The Night’s Cast Episode 4: Back to Black(water) and more!

Wildfire at the Battle of Blackwater

This scene never gets old.

The season recaps continue! The Night’s Cast, the official podcast of Watchers on the Wall, releases Episode 4 today, in which we look back fondly on Season 2 (Samantha’s still-burning and probably unfounded hatred of Shae not withstanding). Join Petra, Vanessa, Samantha and special guest Pat Sponaugle as they recap the second season.

The Night’s Cast is available on iTunes and SoundCloud, and you can follow us on Twitter as well. Happy listening!

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    1. IMO, the second half of season 2 (episodes 5-10) is criminally underrated. It’s some of the best stuff GoT has done, IMO.

      The first half (episodes 1-4) not so much.

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    2. Something I forgot to mention about the Arya/Tywin scenes – I think it adds another layer to Arya not naming Tywin to Jaqen. I always thought it was a bit odd that it never occurred to her to name him in the books until it was too late, but I feel like her having that personal interaction with him in the show makes it more understandable. It brings to mind Ned’s philosophy about sentencing someone to death: “If you would take a man’s life, you owe it to him to look into his eyes and hear his final words. And if you cannot bear to do that, then perhaps the man does not deserve to die.”

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    3. I’ve become addicted to the wonderfully informative and entertaining podcasts. Keep ’em coming!

      (Btw, between you, me and the Narrow Sea, I found out the other day that Rose Leslie keeps an apartment when she’s in New York City in my downtown Manhattan apartment building.)

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    4. I think Shae’s last name is Reyne and “Shae” is “The Last Reyne”

      I think Shae might have killed Tywin with the knife she had if Tyrion didn’t kill Shae first….

      Shae’s history and mystery and family and what she says all adds up to Shae Reyne

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    5. Vanessa:
      Something I forgot to mention about the Arya/Tywin scenes – I think it adds another layer to Arya not naming Tywin to Jaqen. I always thought it was a bit odd that it never occurred to her to name him in the books until it was too late, but I feel like her having that personal interaction with him in the show makes it more understandable. It brings to mind Ned’s philosophy about sentencing someone to death: “If you would take a man’s life, you owe it to him to look into his eyes and hear his final words. And if you cannot bear to do that, then perhaps the man does not deserve to die.”

      I think Arya just had “The Tickler” killed because he was fresh on her mind after seeing what he did. She was still very young and it honestly was a mistake, but she also didn’t realize that Jaqen could really do it. The second kill was more out of necessity because her cover was going to be blown. She did think of naming Tywin later, but it was too late since he already left. Then, she was brilliant at naming Jaqen, so she could get out of there!

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    6. Arya’s choices were very much the way a child would do it. “For Tickler, I hate that mean man so kill him now”. That guy is going to get me into trouble by telling tales on me – do him now. For Jaqen, I hate you for refusing me so I name you. A baby in arms that is refused by mommy will often cry and slap at mommy even at months old when refused a request. Out of frustration and anger.

      It worked for the episode but for me his “un-name me” response was odd. It seemed an amateur vulnerability. This is supposed to be an old order of assassins – and they really should have a better way to handle that kind of request. For example, since he can change form, he could have just moulted to a new person and said “Jaquen is dead”. Her clever choice could still lead him to do the kill anyway, and then befriend and help her and the story could have continued in the same way. But I am not a TV writer so maybe that sequence would have lacked the required drama?

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    7. Mango:
      Arya’s choices were very much the way a child would do it.“For Tickler, I hate that mean man so kill him now”.That guy is going to get me into trouble by telling tales on me – do him now. For Jaqen, I hate you for refusing me so I name you. A baby in arms that is refused by mommy will often cry and slap at mommy even at months old when refused a request. Out of frustration and anger.

      It worked for the episode but for me his “un-name me” response was odd. It seemed an amateur vulnerability. This is supposed to be an old order of assassins – and they really should have a better way to handle that kind of request. For example, since he can change form, he could have just moulted to a new person and said “Jaquen is dead”. Her clever choice could still lead him to do the kill anyway, and then befriend and help her and the story could have continued in the same way. But I am not a TV writer so maybe that sequence would have lacked the required drama?

      I hear what you’re saying, but I doubt most people would name the assassin’s name, since the reason they hire a FM is to eliminate an enemy or someone else they have in mind. Why would someone pay a fortune to hire a FM (they aren’t cheap. Normally they don’t just offer freebies), and then they name the FM instead of who they really had in mind? I think Arya was actually very clever with that one. She was rash naming the Tickler though.

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    8. Tron79,

      Oh I agree about the first and second names, but she could have definitely named Tywin before he left. You’d think being around him all the time and hearing him strategize against Robb would make him an obvious choice to her – however, she doesn’t do it. It just strikes me as an example of how humanizing the enemy makes it harder to kill them, similar to when Arya meets the Lannister soldiers in season 7.

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    9. Great episode guys! I loved how you talk about foreshadowing, which there is a lot of in the early seasons given what we know now. I know you discussed the second season, but when Jon first discovers who Maester Aemon’s family is in Season 1, Maester Aemon hypothetically asks Jon something along the lines about what his father (Ned Stark) would choose if it came to love or honor. And we now know that Ned sacrificed his own honor for Lyanna as well as Jon. As I rewatched that, it is just so touching and tragic to know that Ned sacrificed something he valued so much to protect those he loves.

      What struck me about the Blackwater episode, that could potentially be another foreshadowing moment, is when Varys tells Tyrion that the Targaryens built King’s Landing to withstand a siege, as well as to provide an escape if needed. He was referring to Tyrion’s choice to escape, but I couldn’t help but think how these tunnels could be used by the common folk in season 8, given Dany’s refusal to unleash her dragons on King’s Landing when there are so many people. I also wonder about the logistics of such things occurring since Cersei destroyed some of the tunnels with Wildfire, but also, she wouldn’t be a queen to allow the commonfolk to escape purely out of spite.

      As for the foreshadowing mentioned about Dany in the House of the Undying – I’m not entirely sure whether she lives or dies but I do agree that even in her visions, her dragons literally called her for a higher purpose. She turned away from the throne and ended up North, which we already see in season 7 as she pauses her own campaign against Cersei to help Jon against the Night King. I think she may potentially have a more active role in destroying the Night King that could get her killed.

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    10. I’ll echo the sentiment that Season 2 is underrated and oftentimes unfairly maligned. I get how it came about, because it probably is the weakest of the first four seasons that cover Books 1-3, but it’s still a very good year for the series with some standout material. Sure, Dany’s and Jon’s arcs are what ultimately brings the season down somewhat (though, truth be told, not that their book arcs in ACoK were all that compelling, at least to me), but the rest of the stuff was fantastic.

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    11. Cliohna:
      It seems like Arya is one of the main topics in the comment section again. Haha

      Did anyone of you see Richard Madden’s instagram picture he posted 2 days ago? too cute…

      At the end of “Looking forward..,” Oct. 19 article Comments section. All about Robb, Jon and Sam visiting Arya for her London stage debut. With lots of photos!

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    12. Just finished my binge listen to all Nightscast episodes so far. Very enjoyable, almost like chatting with friends about something we all love, except you can’t hear my comments or chuckles. 😀

      Really looking forward to the next instalment and S3 recap as it’s my favourite season emotionally – it’s the first one I saw so always holds a special place in my heart, plus JAIME & BRIENNE!

      Season 2 often gets kind of overlooked or underrated in the “rank the seasons” game but there is such a wealth of great material there. Tyrion/Cersei, Arya/Tywin and also the beginning of her descent into darker places (so tragic), Jaime’s “so many vows” speech, we get to see Robb’s cause begin to unravel, introduction to Stannis, Mel and our lovely Davos… Dany’s season was one of her weaker ones but at least there’s the HOTU visions. All in all, I think S2 was a lot of set up, although it also works as a “standalone”, thanks to the backbone of the impending Battle of the Blackwater and the actual battle.

      The Battle of the Blackwater was the first actual battle the show did, all the S1 battles happened off screen (and it never bothered me, the outcome of the battles, not the actual slashing and hacking, was the important thing). And the way they did it was to have sympathies on both sides. For me it was never so much for Stannis, that stick in the mud, but against Joffrey and Cersei… But Tyrion was on that side as well and I wanted him to succeed and get credit for it – well, he didn’t, lol!

      The budget they had to do that battle was nowhere near the budgets they’ve had for battles in later seasons but they got bang for their buck. It’s only when you rewatch with a really nitpicky eye that you notice some of the budget limitations. Nothing awkward or cheap to take away from ours, the watchers’, general immersion and enjoyment, mostly thanks to great character moments during the battle.

      I’m not a great battle person, so I wonder if some of the later battles could’ve been just as good or even better with a slightly smaller budget. Less all out hacking and lashing and gore and more character beats… That said, Hardhome and Field of Fire (or Loot Train battle as they insist calling it officially, ugh. I mean, it doesn’t even roll off the tongue!) stand out in their absolute horror, and we get emotional involvement (Karsi, wildlings, humanity; Jaime, Bronn, the overwhelming horror of people burning).

      Oh, and one of my absolute favourites is the “Watchers on the Wall” battle in S4, for its character moments, the great visuals, that amazing 360 degree shot… Jon coming into his own as a leader. Even the music.

      Compared to those, the Battle of the Bastards was a bit meh after the initial shots of Jon facing the cavalry and the amazing long shot of him fighting. OK, his “rebirth” in fighting his way up from bottom of the scrum, deciding to live, gasping for breath. Otherwise it was just too much hack and slash for my taste. (I loved the visual of Jon echoing Dany’s “Mhysa” moment but apparently that wasn’t written by D&D, Miguel Sapotchink decided to film it that way – good on him!)

      Haha, sorry for the long post. I really like Nightscast and look forward to future episodes!

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