What is plot armor and is it really a problem? – a video essay

jaimejaime

Within the Game of Thrones fandom, the term “plot armor” has popped up a time or two in discussions surrounding some of the less positively received action sequences of recent seasons. But is plot armor really the problem? In this video essay I take a look at scenes from Game of Thrones as well as Black Sails and Hemlock Grove to try to get at the heart of what makes an action sequence work … and the role plot armor plays (or doesn’t play) therein.

What do you think? And what are your favorite action sequences from television (Game of Thrones or otherwise)? Let us know below.

71 responses

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    1. Jon Snow in seasons 6 & 7.

      In Battle of the Bastards the Boltons archers pull a full stortrooper aim and their arrows hits all the red shirts from both armies but not the main hero.

      Ramsay Snow, Olympic gold medal in archery who got a clean shot on a running target a hundred meters, suffers the same syndrome when Jon faces him. Suddenly he can’t hit someone who is a couple of feet away and is protected by the tiniest shield on the field.

      Beyond the Wall. Jon should have died from hypothermia (so does Sansa and Theon back in season 6). He survives and somehow makes it to the wall.

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    2. I don’t particularly mind people commenting about plot armor but instances that some people incessantly complain about can get on my nerves. Pretty much every action movie/series has main characters living through things a person shouldn’t, and many of those times it isn’t a necessary incident, doesn’t change the outcome of the story nor really have any repercussions. It’s the nature of the media and something that should be expected. It’s entertainment.

      For GoT specifically viewers may have gotten the idea that main characters will die when they get in situations where they should. While that has happened, like every other show it’s not going to happen all the time. The thing is, not dying in an incident that seems impossible to live through and dying in situations that don’t seem likely are things that happen for real every day. How does one soldier out of six riding in a vehicle live after they drive over a landmine and it explodes? Is there a reason why that person lived or the rest died? How does a person slip and die from hitting their head on a something? In real life there isn’t a reason for or repercussions of many things so why does there always have to be for fictional entertainment?

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    3. Why is Jaime on the cover of the article about plot armor?

      Jon died and was raised from the dead. Can anyone have more plot armor than that? Jon is Captain Save Him!

      Plus as noted above, Jon should be dead a few times more. He fought a walker that should have immediately killed him – somehow white walker was good enough not to do so until he was able to grab his sword. Oberyn or Syrio could have done with a bit of all that luck.

      Plus Jaime needs his armor, he is a warrior that only has one hand…and with lots of living, leading and loving still to do!

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    4. Clob,

      Of course every show/movie has characters surviving things they shouldn’t. This, in itself, doesn’t invalidate a character, or makes him so plot armored that people don’t fear for him.

      But there’s a point where it does.
      I mean it’s easy to demonstrate;

      Let’s say there’s a scene where someone like Theon or Jaime are walking in some street, and 10 guys surround them, with the clear intention to kill them.
      What do you think? Welp, they’re probably dead.

      Now let’s say the same thing happens to Jon Snow or Brienne. What do you think? He/she will probably kill them all, or kill half of them and make an escape.
      The same thing happens to Tyrion. What do you think?
      Someone is gonna come in and save him.

      What do you think if Jon snow is on a battlefield with 1000 men running his way? Someone’s gonna save him(probably Dany).
      There could be A MILLION MEN and you would still not fear for Jon Snow. Because you always know someone’s gonna save him. And if they really wanted to kill him, it wouldn’t be a thousand nameless men butchering him, because that’s not heroic. He’d die saving someone, or taking a hundred men before dying against the big boss, or something like that.

      Plot armor isn’t just cheap writing, it also makes you not fear for the characters anymore, and that’s bad.

      Ned’s death told everyone “Anyone can die here. It’s a brutal world”.
      People kinda forgot after that, thinking well, it was just to show the world.
      Then the Red Wedding happened and reminded people again that yes, anyone can die!
      Then… No one died. Other than people no one cared about.

      Anyone can die… Unless the fans like them a lot.
      Lysa die, fine no one cares. The Dornish cast dies, hell that probably made people happy.

      If I see Jon Snow, Brienne, Tyrion, Daenerys, Arya in a perilous situation, I want to think “this is scary, are they gonna make it?”, not “I wonder how they’re gonna make it”, knowing full well that they’re not dying.

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    5. Why is Jamie in the picture. Jon is the poster boy for plot armor, he even died and was brought back to life. Not to mention the numerous times he should have died but was saved. This problem is only ever caused by his existence. He turned the show into a marvel movie.

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    6. aiad,

      GoT played a good game of “hide the real main character.” It made you THINK anyone could die, but the ones that did were just red herring main characters. And I think it did a pretty good job at it up until about season 6 and 7. Now in season 8, I will fear for every character. Anyone can die again because their stories are coming to an end. So not fearing for a few characters for 2 of 8 seasons isn’t bad considering most shows I don’t fear the deaths of main characters at all.

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    7. aiad:

      Anyone can die… Unless the fans like them a lot.
      Lysa die, fine no one cares. The Dornish cast dies, hell that probably made people happy.

      HEY…. everyone cared when Lysa died, dammit!

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    8. Eonwe:
      Jon Snow in seasons 6 & 7.

      Ramsay Snow, Olympic gold medal in archery who got a clean shot on a running target a hundred meters, suffers the same syndrome when Jon faces him. Suddenly he can’t hit someone who is a couple of feet away and is protected by the tiniest shield on the field.

      Beyond the Wall. Jon should have died from hypothermia (so does Sansa and Theon back in season 6). He survives and somehow makes it to the wall.

      I didn’t have much difficulty buying Ramsay not being able to hit Jon at such close range. Being trained for distance shooting wouldn’t necessarily translate well into the ability to hit a target that close up. He might have great distance vision but terrible astigmatism. I think we’re also supposed to believe that his cocksure attitude has been rattled, both by the rout by the Vale army and by the intensity of Jon’s rage over what Ramsay did to Sansa and to Rickon.

      As for the issue of hypothermia: Movies and TV always seem to give it short shrift as a factor in human mortality. Screenwriters might benefit from reading Jack London’s ‘To Build a Fire,’ one of the most dramatically powerful short stories ever written, despite having only one character for most of its length.

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    9. Thanks Petra. Interesting video essay, and I agree that plot armor can but does not have to be a problem. However, I am not as unsatisfied as you are with the Jaime and Jon Snow examples you provided.

      Jaime was saved by Bronn. When he survived the Loot Train battle, it seems to me that his experience fighting the Dothraki backed by a dragon leads him to the conclusion that the Lannisters are doomed. It seems to me that this realization helps him conclude that Cersei is insane for doublecrossing Jon and Daenerys. This leads him (along with his desire for reclaimed honor) to abandon Cersei in episode 7.

      Similarly, doesn’t Daenerys rescuing Jon help convince him that she deserves his allegiance (among other things)? And doesn’t Daenerys rescuing Jon reflect a change in her own attitude, suggesting that she can be “heroic” (in the sense that she is willing to risk everything to help others)? These all seem to meet your criteria for plot armor with a purpose, with consequences following an escape that was destined anyway.

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    10. Mango: Why is Jaime on the cover of the article about plot armor?

      Probably because plot armor got him out of harm’s way at the end of the “Loot Train” attack?

      The end of the episode showed him sinking to the bottom, only to be rescued out of nowhere by Bronn at the beginning of the next episode. Hell, even if he could’ve saved himself from drowning he should’ve been captured by Dany’s forces.

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    11. Mr Derp,
      Maybe I was less than clear with my post. I meant to point that there are much better candidates for “leading candidate for kept alive by plot” …..like Jon.

      Yes, Jaime’s water adventure was a bit of a stretch. But if the stream was moving quickly he would have been washed downstream to out if capture range plus Bronn could drag him in the direction of the flow and up. So watching generously – his actual armor is mostly hardened leather and a good body man – not plot.

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    12. Arya too has plot armour. Remember when she got stabbed multiple times by profesional killer The Waif?

      Remember how Talisa Stark died back in season 3? Got stabbed multiple times in the belly too.

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    13. Mango: Yes, Jaime’s water adventure was a bit of a stretch. But if the stream was moving quickly he would have been washed downstream to out if capture range plus Bronn could drag him in the direction of the flow and up.

      What bothered me about that scene was how Jaime could have toppled into water dozens of feet deep directly from a streambank, instead of there being a gradual dropoff. It wasn’t even the kind of rushing river that might arguably have gouged out a really deep bed against one bank – say, in a rocky gorge. It seemed like a fairly placidly moving stream, with soil verges. He should’ve fallen in water that was at best waist-deep. Even that could be problematic in plate armor, granted. But the underwater shots just seemed unbelievable. I swear, sometimes I think Hollywood is populated by folks who have never once set foot in the natural world (don’t get me started again on GoT’s wimpy excuse for snow).

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    14. Great discussion and video, Petra!

      Re: Jon Snow as the ultimate plot armored character – I do think that Jon’s apparent assassination (and apparent rebirth) will be meaningful to the story – in the books. I’d buy the idea that this part was compressed, oversimplified, and the point lost by B&W, making it look like simple plot armor. After all, they’ve given short shrift to the direwolves. Nobody has any visions or dreams. Only Bran seems to be a warg. Etc.

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    15. I have to echo what some people have said already. Why is Jamie the picture choice? Jon or Dany would have been much better.

      If anyone had any doubt that Jon has nuclear-resistant plot armor all one has to do is watch BotB or Beyond the Wall. So many ‘lucky Jon’ moments in BotB it’s downright comical. From the arrows landing around Jon and none hitting him to all the times someone comes riding up behind Jon outside his vision only for that person to be struck down just before reaching Jon (there are many). To Ramsey being turned into an idiot and wimp when that’s so not him. Ramsey plays dirty but decides not to shoot Jon while Jon is watching Wun Wun die. Then he shoots at Jon’s head 3 times instead of further down and then lets himself get pummeled by Jon without resistance. This is the same guy who had a blade in each hand, a blood splattered, naked upper body, jumping into the fray when Yara tried to save Theon. Nothing needs to be said about the Wall episode, everyone knows how stupid that was. I feel most sorry for Benjen-ex-machina though, poor guy always has to come in and save stupid Stark men when they just did something supremely stupid.

      Dany can always count on her dragon-ex-machina, unburnt-ex-machina or man-in-love-with-her-ex machina to save her.

      Most other characters had their plot armor moments (Arya stabbed by the waif, Jamie sinking into water, Sansa/Theon and cold water). And I guess that Cersei is still alive, period. But nothing compares to Jon (who literally survived death) or even Dany.

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    16. Just about everyone who’s still alive at this point has plot armor of some kind. Id actually be curious to know if there’s anyone left who hasn’t had plot armor at one point or another.

      Hot Pie?

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    17. Here’s the thing for me – I have been fairly sure that there were some characters who were going “all the way”, and when they were in potentially life-threatening situations I thought “I wonder how they get out of that?”, but wasn’t really worried.
      I did actually think Bronn was a gonner in The Spoils of War.
      I thought that The Hound was dead when he was defeated by Brienne.
      I was pretty sure that Arya was going to live even after being shanked in the guts, but I was worried for that week.
      In retrospect: plot armor.
      At the time: I was nervous.
      But with the final season every episode is going to be me clutching the arms of the sofa and muttering “not today, not today, not today”.

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    18. Eonwe:
      Arya too has plot armour. Remember when she got stabbed multiple times by profesional killer The Waif?

      Remember how Talisa Stark died back in season 3? Got stabbed multiple times in the belly too.

      My feeling about that one in particular, or any that may be similar, is that is wasn’t truly plot armor but a director going overboard to end the episode with viewers believing she could die (cliffhanger). I’m pretty sure very few truly thought that was the end of ASNAWP. It really wasn’t a situation or scenario where she should have died so a single stab in the side or a slice across the midsection would have sufficed.

      Yes, yes, one can say it was essentially the definition of plot armor. I just see that instance as something less than since it wasn’t really an impossible situation for survival, outside of the director’s cliffhanger. If the instance were written in the novel I wouldn’t expect it to say she was stabbed deeply in the gut three times, with a twist.

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    19. I think the complaints about plot armour mostly reflect the recent trend of big setpieces that are far more conventionally “Hollywood” than what people remember from previous seasons. Ultimately, of course, all characters have plot armour in that they have to live to fulfill whatever roles the writers have in mind for them — but you can either disguise that (as GRRM himself has said he tries to do in his (in)famous pitch letter) or really make it apparent.

      In a lot of stories this isn’t especially relevant, but GOT built a lot of its appeal on the idea that the action wasn’t weightless. Compare Jon’s struggle with the first wight he meets back in Season 1 to the way everybody now kills them by the score during the Wight Hunt (all the main characters, anyway; the redshirts are killed quickly and easily).

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    20. Great video.

      I do agree for the most part and think the general point is true, plot armor is not necessarily the problem its more having action pieces that are really there to create a cool set piece but lack any longer term impact on the character arc or the narrative.

      It is interesting to think about the specific examples.

      Arya being stabbed by the Waif is interesting. Technically that scene does have some consequences as Arya’s moment of dropping her guard leads to the death of Lady Crane. But that failure does not seem to have had any really impact on Arya as a character as it does not really impact her decision to reclaim her identity which was made in 806 or massacre House Frey.

      Jon’s failure at the BoTB main consequence is just that he fails again and is forced to decide whethet he is going to get back up to fail again or not which was his whole arc in Season 6. But not sure that is really enough.

      His ranging North of the Wall though has the biggest consequence of any in the story so far as that massacre is what ends up bringing down the wall. Remains to be seen how that will impact him as a character though.

      And I do agree on the field of fire sort of. The impact Jaime leaves with of knowing the Lannister cause is hopeless was really achieved in the overall battle and not necessarily tied to that moment of almost being bbq’ed by Drogon. Although he does mention to Cersei seeing Drogon hit by the arrow and it doing nothing is one reason why he thinks they are done and has no faith in the scorpion as a reason. So not sure we can say there is no narrative consequence at all, just that is might be too mild.

      On the Dany side I think that moment does help inform that her decision to go North of the Wall is a big risk she is taking as she and the dragons are clearly not invulnerable. She really is potentially risking her life and her cause in going to save the mission since we did see that dragon riding is very risky and dangerous.

      But although we can quibble a bit about what consequences some of those moments had, i think the general thrust is right. And it seems clear that something has been lost as the cast of characters has winnowed down to the essential ones.

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    21. JR,

      I understand your criticism on some of these points as not believable (eg, Ramsay not taking out Jon). But on your general point of BotB and Jon being saved, I always interpreted that as part of his greater destiny, and that there is some spiritual force preserving him for his role in the Great War. For me this was most evident in the arrows scene where they all miss Jon.

      House Monty,

      I think you make a very good point on the winnowing down of characters. The TV show was never the more sprawling epic of the books, and the rush to the end (and the lack of source material for seasons 6 to 8) means that the remaining characters have to have more plot armor. In the books, there will be more losses, I would guess.

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    22. Mango,

      It was a strong visual shot, used for the way it looked. The same type of shot used when Sam starts to drown at the end of Fellowship and Frodo pulls him out.

      If they had just shown Jamie in a bit of shallow water with Bronn doing the old stripped off life saving swim to shore.. it would be realistic but not good artistically.

      I have no problem with creative artistic licence being taken every now and again. I mean Ser Meryn Trant being stabbed 20 times and his eyes cut out.. but still able to moan and kneel up while Arya cuts his throat. Jon and co having a chain with the exact precision to be just long enough for the Wight to charge toward Cersei but not reach her.

      As much as GoT was the first mainstream TV show to kill seemingly important characters, there must come a time (Season 6 and 7) where the main characters come into focus and no-one would want a final season about Sansa and Cersei reconciling over the grief of Jamie, Jon and Arya dying.

      Now the story is reaching it’s conclusion, the gloves are back off.

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    23. Thanks, Petra, for a great video. Some very good points about plot armour and whether it’s good/bad or something in between, and why. In addition, the “production values” on this one were really good, and the way you present the whole is really pleasant to listen to.

      Also, now we know why no Ghost in S7 of GoT. He was moonlighting in Hemlock Grove.

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    24. talvikorppi: Also, now we know why no Ghost in S7 of GoT. He was moonlighting in Hemlock Grove.

      Ha! Last night My wife and I were watching Outlander. There’s a half dog/wolf in the show named Rollo that looks just like Ghost and we both looked at each other and said so that’s where Ghost went during season 7!

      Can’t wait to see him back in season 8, though, hopefully, it’s not just to kill him off quickly like they did with Summer. That scene still annoys me.

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    25. Firannion,

      Hockey analogy time!

      Same principle on range targeting works in hockey with a shooter vs a goalie. When the goalie comes out of the crease to “cut down the angle” he is effectively making himself bigger so he will get hit by the puck easier. Same thing happens as Jon is getting closer to Ramsey. The shield is increasing in size in relation to Ramsey (who stands his ground), effectively making hitting the shield easier but making it harder to hit surrounding objects like legs or a head.

      Poor Wun-Wun was not so fortunate though.

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    26. 1) For me, the argument in the video is undermined by the main example selected for GOT. I cannot comment on the other shows – never even heard of them before.

      2) It would have been a stronger discussion to focus on a character that survived numerous such “armor” events without any consequence that we can see so far. Surviving death is a very high armor and so far no consequences for Jon. It is almost comic to pick an example of a guy that fell into water in his real armor and was saved by a guy with no armor to make a point about plot armor. Look, see another guy that died and is now alive!!!

      3) I was also puzzled by the mention that he did not even though Jaime was nearly killed he failed abandon his armor which signified his allegiance to Cersei. Really? A warrior and a knight abandoning his uniform, army and family because he was nearly killed? Did I misunderstand that point?

      I never saw Jaime wearing Lannister armor as allegiance to Cersei. His father wore the same kit. And his uncle. And perhaps every male warrior in his family – one of the oldest in Westeros. Maybe his allegiance is to that – his heritage. Unfortunately for him, his house is being ruined by his sister (Cersei) and his brother (Tyrion).

      4) Further, Jaime has his own personal issue with the Targs. He killed the mad king for burning men. He suffered for his entire life for that decision. Then here comes the king’s daughter with her fire dragons burning men in front of him. I did not see his charge as only because of Cersei – he opposes the capture of Westeros by the same Targs that violated them before. Ned and Robert and the North have issues the Targs for similar reasons.

      5) Both Jon and Arya should at least have colostomy bags given their injuries. Or even regular tummy aches and digestive problems. That at least would be a minor consequence that would have allowed them to continue in the show.

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    27. Plot armor has always been pretty big in this story. But became ridiculously large ever since season 6. When the TV guys were left totally to their own with the story, they definitely Hollywooded it up so to speak.

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    28. orange,

      Jon is the major beneficiary. And it has de-graded GOT.

      Makes one fear that the end of the story in Season 8 will be “B movie grade” ending.

      There will be a mess – as I saw said on another thread.

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    29. House Monty,

      Arya being stabbed by the Waif is interesting. Technically that scene does have some consequences as Arya’s moment of dropping her guard leads to the death of Lady Crane. But that failure does not seem to have had any really impact on Arya as a character as it does not really impact her decision to reclaim her identity which was made in 806 or massacre House Frey.”

      ________
      As Clob explained at 8:03 pm last night, Arya “dropping her guard” like an oblivious idiot, and getting gutted worse than the dying farmer she and Sandor met and euthanized in S4, were all cheesy director’s decisions. He [the director, not Clob] has given interviews and admitted as much.

      It’s also why there seemed to be a lack of continuity from the vigilant Arya ensconced in her hideaway honing Needle at the end of the previous episode, to the carefree Arya
      strutting around Braavos in broad daylight, unarmed and unconcerned, even though she knew the FM wanted to whack her.

      Syrio and Sandor would’ve been so disappointed in Arya for ambling about without a sword, “watching but not seeing.”

      No worries. Mr. “Blurry Background” won’t be directing any S8 episodes.

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    30. JR: Ramsey being turned into an idiot and wimp when that’s so not him. Ramsey plays dirty but decides not to shoot Jon while Jon is watching Wun Wun die. Then he shoots at Jon’s head 3 times instead of further down and then lets himself get pummeled by Jon without resistance. This is the same guy who had a blade in each hand, a blood splattered, naked upper body, jumping into the fray when Yara tried to save Theon.

      See, for me as a book-reader, it was the blood-spattered Ramsay scene at the Dreadfort that was entirely out of character. Quailing before an enraged and battle-competent Jon is much more his speed.

      In the books, Ramsay is never shown as a brave warrior or even a feisty street-scrapper. He’s a bully and a coward who lets underlings do his fighting for him, except in situations where he is absolutely guaranteed to prevail. Hunting down unarmed women with a crossbow and a pack of dogs is his idea of a good fight. Since I never bought ‘bring it on’ Ramsay as canon (that whole Dreadfort attempted rescue scene was a misfire, in my view), seeing him lose his nerve with Jon at melee range seemed perfectly appropriate for his character.

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    31. Mango,

      “5) Both Jon and Arya should at least have colostomy bags given their injuries. Or even regular tummy aches and digestive problems. That at least would be a minor consequence that would have allowed them to continue in the show.”

      ——————
      Shamelessly ripping off Nora Ephron and Rob Reiner, let me just say that if Arya’s fatal sepsis infection from jumping into the crud-filled canal with an open wound and perforated abdominal cavity could be cured by Lady Crane’s soup….

      “I’ll have what she’s having.”

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    32. Viz,

      Reading your comment, it took me a while to realise you’re north American, so talking about ice hockey. European English speakers say “hockey” and mean field hockey, a game played on a large grassy field. (True northerners like the Nordic countries and Russia also play “bandy”, which is field hockey on ice, with skates.)

      Me, I’m a northener, ice hockey is our #1 professional sport, the only team sport we’ve ever won World Championships or Olympic medals in.

      And, yes, your explanation about the goalie, shutting out pucks/arrows makes a lot of sense.

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    33. 1) Something I really liked from D&D: The Sept explosion was the great character winnowing event. It shrunk the cast is a very nice manner and contributed to the storyline and character building. I really liked this from D&D. It worked to close out the Faith. It established Cersei’s control Westeros; gave Cersei’s revenge and to set up her face off with Daenerys who was crossing the water. It worked to drive a bigger wedge between Cersei and Jaime but without being the breaking point. It set up the enmity with Oleanna that would lead her alliance with Daenerys. Poor Tommen headed out the story head first. It closed out Lancel, Loras, Margery, Uncle, Mace, Pycelle – all the unnecessaries.

      Oddly many seem to think that blowing up the Sept was comparable to blowing up a city (a la Aerys.). Not really. The World Trade Centre blew up but NYC continued around it OK. Every big city has large buildings blown down by developers without harming the rest of the city.

      The issue with Cersei and the Sept is the level of casualties of innocents (due to the number inside the Sept.) that a leader is willing to stomach to take out a challenge to the state (the Faith). Cersei’s policy choice was brutal. I think D&D made an astute choice in making Jaime only ask her about Tommen – the only area in which he should assume shared authority. She is the sovereign not him. She decided and did it; he has to choose what topics to challenge on.

      2) My view is that consequence of Jon’s death is that he is a fire wight. He will not survive the story. My wild tinfoil (in direct opposition and inconsistent to my view on that same consequence!) is that Kit may be playing two roles, Jon Snow and either fAegon and Griff and that explains why he has his new name as Aegon. I cannot wait to see what happens in S8 – even if B grade.

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    34. Firannion,

      I have to thank you. Until just now I never knew “quailing” was a word. [I looked it up. The verb “quail” means to feel or show fear or apprehension.]

      Learning new words: Reason #87 for spending time reading WoW comments instead of doing compensable work.

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    35. Mr Derp: Ha!Last night My wife and I were watching Outlander. There’s a half dog/wolf in the show named Rollo that looks just like Ghost and we both looked at each other and said so that’s where Ghost went during season 7!

      Can’t wait to see him back in season 8, though, hopefully, it’s not just to kill him off quickly like they did with Summer.That scene still annoys me.

      It seems the “Ghost” canine actor has been busy. Good on him, to build his career in new shows/movies as he knows his tenure as GoT’s Ghost is coming to an end.

      Yes, and I hope Ghost will have a role – as opposed to be some set dressing – in S8. I don’t think he’ll survive, definitely not if Jon dies (again). Even if Jon survives… He’s a Targ, and the new world order after the “Not-quite-so-long-but-awfully-severe-Night” may have no place for “magic”, such as dragons or mystically bonded and warged direwolf familiars. We’ll see.

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    36. Ten Bears: Shamelessly ripping off Nora Ephron and Rob Reiner, ….

      “I’ll have what she’s having.”

      Wasn’t that line ad-libbed by Rob Reiner’s mother? I’m sure I’ve read that somewhere. One does not stay married to Carl Reiner for decades without being able to hold one’s own in the being-funny department, presumably.

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    37. Mango: The Sept explosion was the great character winnowing event… It closed out Lancel, Loras, Margery, Uncle, Mace, Pycelle – all the unnecessaries.

      Has anyone even tried to explain how or why Jaime would have had no objection to Cersei sacrificing Uncle Kevan – by then the patriarch of House Lannister – as collateral damage in the Sept explosion? They’re supposed to be all about preserving their family’s interests and legacy. I can sort of understand Cersei wanting to take over the #1 spot, but surely Jaime would not have regarded Kevan as expendable.

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    38. Ten Bears:
      Firannion,

      I have to thank you. Until just now I never knew “quailing” was a word. [I looked it up. The verb “quail” means to feel or show fear or apprehension.]

      Learning new words: Reason #87 for spending time reading WoW comments instead of doing compensable work.

      My pleasure. It’s a good word. When I read it, I always picture the character sort of contracting physically, like a startled game bird trying to make itself less conspicuous amidst the grass or underbrush.

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    39. Firannion,

      Excellent question – I wondered too. If he had left Cersei at that point – I think the argument would have been both about driving Tommen to surprise suicide and killing Kevan.

      However, by then Tyrion had killed Tywin. If later in the story Jaime was going to make peace with Tyrion despite killing the great patriarch, it would have weird to throw a tantrum and leave sister over Kevan. And Jaime did take out his cousin when he was still nihilist and jaded.

      But you can see Jaime’s irritation with Cersei more and more after these events. He is with her out of loyalty to his house and family and love (sibling love mostly and the effort to save a bad marriage after he knows he loves another woman) but he is struggling to honour his commitments

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    40. Mango,

      The Sept of Baelor stunt should have the entire of Westeros taking up arms against Cersei. It was a cheap way of D&D to move forward and reduce the cast.

      Maegor´s burned with Balerion the previous sept of KL. And the faith militant kept warring against him.

      Five (or six) dragons were killed when KL people rioted against Rhaenyra.

      You only have to see the blood spilled over Jerusalem throught centuries.

      The High Sparrow was raised over the atrocities commited in the War of the Five Kings. Cersei´s commiting another atrocity against the faith should have scalated the situation.

      It was pulled out of necessity to focused on a lesser cast and lest plotlines but still felt cheap and undermining.

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    41. Eonwe,

      Yes, I see what you mean.

      D&D may one day speak about their trade-offs. However, they only have the GOT show world reality to concern themselves with. So Sept it is! It saved them a lot of time and explanations for all those characters.

      GRRM in his book has other realities to think about given the precedents he has established. D&D will finish their series even though we can see cracks. GRRM will need to find ways to trim his story and cast if he is ever to finish the book.

      The entire GOT does not say much about what the citizens actually think about their leadership. We can fill that in any way we wish, I suppose.

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    42. Eonwe:
      Jon Snow in seasons 6 & 7.

      In Battle of the Bastards the Boltons archers pull a full stortrooper aim and their arrows hits all the red shirts from both armies but not the main hero.

      Ramsay Snow, Olympic gold medal in archery who got a clean shot on a running target a hundred meters, suffers the same syndrome when Jon faces him. Suddenly he can’t hit someone who is a couple of feet away and is protected by the tiniest shield on the field.

      Beyond the Wall. Jon should have died from hypothermia (so does Sansa and Theon back in season 6). He survives and somehow makes it to the wall.

      ^^^^This!

      Also the final (at least I assume it is if we are getting the trailer this year) teaser has dropped today, has everyone seen it?

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    43. kathy:
      Vanity Fair seems to confirm that Jon/Dany/Tyrion has replaced Jon/Arya/Tyrion from the original outline.Season 7 script reading confirms Tyrion is indeed in love with Dany as well as Jon being in love with her.

      https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2018/12/game-of-thrones-scripts-secrets-cersei-pregnancy-tyrion-daenerys-snow-on-the-throne

      Oh wow this is interesting! I never doubted for a moment Cersei was pregnant but I am confused as to why Tyrion would love Dany, they haven’t known each other that long and they hardly have a relationship to speak of which would justify such feelings.

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    44. aiad: I don’t particularly mind people commenting about plot armor but instances that some people incessantly complain about can get on my nerves. Pretty much every action movie/series has main characters living through things a person shouldn’t, and many of those times it isn’t a necessary incident, doesn’t change the outcome of the story nor really have any repercussions. It’s the nature of the media and something that should be expected. It’s entertainment.

      Agree with a lot of that but Hodor and Shireen were exceptions I’d say.

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    45. Eonwe,

      The entire Westeros didn’t take up arms against the Mad King. Cersei’s only allies were the Reach, minus the Tyrells, and half the Ironborn. The Mad King had many more Houses join him.

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    46. Jon Snowed: I am confused as to why Tyrion would love Dany, they haven’t known each other that long and they hardly have a relationship to speak of which would justify such feelings.

      I wonder if “love” is really the best way to describe it. Tyrion has been terribly wounded and disillusioned and is looking desperately (though he’d be reluctant to admit it) for something that he can believe in. There’s this seemingly indestructible kernel of idealism underlying his cynical exterior that needs something to latch onto, knowing that he is fated by his dwarfism never to be allowed to lead on his own. He finds Dany worthy of his admiration and has hopes that she can rule more justly and wisely than any of Westeros’ previous options. He also responds to her physical beauty, like most men in her orbit. But I think that the hero-worship and the carnal desire are two parallel impulses.

      If he ends up sacrificing himself for Dany, I don’t think it will be quite the same thing as Jorah doing so. It’ll be more on principle than a matter of obsession. I also see a path for Tyrion to love someone else, in a more well-rounded and mutual way, after the war, should he survive. I still wouldn’t rule out Sansa reassessing him as husband material, after what she has been through.

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    47. Young Dragon,

      Four great Houses against the mad King. The Westerlands stood aside until Rhaegar’s death. Balón and his brothers wanted to join the Rebellion but Quellon took the same approach as Tywin. Doran didn’t send troops until the very end and that was done because Ellia was a hostage.

      Even the Tyrells didn’t fully commit to Aerys. After the battle of Ashford, instead of pursuing Robert Mace turned east and spent an entire year sitting outside Storm’s End.
      At Maiden pool the small folk hide Robert from Jon Connington which gave the cavalry of the rebels enough time to arrive and attack the Royal army by the rear.

      So I would say that more than half Westeros was against Aerys.

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    48. David A:

      I understand your criticism on some of these points as not believable (eg, Ramsay not taking out Jon).But on your general point of BotB and Jon being saved, I always interpreted that as part of his greater destiny, and that there is some spiritual force preserving him for his role in the Great War.For me this was most evident in the arrows scene where they all miss Jon.

      I don’t interpret it that way. Largely because I’m not giving D&D an easy out. If it was supposed to be about his greater destiny, his death should have been handled differently. There was no point to it, him coming back changed nothing. And since there was no greater point to his death or rebirth, it’s simply plot armor and not a higher power.

      Firannion: See, for me as a book-reader, it was the blood-spattered Ramsay scene at the Dreadfort that was entirely out of character. Quailing before an enraged and battle-competent Jon is much more his speed.

      I don’t care about the books. This is the show, it’s different. So I go by what I’ve seen in the show. Ramsey was written completely OOC for the sake of Jon surviving despite his utter stupidity.

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    49. Eonwe,

      Houses in the Vale, Stormlands, and Riverlands joined Aerys as well, so 3 of the 4 main Houses weren’t at full strength. In the show, Dorne, half the Ironborn, and the Tyrells opposed Cersei, the Stormlands, Crownlands, Riverlands, North, and Vale stayed out of it for various reasons, though the North and Vale eventually joined Danerys, so more than half of Westeros opposed Cersei as well.

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    50. Young Dragon,

      The rebels in both the Vale and Stormlands were quickly crushed by Jon Arryn and Robert. The storm lords rebels would later join Robert.

      As for the Riverlands. The Mootoons and Darrys were the only ones that sided with Aerys.

      The Blackfyres never gathered such support. Neither did Aegon II or Rhaenyra.

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    51. Firannion,

      I think you may be right about the ad-libbing.
      Anyway, for anyone who didn’t get the reference to the line “I’ll have what she’s having” in my 12/6/18, 12:46 pm comment about Lady Crane’s soup, here’s the clip from “When Harry Met Sally” (script by Nora Ephron, directed by Rob Reiner): Deli scene with Sally (Meg Ryan) and Harry (Billy Crystal):

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    52. That’s the thing to me, it’s hard to find love, most of us will only do it a few times in our life. I felt Tyrion loved Shae, I feel he loves Jamie but I see no reason or chemistry with Dany. Now he may be attracted to her (she’s a good looking woman of course) but that should not equate to love and I far rather suspect it will lead to jealousy rather than sacrifice if that’s the case. Dany has clearly given him a purpose after what went down with Shae/Tywin but it feels like a huge leap to suggest he loves her. I also feel Tyrion has some level of conflict when it comes to Dany, he didn’t feel comfortable at all seeing the Lannisters slaughtered by Dany and he has reservations about a possible mad queen outcome. This makes me feel that the Tyrion & Dany relationship is at least fractious.

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    53. Mr Derp,

      Except no one could have rescued him from the fast-moving currents of the Blckwater Race which was sadly depicted on the show as a shallow, slow-moving stream until the very end.

      The best thing to so would have been to open the next episode with Bronn’s daredevil rescue from both the dragon and the fast and deep watercourse.

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    54. Firannion,

      I was curious about that line (“I’ll have what she’s having”) and came across a fascinating interview – well, more like a discussion – between Nora Ephron and Rob Reiner about the collaborative process in general and that scene in particular. It turns out that Billy Crystal came up with that line, and Rob Reiner suggested his mother could deliver it.

      I’ll see if I can find the link to the video. It’s not long, and it’s worth watching, if for nothing else than to hear about the origin of the premise of the movie.

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    55. Firannion,

      Here’s the Nora Ephron & Rob Reiner discussion.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q5-j7K8Mbzk

      If you don’t want to watch the whole thing…

      3:00 – 3:25 premise – what men and women really think

      7:22 – 8:24 Ordering food

      8:44 Rob Reiner asked Nora Ephron: “Tell me something about women I don’t know”

      10:50 Billy Crystal came up with “the line” during a read through

      10:50 – 13:00 The deli scene

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