No Game of Thrones Screeners for Critics Once Again; Plus, Ed Sheeran Offers More Cameo Teases!

Bella Ramsey as Lyanna Mormont in Winterfell. Photo: HBO

Nerd reporters’ faces when we hear ‘no screeners.’ Photo: HBO

There’s a not-entirely-unexpected piece of news from Entertainment Weekly today: James Hibberd reports that this year, HBO will not be providing any episodes of season seven of Game of Thrones to critics for screening. Typically, networks provide multiple episodes of any given show to critics so they can prepare reviews in advance of the season airing, as part of the usual promotion process.

HBO also declined to provide any episodes for screening last year, for season six, after the first episodes of season five famously leaked early onto pirating websites from a screener DVD in 2015. Shortly afterward, the network switched to an online-only digital streaming critics’ screening process. So it appears we can kiss Game of Thrones leaks goodbye! Unless a viewer has a computer and access to the internet, because there certainly have been no leaks this year. Nope, none at all.


*Ed Sheeran cameo spoilers below!*

Ed Sheeran Game of Thrones

Ed Sheeran
offered up details on his season 7 cameo a while back, telling fans he’d be playing a musician in his Game of Thrones role, singing a song and sharing the screen with famous fan Maisie Williams (Arya Stark).

Last night, the humble singer-songwriter downplayed his part on the show as thirsty reporters dug for details as he hit the red carpet at the Songwriters Hall of Fame’s 48th Annual Induction and Awards Gala.

“I know the next season’s crazy but I’m not involved in the craziness,” swore Sheeran to Access Hollywood, who insisted his role was just a small cameo. He explained that he became a fan courtesy of another singer who guested on the show- Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol, who popped up in season 3, belting out”The Bear and the Maiden Fair” in Bolton uniform.

GoT-Sn7_FirstLook_10Speaking to ET about his scene, Sheeran says, “I haven’t seen it yet! I just know the scene I did, I did with Maisie [Williams], and it’s decent. I like it…Nothing exciting happens in this scene, we just have a conversation and that’s kind of it.”

Of the filming, Sheeran says, “I was outside in the winter in England for about 10 hours…So it was cold.” Given that the show primarily films in Belfast, Northern Ireland, I’m guessing that his mention of England was just a mistake.

It’s interesting that he was filming outside though- many had wondered if Sheeran was present in the scene showed in the photo where Arya appears to be in an inn, staring at someone. I guess not?

193 responses

Jump to (and Always Support) the Bottom

    1. I was one of many that guessed that the picture of Arya was her watching Ed’s character sing. It makes perfect sense to me from what we see and him portraying a minstrel sounds like a good part for him. *shrug* I’ve since stumbled across the supposed leak that described his cameo scene. Who knows? It doesn’t really matter too much with these short cameo appearances.

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    2. Hmmm so much for preventing leaks…

      So is there a chance we get a 2nd trailer. .
      The 2nd trailer ” wheel” for season 5 came exactly a month before the season premiere..the second trailer for season 6 came out after the screening of red woman ..

      Personally I don’t think we are going to get a second trailer ..

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    3. I would enjoy a second trailer without question, but I also wouldn’t mind not getting one simply to keep things as fresh as possible once the season starts.

      Once a trailer comes out it gets dissected every which way to the point where we almost know too much info going into the season. Besides, if a second trailer comes out then everyone will be asking for a third trailer and then a fourth trailer, etc…

      At this point I think we need to just dig in and lick our chops for the season to start. Anything additional should be considered a bonus 🙂

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    4. It’s one thing to read written leaks by an illiterate fellow and another to actually watch the episodes .

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    5. I am assuming they’ll still have a premiere event. But shouldn’t they have announced that by now? Don’t they usually do the premiere 2 or 3 weeks before the actual TV premiere? I believe they did it a month before in one season. We’re pretty close to all that now and I don’t recall seeing any evidence of a when or a where for this season.

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    6. orange,

      An event website is putting a date out there for a premiere, yes, but I don’t like relying upon them as they’re not always accurate. I know that there will be a red carpet premiere this year, so I’m not too bothered about the date. Might as well let reliable news turn up.

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    7. Carole H,

      That’s exactly why I don’t think we will have another one because it comes very difficult to choose and cut without giving too much away ..

      Still its only 4 weeks away and We will have the red carpet premiere in one of those weeks ..so as Deep says we should and will take whatever that comes as a bonus..

      Coming back to the screeners it happened in season 5 and now we are in season 7. .I would have liked the producers to come up with a plan or strategy to prevent leaks happening from screeners than to entirely stop doing this..

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    8. dragonbringer,

      You can do as many plans and strategies as you want,it could still have a risk being leaked,GOT is not the only one affected by this,Orange is the New Black had almost their whole season leaked by a hacker .

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    9. I would be surprised if we do not get a second trailer but I suspect it’s still a week or so away right now.

      I do feel we will get the episode 1 title in the coming days though.

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    10. No surprise there.

      Maybe we’ll get a trailer or some kind of sneak peek at Comic Con. I don’t remember when that’s supposed to take place but it should be soon-ish right?

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    11. I remember the series lost, do you, what a load of twaddle, GOT never gets weak and goes from strenght to strength, the only TV series that I’ve found that is this Iconic was The Wire. Please just keep going we are not tired of it. more more more

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    12. We’re exactly one month away from S7. I for one am not jonesing for any more trailers. I’m trying not to think about the fact that the 6 weeks between E1 and E7 will fly by in a flash. I know I’m going to be bummed when the music soars, the screen fades to black, and the credits roll at the end of episode 7.

      That’s separate and apart from the disappointment I’ll likely be experiencing when I realize all of my tinfoil theories have been shot down.

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    13. I’m very certain that they’ll have a second trailer. Probably just 2-3 weeks before the premiere like they did with season 6. I highly doubt they’re just going to give us nothing between the first trailer and premiere. They’ll want to promote it more than that.

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    14. Ten Bears:
      We’re exactly one month away from S7.I for one am not jonesing for any more trailers. I’m trying not to think about the fact that the 6 weeks between E1 and E7 will fly by in a flash. I know I’m going to be bummed when the music soars, the screen fades to black, and the credits roll at the end of episode 7.

      That’s separate and apart from the disappointment I’ll likely be experiencing when I realize all of my tinfoil theories have been shot down.

      Ten Bears,

      Cheer up there Ten Bears, the tinfoilyness will probably be at an all-time high between seasons 7 and 8. You’ll have plenty of time to come up with some more Sandor/Arya craziness after the credits roll for season 7.

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    15. If Season 7 had premiered in April it would be over already. It’s nice having a new season to look forward to.

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    16. Flayed Potatoes:
      No surprise there.

      Maybe we’ll get a trailer or some kind of sneak peek at Comic Con. I don’t remember when that’s supposed to take place but it should be soon-ish right?

      It starts the week after the premiere so that won’t work. I haven’t actually thought about the Con this year. If they have the usual panel it will be odd for it to be not only during the season but only after one episode has aired.

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    17. my guess about the second trailer release date: 2nd of July, 2017.

      it’d be exactly 2 weeks before the premiere.

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    18. Really that some people dont think we gonna get a second trailer? An because of 7 episodes? Hahaha. Dudes movies with less than 2 hours get even 3 trailers and lots of videos, we have more than 7 hours to make another trailer. Sure we ll have another one as always.

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    19. I understand the no-screeners with all the leaks for this season, it’s probably better no more gets leaked before it airs, much safer that way.

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    20. Looking forward to Ed Sheeran’s epic mano-a-mano fight scene with Conor McGregor, though it will no doubt set a new record for the shortest scene in the show’s history.

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    21. Catspaw Assassin:
      Looking forward to Ed Sheeran’s epic mano-a-mano fight scene with Conor McGregor, though it will no doubt set a new record for the shortest scene in the show’s history.

      The victor? Why, Ed Sheeran of course. Always bet on brains over brawn.

      Catspaw Assassin,

      Maybe Ed Sheeran’s knowledge of music will win him the day. He could play the brown note on a musical instrument that plays a note low enough to make the noise…McGregor shits his pants, gets distracted, Ed Sheeran takes advantage and smashes a guitar over McGregor’s head. Game over. The end.

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    22. Do we know the exact date or red carpet event and screening of S07xE01? Also, title of the first episode might be released soon.

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    23. David:
      I’m very certain that they’ll have a second trailer. Probably just 2-3 weeks before the premiere like they did with season 6. I highly doubt they’re just going to give us nothing between the first trailer and premiere. They’ll want to promote it more than that.

      Yeah, I agree. I remember last year, people were speculating that there wasn’t even going to be a trailer for S6 because the show was desperate to keep Jon’s fate under wraps. I thought that was silly speculation back then and I think it’s silly speculation now about there not being a 2nd trailer. I see no reason why there wouldn’t be another trailer before the season premiere; especially now that the S7 promotion has kicked into high gear. I expect we’ll get the trailer before the end of June.

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    24. <a hre

      Sue the Fury: Fury

      Hey, Sue. Any word on a refurbished Forum?

      Carole H,

      Coming back to the screeners it happened in season 5 and now we are in season 7. .I would have liked the producers to come up with a plan or strategy to prevent leaks happening from screeners than to entirely stop doing this..

      No screeners is wise. Perhaps wiser is a new policy for the Premiere: no clothes. How else will they keep someone from smuggling out a very valuable bootleg?

      Ten Bears:
      We’re exactly one month away from S7.I for one am not jonesing for any more trailers. I’m trying not to think about the fact that the 6 weeks between E1 and E7 will fly by in a flash. I know I’m going to be bummed when the music soars, the screen fades to black, and the credits roll at the end of episode 7.
      That’s separate and apart from the disappointment I’ll likely be experiencing when I realize all of my tinfoil theories have been shot down.

      I agree, but I’m not married to my tinfoil. If my favourite characters (Arya, Tyrion, JOn, Dany) are alive and well, and the Starks in general are in good nick, I will praise the gods and sing ‘Hallelujah’. Preferably there will also have been a joyous Jon-Arya reunion. Since many of the actors say S8 will be “carnage”, so I need a good dose of happiness to make it through the even longer Winter to come.

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    25. ” Unless a viewer has a computer and access to the internet, because there certainly have been no leaks this year. Nope, none at all.”

      So Sue, are you saying the teleplay leaks when you say computer access?
      I am hoping those are not true , for the most part.
      I would like to see them scotch this script leaking , have they figured out who did that for season 6? If its not the show runners then needs to be taken care of.

      I am fine with this , after all it is a ‘short’ season.
      On the premiere, as far as I know for season 6 none of the viewers of that last year leaked anything, am I right about that?

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    26. Safe to assume “some leaks” are true however, S7 hasn’t aired yet.. Juuuuust saying LOL. To ACTUALLY watch it is different and the majority of any news media are notoriously stupid.

      I think it’s a good idea to not do a media screening event.

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    27. OT, but with the Game of Thrones season seven opener arriving in thirty days, my favorite Chuck Berry song has never been more relevant…

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    28. Stark Raven’ Rad: Hey, Sue. Any word on a refurbished Forum

      The forum will return in a new form fairly soon. Ran into a little hiccup this week. Progress is painful, ha. Hoping to have it up by next week. Thank you all for your patience. 🙂

      Boojam: So Sue, are you saying the teleplay leaks when you say computer access?
      I am hoping those are not true , for the most part.

      Our own sourced info confirmed some of the leak info, and then filming confirmed a bunch more of it. Some of the lengthy leak may turn out not to be true but we already know that a lot of it is, based on the very public location filming that matched up perfectly with the leak (which came before that location filming started). Can’t deny what we all saw with our own eyes.

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    29. Mr Derp: Once a trailer comes out it gets dissected every which way to the point where we almost know too much info going into the season.

      Well, given that 90% of what people conclude from the trailers winds up being wrong (heck, a quarter of it is at odds with other conclusions!), that’s hardly true! And given that we have no book material for comparison and only the loosest of ideas what the story is or what the plots are, very little of it will tell us anything.

      After all, how many people concluded that Arya had to be looking at Ed Sheeran? 😀

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    30. I thought Maisie might have been catching the Ed Sheeran minstrel show at the Inn. So, if she’s not looking at him performing, I’m even more curious about what has her attention. Someone walked into the Inn that caught her attention, and the attention of the men behind her. Maybe it was Hound and company walking in looking for chicken? Can’t wait to see what she’s up to. After Braavos, and her escapade with the Old Lady/Waif, I’m surprised she’s so out in the open.

      Dear nerdy looking Ed. He looks like an absolute fan of the show. I love his music, actually, but I must say his creamy, soothing voice doesn’t match that leprechaun face of his, especially in the picture above. So, do we have any idea what his scene will be? Won’t he be singing? I thought he’d be regaling the crowds with songs of the Battle of the Bastards and the Bolton eaten by his own dogs.

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    31. Dee Stark,

      I can’t view things like a person who hates spoilers, but I consider it’s quite different to learn about a scene from a set of short sentences (at most!) and to actually watch the scene. When I know what’s going to happen my mind is put at easy and I can observe all the details. Yes, curiosity plays a big part, I won’t deny it, but I also manage to be less anxious.
      I had read the spoilers about BoB, but I still could appreciate the tension and the claustrophobia of the scene. Sometimes knowing that something is inevitable helps… not to accept it, but not to be totally mad with grief. I felt like crying with the Red Wedding and Shireen’s sacrifice, but at least I wasn’t under shock.

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    32. Pilou said Ramsay will look like a little kid in comparisson with euron by the end of season 7. I hope so, Joffrey was terrible and mad but Ramsay was madder and terrible and not a coward and make joff a little kid close to him, now a expect euron to be not more crazy,but the same level as ramsay but way clever, sinister and not coward at all, above Ramsay. So you see the evoluition..

      Joffrey – Ramsay – Euron

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    33. Thronetender,

      If Ed Sheeran’s character is just going to have a brief conversation with Arya in an outdoor setting (instead of serenading her inside the inn as many of us have speculated), I hope it’s to pleasantly surprise her with the news that the Starks have taken back Winterhell – I mean WinterFELL – and that Jon Snow has been coronated King in the North.

      (Alert: Cheap fanfic follows)

      Arya: “That’s my brother. I’m Arya Stark.”

      Ed S: “You’re a highborn then. Your father was a lord and you lived in a castle…I should be calling you ‘My Lady’.”

      Arya: “Do NOT call me ‘My Lady’!”

      Ed S.: “Well then, since you’re the King’s sister, I should be calling you ‘My ‘Princess’ ”

      Arya: “Do NOT call me… Oh, f*ck it. I give up. ”

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    34. Aguero,

      While I liked Pilou A in a small but impressive role as Scarlette J’s skeevy pseudo-boyfriend in “Lucy”, so far I have not been enamored with ShowEuron.
      Maybe that’s about to change in S7 now that the show’s reigning villain Ramsay’s been turned into dog food.
      I hope Euron’s going to have more charisma, and won’t just be Sadist 3.0. Personally, I prefer my old buddy The Night King as main antagonist. He’s not unnecessarily cruel; just does his thing swiftly and efficiently without boasting, then gives a brief look to his vanquished adversary to convey wordlessly, “You are so f*cked”, then goes about his business.

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    35. Hellothere,

      Hey, I’ve been having the same browser problems lately too. I thought it was my crappy cell phone’s way of saying “Time to replace me” (ie “prepare to get gouged”).

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    36. Ten Bears: I hope Euron’s going to have more charisma, and won’t just be Sadist 3.0.

      It really is much too late to make Euron a main “baddy.” He has no relationship with any of the main protagonists, so he cannot be an antagonist, and it’s much too late to introduce one of those, anyway. At most, he’ll be a plot foil: something that will allow Cersei to put up some fight.

      We probably will get more from the Night’s King. He will not be an antagonist, but we still have some things to learn about the Walkers. If GRRM has done it properly, then these truths should leave the main characters in some conundrum, which hopefully will parallel some of the conundrums associated with who is stuck running Westeros. I still think that learning why the Walkers are back is going to be pivotal. That will tie to why the disappeared, and what their motivations are. Somehow, we are going to be in a situation where Jon and Daeny in particular are going to be able to “set things right”: the question for them is going to be, what is the least wrong of the “rights”?

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    37. I find it hard to imagine Euron making much of an impression for me.
      There is only 13 episodes left, and honestly, i felt like they sorta botched his introduction with the kingsmoot scene, where he acted pretty clownish and somehow managed to lose the ENTIRE iron island fleet to Yara, lol. (honestly, this is a very minor quibble about a minor character, not trying to bash the show lol)

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    38. Thronetender:
      .Someone walked into the Inn that caught her attention, and the attention of the men behind her. Maybe it was Hound and company walking in looking for chicken? Can’t wait to see what she’s up to. After Braavos, and her escapade with the Old Lady/Waif, I’m surprised she’s so out in the open. Dear nerdy looking Ed. So, do we have any idea what his scene will be?

      Yeah, I’d of bet my bottom dollar she was listening to him warble in the Inn. Mebbe instead, out in the yard shes mounting up to go shiv Cersei when she overhears some Lanisterr soldiers grumping about having to go fight those damn starks again at Winterfell. Amazed she asks the red haired one for some particulers and trots out of the yard, smiling. Later, shes at the junction with the Kingsroad, reciting the List. The sign post has one arrow saying Kings Landing and another saying The North. Taking a deep breath, she rides North. Woohoo!

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    39. HelloThere: There is only 13 episodes left, and honestly, i felt like they sorta botched his introduction with the kingsmoot scene, where he acted pretty clownish and somehow managed to lose the ENTIRE iron island fleet to Yara, lol. (honestly, this is a very minor quibble about a minor character, not trying to bash the show lol)

      I don’t think that she was supposed to have left with the entire fleet: only the ships under her command and under the command of her supporters. After all, a greater number of captains had supported Euron, and although most of them probably do not command as many ships as Yara does, they still would have a lot of ships.

      Euron does come across as a clown in both media, albeit somewhat different sorts. Book!Euron (who has maybe two lines, seemingly lifted from Ozzy Osbourne albums) is pretty ridiculous in other ways: basically, he would be like that “Goth” guy who half believes he really is a vampire. At any rate, the less of him we get either on screen or on page, the happier I will be.

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    40. Abel: Yeah, I’d of bet my bottom dollar she was listening to him warble in the Inn.

      It could be anything. Again, this is the folly of trying to interpret stills such as this. The only thing we know is that Arya is looking at something that also has grabbed the attention of the two men behind her. (That probably rules out your suggestion, though: she is not overhearing something, but reacting to something that is causing a general reaction.) The list of likely ideas is huge, and none of them are particularly probable. Anybody who guesses correctly will have done just that: guessed correctly!

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    41. Wimsey,

      Wimsey wrote:
      “… I still think that learning why the Walkers are back is going to be pivotal. That will tie to why the disappeared, and what their motivations are. ”
      ***
      _________________
      I agree. I’m hoping the Forum section will be up and running again by next week so I can spell out tinfoil theories percolating inside my arguably addled brain. One is a possible explanation for the WW’s appearance after so many millenia had gone by that just about everyone thought they were fictional boogey monsters in scary stories told to children. Like “grumpkins and snarks”, whatever they are.

      Quick question (or two) if you don’t mind:

      (1) Am I correct that the S6 scene of Bran tree-tripping into the distant past to learn that the Children of the Forest created the White Walkers, was a revelation not (yet) disclosed in the books?

      2. (General question): Would Anton Chekhov and William of Occam give any weight to the conspicuous absence of a “loaded gun” in a scene or setting in which it would logically appear IF it were going to resurface and go off in Act III ? Or could its absence mean nothing, eg, some other hung gun will go off once other events occur and coalesce? Or does the apparent omission of a “gun-hanging” mean the viewer or reader simply doesn’t understand what the story’s about?
      [Geez… This is hard to explain…And I apologize if I’ve asked you about this before but missed your reply.]
      A simple but possibly inapt example: In S6e2 (?), Brienne tells Sansa about seeing Arya with “a man”, without mentioning that the “man” was Sandor Clegane, the Hound: Sansa’s S2 savior.
      By itself, that fact could be critical to the welfare and possible whereabouts of Sansa’s missing little sister.
      Initially, I speculated that what I took as a glaring omission, was a deliberate “anti-foreshadow” signaling that Sansa’s future story lines would not involve the Hound (to the disappointment of the SanSan Brigade). Otherwise, the Brienne-Sansa chat would’ve been the logical occasion for a callback to Sandor and his history with Sansa.*

      Phrased another way, would Chekhov use a conspicuously empty gun rack (or showing the unloading of bullets from a chamber) as a narrative device to eliminate the possibility of a potential outcome? Or might William of O reason that a conspicuous omission means that the simplest ultimate explanation will rest on the invalidity of a particular assumption or non-existence of an anticipated fact?

      *(By contrast, the out-of-left field callbacks to Sandor in Arya’s S5 and S6 Braavos scenes with Jaqen 2.0 and The Waif, revealing her self-deceptions and conflicting emotions about the Hound, suggest to me that Arya is destined to interact with Sandor again.)

      Arrrggh !! Edit feature’s not working and keyboard’s starting to freeze again. Either Vlad’s BotArmy is at it again or a Safari glitch …

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    42. Abel: Yeah, I’d of bet my bottom dollar she was listening to him warble in the Inn. Mebbe instead, out in the yard shes mounting up to go shiv Cersei when she overhears some Lanisterr soldiers grumping about having to go fight those damn starks again at Winterfell.

      Sounds good to me! Anything to get her moving North, and if it takes Ed Sheeran and his sweet face and voice to do it, then so be it.

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    43. firstone: only 13 days to wait until HBO announces the name of the 1st episode of

      Season 7 Game of Thrones

      And UNDER 30 days until the premiere. I’ve been watching that countdown clock like a hawk, love it when it is put up there every year. Happy happy.

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    44. Ten Bears: Phrased another way, would Chekhov use a conspicuously empty gun rack (or showing the unloading of bullets from a chamber) as a narrative device to eliminate the possibility of a potential outcome?
      Or might William of O reason that a conspicuous omission means that the simplest ultimate explanation will rest on the invalidity of a particular assumption or non-existence of an anticipated fact?

      I’m a little confused, so I will answer both possible questions that I see here. If you are asking whether something not happening is a clue, then, yes it can be. The classic example is The Dog That Didn’t Bark in the Night, from a Sherlock Holmes and the Case of Damned Aren’t I Absurdly Clever (or something like that). Things not happening when we expect them to do so is evidence that things were not as we expected. There used to be a commercial for insect repellent in which they would spray one arm with the “other” brand and a second arm with “the” brand. (Deep Woods Off, perhaps?) Both arms were shown on a split screen inside an enclosure swarming with mosquitoes. One arm had lots of mosquitos on it, as we would expect. The other arm didn’t. Occam then says: “Well, now we have to add an explanation”: and the company making the commercial is hoping that they explanation you will work out is that their prettily-packaged toxic spray keeps mosquitoes away.

      (This often is confused with a negative evidence argument. However, that would be like sticking both treated arms in tents filled with male mosquitoes that do not suck blood. We expect no bugs on the arms with or without good repellent.)

      The question is, do we expect Brienne to name Clegane? For one thing, I don’t recall if Brienne even knew who it was that she was fighting. For another, even if Brienne did, then would she think that the name meant anything to Sansa? Finally, given that Arya fled the scene and that the man (known or not) is presumed dead, what value does the name provide?

      If the question is, “are the storytellers trying to hide something?” then the answer is: probably not. Regardless of what Brienne or Sansa know, the viewers would remember the scene once Brienne mentioned it. I don’t recall Chekhov commenting on this sort of thing (if he did, then he did not come up with an iconic line for it!), but in general critics dislike contrivances. In a way, it would be closer to one of Knight’s “Idiot plots”: i.e., things happen or don’t happen because of sudden stupidity by a character. Now, smart people in real life do stupid things all of the time: they just do them less frequently than do stupid people. However, it’s best not to use this too often as a plot device!

      At any rate, I don’t think that Brienne hedging on how was with Arya was a gun of any sort. Brienne making it clear that she was honoring Catelyn’s request beyond the grave was a gun here (since rehung, fired, and put back on the mantle). And, of course: Sansa knows that her sister might still be alive: or at least that Arya was alive as of what is now a couple of years ago. As such, Sansa will be less surprised (albeit still shocked, I am sure) to see Arya again. And, of course, we had a couple of other big guns associated with this sequence: Jaqen H’ghar’s coin (since fired). I think that Arya not killing the Hound out of a combination of pity and hate is a gun here (since re-hung).

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    45. Thronetender:

      Someone walked into the Inn that caught her attention, and the attention of the men behind her. Maybe it was Hound and company walking in looking for chicken?

      If that’s the case, I really hope it’s after an encounter with Melisandre during which she’s informed that Gendry escaped. Beric and Thoros are still on her list!

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    46. Wimsey,

      For one thing, I don’t recall if Brienne even knew who it was that she was fighting.

      Before Brienne and the Hound’s epic fight, as she’s talking to Arya, the Hound appears and Podrick says to Brienne, “That’s Gregor Clegane.”

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    47. Catspaw Assassin: Before Brienne and the Hound’s epic fight, as she’s talking to Arya, the Hound appears and Podrick says to Brienne, “That’s Gregor Clegane.”

      Pod knows better than that! 🙂

      “That’s Sandor Clegane.”

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    48. Wimsey:

      The question is, do we expect Brienne to name Clegane? For one thing, I don’t recall if Brienne even knew who it was that she was fighting. For another, even if Brienne did, then would she think that the name meant anything to Sansa? Finally, given that Arya fled the scene and that the man (known or not) is presumed dead, what value does the name provide?

      In another thread, I recently addressed what I thought was really shitty writing (pardon my language) of this whole scenario. I’ll repeat it here to the best of my ability.

      1. Hot Pie described the Hound (something to the effect of “big fellow with a half-burned face”) when he told Brienne and Pod that he knew Arya. Pod immediately identified the man as the Hound.
      2. As soon as the Hound made his appearance before their fight, Pod identified him to Brienne.
      3. Even if Brienne believes that she killed the Hound, it makes no sense for either her or Sansa to be utterly devoid of curiosity about who he was or why Arya was with him—especially since Brienne specified that “she looked good” and they didn’t want to part from each other. Hello, detective work? Tracing Arya’s steps back to the Brotherhood, Harrenhal, Yoren, King’s Landing? Then again, Brienne didn’t exactly ask a lot of questions of Hot Pie—another lapse in the writing.
      4. Brienne didn’t know the Hound, but Pod clearly did. One would think two people on a lonely road together would have extensive conversations, mining each other’s brains for every scrap of knowledge the other person has. There’s no reason whatsoever that, between the Riverlands and Winterfell, Brienne would not have discovered (via Pod) that Sansa would have known the Hound quite well.
      5. Brienne would have logically deduced, and Pod would have confirmed, that the Hound was one of the most fearsome men in the Seven Kingdoms. If a) you had killed one of the most fearsome men in the Seven Kingdoms or b) the would-be knight you served had killed one of the most fearsome men in the Seven Kingdoms, wouldn’t that come up in casual conversation at some point?
      6. It was way too convenient for Pod to have been out of earshot when Brienne told Sansa about Arya.

      Personally, I think D&D clumsily withheld vital information from Sansa so they could set up a big reveal later on. The Hound told Arya about saving Sansa’s life, and told her to ask her about it if she ever sees her again; I think Arya will do precisely that, and when the truth of the matter is confirmed she will finally be able to admit to herself the truth that Jaqen told her at the HoBaW: “The girl lies to me, to the many-faced god, to herself.” In turn, this might temporarily lead to friction between Brienne and Sansa: Brienne rightfully questioned Sansa about lying to Jon, and now Sansa might question Brienne about withholding important information from her, as well.

      Anyway… As I’ve noted elsewhere, I love the show and usually prefer to focus on its positive aspects, but once in a while D&D really stumble. Exhibit A: Dorne. Exhibit B: Brienne v. Hound. Exhibit C: The latter part of Arya’s Braavos arc.

      /end rant

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    49. Wolfish: Beric and Thoros are still on her list!

      In the show? I thought in the show it had been honed down to only Cersei. I seem to remember being surprised to hear her do the list and people were missing from it. Let’s see, the last time I remember her last doing the list on the steps of the House of Black and White, when she was rebuffed the first time she tried to get in, then spent the day and night in the rain going over her list. OK, decided to spend use the effort. I was wrong. Looked up that scene on YouTube and the list at that time was “Cersei, Walder Frey, the Mountain, Meryn Trant.” If she went through the list another time since, I don’t remember. But no mention of Thoros or Beric. Those were the names she left off.

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    50. Wolfish: Anyway… As I’ve noted elsewhere, I love the show and usually prefer to focus on its positive aspects, but once in a while D&D really stumble.

      Don’t worry about ranting, you do it well, in an organized, reasonable way and make some really good points. Reasonable rants keep everyone, viewers and writers alike, on their toes. I think it leads to better, more carefully thought out writing.

      I agree with all your rants, and have one to throw in: the bit with Sansa putting a candle in the tower for Brienne to see. We saw nothing of Brienne doing any sort of reconnaissance. She asked no questions about the layout of Winterfell, or any of the conditions, or the placement of armed men or where Sansa was being kept. What the heck was she going to do, even if she saw the damned candle? March up to the door and demand Sansa be turned over to her? She and Pod would have been dog food in a flash. But, I can overlook that; Sansa got out ok.

      To me, the absolute worst was the fatal stomach wound which from which Arya magically recovered. THAT was sloppy. And I don’t want to hear any theories about

      Arya is no longer Arya, but actually now is the Waif. I read that in a few places, and to me it’s absolute bull. If that’s what the ending turns out to be, it would ruin the whole damned series for me. I’d never be able to rewatch an episode of it again.

      /ok, now my rant is done.

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    51. Thronetender: the bit with Sansa putting a candle in the tower for Brienne to see. We saw nothing of Brienne doing any sort of reconnaissance.

      This may sound odd, but I honestly couldn’t help but relate that silliness to the mass fan speculation regarding how Stannis will trap the armies attacking him north of WF (in TWoW). If you are Sullied, you probably know the Night Lamp theory, with which BBFish, Cantuse and other bloggers proposed how Stannis’ troops defeat/trap the Frey army at Long Lake…a minor victory before his ultimate demise.

      D&D were trolling that theory with that bit. I found it absolutely hilarious that B ended up ignoring the signal in order to take out Stannis permanently!!!! LOL! Take that, fanfic strategists! 🙂

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    52. Hodors Bastard: D&D were trolling that theory with that bit

      Oh, I love that. Though I had no notion whatsoever about that fanfic theory, it’s fun to think D&D got a little poke at the Stannis fanboys, if that’s indeed what it was. Makes that candle part easier to take. Would you equate that poke with the scene of the Hound pissing in the river, with Beric sitting on the hillside alive and well, as a friendly poke at the Lady Stoneheart hopefuls who were sure she would show up in S6?

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    53. Thronetender: Would you equate that poke with the scene of the Hound pissing in the river, with Beric sitting on the hillside alive and well, as a friendly poke at the Lady Stoneheart hopefuls who were sure she would show up in S6?

      Hah! Indeed. And GRRM’s infamous quote “as useless as nipples on a breastplate,” which was literally incorporated into the Dorne storyline… 🙂

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    54. Here’s a question? I wonder if HBO will still give ex-President Obama a set of DVD’s of the new series before its officially released? Pretty sure they did before as he was a big fan of the series.

      I very much doubt they would do that for President Trump being the douche bag he is and knowing how fond he is of Tweeting, he’d probably be posting spoilers 24/7 if he had access to the DVD’s 😮

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    55. Wolfish:
      Wimsey:

      In another thread, I recently addressed what I thought was really shitty writing (pardon my language) of this whole scenario.

      The writing was fine. Again, Chekhov’s Rule: don’t make big deals of things that are not ultimately important to story or plot. Who Arya was with or why Brienne declines to name him can never be important to the story or the plot: it is much, much too late for any of that. So, why waste the viewers’ time and precious minutes of a season going on about this in any detail? Remember, nothing makes for worse writing than unnecessary dialog.

      (And, no: there is no big reveal coming up from this. Two years later, and audiences will remember that Brienne nearly killed the Hound and that Brienne caught up to Sansa at one point; they will not remember details of their conversation. Chekhov’s Reverse Gun comes up here: if you want a gun to be important later on, then return focus to gun more than once, as just showing it once is barely better than Deus ex Machina.)

      Thronetender: To me, the absolute worst was the fatal stomach wound which from which Arya magically recovered. THAT was sloppy. And I don’t want to hear any theories about

      That would have been bad directing and/or production, not bad writing. It should have been directed to show Arya getting a much more minor wound or having something such as a moneybelt that deflected the blade.

      However, you are correct: that is Arya. Again, it’s Lit 101: protagonists have to be there at the climax of the story, or all of their dynamic development that creates the story is just a total waste of time.

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    56. Hodors Bastard: If you are Sullied, you probably know the Night Lamp theory, with which BBFish, Cantuse and other bloggers proposed how Stannis’ troops defeat/trap the Frey army at Long Lake…a minor victory before his ultimate demise.

      Hmm, I am more sullied than most (literally, figuratively, and also in regards to SoI&F): but I never saw that one! Or did that even come up here, and I just do not remember it? Sigh: middle age sucks…..

      That said, they definitely were having a go on the fans when they joked with Kit Harrington that he’d be warging into Ghost last season. I seem to recall more than one poster here being convinced that they had actually slipped up because of the way that they said it! (Man, there are some people with whom I would just love to play poker….. 😀 )

      Hodors Bastard: Hah! Indeed. And GRRM’s infamous quote “as useless as nipples on a breastplate,” which was literally incorporated into the Dorne storyline…

      Well, strictly speaking, that might be figura…. no, actually, it’s not even figuratively!
      I’m not sure what a costuming error qualifies as: it’s sort of like the modern plastic bottle of water that got left on a mantle piece during one of the Downton Abbey scenes. Whoops….

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    57. Wimsey: I’m not sure what a costuming error qualifies as: it’s sort of like the modern plastic bottle of water that got left on a mantle piece during one of the Downton Abbey scenes. Whoops…

      D’oh! I remembered 5 minutes later: these are (wait for it…) production errors. I know, I know: small wonder that I would forget such an arcane and non-descriptive term…..

      Odd: I feel like grazing and having wool shorn from my back later…..

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    58. Thronetender:

      But no mention of Thoros or Beric. Those were the names she left off.

      I will take your word for it right now, since I probably won’t have time to re-watch before S7 begins. 🙂

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    59. Thronetender,

      Thank you for the compliment, and totally agreed on all the points of your own “rant.”

      Of all the things that Saner Half didn’t like on his only viewing (which we just finished a couple of weeks ago), Arya’s wounding and survival in Braavos were the worst.

      As for the Arya/Waif theory… yeah, that’s just batshittery.

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    60. Wimsey:

      The writing was fine. Again, Chekhov’s Rule: don’t make big deals of things that are not ultimately important to story or plot. Who Arya was with or why Brienne declines to name him can never be important to the story or the plot: it is much, much too late for any of that. So, why waste the viewers’ time and precious minutes of a season going on about this in any detail? Remember, nothing makes for worse writing than unnecessary dialog.

      (And, no: there is no big reveal coming up from this. Two years later, and audiences will remember that Brienne nearly killed the Hound and that Brienne caught up to Sansa at one point; they will not remember details of their conversation. Chekhov’s Reverse Gun comes up here: if you want a gun to be important later on, then return focus to gun more than once, as just showing it once is barely better than Deus ex Machina.)

      I respectfully disagree.

      1. Why bother staging the conversation between Arya and the Waif, where the Waif told Arya that “A girl sounds confused” re.: the Hound?
      2. Why bother staging a conversation between Arya and Jaqen H’ghar, where the latter tells the former, “The girl lies to me, to the many-faced god, to herself”?
      3. Why bother “resurrecting” the Hound?

      The guns have most definitely been hung, my well-read and academic friend. 🙂

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    61. Wolfish,

      I gotta blame the director Mylod for the Arya gut wound nonsense. He expressly said he filmed it to make the audience think Arya was in mortal peril, for “dramatic effect.” Just like his trademark shots of characters emerging from a blurry background, the “dramatic effect” embellishment was disappointing.

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    62. Ten Bears,

      Who wrote it?

      It was all ridiculous. Well acted, but ridiculous. Surviving the gut wound, and before that, the very idea that a two-bit actress would have been able to afford the services of the Faceless Men.

      But I’ve ranted about this before, and won’t repeat it here.

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    63. OT: I finally got around to watching Oldboy for the first time, and whoa, GoT is comparatively tame. The mindfuckery was epic with this one.

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    64. I don’t have the slightest clue who is Ed Sheeran before this casting. And haven’t heard anything bout him since, other than GOt related. I would be excited if say, James Woods or Cynnde Lauper were cast in a role. Brad Pitt in his younger years looking like Tristan would have made for a nice Rhaeger. I think also that Lady Stoneheart making an appearance and being the one to give Jon the kiss of life would have been meaningful and awesome. I say this as a shownly.

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    65. LatrineDiggerBrian,

      The less well known faces in “bit” parts the better. Sean Bean always works well cause he’s so believable. A couple-few recognizable faces as more so main characters is actually good as it makes them more relatable right off the bat as the viewer then goes on to subconsciously see the surrounding characters as being everyday folk and thus can put themselves in their shoes. You can’t readily do this if the surrounding characters are well known=you see them as actors and thus “props.”

      I don’t even know if I’m making any sense. Bored today lol.

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    66. Wimsey,

      I think the WW could just want to become mortal. As in, maybe they want the release of death and they are marching towards the dragons/Jon looking for that? Though I guess that doesn’t explain why they massacre people to become wights lol.

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    67. Clob,

      Eh, from what I’ve seen they don’t get many intriguing questions anyway at these events lol. “How does being such a strong female character empower you in your life?” ” Aren’t the wigs heavy?” “How do you prepare yourself to get into character? But I know what you mean, at least if the season already aired and an interesting question gets asked even the vague kind of “non” answers can be good fodder for speculation.

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    68. Dee Stark,

      What do you know of these Leaks? Pfft. You know nothing Dee Stark.

      But I know you like it that way 🙂 My impatient self can’t resist now that I’ve known where to find them lol.

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    69. dragonbringer,

      We will get a second trailer, don’t worry. On the Game of Thrones HBO website it says : “North, South, East, West: There are enemies in all directions. Watch the first trailer for Season 7″ So we will definitely get a second trailer.

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    70. Wolfish: 1. Why bother staging the conversation between Arya and the Waif, where the Waif told Arya that “A girl sounds confused” re.: the Hound?

      This is, as you note, an important “gun” being re-hung: Arya has a love/hate relationship with the Hound. This sort of self-contradiction is key to these stories.
      Brienne mentioning the Hound by name to Sansa has no bearing on that, as Arya is not present. Brienne withholding the Hound’s name has no bearing on it, as Arya is not present.

      ygritte: I think the WW could just want to become mortal. As in, maybe they want the release of death and they are marching towards the dragons/Jon looking for that? Though I guess that doesn’t explain why they massacre people to become wights lol.

      The fact that they actively “recruit” newborns tells us that they are not interested in mortality, too. What we need is some simple explanation for why they came back: after all, why someone or someones return and what they want usually share most of the same answer.

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    71. Cigixx: So we will definitely get a second trailer.

      We will?!?! Woo hoo! That means that New Line is still going to give us another trailer for Return of the King!!!!

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    72. Wimsey: The fact that they actively “recruit” newborns tells us that they are not interested in mortality, too

      Well, you force my tongue on this gorgeous, blue-sky day.

      Happy Father’s Day, Craster!

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    73. Sue the Fury,

      Welp, if the leaks I saw were not deliberate by ‘HBO’ , don’t know why they would, but ‘leaking’ is weird stuff these days!
      Then, someone or some hacker has for the last two seasons penetrated the teleplays. I am surprised , after what happened season 6, figured it would be Black World at GoT production for this season.

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    74. Wimsey,

      I’m not sure what a costuming error qualifies as: it’s sort of like the modern plastic bottle of water that got left on a mantle piece during one of the Downton Abbey scenes. Whoops….

      Not sure if you saw it but there was a photo showng the cast standing in front of the same fireplace, in costume, all holding water bottles. Glad they didn’t take themselves to seriously when the criticism came out!

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    75. ygritte,

      I agree. And I think I’ve recently remarked that in some weird way I was tempted to have S6e10 serve as my series finale. Jon’s King. Arya’s heading home with Needle and 10 confirmed kills under her belt. The Hound, having been legally exonerated and spiritually absolved, is about to help more than he’s ever harmed. Dany is finally sailing for home with a massive navy, army, and air force. Tyrion finally achieved the recognition that was wrongfully withheld from him his whole life. Ser Bronn of the Blackwater is free to sing, snark, and charm.
      And on and on.

      All of my favorite characters are alive and well (except for Jorah, but he got to profess his undying love to his Khaleesi and make her cry; that’s kind of a win…)

      S6 ended on such a high note that I fully expect S7 will be rife with gut punches to bring us down to earth again.

      But looking on the bright side… Less than a month to go! Hype through roof! Bigger dragons! Bigger battles! More characters and plot lines converging than ever before!

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    76. Wolfish: I will take your word for it right now, since I probably won’t have time to re-watch before S7 begins

      Oh love, I didn’t rewatch yet, I just went to youtube and texted “Arya arrives at the House of Black and White.” You see her knock on the doors, black Jaquen answers and turns her away, and she sits on the steps for hours reciting her list. Thoros and Beric aren’t on it, neither is the Hound anymore, either because she figures he’s already dead, or she has forgiven him or both. My word is good, at least on this matter.

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    77. Thronetender,

      Thanks!

      For some reason, I always forget about the YouTube option. LOL.

      On that note, I don’t remember whether or not you’ve read the books. The Thoros/Beric/Melisandre/Gendry encounter is in the show only, and it’s crystal-clear when Arya abandons the Hound that she has already forgiven him but doesn’t know how to deal with it. She doesn’t say his name the night before she winds up abandoning him, and after realizing it mentally backtracks and tells herself he’ll probably be dead the next day anyway. When she does abandon him they wind up saying some really horrible shit to each other (worse than in the show), but the reader is left with the distinct impression that Arya doesn’t know how to deal with her own emotional and psychological maturation. It’s far easier for her to just hate him, to see the world in black and white (as a child usually does) instead of in shades of gray (as an adult ought to). On the ship to Braavos, she finally allows the forgiveness to surface and tells herself she should have granted him mercy—not because she wanted him dead, but because she did not want him to have suffered. I understand why D&D had to change this for the adaptation, as it’s far too subtle to translate well to the screen; hence the subsequent conversations with the Waif and Jaqen.

      “Black Jaqen.” I like that. 🙂 In the book he’s “the kindly man.”

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    78. I’ve maintained for ages that: Arya planned the whole damned thing. In sparing Lady Crane she had disobeyed the FM. With no second chances left, she had to figure out how to leave Braavos with them not seeking reprisal. That scene late in Ep 6 where she sits in a tiny lair with a lit candle and Needle is when she worked it out. She put out the candle, signaling viewers how she was going to kill the Waif. She had never beaten Waif in a 1-to-1 fight, but darkness was Arya’s old friend. The key elements were to lure, meet, lull, trap and kill an over-confident Waif, drink HoB&W healing water, and confront Jaqen for permission to leave. Acting casual and then waiting on a bridge that would allow her to take a wound and then escape and hide (under the bridge) was part of her gambit. The seriousness of her wounds surprised her (thanks, Mark Mylod for making them seem fatal), so she had to seek help from LC and thus unfortunately put her in danger. It was a brilliant stratagem, which is probably why Jaqen declared her No One–which is like graduating with 1st class honours.

      The problem was totally in the directing, which had to compensate for a certain succinctness in the writing. We viewers have seen Arya outwit Tywin, Jaqen, Littlefinger, Lannister guards, various opponents, etc. Plus Jaqen himself had just warned the Waif, “A Girl has many gifts.” That can be construed as him guessing that Arya would win. But Mylod should have focused in on Arya;s face in that lair, so we could see she was cogitating. If so, viewers would have found her unnatural behaviour in her next scene fascinating (“Ooh, what’s the next part of her plan?”) rather than confoundedly puzzling (“Huh? Why’s she walking around in broad daylight? And where’s Needle? What’s she…she shouldn’t be lolling on that bridge like some bloody tourist!”). Any memory of Arya’s congenital wiliness vanished in the shock of what looked like her uncharacteristic and unprecedented stupidity. And then how could a mere actress patch up such serious wounds (I suspect Arya had already figured out LC could help). And what about that dirty canal? (Sepsis takes several days, so she had time to hit the healing pool.). But the directing and staging broke the connection with plausibility, even by fantasy standards. If Mylod had given Maisie a way to convey some of this, she would certainly have sold it.

      Truth to tell, the Ep 8 chase scene (which Maisie asked to be toned down!), did strain credulity. It would have been easy for Mylod to have implied the passage of some healing time, but he didn’t. The chase could have been more realistic, and poor Faye Marsay had that demoniacal grin (probably MM’s fault). At least they let Arya’s wounds open up. Well, Arya is back in Westeros now with many more gifts to use in the wars to come, and I hope that D&D and Mylod et al, make it up to Maisie and Arya for that baffling and opaque end to a two-year arc. I don’t hate Braavos; it had some wonderful moments and taught Arya a lot, but they didn’t do justice to the mystery, power, and relative clarity of GRRM’s Braavos and FM story (still ongoing, unfortunately). Sigh!

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    79. Stark Raven' Rad,

      I can’t agree with this comment enough!

      I, too, concluded that Arya had planned the whole thing and Jaqen had expected her to survive; but I’ve kept doubting myself for the same reasons you describe (Mylod’s directing). It’s a relief to know that I’m not alone in this.

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    80. According to a rumor I just made up fifteen seconds ago, Ed Sheeran has replaced Ben Hawkey as Hot Pie. Pass it on.

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    81. Wolfish:
      Stark Raven’ Rad,
      …It’s a relief to know that I’m not alone in this.

      You are most definitely not alone on that. The stabby-stabby and stitchy-stitchy scenes were bizarre and uncharacteristic and caused heated reaction by many. One wonders if there was an editing issue or, as SRR put it, a directing snafu. I guess Arya developed some pain/blood-flow-control/sepsis tolerance during her time with the Hound as well! I prefer to believe that the Kindly Man (Jaqen) was testing both the Waif and Arya during this sequence.

      I guess all we were supposed to get out of Braavos was that Arya gained a new skill but maintained her identity and vengeful mission.

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    82. Hodors Bastard:

      The stabby-stabby and stitchy-stitchy scenes were bizarre and uncharacteristic and caused heated reaction by many.

      LMAO at “stabby-stabby and stitchy-stitchy”!

      I also hated how the Waif’s hatred of Arya (absent in the books) was never explained. I don’t want to be spoon-fed, but in a story where character motivation is one of its richest components that was a really strange omission.

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    83. Thronetender,

      the bit with Sansa putting a candle in the tower for Brienne to see. We saw nothing of Brienne doing any sort of reconnaissance. She asked no questions about the layout of Winterfell, or any of the conditions, or the placement of armed men or where Sansa was being kept. What the heck was she going to do, even if she saw the damned candle? March up to the door and demand Sansa be turned over to her? She and Pod would have been dog food in a flash. But, I can overlook that; Sansa got out ok.

      When I first saw this I had assumed that the north remembers comment lady had many more friends who would have also been watching said candle. But when it was apparent there were not (esp since any friends certainly learned of lady’s fate) I also wondered just how Briene was going to help. I don’t remember if she was even at Winterfell for her to know anything about the lay out. Certainly Pod wasnt. It was jsut happenstance that she found her where and when she did. That was poor writing.

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    84. Wimsey,

      ’m not sure what a costuming error qualifies as: it’s sort of like the modern plastic bottle of water that got left on a mantle piece during one of the Downton Abbey scenes. Whoops…

      There is a great photo of the entire cast in full makeup standing in front of the same fireplace holding a bottle of water in their hand. Glad they had a sense of fun to do that!

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    85. Stark Raven' Rad,

      Also totally agree with this and could see her planning everything. It would have made so much more sense. I wonder tho if it would have taken too much time to show some of what she was planning, but still anything would have been better than what they winded up with (also loved the whole Braavos section and was so disappointed how it ended)

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    86. Stark Raven' Rad,
      You present a very convincing case !

      Indeed , in and of itself, it would not be far-fetched at all to imagine Arya expected retaliation from the Faceless Men and came up with a solution to counter it…
      However, and forgive me for being my cynical self, the plan you describe, while undeniably logical, would have required for Arya to make quite a few virtually baseless guesses and for an inordinate amount of luck to be bestowed upon her for it to work out, I believe (but I may be wrong, as per usual)

      She would have had to assume that the Waif would flunk her first murder attempt. Considering Arya had not really seen the Waif fail up until that point, that would have been an unlikely outcome to bet on.
      She also would have had to bet that whatever injuries her former colleague inflicted, she could survive them for at least a couple of days. Again, given the Waif’s track record, that would have been a ballsy thing to assume.
      Furthermore, Arya would have had to rely on Lady Crane wanting and being able to take care of her. While the “wanting” part would have been a very fair assumption (considering Arya saved her life, it made sense for the actress to be positively inclined towards her), the “being able” bit would have been an entirely uneducated guess for I cannot recall our favourite assassin getting any indication that Lady Crane had the knowledge even to simply bandage her wounds.

      Now, I suppose I can envision a highly determined and extremely desperate Arya making all those assumptions and “throwing the dice” so to speak. I might find the plan a tad convoluted but I am ok with it.
      However I find it hard to imagine Arya willingly endangered Lady Crane.
      If she indeed planned to lure the Waif around, expecting her former colleague to track her down to finish the job, then seeking refuge at Lady Crane’s amounted to painting a massive bullseye on the poor actress’s forehead… I struggle to bring myself to accept that, I am afraid.

      Catspaw Assassin:
      According to a rumor I just made up fifteen seconds ago, Ed Sheeran has replaced Ben Hawkey as Hot Pie. Pass it on.

      My oh my ! Are we going to discover that Hot Pie switched his diet to raw food exclusively and now operates as a chef on the forefront of Westeros’s nouvelle cuisine ?

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    87. Wolfish,

      also hated how the Waif’s hatred of Arya (absent in the books) was never explained. I don’t want to be spoon-fed, but in a story where character motivation is one of its richest components that was a really strange omission.

      Yeah, it didn”t need to be that way. In the book Waif was actively involved in her training (and rewatching 6:3, saw that Jaquen was looking on as she was learning about poisons). I think they put in the hate to show how jealous she was and that Jaquen wanted her gone as well. Also wish he was kindly man, but I guess it helped for viewers to recognize the character rather than learn about a new one

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    88. Wolfish,

      “I also hated how the Waif’s hatred of Arya (absent in the books) was never explained”

      Agreed. I think that is why many people didn’t appreciate (the fantastic) Faye Marsay’s portrayal of the Waif.

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    89. ACME,

      “However I find it hard to imagine Arya willingly endangered Lady Crane.”

      This is the biggest hole in the ‘arya planned the whole thing’ idea for me.

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    90. ramses,

      About the Waif’s hatred of Arya: I really thought there would be some backstory that would explain the animus. In fact, if you rewatch the Waif’s interrogation of Arya and asks who’s on her “Little List”, the Waif unmistakably stops in her tracks and her expression changes when Arya states “Walder Frey.”
      I was thinking that the Waif’s “game of faces” origin story claiming to be the daughter of a Westerosi Lord just like Arya (and after finishing, challenging Arya to identify what part of the story was a lie) was substantially true.
      I recall others here noticed the Waif’s strange reaction to Arya’s recital of the name “Walder Frey” on her list.
      I wonder if someday we’ll find out there was a scene filmed that explained why the Waif was such a b-tch.

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    91. Edit/Cont:
      …but the explanatory scene wound up on the cutting room floor.

      It did seem that the Waif’s hatred was disproportionate to any perceived insult; and I have a hard time accepting that the FM would permit an acolyte to harbor such jealousy.

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    92. Mr Derp,

      Mr Derp,

      But I have yet to roll out my tinfoil theories in advance of this season.

      Rumour has it that the Forum section might be up and running this week. I’d been hoping to post them there to spare the community at large.

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    93. Ten Bears,

      “Waif’s “game of faces” origin story claiming to be the daughter of a Westerosi Lord just like Arya (and after finishing, challenging Arya to identify what part of the story was a lie) was substantially true.”

      I don’t think you’ve read the books, right? But that is exactly where book readers are still stuck with the waif. There is a theory that she is a daughter of a great house similar to Arya. Of course the show hints at this suggestion without any true confirmation either way!

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    94. Young Dragon,

      Ah I’m talking out of my ass as usual. But I think they were definitely like, fuck it, last two seasons, we’re on top of the world, let’s go nuts. I’m sure all the cameos will be tastefully done. Hopefully they’ll be done in such a way where we’re like, “was that so and so?” instead of being a big distraction.

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    95. ygritte,

      I agree, but I was assuming they’d only be bit parts as I haven’t been reading spoilers. Is that not the case? I’d much rather they keep the cameos like they have in previous seasons, where it’s like you say, just very small parts that blend in that you have to ask “is that such and such?”.

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    96. I enjoyed the play part of Arya’s S6 storyline. Lady Crane’s character beautifully entwined similarities between Cersei and Cat for Arya.

        Quote  Reply

    97. ramses: “However I find it hard to imagine Arya willingly endangered Lady Crane.”
      This is the biggest hole in the ‘arya planned the whole thing’ idea for me

      Yep. If Arya did plan the whole thing, then she planned for Lady Crane to be killed and that just does not sound like Arya to me.

      That is why I am more tempted to believe that, while the younger Stark sister had indeed figured out the Faceless men would come after her, her plan was always to lure the Waif back to her lair so darkness (hence the candle) and Needle would give her a fighting chance. However, she thoroughly failed to take into account her former colleague’s brazenness and never imagined she would attempt to kill her directly in the streets.
      After that attack, which Arya survived by a degree of luck bordering on the miraculous, she completely panicked and, perhaps assuming the Waif had already discovered her hideout and was waiting for her there, went to Lady Crane out of complete desperation, not factoring in at all the assassin’s determination and willingness to eliminate whoever would stand in her way and thus entirely accidentally endangering the actress. Once Lady Crane dead, Arya just gathered the last of her strengths and ran like the devil back to her place, back to the original plan.

      This scenario is obviously very far from perfect but it keeps Arya in a vaguely “happy” middle, I think. On the one hand, it does not depict her as so staggeringly naive she would expect the Faceless Men to allow her to leave peacefully after betraying their mission; on the other hand, it does not present the Stark girl as ruthless enough to seek a woman’s help while knowing it could lead to her death.
      If anything, it’s a 50/50 proposition in which Arya had a fairly good plan but screwed it up a bit by not understanding the extent of the Waif’s sadism. A tad like Jon with Ramsay !

      Of course, the aforementioned scenario does nothing to explain how, with a gaping wound in her abdomen, she was physically able to run fast enough to keep the gaping-wound-free Waif at bay. But I do not know what could possibly justify that… Unless we simply assume Arya does not have internal organs. ^^

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    98. Cumsprite:
      Looking forward to back-seat moderating the refurbished forum section.

      As long as you don´t refurbish Rygar´s back-seat, you have my best wishes.

        Quote  Reply

    99. flintstonewielder: As long as you don´t refurbish Rygar´s back-seat, you have my best wishes.

      Ry was pretty mad when he found out I was the guy who did the pushing, left the wet spot on the cushions, put the footprints on the dash upside-down. But ever since I trashed his Prius I’ve been itching ’round my penis so I think we’re pretty even all around.

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    100. Wolfish,
      I think Onedon was refering to Mark Mylod’s idea to add a shot of oranges rolling down a flight of stairs during the Arya/Waif chase scene. While many (self included) believed it was a wink-wink-nudge-nudge reference to Coppola’s use of citrus in The Godfather to signal that someone is marked for death (or almost), Mylod appears to have done it just because he thought it was pretty…

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    101. Ten Bears,

      I am not sure I understand the question. I don’t even know that she drank any water. I do know that JH gave her some water to restore her sight, and said it would not hurt her if she was truly no-one. She got her sight back, so that must mean she was already no-one?? Before she takes leave of the HOBAW, JH says she is finally no-one and she says she is Arya Stark (a girl is- still using their phrasing), and then she walks away in a very confident manner. She appears unhurt. Did she drink the water? We didn’t see. If she did, and it healed her, then is she truly no-one? Is she the waif, and that is why she appears unhurt? I don’t understand why she looks so good? It doesn’t make sense to me, so I am thinking there is more to it, but I could be wrong.

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    102. Wolfish,

      I am remembering something Jaquen said when he handed her the bowl of water to see again – if yu are truly no one you will not be harmed. but I also seem to remember something about ‘the water gives you what you want it to’, like a placebo. Not sure if that was true or if I dreamt it up somewhere..

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    103. Ten Bears,

      Even though they train to become “no one” we know they do go on to assume different identities/faces. So at the moment she chooses to be Arya Stark so she can have her vengeance which is what she set out to do in the first place with Jaquen. The experience at HoBaWlooks to me kind of like how the military breaks you down and then rebuilds you to be stronger and more disciplined. Only the former has magic or supernatural component added to the mix.

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    104. ramses,
      Ha ! Those good ol’ Starks ! What was it Littlefinger said about their tempers and their minds again ? 😛

      More seriously, Arya’s plan (if it truly existed) was undoubtedly smart and as good as it could be given her circumstances; she intended to capitalise on the only advantage she had over the Waif by fighting in the dark and using a weapon she was extremely familiar with. So smart was the plan in fact, she eventually won by sticking to it.
      However, she assumed the Waif would want to “do the job” cleanly and discreetly, like a professional, and would thus wait to corner her in her lair to attack. Such an assumption failed to take into account the (baseless) animosity, (irrational) resentment and sadism the Waif had demonstrated time and time again…

      The very same logic applies to Jon. His battle plan was as sound as it could get and his intuition that Ramsay could not afford, from a reputational viewpoint, not to go on the offensive was extremely pertinent indeed. Nevertheless, he never imagined Bolton would be vicious enough to use Rickon as target practice to force his hand. That did not factor in Ramsay’s intelligence, utter disregard for human life and gleeful cruelty.

      When it comes to the matter of the Starks underestimating their opponents, there are almost too many examples to count. Perhaps they would benefit from reading a bit of Sun Tzu : “Know thy self, know thy enemy. A thousand battles, a thousand victories”

      Wolfish,
      My pleasure ! Any excuse to link to The Godfather‘s deadly source of vitamin C 😉

      Onedon,
      Bless his heart ! He thinks orange is “pwetty colour”, that’s cute.

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    105. Wolfish: On that note, I don’t remember whether or not you’ve read the books.

      I read the first 3 books and a few chapters of 4. That was years ago. Don’t really remember much of them.

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    106. Cindy Ashcraft: who is on this silly list, she names Cersei, Mountain, and Walder Frey. Thats it.

      No Meryn Trant? had she already killed him? I can’t remember, I really do need to rewatch last season before this one starts.

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    107. ACME,

      However, and forgive me for being my cynical self, the plan you describe, while undeniably logical, would have required for Arya to make quite a few virtually baseless guesses and for an inordinate amount of luck to be bestowed upon her for it to work out, I believe (but I may be wrong, as per usual)

      Ah, but your “cynical self” is wise and detailed-oriented and nudges us all to think on a higher level. And you make excellent points, as usual. I think of this as Arya’s desperate gamble to go home unhounded by the FM. But come to think of it, most detailed plans in GoT (including several of LF’s chaos-makers) require a gamble plus a great deal of luck with the dominoes falling in the right order. And usually they work, as do the many rescuers arriving in the nick of time to save heroes.

      At High Noon, heroes never have much choice. Gary Cooper didn’t expect his new, young wife to try to help him and then get caught by the villain. Clearly the FM had set up a mano-a-mano face off with the Waif. Arya knew the Waif was undisciplined in her animus, which is a vulnerability. And expecting the Waif to inflict some damage, she stopped on that bridge to help limit it and access quick escape. But, as I said, the damage was bad, so she had to go to LC. But she wanted to leave so LC would be safe. LC: “Come with us.” Arya: “I can’t. You wouldn’t be safe. Not while she’s looking for me.” When LC offers her Milk of Poppy, Arya says she doesn’t want it, no doubt because it would make her sleep and feel groggy, and she needed to be alert and able to leave. But LC insisted, as she needed to heal.
      Unfortunately, Waif showed up when Arya woke and killed LC, the only person who’s shown Arya tenderness and caring in years. No doubt she’ll regret it, but maybe it fueled her ability to lead the chase to its desired conclusion. And you’re right, it was ballsy to assume she’d survive festering long enough to execute the plan, but she had been around wounds a lot and knew they took time to become putrid. Since the HoB&W pool had cured her blindness, she gambled on it curing her wounds.

      Ten Bears asked, If she is Arya, how could the water not kill her?

      A psychological explanation is that the water does what the drinker expects it to do. A fantasy explanation is more likely. Jaqen said a Girl has many gifts. Perhaps one is that as a warg (not mentioned on the show, but still possible) Arya can be both No One and Arya Stark. If so, maybe she can consciously switch back and forth. In any case, Jaqen saw blood drops lead to the pool, but there were none on the other side.

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    108. Euron is going to scare the pants off people who are still capable of being terrified, I’ll tell you that right now. He will be awesome.

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    109. Rob: I don’t even know that she drank any water.

      My 2cents….On the show, we saw her drink but it was after she proved herself by successfully defending against the Waif’s attack. So…was it a blindness spell that went away via drinking the well water (which corresponds to ash’s idea above, but not quite a ‘placebo’) or did Jaqen simply give her an antidote once she proved herself to him? It’s left open to interpretation.

      I believe Jaqen (Kindly Man) is in full test mode for all his subjects who occupy HoB&W. He knew Arya had passed his skill tests but still retained her identity. He gave her an antidote (or ended the spell) anyway. He also knew what was coming (including the Waif’s pending failure).

      [It was odd that the Waif hesitated after Arya included Walder Frey on her list. I assume she knew him as well. Maybe that was a subtle acknowledgment of which Westerosi house the Waif came from almost 30 years before]

      In the book, Arya passes the blind test in an unexpected fashion. She passes the “listening” test but it is implied that she also wargs a nearby cat and sees who is approaching her, but she does not convey that fact to the Kindly Man. Does he know her abilities? He seems surprised at her ability to defend herself so well. Later, they give her a cup of something fiery hot and bread…and she regains sight….obviously an antidote.

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    110. Hodors Bastard: Hah! Indeed. And GRRM’s infamous quote “as useless as nipples on a breastplate,” which was literally incorporated into the Dorne storyline… 🙂

      All of these things are quite wonderful, really. 😊

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    111. Stark Raven’ Rad: A fantasy explanation is more likely. Jaqen said a Girl has many gifts. Perhaps one is that as a warg (not mentioned on the show, but still possible) Arya can be both No One and Arya Stark. If so, maybe she can consciously switch back and forth. In any case, Jaqen saw blood drops lead to the pool, but there were none on the other side.

      I didn’t see your comment before but I’ll take your word for it. I can live with the blindness spell and antidote (with and without well water) and I rather enjoy that Arya beat the Waif in the dark with Needle (hooray for tough training), but I’ll have to suspend my disbelief in order to accept the stabby-stabby, stitchy-stitchy, fight-run-jump-roll-reopen wounds-bleed heavily, then healy-healy aspects of the Braavos endgame.

      I wonder if she stole some faces when she left or can she deface a dead body and reanimate it on her own?

      Pigeon,
      I agree. There seems to be quite a bit of good-natured ribbing and trolling between D&D and actors and D&D and GRRM/fandom. It’s probably quite a list!

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    112. ygritte:

      The experience at HoBaW looks to me kind of like how the military breaks you down and then rebuilds you to be stronger and more disciplined. Only the former has magic or supernatural component added to the mix.

      I really, really like this analogy, because there’s a paradox in it. While the military does, indeed, “break you down and then rebuilds you to be stronger and more disciplined,” this philosophy works best for the “common soldier” (and elsewhere on Planetos, for the Unsullied). It does not work for either the lone assassin or the leader: the former has no one to answer to in the moment, and the latter must be the one who makes the plans—hence, each must be a thinker rather than a mere drone. (It is no coincidence that the greatest generals have also been singular, memorable individuals.) But each must also understand the mentality, discipline, and “hive mind” of people who are led, whether in battle or in other circumstances. Therein lies the paradox, perhaps: a girl had to become No One to truly understand what it means to lose one’s identity for a greater cause—whether willingly, as a volunteer combatant, or unwillingly, as a drafted or enslaved one—but in order to become a leader with the critical-thinking skills required of leadership, she also had to hold on to her identity as Arya Stark.

      Perhaps that was the ultimate test: to understand what it meant to be both individual and drone. After all, Jaqen H’ghar introduced himself by name in Westeros, but claimed to be No One in Braavos. His strength, perhaps, is in understanding both and being able to function as both. Ultimately, that might have been the Waif’s undoing: She knew only how to follow orders, not how to give them (unless directed to do so by a “superior”). In her zeal to become “No One,” the Waif really did lose her identity—and hence, any semblance of morality or critical-thinking skills. Arya never did. When Jaqen told her, “Finally, a girl is No One,” he might have easily meant, A girl could be Any One, including Arya Stark of Winterfell.

      Of course, I’ve moved on from Arbor gold to the distilled product of the blue agave, so I might feel differently about this theory in the morning.

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    113. Mr Derp:
      I would enjoy a second trailer without question, but I also wouldn’t mind not getting one simply to keep things as fresh as possible once the season starts.

      Once a trailer comes out it gets dissected every which way to the point where we almost know too much info going into the season.Besides, if a second trailer comes out then everyone will be asking for a third trailer and then a fourth trailer, etc…

      At this point I think we need to just dig in and lick our chops for the season to start.Anything additional should be considered a bonus

      Agreed, a 2nd trailer would be nice, but thats it. I actually prefer less information now. Keep it fresh. They must have some gr8 tricks which we still dont know about. And its ultimately for our benefit. As for Ed, zzzzz. GoT has long proved they have terribly bad music taste. I’d rather they stick to original scoring.

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    114. It’s not just about us but HBO and affiliates generating hype, I would be surprised if we don’t get another entertainment weekly scoop this week with details of the episode title and limited screening premiere.

      We could of course get a second trailer this week but probably next week is more likely as they ramp up for the network premiere.

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    115. Yet another photo of Dany’s Dragonstone arrival: http://time.com/4813521/game-of-thrones-daenerys-dragons-westeros-photo/

      Direct image link:https://timedotcom.files.wordpress.com/2017/06/game-of-thrones-season-7-9.jpg?w=720&quality=85

      Beautiful picture, but looks oddly photoshopped… like they are cut and paste into that boat.
      They really are promoting this moment… We can soon create this whole scene just with picture slidshows

      I am going to get quite emotional seeing this. But at the same time, it does sadden me that George wasn’t able to do it first, but it is what is is 🙂

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    116. Stark Raven’ Rad:
      But come to think of it, most detailed plans in GoT (including several of LF’s chaos-makers) require a gamble plus a great deal of luck with the dominoes falling in the right order.And usually they work, as do the many rescuers arriving in the nick of time to save heroes.

      You are entirely right. Many, if not all schemes, require a mix of assumptions and luck to be functional. I suppose my doubts focus on the extent and nature of said assumptions and luck.

      If Arya had indeed guessed the Waif would be brazen enough to attack her in the street, why didn’t she try to prevent such an attack ? Why would she plan to get hurt in the first place when an injury would serve no strategic purpose ? Surely, a safer course of action would be to lure the Waif to the hideout while granting her little to no opportunity to make an attempt, either by running back home as quickly as possible after securing a cabin on the ship or by “hiding in the crowd” on her way home.

      Ultimately, I believe the plan’s feasibility relies on a remarkably bold yet crucial assumption, namely that the Waif would fail on her first assassination attempt. Even if we suppose Arya did take into account her former colleague’s passionate animus and hatred, that would not explain why she bet on such an unlikely outcome. The Waif’s bizarre negative obsession for Arya had never been shown to impede her destructive efforts; if anything, said obsession was proven to act as a potent fuel for the Waif.
      So why would Arya bet her life on something that had never happened before suddenly, and quite inexplicably, happening ?

      As you entirely rightly mentioned, all plans require a certain degree of luck to work out. However, gamblers always try to domesticate luck by playing the odds.
      As an example, Baelish’s expectation that Jon Arryn’s murder and Lysa’s letter would cause a rift between the Lannisters and the Starks was based on three fairly well established facts : a) Catelyn’s “family, duty, honour” ethos would lead her to trust her sister’s word and want to avenge her brother-in-law’s death; b) Ned’s affection for Jon Arryn would make him want to bring justice to the culprits; c) Ned’s preexisting dislike of the Lions (as a result of the Mountain’s crimes againt Rhaegar’s children) would predispose him to give credence to Lysa’s accusation. Now obviously, Baelish could not be 100% certain the Starks would react in the manner he predicted but he made damn sure all the odds were firmly in his favour.
      And that is true of all the most talented schemers in the Seven Kingdoms.

      In regards to the Waif, the odds of her flunking her first assassination attempt were infinitely lower that the odds of her succeeding. For Arya to bet against those odds would not simply be risky, I believe; it would be borderline suicidal. It would add some unnecessary degree of danger to a situation that was already extremely deadly.

      Overall, I suppose the doubts I have about that plan stem from a broader philosophical (I realise it sounds awfully pretentious. My apologies !) position. Arya’s plan, as you describe it, is impeccably logical. A tad too much so for my highly subjective taste. It is almost too perfect and leaves little to no place for either failure or ignorance.

      Time and time again, we have seen even the most talented of minds make mistakes and utterly screw up their planning.
      For example, Tywin was unquestionably a brilliant schemer but his hyper-focus on birth and ranks made him virtually blind to lowborn Littlefinger’s plotting, allowing the Mockingbird to engineer the Lions’ bankruptcy. Also, the Lannister patriarch failed to take into account the festering of his youngest son’s resentment, with the consequences we know.

      On this site, I often read theories I find uniquely brilliant and intelligent. Arya’s plan as you describe it is definitely among those. However, in this instance like in all the others, I have this niggling voice in the back of my mind that whispers : “how could the characters possibly know that beforehand ?”
      Most of the time, our peanut-gallery status grants us retroactive omniscience so our hindsight is about as 20/20 as it gets and we use it to our advantage in our theorising (I am as guilty of that as anyone else, for sure). But if we put ourselves in the characters’ shoes right at the moment when they made this or that decision, ignoring much of the information we are privy to and focusing solely on what the characters can legitimately be expected to be cognisant of, it all becomes quite murky, I feel.

      Technically speaking, could Arya have bet on the Waif failing ? Of course.
      Plausibly speaking, why would she have done so ? I struggle to find a reason.
      Technically speaking, could Jaqen have predicted Arya would win against the Waif ? Sure.
      Plausibly speaking, why would he have assumed that ? I do not know.

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    117. Dee Stark,

      I guess you can argue that Jon was grabbed by a random WW general, whereas Bran was grabbed by the NK himself, who is more powerful than his generals.

      Or it’s a mistake from the writers.

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    118. Flayed Potatoes,

      The whole “Night Kings Mark” on Bran seemed like a means of getting him out of the cave
      Hope they go more into detail about it, but I have a feeling we will need to wait for the books to get a deeper understanding of the others and their magic.

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    119. Dee Stark,

      Night King is more powerful. He the one who can enter visions as greenseer or what it looks like, able to reanimate anyone. None of other white walkers have been able to do that.

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    120. Flayed Potatoes,

      I think the TV show cares more about the White Walkers as an existential threat, and will focus far more on the human response to it than the walkers themselves or their magic,
      which might be the right strategy for TV purposes.
      I certainly am much more invested in the human characters in the show, whereas in the books I am deeply intrigued by the others.

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    121. Dee Stark,

      Benjen got dragonglass shoved into his heart by the Cotf, so yeah. Though it doesn’t explain how he didn’t turn bad like the NK did. We need answers lol

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    122. ACME,

      But if we put ourselves in the characters’ shoes right at the moment when they made this or that decision, ignoring much of the information we are privy to and focusing solely on what the characters can legitimately be expected to be cognisant of, it all becomes quite murky, I feel.

      This. I also feel the same way about criticism of a character’s decision to do something that seems stupid – ie the recent discussion (here or elsethread) about Brienne. We just don’t know why they made their decision, and 20/20 hindsight by fans isn’t always the best judge and jury (tho it is fun to speculate!)

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    123. ACME,

      But if we put ourselves in the characters’ shoes right at the moment when they made this or that decision, ignoring much of the information we are privy to and focusing solely on what the characters can legitimately be expected to be cognisant of, it all becomes quite murky, I feel.

      This. I also feel the same way about criticism of a character’s decision to do something that seems stupid – ie the recent discussion (here or elsethread) about Brienne. We just don’t know why they made their decision, and 20/20 hindsight by fans isn’t always the best judge and jury (tho it is fun to speculate!)

      Thronetender,

      Yes she had, which is why she got in so much trouble and became blind in the first place

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    124. Flayed Potatoes:

      Dee Stark,
      Benjen got dragonglass shoved into his heart by the Cotf, so yeah. Though it doesn’t explain how he didn’t turn bad like the NK did. We need answers lol

      If I recall correctly, Benjen had already been killed and the process of wightification was already under way when the CotF saved him with the dragonglass. Apparently they can use it for more than one function—both to create a White Walker, when the process is undertaken on a, er, unspoiled live human, and to reverse the process of wightification once it has already begun. Dragonglass is apparently the CotF’s belladonna… either poison or lifesaver, depending on application.

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    125. Wolfish: In her zeal to become “No One,” the Waif really did lose her identity—and hence, any semblance of morality or critical-thinking skills. Arya never did. When Jaqen told her, “Finally, a girl is No One,” he might have easily meant, A girl could be Any One, including Arya Stark of Winterfell.

      That happens to be one of the best explanations of what went on in Braavos with Arya that I’ve read yet. I makes so much sense. Now I feel a little better about her training, for a while I was just annoyed that they showed her getting hit with sticks. I hated that.

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    126. ACME,

      Brilliant as always, Acme. Who knows why she gambled? I’m not plugged into the D&D neural network. Your niggling is fully justified. She likely just realised she had to take a stand, come what may, just as Jon did when he faced down charging cavalry. My guess is that ultimately her ‘plan’ used gut (!) instinct and knowledge of the opponent as much as actual ratiocination. Arya’s instincts have always been impeccable. She’s trusted the right people, calling out Mel as a witch who would hurt Gendry, seeing Joffrey and his mum as the snakes they were, and even evading capture on the boat in Kings Landing because she suspected a trap (book 1). Since the Waif was so fueled by hate she’d probably make a mistake, Arya took the hit and then jumped the parapet into the water. If not instantly fatal, a wound could become an advantage. When an enemy knows you’re weakened/injured, they take their time, taunt you, and don’t expect a trap. It worked, thank the gods.

      In a previous post here you rightly questioned Arya letting Lady Crane be murdered. This is still the girl who had felt guilty for causing the deaths of Mycah and even the stableboy who would have turned her in to Cersei. Arya always looks after her friends. Knowing her presence was a danger to LC, she apparently hoped to do a midnight flit to her lair, but was too weak to do so. So the Waif pounced and Arya had to run. I doubt she’ll forget the kind woman who taught her some lessons and saved her life. I suspect that if time and circumstance had permitted, Arya would have protected LC a lot more than Sansa ever protected Rickon.

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    127. ash,
      True dat ! ^^
      We always know more than the characters, no matter how infuriating that might be at times…

      Stark Raven’ Rad,
      Rather unsurprisingly, I believe our disagreement on the nature and extent of Arya’s planning ultimately stems from our very different takes on the character. 🙂

      I, for one, do not think Arya’s instincts are impeccable.
      Her list is a testament to her occasionally flawed judgment in my opinion. Ilyn Payne, a man who was merely doing his job, is on it. So is Cersei, for an execution she neither ordered nor approved of. As for the Hound, Arya removed him from the list not because he expressed any regret over Mycah’s death, which he never did, but because he helped her out (why would one cancel out the other ?)
      And there have been other instances, other examples of Arya’s miscalculations : she failed to understand and accept why her social origins would be viewed as a solid barrier by someone with Gendry’s background; she saw Melisandre as a purely evil caricature even though we know the Red Woman was above all, at the time, a former slave (“lot seven”) who found solace and self-worth in her fanatical and sincere belief that she was saving the world… And so on and so forth. Arya is human and, like all humans (self very much included), she errs and stumbles.

      Similarly, I do not believe she has the level of genius you give her credit for.
      Now, do not get me wrong, I think she is a pretty smart cookie indeed. But she did not “fool” Tywin. He immediately spotted she was a girl and reasoned she was highborn; she only managed to keep her identity secret because he let her, out of sympathy and amusement. She did not “best” Littlefinger either : he recognised her at Harrenhal but preferred not to denounce her to the Old Lion for whatever reason (Baelish always works in mysterious ways ^^) Smart ? A resounding yes. Genius ? Hum…

      This is still the girl who had felt guilty for causing the deaths of Mycah and even the stableboy who would have turned her in to Cersei. Arya always looks after her friends. Knowing her presence was a danger to LC, she apparently hoped to do a midnight flit to her lair, but was too weak to do so.

      Yours is a very fair point, brilliantly well made, as per usual ^^
      However, if I may be my nagging self, I do not believe we can sidestep a rather straightforward causal link : if Arya truly knew the Waif was coming for her in the very near future then going to Lady Crane, for whatever reason, amounted to signing the actress’s death warrant. So either she was unaware of the extent of the threat or she knowingly endangered her friend, and I am afraid it is impossible to square this particular circle. Unfortunately, Arya cannot be both quasi-omniscient and free of responsibility.

      On a broader level, I realise that my take on Arya is very much a minority opinion. I am aware she is a fan favourite and your favourite as well. 🙂
      I understand and respect that, completely. And, above all, I do not wish to cause offense. Nonetheless, I find it impossible to subscribe to an “all celebratory” view of her, no matter how much I like her.

      To me, Book 1 / Season 1 Arya was not just a cute and mischievous kid. She was charming, no question, but she also was a spoiled brat, like all her siblings. And her type of “spoiled-brattery” was the rude and disdainful type. Throwing food in someone else’s face out of sheer spite and a desire to humiliate is not mischievous, it is mean-spirited and aggressive. Failing to abide by the most rudimentary rules of politeness (like punctuality or elementary manners) is not cute, it is disrespectful and entitled.
      Now, I do not blame her for any of that. She was 10, for Pete’s sake ! And she had been positively reinforced and comforted in that attitude by all her male relatives who encouraged her to view herself as a very special little person. So she could not possibly know any better. But she was what she was and, in my opinion, what she was was not all positive.

      After her escape from the Red Keep, she got the adventurous, dangerous life she had wished for. However, the reality of such an existence was nowhere near as sweet as she had fantasised from her unfathomably sheltered position in her highly comfortable castle. Still, she survived, chipping away at her own innocence every step of the way.

      As for Arya now, I am sorry to say I do not see her as an impeccable judge of character with exquisite planning abilities and divine justice on her side. I view her as a bright but occasionally mistaken, fascinating but tragic young woman on the verge of a highly dangerous form of darkness. In between her brief moments of vigilantism-induced euphoria, she is painfully aware of this void, this “hole where (her) heart used to be”, as per George RR Martin. She is still so young and already so traumatised (like all her siblings, to be fair). Is she still “fixable” ? I certainly hope so. After all, as Brother Ray said, it’s never too late to come back.
      In all honesty, I cannot and will not celebrate the whole of her; I just want to give her a hug ^^

      I suspect that if time and circumstance had permitted, Arya would have protected LC a lot more than Sansa ever protected Rickon.

      I’ll bite ^^
      What “time and circumstance” did Sansa have at her disposal to protect Rickon that Arya lacked to protect Lady Crane ?

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    128. ACME:

      Her list is a testament to her occasionally flawed judgment in my opinion. Ilyn Payne, a man who was merely doing his job, is on it. So is Cersei, for an execution she neither ordered nor approved of. As for the Hound, Arya removed him from the list not because he expressed any regret over Mycah’s death, which he never did, but because he helped her out (why would one cancel out the other?). …

      However, if I may be my nagging self, I do not believe we can sidestep a rather straightforward causal link: if Arya truly knew the Waif was coming for her in the very near future then going to Lady Crane, for whatever reason, amounted to signing the actress’s death warrant. So either she was unaware of the extent of the threat or she knowingly endangered her friend, and I am afraid it is impossible to square this particular circle. Unfortunately, Arya cannot be both quasi-omniscient and free of responsibility. …

      To me, Book 1 / Season 1 Arya was not just a cute and mischievous kid. She was charming, no question, but she also was a spoiled brat, like all her siblings. And her type of “spoiled-brattery” was the rude and disdainful type. … And she had been positively reinforced and comforted in that attitude by all her male relatives who encouraged her to view herself as a very special little person. …

      I view her as a bright but occasionally mistaken, fascinating but tragic young woman on the verge of a highly dangerous form of darkness. In between her brief moments of vigilantism-induced euphoria, she is painfully aware of this void, this “hole where (her) heart used to be,” as per George RR Martin. …

      What “time and circumstance” did Sansa have at her disposal to protect Rickon that Arya lacked to protect Lady Crane?

      Brilliant as always, and I agree with all your points—despite (or perhaps because) Arya is one of my own favorite characters. On the sections quoted above, I would add the following:

      1. Excellent point about Payne and Cersei. Predictably, I will come to my favorite domestic canid’s defense and state that I don’t think the Hound has ever apologized for anything he’s done, but I do think his regret over Mycah’s death was evident (more so in the show that in the book, where he desperately tried to goad Arya into killing him by saying terrible things he didn’t really mean). I would also like to think that his statement to the Brotherhood—“It’s not my place to question princes”—finally sank in and Arya began to understand that, in the world she inhabits, failure to follow orders means death. I’ve always thought of the Hound as the German who joined the Resistance: He was never a “good Nazi,” but neither did he know how to extricate himself from the world that birthed and shaped him—until a singular event forced his hand and he finally thought, Fuck it, I’m done. Of course, by that logic Arya should forgive Payne: after all, both he and the Hound were only following orders.

      2. I do think it’s highly likely that Arya planned to draw the Waif out, but like you I was confounded by her decision to seek Lady Crane’s help while not telling her how truly grave the danger from the Faceless Men was. I love Braavos in the books and, for the most part, loved how it was portrayed in the show; however, I found the dénouement of the story arc to be very unsatisfactory. Don’t get me going (again) on how a two-bit actress could seek out the services of the FM, when in the books Cersei Lannister herself made a crack about not being able to afford them…

      3. As you and others have written, it’s very interesting to note how GRRM forces his readers to think about why they prefer certain characters over others, even given their character flaws (those readers who actually pay attention, that is). Joffrey is a sociopath because he has been raised to believe that “when you are king, the truth will be what you make of it”—and does not question the dubious (to say the least) morality of that. The same could be said of Robyn Arryn, not even 10 and already getting his kicks from seeing people “fly” out the Moon Door. Ned and Catelyn were neither as self-entitled as Cersei nor as blindly worshipful as Lysa, so it’s doubtful that their children would have grown into cold-blooded sociopaths even if they had expected to rule. Yet, their behavior—and coddling by their parents, servants, etc.—certainly illustrates the perils of privilege.

      4. Back to my favorite domestic canid, I’ve long thought that should Arya ever take what appears to be an irretrievable turn into darkness, the Hound might be the person who pulls her back. Her arc parallels his, in that both were drawn into warfare and killing at a young age and both subsequently developed a deeply questionable pleasure for killing. Arya is still descending into that arc, while the Hound is trying (fitfully, it must be granted) to come out of it. (He did express regret to Brother Ray about the things he’s done.) He has never told her so in so many words, but we know he cares for her—perhaps even loves her as a father or brother. While I think he would be proud of her ability to survive thus far, I also think it would distress him to see her descend into the same sort of nihilism in which he himself was trapped for so long.

      5. I’m definitely not Sansa’s biggest fan (I just can’t relate to her, and some of her decisions have made me scream), but I’m truly confounded by repeated assertions that Sansa failed to protect Rickon. She couldn’t have protected him! I’ve seen statements to the effect of “She gave up on him,” which I suppose is technically true—but what could she have done? Sansa knew what Ramsay was, knew that Rickon was as good as dead, and knew that there was no way to retrieve Rickon. What others viewed as cold-hearted “giving up,” I viewed as pragmatic self-preservation. She knew the heartbreak was coming and she steeled herself for it.

      [pours another glass of rosé]

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    129. Wolfish,
      All very true and very beautifully put !

      1. Oh, I am delighted Arya took the Hound off her list. I love that chicken fanatic too; he is hilarious, tragic and profound ! And I couldn’t agree more with your take on his character. For the longest time, he had given up on himself, on everyone and on life in general. It took a “little bird” to reawaken some semblance of protective instinct in him and a whole lot of fire to jolt him into rebellion.
      Arya’s misapprehension about the Hound stemmed, I believe, from her utter ignorance of punishment. Born and bred at the top of the food chain, raised by overly indulgent parents, she had virtually no idea there was such a thing as being forced to do something under penalty of law. How could she have ? She did not understand the Hound was not at liberty to refuse any of Joffrey’s orders. Hopefully, as you rightly mentioned, her newly found comprehension of the concept of hierarchy and the risks inherent to it will eventually extend to Ilyn Payne.

      2. I too believe Arya had a plan. I definitely think she wanted to lure the Waif back to her place (darkness + Needle = excellent combo !) and this is why she took her sweet time to enjoy the vista on that bridge, to ensure her former colleague would spot her and follow her. In my opinion, and in spite of Stark Raven’ Rad impeccably brilliant demonstration (I am really stubborn ^^), Arya did not predict the Waif would attack there and then. After that, she just panicked and went to Lady Crane out of sheer desperation. At the moment of the decision, she was overwhelmed with fear and pain. The poor girl had a gaping wound in her abdomen and was losing blood by the gallon… No one can be expected to think straight under those circumstances ! So she did not focus on the possible repercussions of her choice. She sought help, as she had every bloody damn right to ! Once settled and bandaged up, she realised she had put the actress in danger and hoped to leave the place before the Waif tracked her down. Unfortunately, by then it was already too late : Lady Crane was as good as dead the moment Arya stepped into her wardrobe.

      In regards to the Faceless Men and their price, you are entirely right that the way the assassins are portrayed on the show is in direct contradiction with the image Cersei gives of them in the books. However, I wonder if it is not intentional on the writers’ part… If the play proved us one thing, it is that Braavos and Westeros do not know each other that well. While the two States are connected by trade and finance, culturally speaking they are centuries apart and draw most of their information on each other from rumours and gossips. Perhaps Westerosi believe the Faceless Men are this elite, prohibitively-priced army of nefarious ninjas while, in the Braavosi reality, they are just middle-market “sellswords” the moderately wealthy (or people with some savings) can afford. A bit like Bronn but with magic and pretentious third-person syntax. ^^

      3. I couldn’t agree more. Every character in ASoIaF has good reasons to be who and what they are. Not only did Joffrey grow up being told he was the Gods’ gift to mankind, he also hero-worshiped a “father” who was but a glorified violent thug whose sole claim to fame was his ability to smash people’s skulls with a big hammer. Ramsay was bred to become a hyper-violent henchman by his sociopathic dad. As for Sweetrobyn, the poor kid is so bubblewrapped he probably does not fully grasp the concept of death…
      Ned and Catelyn were loving parents and served as very positive role models for their kids so, like you, I do not think any of them would have turned into a psychopath as a result of their upbringing. However, those children were pampered and indulged to the point of not even being aware of their own privilege. Ned and Cat loved their children deeply but they thoroughly failed to prepare them for the outside world, instead keeping them cocooned in a web of delusion of grandeur and self-righteousness. Hence the unspeakable rudeness of their awakening.

      4. I sincerely hope the Hound helps Arya find her way back. Lady Crane was a milestone in her development, a maternal and friendly figure who cared for her and protected her in her hour of need. A sincere, pure human connection; something that had not happened to her in years. The Hound could help her along that path, be her Brother Ray, thereby not only guiding her but also honouring the memory of his dead friend.

      5. I think we all have a natural tendency to romanticise lost causes and those who defend them… There is an esthetic to desperation, a heroism to fighting til the bitter end, especially when all hope is gone. As Cyrano would argue : “What say you? It is useless? Ay, I know. But who fights ever hoping for success? I fought for lost cause, and for fruitless quest! (…) No! no, it’s much more beautiful when it’s useless”

      That shot of Jon standing alone in the middle of the battlefield, unshielding his sword to face down a whole wave of cavalry… Even my shrivelled and cynical heart skipped a beat ! It was gorgeous. But let’s be reasonable : had Davos not charged with the rest of the Starks’ army, what would have happened ? Jon would not even have had the time to swing his sword once before being puréed by the medieval equivalent of a tank. Another Stark would have bitten the dust and all that for what ?

      No matter how heartless it sounds, there is profound wisdom in acknowledging that not everyone can be saved. Not just on a philosophical level but also on a practical one. If anything, more often than not, attempting to save everyone can lead to even more deaths by needlessly endangering those who can be saved for the non-existent benefit of those who can’t. The need of the many… 😉

      5. I’m definitely not Sansa’s biggest fan (I just can’t relate to her, and some of her decisions have made me scream)

      I hear ya ! I like her and she makes me scream sometimes too ^^
      But then again, so many of those characters make me howl, it is hard for me to single one out !

      [pours another glass of rosé]

      *Clink clink *

        Quote  Reply

    130. Gods, I love this site. It’s like attending a graduate level seminar focused on a work of art. You people are so brilliant. Anyway, I’m going to try to keep this short because other, newer threads call us all, and maybe it’s time to wind up some topics anyway.

      Dear Acme,
      I accept many of your points, but do want to clarify a few of mine. The saga’s geniuses are Littlefinger, Varys, Tyrion, and Tywin–all with flaws, but very admirable intellectually and strategically. Sam is a bookish genius. Arya is merely smart and blessed with good-though-not-infallible instincts. She had a child’s understanding when she put Cersei and Ser Ilyn on her List. She first hated Cersei for her reprisal-killing of Lady and assumed she had a part in Ned’s demise. Arya is right in keeping Cersei on the List and deleting Ser Ilyn.
      Indeed, she has had that hole in her heart (a memorable book passage) a while. Both Jon and Arya were reminded that kindness is dangerous. She knew that by saving LC , the FM would cause her death. How could she not include that in her calculations? I still think her plan in Braavos to get away from the FM was amazing, including the hit to lull the Waif into over-confidence. But with such bad wounds LC was her only hope. Arya warned her, “You wouldn’t be safe. Not while she’s looking for me.” LC didn’t kick her out but gave her laudanum, which meant she’d be there a while. That was her gamble. In effect, they were both responsible.

      I wouldn’t like Arya (or Jon Our Hero) if she didn’t err and stumble. Sometimes they both make me want to scream, but who wants perfect?. Thank you for opening my eyes on a key point–her (their) privileged background. Perhaps because she was a rebel and he a bastard, alone in the family they were reluctant to assert aristocratic superiority. Yet though they both mixed with common folk, at times they expected to be treated as ‘betters’ and didn’t realise their effect on people. Both fumbled their way to feeling at home with the ‘smallfolk’ and being accepted, but still being leaders. Like Ned, at least they looked after their followers. Aemon had told Jon to kill the boy and let the man be born. They luckily were humbled by hard knocks, suffering, death/near death, friends, good mentors, and the crucible of organisations that reshaped them: the Faceless Men and the Nights Watch. Jon is now a young man and Arya a younger woman. They are both formidable and dangerous, yet still kind. Chances are they will continue to inadvertently get others killed, usually from their mistakes. But they will persevere…if they survive. Even Mance and Ned acknowledged making mistakes. Nobody has to love them, but they are certainly fascinating characters, at least to me.

      About Tywin and Littlefinger. Tywin could really have interrogated Arya, but he was not gratuitously cruel. Since he considered her an amusing but harmless child, though a Northern highborn, why go that far? The scene with LF is ambiguous. I’ve watched it many times on Youtube and think LF didn’t recognise her. We’re on a S2 re-watch so I asked the Spouse, who at first thought LF did know her, but watching again recanted. Either way could be right.

      With all due respect and admiration, Stark Raven’ Rad

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    131. Stark Raven’ Rad,
      Dear Stark Raven’ Rad

      The feeling is very mutual 😉

      Sincerely and with my admiration,
      Me

      Wolfish,
      Oh, I stumbled upon a quote by George RR Martin on the Faceless Men and their pricing ! “The Faceless Men don’t post a list of prices on their door. The way it works, you go to them and tell them who you want killed, and then they negotiate the price. The more prominent the victim, the more difficult to get to, the more dangerous for the assassin and the guild, the higher the price.”
      So perhaps they are affordable for a two-bit actress if the person she intends to have assassinated is another two-bit actress… ^^

        Quote  Reply

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