Principal Game of Thrones Photographer Helen Sloan on Difficult & Nude Scenes

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The last few months have graced us with an avalanche of Game of Thrones season seven promotional pictures — a first look back in April, a heroine-based release, and more, and more, and even more. We have rather quickly drifted away from being starved for season seven content to feeling —happily— overwhelmed by the sheer amount of it. And there is someone behind the camera we should thank for this. Many shows have photographers on staff, but there is absolutely no doubt the principal stills photographer for Game of Thrones is the most hard-working of them all — the incredible Helen Sloan.

Recently, Sloan was interviewed about her job on the HBO show, and it is a wonderful look at how crazy her day-to-day looks like, as well as the difficulties this strange job entails. She also touches on her lack of involvement in the many (in)famous nude scenes.

Wex Photographic got ahold of the Irish photographer to ask her all about her Game of Thrones job, starting with her prior knowledge about the series, or lack thereof:

“I didn’t really know anything about GoT, other than it was a very successful series of books that my brother had read! It was sold to me as ‘swords and horses and stuff – right up your street, really nerdy and cool at the same time.’ That gave me a chuckle.”

“As we started filming, I made a decision to not read the books,” she explains. “I wanted to be current, in the moment with the scripts. I felt that if I read ahead and discovered that a character ‘went bad’ then I wouldn’t shoot them correctly for the series we were in at that time – I felt it was important to not know too much, or too far ahead.”

Helen Sloan. Photo by: Olly Butler

Helen Sloan in Iceland. Photo: Olly Butler

Whatever Sloan might have expected, the actual experience of the job can only be described as chaotic, going by her explanation of how “there is no ‘normal’ on a film set”:

“One day we are exploding ice walls, the next day we are in a brothel… It’s different every day,” Sloan elaborates. “And that’s fantastic because the excitement of seeing something new every day really helps you forget the early mornings and late nights!”

If you want a closer look at what a “normal” day is for Helen Sloan, she is more than happy to provide — and it’s a pretty crazy itinerary, so it will be reproduced in full here:

“In the morning I will pack the equipment into the car and drive to the location or the studio. There I’ll load the gear into my little specially modified cart with 12″ all-terrain wheels for getting through Irish ditches and rivers of fake blood on battlefields! We shoot a continuous day with no break. I’ll cover scenes and also BTS (behind the scenes material), and maybe do some specials in my photo studio. After we finish shooting, the gear has to be cleaned and loaded back into the car. But the day doesn’t stop there for the stills department. I have to edit and grade the images, and potentially do a bit of retouching. Every image then needs to be meta-tagged with all the pertinent information like scene numbers and any cast or crew that are in the image. The photos are then uploaded to the server, and I do a triple backup. Then I make sure everything is ready for the next day and read the call sheet. Repeat, repeat, repeat!”

The "Battle of the Bastards", captured by Helen Sloan

The “Battle of the Bastards”, captured by Helen Sloan.

Aside from the schedules, the greatest difficulties appear with the elaborate sequences: “The biggest challenges come with the huge battle scenes. What you cannot see in the show is the 30-strong camera, sound, stunt, ADs and SFX teams all scrambling behind the camera lens, following the action as it plays out across the set. Everyone’s trying desperately to read the crew around them, so that they can carry out their task without disrupting, distracting or falling over anyone else.” And there is little room for error: “The pressure to get the shots under these conditions is immense, for the entire crew. Sometimes we can only do things once. And if you didn’t get it? You didn’t get it.”

“It’s hard to explain this bizarre dance to anyone who hasn’t visited a film set. In the midst of it, my job is to capture this crazy circus, as well as the scene in front of us.”

Incidentally, Helen Sloan may find herself right at home in this “crazy circus”: quite unexpectedly, after working for a few newspapers, her professional break came via an actual circus: “I met some circus performers in a pub and they asked me to come and take photos for them,” she reveals. “So really, my background in film photography started with the circus, and circus theater, and it just went from there. Someone phoned someone, who phoned someone else, and I ended up working in the movies.”

Sloan has found herself in the craziest circus of them all, but there are still some limitations, such as her lack of involvement in nude scenes. And there’s a good reason: “There isn’t really a reason for me to shoot [nude scenes]; it wouldn’t normally be something we use to publicize the show. Anything else, I’m free to photograph!”

Portrait of Gwendoline Christie as Brienne of Tarth. Photo: Helen Sloan.

Iconic portrait of Gwendoline Christie as Brienne of Tarth with Oathkeeper, by Helen Sloan. Christie wrote she would “always love” this photograph and “be grateful” to Sloan for it.

At the end of the interview, Sloan reveals what her “dream shoot” would look like — and her wish is an absolutely lovely idea that we should all promote to make it happen:

“My dream shoot would be to gather together the entire cast and crew of Game Of Thrones, every character living or dead in the show in costume, every crew member who’s ever worked on the show, and I’d have a giant photo of the thousands of people that came together to make this thing that is GoT. It would be impossible, but in a parallel universe, I’d love to be able to organize that somehow. Maybe I should pitch it.”

I don’t know about you guys, but I need to see that beautifully impossible thing happen —all of Game of Thrones captured in a single photograph. Who is with me?!

125 responses

Jump to (and Always Support) the Bottom

    1. Everyone in one shot? YES PLEASE 🙂 I’ve actually wondered about it myself and having NO CLUE of the logistics and would it be actually possible? I can wish though. It would be awesome apples to put it mildly.

      Thanks VERY much for the article. I appreciate it 🙂

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    2. Ugh,seriously media ? Even after 7 seasons your biggest obssession about the shows are still the nude scenes,like when will you grow up already,the show barely even features sex scenes like they did in the first seasons but that’s still the biggest thing they ask about because of the hunger for clicks .

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    3. They should’ve done it in season 1 and again season 2 to have this photograph for all cast and crew, cause let’s face it, Sean Bean is busy as is and well season 2 would have Stannis, Davos etc who were introduced. Would love to have it happen but doubt it

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    4. “Exploding ice walls”??? Mmmmmm isn’t that a spoiler for the new season??!! I can’t imagine what else she’d be talking about….

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    5. I love that she chose not to read the books so her photos can be “current in the moment.” Something I never would have thought about with a photographer.

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    6. Luka Nieto,

      Ok,sorry,i thought it was the usual media flack . BTW i was talking about the website that interviewed her not this website,i don’t know what’s up with your hostility .

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    7. haha all cast and crew? past and current? in one single shot? it’d ve been my computer’s desktop background for a whole year….sadly, it’s not gonna be possible! Even if it’s possible to gather them all, the camera would have to be so far away from them in order to capture everybody thereby rendering everyone’s face unrecognizable. i’d love it, regardless.

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    8. Gucci Robert,

      I think “exploding” is too big a word to be used for a small chunk of ice breaking off from a wall. OR maybe that’s just me seeking a semantic backing 😀

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    9. Article Title: Principal GoT Photographer on Nude Scenes

      Actual Comment by Principal GoT Photographer: I’m not involved.

      That’s hilarious. Yahoo would be proud! 🙂

        Quote  Reply

    10. Hodors Bastard,

      The paragraph before the cut makes her lack of involvement clear, so I wouldn’t call it clickbait, if that’s what you’re implying. I just found it interesting, especially the reason for it, which may be obvious in retrospect but I hadn’t thought about it. That’s why it’s in the title.

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    11. Gucci Robert:
      David Robertson,

      Maybe she was talking about Watchers on the Wall,i seem to remember there was some ice breaking in that episode .

      Maaaybe but all I remember of ice breaking is the part with the scythe at the end. I can’t imagine why she would say exploding for something like that as I’m pretty sure that was all CGI. Or maybe she was talking about The Climb? I dunno, I think she really let a spoiler slip. I guess we’ll find out soon enough.

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    12. Wolfish,
      Luka Nieto,
      lol
      Well, the headline worked. I actually thought the story was interesting but I couldn’t help giving Luka a hard time about the title. I think he can handle it. 😉
      Next up!
      Title: GRRM Completing TWoW
      GRRM Comment: Yes, I finished a few more pages last month

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    13. Jack Bauer 24:
      After the Throne has been canceled. It will now air on Twitter.

      Aw too bad. I actually liked that (one of the few I guess – host had the same ultranerd sense of humor as me).

      I thought the bit in the last episode where they had Dany on Tinder for who to marry in Westeros was spot on. 😀

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    14. Nolan already teased the Westworld S2 premiere title and they haven’t even started filming yet. We’re 4 weeks from the GoT S7 premiere and still no episode title yet lol.

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    15. Jack Bauer 24,

      We should have a first title soon enough. Last year the first title came two weeks and a half before the premiere. The second and third titles arrived a week before the season premiere, too. So we should get a title by the end of the month, which may coincide with Con of Thrones 😉

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    16. To be honest even a group photo with all the current alive cast would be awesome, we don’t really get group cast photos like other shows. The closest thing is probably the bunch of heads last season lol The other closest thing was the Stark family photo and the other photoshoot that had Dany, Jon, Tyrion, Cersei and Jamie a few seasons ago.

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    17. HotPinkLipstick,

      Yup. “After the Thrones” sucked big time. The two hosts are great print journalists – but their eloquence didn’t translate to TV. Plus, too many obscure basketball references and way too many factual mistakes.
      The show DID have a fabulous part-time contributor, Mallory Rubin (?) [I think that’s her name.] She was enthusiastic AND knowledgeable: a real fan. One of her functions was also to correct the hosts’ numerous misstatements – which tells you something.
      Look, I try not to be an armchair critic, but if you’re going to host a GoT discussion show on HBO, you should at least be as dedicated as the fans.
      It’s really a shame. A good after-episode show would enhance the viewing experience.
      And you know what? The WoW staff would’ve been the perfect pool of talent for a GoT discussion panel TV show. Even the folks at Game of Owns could’ve made guest appearances.
      Rant over. But now I want a WoW TV show. 🤔

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    18. Vally,

      The “hard shadows” on Brienne’s face and her somber look could mean:

      (A) She’s finally realizing that just like her boyfriend Jaime, she is a kingslayer – and guilty of treason. The “honorable” Brienne of F*cking Tarth had to know her dear Renly had no claim to the throne, and yet she murdered the One True King all because Renly danced with her at a party.
      As Olenna explained about Renly in S3e2:

      “He knew how to dress and smile and somehow this gave him the notion he was fit to be king.”
      ***
      “It was treason, I warned them. Robert has two sons and Renly has an older brother. How could he possibly have any claim to that ugly iron chair?”

      (And let’s not forget that Brienne selfishly abandoned her “solemn oath” to help Catelyn’s daughter Sansa in order to assassinate Stannis, missing Sansa’s candle signal.)

      (B) Brienne attacked and grievously wounded Arya’s guardian, against Arya’s wishes… and then concealed what happened from Sansa (only mentioning that Arya was with “a man” and they didn’t want to leave each other). A mere moments after pledging herself to Sansa and vowing to keep her counsel, Brienne withheld critical information about Sansa’s missing little sister, and instead engaged in trivial banter about Arya’s fashion choices. (The very first thing Brienne should’ve said, after revealing that Sansa’s savior Sandor was “the man” with Arya, was that she knew the identity and location of a reliable witness, a friend of Arya’s who had been with her from the moment she escaped the capitol until they parted ways about 2 years later at the inn: Hot Pie had given Brienne good intell to begin with, and could’ve given valuable leads to her current whereabouts, eg, other acquaintances she’d made like Sexy Jesus from Braavos.)

      Oathbreaker…Kingslayer… Jaime & Brienne, two peas in the same pod.

      (C) Brienne is feeling guilty for failing to turn over Oathkeeper to the Warrior of Light, who needs it now that cold winds are rising in the north. HE is on his way there to try to save mankind. She’s not.
      [to be cont.]

      Okay, let the pushback begin….🙈

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    19. Ten Bears,

      I agree with you 110%. I can’t stand Brienne on the show.

      Let’s not forget how she is basically responsible for Sansa lying to Jon about LF and the Vale army. In Season 6 Episode 5, she basically tells Sansa not to trust him (for no discernible reason whatsoever). Plus she acts like she’s so devoted to Sansa when she straight up abandoned her to her fate in order to exact revenge.

      Her actions in Seasons 5 & 6 are unforgivable.

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    20. Ten Bears: Oathbreaker…Kingslayer… Jaime & Brienne, two peas in the same pod.

      Speaking of “hard shadows”, you need to read Brienne’s chapters in AFfC…a journey through Dante’s levels of post-war Westeros. Oathkeeping indeed.

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    21. Ten Bears,

      Corrected paragraph (C) above

      Brienne could and should be ashamed to be walking around with the mutilated remnants of the Stark family ancestral VS sword. The first thing she should’ve done is to strip off the Lannister gold hilt and lion pommel, and maybe sell the gold to feed some war orphans. Then she should’ve restored it to its rightful owners.
      Tywin Lannister brazenly stole Ice from the Starks when his vicious idiot incest bastard grandson wrongfully executed the Stark patriarch. Neither Tywin nor Jaime had any right to that sword.
      Even if Brienne used that sword to fulfill Jaime’s oath to Catelyn, why on earth did she try to give it back to Jaime at Riverrun? I don’t care if there were romantic undertones when he told her “it’s yours; it will always be yours.” It was not his to give or hers to keep.
      IF she felt she’d fulfilled her oath (never mind that Arya’s still out there somewhere after Brienne acted like a “dumb bitch” in trying to kidnap her), then there was no excuse for giving the Stark’s VS back to the Lannisters. The very first thing she should’ve done was to return it to WF, either to Jon Snow or Sansa Stark. Isn’t it kind of tacky to be strolling around in the North with a visual reminder of the Lannisters’ decimation of House Stark? Shame! 🔔 Shame! 🔔 Shame! 🔔 Shame on you Lady Brienne.
      At least Ned Stark was respectful enough to return Dawn to House Dayne after killing Arthur Dayne. He didn’t say to himself, “I think I’ll tear off the shooting star logo and put a wolf head on it; it’ll look really cool on my conference room wall.”

      Maniacal rant Part II over.

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    22. Hodors Bastard,

      You mean the one who claimed to be able to be bad at lip-reading but making a very good points at r/gameofthrones? I think it had like 6k likes.

      Question is whether Jon will ever use this name.

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    23. Geralt of Rivia: Question is whether Jon will ever use this name.

      Who’s gonna tell him and how will they convince him (and others)? For relevance, I wonder how much “pre-Mad King” will be divulged on the show? Or is it just a name?

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    24. Ten Bears,

      WOW.. Umm, is HBO airing two Game of Thrones with slight and major differences?

      I’ve often wondered if I’m watching a different GoT series lol.

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    25. Ten Bears,

      The first thing she should’ve done is to strip off the Lannister gold hilt and lion pommel, and maybe sell the gold to feed some war orphans.

      Then she should’ve restored it to its rightful owners.

      Maybe she didn’t do that because it’s just a dumb sword and Catelyn and Ned would rather Brienne protect the girls with it than to mutilate it and render it useless to make some stupid symbolic point.

      Also your Stark bias is showing. Your house name does not define how honorably you act – that’s your choice to make. Sansa (and Jon) don’t give a flying hoot what spirit animal is on that hilt. What matters is who wields it. Brienne is Sansas SWORD. So wielding Ice in the form of Oathkeeper in that role is beyond appropriate.

      Also wait. One true king? You can’t mean Stannis. I’m dying. Aren’t you a show watcher only?? Holy buckets that is too funny.

      (And as to your other point she wanted to be Aryas sword as well but badly misread the situation – as did the hound for that matter – though neither totally irrationally).

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    26. Ten Bears:
      Vally,

      she murdered the One True King all because Renly danced with her at a party.As Olenna explained about Renly in S3e2:

      “He knew how to dress and smile and somehow this gave him the notion he was fit to be king.”***
      “It was treason, I warned them. Robert has two sons and Renly has an older brother. How could he possibly have any claim to that ugly iron chair?

      Olenna should be the last one to complain
      It’s funny that Renly becoming King was put forth by Loras Tyrell grandson of olenna tyrell ..

      And I wonder why someone who hates that damn ugly chair or how KL smells keeps marrying her granddaughter to everyone attached to that chair even with someone like Renly whose claim is questioned and being a sword swallower through and through..

      One true king ..lol
      How to put this clearly if stannis had acted as a dutiful brother as he claims and Lord he could have saved his King’s and brother life ..he could also saved the life of Ned Stark. of course then he wouldn’t have been one true king .

      But Renly was there with Robert ..the moment Robert dies Renly want Ned to take over and keep cersei and her children in custody.. He didn’t wanted to take throne straightaway..

      Ned refuses to do it and loses his head. .then only then Renly crowns himself..
      While all this happens Stannis ran Away because Robert chose ned as Hand and didn’t respond to Ned or anyone else messages..so how can renly follow a brother who ran Away and didnt answer to their calls ..

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    27. Ten Bears,

      Oh piffle and falderall.

      Catelyn flat out gave Brienne the ok to keep her oath to ‘avenge’ Renly should the occasion arise. And it did.

      That candle plot was weird from the get go and pretty moot by then. Brienne and Pod had no knowledge of the workings of Winterfell, what were they going to do, knock on the door and ask to see her? They’d pretty much all end up dead. Plus, It did make rather more sense, for both Theon and Sansa, for Theon to be the one to save her and both get out of there.

      For all we know, Pod told Brienne at some point, “Hey, you know that big dude you offed? Funny story, He saved Sansa from an angry mob back in King’s Landing. Irony, hey?” And Brienne went “Oh bloody hell” and figured that may not be the best thing to tell Sansa.

      Nah, Brienne’s alright. More heart than head a lot of the time, but she isn’t malicious. She does need to stop oathing things though and go open up a training school for misunderstood youth. Maybe take a holiday.

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    28. Vally:
      Pigeon,

      Gwen looks very lovely, but why the hard shadows on her face, though? Is that supposed mean something?

      I don’t think so, I just thought it shows a nice contrast in light for the wonderful detailing of the costume, pommel, her determined expression, eyelashes…. 😜

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    29. Geralt of Rivia,

      Interesting. I am a bit surprised that this information would be be openly given out in this way, so maybe this is just a guess by the author? The other interesting tidbit is that apparently Jim Broadbent

      plays Archmaester Marwyn and not Ebrose as previously thought

      , unless this is a mistake too.

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    30. Ten Bears and Markus Stark,

      I’m really glad I’m not the only one who hates the Brienne vs. Hound fight. As I’ve repeatedly written, I do love the show, but it has its faults… the worst being when it veers so far from the books that the characters don’t behave the way they logically ought to. I love Brienne in the books and love Gwendoline Christie’s portrayal of her, so these are stumbles I’ve never wrapped my head around… both the fight and her failure to tell Sansa with whom Arya was traveling, which was a very un-Brienne thing to do (she’s so direct, ffs; why wouldn’t she tell Sansa?).

      /end rant

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    31. Geralt of Rivia,

      Yeah, a big spoiler (for geeks like us, anyway; most people won’t care.) I’m surprised they were allowed to print that… if they aren’t just guessing, that is. They also identify Broadbent as Marwyn, which is the popular theory but, for those who followed all the news, wrong. So… who knows. Either way, I don’t think we can post the scan as an article, as that’s not strictly speaking legal.

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    32. I hope they handle this whole thing with jon parentage more sensible and believable manner ..

      I would expect citadel to be the last place to have any evidence of Jon being true born..
      Even though he is true born they need to make sure it explained right and the evidence and proof being undeniable …just a piece of paper won’t do it …
      Howland reed can be used for this instead of this Sam discovering and the whole scene being a montage to them having sex ..
      But I think I will hold my judgement till the show airs..

      Iam amazed his name as become such a talking problem ..
      His name should be the least of problems and D&D are making it as a problem with unnecessary changes ..having him named Aegon only going to confuse the audience and the reason it will confuse the audience and aegon will be more easy is not acceptable at all..they should stop treating the viewers stupid ..naming him Aegon isn’t going to make him like aegon the conqueror or more of a targaryen than him being jahaerys or aemon or whatever…he is going to stay Jon snow

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    33. Ten Bears,

      Funny, I never thought Brienne abandoned her oath for the sole purpose of avenging Renly. I do realize that would have been on her mind, but Winterfell was under attack. Had Stannis won, what would *he* have done with Sansa? Brienne had no way of knowing, and she is certainly no great strategist. I don’t hold those actions against her.

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    34. Wolfish,

      I don’t blame Brienne for her actions either. But I was a bit disappointed that she faced no consequences for her choice. This show is all about making hard decisions and facing the consequences of those decisions. Which didn’t happen with Brienne. Not only did she successfully avenge Renly, but also somehow managed to find Sansa in those woods right on time to save her. A bit too superhero imo.

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    35. ghost of winterfell,

      I completely agree. I repeat: I love the character in the books and I love Christie’s portrayal of her. I do believe, however, that this is one of the instances where D&D have stumbled in the adaptation. She’s too perfect (and with perfect timing), and some of her actions (especially in regards to the Hound) are illogical.

      And Dorne. Yeah, Dorne and Brienne vs. Hound are my biggest complaints about the adaptation. There are others, but these are the biggies.

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    36. leaks

      The Empire article got Broadbent’s role wrong, so I’d say Jaeherys (lol I can’t even spell it) is a guess from them. That redditor’s theory from the summer went viral and a lot of news outlets picked it up. If Jon’s name was Jaeherys, maybe D&D wouldn’t have cut Jaeherys II from the Targ family tree. George would have told them.

      I still believe that Jon’s name is Aegon like lads said. And I want it to be that way for the lols (and I want D&D to say that GRRM told them lmao). That’s what fans get for worshiping and woobifying Rhaegar so much.

      Geralt of Rivia,

      He might use it since

      his name is the only thing he has from his mother. She was the one who named him on the show. But it depends if circumstances require him to do so too. Privately, he’ll always be known as Jon to his friends and family.

      dragonbringer,

      leaks

      That is why the piece of paper is at the Citadel, which is a respectable institution. I too hope we’ll see Howland and the nurses from the tower, but I am not surprised there’s some written record of the marriage and possibly birth. The show might simplify things to just Sam and Bran though.

      And you also don’t know if GRRM chose the name Aegon too. Aegon died in the sack of KL prior to Jon’s birth, so Lyanna could have chosen whatever name she wanted and not because it makes Jon like Aegon the Conqueror. You can make theories based on the book that Jon’s name is either Aemon or Aegon tbh.

      Also, if Rhaegar believed in prophecy, he could have changed his mind and decided his kid with Lyanna was TPTWP and given him a name “fit for a king”, which makes R a douchebag. But he always has been a douche and fans simply refuse to see it. Maybe now they’ll wake up.

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    37. ghost of winterfell,

      Yes the fact that it’s so openly given makes me think it’s a guess passed as some exclusive scoop. Flop journalism at its finest.

      I want his name to be Aegon for the lols and drama in the fandom at this point.
      I deserve to be entertained lol

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    38. Flayed Potatoes,

      A respectful institution which played a part in the downfall of Targs and dragons…they have erased all the records about what really happened at Summerhall..
      As of TwoIaf there is only a torn piece of paper that is survived while majority of that incident report is damaged ..
      I would have imagined its a bigger threat to have a information about the surviving male heir of targs lying at the citadel amidst the grey ships ..

      It would be first in story telling that someone actually knowingly influenced a prophecy to happen from kidnapping a girl to produce a son with her and also name him aegon ..So that his son is worthy of that status

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    39. Wolfish:
      Ten Bears,

      Had Stannis won, what would *he* have done with Sansa?

      Yet, according to Littlefinger (and Sansa was written to believed him) Stannis would have just handed over Winterfell to Sansa… that was the entire purpose for her being there, according to the show. Littlefinger thought Stannis would win and Sansa being there would be able to claim Winterfell as the last true Stark… their entire plan relied on Stannis winning. I mean what was Sansa to do if Stannis lost? Just stay married, they really didn’t discuss any alternate plans.

      I have so many problems with how they wrote Sansa into this plot. I completely understand why they wanted to, but I wish they had been able to rationalize and write it in a more believable way.

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    40. dragonbringer,

      putting spoiler tags just in case

      It’s a respected and old institution. For casual fans (the majority), it will be enough. Show doesn’t even mention Summerhall, so what problem you have with maesters won’t get addressed. GRRM will give a more in depth account I assume.

      I would imagine that as well, but this is the show.

      I don’t understand your last paragraph.

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    41. Queenofthrones,

      Can I apologize for going overboard earlier? I do like Brienne’s character and Gwendoline Christie. And of course I love the show, and wish I could write at length about the 99 things it does fabulously for each perceived misfire.
      I remain perplexed though about Brienne’s “a man” story to . Pos knew Sansa waa acquainted with Sandor; and after telling Sansa that Arya and the “man” didn’t want to leave each other, why omit the part where she started a fight with him anyway, and that she knocked him off a cliff to his presumed death?
      I just thought when you take a “sworn shield” oath, you’re supposed to be candid wth your liege lord/lady.
      As for Renly, he did not have a legitimate claim to the throne, whether you’re on Team Incest Baatards or Team Baratheon. The rules of succession were established early on in the show; just because Renly could win a popularity contest didn’t qualify him as a claimant. I am not a “Mannis” fanatic, but Stannis was in fact the one true king, and Renly committed treason in trying to leapfrog him. So I question why Brienne would disregard the established rules of succession, and declare that Renly was the rightful king.

      And about the sword… You’re right. It’s inconsequential. Tywin’s the one who pinched it, and he’s gone to the great privy in the sky.

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    42. Pigeon,

      Ten Bears,

      To me Brienne is far from perfect but that’s the case for every character it’s what makes them interesting, Also Brienne hasn’t been knighted so she technically isn’t bound by any rules or guidelines of a actual knight. Before she promised herself to Catelyn’s service she made sure Catelyn would never interfere or try to stop her avenging Renly so she broke no vows or promises in that case. Cat even knew avenging Renly would come first.

      About the swords, Jon already has a valyrian steel, Arya is a assassin so she can’t use large swords that’s why she has needle and from the EW cover a Valyrian dagger which technically is Littlefingers not hers. Neither Bran nor Sansa can fight with swords so giving them two halves of Ice would be pointless and they are gonna need all capable sword fighters using Valyrian steel against the WW when that time comes. Besides Brienne fights on behalf of Sansa.
      If valyrian steel was owned by the family that was meant to own it then Jon would give Longclaw to Jorah and wield Oathkeeper or Widow’s Wail instead, but I do not see that happening, Longclaw will always be Jon’s now. if Jorah gets a valyrian steel it would probably be Heartsbane which belongs to the Tarly’s but Sam isn’t a sword fighter so he couldn’t wield it. Also if Dark Sister was found the only person who should wield it is Dany but again she isn’t a sword fighter so if someone wielded it on her behalf it would have to be either Jorah or Grey Worm.
      Considering normal steel won’t hurt WW it less important which family should have which sword and instead the best sword fighters should all wield Valyrian steel swords as they will be able to do the most damage with them no matter who they are.

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    43. Flayed Potatoes,

      Never mind the last paragraph ..

      If only GrRM finished this series or at least cover these things in WOW..

      Its not just my problem ..Marwyn said as much to Sam in the feast ..

      I don’t believe Rhaegar annulled his marriage and kept his other son and daughter aside to name Jon his rightful heir …
      This is another example of show’s dumbing down the story to just reach the plot point of show ..
      It only raises questions like who was that maester who had this info written down …was he with Rhaegar..why there was no mention someone like this so far in the story..why instead of making this known to the world so it could have stopped end war and decimation of Targs but ended only on a piece of paper that Sam could discover ..

      I hope the show can answer some of this but we know it won’t happen

      viki,

      And LF went to cersei and got the permission to Take knights of Vale to north to finish whoever survives the showdown between stannis and Bolton’s..

      I too understand whythey wrote sansa into northern arc but the way they went about it is what iam not a fan of ..

      Infact that’s why I believe analysing the character decisions or actions from season 5 or from children episode is a waste of time because its obvious the show only cares about getting to one point from another and doesn’t care about how they get it as long as they do get it to the end..
      It happens with all the characters of the show ..

        Quote  Reply

    44. Hodors Bastard,

      Leaks.

      Bran and Sam will put it together. Jon will trust his half brother/cousin and his best friend.

      Luka Nieto,

      Understand. I’ve found it it on tumblr and twitter and it would be very surprising that HBO would allow this to be published. Unless it’s some sort of a misdirection for us fans. Empire did a few interviews with the cast during press junket.

      ghost of winterfell,

      Also saying that Jaime is Cersei’s Hand and we know Qyburn is. At least he crowned Cersei and had a pin on is costume.

        Quote  Reply

    45. Ahh,more Jon and Dany fangirlsm from the usual suspects Flayed Potatoes and dragonbinger,you can’t have an article without one of them shitting on their other favorite character,in subtle ways of course .

        Quote  Reply

    46. dragonbringer,

      He has a secret Targaryen name for a reason and will use it in the future. You can bet on that. Whether we want him or not, Jon was never a Stark. He had dreams about it and Kings of Winter being hostile towards him and being Jon Snow. He might earn things this way, but if he’s to rule, it won’t be as Jon Snow, Stark or Targaryen. It will be with his real name his parents intended to gave him.

      Flayed Potatoes,

      I can see him using his real name and be known to his friends as Jon. Aegon V was known as Egg, but oficially Aegon Targaryen V. For all intends and purposes, he might have to use his real name.

      Leaks.

      I know you would love to see him being named Aegon and we had a debate on this. In my opinio he already had a son with this name, it’s already pretty bad that he had an annulment regarding his marriage to Elia Martell. That is prety ruthless and making his son and daughter bastards.

        Quote  Reply

    47. Flayed Potatoes,

      They are probably not wrong about jims role, and for SURE not wrong about this “new” name for the KITN. wirite this name on YouTube,n the first video you can hear the name lyanna speak is close to that. And i prefer this one, lads name was too comum.

        Quote  Reply

    48. Ten Bears,

      In the books Brienne points out that the true king was Aerys Targaryen, but he was overthrown. Stannis’s own claim comes from someone who took the throne by right of conquest, which was Renly’s intention. Basically, rights of inheritance have gone out of the window.
      Plus, Brienne herself is her father’s heir yet she shuns this role. I think to her, that when it comes to ruling, the role should go to whoever is better for the job as opposed to the one who was born to it, as she knows first hand that being born to a role doesn’t it make you suitable for it.

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    49. Yeah I don’t buy that article.I mean I am fine with any of the three names passed around.But where did they get their info??They don’t attribute it to Isaac so I think it’s just their assumption.Plus they got some other info wrong in it.

      dragonbringer,

      You are focusing on the wrong issue.The show doesn’t care about the finer details.The important thing they need to convey is that Jon is the legitimate son of Rhaegar and Lyanna and has a Targaryen name.That’s it.The viewers don’t care about Rhaegar or his intentions cause they don’t know him.The easiest way to convey this is through annulment and showing the marriage which is also under the seven cause that is the visual most people have already.And they actually say that the high septon married them and they recorded it in the library.Why the maesters didn’t say anything?Maybe cause after Rhaegar died and Ned took Jon they saw it was a lost cause and Robert was de facto king with the support of most houses?Who knows?Will it be the same in the books?Probably not.He probably used polygamy but that would be too much hassle for the show.Have they even mentioned it before?Anyway the end result will be same.The name is also used with this logic.Can it be Aegon?Yeah why not?It’s an already established Targ name in the show and like not even 2% of show watcher will know he already had a son named Aegon.I mean Jon will always be Jon to us and most of the characters.It’s not known yet how his parentage and real name will be used.It remains to be seen.I mean if the books are ever published we will know the full story but I’m not holding my breath unfortunately.The show won’t focus on the details of RR because it doesn’t matter now or because they simply don’t know.I doubt George gave every detail when he maybe doesn’t have it all figured out yet.

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    50. Ten Bears,

      Here in UK we have Thronecast straight after. It is presented by Sue Perkins and Jamie East who is a big fan and has various celebs on who are also big fans ie Jonathan Ross who can be described as a mega fan also cast members. Ones who spring to mind are Miltos Yerolemou (Syrio Forel) and Ian Beattie (Meryn Trant) and many more. It’s a good laugh and full of backstage gossip. Fingers crossed it’s back this series.

        Quote  Reply

    51. ghost of winterfell,

      Ummmmm….. True!!!! However, the series is not over yet 🙂 I do agree, Brienne arc has become somewhat of a hit and miss on paper however, this reverts back to the forced 8 seasons of GoT. I’ve not read the books however, I’m pretty confident the word depth is apt. The juggle is the t.v series is an “adaptation” and that’s fine, but, trying to “marry” the books and t.v series in 8 short (I bet those working on it would not say short) will ALWAYS lead to broken/lost arc’s. I am terrified S7 and S8 will all but skip over arcs that have been building up. S1 – S5 was brilliant with minimal complaints personally. It’s all about plan + execution and as GoT is exceptionally in depth plan and execution must be (A) Seamless and (B) Carried out with the precision of a micro surgeon.

        Quote  Reply

    52. Gucci Robert,

      Wtf? Dragonbringer and I aren’t fangirling/fanboying about anyone. We’re just discussing how the show might adapt certain things or not. You seem pretty obsessed with our comments. You remind me of another user who was here not long ago. hmmm

      dragonbringer,

      I think any questions you have can only be answered in the books. The show will give a very simplified version of events to get to the same point.

        Quote  Reply

    53. Geralt of Rivia,

      I’m petty and I live for drama so you know I want that name 😛 Bonus points if D&D say “when George told us” in the Inside the Episode clip lol

      On a more serious note though, I want people to see Rhaegar for what he truly was and stop idealizing him. The victims/casualties in this affair are Elia, her kids, Rickard and Brandon.

      I also don’t know

      why everyone assumes Rhaegar named Jon. He died months before Jon was even born. For all we know, Lyanna could have picked the name.

      Aguero,

      Looking at the way Lyanna’s lips moved I saw “Ae-” and possibly a “g” after that. I guess we’ll have to wait. 🙂

        Quote  Reply

    54. Flayed Potatoes,

      I love it so much when they say when they say George told us in the videos.Watching the fandom explode is the best.The drama of that being the name is too entertaining to pass up lol.

        Quote  Reply

    55. Jenny,

      A little weird that you get off on people being spoiled for the books, but whatever floats your boat I guess.

      Objectively, it isn’t cool of them to say what is or isn’t from the upcoming books. I understand why they do it, but they shouldn’t. Show some respect to GRRM who created all of this and let his books be as surprising as they can be if/when they come out.

        Quote  Reply

    56. Markus Stark,

      I don’t get off on anything regarding this show lol.I don’t like it because it spoils the books but it just amuses me that people overreact so much to their headcanons being wrong.I guess people can skip the inside the episode stuff if they don’t want to be spoiled.I think they do it because they want to give credit where credit is due.This reminds me of that third twist coming up at the end of the story.I hope it’s as good as the Hodor one.I mean I don’t know if it will be that shocking cause D&D said the first one was Shireen burning and I always figured that would happen reading the books.But as long as it is good it doesn’t matter how shocking it is.

        Quote  Reply

    57. Aguero,

      I don’t see why not …if they are going to make them good guys then so be it ..but until that we only have books knowledge about them and iam going to base my speculation based on that ..

      Flayed Potatoes,

      Then it means we will never get the answer for those things. .

      Jenny,

      Its ok if they show simplified version ..I understand their struggles and difficulties as you see I only mentioned they would do that in a more believable way

        Quote  Reply

    58. Gucci Robert:
      Ahh,more Jon and Dany fangirlsm from the usual suspects Flayed Potatoes and dragonbinger,you can’t have an article without one of them shitting on their other favorite character,in subtle ways of course .

      Gucci Robert,

      We also can’t seem to have an article without you spitting out venom at people. You seem to peruse these message boards for the specific purpose of criticizing people rather than contributing to the conversation. Take an anger management class dude.

        Quote  Reply

    59. dragonbringer,

      Yeah I get you.We all want all the details.I’m fascinated with how all that went down.But the show just needs to get the point across.And I think this is a believable enough way to do it.High septons perform marriages that’s already established.Kings can get annulments if they want.The audience is familiar with that concept from real history.The citadel is too obsessed with bureaucracy.We established that.In a time of war a detail like that can be lost in a book.Jon has a known Targ name.And they can do it in five minutes.That’s it.If we want to justify in canon we can say Lyanna named him that after she found out his brother died etc.

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    60. Ten Bears:
      Queenofthrones,
      Can I apologize for going overboard earlier? I do like Brienne’s character and Gwendoline Christie. And of course I love the show, and wish I could write at length about the 99 things it does fabulously for each perceived misfire.

      Haha no worries mate and no need to apologize. I actually like how Brienne is flawed in many ways and f’s up majorly on several occasions. I only reacted strongly to the concept I felt you were forwarding that she’s somehow acting with malicious intent.

      I remain perplexed though about Brienne’s “a man” story to . Pos knew Sansa waa acquainted with Sandor; and after telling Sansa that Arya and the “man” didn’t want to leave each other, why omit the part where she started a fight with him anyway, and that she knocked him off a cliff to his presumed death?

      There’s a bunch of possibilities. The strongest one being meta: the show runners didn’t want Sansa to know that piece of information (that the Hound was there), while also recognizing that it would be completely silly if Brienne didn’t mention Arya to her.

      In-universe… maybe Brienne didn’t know that Sansa even knew who the Hound was (she led a pretty insular life prior to meeting Cat).

      I just thought when you take a “sworn shield” oath, you’re supposed to be candid wth your liege lord/lady.As for Renly, he did not have a legitimate claim to the throne, whether you’re on Team Incest Baatards or Team Baratheon.

      Smaller houses in Westeros make their oaths to their liege lords first and foremost – yes perhaps there is also an oath to the king made when they first succeed from their parents, but that’s going to be a 1 time thing and they’ll likely never see that person, whereas the relationship with the liege lord is from cradle to grave and impacts all aspects of life.

      Saying that Brienne (by way of her father) should have ignored their Liege lord oath to Renly, Lord of Storm’s End in favor of an oath they never made to someone calling themselves “King” on Dragonstone, somewhere they have never been and someone they’ve probably never met, is a bit silly IMO. And I’d argue it’s like being mad at Northern houses that stayed loyal to the Starks rather than obeying orders from King’s Landing. Who’s more honorable, Lady Mormont or Lord Umber? House Tarth and Lady Mormont made the same choice (liege over throne).

      The rules of succession were established early on in the show; just because Renly could win a popularity contest didn’t qualify him as a claimant. I am not a “Mannis” fanatic, but Stannis was in fact the one true king, and Renly committed treason in trying to leapfrog him. So I question why Brienne would disregard the established rules of succession, and declare that Renly was the rightful king.

      I’d say this series has a lot to say about what “rightful” means. Indeed rules of succession may favor Stannis but “no one wants [him] for their king”. Which is what matters in the end. As long as you’ve got some King’s blood you have a claim, and with an army then you can get the throne. Ultimately, the person who ends up on the throne in the end will retroactively declare themselves rightful and everyone else usurper.

      I think Brienne had a point in that Renly was in many ways more deserving of the right to rule Westeros than was Stannis. Brienne knew him to be a good person, a caring person – someone who would try to do what was right. She didn’t know Stannis, and if both have the blood of the king in their veins (not to mention Targaryen blood as well), why should it matter who was born first? I see her point on it and I don’t think that the rules of succession are followed really all that often (except in times of political stability).

      BTW, did you know that Brienne and her father are apparently of Targaryen decent as well? Which means that the Tarths and Baratheons are 2nd or 3rd cousins via their respective Targaryen grand(mothers)… Queen Brienne for the IT lol!

      And about the sword… You’re right. It’s inconsequential. Tywin’s the one who pinched it, and he’s gone to the great privy in the sky.

      *TWANG* *THUNK* *PBLBBT* . 😉

        Quote  Reply

    61. Markus Stark,

      We can agree on that.

      Flayed Potatoes,

      People do idolize Rhaegar but Brandon’s death is on him. Who thought it was a good idea to come to King’s Landing and demand Rhaegar to come and die? Prince, heir to the iron throne. Aerys II or any other King would have killed that man on the spot. Brandon should’ve just demand the truth and what will Aerys gonna do about it.

      I am pretty sure when D&D do talk about George told us, still Hodor’s death will look a lot different or Shireen. It will happen but in a different context. Same as Jon’s name, he might have a real Targaryen name in the books but not Aegon.

      Rhaegar must have had some names in his mind for a son or a daughter. Instruct Lyanna in any case what should be the name for their child.

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    62. QueenofThrones: BTW, did you know that Brienne and her father are apparently of Targaryen decent as well?

      Hah! What a grand idea!
      I’ll hedge my bets on that!
      I’m sworn to secrecy though!
      Such a mystery indeed!
      😉

      Geralt of Rivia,
      Nothing surprising about that. Very interested in the “how” though.

        Quote  Reply

    63. QueenofThrones,

      You mean they are descended from Dunk or did I miss something ..

      Jenny,

      The thing that doesn’t work for me in this case is that its not something that happened hundreds of years ago but before 15 years or so ..
      I certainly do want to see who puts that detail in the book and how that knowledge was kept unknown till now. .
      I wouldn’t be surprised if marwyn and rhaegar kept contacts then it would mean he put it in a book .
      But I guess we just have to deal with show doing it their way..let’s wait and see how it actually happens in the show because iam believer that most of details is still missing or incorrect and there is more we will know which will surprise us..

      Ten Bears,

      I feel you all those rage was because brienne kicked Sandor’s ass right..

      Regarding the issue with renly …as queen of thrones pointed out her liege Lord comes first ..its all very serious conandrums who should one serve and follow..

      But on the point of renly …you have to remember that the characters in the story doesn’t have the same information like we readers and watchers have ..

      Renly did have a claim he was on the fifth place after Robert ,joffery tommen and myrcella and stannis ..
      He doesn’t know about incest he just decides to press the claim ahead of joffery and tommen ..stannis is not present at all in the picture why should he care about him when stannis didn’t..

        Quote  Reply

    64. Hodors Bastard: Hah! What a grand idea!
      I’ll hedge my bets on that!
      I’m sworn to secrecy though!
      Such a mystery indeed!
      😉

      Hehe well it certainly seems like a certain knight got around doesn’t it… maybe even with dragon princesses!?

      Or technically those could be two different “marrying in” events… but this theory is way more interesting I’ll warrant. 🙂

        Quote  Reply

    65. dragonbringer:
      QueenofThrones,

      You mean they are descended from Dunk or did I miss something ..

      tWOIAF p 232 “Tarths boast of blood-ties to the Durradons, Baratheons and more recently the Targaryens.”

      Recently implies probably a grandmother or maybe great-grandmother of Selwyn was Targaryen.

      Total speculation but (as Hodor’s Bastard was I think implying), it is possible that a Tarth married a daughter of Dunk and one of Egg’s sisters (presumably before Dunk joined KG). Or, these two things could be unrelated.

        Quote  Reply

    66. Flayed Potatoes,

      Yeah I thought Lyanna’s lips formed “Ae” in the beginning as well, but I couldn’t make out a “g”. I have always wanted him to be named Aemon, but Aegon seems more likely I guess

      dragonbringer,

      It was mentioned in passing in twoiaf book that the Tarths have blood ties to Targayens, which would make Brienne a Targ descendent. I think the common speculation is that one of Egg’s sisters was married to the Lord of Tarth.

        Quote  Reply

    67. Jenny,

      I agree that people’s reactions are ridiculous. People cling to their theories and head-canons as if their lives depended on it.

      And yeah, I’m also really curious about that third twist. I have a feeling it’s going to be very surprising, but like you said, the most important thing is for it to be satisfying.

        Quote  Reply

    68. Carole H:
      Ten Bears,

      Here in UK we have Thronecast straight after.It is presented by Sue Perkins and Jamie East who is a big fan and has various celebs on who are also big fans ie Jonathan Ross who can be described as a mega fan also cast members. Ones who spring to mind are Miltos Yerolemou (Syrio Forel) and Ian Beattie (Meryn Trant) and many more.It’s a good laugh and full of backstage gossip.Fingers crossed it’s back this series.

      I quite enjoy Thronecast and especially when they bring on cast members, but it makes me cringe when they invite Jonathan Ross as a guest onto the show. He may be a ‘Mega Fan’, but to me he’s an overpaid and arrogant moron, full of his own piss and importance and often coming out with wise cracks and condescending remarks on Thronecast which he thinks are funny – To me they are puerile 🙁

      I’m surprised Ross still has a job as a presenter after the ‘Andrew Sachs’ answerphone prank back in 2008. Ross along with that other pretentious prick Russell Brand should have been hung out to dry and neither allowed to work in the media industry again. Their practical joke ruined the life of actor Andrew Sachs for the rest of his life who sadly passed away last year.

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    69. Of course my comments get deleted,of course,fine,you know what fuck this website,i’m actually done for good,i can’t stand this fucking nazi moderating anymore,i only defended myself,i said nothing insulting and yet i still get deleted,fine if i want to read GOT news i will just use reddit or the other sites,Wotw is dead to me .

        Quote  Reply

    70. Gucci Robert: Of course my comments get deleted……..i can’t stand this fucking nazi moderating anymore

      Not one time in the life of this site (or the previous version) have I had a comment deleted due to moderating or any other reason. Perhaps one should consider if it’s one’s own fault… hmmMM

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    71. viki,

      Agreed. The, um, fluidity when it comes to inheritance drives me crazy. My understanding has always been that only in Dorne were women explicitly allowed to inherit titles. UUUGGGHHH… Must. Not. Dwell. On. Vexatious. Shite.

        Quote  Reply

    72. Ten Bears,

      Huh, I usually agree with your posts, this time? Not so much. My 2 cents

      I don’t know why she kept silent about the Hound. It didn’t make sense to me either, but we have no idea what her motivation would have been for that, and somehow thought that info wasn’t helpful to Sansa.

      Encouraging her not to trust Jon is probably based on what she knows of other men. She doesn’t know him, granted she should have kept her counsel, but I think she was trying to protect Sansa and not look at the big picture (which she did not know)

      Re Killing Stannis – she had no idea he was a prince of whatever. All she knew was that she was sworn to Renly and she performed her duty. And yes she missed the candle, because she swore and oath, and when she did see it, she didn’t waist any time going to her aid

      Re Keeping the sword – when Jaime gave it to her, he told her it was made from Starks, but that she should keep her oath to Catelyn by using Neds sword to protect the girls. That, and the reason why she has Lannister gold, isn’t easy to explain quickly to people who no nothing that happened previously. I think the mistake was not asking the Hound and Arya to Castle Black with her. Including him might have helped things or maybe not

      Lost track of the other concerns (need to back and reread) Biggest issue I think is not knowing her motivations, and assuming many decisions were with good intentions (yes yes I know what that leads to) 🙂

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    73. Queenofthrones: Maybe she didn’t do that because it’s just a dumb sword and Catelyn and Ned would rather Brienne protect the girls with it than to mutilate it and render it useless to make some stupid symbolic point.

      Also your Stark bias is showing. Your house name does not define how honorably you act – that’s your choice to make. Sansa (and Jon) don’t give a flying hoot what spirit animal is on that hilt. What matters is who wields it. Brienne is Sansas SWORD. So wielding Ice in the form of Oathkeeper in that role is beyond appropriate.

      Also wait. One true king? You can’t mean Stannis. I’m dying. Aren’t you a show watcher only?? Holy buckets that is too funny.

      (And as to your other point she wanted to be Aryas sword as well but badly misread the situation – as did the hound for that matter – though neither totally irrationally).

      Yes, this. You said it much better than I did.

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    74. ghost of winterfell,

      N

      ot only did she successfully avenge Renly, but also somehow managed to find Sansa in those woods right on time to save her. A bit too superhero imo

      Yeah, I did wonder about that – did the candle blink in morse code, did T and S just happen to be on the road Brienne was traveling on? Or was she getting some clues from somewhere. I’ll agree that is faulty writing.

        Quote  Reply

    75. Wolfish,

      do believe, however, that this is one of the instances where D&;D have stumbled in the adaptation. She’s too perfect (and with perfect timing), and some of her actions (especially in regards to the Hound) are illogical.

      Yeah I’d add the Arya and Waifs injury and chase through the town. But we’ve talked about that at length. In general I think D&;D and the writers have done a really good job with the adaptation, but mistakes certainly have been made.

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    76. Markus Stark,

      Eh? What are you talking about?

      In S06E05 when Sansa questions whether Jon is the reason she feels uncomfortable leaving her alone at Castle Black, Brienne says, “Not him. He seems trustworthy“.

      And she even questions why Sansa lied to him (which she had already done, before Brienne said anything about him) if she trusts him, as she claimed.

      Your suggestion that Brienne encouraged Sansa to distrust Jon is pure fiction.

        Quote  Reply

    77. Ten Bears,

      A. Stannis was a murderer. Rightful heir to the throne or not, he committed murder. Brienne executed him for that crime, to which he admitted and even encouraged her to carry out the sentence.

      B. The Hound was equally culpable for their fight. They’re two stubborn mules, neither of whom considered the other trustworthy. The Hound was first to reach for his sword and partly draw it, and was first to swing his sword once they had both drawn.

      And anyway, Brienne won the fight. If Arya hadn’t chosen to run away then Brienne could have taken over The Hound’s role as protector. The Hound even told Arya to go with Brienne. Surely Arya bears some responsibility too.

      As for not telling Sansa about The Hound, perhaps she didn’t want to alarm Sansa, considering that The Hound was among those who held her hostage at King’s Landing.

      Or perhaps the writers just didn’t want to complicate the scene by bringing up The Hound, which would have required further questioning. I’d bet on the latter. It’s a case of poor writing, in my opinion.

      C. I agree with your criticism of Brienne’s attempt to hand Oathkeeper back to Jaime. That was terrible writing. I don’t know what they were thinking there, other than to give Jaime and Brienne another tender moment. Weak.

      As for what she does with Oathkeeper now, do we know that she hasn’t changed the pommel or that she doesn’t intend to bequeath the sword to House Stark upon her death? Once her oath to defend Sansa and Arya is complete.

      She’s Sansa’s sworn sword. Arya’s too if she wants her service. There’s no point handing over the sword when she still has need for it. It is effectively in the possession of House Stark already.

        Quote  Reply

    78. Wolfish:
      viki,

      Agreed. The, um, fluidity when it comes to inheritance drives me crazy. My understanding has always been that only in Dorne were women explicitly allowed to inherit titles. UUUGGGHHH… Must. Not. Dwell. On. Vexatious. Shite.

      I mean if you’re genuinely curious it seems to be the case that outside of Dorne women inherit when they don’t have brothers to inherit. E.g. Brienne is her fathers heir.

      The difference in Dorne is women inherit equally with men. A girl is the heir if she is the eldest child, even if she has younger brothers.

      There’s almost no culture anywhere where women 100% can never inherit titles. It’s just going to end up getting messy fast since a lot of families only have girls simply due to chance…

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    79. Carole H:
      Black Raven,

      Oh yes quite agree aboutJR, not my cup of tea at all.

      Good to know that! IMHO, Jonathan Ross is a despicable character along with a few other UK chat show presenters and so called comedians who take pleasure in making derogatory comments and flaming people in the acting/music business.

      Perhaps its just my age, but I find this ‘modern day’ chat show humour not at all funny and surprised the broadcasting networks even allow this sort behavior to be aired 🙁

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    80. Queenofthrones,

      Totally understood. My own point is that the writing doesn’t make clear what the advantage to having Sansa claim Winterfell would have been (for Stannis, that is). Winterfell has always passed from son to son; if it passes to Sansa, who subsequently marries and has a son, he won’t be a Stark. And then what? It’s the lack of clarity that drives me crazy sometimes.

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    81. Flayed Potatoes,
      Geralt of Rivia,
      I agree with the two of you to say that both Rhaegar and Brandon have a hand in the latter’s death. They absolutely do. However, I would add a couple of names to the list of “culprits”…

      The demises of Ned’s father and brother are, I believe, on Rhaegar, Lyanna, the Kingsguard, Aerys and Rickard / Brandon themselves.

      Rickard and Brandon could not possibly be unaware of the king’s mental health (or lack thereof). Therefore, for them to charge through the Red Keep demanding “justice” was both unfathomably idiotic and grossly suicidal.
      Aerys was insane, cruel and vicious and, when he felt his power being threatened by the Starks’ demands, he retaliated in a spectacularly hideous fashion.
      The Kingsguards, who perpetually bang on about their honour and heroism, did not lift a finger when the monarch appalingly tortured and killed two men whose female relative had been (according to the rumour) monstrously victimised by the royal prince.
      Rhaegar humiliated his devoted wife and threw her and their small children to a man he knew to be violently unstable. As if it were not enough, he did also not see fit to intervene in any way, shape or form when his new girlfriend’s father and brother (hence his child-to-be’s grandfather and uncle) fell victim to the king’s madness as a direct result of his elopment. Seemingly, he was too busy combing his platinum locks and practicing the intro to Stairway to Heaven on the lute to give a damn. YOLO ?
      Lyanna kick-dropped her family to elope with some random prince who had winked at her and she did not even bother writing a note informing her loves ones of her choice so they would not worry and come to the wrong conclusion about her disappearance. Furthermore she, very much like her boyfriend, apparently had better things to do than come out of hiding to defend her relatives who had been incarcerated as a direct consequence of her little escapade. I can only assume listening to Rhaegar’s busking was very time-consuming. YOLO all around.

      On the one hand, I really do not want either Jon or Daenerys to be led to believe in the “abduction/rape” story about Lyanna and Rhaegar. Jon has way more than enough on his plate at the moment and finding out that his beloved Ned was not his real father and lied to him for all his life will be sufficiently soul-crushing in and of itself; were Jon to think he is the product of rape on top of everything, it may break him.
      As for Daenerys, she has suffered terrible disappointment in relation to her family : not only has she had to come to terms with Viserys’s dangerosity but she has also had to confront and take in the dire reality of her once-idealised father. As such, Rhaegar has become the only “good Targaryen” she can identify with; should she believe he was a rapist and a murderer, it would devastate her.

      On the other hand, I cannot be enthusiastic about either Daenerys of Jon being told the truth about Lyanna and Rhaegar for, quite frankly, the truth is not that significantly better than the tall tale… Rhaegar may not have been a rapist but his actions still show him to have been a despicable douche who cared for no one and nothing except himself and his purpose (are we really supposed to believe he would have made a good king ?)
      In regards to Lyanna, while the official version of the story presents her as this untameable free-spirit (liking masculine stuff = good !) who fell victim to an entitled and violent prince’s lust, the reality of her is less admirable : she was a deluded spoiled brat who witnessed a man wrecking his wfe’s heart and thought it was the most amazeballs thing she had ever seen !

      One way or the other, the reality check for both Jon and Daenerys is going to be fairly dreadful.

      Wolfish,
      You are right, it is quite confusing…

      I reckon that, if a Northern woman finds herself the only remaining member of her family, she is be allowed to pass down her name to any child she has. It appears to have been the case in the Bear Islands after Jorah and his father removed themselves from the line of succession : the last Mormont was thus Maege and she took over, transmitting her family name to her daughters as she went.
      In the legend,the same process occurred with Brandon “the daughterless” Stark’s daughter and her son.

      Matrilinear succession seems to be tolerated in the North in cases of absolute necessity.

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    82. ACME: Rhaegar may not have been a rapist but his actions still show him to have been a despicable douche who cared for no one and nothing except himself and his purpose (are we really supposed to believe he would have made a good king ?)
      In regards to Lyanna, while the official version of the story presents her as this untameable free-spirit (liking masculine stuff = good !) who fell victim to an entitled and violent prince’s lust, the reality of her is less admirable : she was a deluded spoiled brat who witnessed a man wrecking his wfe’s heart and thought it was the most amazeballs thing she had ever seen !

      Yeah, R was probably another “despicable douche” infatuated with himself and Targ power (although his egotistical proclivities were relatively mild in comparison to many of his forebears) but I don’t believe The Knight of the Laughing Tree was a victim. I don’t believe L was ever destined to remain in the north and there was much more to their escape than meets the eye. Even honorable Rickard/Brandon’s rationale for travelling to KL to “meet with the lunatic” could be debated. Once again, Howland Reed should be able to shed light onto this situation…but he’s swimmin’ with da frogs.

      …at least I hope there is more than meets the eye here…a simple teen fantasy escape with a grooming prince or a kidnap/rape situation just doesn’t sit well in this tale. As a dubious wish, I want LF to have lied to Sansa about it too. Was L proud of the name of her baby when she whispered it to Ned? I think so.

      Regarding Jon finding out (be it lie or truth), I believe the road will get even more difficult for the ice & fire prodigy…facts and conjectures will be thrown at him from many directions. Will he be able to handle the truth? Hopefully, he’ll have some surprising support from Bran and Sam (and Davos).

      ——

      Completely OT: Did you (or anyone else here) happen to read the wonderfully-constructed reddit-based AA theory (Jaime as AA, Cersei as NissaNissa) from a few weeks back? It almost deflated and discouraged me that the tale could take such a drastic turn but, wow, the woman who issued it did her homework.

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    83. Hodors Bastard: Yeah, R was probably another “despicable douche” infatuated with himself and Targ power (although his egotistical proclivities were relatively mild in comparison to many of his forebears

      You are right. To be honest, I willingly (over)emphasised Rhaegar’s negative traits to highlight his “banality”, so to speak.

      The Targaryen prince was a douche like Brandon Stark, Robert Baratheon, Jaime Lannister and even early Robb Stark were douches. He was by no means evil but his position as the firstborn male heir of a Great House (and, in his case, the Greatest House of them all) granted him such unchallenged privilege, such social clout that it appears his empathy was grossly atrophied as a result.
      The world was his oyster, he was cognisant of it and he, like so many before and after him, behaved accordingly. For better and, above all, for worse.

      …at least I hope there is more than meets the eye here…a simple teen fantasy escape with a grooming prince or a kidnap/rape situation just doesn’t sit well in this tale.

      I see your point.
      Funnily enough though, my hope is very much the contrary for in the heightened-reality, fantasy-heavy world of ASoIaF, I kind of want “simple” or “banal” to play a central role.

      ASoIaF is, I think, a story about stories and storytelling. Each POV character has his/her own self-depicted arc, all Houses, regions, peoples, religions and countries have specific legends, myths and prophecies… Everyone is in perpetual storytelling mode, narrating (tall) tales about / to themselves and / or others; tales with good guys defeating villains and heroes combating foes. And romance and betrayal and crime and justice and struggle and gods and triumph. And sense.

      However, next to that, there is the reality the characters actually live in. The basic, normal, chaotic yet ordinary reality. A reality where a “good person” can make all the wrong choices and a “bad guy” can be great, where having the best of intentions does not guarantee progress or even really matter, where one can be right and still get killed, where people do not always live up to their reputations. Where not everything makes sense.

      As such, I like the idea of Rhaegar and Lyanna’s “whirlwind romance” turning out to be the somewhat sadly banal tale of two young-ish, overly-privileged, pampered idiots running away on a whim (possibly to fulfil a prophecy), unwillingly unleashing hell in their wake and, possibly, not caring or understanding. I also like the idea of Rickard and Brandon, overwhelmed with worry and self-righteousness, simply not thinking straight and behaving like suicidal dummies as a result. I even like the idea of the Azor Ahai prophecy being false.

      All the remaining characters are, in one way or another, exceptional people, especially Jon and Daenerys. But what makes them so is what they attempt to achieve (meaningful emphasis on “attempt” 😛 ), not where or whom they come from. Jon does not need a narratively satisfying lineage to be an interesting guy, he just needs to keep on trying, I think.

      But I may be completely off in my interpretation. It would not be the first time 😉

      Hopefully, he’ll have some surprising support from Bran and Sam (and Davos).

      Fingers and toes firmly crossed for Jon…

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    84. ACME: Everyone is in perpetual storytelling mode, narrating (tall) tales about / to themselves and / or others; tales with good guys defeating villains and heroes combating foes.

      For me, the unreliable narrator is a highly entertaining aspect of ASoI&F (and quite possibly what the Unsullied are missing the most in this tale). The characters balance direct observation with secondhand news with proximity gossip. The body was never found! Those eyes looked familiar! The massacre was conducted by a man in a Hound helm! But she had child-bearing hips! Who can you trust? The prophesy says…etc, etc. As you stated “everyone is in perpetual storytelling mode”…even commenters can have varied interpretations of an event or sub-tale, which I believe is the author’s intent. Fun!

      ACME: As such, I like the idea of Rhaegar and Lyanna’s “whirlwind romance” turning out to be the somewhat sadly banal tale of two young-ish, overly-privileged, pampered idiots running away on a whim (possibly to fulfil a prophecy), unwillingly unleashing hell in their wake and, possibly, not caring or understanding.

      I can see that. A young lust, inseparable interlude gone horribly wrong. There was at least 2-3 months after the tourney (maybe more) before L realized she was with child…assuming that R and L didn’t get together beforehand as part of her amazing KotLT charade…no ravens sent, no surviving eye-witnesses, no local gossip extrapolated…yes, very immature and disrespectful but intriguing. Then it was followed by even more secrecy, hideouts, a secret baby, lies, suicides, sacks, war, wildfire, kingslaying, etc. Oh, those onion layers are gonna peel! But will it be through visions and black books or will an eyewitness come forth?

      (As I mentioned before, I really want show!LF to have lied to Sansa in the WF crypts)

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    85. ACME:

      The Targaryen prince was a douche like Brandon Stark, Robert Baratheon,Jaime Lannister and even early Robb Stark were douches. He was by no means evil but his position as the firstborn male heir of a Great House (and, in his case, the Greatest House of them all) granted him such unchallenged privilege, such social clout that it appears his empathy was grossly atrophied as a result.
      The world was his oyster, he was cognisant of it and he, like so many before and after him, behaved accordingly. For better and, above all, for worse.

      As such, I like the idea of Rhaegar and Lyanna’s “whirlwind romance” turning out to be the somewhat sadly banal tale of two young-ish, overly-privileged, pampered idiots running away on a whim (possibly to fulfil a prophecy), unwillingly unleashing hell in their wake and, possibly, not caring or understanding. I also like the idea of Rickard and Brandon, overwhelmed with worry and self-righteousness, simply not thinking straight and behaving like suicidal dummies as a result. I even like the idea of the Azor Ahai prophecy being false.

      Hear hear! *raises cup of coffee*

      I think exposing the reality of the Rhaegar+Lyanna whirlwind romance is George’s way of presenting a trope in a realistic way. There’s nothing glorious, romantic and celebratory about it. Thousands of innocent people died.

      I can’t imagine Jon being happy about it like Harry Potter was when he discovered he was a wizard lol. I hope his cousins, Sam, and Davos can console him and the show gives enough time for Jon to react and to process this news.

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    86. Hodors Bastard: For me, the unreliable narrator is a highly entertaining aspect of ASoI&F (and quite possibly what the Unsullied are missing the most in this tale). (…)even commenters can have varied interpretations of an event or sub-tale, which I believe is the author’s intent. Fun!

      I could not possibly agree more with you !

      The “Rashomon effect” of ASoIaF is a veritable delight and a stroke of genius on George RR Martin’s part. We, the readers, are perpetually caught between what the characters know, what they think they know, what they refuse to acknowledge, what they believe, what they (mis)remember, what they assume, what they feel, what they were told, what they say, what they do not say… And we are left to piece it all together the best we can. I love it !

      (As I mentioned before, I really want show!LF to have lied to Sansa in the WF crypts)

      I completely understand the impulse.

      I firmly believe Littlefinger either knows or, at least, suspects Jon’s true identity. Let’s face it, Ned’s lie was about as transparent as it gets : he came back from the war with a “raped” sister who had passed away in mysterious circumstances and a “son” who seemed to have been born at around the same time Lyanna had died… Come on ! It really does not take a genius to put two and two together on that one and, considering Littlefinger’s intellect and keen interest in anything involving Catelyn’s sentimental life, he must have spent at least five minutes wondering about the feasibility of Ned’s “adultery”.

      However, I struggle to imagine Baelish knowing more than that. In the books, he must have been 14-ish at the time of the Tourney at Harrenhal (I assume he is supposed to have been slightly older in the show’s universe, maybe 18-19) and he was a glorified nobody, a boy from the Fingers “generously” warded by Hoster Tully as a favour to his father, a very minor knight of Braavosi descent. I doubt Petyr was allowed to breathe the same rarefied air as the uber-upper crust of Westerosi aristocracy : no contact with the Targaryens, little to no contact with the Starks aside from Brandon (he and Ned had never even met before the latter became Hand of the King), no connection or network at all aside from the Tully children.
      As for him finding out more details after the facts, it is possible but not entirely plausible. Virtually everyone involved in the whole Lyanna-Rhaegar debacle died either during or shortly after Robert’s Rebellion, so witnesses are few and hard to come by.

      For my money, Varys knows much more than he says on this matter. He was already in a position of power at the time, he had a network of spies at the ready, he appears to have conspired against Rhaegar even before the Tourney (he told the King of his son’s intentions to meet with dissatisfied lords at Harrenhal), etc. The Spider’s web may have played a part in something or other.

      Flayed Potatoes: Hear hear! *raises cup of coffee*
      I think exposing the reality of the Rhaegar+Lyanna whirlwind romance is George’s way of presenting a trope in a realistic way. There’s nothing glorious, romantic and celebratory about it. Thousands of innocent people died.

      I agree wholeheartedly with you !

      Rhaegar and Lyanna are the Romeo and Juliet of Westeros and that is not a compliment for, to be brutally honest, the Montaigu boy and the Capulet girl were young fools and their love story is a fairly pathetic sham. Romeo is basically a fourteen-year-old boy with an erection who “falls in love” with whichever girl spares him a glance (be it Rosaline or, five minutes later, Juliet), Juliet is a sheltered twelve-year-old who dreams to be told she is as pretty as a unicorn covered in glitters, their friends’ collective IQ appears on par with that of a water puddle and their “best laid plans” could be foiled by a cat with catastrophic brain injury. On top of that, their romance lasted a grand total of seven days and, at the end, almost everyone died including them. The things we do for hormones !

      * Side note : I have always believed that Shakespeare had intended for Romeo and Juliet to serve as a cautionary tale for his teenage daughter Susan. But that’s just me 😛

      Once we remove the veneer of poetry and stunningly beautiful dialogues, the “Romeo + Juliet = Love” (let’s call it R+J=L ^^) relationship is almost comical in its superficiality, needless complications and lack of intelligence or maturity. And I believe the same considerations may apply to Rhaegar and Lyanna.

      The Westerosi star-cross’d lovers, like their Veronese counterparts, might have been motivated to pursue their disastrous idea of an affair by a desire to ape legends and myths. The parallels between their relationship and the tale of Bael the Bard are too numerous to be accidental : the hidden identity, the Northern lady, the winter roses, the music, the abduction”, the secret child, etc. I would be tempted to believe Rhaegar and Lyanna knew of the tale; he copied it and she responded to it, both playing their self-appointed part in their own copyright-infringing version of the legend.

      (Funnily enough, Littlefinger (Bael-ish) does pretty much the same thing with Sansa, though he identifies more with the “deceiver” sided of Bael ^^)

      But, as Don Quixote, Cyrano and Emma Bovary have proven time and time againt, living one’s life “like in the stories and legends” is rarely a great idea. Life is not a song…

      I can’t imagine Jon being happy about it like Harry Potter was when he discovered he was a wizard lol. I hope his cousins, Sam, and Davos can console him and the show gives enough time for Jon to react and to process this news.

      I share your trepidation for I do not think happiness in on the menu for Jon on this one. Not only will he have to digest the information about his real parents, he will above all have to accept that a) Ned lied to him; b) Ned was not his father; and c) he is not a Stark. All of which will have a profound effect on his sense of self, I assume.

      As for his cousins, while I do hope they provide him with support and love, they too will have to come to terms with the revelation and deal with the shattering of the idealised image they have of their father and, through him, their entire family. Bran has a headstart but Arya and Sansa… Not so much.

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    87. Hodors Bastard,

      The theory was an interesting read, though I feel in some parts more mundane phrases were being twisted to mean much more than intended by GRRM. The explanation for the 3 attempts to forge Lightbringer was a bit of a stretch imo. I also definitely don’t agree with her interpretation of the leadership style of Jaime vis a vis Jon and Dany, that Jaime is the only one who cares for all people and that Jon and Dany destroy those who oppose them. That’s oversimplification of the latter 2 characters.

      But the most intriguing part was that the Valyrian words for “gold” and “hand” is almost the same as “Lord” and “light”. I don’t think it’s a coincidence and I wonder what significance that will have, if any.

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    88. ghost of winterfell: I also definitely don’t agree with her interpretation of the leadership style of Jaime vis a vis Jon and Dany, that Jaime is the only one who cares for all people and that Jon and Dany destroy those who oppose them.

      I must admit that I didn’t understand why the author inserted that opinion under “general thoughts” at the end of her analysis. I thought it was irrelevant and, as you imply, a bit distracting from her overall theory. It’s fairly obvious that she is firmly in the “Jaime needs a redemptive arc” corner. I brought it up because there seems to be more than a few folks here who think Jaime has a redemptive arc. (I wasn’t a ‘Jaime redemption’ fan either…and still have my reservations)

      What was eye-opening about her essay to me was the idea that AA doesn’t have to be what we expect (or an obvious “ice and fire” character). Dany and Jon could play amazing roles in this tale up to the very end, then…surprise!…another steps in, possibly fatally, to link up the prophesy and reality of the tale.

      I enjoyed the Lightbringer and NissaNissa thoughts and especially the Jojen imagery. We’ll see (hopefully). LSH may have something to say/gurgle about his future as well. 😉

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    89. Hodors Bastard,

      I have always believed that different characters will fulfill different aspects of the prophecy. Jaime’s connection to it has been hinted at with the weirwood dream that he had, of wielding a flaming sword, in Asos. Let’s see how far it goes…

      As far as a redemption arc goes, I feel book Jaime is more clearly headed for a redemption arc, things are a bit more murky on the show. But ultimately, I think he will redeem himself, both books and show.

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