Showrunners reveal favorite scenes, new dragons; D’Arcy and Smith on Rhaenyra and Daemon’s secret tongue

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In the latest barrage of press interviews, House of the Dragon showrunners share their favorite scenes from this first season; the untamed dragons that freely roam Dragonstone are teased for the future; Matt Smith and Emma D’arcy discuss how Rhaenyra and Daemon use High Valyrian as their secret language; and more.

At SlashFilm, co-showrunners Miguel Sapochnik and Ryan Condal describe their favorite scenes to shoot, which are what they’re the most excited for people to see: Sapochnik highlights what he calls the “Eye for an Eye” scene, the confrontation between Alicent and Rhaenyra we’ve seen in so many trailers. In this scene featuring the famous Valyrian steel dagger that would later be used for deeds both villanous and heroic in Game of Thrones, “Emma D’Arcy [Rhaenyra Targaryen] and Olivia Cooke [Alicent Hightower] get to go at each other for the first time in a fit of rage that’s been building for seven episodes.” Filming that scene took quite an emotional toll on both actors. Condal’s choice is from the following episode, during “a hearing over a certain succession, not for the throne”, in which “everybody comes into the room carrying a lot of baggage from all of the things that happened over the course of the season”, ending “in such a shocking moment that I think will be on the list of the top five most memorable moments.” If you’ve read Fire and Blood, you may have clocked this has to do with a certain Vaemond Velaryon. And, if they’ve done that moment justice, I can’t help but agree with Condal!

Also, Matt Smith explains what it means for his character, Daemon, to privately speak with Rhaenyra in the language of their ancestors, High Valyrian: “He’s a different person in that language … [T]hat’s who he is at his core. And the fact that he speaks it only to Rhaenyra is really telling.” Emma D’Arcy agrees: “It forms an envelope around them and plucks them out of the world and takes them to a different plane or somewhere incredibly private. Even if they were in public, it creates an immediate intimacy and privacy.” At ScreenRant, Darcy has nothing but good words for his High Valyrian-speaking co-star: “[Matt] has such a gift for finding freedom on camera. He doesn’t want to know what happens. He wants to surprise you; he wants the thing to live. And as soon as I understood that, not only is he a gift of a scene partner, but it’s also a privilege to know what someone needs.”

Finally, at Entertainment Weekly, co-showrunner Miguel Sapochnik is joined by the dragonriding cast in talking extensively (and effusively!) of the many dragons in the show — from how the director had the cast interact with the imaginary creatures in order to depict the special relationship between dragon and dragonrider to the many different designs they came up with to differentiate them: “There’s the dragons that are dinosaur-like; they have a big bridge on their nose. There are the dragons that are canine, which usually have the convex feel to them; they feel wolf-like. And then, there’s the dragons that are like horses, which are somewhere in between,” the director says, before suggesting Vhagar, the only surviving dragon from before Aegon’s conquest, as an example of how to set each of the creatures apart: “She’s like a cantankerous old lady. Bits of her are falling off, and getting her in the air is a nightmare. When she’s up and running, she’s like a B52 bomber. She’s stunning and a force to be reckoned with. Landing her is a nightmare.”

Perhaps most interestingly to readers of Fire and Blood, although there had been a lot of speculation that all or some of the wild dragons that roam Dragonstone could have been cut from this adaptation, it appears that’s not the case! Although we won’t see Sheepstealer, Grey Ghost or the savage Cannibal this year, they were designed for the next season along with the rest. And they’re Sapochnik’s favorites!

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47 Comments

  1. Mr Derp,

    Big Fella says:
    ”After being heavily engaged during Seasons 1 through 4, consulting on everything from scripts to casting, “By Season 5 and 6, and certainly 7 and 8, I was pretty much out of the loop,” he shares.

    And it showed.

  2. Ten Bears,

    It’s somewhat understandable. If GRRM hadn’t finished the books then perhaps he just didn’t have as many answers to help guide D&D through seasons 5-8.

    However, you’d think D&D would still want him as an advisor at the very least? GRRM probably would’ve advised them not to rush through the last two seasons.

  3. I still think “The Long Night” was a terrific episode even if I thought some of the narrative choices didn’t make sense to me. It’s probably a top 10 episode for me.

    Same with “The Bells”. I hated what happened with Dany and I didn’t understand some of the narrative choices made, but the episode was entertaining and a technical masterpiece.

    “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” was good tv as well.

    “The Spoils of War” is probably my favorite season 7 episode. It would be followed by “The Dragon and the Wolf”, which I thought COULD’VE been an amazing episode, but wasn’t. I really didn’t care for most of the rest of season 7 to be honest.

    “Eastwatch” in season 7 and “The Last of the Starks” in season 8 were just total clusterfucks to me.

  4. Mr Derp,

    This is contradicted by what Martin said in the past. For instance, he was asked to write an episode for season 6 but he claimed it would have taken him a month. It was his choice to stop working on the show to concentrate on the books. He kept himself out of the loop.

  5. Ten Bears,

    I disagree. I saw no drop in quality once the show moved away from the books. In fact, seasons 6 and 8 are my second and third favorite season. Considering how horrible Feast and Dance turned out, moving away from the books moved the show in the right direction.

  6. Mr Derp,

    The Long Night and The Bells are in my top five episodes, with The Spoils of War being either in my top ten, or it just missed the cut. I agree about Eastwatch. It ranks in my bottom three, but I think The Last of the Starks gets a bad rep. I’d probably put it somewhere in the middle of my episode rankings. I liked it better than Knight of the Seven Kingdoms, anyway.

  7. Young Dragon,

    It’s always in flux, but the current top 10 for me:

    1. Hardhome
    2. The Winds of Winter
    3. The Lion and the Rose
    4. And Now His Watch Is Ended
    5. Valar Morghulis
    6. Battle of the Bastards
    7. The Children
    8. The Door
    9. A Golden Crown
    10. The Long Night

    Honorable mention:

    Blackwater
    The Rains of Castamere
    Mother’s Mercy
    The Spoils of War
    Two Swords

  8. My least favorites (in no particular order):

    The Iron Throne
    The Last of the Starks
    Eastwatch
    Stormborn
    No One
    Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken
    The House of Black and White
    Garden of Bones
    What is Dead May Never Die
    The Night Lands

  9. Mr Derp,

    Great list! My full top ten list would be:

    1. The Winds of Winter
    2. The Long Night
    3. Battle of the Bastards
    4. Hardhome
    5. The Bells
    6. The Children
    7. Mockingbird
    8. Watchers on the Wall
    9. And Now His Watch Has Ended
    10. Spoils of War

    Honorable Mentions
    The Door
    Two Swords
    The Rains of Castamere
    The Battle of Blackwater
    The Iron Throne
    The Laws of Gods and Men
    The Mountain and the Viper
    I know I’m in the minority, but The Lion and the Rose doesn’t rank high on my list. I don’t know why, I just found the episode to be rather average.

  10. Mr Derp,

    I only have a top three least favorite episode list:

    1. The Bear and the Maiden Fair
    2. Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken
    3. Eastwatch

  11. Young Dragon: I know I’m in the minority, but The Lion and the Rose doesn’t rank high on my list. I don’t know why, I just found the episode to be rather average.

    Fair enough. It was just such a satisfying episode for me. Only in GoT can you really cheer on the painful, agonizing death of a 16 year old.

  12. Young Dragon,

    The Bear and the Maiden Fair is close to the bottom for me too, though the song itself is pretty catchy.

    It’s not the scene with Sansa at the end of Unbowed, Unbent, and Unbroken that bothered me, though that was kinda the capper on a below average episode. I just recall that episode had a lot of the Sand Slugs in it and was a pretty boring episode overall, like much of the early part of season 5.

  13. Mr Derp,

    ”I really didn’t care for most of the rest of season 7 to be honest.”

    Me neither.
    Reply/Rant incoming – if the Lord of Light’s Spam Filter doesn’t intercept it.

  14. Mr Derp,

    Wait, what? I looked at your current Top Ten and five Honorable Mentions, but ….
    [In voice of Joffrey*] Someone forgot to write down a great episode:

    “Mockingbird,” S4e7, was chock full of high thread count scenes.

    *Joffrey, from S4e1 (at 1:33):
    https://youtu.be/gBb15PQn-gQ
    Someone forgot to write down all your great deeds.”

  15. Mr Derp,

    It was a highly enjoyable episode, don’t get me wrong, but half the episode was building up to a death of a character I wasn’t emotionally invested in. That’s why it doesn’t rank higher for me.

  16. Mr Derp,

    Yeah, the Sansa scene didn’t bother me. It was purely the Sand Snake scene that tanked the episode for me. Nothing about it worked.

  17. Ten Bears:
    Mr Derp,

    Wait, what? I looked at your current Top Ten and five Honorable Mentions, but …. [In voice of Joffrey*] Someone forgot to write down a great episode:

    “Mockingbird,” S4e7, was chock full of high thread count scenes.

    *Joffrey, from S4e1 (at 1:33):
    https://youtu.be/gBb15PQn-gQ
    Someone forgot to write down all your great deeds.”

    lol, I knew you were going to say something about that. I should’ve known to cover it in my list.

    Mockingbird has some great scenes, but I just can’t put it ahead of what’s already there. I could do without the Daario/Dany scene as well as the Selyse/Mel convo where Mel for whatever reason forgot to wear her necklace. Everything else was pretty awesome though. It would probably land somewhere 15-20 on my list.

  18. Ten Bears,

    Mockingbird is solid, but I could do without the Daario/Dany scene as well as the Mel/Selyse scene where Mel forgot to wear her necklace for whatever reason.

    I can’t justify putting that episode above the others that are already there. It’s probably somewhere between 15-20 for me.

  19. Young Dragon,

    Yup! Oberyn visiting Tyrion in his cell in S4e7 is quintessentially rewatchable:

    https://youtu.be/a1lAA679rmQ

    Oberyn announcing at the end [at 4:52] “I will be your champion” was an emotionally evocative, memorable moment.

    I also liked Oberyn’s monologue recounting
    his visit to Casterly Rock as a boy, anxious o see “the freak,” and his “disappointment” when he saw finally Tyrion in his crib [at 3:18]:“That’s just a baby.”

    Great delivery by Pedro Pascal, painting a vivid picture of past events with words. And as reflected in Tyrion’s reaction, Oberyn’s declaration, “that’s just a baby” emphasized Tyrion’s humanity.

    At least that’s how I perceived that roughly five-minute scene. (The highlight of Pedro Pascal’s appearance on the show, in my view.)

    For me, “high thread count” scenes Iike this, with just two people in a room talking – and well-written and well-delivered dialogue – leave an indelible impression. That is why S4e7 remains #1 on my Top Ten Best Episodes rankings.

  20. Mr Derp:
    Ten Bears,

    Mockingbird is solid, but I could do without the Daario/Dany scene as well as the Mel/Selyse scene where Mel forgot to wear her necklace for whatever reason….

    To be honest, I don’t even remember the Daario/Dany and Mel/Selyse scenes in “Mockingbird.” I guess I’ve fast-forwarded past them.

  21. Young Dragon:
    Mr Derp,

    I only have a top three least favorite episode list:

    1. The Bear and the Maiden Fair
    2. Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken
    3. Eastwatch

    I’m NOT challenging you. I’m just curious why “The Bear and the Maiden Fair” is atop your Least Favorite List.

    I’ve always enjoyed the Ygritte & Jon scenes in that episode, especially their playful banter after Ygritte asks: “What’s ‘swooning’?”
    Oh, and the King of All Brooding actually smiles during this scene from The Bear and the Maiden Fair [3:54 long clip]:

    https://youtu.be/2ewcnjd-SlY
    🏹

  22. Ten Bears,

    I wasn’t a fan of the Theon torture porn scene. Besides that, I found the episode to be forgettable. The Jon/Ygritte scene was fine, I guess, but it didn’t really stand out for me. At least Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken had Arya’s Game of Faces scene, which I really liked.

  23. Young Dragon,

    I used to fast forward through the Theon torture scenes. Although I found the fifth existing ASOIAF book, A Dance with Dragons, bloated at times and thought reading it was a bit like travelling the long and winding road, without wanting to be spoilery, the maiming of Theon has taken place during the two books where Theon didn’t appear and the author leaves clues for the reader to pick up on. That said, Ramsay’s book wedding, albeit to a different character than in the show, is worse than the show version.

  24. Mr Derp:
    Ten Bears,

    It’s somewhat understandable.If GRRM hadn’t finished the books then perhaps he just didn’t have as many answers to help guide D&D through seasons 5-8.

    However, you’d think D&D would still want him as an advisor at the very least?GRRM probably would’ve advised them not to rush through the last two seasons.

    Yeah, even if the joint intent was for the show and books to arrive at the same general destination, GRRM could have advised the showrunners to avoid certain detours and shortcuts that would subvert his characters and confuse his story. What I mean is, for example:

    One of my pet peeves about the show was shoehorning Sansa into the book! Jeyne Poole/Ramsey marriage plot. Not only did it make zero sense for Sansa to agree to marry into the family that slaughtered hers (with no actual plan to “avenge them”); wouldn’t compel Stannis to name her Wardeness; re-victimized poor Sansa after escaping her nightmare in KL; and completely undermined her progression into new, confident Cat 2.0 we saw by the end of S4; but I was convinced a selfish pr*ck like LF, who was so obsessed with Sansa Stark, would never trade away her virtue to anyone else for any price, let alone give her away to a rando bastard. He wanted Sansa. and her innocence, for himself. (Whether he “loved” her in his own warped way, or felt that taking Sansa’s innocence himself would make up for his rejection by Catelyn or constitute revenge against the Starks, letting some other guy have her for really nothing in return was so antithetical to the established character of show! and book! Littlefinger. )

    In an interview after the show ended [I’d have to find it] GRRM confirmed that there is no way LF would have given away or sold off Sansa for any price. She was his prized pawn and object of his affections/obsessions. It’s unfortunate that Big G wasn’t in the loop to caution the showrunners that their brainstorm to merge Sansa into the Jeyne Poole WF plot was a lame idea on many levels

    Personally, I felt that this particular adaptation decision, and its continuing repercussions, were a primary reason the show started going off the rails after S4. I also felt that it did a disservice to Sansa’s character. For me, the showrunners’ rationale that they merged Sansa into Jeyne’s storyline because they didn’t want Sansa & Sophie Turner to be sidelined for an entire season (i.e., futzing around in the Vale having tummy flutters) was kind of flimsy. Surely they could’ve crafted a storyline for Sansa that didn’t involve turning Sansa into a human pin cushion for an entire season (or using Sansa rather than Jeyne as the catalyst for Theon’s reversion from Reek back to Theon). Finally, why the showrunners “loved” the Jeyne Poole WF storyline so much that they felt they had to include it somehow is also confounding to me.

    To have GRRM profess his disagreement with the show’s LF Sansa-Bolton marriage “plan” after the show ended because LF would never trade away Sansa is little consolation.

    – End Rant –

    P.S. Apologies in advance to anyone who liked the show! Ramsay + Sansa storyline. I didn’t.

    P.P.S. As an admitted Charlotte Hope fanboy,

    I would’ve preferred a conflicted, evolving Myranda serving as the catalyst for Theon’s redemption. After all, it’s not like Ramsay didn’t have a habit of eventually treating his female accomplices as prey for his sick hunting games. Then again, I have to admit I enjoyed Charlotte Hope’s turn as Wicked Myranda.
  25. Speaking of Ramsay’s wedding, I always found it odd how outraged people were at the time, including the book readers, seeing as how what Sansa went through is not even close to what Ramsay had in store for his bride in ADwD.

  26. Dame of Mercia,

    Dame of Mercia wrote:

    ”Although I found the fifth existing ASOIAF book, A Dance with Dragons, bloated at times and thought reading it was a bit like travelling the long and winding road…”

    Grrrr! I’m resisting posting a Musical Interlude dedicated to GRRM on behalf of long-suffering book readers left hanging, waiting to know the way the story ends.

    “Why leave me standing here?
    Let me know the way.”
    ….
    “…still they lead me back
    To the long winding road.
    You left me standing here
    A long, long time ago.
    Don’t leave me waiting here,
    Lead me to your door.”

    “The Long and Winding Road” (1970) – The Beatles

  27. Addendum to 10:34 am Comment (that shoehorning Sansa into Jeyne Poole in S5) “completely undermined her progression into new, confident Cat 2.0 we saw by the end of S4”:

    This is the scene I was thinking of at the end of S4e8 [29 seconds long clip]

    https://youtu.be/TNX3T005evA

    With the sunlit background as Sansa appeared at the top of the stairs; the reveal of Sansa’s Cat 2.0 hairdo, sleek new dress, and confident demeanor; and LF’s jaw-dropping reaction, I really thought the show was telegraphing to us that Sansa had come into her own, and would no longer be anyone’s plaything.
    Nope… 😠

  28. Ten Bears,

    As has been stated above, it was Martin’s decision to step away from the show, not the showrunners. Personally, I’m actually glad that he stopped advising them once the show had reached Feast/Dance material. You think the show went off the rails after season 4? I felt the same way about the books after Storm. Considering that it’s been 11 years since his last book, I think it’s clear that Martin has written himself into a corner. By going its separate way, the show has avoided making the same mistake and has continued to be strong all the way to the end.

    You’ve gone on record saying you haven’t read the books so what makes you think that the Jeyne storyline was better than what we got in the show? Littlefinger played on Sansa’s survivor guilt to get where he needed her to be. Sansa wanted to finally “stop being a bystander” and do something for her family, which is what Littlefinger promised. You may see this as regression for Sansa and that her character was done a disservice, but she is very much under Littlefinger’s thumb in the books.

    As for Littlefinger’s plan, it’s not out of character at all. His desire for the Iron Throne trumps everything, including his love for Catelyn. After all, pitting the Starks against the Lannisters and sending Catelyn after Tyrion placed her in mortal danger. He used her to get what he wanted, so if Sansa was Catelyn 2.0, why wouldn’t he do the same to her? The plan itself to marry Sansa to the Boltons was no worse than his plan to poison Jon Arryn. Both plans involved creating chaos and trying to take advantage of the opportunities that arose. Poisoning Jon Arryn could have easily blown up in his face.

  29. Dame of Mercia,

    I don’t consider Feast and Dance to be good books, but I will say that Theon and Winterfell storyline was one of the few highlights. It’s probably the only storyline taken from Feast and Dance that I prefer in the books over the show.

  30. Young Dragon:
    Mr Derp,

    This is contradicted by what Martin said in the past. For instance, he was asked to write an episode for season 6 but he claimed it would have taken him a month. It was his choice to stop working on the show to concentrate on the books. He kept himself out of the loop.

    This is exactly what I thought when I read this article… I well remember myself that GRRM himself said he distanced himself from the production in order to write TWOW. It’s kind of petty if he tries to put full blame on Benioff and Weiss, especially as some people will just blindly believe him and make showrunners even more of villains in their eyes. Just like how people still wrongly believe Benioff and Weiss abruptly cut GoT short in order to write Star Wars while in reality there were statements about GoT lasting for 7 seasons (70 episodes) as early as in 2013 while S7 and S8 were firmly mapped out in terms of episode number in 2016.

  31. Mr Derp,

    Young Dragon,

    These is my ranking of all GoT episodes (completed in 2019). I haven’t rewatched the show yet so there may be some minor adjustments after my rewatch because when knowing where the story is headed, some scenes can become more significant to me and thus I rank some episodes higher. But I don’t expect any drastic differences regarding the top and bottom of my ranklist

    But as of now, this is my ranklist from my least favorite GoT episode (73) to my favorite GoT episode (1)

    73) The Prince of Winterfell (least favorite)
    72) The Night Lands
    71) Lord Snow
    70) Breaker of Chains
    69) The Ghost of Harrenhal
    68) Dark Wings, Dark Words
    67) The Bear and the Maiden Fair
    66) The Kingsroad
    65) The House of Black and White
    64) Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken
    63) Valar Dohaeris
    62) Mhysa
    61) The North Remembers
    60) Cripples, Bastards and Broken Things
    59) Oathkeeper
    58) Winter Is Coming
    57) The Wars to Come
    56) The Climb
    55) The Red Woman
    54) FIrst of His Name
    53) Eastwatch
    52) The Pointy End
    51) Walk of Punishment
    50) Sons of the Harpy
    49) Dragonstone
    48) Fire and Blood
    47) Blood of my Blood
    46) The Broken Man
    45) What Is Dead May Never Die
    44) You Win or You Die
    43) A Man Without Honor
    42) Kill the Boy
    41) Mockingbird
    40) Valar Morghulis
    39) Oathbreaker
    38) Winterfell
    37) High Sparrow
    36) Garden of Bones
    35) The Wolf and the Lion
    34) Knight of the Seven Kingdoms
    33) No One
    32) Stormborn
    31) The Old Gods and the New
    30) The Last of the Starks
    29) A Golden Crown
    28) The Gift
    27) Two Swords
    26) Second Sons
    25) Home
    24) Kissed by Fire
    23) The Dance of Dragons
    22) Baelor
    21) The Lion and the Rose
    20) The Laws of Gods and Men
    19) Queen’s Justice
    18) The Dragon and the Wolf
    17) Book of a Stranger
    16) The Mountain and the Viper
    15) And Now His Watch Is Ended
    14) Mother’s Mercy
    13) The Iron Throne (Yes, I love it a lot)
    12) The Rains of Castamere
    11) The Spoils of War
    10) The Children
    9) Hardhome
    8) Blackwater
    7) The Door
    6) Beyond the Wall
    5) The Bells
    4) Watchers on the Wall
    3) THe Winds of Winter
    2) Battle of the Bastards
    1) The Long Night

    And last but not least, I must mention that when it comes to GoT, majority of episodes ranks really high in my case and it’s the only TV show in my case where even my least favorite episodes are pretty much “good” and that I still look forward to them in my rewatch (in my other favorite TV shows, there’s always a couple episodes I’m not really fond of and I kind of need to “push myself” through them on rewatches). From “Home” onwards (rank 25), these are pretty much my top episodes (a.k.a 10-rated episodes on my ranklist) so you can get an idea that I rank GoT episodes really high.

  32. Erik, formerly Lord Parramandas,

    Yea he’s contradicted himself a lot in that interview. There’s blog posts about him saying he’s stepping away and D&D on record saying they would love to have him back. He even says they asked him to write for season 6. So when he said “ask D&D” that’s a cheap shot at them considering it was him who decided to step away not them pushing him out.

  33. Fireblood87,

    Yeah, I kind of feel he’s trying to gain favor from fans for his involvement in HotD… like “Oh, GoT could have been so much better if I was involved but the showrunners ignored poor me but in HotD I’m all involved”.

    Even more bizzare was his recent interview where he stated he realized he is “moving away from S6 as he’s writing TWOW”. I was like “Seriously??? He’s been writing TWOW for 11 years and S6 has been out for 6 years and only now he’s realizing he’s moving away from it??” This actually strengthens my suspicions that he’s secretly rewriting the ending but trying to present it to fans it was his planned ending all along so the showrunners would get full blame. I see this pattern that with every interview he gives regarding his ending, he leans more and more into “My ending is actually different than the show” and I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s secretly rewriting it. When S8 started airing, he was all “It’s pretty much my ending” but as soon as S8 wrapped up, he started pulling himself away from this statement and with every interview in following years, he pulls himself away more. And now this interview how he was supposedly ignored after S5, directly contradicting himself.

  34. Erik, formerly Lord Parramandas,

    He’s 100 percent rewriting his books based on the fans reactions to the show. All of his comments are Monday morning quarterbacking. He has the benefit of the doubt to see what worked in the show and what didn’t. The more he also speaks the more I realize that when elio and Linda attack the fans of the show, it was really him and he’s to cowardly to say anything directly to the fans.

  35. Stew:
    Erik, formerly Lord Parramandas,

    He’s 100 percent rewriting his books based on the fans reactions to the show. All of his comments are Monday morning quarterbacking.He has the benefit of the doubt to see what worked in the show and what didn’t.The more he also speaks the more I realize that when elio and Linda attack the fans of the show, it was really him and he’s to cowardly to say anything directly to the fans.

    Yeah, I believe so myself now, judging by his interviews. And it would be nothing wrong that he’s changing it if he actually admitted that he was changing it instead of trying to make it seem he has everything figured out all along (which I’m sure he doesn’t, else the novels would have been finished already)… like saying something “GoT’s ending was a version of my ending from my sitdown with the producers in 2013 but I decided to make some changes now”. Instead I’m getting an impression he’s really trying to make himself distance from TV show’s ending while probably altering his own ending so the polarizing reception isn’t partially his responsibility.

  36. Young Dragon:
    Ten Bears,

    As has been stated above, it was Martin’s decision to step away from the show, not the showrunners. Personally, I’m actually glad that he stopped advising them once the show had reached Feast/Dance material. You think the show went off the rails after season 4? I felt the same way about the books after Storm. Considering that it’s been 11 years since his last book, I think it’s clear that Martin has written himself into a corner. By going its separate way, the show has avoided making the same mistake and has continued to be strong all the way to the end.

    You’ve gone on record saying you haven’t read the books so what makes you think that the Jeyne storyline was better than what we got in the show? Littlefinger played on Sansa’s survivor guilt to get where he needed her to be. Sansa wanted to finally “stop being a bystander” and do something for her family, which is what Littlefinger promised. You may see this as regression for Sansa and that her character was done a disservice, but she is very much under Littlefinger’s thumb in the books.

    As for Littlefinger’s plan, it’s not out of character at all. His desire for the Iron Throne trumps everything, including his love for Catelyn. After all, pitting the Starks against the Lannisters and sending Catelyn after Tyrion placed her in mortal danger. He used her to get what he wanted, so if Sansa was Catelyn 2.0, why wouldn’t he do the same to her? The plan itself to marry Sansa to the Boltons was no worse than his plan to poison Jon Arryn. Both plans involved creating chaos and trying to take advantage of the opportunities that arose. Poisoning Jon Arryn could have easily blown up in his face.

    I so agree regarding AFFC/ADWD. If I remember right, GRRM actually wanted them to make 3 seasons as adaptation of AFFC/ADWD but I rather not even imagine that… it would be a total slugfest for me at least.

    And I personally never saw S5 story as regression for Sansa, considering this otherwise dark story firmly changes her and characterizes her for following seasons. Sansa in and after S6 is nowhere close to being same Sansa as she was under Joffrey’s torment in S2. Despite all the torment she goes through in S5, Ramsay never breaks her, she stays defiant, actively trying to escape (trying to get through to Theon so he would help her, stealing that screw in order to escape from her room) , even taunting Ramsay about his bastard status (which I’m sure plants the seed of doubt that eventually makes Ramsay kill Roose in S6). She could have been reduced to a helpless crying victim but in her second scene with Theon (and remember, that’s days if not weeks after her marriage to Ramsay), she is bursting with determination, anger… she hasn’t been anywhere like this prior to S5 so this is not a regression at all in my eyes.

    Yes, I imagine people were used for her to use lady armor to get through hard situation and expected her to be this subtle player (maybe she will be in books) but I personally love Sansa that emerged in S6. Confident, taking no sh*t anymore and determined to get back the North, the place she always dreamed to leave as a kid. She turned out to be a true Northern at heart. Yes, she might seem cold and confrontational but I believe it’s because after all this torment, she’s fed up of hiding behind some innocent lady facade. Going through so much torment and withstanding it, not losing herself, I believe it makes her incredibly internally strong and the result is that she’s now so fed up with it and full of anger towards this injustice that she’s willing to take major action now as risky as it may be. The person she became in S6-S8, she wasn’t this person when she left KL… she was still pretty much innocent and being used by Littlefinger, still using lady courtesy and innocent facade, still not a player on her own. But after S5, she was definitely a player on her own in my opinion and a strong, independent and determined lady, a true woman of the North.

  37. Erik, formerly Lord Parramandas,

    I don’t think he is writing or rewriting anything. Look, I don’t begrudge the guy his right to do whatever he feels like with his time, especially at this stage in his life. He shouldn’t have to keep making excuses for abandoning a project that’s become a grind instead of a labor of love.

    I’ve said this before: If he’s really got a good sized chunk of manuscript done, maybe it’d be better to start releasing it in serialized form, like Charles Dickens did with some of his novels.

    GRRM could keep rewriting chapters in perpetuity. He will always be able to think of ways he can make it “better” when “good enough” is more than enough. Let a decent editor polish what he’s already written, and start releasing installments. It might be a blessing to publish chapters. Once they’re sent out into the world instead of sitting on his desk he won’t be tempted to keep rewriting them.

    I think book fans would jump at the chance to buy a subscription to receive a new chapter of ASOIAF every week or two in their in-box.

    After 11 years of extensions and excuses, why not try a new approach?

    Full Disclosure:

    I read the “Mercy” sample chapter when it was posted on GRRM’s blog a while back. I thought it was really well written and enjoyable to read. I would’ve gladly forked over 💰to find out what happens next, after Mercy accepts that her days with the theater troupe had come to an end.
  38. Wait so has a second season been confirmed already? I saw in some press releases that it was hinted at but not confirmed. I’m presuming given the content that the show will only run 2-3 seasons in total anyway.

  39. Ten Bears:
    Mr Derp,

    Big Fella says:
    ”After being heavily engaged during Seasons 1 through 4, consulting on everything from scripts to casting, “By Season 5 and 6, and certainly 7 and 8, I was pretty much out of the loop,” he shares.

    And it showed.

    The question is whether it was his decision or the show runners I guess but does it even matter anymore? GOT peaked at Season 6 for me but I still loved it overall.

  40. Ick. I hate where this discussion is going. Can we not let this thread descend into an orgy of cynical GRRM-bashing, please?

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