Matt Shakman weighs in on whether or not Ed Sheeran died in ‘The Spoils of War’

Being nice to Arya didn't save Ed Sheeran from the vitriol of some 'Thrones' fans.

Being nice to Arya didn’t save Ed Sheeran from the vitriol of some ‘Thrones’ fans.

The reaction to singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran’s cameo as a Lannister solider in the Game of Thrones season 7 premiere was…let’s call it diverse. Some praised it; some didn’t care; and others hated it with the fiery passion of a thousand suns.

The haters would be glad to find out that Sheeran’s solider was one of those burned to a crisp in episode 4, but were he and his band of polite, rabbit-and-wine-sharing Lannister soldiers even at the Loot Train Battle? Were they diverted from their Riverrun peacekeeping assignment sometime between episodes 1 and 4? Matt Shakman, who directed “The Spoils of War,” weighed in on the question in an interview with Mashable.

“I don’t think literally those soldiers were there,” he said.

Well, then. I guess that question is answered.

“I did not meet Ed Sheeran,” Shakman added, but said that “the idea behind the question is an interesting one and I think the earlier scene that was so great with Arya meeting those Lannister soldiers, where we humanise what those Lannisters are like, that they’re generous with her, only helps this sequence because it helps you feel for the men who are shaking in terror as their death is upon them.”

That’s a nice sentiment — but I’m sure there are viewers whose enjoyment of the epic battle would have been that much better if they had recognized a certain red-haired crooner going up in flames.

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86 responses

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    1. Wish more people appreciated the humanizing of the Lannisters, and the horror unleashed by Dany. I think it’s legitimate to use her dragons against soldiers, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t horrific to see.

      I’ve seen far too many people deriving sadistic enjoyment from seeing those men burning, claiming that “they aren’t people, they’re Lannisters”, and that they “deserve everything they got”. Others cheered or laughed maniacally. There are some scary reaction videos out there.

      Good to know the director has his head screwed on right.

      The beauty of the show is the moral ambiguity, demonizing soldiers is ridiculous, and enjoying their suffering is sadistic, even if you were rooting for Dany.

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    2. It wouldn’t exactly make sense for him to be in that battle. They were a small squad of soldiers keeping the peace in the Riverlands. They weren’t part of Jaime’s army that captured Highgarden, as far as we know. I know there’s a lot of time skips between episodes, but I doubt they’d recall all their soldiers from the Riverlands for that assault.

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    3. Good thing Sheeran wasn’t there…he would’ve started to belt out some songs in the middle of the battle and then all the combatants would’ve laid down their arms to listen to a free concert! I bet Drogon would’ve even pulled up a seat (front row of course).

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    4. RosanaZugey:
      If we’re posting Matt Shakman interviews, you should post the one where he talks about what Sansa’s look meant after the Arya/Brienne ‘fight’ (http://www.thisisinsider.com/game-of-thrones-director-matt-shakman-spoils-of-war-dragons-stark-reunions-2017-8). Then perhaps people will stop projecting onto Sansa imaginary emotions (“jealousy”) that weren’t there.

      I agree that reading jealousy into Sansa’s look is a misinterpretation, but to be fair, the director can only speak for himself. His word isn’t the definitive correct interpretation of the scene. That would depend upon the writers’ intention. If the writers intended Sansa’s character to be jealous at this point, then she would be jealous, no matter what the actors or director say. The writers are the ones who decide where the characters are emotionally.

      That said, I think that in this case, Matt Shakman is probably absolutely correct.

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    5. This is exactly why that scene was so brilliant. It adds emotional weight to big battle scenes like this. When we see Lannister soldiers get brutally slaughtered, we don’t enjoy it as much as we might have without that scene, because we now know that a lot of them are actually decent guys who are just following orders, and at the end of the day, they just want to get home to their families.

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    6. When they showed the scared lannisters, I said awwww and felt so bad.
      And when drogon burned people I was cheering.

      im not sadistic. its a tv show and its fiction

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    7. Ellie:
      It wouldn’t exactly make sense for him to be in that battle. They were a small squad of soldiers keeping the peace in the Riverlands. They weren’t part of Jaime’s army that captured Highgarden, as far as we know. I know there’s a lot of time skips between episodes, but I doubt they’d recall all their soldiers from the Riverlands for that assault.

      I don’t know, going by what some people on this site say, it could be like 8 months since Episode 1. If Euron can be in the Narrow Sea, then in KL, then in Casterly Rock, no reason why Ed Sheeran can’t go from the Riverlands to the Reach.

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    8. Markus Stark:
      Wish more people appreciated the humanizing of the Lannisters, and the horror unleashed by Dany. I think it’s legitimate to use her dragons against soldiers, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t horrific to see.

      I’ve seen far too many people deriving sadistic enjoyment from seeing those men burning, claiming that “they aren’t people, they’re Lannisters”, and that they “deserve everything they got”. Others cheered or laughed maniacally. There are some scary reaction videos out there.

      Good to know the director has his head screwed on right.

      The beauty of the show is the moral ambiguity, demonizing soldiers is ridiculous, and enjoying their suffering is sadistic, even if you were rooting for Dany.

      Completely in agreement with you. Also starting to think that the scene between Arya and the soldiers had as much to do with the humanization of the Lannister army (in anticipation of this episode) as it did with Arya’s humanization.

      Would also love more people to mention that a few scene earlier, Daenerys was commenting that she doesn’t have enough food to feed her people…and then proceeds to burn up all the food trollies. Felt like that was another indication that Daenerys is conqueror, not a ruler.

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    9. I don’t get it. Why are some people upset about Ed Sheeran’s cameo? It was fine. It was brief. It was a nice on-screen moment to share with his real-life mutual admirer Maisie Williams.

      I don’t understand. Why would anyone gripe about the cameo?

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    10. RosanaZugey: Would also love more people to mention that a few scene earlier, Daenerys was commenting that she doesn’t have enough food to feed her people…and then proceeds to burn up all the food trollies. Felt like that was another indication that Daenerys is conqueror, not a ruler.

      Its been mentioned multiple times.

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    11. Seeing Thomas Turgoose (This is England) alongside Ed Sheeran I thought they might have a bigger part to play than what we have seen of them so far, but then I also wondered if we might discover in a later episode that Arya bumped them all off.

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    12. Markus Stark,

      Sadistic pleasure? You do realize its a tv show and there aren’t actually people being killed right?

      From a story pov, Lannisters and their army have been the cause for plenty grief for much of the show. I guess some viewers are happy to see a bit of comeuppance.

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    13. Markus Stark,

      Shhhh. Don’t tell anyone but nobody actually died. No one was burnt by dragon fire. There are no such things as Lannister soldiers (or dragons for that matter). It’s just a fucking tv show!

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    14. RosanaZugey: felt like that was another indication that Daenerys is conqueror, not a ruler.

      Most definitely. Dany keeps having to be reined in by Tyrion, Varys, Jorah and Barristan in the past, and now even Jon. It’s as if she has this ideal of the ruler she wants to be, but that’s not who she really is. She wants to “break the wheel” and be this new, amazing type of ruler. But when it comes down to it, it’s becoming more apparent that she’s naturally more pre-occupied with power (that’s why she keeps insisting Jon and everyone else “bend the knee or else” and why she keeps wanting to unleash her dragons no matter who ends up being the casualties). Could this be the beginning signs of the Targaryen madness? I don’t think so, but I do wonder if all this could be hinting at her potential downfall in some manner especially since this season these types of scenes keep getting highlighted.

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    15. Markus Stark: I agree that reading jealousy into Sansa’s look is a misinterpretation, but to be fair, the director can only speak for himself. His word isn’t the definitive correct interpretation of the scene. That would depend upon the writers’ intention. If the writers intended Sansa’s character to be jealous at this point, then she would be jealous, no matter what the actors or director say. The writers are the ones who decide where the characters are emotionally.

      That said, I think that in this case, Matt Shakman is probably absolutely correct.

      And after agreeing with you…I now have to disagree with you. 😉 The director knows the writer’s intentions because he/she has to convey that on screen. He/she has to direct the actors to act in a particular fashion. If he’s indicating that the look was one of unnerving as to what/who her sister is now, then that was what it was supposed to convey.

      Even though I sometimes think the writers are inconsistent with some of these characters and their personalities, the idea of Sansa being “jealous” of Arya’s skills is an inconsistency I’m not willing to give them. There would be zero reason to write that into the script or even think she would feel that way. Sansa has never aspired to be a fighter and has never considered it an endeavor worth ‘learning”. She is a lady. Raised to be a lady and run a House. Her character is exactly what she has always wanted to be. Therefore, her being “jealous” of Arya is not a sentiment based in reality. It’s simply people taking a stupid meme and all of the negativity surrounding it (or their own dislike of her character) and projecting those sentiments onto her regardless of what’s actually happening on the screen.

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    16. RosanaZugey: Would also love more people to mention that a few scene earlier, Daenerys was commenting that she doesn’t have enough food to feed her people…and then proceeds to burn up all the food trollies. Felt like that was another indication that Daenerys is conqueror, not a ruler.

      Daenerys commented that her Unsullied in Casterly Rock didn’t have food, because Jaime had emptied the granaries and kept a skeleton crew there. I am not sure that Daenerys was counting on the food from the Reach to feed her entire army on Dragonstone – there were no mentions of that in any episode yet. The food that she burned was going into King’s Landing to feed the Lannister soldiers.

      Daenerys is certainly a conqueror. The “ruling” will be left to other people. But before ruling, comes conquering.

      HelloThere,
      Thanks for the pics. Cersei sitting on her bed? Varys giving me strong feels of being THE mole…. (and…. he actually swore an oath to her to tell her to her face…..) And then the Jon and Daenerys pic….. 😀

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    17. RosanaZugey,

      Not only did Dany burn all the good trollies but the first scene we saw was Jamie ordering Bronn to make sure reluctant farmers gave them their grain. Sounds like Westeros is going to face serious food shortages during winter.

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    18. I agree that Dany is more of a conqueror than a ruler. The point of her Season 5 storyline was to show that she’s NOT a good ruler (though she did at least try to be). Daario even emphasizes it in Season 6 – “You weren’t made to sit on a chair in a palace. You’re a conqueror, Daenerys Stormborn.”

      All of this, combined with that House of the Undying vision, leads me to believe that she will never sit on the Iron Throne.

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    19. Kay: I am not sure that Daenerys was counting on the food from the Reach to feed her entire army on Dragonstone – there were no mentions of that in any episode yet. The food that she burned was going into King’s Landing to feed the Lannister soldiers.

      Uhm, Dany explicitly stated that in this last episode! Right after Tyrion gave her the news about Casterly Rock and what happened at Highgarden, Dany started to berate Tyrion (accused him of not really being enemies with Cersei and Jaime because they were his family and then said enough of his “clever plans”) during which time she said she’s lost all her allies and now the food from the Reach to feed her armies.

      The food was only going to KL because the Lannisters captured it from the Tyrells who were feeding Dany’s army. Thus, if they could have beaten the Lannisters in the loot train battle without burning the crops, Dany would’ve had some feed available to food her army (at least for a little while).

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    20. The Dothraki have been suffering quietly for a very long time. Crossing the Narrow Sea, standing around on an island, bored out of their skulls. They needed to go out and play.

      If a few… thousand.. Lannisters had to die for that to happen, so be it.

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    21. RosanaZugey: Felt like that was another indication that Daenerys is conqueror, not a ruler.

      That’s a good point and makes me think that one of Jon’s initial lines to Dany “I need your help and you need mine”, is going to wind up meaning more than the fight against the White Walkers. They will balance each other’s negative traits out.

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    22. Tamwell Sarly: Most definitely. Dany keeps having to be reined in by Tyrion, Varys, Jorah and Barristan in the past, and now even Jon. It’s as if she has this ideal of the ruler she wants to be, but that’s not who she really is. She wants to “break the wheel” and be this new, amazing type of ruler. But when it comes down to it, it’s becoming more apparent that she’s naturally more pre-occupied with power (that’s why she keeps insisting Jon and everyone else “bend the knee or else” and why she keeps wanting to unleash her dragons no matter who ends up being the casualties). Could this be the beginning signs of the Targaryen madness? I don’t think so, but I do wonder if all this could be hinting at her potential downfall in some manner especially since this season these types of scenes keep getting highlighted.

      I thought it was funny that in the previews for next week she say that she’s not here to “murder” anyone, but if they don’t bend the knee, she’s going to kill them. Lol. I know context matters and what’s actually happening in that scene could be very different, but I thought that inconsistency was funny. Side note…this will be the first time she actually interacts with any of the people from Westeros, right? I mean, like, the regular citizens (i.e. the people she intends to rule)? “Bend the knee or die” is such a bad sales pitch. She’s going to “rule” as Cersei rules: “Make sure the people fear you more than they do the enemy.”

      But on to the subject, I agree with your analysis. Dany’s heart may be in the right place (a point that keeps getting mentioned in the show), but her actions are on a whole different level. There’s such a contrast between what she thinks and what she does that I can’t imagine that not being a serious issue moving forward. Also, I don’t understand why Jon needs to bend the knee for her to help him. She won’t have a realm to rule if the Night King suceeds. That she doesn’t understand that means that either Jon is terrible in persusion, or that her priorities are more aligned with acquiring power than in helping/ruling people.

      Also interesting to me…why do they keep bringing up that her people follow her because they believe in her? Tyrion mentioned it during the takeover of Casterly Rock and Jon mentioned it again when telling her to not attack King’s Landing. We (as an audience) already know that her people fight for her because they believe in her, so why keep mentioning it? Why is that important? Any ideas?

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    23. First, I’m confused about why so many people had such an upset and shocked reaction to Ed Sheeran appearing on the show as if HBO didn’t announce it would be happening months before it aired.

      Second, I agree about the humanizing part. Especially the guy that was telling Arya about how all he wanted to do was go home so he could finally meet his baby that he hasn’t been able to learn anything about other than the fact that it was born at some point. And how he hopes it’s a girl because he doesn’t want to ever see his own child be sent off to die in a war.

      I think it’s also important to remember Tyrion’s line during the Casterly Rock scene. Most of these men are only in the Lannister army because of fear, not because they want to be. I imagine many of them would love to see Cersei die just as much as everyone else would.

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    24. Tywin’s Ghost:
      RosanaZugey,

      Not only did Dany burn all the good trollies but the first scene we saw was Jamie ordering Bronn to make sure reluctant farmers gave them their grain. Sounds like Westeros is going to face serious food shortages during winter.

      That they have brought up food provisions in the past few episodes, and how each faction (the North, Kings Landing and Dragonstone) is dealing with it, makes me think that you’re totally right; the food shortages are going to be an issue come winter. How much—and in what way—do you think that’s going to affect the story?

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    25. RosanaZugey,

      Reading the Shakman interview you cited leads me to believe that the jury’s still out on what Sansa was thinking as she watched Arya & Brienne in the courtyard:

      And then Arya’s out there with Brienne — who is Sansa’s protector, her bodyguard, the person she’s relied on to keep her safe in this dangerous world — and all of the sudden her tiny little sister is fighting Brienne to a draw at the end with a sword and knife to each other’s throats. And it causes her to quickly redefine her relationship with Arya and to wonder who exactly her little sister has become.

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    26. orange: That’s a good point and makes me think that one of Jon’s initial lines to Dany “I need your help and you need mine”, is going to wind up meaning more than the fight against the White Walkers. They will balance each other’s negative traits out.

      You know, I was having a discussion with my friend where we were talking about them ruling together and she brought up an interesting (to me at least) point. She said that they couldn’t rule together because Daenerys would never give up her Throne/power to Jon (or anyone else for that matter). Do you think that’s the case? Would/could they ever actually rule as “equals” or would Jon have to be subordinate to her?

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    27. The problem with a lot of people is they built up an image of Dany as Disney princess, a savior who’ll make all the evil go away shooting rainbows and butterflies.

      Why this came about, why they hold her to such ridiculous, impossible-to-achieve standards is something I’ll never understand. All the good things she has done, have come at a cost of lives.

      How did she save the Unsullied? Fire and blood.
      How did she free the slaves? Fire and blood.
      How did she unite the Khalasars? Fire and blood.
      How will she defeat Cersei? Fire and blood.

      It is unrealistic to expect good things to magically sprout without doing the necessary evil.

      Now I read comments that condemn her Conquering and question her ruling capacity. Pray tell me, (a) How can you rule without conquering first
      (b) Which perfect ruler exists in the story, one who has always taken the right decisions, done the right things and one who is loved by all his subjects? Again, unrealistic standards.

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    28. RosanaZugey,

      Seems like we are on the same page. In addition to the repeated mention of her people believing in her (as you point out) plus all the other aforementioned scenes of folks having to rein her in, there’s the recent scene with Jon and Davos peppering Missandei about being freed from slavery by Dany yet still serving her. Jon/Davos were implying she’s essentially still a slave and both seemed somewhat skeptical despite Missandei’s insistence that she was free to go whenever she wanted. It’s as if they planted a seed of doubt in her mind maybe?

      It just really seems like all of this is adding up and will lead to Dany’s demise. Either she’ll make a colossal mistake (like burning KL’s) or her continued pursuit of power at the cost of being a wise ruler will erode the support she has from her council and followers. I don’t know…I’m either taking the bait and am falling for the soon-to-be-curveball or astutely picking up on the foreshadowing. Could be either!

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    29. People have been waiting for Dany to become ‘Mad Queen’ and seal her demise for years now. The desperation is hilarious to see.

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    30. RosanaZugey: You know, I was having a discussion with my friend where we were talking about them ruling together and she brought up an interesting (to me at least) point. She said that they couldn’t rule together because Daenerys would never give up her Throne/power to Jon (or anyone else for that matter). Do you think that’s the case? Would/could they ever actually rule as “equals” or would Jon have to be subordinate to her?

      Don’t see it happening. Jon may be humble, but he’s also stubborn. Dany is not-so-humble and just as, if not more, stubborn. I don’t think the story is going to end with a happy Jon/Dany marriage and everyone lives happily ever after. They may hook up (before knowing about being related), but I don’t think it’ll go beyond that. Even if they did get married, I doubt it would last long due to impending war with the white walkers. So, ultimately, they won’t rule together, imo.

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    31. BranTheBlessed:
      The problem with a lot of people is they built up an image of Dany as Disney princess, a savior who’ll make all the evil go away shooting rainbows and butterflies.

      Why this came about, why they hold her to such ridiculous, impossible-to-achieve standards is something I’ll never understand.All the good things she has done, have come at a cost of lives.

      How did she save the Unsullied? Fire and blood.
      How did she free the slaves? Fire and blood.
      How did she unite the Khalasars? Fire and blood.
      How will she defeat Cersei? Fire and blood.

      It is unrealistic to expect good things to magically sprout without doing the necessary evil.

      Now I read comments that condemn her Conquering and question her ruling capacity. Pray tell me, (a) How can you rule without conquering first
      (b) Which perfect ruler exists in the story, one who has always taken the right decisions, done the right things and one who is loved by all his subjects? Again, unrealistic standards.

      You miss the point. It’s not that we are criticizing Dany for using “fire and blood.” It’s that she seems fine, especially more so lately, with using fire and blood against anyone…even the innocent, unfortunate people that she’s vowed to protect. How many times just these past few episodes does she need to be told that torching the Red Keep is the wrong use of fire and blood? She should know that and not have to constantly be reminded. Yet, she’s so close each time to actually doing it. You see, she wants to be this new, amazing type of ruler Westeros has never seen before. But her natural inclinations run contrary to that. Jon literally just told her (yet again) that if she goes off and attacks KL like that then she’s no different than the rest.

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    32. BranTheBlessed:
      People have been waiting for Dany to become ‘Mad Queen’ and seal her demise for years now. The desperation is hilarious to see.

      I’m the one who mentioned the possibility of her becoming mad in this thread (even though I said I don’t really think that’s what’s happening), so I assume you must be responding to me. I don’t want to see her become the Mad Queen. I was merely speculating that her constant conflicted state could be a sign, that’s all. Her father clearly had no regard for his constituents and, Dany seems to be demonstrating extremely small signs of the same lately.

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    33. RosanaZugey: I thought it was funny that in the previews for next week she say that she’s not here to “murder” anyone, but if they don’t bend the knee, she’s going to kill them. Lol.

      Those people were on the losing side. As far as I can see, there are only three options (1) Take them as prisoners of war (2) Kill them all, the treatment the Team Lannister gave to Tyrell soldiers. (3) Give them a chance to drop their weapons and come over to the other side.

      Dany will be taking the kindest option. Not unlike Jon, who allowed the Umbers and Kastarks to come back to his side after making them bend the knee.

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    34. RosanaZugey,

      It’s a perfect storm brewing. War of the queens is definitely going to bring turmoil. There will be loss of soldiers to fight the WWs. The peasants will die of starvation creating more meat for the NK’ s army should they breach the Wall (I imagine many will die in their homes across the countryside and I’m guessing only the North will bother to burn the bodies).

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    35. I don’t think Ed’s troop was at the battle and I believe they survived their encounter with Arya. I liked that scene. It set up Arya’s giggle when she told Sansa about her kill list. Ed’s singing was perfect. The close-ups of his face were a bit much. I expect soldiers who’ve been on the road for awhile to look much scruffier. I loved Billy Postlethwaite’s performance except when he starting talking about his wife and child. I’d like to see him as a minor returning character.

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    36. Tamwell Sarly,

      If you ask me, that scene was done just to let the audience know that Dany respects Jon and values his advice. Part of building up their relation.

      If you want to go more in-depth though, what Dany actually says is ‘What kind of a Queen am I if I’m not willing to risk my own life to face my enemies’. Perhaps she feels guilty that she’s been sitting safe while her allies and people( Unsullied ) are left suffering for her cause?

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    37. Rygritte: I loved Billy Postlethwaite’s performance except when he starting talking about his wife and child.

      May I ask why you didn’t like that bit? I thought that comment about “girls take care of their papas while boys go fight in someone else’s war” was a wonderfully subtle take on the state of the union…possibly one of the best lines of the season thus far, given who he was speaking to. Then later on we get an opposing viewpoint from Jon asking for all houses to train boys and girls for war. It’s the small moments and connections like that one (plus the comments from the Hound as well that episode) that elevate the material for me.

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    38. Tamwell Sarly: Uhm, Dany explicitly stated that in this last episode! Right after Tyrion gave her the news about Casterly Rock and what happened at Highgarden, Dany started to berate Tyrion (accused him of not really being enemies with Cersei and Jaime because they were his family and then said enough of his “clever plans”) during which time she said she’s lost all her allies and now the food from the Reach to feed her armies.

      I must have missed that. I will rewatch this part tonight. I thought she said that her Unsullied did not have food because the Lannisters had emptied the granaries at Casterly Rock.

      So….. if she was counting on the food from the Reach, what do you think her battle strategy should have been with regards to the loot train? How would she save the food for her troops? Perhaps she should have targeted all the people, especially all the Lords with the dragon fire, and had the Dothraki surround and capture the wagons.

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    39. BranTheBlessed,

      Or if Dany understood the culture she wishes to rule, she could let them take the Black rather than joining her to fight their neighbors which is who the people are that makes up Cersei’s army.

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    40. Rygritte:
      I don’t think Ed’s troop was at the battle and I believe they survived their encounter with Arya. I liked that scene. It set up Arya’s giggle when she told Sansa about her kill list. Ed’s singing was perfect. The close-ups of his face were a bit much. I expect soldiers who’ve been on the road for awhile to look much scruffier. I loved Billy Postlethwaite’s performance except when he starting talking about his wife and child. I’d like to see him as a minor returning character.

      Those soldiers mentioned they were going to the Riverlands to keep the peace, presumably after the chaos caused by Arya at the Twins, so unless the Lannisters wanted to leave the castle without defenses, Ed’s regiment should still be at the Twins…

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    41. Tamwell Sarly:
      RosanaZugey,

      Seems like we are on the same page. In addition to the repeated mention of her people believing in her (as you point out) plus all the other aforementioned scenes of folks having to rein her in, there’s the recent scene with Jon and Davos peppering Missandei about being freed from slavery by Dany yet still serving her. Jon/Davos were implying she’s essentially still a slave and both seemed somewhat skeptical despite Missandei’s insistence that she was free to go whenever she wanted. It’s as if they planted a seed of doubt in her mind maybe?

      It just really seems like all of this is adding up and will lead to Dany’s demise. Either she’ll make a colossal mistake (like burning KL’s) or her continued pursuit of power at the cost of being a wise ruler will erode the support she has from her council and followers. I don’t know…I’m either taking the bait and am falling for the soon-to-be-curveball or astutely picking up on the foreshadowing. Could be either!

      Good grief! I was wondering about that scene with Missandei as well!! As I was watching it, I couldn’t help but think, ‘What’s the point of this scene?’ See, I am a FIRM believer that they’re not wasting dialogue or screen time, so if something is in the show at this point, then it matters. But to what end? Why does it matter if Missandei views herself as a freed slave willingly serving her Queen (who would allow her to leave if she wants) vs a redefined ‘slave’ (as Jon and Davos were insinuating)? Then I thought that perhaps it’s included, not for reinforcement of things the audience already knows, but because it’ll matter in the future. So, for instance, if Missandei wants to leave Dragonstone and go be with Greyworm at Casterly Rock, and Daenerys doesn’t let her go. Then it would dawn on Missandei that maybe she isn’t as ‘free’ as she imagines. I’m not sure, however, that something like that would lead to Daenery’s ‘demise’, but I think it’s enough to give everyone pause.

      Then again, you could be right in saying we’re taking the bait and reading way too much into this. 😉 I have terrible habit of doing that myself, so don’t trust me. 😉

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    42. Hodors Bastard: May I ask why you didn’t like that bit?

      Selfish reasons 😛

      comment about “girls take care of their papas ….given who he was speaking to

      I agree. It also set up Arya going to see Ned in the crypt.

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    43. BranTheBlessed: Those people were on the losing side. As far as I can see, there are only three options (1) Take them as prisoners of war (2) Kill them all, the treatment the Team Lannister gave to Tyrell soldiers. (3) Give them a chance to drop their weapons and come over to the other side.

      Dany will be taking the kindest option. Not unlike Jon, who allowed the Umbers and Kastarks to come back to his side after making them bend the knee.

      But unlike Jon, who never threatened the Umber and Karstark kids to “bend the knee or die”. In fact, if those kids had foolishly decided not to bend the knee, I know Jon wouldn’t have executed them. He would’ve just stripped them of their holdings like Sansa wanted.

      Previews can be deceiving, but it sure appears as if Tyrion gives Dany a look when she says threatens the Lannister captives as if he’s thinking (you’ve got to stop wanting and threatening to kill everyone all the time).

      Btw, it’s a huge reach (pun not intended) to conclude that the Lannisters killed all the Tyrell soldiers. Just because we see dead bodies in Highgarden as Jaime walks by doesn’t mean they didn’t capture others. As Dickon said, he used to hunt with many of those Tyrell soldiers, so it’s highly possible that survivors converted to the Lannisters especially since the Tarlys (and likely other former Tyrell bannermen) were already fighting for Cersei (makes switching sides easier).

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    44. Kay: I must have missed that. I will rewatch this part tonight. I thought she said that her Unsullied did not have food because the Lannisters had emptied the granaries at Casterly Rock.

      So….. if she was counting on the food from the Reach, what do you think her battle strategy should have been with regards to the loot train? How would she save the food for her troops? Perhaps she should have targeted all the people, especially all the Lords with the dragon fire, and had the Dothraki surround and capture the wagons.

      Dany either didn’t know she was burning the food wagons or, in the intensity and fury of the battle, didn’t care anymore. Either way, it seems likely to be a pretty costly mistake to make.

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    45. BranTheBlessed:
      People have been waiting for Dany to become ‘Mad Queen’ and seal her demise for years now. The desperation is hilarious to see.

      Well, NINE whole episodes left now for Daenerys to become Mad Queen….. 😀 What if… what if… at the very end of the nine episodes, she is still not the mad queen? I doubt that will persuade any of the “mad queen” believers. They have believed for many years now, and are not gonna change their minds…..

      Tywin’s Ghost:
      BranTheBlessed,

      Or if Dany understood the culture she wishes to rule, she could let them take the Black rather than joining her to fight their neighbors which is who the people are that makes up Cersei’s army.

      Wouldn’t that mean that she just made them become more fodder in the Night King’s army. Because taking the Black is really putting more new, uninitiated-to-the-Wall people in the Night King’s path.

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    46. Tamwell Sarly: Dany either didn’t know she was burning the food wagons or, in the intensity and fury of the battle, didn’t care anymore. Either way, it seems likely to be a pretty costly mistake to make.

      But what would YOUR battle strategy have been? I agree, it’s going to be a costly mistake – for EVERYONE, including psycho Cersei.

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    47. BranTheBlessed:
      Tamwell Sarly,

      If you ask me, that scene was done just to let the audience know that Dany respects Jon and values his advice. Part of building up their relation.

      If you want to go more in-depth though, what Dany actually says is ‘What kind of a Queen am I if I’m not willing to risk my own life to face my enemies’. Perhaps she feels guilty that she’s been sitting safe while her allies and people( Unsullied ) are left suffering for her cause?

      I believe that scene was dual purposed. Partly, as you state, to relationship build further between Dany and Jon. At the same time it most definitely shows her natural inclination to “be the dragon” which runs counter to the ideal ruler she’s always claimed she wants to be. Right before she asks Jon for his opinion, Tyrion was trying to talk her down again. If anything, I think this scene builds a stronger relationship between Tyrion and Jon since Jon basically said the same thing Tyrion has told Dany seemingly a dozen times now (ok, not quite that many…but she sure seems to have to be reminded way too often).

      And, yes, she feels guilty about sitting back and seeing her allies drop like flies. But, it was just that she wanted to get into the action herself, it was that she wanted to torch her enemies at the Red Keep along with thousands of innocent victims. Therein lies the problem.

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    48. Kay: But what would YOUR battle strategy have been? I agree, it’s going to be a costly mistake – for EVERYONE, including psycho Cersei.

      Ha, I’m not a military strategist so any plans I’d have drawn up probably would’ve failed more so than Tyrion’s have thus far. I think what I would have done is fake a dothraki charge to get the Lannisters/Tarlys all lined up in battle formation. Then I would’ve swooped in with Drogon and lit them up down that vertical line (and not perpendicular like Dany did with her original strike). That would’ve taken out the vast majority of the Lannisters without harming the grain wagons. Then the dothraki could’ve mopped up. Don’t know how well that actually would’ve worked, but that’s the best I can come up with.

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    49. Tamwell Sarly: Don’t see it happening. Jon may be humble, but he’s also stubborn. Dany is not-so-humble and just as, if not more, stubborn. I don’t think the story is going to end with a happy Jon/Dany marriage and everyone lives happily ever after. They may hook up (before knowing about being related), but I don’t think it’ll go beyond that. Even if they did get married, I doubt it would last long due to impending war with the white walkers. So, ultimately, they won’t rule together, imo.

      I would be so disappointed if the story ended with Jon and Daenerys sitting on the Throne and ruling happily ever after. That just seems so cliche, and not at all in line with the entire feel of the book/series. If this thing ends with the handsome King and the beautiful Queen living happily ever after (like some glorified live-action Disney movie) I’m going to be sorely disappointed in GRRM’s lack of imagination.

      In the end, though, I’m with you. I don’t think they rule together. I have been absolutely convinced that she dies ONLY because of that House of the Undying scene in season 2. She never took the Throne in that vision. Instead, she went beyond the Wall and immediately after that she reunited with her husband and baby. I’ve always felt that that scene was a foreshadowing that she would die beyond the wall. But once again, I haven’t been right about anything, so, my interpretation of that scene could be WAYYYYY off.

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    50. RosanaZugey: Good grief! I was wondering about that scene with Missandei as well!! As I was watching it, I couldn’t help but think, ‘What’s the point of this scene?’ See, I am a FIRM believer that they’re not wasting dialogue or screen time, so if something is in the show at this point, then it matters. But to what end? Why does it matter if Missandei views herself as a freed slave willingly serving her Queen (who would allow her to leave if she wants) vs a redefined ‘slave’ (as Jon and Davos were insinuating)? Then I thought that perhaps it’s included, not for reinforcement of things the audience already knows, but because it’ll matter in the future. So, for instance, if Missandei wants to leave Dragonstone and go be with Greyworm at Casterly Rock, and Daenerys doesn’t let her go. Then it would dawn on Missandei that maybe she isn’t as ‘free’ as she imagines. I’m not sure, however, that something like that would lead to Daenery’s ‘demise’, but I think it’s enough to give everyone pause.

      Then again, you could be right in saying we’re taking the bait and reading way too much into this. I have terrible habit of doing that myself, so don’t trust me.

      Definitely Dany blocking an attempt by Missandei to leave (for whatever reason) wouldn’t lead to Dany’s demise alone. I’m just thinking that all of this seemingly inconsequential stuff could add up to lead to a loss of support for Dany. In other words, if Missandei and others realize that they really aren’t as free as they thought meanwhile they witness Dany torch a bunch of innocent people simply as a side casualty in her attempt to gain power, etc. then that could be the demise.

      I mean, D&D are dropping this stuff left and right now. And, I agree with you, they are not “wasting dialogue”. So, it’s not a matter of what we are witnessing, it’s a matter of are we interpreting it right?

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    51. Tywin’s Ghost:
      RosanaZugey,

      It’s a perfect storm brewing. War of the queens is definitely going to bring turmoil. There will be loss of soldiers to fight the WWs. The peasants will die of starvationcreating more meat for the NK’ s army should they breach the Wall (I imagine many will die in their homes across the countryside and I’m guessing only the North will bother to burn the bodies).

      Oh man. I hadn’t even thought about how all of these starving citizens and dead soldiers would provide “meat” for the White Walker army. Ayyyyyyy. This is going to be a clusterfark of epic proportions. 🙁

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    52. Markus Stark: If the writers intended Sansa’s character to be jealous at this point, then she would be jealous, no matter what the actors or director say. The writers are the ones who decide where the characters are emotionally.

      If the writers intend Sansa to be jealous, then the writers should write it in the script. That’s what they do. And then Shakman would have known that Sansa’s reaction was one of jealousy and not merely surprise at the transformation.

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    53. RosanaZugey: In the end, though, I’m with you. I don’t think they rule together. I have been absolutely convinced that she dies ONLY because of that House of the Undying scene in season 2. She never took the Throne in that vision. Instead, she went beyond the Wall and immediately after that she reunited with her husband and baby. I’ve always felt that that scene was a foreshadowing that she would die beyond the wall. But once again, I haven’t been right about anything, so, my interpretation of that scene could be WAYYYYY off.

      There definitely was a purpose for showing that vision on screen. I think you’re probably right. And, depending on how literal that vision was, that means she does end up torching KL I believe, right (wasn’t the thrown room partially burnt to ruins)?

      Speaking of scenes foreshadowing the future. I’m still convinced the 3ER’s statement to Bran that “you’ll never walk again, but you will fly” means he will end up warging into one or all of the dragons to fight the walkers and wights (maybe after Dany dies and no one can control them anymore)???

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    54. As I said before, it would have been good if those soldiers did pop up elsewhere, as it hammers home Meribalds speech

      Eg Greyworm picks up the dying Lannister soldier threatening him etc would have really worked well if we recognised it as the guy who just had a child hoping it was a daughter

      And it would have been good if we noticed that blonde guy going on about site seeing in the front rank about to get roasted as Drogon swoops in

      And perhaps Ed Sheeran as one of those burned guys taking the helmets off trying to douse themselves in the river (did lol at Ozzyman video tbh)

      Would have reinforced on the “lower end” the same themes we saw on the higher Lord end, eg Bronn vs Dany, Jaimie vs Dany and as viewers because you know people on both sides it was as some said “hard to cheer on one or the other” which for mine is quite good

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    55. Kay,

      You’re projecting your knowledge as an audience member onto Dany. If she believes Jon about the WWs, she has not stated any concern about them breaching the Wall and that is the only way the captured soldiers who took the Black could become meat for the NK’s army. Only Jon and Davos have stated what happens if they get past the Wall.

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    56. Tamwell Sarly: There definitely was a purpose for showing that vision on screen. I think you’re probably right. And, depending on how literal that vision was, that means she does end up torching KL I believe, right (wasn’t the thrown room partially burnt to ruins)?

      Depends, I guess. Visions can be symbolic, as you said. The ruined throne room could just as well be a metaphor for the destruction of the Seven Kingdoms unless Daenerys gives up her pursuit of the Iron Throne and goes north.

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    57. Markus Stark: the horror unleashed by Dany

      For those posters who have bemoaned the actions of Arya and the effects murder (or merely revenge) must have had on Arya’s mental state, compare Arya’s life work to that of Cersei and Daenerys. Cersie and Daenerys are using mass killing as a means to get what they think they are entitled to, Arya is killing individuals and a group as retribution and defense of her House. Relative to other killers, Arya is meting out justice. Even so, killing is part of life in Westeros.

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    58. BranTheBlessed:
      Why this came about, why they hold her to such ridiculous, impossible-to-achieve standards is something I’ll never understand.All the good things she has done, have come at a cost of lives.

      How did she save the Unsullied? Fire and blood.
      How did she free the slaves? Fire and blood.
      How did she unite the Khalasars? Fire and blood.
      How will she defeat Cersei? Fire and blood.

      If I remember correctly, Dany has been talking about burning the shit out of The Red Keep with Cersei/Lannister-supporters inside (which would also comply with her visions/dreams at The House of the Undying). Everyone (except the late Olenna…RIP) has been talking her out of it, “to keep a good image towards the common citizens she wish to rules afterwards”…

      So…isn’t the reason for her bad start at conquering Westeros actually, that she’s been listening too much and has now embarked on a warfare the Westerosi way and playing The Game as a spoke on the wheel herself?

      Each time she took a city in Essos, she effectively took out the leaders (as far as possible) and slavers – and ONLY those, thereby keeping a good Mhysa-image with the citizens/slaves. She never before killed the masses of a population like she is now. Burning the quite normal, “innocent” soldiers (that we know thanks to the scene w/Ed Sheeran)… All sons of the common people of The Crownlands and The Reach. She burns the food reserves for the citizens of KL and tells everyone and their mother to bend the damn knee.

      Maybe Lady Olenna (you clever, truly missed lady) was more right in telling her to be a dragon, than first thought. Burn the higher levels of Red Keep, where Cersei always hangs out to ashes. The People of KL are sheep anyway (according to Jamie in his convo with Randyll Tarly) and would probably just be happy to be rid of Cersei – and Euron who would be the easiest target for Drogon to take out at sea btw.

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    59. Nope. I sincerely hope Sheeran and his gentle friends were not there. As I hope that all those who got burnt were horrible people.
      As much as I loved this episode, I hate seeing people suffer. I mean, I was shouting “that is enough Jon” when Jon Snow got to Ramsay after the battle of the bastards. Seriously.

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    60. Tamwell Sarly: There definitely was a purpose for showing that vision on screen. I think you’re probably right. And, depending on how literal that vision was, that means she does end up torching KL I believe, right (wasn’t the thrown room partially burnt to ruins)?

      Speaking of scenes foreshadowing the future. I’m still convinced the 3ER’s statement to Bran that “you’ll never walk again, but you will fly” means he will end up warging into one or all of the dragons to fight the walkers and wights (maybe after Dany dies and no one can control them anymore)???

      I agree about Bran. I most definitely think he’s warging a dragon. That almost seems destined at this point. In my mind, I always thought–as you suggested–that it would come if/when Daenerys dies. It’s interesting, though, that you think Daenerys would burn down King’s Landing. I always thought Cersei would blow it up as a final “F-YOU! If I can’t have it, no one will,” to Daenerys, but I could see it your way as well (especially in light of all the “burn down the Red Keep” talk this season).

      You know what’s crazy to me is that I did NOT think we’d have wars going on (between Houses) at the same time as the war with the White Walkers. But now I’m starting to think both are going to happen simultaneously, which will put Jon/Daenerys and the other “fighting” characters beyond the Wall, while the non-fighting ones (Sansa) and her ‘protectors’ (Brienne, maybe Arya and Jaime) deal with Cersei.

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    61. RosanaZugey: Cersei would blow KL up as a final “F-YOU! If I can’t have it, no one will,”

      If the WWs all arrive at KL, blowing up KL with the remaining wildfire would burn them all and relieve Westeros of the WWS and their wights.
      If Cersei lights it up, she would then become the hero.

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    62. Tamwell Sarly: Ha, I’m not a military strategist so any plans I’d have drawn up probably would’ve failed more so than Tyrion’s have thus far. I think what I would have done is fake a dothraki charge to get the Lannisters/Tarlys all lined up in battle formation. Then I would’ve swooped in with Drogon and lit them up down that vertical line (and not perpendicular like Dany did with her original strike). That would’ve taken out the vast majority of the Lannisters without harming the grain wagons. Then the dothraki could’ve mopped up. Don’t know how well that actually would’ve worked, but that’s the best I can come up with.

      That actually would have been a better strategy. After her first perpendicular run she really couldn’t do any more direct attacks on the main Lannister line as the Dothraki were now mixed in. So the only other choice was to torch the wagons. Another thing she should have done was retreated with Drogon after the first scorpion bolt missed. The battle was already won at that point. With the scorpion being on a 360 swivel there was no way to attack it from the air without facing down the “barrel” of the scorpion. It didn’t pose much of a threat to the ground troops as it takes way too long to reload (that’s why Yoren never liked crossbows) so she should have let them take it out. But I’m pretty sure the fact the food was destroyed and Drogon was brought down was to serve the story going forward.

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    63. Did anyone catch the Blade Runner reference in this episode? Also did anyone else notice the look on Bran’s face when Arya took the dagger from him. It was almost like Frodo not wanting to give up the ring. It may be nothing but I got a slight feeling he knows Arya needs the knife for an important role in the end game but it also might be the reason Arya dies.

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    64. Hexonx: It may be nothing but I got a slight feeling he knows Arya needs the knife for an important role in the end game but it also might be the reason Arya dies.

      “..it also might be the reason Arya dies.” Speculating or spoiling? Sounds an awful lot like the the latter.

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    65. Dead Dane Walking,

      Speculation. If anything after ep 4 was leaked I didn’t know about it. I don’t expect you to know anything about me but I don’t seek out spoilers and I was pissed off when I saw a comment about LF giving the knife to Bran before the last ep aired so I certainly wouldn’t post a spoiler even if I knew anything.

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    66. Marlana: If the WWs all arrive at KL, blowing up KL with the remaining wildfire would burn them all and relieve Westeros of the WWS and their wights.
      If Cersei lights it up, she would then become the hero.

      Now THAT would be an epic twist. Hahahaha.

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    67. Tamwell Sarly:

      ***
      “Speaking of scenes foreshadowing the future. I’m still convinced the 3ER’s statement to Bran that “you’ll never walk again, but you will fly” means he will end up warging into one or all of the dragons to fight the walkers and wights (maybe after Dany dies and no one can control them anymore)???”

      I am still trying to figure out what the 3ER meant when he told Bran (in S4e10, excerpted below]: “He [Jojen] died so you could find what you have lost.”

      What did Bran “lose” that he’ll be able to “find” ?

      ————-
      Excerpt: 4×10

      ****
      Meera: My brother, he led us to you and now he–

      3ER: He knew what would happen. From the moment he left, he knew and he went anyway.

      Meera: How do you know?

      3ER: I’ve been watching you. All of you. All of your lives. With 1,000 eyes and one. Now you’ve come to me at last, Brandon Stark. Though the hour is late.

      Bran: I didn’t want anyone to die for me.

      3ER: He died so you could find what you have lost.

      Bran: You’re going to help me walk again?

      3ER: You will never walk again. But you will fly.

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    68. BigMac,

      It would be pretty ironic (and just the sort of thing GRRM would do) if ultimately, Dany turned out to be a terrible would-be ruler on both sides of the Narrow Sea, while Daario acquitted himself nicely in Meereen. Stranger things have happened!

      On a completely different note… While all the Sheeran haters continue to froth at the mouth, poor Noah Syndergaard was barely noticed on Sunday!

      http://ftw.usatoday.com/2017/08/noah-syndergaard-game-of-thrones-cameo-video-mets-hbo-mlb

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    69. RosanaZugey:

      Also interesting to me… why do they keep bringing up that her people follow her because they believe in her? Tyrion mentioned it during the takeover of Casterly Rock and Jon mentioned it again when telling her to not attack King’s Landing. We (as an audience) already know that her people fight for her because they believe in her, so why keep mentioning it? Why is that important? Any ideas?

      It’s important because it draws a direct parallel with why people are fighting for Jon, and why the Northern lords crowned him KitN. However, in sharp contrast to Dany, Jon has no ambitions to rule all of Westeros. A few weeks ago another commenter (alas, I forget who) pointed out that, by demanding that Jon bend the knee, Dany is being incredibly hypocritical: She is denying the will of the people of the North, who have chosen Jon as much as the freed slaves and the Dothraki chose her. There are no slaves in Westeros, and the only scattered semi-nomadic tribes with little central government are the Free Folk. She’s trying to impose her own rulership on a strongly-united North that has chosen its own competent ruler with far, far closer ties to the land than she has. Eventually, that’s going to bite her in the ass.

      Apologies for the length of this post.

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    70. Ten Bears,

      Based on the preview for “Eastwatch” Bran is warging into ravens, so perhaps that’s what the “you will fly” comment is about. Although, I would have to say that warging into a dragon would certainly have more effect on the outcome of the story than ravens, so perhaps he will indeed warg into a dragon at some point.

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    71. RosanaZugey,

      Well damn. That makes way too much sense. And while I agree that I would be sorely disappointed in a PG-Disney version of an ending, I would hate to see Dany dead. If she dies, I feel like the whole “ice and fire” thing was for nothing. 🙁

      Say it ain’t so!

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    72. With hindsight, we now see the “nice Lannister soldiers” scene (incl. Ed Sheeran – I don’t really know his work but I know he’s big, so the backlash was in proportion to his fame, I guess) served two purposes.

      Firstly, to humanize Arya after she committed mass murder. Yeah, they were Freys, but most of them probably did what they were told, and seeing Arya’s enjoyment in killing them all was disturbing. Hey, I cheered as much as the next person at the demise of House Frey but ultimately this revenge left a bad taste in my mouth. I like Arya, and want her to be fierce and just, like she was in S1, but the Frey massacre (and her obvious enjoyment) crossed the line. It wasn’t justice, it was revenge, and Ellaria Sand has demonstrated the futility of revenge because it can lead to a vicious circle.

      So, the Ed Sheeran scene demonstrated that Arya is not a wholly cold-blooded killer. It was so good to see.

      The second payback from that scene came with ep4. We felt for the rank and file Lannister soldiers when they were being napalmed by Dany and Drogon. It was horrific. Jaime’s face when he witnesses the horror around him. In the books, Jaime has very good rapport with the ordinary soldiers, goes around the camps and talks to them, shares jokes, encourages. That hasn’t been made as apparent in the show but the look on his face during this fire carnage says it all.

      Fire carnage is, of course, very personal to Jaime. That’s why he’s uncomfortable with Cersei. He didn’t see Cersei’s firey hell first hand so he can talk himself into supporting her despite it..? However, he watched the Mad King burn people alive as a KG. He broke an oath and killed the Mad King to keep him from burning thousands of people alive. And here he is, another Targaryen burning hundreds, if not thousands of people. His charge was so visceral. Doomed and idiotic (like his brother observed) but really the only thing Jaime could do. Forget about fighting for Cersei or the Lannisters but this inferno is just too much.

      Jaime charging on his white horse (knight in shining armour on a white charger, St George or any and all dragonslayers of medieval legends and romances etc. etc.) He has this grim, desperate grimace on his face… But when Drogon turns his head, opens his mouth, the glow of fire…

      For a moment there, Jaime looked like an innocent little boy, realizing he’s about to die… Except Bronn. (Come on, give the guy all the castles and highborn wives he wants.)

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    73. Markus Stark:
      Wish more people appreciated the humanizing of the Lannisters, and the horror unleashed by Dany. I think it’s legitimate to use her dragons against soldiers, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t horrific to see.

      If reaction videos are anything to go by, most didn’t.

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    74. Interesting question, my take was very much that this was the tail end of the Lannister/Tarly armies from the reach and Casterley Rock. Sheeran and his merry band were up in the Riverlands so wouldn’t be there.

      Whilst presumably a chunk of the Lannister forces were killed it wouldn’t be the majority who were in Kings Landing with the gold.

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