Peter Dinklage and Conleth Hill on the set of Game of Thrones in Peñíscola, with new hints of season 6

Tyrion and Varys

Peñíscola filming today of Game of Thrones season 6 moves to the Plaza Santa Maria, where we’ve seen sets and props being constructed and laid out for the past few days. Peter Dinklage and Conleth Hill have been spotted on set, in costume as Tyrion and Varys. We also have a new casting notice that provide some hints at season 6.

Here are a few photos of the Meereenese extras shared by the Peniscola Photoblog on Facebook, taken around the entrance of the plaza:

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El Periodico Mediterraneo has an image of the Unsullied from this week’s filming:

Photo: elperiodicomediterraneo.com

Photo: elperiodicomediterraneo.com

The local news in Peñíscola reports that the blockades are effective in preventing them from spotting what’s happening during most of filming. The city’s Meereen story looks to be a very busy one however, with several cast members spotted in the area, including new addition Melanie Liburd whose role remains unconfirmed.

The sets that have been constructed in the Plaza Santa appear to be for the Meereen granary, with stacks of sacks.

The set yesterday:

Peniscola castle with the Game of Thrones set ready for filming #genuinely #GoT #peniscola

A post shared by htrevenna (@htrevenna) on

SPOILERS! 

Additionally, we’ve received another casting notice indicating that Meereen may be experiencing a famine, which would connect to that granary.

The casting breakdown describes an emaciated street woman in her thirties, a painfully thin woman living in extreme poverty with a starving baby. The character has one scene where she is frightened by encountering a powerful political figure, a leading cast member. She’s unable to speak. This is for one day of filming, for today October 3rd in Spain.

With Hill and Dinklage filming in Peñíscola  today, perhaps Tyrion is the political leader the starving woman meets in the Meereen streets? He seems like the obvious choice.

84 responses

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    1. Exciting! I could imagine this for Tyrion- seeing and being moved by the common people and this motivating him to make some political decision.

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    2. Interesting news. It will be a real boost to the Meereen story to have both Tyrion and Varys there, and I expect it will feel more like Kings Landing, rather than being completely isolated like before. Tyrion and Varys were the best part of the Season 2 KL storyline, so I hope they are as good (or better) in Meereen.

      It’s great to finally have some filming info/pictures from Meereen. Looking forward to seeing more.

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    3. I know HBO producers said 8 seasons, but have D and D said anything on the subject?

      If they are going for famine as the main Mereenese problem that sounds like something GRRM would use to strech out the story lacking action… to add 1 more season.

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    4. Other than the Red Priestess/Priests being involved, I just can’t drum up much excitement for Meereen, even with Tyrion and Varys there. Please, for the love of Rh’llor, let this be the final season in Slaver’s Bay!

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    5. Very exciting! The starving woman encounters someone who is known to be a powerful political figure in Meereen. I would think this is NOT the “foreign dwarf” that was discussed in Mother’s Mercy. So it could be Missandei perhaps? She will bring news to Tyrion, who could have a conversation together, like shown in the pictures earlier.
      Tyrion Pimpslap,
      That was me wrt the King’s Landing storyline last season, even with the High Sparrow. I am wondering if there’ll be anything interesting for me in KL next season – hopefully the Tyrells finally growing a spine.

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    6. D&D have confirmed in an interview this

      is the last season in Meereen. I was hoping the city would be attacked by enemies, not famines. Doesn’t sound exciting to me, something that would happen if there was an attack

      . Hopefully there’s still time for that since they’ll still film in that Castle in Almería.

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    7. I wonder why they didn’t all this leaked stuff (the Kinvara priestess, the famine…) with Dany. Her arc could have been more interesting than staring to the infinite or the stolen dragons…

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    8. “I guess there is an element of fantasy readers that don’t want to see that. I find that fascinating. Seeing someone like

      Dany actually trying to deal with the vestments of being a queen and [dealing with] factions and guilds and the economy. They burnt all the fields [in Meereen]. They’ve got nothing to import anymore. They’re not getting any money. I find this stuff interesting. And fortunately, enough of my readers who love the books do as well.”

      –So Spake Martin

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    9. Tyrion Pimpslap,

      I do look forward to seeing how Dany handles the Dothraki and what information the new Red Priestess may impart. I also think it was a great idea to bring to have Tyrion and Dany meet already, lest it become as plodding as it was in the books. All that said, though, I’m so with you on the “let this be the last season in Meereen.” At this point, I’m not quite as annoyed as I was with the book regarding Dany and Meereen, but I sure as hell will be if she isn’t on her way out by the end of this season.

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    10. SlayerNina,

      Because her shithole plot in ADWD was so much better,this is entirely Martin’s fault.not the showrunners .

      If he didn’t add unnecessary characters like Young Griff just to delay Dany’s arrival in Westeros this could have been avoided .

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    11. Dany was one of my faves in the book because he arc felt “real” (well… as real as it can feel with dragons, and not burning, and stuff). She has this notion of “I am Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen and I will take what is mine with Fire and Blood.” but then what does she do when she has it? In the books she doesn’t really know what to do and make plenty of mistakes. The question for me becomes, what will she learn from those mistakes?”

      Failure in and of itself isn’t inherently bad – it’s what you learn in the process that’s important.

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    12. The Dragon Demands:
      “I guess there is an element of fantasy readers that don’t want to see that. I find that fascinating. Seeing someone like Dany actually trying to deal with the vestments of being a queen and [dealing with] factions and guilds and the economy. They burnt all the fields [in Meereen]. They’ve got nothing to import anymore. They’re not getting any money. I find this stuff interesting. And fortunately, enough of my readers who love the books do as well.”

      –So Spake Martin

      Well said, show watchers who want non-stop action and Khaleesi magically frees everyone and is a great feminist icon and role model and everyone in slavers bay lives happily after nonsense are watching the wrong show

      Martin has brought up the ending of LotR before, about ow Aragorn ruled wisely etc, but what is wisely? What was his tax policy etc

      In this case Slavers Bay quite realistically descends into chaos because of Dany’s actions, all she did was flip the power position of the classes in Astapor around, and then stimulate a situation in which starvation, plague and famine become widespread

      It should be interesting to see how the astute Tyrion and Varys with his extensive spy network tackle the Harpies.

      However nothing in either books or show will prevent Slavers Bay and Meereen from severe fracture and descending into a bloodbath and humanitarian disaster

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    13. Lucius:
      SlayerNina,

      Because her shithole plot in ADWD was so much better,this is entirely Martin’s fault.not the showrunners .

      Don’t think she goes to Westeros until the climactic battle tbh

      Quentyn seems to relate more to the Dornish and Arianne/Doran/Young Griff alliance plot than it does Dany IMO

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    14. Anguissette1979:
      The question for me becomes, what will she learn from those mistakes?”

      Failure in and of itself isn’t inherently bad – it’s what you learn in the process that’s important.

      Well, Dany’s failure isn’t exactly fantastic for the hundreds of thousands of peoples whose entire lives are thrown into tumult, poverty, plague and war because of her mistakes….

      …But hey none of that is “bad” as long as she learned something…

      Ultimately though it’s a bit of a reflection of how she is trying to live Viserys dream and it doesen’t fit her, she’s not cut out for it

      I’m looking forward to the next book and season 6 onwards, because I reckon she throws it all out of the window and goes Fire + blood

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    15. Kargaryen:
      D&D have confirmed in an interview this

      . Hopefully there’s still time for that since they’ll still film in that Castle in Almería.

      Only so much battle budget to go around…and the North will be worth it

      In this case it would actually be good to have some political intrigue thrown into the mix, that is effectively what Tyrion and Varys characters are geared for anyway

      As I’ve said above, Meereen (and Slavers bay) will simply implode as it can’t be sustained as a society anymore (certainly not on that scale)

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    16. Nymeria Warrior Queen,

      I don’t consider Dany and the Dothraki as part of the Meereen story, at least not initially. I am interested in seeing if being back with the Dothraki rekindles some of what made me like Dany/Emilia in season 1/AGOT.

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    17. Ghost’s Lunch: Well said, show watchers who want non-stop action and Khaleesi magically frees everyone and is a great feminist icon and role model and everyone in slavers bay lives happily after nonsense are watching the wrong show

      But the show (like the books) has had THAT storyline for her 3 seasons before taking 180 degree turn into the “Mysha” plot of cultural, economic and so on problems of Slavers Bay.

      Remember in book 1 and season 1, when Dany beged Drogo to invade Westeros neither GRRM or the show have spent too much time dishing out the effects that had on Lyzareen people who were killed and enslaved as a result of her/his actions.

      As i recall it was mentioned but GRRM didn`t go into it because he had dragons to hatch…. Alot has changed since then and now we get to find out the state of the food suplies in Mereen in full detail :-/

      If D and D said this will be the last season in Mereen i thank the old gods and the new!

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    18. Anguissette1979,

      One of the things which made me so impatient with AFFC was because I wanted to get back to Dany’s story. By the time I finished ADWD, I was incredibly frustrated with it.

      Ghost’s Lunch,

      I like the ins and outs of ruling (that which some consider boring), don’t get me wrong, I just thought it all went on for too long, and grew weary of, for example, what seemed to me endless descriptions of people shitting themselves).

      Tyrion Pimpslap,

      Fair enough…I just group them together because they’re connected and because of geography. I have great hopes being surrounded by those around whom Dany first found her real strength will remind her of that strength.

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    19. Ghost’s Lunch,

      As far as I’m concerned, there is nothing realistic about the economy of Slaver’s Bay to begin with. …If I want a modicum of economic realism in my fantasy, I go to Terry Pratchett. That guy created Ankh Morpork thinking precisely about how many carts of cabbage must enter the city every day to feed its populace. And about what happens to the uneaten cabbage refuse.

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    20. Kargaryen,

      When I read famine I emidiately thought that Mereen would actually be under attack. (Well not attack, but siege) kinda like the book where yunkai cuts off their seeways, and pressure Dany every change they get. We’ve heard a lot about sieges in the show – maybe now we’ll actually see one with famine, desperation, the threat of mutiny and all. That would be great I think.

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    21. I enjoy Tyrions and Varys’ interaction. A lot of chemistry there.
      Looking forward to S6 be the last of Essos.

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    22. The famine could be the result of a siege. I hope there is some kind of battle to end the Meereen storyline at least.
      Dany’s plotline was interesting to me in the books, but it would not have worked in the screen at all. And people blame her for not being able to fix everything which was not GRRMs intention I believe. So it is good that the arch was not executed the same way since people blame show Dany already as well. But I wonder that if Tyrion is unable to fix all problems what the reaction to that will be.

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    23. A ton of brightly colored blankets were used on extras in Navarre for the Dothraki camp filming. It’s just to keep the extras warm and their costumes in the right state for filming.

      I wish we knew which main cast who was in Westeros in Season 5 has been spotted in Meereen. Surely that information can’t remain top-secret for long.

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    24. Kay: I wish we knew which main cast who was in Westeros in Season 5 has been spotted in Meereen. Surely that information can’t remain top-secret for long.

      Let’s remember it’s just a rumor, as of yet, please.

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    25. Luka Nieto,

      Yeah a siege is probably happening regardeless but what kind of resistence these people could put? Some yeah because if they do invade the city it would be a total caos. But a battle with Yunkai for example would demand even more from Tyrion and whoever is left commanding the city.

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    26. Chinoiserie,

      I kinda hope he doesn’t fix everything. Most problems she created started because she was trying to end slavery. Some would never happen in Westeros for example. But she usually gets blamed for everything and is labeled as incompetent.

      Though if there’s a battle I can’t see Tyrion being able to win. Someone would have to show up and save the day. Probably with a huge khalasar.

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    27. Kay: I wish we knew which main cast who was in Westeros in Season 5 has been spotted in Meereen. Surely that information can’t remain top-secret for long.

      heh: the rumor seems to be growing: it was only a character from Westeros yesterday, not a “main cast” character from Westeros! If it is true, then I would still look to one of the lesser characters (e.g., someone from Dorne, Yara, etc.)

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    28. Newbietothegame: Looking forward to S6 be the last of Essos.

      That depends on how quickly Daeny leaves Meereen. If she leaves by mid-season, then the rest of the season might be the journey westwards through Essos.

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    29. SlayerNina: Her arc could have been more interesting than staring to the infinite or the stolen dragons…

      Actually, I think that GRRM has the right of it here. A lot of fantasy fans might have found Daeny’s tightrope walk between Meereenese political factions (and her own sense of idealism on one hand and practical needs on the other hand) boring: but this is the sort of thing that cable TV series viewers seem to enjoy. At any rate, it is the sort of thing that successful cable TV series lacking dragons and magic [i.e., almost all of the rest of them] do!

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    30. Ghost’s Lunch: that is effectively what Tyrion and Varys characters are geared for anyway

      Good point. They’re two of the characters that made KL the show’s secret weapon through some lackluster stuff at The Wall, etc. Now that they’re in Mereen, maybe they can bring some of that intrigue back. But the question is who is in the city to push back at them, politics-wise?

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    31. Wimsey: That depends on how quickly Daeny leaves Meereen.If she leaves by mid-season, then the rest of the season might be the journey westwards through Essos.

      Let’s hope for that.

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    32. Ren Snow,

      Hopefully. I cannot fucking stand disease plots in tv, movies or novels. It becomes very depressing and uncompelling very quickly.
      Its just the worst possible narrative to go down in every possible way. (The beginning of season 4 of Walking Dead)
      If this great story ends with characters slowly dying of some stupid disease while we have to read about/watch them coughing and throwing up repeatedly, having diarrhea in excruciating detail of the pain and discomfort they are in and the only relief they and the reader/viewer has from this is reading about their fever dreams and flashbacks, I won’t be able to stick around for that.

      I really hope thats not where GRRM is going with the pale mare story-line, but knowing him I wouldn’t put it past him.

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    33. The few references in the show to the effects of war on the smallfolk have struck me as woefully inadequate, and totally failed to set up a logical context for the precipitous rise of the Sparrows. So the introduction of famine into the Meereen storyline makes me hopeful that we might get a belated but badly needed dose of the realities of life for the vast majority of people in feudal times – not just the chicanery of the ruling class.

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    34. HighGarden Harlot: Hopefully. I cannot fucking stand disease plots in tv, movies or novels. It becomes very depressing and uncompelling very quickly.

      Indeed! The big problem is that disease is very arbitrary: who gets struck down should have nothing to do with character arcs, and character drama is all about character arcs. Really, the only way to do it is to center the plot around disease from the word go, and have the character arcs evolve around that.

      At any rate, it’s difficult to see how the Pale Mare or Greyscale or anything like that could do anything other than disrupt GRRM’s story at this point. Sure, it can be a minor concern during siege – as the show has mentioned at least one, disease and famine are the biggest problems created by sieges – but then it has to be about how Tyrion, Daeny or whomever compromises one goal for another when dealing with it.

      Firannion: The few references in the show to the effects of war on the smallfolk have struck me as woefully inadequate,

      Actually, it was shown quite well in Seasons’ 3 and 4, as Arya went tramping about the Riverlands. (Remember, that is the only place that really had this issue as that is where most of the war was fought.) There was not much last season: but there also was no setting for it as there were no important plotlines set in the Riverlands. And as none of the main characters are peasants, this just really does not enter into the story.

      There we go: it’s not sexism or racism, but classism happening here! 😀

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    35. Wimsey: Actually, it was shown quite well in Seasons’ 3 and 4, as Arya went tramping about the Riverlands.

      There were really only two such pertinent scenes, involving three characters encountered by Arya and the Hound: the philosophical dying man and the farmer and his daughter from whom the Hound stole the silver. Contrast that with literally thousands of hungry refugees seen by Brienne on the road in the books. To me, that’s inadequate and misses a lot of the points that, in my view, the author is trying to make about the stupidity and futility and tragedy of war, juxtaposed against the sanitized chivalric version of combat nurtured by the aristocracy via tournaments and so on. Septon Meribald’s speech is coming a season or two too late.

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    36. If Theon take the Victarion’s storyline and since he’s out of the Stanny’s one (and there’s no Stanny at all, thank to the old gods and the new) he needs something to do, he should be the one to end in Mereen.

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    37. Omg! I was right! Famine, not war, will be Tyrion’s trial. He needs to show his worth to Dany-to fill in the places where she is lacking-then they can conquer Westeros together. Perhaps this is how he earns his dragon…

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    38. Firannion: To me, that’s inadequate and misses a lot of the points that, in my view, the author is trying to make about the stupidity and futility and tragedy of war

      But that was not one of GRRM’s primary points in the Thrones series. It is a very tangential point that has almost zero bearing on the primary plots and no bearing on any of the stories.

      If GRRM had intended this to be a major point, then one of the primary protagonists would be heavily motivated by issues surrounding who gets crushed by the Game of Thrones. Now, we’ve seen thing similar to this in Daeny’s concern about slavery and Jon’s concern about the plight of the Wildlings, and we might see this in a more general sense when/if the main characters start to wrestle with how the “small folk” of humanity are getting crushed in the Ecclesiastical tussle between the White Walkers and R’hllor and whatever else is involved. However, none of the main characters now are suffering any identity crises stemming from the plight of the small folk because of the War.

      As for Septon Maribald’s speech, if I recall, then isn’t that the one that reads like it is cribbed out of All Quiet on the Western Front? If so, then it was focused on the plight of the common soldier, and not on the plight of smallfolk. At any rate, it would not have any meaning on the show because none of the characters of any note are common soldiers.

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    39. Ashara D: Perhaps this is how he earns his dragon…

      Only if one of the dragons is a bleeding heart humanitarian…. er… dragonarian…. er anti-cruelty-to-bald-monkeys reptile! However, I somehow doubt that either Viserion or Rhaegal will be won over by acts of kindness to humans. (Now, acts of kindness to dragoans involving nice plump sheep: that might be a different story!)

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    40. Famine and starvation plaguing Mereen and the east, and Tyrion in charge. It’s too bad he doesn’t have any potential connections with a western family wealthy in land and crops.

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    41. Ghost’s Lunch,
      I completely agree. I can’t wait for Dany to go full-on Fire & Blood insane dictator, like her father. I think it will be way more interesting to see her gradually go insane and turn into an antagonist than to be a hero. I think it will be shocking and trope-subverting and I will be thrilled to see Dany go nuts. We’ve seen evidence of this in the show and the books. When she had her dragons burn and eat the head of that noble family without any trial in S5 it struck me as very reminiscent of something Aerys would do. I hope we get to see her become a primary antagonist in Westeros eventually.

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    42. K Noelle,

      Again, that would be absolutely horrifically bad writing by GRRM. That is not “subverting tropes”: this would just arbitrary events devoid of story. Indeed, if anything, then this is much closer to the standard tropes of fantasy than it is a subversion of one! (Seriously, how big of a fantasy cliche is it for an insane “evil” king/queen to be deposed, and then his equally insane “evil” heirs try to replace him/her?)

      Remember, this is a series of novels with protagonists, not heroes: those are fundamentally different beasts. Moreover, it is a novel series following the Faulkneresque theory that the best antagonists are the protagonists themselves. Daeny will continue to be her own antagonist, as she wrestles between idealism and necessity in different things. (But, no, not insanity: Daeny has shown no signs of that so far.)

      Where GRRM is going with this (and where he has been going from the start) is some key situation or set of situations in which the main characters (Daeny, Jon, Tyrion, etc.) will be forced to make some major compromises between alternatives when all of the alternatives have merit and dismerit. One part of each will be saying “yes” and another part will be saying “no” to these alternatives. The compromising that they have done so far (wildlings vs. the Watch vs. the Walkers; slaves vs. reclaiming Westeros vs. ruling classes; honoring family vs. hating family vs. individual agenda; etc.) will all be key.

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    43. K Noelle,

      She isn’t going to go insane, it’s far too predictable a thing to do, but naturally both the show and the books hint at it as misdirection. I do think she is going to go all ‘Fire & Blood’, however, though that doesn’t mean she needs to be insane to do that. Aegon the Conquerer wasn’t insane, after all, and he forged a new kingdom with Fire & Blood.

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    44. Tori Targaryen: ut naturally both the show and the books hint at it as misdirection.

      I do not even see how they hint at it as misdirection. Book!Daeny and Show!Daeny both are portrayed as very sane people. Now, Daeny is idealistic: but idealism is not insanity. She had been in denial about her father’s condition: but that is just natural human behavior. She does not abandon ideas about taking back the throne: but that is just the morality of her culture and upbringing. Daeny herself even expresses concerns about her sanity: but that, too, is normal if you are from a family in which insanity is hereditary. We should be more worried about her if she did not have these fears. (A common problem for mentally disturbed people is that they refuse to accept the possibility that they are disturbed: and many studies suggest that they genuinely do no believe that they are in many cases.)

      Nowhere do we see the inability to process reality or delusions or paranoia or repetitiveness or the rapid swings in goals/desires/beliefs that are the hallmarks of the various maladies that we call “insanity.” And the few people who knew both Daeny and her father and/or younger brother are struck by how different Daeny is from them.

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    45. I’ve considered the whole Targaryen madness thing before, and it wouldn’t be totally without precedent if Dany did start going a bit “mad.” But even so, she would never be quite like her father. Aerys clearly had severe paranoid schizophrenia, which Dany shows absolutely no signs of.

      I do think she’ll undergo a bit of a change, perhaps becoming harsher and less forgiving (although she can already be pretty damn harsh and unforgiving as it is). Some in Westeros could perceive that as “madness” and claim she’s just like her father, and it might hurt her image somewhat. In fact, I’d say that’s a likely scenario since she’ll no doubt have plenty of enemies in the Seven Kingdoms once she arrives there, and they’ll want to hurt her and her campaign for the throne in any way they can.

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    46. Tori Targaryen,

      I kind of see her as someone who sees herself as a noble and good ruler. But she’s unprepared for the brutal decisions rulers need to make, and given her lack of experience sees things as a bit too black and white. Which can lead to some very”good” behaviour, and some very ” bad” behaviour. Example: “Slavery bad. Free slaves”. “Masters bad. Crucify Masters”. She couldn’t ask for better teachers in the subtleties of ruling than Varys and Tyrion. She’ll get better at it. Hopefully in time.

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    47. K Noelle,

      And I think it would be extremely boring. After all the shows in the recent years, I’m bored with antiheroes and good guys broken bad. I’m in the market for some straight up heroes now!

      Plus, we’ve already had a Broken Bad. Stannis.

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    48. Gravemaster,

      Sweet, thanks!
      …Meereen is going to be so weird. Like KL 2.0 in Season 2, and also in a holding pattern, except this time, we’re waiting for something else to happen.

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    49. Yaga: And I think it would be extremely boring. After all the shows in the recent years, I’m bored with antiheroes and good guys broken bad. I’m in the market for some straight up heroes now!
      Plus, we’ve already had a Broken Bad. Stannis.

      …as well as a Broken Bad Cersei. Isn’t one mad Queen enough for everybody? I was rather hoping that Cersei would become something of a good ruler. Obviously that didn’t work out well. To have the only other female ruler in the story also be shown to be unfit to rule would be quite annoying. Bad storytelling indeed.

      Dany has made mistakes, but at least her goals are the welfare of her people, and all her efforts inevitably come back to “goodness,” to beneficence. She at least wrestles with the problem. Cersei, on the other hand, has never cared for the welfare of anyone but Cersei – she sees her subjects starving, is disdainful of their plight and does nothing. She then has the gall to not only be jealous of, but to subvert all Margaery’s efforts to help them.

      No thank you, one crazed Queen is enough. I want to see some female in this story end up more right than wrong, more happy than sad, and more competent than not.
      Notice I didn’t go for full-bore happily ever after. Ha. Not in this story. I HAVE been paying attention.

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    50. To be on topic, I hope Tyrion and Varys do a great job of ruling in Dany’s name. I wonder if the hint that Varys would be leaving Meereen is true. Wouldn’t he love the chance to stay and actually be more directly in charge? From what I’ve read here, in the books he has other goals and activities afoot, but I’m thinking show-wise, maybe he will stay and hold down the fort with Tyrion.

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    51. Thronetender: I wonder if the hint that Varys would be leaving Meereen is true.

      It’s more of a hint, it seems. L7R saw the scene in which he leaves being filmed. Then again, we don’t know when in the season that takes place. Hopefully he’s in Meereen for at least a few episodes.

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    52. Yaga,

      They do seem to be treading the same water, with another Priestess preaching to the crowd (one of the comments points out she should be talking to slaves, not slavers, but Red God priestesses are equal opportunity evangelists, and if she’s anti-slavery she may be telling them they’re all going to die), and Varys saying goodbye instead of hello. It says he calls Tyrion “the most famous dwarf in the world.”

      I am sorry to see “Kill the Masters” again. It being in English is the most minor gripe, but it always takes me out of the world. So forcefully it says “Note from execs: more intelligible to all audiences.”

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    53. Firannion:
      The few references in the show to the effects of war on the smallfolk have struck me as woefully inadequate, and totally failed to set up a logical context for the precipitous rise of the Sparrows.So the introduction of famine into the Meereen storyline makes me hopeful that we might get a belated but badly needed dose of the realities of life for the vast majority of people in feudal times – not just the chicanery of the ruling class.

      THIS! I literally could not agree more. My husband doesn’t read the books and once asked me “So… other than whores, do they have non-wealthy people on this planet?”

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    54. I am really looking forward to the Meereen scenes this season. With Tyrion, Varys et all working on the Sons of the Harpy/Ghiscari nationalism front it should bring some much needed momentum in what feels like a one off story in the books and in the show.

      Regarding other aspects of the storyline, I have made comments about Stannis being Azor Ahai and through his sacrifice of Shireen which provides Melisandre with the necessary blood magic to revive Jon Snow aka “Lightbringer”. My logical and somewhat unoriginal theory aside, does anyone think that this emphasis on the Tower of Joy and the casting of Ser Arthur Dayne-I believe that we will have Dayne at the ToJ and not some analogue-and the mentioning of his character in season 4 is it possible that the Dayneites might have a victory over the R + L theorists?

      What if the the whole reason for showing the ToJ was to showcase the death of Ser Arthur Dayne? We know Ned maybe this Alfred Hunrith alias, what if Hunrith is the name that Ned took as a false name when investigating the whereabouts of his sister in Dorne? What if learning that Dayne may have Lyanna, Ned and his compatriots came to Starfall in disguise to pump the Daynes for information, which leads to the young romance of Ned and Ashara. So from Ashara, Ned is able to deduce where her brother is and tracks him to the ToJ. Dayne and his men guard Lyanna. Ned fights the kingsguard and with the help of Howland Reed kill Ser Arthur Dayne. What if Ned returns to Starfall with Dayne’s sword and waiting for him is Ashara who has just given birth to Jon Snow. But when Ned returns Arthur’s sword he reveals his true identity, and Ashara, full of grief and shame kills herself? In his honor Ned feels he must take Jon with him.

      I find this significant because it subverts the Lost Heir trope and fits the thematic of “cripples, bastards and broken things” and that Jon is lighbringer, the savior of Westeros because of the man he was raised to be as opposed to any royal lineage?

      Any thoughts?

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    55. Joshua Atreides,

      It would feel kinda out of nowhere if Ashara was his mother. People have no idea who the hell is she. Since 5 seasons of nothing, not even one word about her. They mentioned Arthur,because he will play a role later(in TOJ). Since Jon’s mother is a huge thing well you know. No build up to it like R+L=J. Last season with some hints pointing to R+L=J it looks show went into this territory and will explain to the fans.

      Ned is not his dad and it’s kinda clear.

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    56. This whole thread is interesting. It seems like all of us who have read the books are dying for some book magic! It’s a cool idea to give Ashara Dayne a storyline, but as we’ve seen with Arienne Martell , Coldhands & Lady Stoneheart & many more, the magic has been replaced with characters easier to understand who can just explain what’s happening. If they played out the God vs God theories, they’d have to spend more exposition episodes to explain the Gods. I think we’ll see more magic than we have so far, but we won’t see these great characters. As far as Ashara goes, also, it would be too much to introduce her with Ned and some affair. They’ve already hinted at the parentage with all of the talk about Lyanna and the crypts in Winterfell. Ashara should be there though, she IS the mid-wife who births Jon. Maybe they’ll bring her in to clear up all of the questions of r+l=j. But then, that takes that task from Bran. I think Ser Dayne’s battle with Ned & Howland will be pretty awesome.
      As far as Dany goes, she’s not going insane. Cercei will be the mad one. She’ll truly burn the city tongue ground as she promised to Tywin she’d do. Dany may get hardened, but isn’t that what this Meeranese red witch is there to do? To explain to the people that Dany isn’t a tyrant, but a good & benevolent Queen? .

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    57. Joshua Atreides: I find this significant because it subverts the Lost Heir trope

      That does not put a twist on any lost-heir cliches: it is just does something different (and arbitrary) altogether. Jon as Rhaegar’s bastard son is adequate alteration on the cliche as it is. Jon probably is not going to be recognized as Rhaegar’s heir, even if he did legally marry Lyanna. Now, it is quite possible that the Kingsguard thought that Jon was Rhaegar’s heir: why else would they be there if they were not guarding a King? (Remember, they would think that all of the other Targaryens were dead or about to be killed at this point.) However, convincing anybody else of that is going to be a tall order! (“A Tree God presented me with a vision! Than a watery tart lobbed me a sword and said ‘Thou art Jon Targaryen, King of the Westeros!'”)

      The literary significance of Jon’s parentage was something that the Dayneites and Wyallites never could answer. Really, the only conjecture that affects story and plot is R+L; nobody ever came up with a N+? scenario that had those sorts of effects. (It was usually defended with “Not everything has to be important to the story and/or the plot.” True. But everything this big does!)

      MrsBloodyRadio4: THIS! I literally could not agree more. My husband doesn’t read the books and once asked me “So… other than whores, do they have non-wealthy people on this planet?”

      He was not paying close attention, then! They certainly show plenty of them. They make quite the deal of the fact that the Night’s Watch is filled with the lower classes. And we see quite a bit more of the death & destruction wrought on the Riverlands than called for given its relative emphasis in the books, too.

      That written, it is notable that GRRM did not make any “lower class” characters protagonists, or even major secondary characters, at least in Westeros. The closest we get is Davos, but he is “new money.” Really, the most prominent “lower class” character is Varys: but he has long since become “new money,” too.

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    58. Did I spot Gendry in one of those pics, if so he’s either dyslexic when it comes to navigation or the current, then a slave ship captured him.

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    59. I am looking forward to seeing how so many things play out next season–I’m really excited! It is certainly different with the show being ahead of the books this time around.

      I can’t wait to see how Tyrion and company handle the Mereen problem child, compared to Dany. It will be interesting to see if he feels she is a good ruler in a bad situation, or a terrible ruler in a good one. I want to see how he handles the harpies.

      And everyone’s sentiments about waiting for April mirror my own–and we aren’t even half way there yet GAH!

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