history, literature, myth, and of course GRRM’s magnum opus. Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus is much gorier; Greek mythology gives punishments to Minos, Midas, Tantalus, and Sisyphus related to the ways they offended the gods. And the Freys offended Wyman Manderley.

      Finally, for the FIRST time, a Stark has killed a historical family enemy. Yes, a nice, clean kill would be easier for us 21st century creatures to stomach, but it would be too easy and too brief. This particular poetic justice gives us something to savour. Arya rules, OK.

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    85. Northop,

      OK but you mentioned The Flash, Arrow and Supernatural as cheesy network shows. What do they matter here? If you had watched Band of Brothers, you would see he deserved his Emmy for it just like he did for Game of Thrones.

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    86. Stark Raven’ Rad:
      ACME: In most cases I concur with your conclusions.Even when I disagree with you, I thoroughly enjoy reading your analyses. They are well thought-out and clearly presented and supported with examples.

      That is very kind of you to say ^^

      Stark Raven’ Rad

      She knowingly put herself in peril by breaking with the Faceless Men because they ordered her to commit a patently UNjust killing.

      I would dispute that, a bit.

      We can’t know for sure that this assassination was unjust and, I would say, neither can Arya. All she is aware of is that the actress playing the part of Sansa wants Lady Crane dead so she can play Cersei. But how can we be certain there is nothing else going on between these two women ? Maybe Lady Crane was horrible to the other actress in the past, perhaps she wronged her in some way we ignore… We literally know nothing ^^ And much more importantly, neither does Arya.
      She bases her decision not to let her target drink the poison solely on how Lady Crane makes her feel, not on what she knows about her or her hypothetical misdeeds. Lady Crane was nice, polite and respectful to Arya ergo it would be unjust to kill her, according to Arya.
      When a single person is simultaneously judge, jury, party and executioner, it may be a bit far-fetched to call it justice.
      Does Arya believe it is justice ? It certainly seems like it.
      Is it vigilantism ? Absolutely.
      Is it worrying because, at times, matters of life and death can be determined not by Arya’s knowledge but by her gut feelings or highly subjective first impressions ? A teeny bit, I would say…

      What if tomorrow, she decides to add Tyrion to her list because, as far as the play told her, he pulled all the strings and might have raped her sister ?

      Stark Raven’ Rad

      Arya knows the sanctity of guest rights and the lesson of the Rat Cook’s tale.

      True, but isn’t the lesson of the Rat Cook’s tale that the gods, not men, punish those who violate their laws ?
      Now, we may say that the gods punished the culprits of the Red Wedding by cursing them, that they all met their fate eventually. It is an entirely plausible interpretation and, symbolically, it is a very intriguing one. However, considering how constantly and senselessly at times death comes out to play in Westeros, it is somewhat difficult to differenciate the blessed from the cursed. The latters don’t appear to die faster or more painfully than the formers 😉

      Nevertheless, you bring up a deeply interesting point : Arya’s awareness of her country’s myths and beliefs. Does she, therefore, think she is on some kind of divine mission ? Does she, on any level, perceive herself as an avenging “angel”, inherently validated and exonerated by the gods ?
      If so, well… Let’s just say it is not entirely encouraging ^^ We saw what the belief in one’s own mission can cause (High Sparrow and pre-depression Melisandre, anyone ?)

      Stark Raven’ Rad

      Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus is much gorier; Greek mythology gives punishments to Minos, Midas, Tantalus, and Sisyphus related to the ways they offended the gods.And the Freys offended Wyman Manderley.

      With the exception of Titus Andronicus, the mythological examples you quote follow in the Rat King’s footsteps : someone offends the gods, the gods punish. Not men, the gods. To explicitly take it upon oneself to do the gods’ work for them may be considered hubris. Blasphemy even.

      As for good ol’ Titus (very good play, great reference 😉 ), it is an excellent choice because he too, like Arya, bakes two people in a pie to avenge a relative and feeds them to a third. But, let’s not forget that a) he is a bit insane and b) he ultimately gets killed…

      So I’ll keep my fingers crossed ^^

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    87. ygritte,
      Ha ha ha ! ^^
      Well, Maisie Williams said she feared a reunion between Jon and Arya could involve the big brother smothering his little sister which led to “Oh no ! They’re again trying to say Jon is a misogynist, like they did with him and Sansa” which led to “no one called Jon a misogynist” which led to…

      Yep ! It is an infinite loop. It’s Jon-and-Sansa Groundhog Day 😉

        Quote  Reply

    88. Lulus Mum,

      Hello, lovely! Yes, I’d appreciate it if you’d stop spoiling so much. I mean, the G*iant Ki*ler Pengu*ns are pretty obvious from the text, but mentions of Fl*ing Zom*ie N*zi Sha*ks really could ruin some things for folks. 🙂

      Stark Raven’ Rad: Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus

      One of my favorites of his. I can’t think Frey Pies without thinking of Tamora eating her sons.

        Quote  Reply

    89. Nymeria Warrior Queen,
      Sorry honey, I’m just soooooo excited for their appearance, I can’t wait for everyone else to share in their awesomeness! I did hear a rumour that Joffery’s apparently not a very nice person, but that’s so ridiculous I think I can mention it safely without fear of it playing out like that on screen 😀

        Quote  Reply

    90. To: Rhaenys Stark

      Of course I don’t actually hate the guy, I don’t know him. But I hate his reaction. Please don’t act like you don’t understand what I meant. And yes, I did weep and felt almost as bad as during the burning of Shireen last year. His death was one of the most tragic moments of the show and the way it was executed was raw and haunting. This is a kid that has been manipulated all his life and just watched dozens of people (including his wife and her family) being killed by his own mother. Laughing while this kid commits suicide is remarkably insensitive and quite shocking to me. Check out Redbeard’s reaction, my reaction was exactly like him, I was devastated. Anyway, this is not the point of this article.

      I’m genuinely surprised that you cried.

      In the explosion, Cersai reduced Tommen’s universe to exactly 4 people: Herself, Jaime, Qyburn and The Mountain. That’s a pretty small universe.

        Quote  Reply

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