David Benioff Explains Bran’s Absence in Game of Thrones Season Five

bran (1)

Earlier this year, we reported that Kristian Nairn would not be appearing in the fifth season of Game of Thronesbut, at that time, we weren’t sure what that meant for the other characters who made it to the Children of the Forest at the end of last season. However, EW is now confirming that Bran and company will all be taking to the bench next year.

Explanation from Thrones producer, David Benioff, after the jump with some mildly spoilery speculation.

When asked about the decision to cut Bran’s storyline from next season, Benioff had the following to say:

Ideally that wouldn’t have gotten out and it’s unfortunate it did. The fact is, even though we’re making changes to the books and adapting as necessary, we’re trying to keep the various storylines the same as the books and trying to keep them roughly [chronologically] parallel. And last year we caught up to the end of Bran’s storyline [in George R.R. Martin’s most recent A Song of Ice and Fire novel, A Dance with Dragons]. So if we pushed him forward this season, then he’s way ahead of where the other characters are.

It made sense to stop where we did. He’s now entering a training period which is going to take quite some time, much of which isn’t particularly cinematic. So rather than being stuck in a cave for a year, we figured it would be interesting to leave him out for a little bit, so when you see him again…

This definitely addresses some of the concerns book readers have had regarding how quickly Bran’s arc has progressed in regard to other characters while also addressing some of the overall problems fans had with last season’s attempts to give him more to do by stranding him at Craster’s Keep for a few episodes of show-only events.

Shylah: It almost appears as if Bran is getting a truncated version the “five-year jump” treatment that George R. R. Martin had originally planned, with some of his “training” potentially taking place off screen to reveal a more powerful Bran for the start of season six.

If they’re willing to do that off screen, then it makes me wonder why we’ve been privy to Theon’s “transformation,” which happens off screen in the novels. Contractual differences? Or just an artistic choice? (I really don’t know, so I’ll be watching the comments to see what you all think.)

378 responses

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    1. I was expecting to see Tower of Joy through Bran’s visions…

      There’s still nothing in the show to make the fans thinking about R+L=J

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    2. I don’t understand why he would care if it got out. It’s completely understandable. Watching Bran’s training on screen would be incredibly dull imo.

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    3. I’m surprisingly ok with this. I’d actually rather have the whole storyline take a break than get a few rushed or inconsequential snippets through the season.

      And I don’t think all of his training will happen off-screen, it will just happen very quickly next season. I think it would take just as long to explain where Bran’s new powers have come from as it would to do a sort of “training montage” scene or three, so might as well show rather than tell.

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    4. I think it also solves the problem of Isaac growing up before our eyes. If we come back to him later as older and now well-trained in his powers, that could be a compelling transformation. I think seeing Theon tortured was an artistic choice. He’s so broken as Reek viewers need to understand how he got there (hard as it was to watch).

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    5. If they’re willing to do that off screen, then it makes me wonder why we’ve been privy to Theon’s “transformation,” which happens off screen in the novels. Contractual differences? Or just and artistic choice?

      Let’s go with artistic choice – just because “contractual differences” just turns it into a logistics story and therefore isn’t interesting to discuss. It’s probably a combo of the two.

      But if we’re talking artistic choices, D&D may have felt that they needed to fill in the blanks with Theon in a way that is not done in ACoK/ASoS. Part of it was the amping up of making Theon a tragic figure in the show – the burning of the letter, the beheading of Rodrik Cassel, the decision not to run to the Wall – and to do that, and then leave us viewers completely in the dark, would have seemed to leave a real big question out there on the minds of a lot of people (Unsullied, obviously).

      The question, of course, is whether it worked, and there many people are right to say it had mixed results. To me they got the balance right in Season 4 – just three appearances by Reek and Ramsay, which seemed perfect, compared with the 6 episodes they figured into in Season 3; had those been truncated to perhaps just the first appearance, the feigned escape, the castration, and “my real father lost his head in King’s Landing” and the final “You’re Reek,” it would have been a bit better in terms of their use of him.

      Part of it, and no disrespect to Isaac Hempstead-Wright, who is doing well with Bran, is also that Alfie Allen’s one of the brightest spots in a cast full of already terrific actors, so even in scenes where the material is weak, he shines.

      As for Bran, I am modestly surprised. I would have expected they’d just at least include him in a couple of scenes – talking to Theon would have been the primary one, in fact. So surprised to see him cut for now, but if it serves the story (and really, he’s kind of stranded now, up there), it seems to make less sense to bring him back into it for the moment.

      This short-changes a character who to many seems like the “main” character, at least in AGoT, but really, Bran’s importance to the main plot has been tangential for two seasons now. I think I’d rather this than a perfunctory attempt to fashion a plot and have him clutter up episodes when they also have to include the Dornish, the High Sparrow, and all else that’s going on. This could in a sense be decent news for the Northern plot, though, as it gets one element out of the way for now.

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    6. All season :(, can’t we have him back for a small scene in the season finale??? I just can’t imagine a season without Bran! Argh!!!one!!one!

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    7. Blind Beth: I think it would take just as long to explain where Bran’s new powers have come from as it would to do a sort of “training montage” scene or three, so might as well show rather than tell.

      Preferably set to “Gonna Fly Now.” Or rather, “The Eye of the Tiger,” er, “The Eye of the Raven.”

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    8. I posted this in the other thread, but obviously it’s more relevant here.

      This is unfortunate, but after my initial skepticism around the time that Kristian Nairn gave his first interview, I had started to accept that the news was probably true. The interviews that Isaac Hempstead-Wright did implying that the next season of Game of Thrones would be his next project never did specify exactly when he would be going back, and the rest of his comments on the matter were frustratingly nondescript. It seems pretty clear now that he was being intentionally vague on a directive from his bosses who didn’t want this information to leak. Kristian Nairn just happens to be more off-the-cuff in his speaking style, and he let something slip.

      The stated reasons given for the decision do make sense to me. I’m definitely sympathetic to Benioff and Weiss’s concerns about Bran’s story getting too far ahead of the other characters and that his material might not be very cinematic. Seeing him emerge from whatever training that he’s going to undergo more-or-less fully formed will be exciting when we finally get back to him in Season 6.

      The main concern I have going forward will be how smooth that re-integration process will be and how much Unsullied viewers will forget about him in the interim. On one hand, there are viewers who don’t care for his storyline and probably won’t mind taking a break from him. The challenge will be getting them to care when he does show up after a season’s absence. On the other hand, there are viewers who finally started to get excited about Bran when he reached his destination and was told “You will fly”. Hopefully, their excitement won’t wane too much as the focus temporarily shifts to other storylines.

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    9. Just found out the new Ommegang GoT beer for the spring is called Three Eyed Raven. Guess they’re doing what they can to keep the storyline on people’s minds while Bran’s taking a break. 🙂

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    10. As far as comparing us seeing Theon’s story to Bran skipping a season, I think, though the producers will never admit this, the backlash to Theon’s season 3 story (as well as, to a lesser extent, the complaints that Bran’s story in season 3 was quite boring at six episodes) led to them revising their views on the extent to which characters need to be kept “in the picture”, or at all, if the alternative would be considered dull television.

      Theon and Bran had six episodes apiece in season 3. In season 4, Theon had only three appearances, even though, if you look at a plot summary, it might seem like more is happening (Yara’s appearance, frankly, needed to be longer). Bran had four episodes instead of six, but much of that was wholly invented material to justify even a minimal presence (as well as crossover with Jon’s filler story).

      With Theon, of course, he has much more actual story for season 5, but Bran’s storyline is basically exhausted until season 6. It’s also quite possible, even probable, that the next phase in Bran’s story involves a good degree of crossover with another plot, and therefore it can’t be brought forward to any real extent.

      Also, more mundanely, I think the writers find Bran easily the least interesting of the “major” characters, so it’s probably easier for them to let him go than, say, Theon.

      Also of some interest to me is that the logic that they apply to cutting Bran could almost as easily be applied to Sansa’s current status, but we know she’s in the next season.

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    11. No Bran in s5 means theon/weirwood scene in s6 they wont skip that scene guaranteed. Ive said couple times before s6 will still have elements of AFFC/ADWD he just said theyre making changes to books as necessary to keep characters storylines chronologically parallel (meaning fillers or benching people) I cant wait to say told you so when “For The Watch Scene” doesnt happen this season.

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    12. Nothing at all? I like that they’re stopping his story from getting too far ahead this year, but is one scene too much to ask? Even Yara got that last year. My unsullied friends are anxious to know what the f#@k is going on with “that tree guy” and now they don’t get anything until 2016. He still has one chapter of source material left, wouldn’t it be better to use that and only that than leave him completely absent for a whole season so people get some form of explanation.

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    13. I understand this decision

      Having Bran seeing visions of the past not knowing what´s really happening (and not explaining them later on either) is not very cinematic .

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    14. Greatjon of Slumber,

      Agree with this for the most part. Theon’s story in Season 3 was as much his as it was Ramsay’s. If they had had him in four episodes I don’t think it would have got that much criticsm; it was just too much, and they obviously realised that due to his decreased role in Season 3.

      It also makes sense to not have Bran in Season 5. They have a lot going on wihout including filler scenes, which could be included as a montage in Season 6. Also, most Unsullied don’t care about Bran, and that’s not D&D’s fault as his storyline has been pretty boring up until this point in the books too (although this could change in the last two books). As they saw, the rest of the storyline needs to catch-up. I wouldn’t rule out a quick glimpse of him at the end of the season, but it might just be re-used footage with another person’s dialogue over.

      This does also make me wonder how much we will see the likes of Sansa and Brienne, but it does exemplify just why we can’t have a full Ironborn, and Griff storyline; there isn’t enough time without a two season adaptation of AFFC/ADWD, which would kill the show. Concise storytelling is much preferred.

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    15. Glad this is finally settled. Kristian’s side of the story was specific and Isaac’s was vague, so it should have been obvious which side of the story held more water. James Hibberd at EW has obviously had a direct line to Benioff & Weiss for ages, so it was personally never in doubt.

      I just hope there aren’t repercussions for Kristian. Weird that Benioff said they’d preferred to have kept their absence a secret.

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    16. Sean C.,

      Agreed. They did more with less last season in Theon’s storyline and letting Bran’s mystical training take place off screen sets it up for him to come in and be a real game changer by Season 6. After all Bran’s training as a greenseer is not going to make for great tv the way Arya’s assassin training inevitably will. As for Sansa, I suspect that they actually have reason to accelerate her storyline because a lot of things, are planned for her future and they wanted to get started-especially on showing her evolution as a character.

      Personally I think they’re smart to prune away what they don’t really need so they can concentrate on all the good stuff and getting to certain climactic moments.

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    17. FOR THE WATCH:
      No Bran in s5 means theon/weirwood scene in s6 they wont skip that scene guaranteed. Ive said couple times before s6 will still have elements of AFFC/ADWD he just said theyre making changes to books as necessary to keep characters storylines chronologically parallel (meaning fillers or benching people)I cant wait to say told you so when “For The Watch Scene” doesnt happen this season.

      There’s no way the Northern storyline is going to be moving that slowly. Theon’s story has no climax if that’s the case; nor does Jon’s.

      As far as Bran being omitted entirely goes, in many respects I sympathize with the writers on this point. ASOIAF, in its original formulation, was a trilogy. But the first book grew into basically 5 books in the process of writing them, with this growth in the amount of story being shared massively unequally, and Bran’s story clearly expanded the least — after the sack of Winterfell, there’s hardly any significant plot movement for the character; the few chapters there are largely get by on atmosphere and various magical elements that don’t translate well to television. If you imagine Bran’s arc to date as the story material of a single book, involving a young boy who is crippled, discovers he has magical powers, is forced to flee his home, and treks to meet a wizard, it makes sense, but that basic framework has been stretched out over four books.

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    18. Comparing this to Theon s3 is apples-and-oranges, there’s a whole different set of potential storylines and decisions to be made for s5. Plus Theon’s arc in s3 brought us Iwan Rheon, so it was fine with me.

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    19. Interesting, I’m relieved i will not have to worry about spoilers from Bran’s future book story.

      For people comparing Bran to Theon I’d suggest Sansa as a more apt comparison as to the best of my knowledge Sansa will be in season 5 however her story line from ADWD is all but finished.

      Edit – several others have already suggested this above so credit to them.

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    20. Sean C.:
      Also of some interest to me is that the logic that they apply to cutting Bran could almost as easily be applied to Sansa’s current status, but we know she’s in the next season.

      After the positive reaction to “Darth Sansa”, they wouldn’t skip her. Besides, Sophie Turner is a bigger name than Isaac, and it is easier to add filler to her storyline as she can easily interact with other big players in the show, like LF and Brienne, rather than Bran who wouldn’t have that same opportunity.

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    21. If being at the end of their book material is the reason for cutting Bran, Hodor and Meera from season 5, I guess we won’t be seeing Sansa this year either.

      We’ll have to see how long this excuse holds water.

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    22. Not cool with this. Already discussed in the other thread.

      And I guess Isaac tiptoed around the question because he didn’t know how to face the follow up.

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    23. LaughingStorm:
      If being at the end of their book material is the reason for cutting Bran, Hodor and Meera from season 5, I guess we won’t be seeing Sansa this year either.

      We’ll have to see how long this excuse holds water.

      If you read the entire article, Benioff states that it’s not just because they’re at the end of the book material, they just didn’t think anything they could create for him “training in a cave” would be compelling enough to film so they decided to have him sit out instead until the story they want to tell with him is ready to go and the other characters are caught up in their timelines.

      I imagine that since Sansa is free to go to different places and interact with other characters in S5, the issue isn’t the same.

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    24. Blind Beth,

      Benioff clearly states that all the Bran training is off screen. It also won’t make sense that Bran didn’t do anything during the time of season 5. And as I said in the other thread, Bran will probably only come back late in season 6, WHEN his storyline affects other characters directly, and will probably be reintroduced through said characters. The same will happen in the books.

      My speculation:

      GRRM said that we will see the Lands of Always Winter, so I think Jon Snow will be headed there after his death gets undone. I’m guessing he eventually gets saved by the Children and meets Bran in the cave. That mirrors the story of the Last Hero that Old Nan tells in AGOT. I’m sure the show will adapt that in some way, especially with Jon and Bran already having two near misses.

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    25. I’m getting ahead of myself, but I think it might be great to have a Bran scene as the season 6 opener with some sort of vision (past, present, or future). What do you think?

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    26. See now this confuses me. I thought one of the main reasons Benioff and Weiss were so hell bent on 7 seasons was because the actor/actress kids are growing up and it won’t look right on screen. I think Benioff even said as much.

      But now, we’re going to take a kid actor who will be last seen on screen at 15 years old in season 4, and then not see him again until he’s 17 years old in season 6. And they’re not anticipating a massive physical and visual change in the actor in that 2 year time period? But if that’s alright with them, than why are they using the excuse of 7 seasons because it won’t look right to have maturing kids?

      This confuses me because it’s inconsistent on a number of levels. Including Issac, who this very site had a video link to an interview with him saying he’d be in season 5.

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    27. “If they’re willing to do that off screen, then it makes me wonder why we’ve been privy to Theon’s “transformation,” which happens off screen in the novels.”

      Excellent point. Maybe they did not like the backlash to the season 3 Reek scenes and decided to take a different approach

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    28. Lord Elmo Tully,

      Well not everyone, Bran will still have a chapter to go based on this news (ironic considering we were all concerned he’s get too far ahead). Also all the other POVs who have been cut for season 5 (and there are several) obviously won’t finish their published book storylines this coming season if they never get to start them.

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    29. Ser Hodor Halfmast,

      It would be jarring and just plain bad to get back into a storyline as if they haven’t dropped it for a season. They aren’t doing that.

      That’s like giving Rickon a scene in season 5 where it’s just him and Osha walking around. No matter how cool a vision is included, it’s not a good idea.

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    30. Peope criticise D&D if they create filler scenes, or get too far ahead of the books, and also criticise them if they drop a character for the season who doesn’t have much more to do in the published books.

      They are damned if they do, damned if they don’t.

      As I said above, it is easy to creat filler for Sansa, not so much for Bran. Havig said that, I doubt Sansa will be in more than 5 episodes this season, if that, anyway. There is a lot of stuff happening in Braavos, Meereen, King’s Landing, and Dorne (and hopefully the North too)for them to have too much filler outside of these places .

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    31. So depressing ! I had many ideas of flashbacks and visions to be seen through Bran 🙁

      D&D keep crushing my dreems 🙁 one or two visions won’t bother 🙁

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    32. Just out of curiosity, if an actor has a six year contract but doesn’t actually film anything for one of those years, does that count as one of the six? Or does it mean that the actor is still under contract for season 7, being that it’s still only that actor’s 6th year? Anyone with actual experience with the way these contracts are worded care to clarify?

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    33. Wow… the storylines for next season really become fewer and fewer…

      Instead of
      – King’s Landing (POV: Cersei)
      – Wall (POVs: Jon, Mel)
      – Meereen (POVs: Dany, Barristan)
      – Beyond The Wall (POV: Bran)
      – Winterfell (POV: Theon)
      – Vale (POV: Sansa)
      – Riverrun (POV: Jaime)
      – Riverlands (POV: Brienne)
      – Dorne (POVs: Arianne, Arys, Areo)
      – Iron Islands (POV: Aeron)
      – Vic’s journey to Meereen (POV: Vic)
      – Quentyn’s journey to Meereen (POV: Quentyn)
      – Pentos/Volantis/Meereen (POV: Tyrion)
      – Braavos (POV: Arya)
      – Braavos/Oldtown (POV: Sam)
      – White Harbor (POV: Davos)
      – Deepwood Motte/around WF (Crofter’s Village) (POV: Asha)
      – Rhoynar/Griffin’s Roost (POV: JonCon)
      => 18

      Looks like we’ll probably get:
      – King’s Landing
      – Wall
      – Meereen
      – Winterfell
      – Vale
      – Dorne
      – Pentos/Volantis/Meereen
      – Braavos
      – Deepwood Motte/around WF (Crofter’s Village)
      => 9

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    34. D & D Logic: Exclude Bran from season five but shoe horn Theon into seasons three and four.

      This season is going to be one gigantic clusterfuck.

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    35. Jeb: This does also make me wonder how much we will see the likes of Sansa and Brienne, but it does exemplify just why we can’t have a full Ironborn, and Griff storyline; there isn’t enough time without a two season adaptation of AFFC/ADWD, which would kill the show. Concise storytelling is much preferred.

      Right. Well put.

      The questions to this, of course, is just how much of a storyline can be invented for the two, how crucial they are, and how much do people like them, and how much will they grow? To this end, Sansa remains more important. Not that it matters, but winning Best Actress in the prestigious WOTW awards 🙂 does show the way in which we viewers see Sophie Turner’s awesomeness in this most recent season. If I’m making this up, I would think we see her, one way or another, in six eps or so this year, as that might make the most sense.

      Brienne’s a tougher one. The character worked very well as a supporting character to Cat, to Jaime. How well she survives on her own depends on the material. I would imagine we’ll see less of her in Season 5. Since leaving King’s Landing, her most compelling scene was the fight with the Hound, because Rory McCann FTW.

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    36. Jared:
      This is unfortunate…

      …The main concern I have going forward will be how smooth that re-integration process will be and how much Unsullied viewers will forget about him in the interim. On one hand, there are viewers who don’t care for his storyline and probably won’t mind taking a break from him. The challenge will be getting them to care when he does show up after a season’s absence. On the other hand, there are viewers who finally started to get excited about Bran when he reached his destination and was told “You will fly”. Hopefully, their excitement won’t wane too much as the focus temporarily shifts to other storylines.

      I agree – it is unfortunate. Bran’s storyline has dragged in the books and in the show. In retrospect, I applaud D&D’s efforts in S4 to try and bring some substance to it with the “meet/don’t meet” Jon plot even though it wasn’t very compelling.

      I think that viewers will be less inclined to care about this character going forward. If Bran is going to have a major impact on the story (as I suspect) then it may not be met with anticipation but with a bit of indifference. Or worse, it will appear to be contrived: the disabled boy with the weird visions suddenly steps in to resolve the seemingly unresolvable conflict.

      I don’t envy D&D on this one. This was a no-win situation.

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    37. Since we were all discussing contracts and renegotiations last week…

      Presumably the actors who were there since Season 1 had 6-year contracts, and these were the ones who had to renegotiate for a 7th. If Isaac had a 6-year contract, does benching him for a year mean that’s just one less actor they had to renegotiate with? They could just hold him to his 6-season contract and have him for seasons 6&7 with no reason to shell out extra money?

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    38. Now that it’s been confirmed, let’s look at the number of storylines the show will need to follow on a season by season basis:

      Season 1
      1. King’s Landing
      2. Winterfell
      3. The Wall
      4. Dany
      5. Tyrion/Eyrie
      6. Robb/Cat (starts halfway through)

      Season 2
      1. King’s Landing
      2. Theon/Bran
      3. Stannis/Davos
      4. Robb/Cat/Jaime
      5. Jon/Ygritte
      6. Dany
      7. Arya/Harrenhaal

      Season 3
      1. King’s Landing
      2. Jaime/Brienne
      3. Robb/Cat
      4. Arya/BwB/Hound
      5. Theon/Ramsay
      6. Jon/Wildlings
      7. Sam/Gilly
      8. Dragonstone
      9. Bran
      10. Dany

      Season 4
      1. King’s Landing
      2. Theon/Ramsay
      3. Jon/Sam/The Wall
      4. Ygritte/Tormund
      5. Stannis/Davos
      6. Bran
      7. Arya/Hound
      8. Dany
      9. Brienne/Pod (starts halfway through)
      10. Sansa/LF (starts halfway through)

      Season 5
      1. Jon/The Wall/Stannis
      2. Winterfell/Theon/Boltons
      3. King’s Landing
      4. Arya/Braavos
      5. Sansa/Eyrie/Brienne?
      6. Dorne/Jaime
      7. Dany
      8. Tyrion/Varys/Jorah

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    39. Jeb,

      I think they could have gotten about as much screentime for his training as Theon had in season 4 (maybe even a bit less) and it would have worked just fine. I don’t see why they think Bran’s training is less interesting than Theon’s torture- that last Bran chapter was super interesting, and it allows for some really cool visions. I also feel like the viewers deserve an explanation for the tree-man and the kiddies, sooner rather than later.

      And on the “damned if they do damned if they don’t” line- it’s two very different groups of fans. One side wants the show to service it’s characters and thinks that having them disappear for a season and a half is bad (especially for a storyline that is already considered as minor). The other group wants the show to be like the books and would rather have the show stop in place than spoil them and hates every bit of original material they make to fill out arcs.

      I’ll let you decide which side is more rational.

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    40. I’m not sure why people are equating Theon and Bran’s stories. For one, there is definitely stuff going on with Theon at the Dreadfort during ASoS, Martin just chooses not to tell you about it until later on when Theon remembers several of the incidents in ADwD.

      Secondly, the psychological breaking down of a villainous character into one that will elicit some kind of sympathy from the audience seems like a process worth dramatizing. You can certainly understand why that would be a compelling storyline to put on screen. It also introduces us to one of the series’ great villains and lets us get to know him a little earlier.

      Contrast this decision with whether or not we should get to see Bran listening to stories sitting in a cave in the middle of nowhere.

      There is no comparison but for those who want to whine for the sake of whining, I guess anything you can do to draw that line, as wobbly as it might be, go for it.

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    41. Andrew:
      Since we were all discussing contracts and renegotiations last week…

      Presumably the actors who were there since Season 1 had 6-year contracts, and these were the ones who had to renegotiate for a 7th.If Isaac had a 6-year contract, does benching him for a year mean that’s just one less actor they had to renegotiate with?They could just hold him to his 6-season contract and have him for seasons 6&7 with no reason to shell out extra money?

      No, I don’t believe so. If you fail to “exercise” a contract of this sort for a year, generally, it lapses.

      Though Isaac has probably the least negotiating power of any of the original main cast, it must be said.

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    42. Jeb:
      Peope criticise D&D if they create filler scenes, or get too far ahead of the books, and also criticise them if they drop a character for the season who doesn’t have much more to do in the published books.

      They are damned if they do, damned if they don’t.

      It’s about balance. Cramming a story full of filler to stretch it out over multiple appearances in a season obviously doesn’t work very well. Similarly completely abandoning a storyline has its own problems. What you need is that middle ground. Enough to keep the story in peoples minds yet not too much that it gets boring or needs to have extra content made up to flesh it out. Theon’s three episodes in season 4 is a great example of how it can work well.

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    43. Luka Nieto,

      Yes they did.

      “That said, we’re not going to take a two-year hiatus (to wait for a book). The little kids are growing older, the show’s got momentum now, and the show must go on. We’re just hopeful that it will all time out.”

      http://www.tor.com/blogs/2013/05/hbo-may-reveal-game-of-thrones-ending

      They have mentioned the kids getting older as one of the reasons why they want to accelerate the ending of the series.

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    44. Dave:
      See now this confuses me. I thought one of the main reasons Benioff and Weiss were so hell bent on 7 seasons was because the actor/actress kids are growing up and it won’t look right on screen. I think Benioff even said as much.

      But now, we’re going to take a kid actor who will be last seen on screen at 15 years old in season 4, and then not see him again until he’s 17 years old in season 6. And they’re not anticipating a massive physical and visual change in the actor in that 2 year time period? But if that’s alright with them, than why are they using the excuse of 7 seasons because it won’t look right to have maturing kids?

      This confuses me because it’s inconsistent on a number of levels. Including Issac, who this very site had a video link to an interview with him saying he’d be in season 5.

      The show is going to run for seven seasons primarily because of various financial and contractual reasons – all of the actors recently negotiated their contracts to include options for a seventh season, and in return they all received substantial raises. Retaining the entire cast after Season 7 could become prohibitively expensive, even for HBO. Game of Thrones is also an extremely taxing show to produce. Rather than risk burning out, Benioff and Weiss want to keep the story moving so that viewers remain invested. The last thing that they want is for the show to run too long and people to get bored with it, or for viewers to lose interest because they spent too much time adapting a slow part of the story.

      Sophie, Maisie, and Isaac growing older is a concern for the showrunners, but it’s not a prohibitive one – certainly not enough for them to base their decision about how long Game of Thrones will run primarily on those criteria. Sophie Turner is already 18, and while Sansa’s obviously a few years younger, her height is consistent with Sansa’s maturation as a character as she becomes a “woman grown”. Plus, she was always tall for her age. Maisie Williams is now 17 and while she obviously looks older than Arya’s stated age, she remains relatively short and (unfortunately for her) she isn’t likely to grow much taller than she already has in the next three years.

      Isaac Hempstead-Wright presented the biggest problem because he’s growing so tall after he appeared so young in the first season. Fortunately, the producers have two relatively easy ways to hide or explain his growth. First, Bran can’t walk, so Isaac is always going to be seated. That makes it easier to disguise his height by keeping his legs either out of frame or under a pile of blankets. Second, Bran’s storyline has taken him to a place awash in long-forgotten magic and mysterious mystical elements. If necessary, the writers can toss-in a in a throw-away line where another characters talks about how much Bran’s training has changed him physically, causing him to grow up faster than he might have otherwise. It wouldn’t need to be based on anything – just enough to make the audience say “OK” and invoke their suspension of disbelief.

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    45. King Tommen: Contrast this decision with whether or not we should get to see Bran listening to stories sitting in a cave in the middle of nowhere.

      The only exception to this would be for him to have the vision of Theon in Winterfell. If there was a one-ep surprise appearance, that might be the reason for it. No reason Theon won’t still go to the tree – he may still do that – but without Bran responding.

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    46. Greatjon of Slumber: The only exception to this would be for him to have the vision of Theon in Winterfell. If there was a one-ep surprise appearance, that might be the reason for it. No reason Theon won’t still go to the tree – he may still do that – but without Bran responding.

      You can certainly have this scene if you want to and it doesn’t require Hempstead-Wright to be a part of the cast to do so. It’s a disembodied voice coming from a weirtree right? Don’t really need Bran for that.

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    47. Well that’s disappointing.
      Isaac’s one of the brightest actors on the show and it always intrigued me how he will play it off in the future.
      Gotta say the news so far haven’t got me hooked yet.

        Quote  Reply

    48. jentario,

      I was referencing the snarky comparison of Theon being included in previous seasons and that somehow meaning that Bran needed to be included as well. IMO, those situations are completely different and not worthy of comparison (as I thought I outlined clearly in my post).

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    49. So the reddit poster was correct. People thought he was fake because Kristian did not say clearly that Bran is out of season 5.

        Quote  Reply

    50. I actually think this was a smart choice. Moreso than say, Sansa….Bran is indeed in a “training period” which can safely take place “off screen” as it isn’t very cinematic. I’d hoped they’d use it as an excuse for greensight flashbacks but….we’ve also got to deal with the already very bad time constraints of the other subplots. And as they said, they went FURTHER AHEAD with Bran, and they want everyone to keep pace.

      What I wonder about is what this bodes about the ironborn subplots and Arianne Martell: we know that the King’s Landing subplots will go all the way up to catching up to the books by the end of Season 5 (well, the end of book 4, concurrent for the most part with book 5 save for the last chapter…)

      So…will they “pause” most of the King’s Landing subplots for the other stuff to catch up? Don’t know.

        Quote  Reply

    51. Daphne,

      What reddit poster? Wasn’t it Hibberd on EW?

      It may be time to revisit his article, which has been updated with a link to this other article, as an explanation of why Bran is out. All the other stuff may be right after all. Most prominently, no LSH.

      http://insidetv.ew.com/2014/10/22/game-of-thrones-rumors/

      The Dragon Demands,

      I don’t follow you. What makes you think that what’s been cut from Season 5 will appear in Season 6? That makes no sense. They are just cut. Arianne, especially, cannot just be delayed. That’d be a very strange decision indeed. I can see them delaying the Greyjoy uncles (well, Euron at least), but I don’t think it’s actually likely.

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    52. King Tommen:
      jentario,

      I agree King Tommen, they are fairly different — Bran’s storyline isn’t as connected to other events as Theon’s is (with the Boltons who are in turn connected to the Lannisters and now the Wall/Stannis).

      I was referencing the snarky comparison of Theon being included in previous seasons and that somehow meaning that Bran needed to be included as well. IMO, those situations are completely different and not worthy of comparison (as I thought I outlined clearly in my post).

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    53. The only reason why Bran’s storyline hasn’t been cinematic and interesting is because the writer never put any effort into it, and they can’t fund a way to put filler in it anymore like they did with other characters.

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    54. King Tommen,

      My opinion is that there is a lot of good to mine out of the Bran training storyline, certainly enough to fit around three episodes (like Theon in season 4). That chapter in the books was awesome, and I’m sure they could have made a nice little arc out of it (with some added TWOW knowledge and some original scenes).

      The climax of that arc could have been Bran seeing Ned again in the flashback vision, (and Sean Bean has already said he wants to return to the show for a cameo multiple times!). But no- that, along with his training, is all gone.

      The way I see it, D&D didn’t even bother trying that. Which is a shame.

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    55. It should also be noted that in Seasons 3 and 4, the show was essentially adapting only 1 book in the series (the best one, so a good decision). This afforded them with the luxury to either dwell on certain aspects of character stories or expand the universe a little and create additional scenes to either delay a character journey or punch up the action a little bit during the season.

      In S5, they are basically doing the opposite by adapting 2 very large books into 1 season (more or less). This means that they don’t have the same luxury to perhaps check-in on every character they could or dwell too long on things that aren’t going to push the plot forward into the final 2 seasons.

      I think this decision probably has as much to do with the time constraints as it does with story demands. If this is S3 or S4, chances are they find a way to fit in a scene or two of Bran doing some stuff in the cave.

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    56. The Dragon Demands,

      I don’t follow you. What makes you think that what’s been cut from Season 5 will appear in Season 6? That makes no sense. They are just cut. Arianne, especially, cannot just be delayed. That’d be a very strange decision indeed. I can see them delaying the Greyjoy uncles (well, Euron at least), but I don’t think it’s actually likely.

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    57. As much as I disliked the torture scenes in season 3, I can see why they were necessary for season 4…without them, we simply would not understand why Theon became Reek. We had to see it to know just how broken Theon is now.

      I’m not shocked or upset about Bran. Really, his only purpose in the show would have been to show flashbacks, but I think the writers can work those storylines in via other means.

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    58. King Tommen,

      I understand that, but I don’t think other storylines have such a big priority that they should eliminate Bran entirely.

      I would gladly see less Dorne and Meereen scenes, if it means we can make room from Bran to be in a pitiful 3 episodes, with 10-20 minutes of screentime. (especially with all the cuts in those storylines).

      Basically, I’m 100% sure they could have made room for Bran. You yourself counted and saw that there are now less storylines in season 5 than in 4. I’m sure they could shave something here and there to allow one of the show’s original main characters to appear in the season.

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    59. jentario:
      King Tommen,

      My opinion is that there is a lot of good to mine out of the Bran training storyline, certainly enough to fit around three episodes (like Theon in season 4). That chapter in the books was awesome, and I’m sure they could have made a nice little arc out of it (with some added TWOW knowledge and some original scenes).

      I also liked that final Bran chapter. It was the culmination of his entire arc across five books. It also really turned up the fantasy element.

      However, I have no idea of how this chapter translates on screen and or how much time could/should be devoted to it. Endless conversations with BR would get tiresome.

      Just when Bran’s story gets exciting and becomes one that I was looking forward to…oops, sorry, wait ’til next year. I get it but I am still disappointed.

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    60. jentario,

      Hm, you are “100% sure they could make room for him.” Bold position, especially considering that D&D, the actual producers who know the future of the story, are also sure of their decision. Hm… I wonder who has more credibility. As they explain in the article, Bran’s storyline HAS to be put on hold so that the chronology makes sense. They know the chronology, the whole story. We don’t.

      My point being, why not wait for the reasons for not advancing Bran’s story further to become obvious when TWOW and Season 6 are released? Until then, you literally have no legs to stand on. D&D know what’s up. We don’t. Also, Dany is one of the most acclaimed characters in the show, while Bran’s storyline is undoubtedly the most criticized for being incredibly slow (which will be avoided by NOT stretching a single chapter across a season). So… sorry if the world disagrees with you, but that is very much the case.

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    61. well this is going to be THE season where everything takes a different approach. Its going to be interesting if the quality doesn’t dip.

      Every show has point of no return when it reaches a point where it starts feeling different then previous seasons (the invented Dorne plots, certain characters cut

      LSH

      , and now a major character absence).

      And about the idea that Bran’s book content is up, it really isn’t.

      Theres all that stuff about exploring the cave as Hodor and the growing despair and eerie feelings Bran starts to feel.

      Theres clearly enough there to warrant some episodes… its obviously a financial decision.

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    62. Messy Justin Massey: Wow… the storylines for next season really become fewer and fewer…

      That isn’t the way to look at it. Regions don’t have story lines: characters do. The regions are just backdrops for story lines. The story lines that it looks like we are getting are:
      Jon:

      Kill the boy, become the Man

      Daeny:

      Kill the girl, become the Queen

      Tyrion:

      Kill the wretch, (re-)become the Hand

      Arya:

      Kill the girl, become the Assassin

      Sansa:

      Kill the tool, become the Player

      Jaime:

      Kill the son, become the Father

      Cersei:

      Kill the daughter, become the Father

      Theon:

      Kill Reek, (re-)become the Prince

      Brienne:

      Kill the Debtor, become the Debtee

      We are losing:
      Bran:

      Kill the crippled boy, become the Tree God

      Sansa:

      Kill the Lady, become the Bastard

      Yara/Asha:

      Kill the Captain, become the Queen

      Arianne:

      Kill the tool, become the Player

      Quentyn:

      Kill the Frog, become the Prince

      Victarion:

      Kill the Tool, become the Wielder

      It’s not clear if we are losing:
      Sam:

      Kill the Coward, become the Man of the Watch

      .
      Davos:

      Kill the Smuggler, become the Hand

      Selmy:

      Kill the Knight, become the Hand

      Of these, only Sansa is getting a different story: and she’s basically taking over Arianne’s and Victarion’s (essentially identical) stories.

      But here is the bigger thing: don’t you think that the overall story (

      People trying to Elevate themselves, successfully or unsuccessfully

      ) will be screamingly obvious to the audience? Remember, the general viewer is watching the forests, not the trees: and over-telling a story can be as off-putting as under-telling it!

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    63. Sean C.: I think, though the producers will never admit this, the backlash to Theon’s season 3 story… led to them revising their views on the extent to which characters need to be kept “in the picture”

      There would have had to have been a backlash for them to admit that one affected things. To the contrary, the ratings went up and the critical accolades continued to be piled onto the show. The real danger was that the RW would generate a backlash: and even that didn’t.

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    64. duff

      “The only reason why Bran’s storyline hasn’t been cinematic and interesting is because the writer never put any effort into it”

      Ridiculous and untrue lol

      Not even George R. R. Martin himself could make bran story interesting so don’t blame the show writers just because bran is a boring and uninteresting character lol

        Quote  Reply

    65. rex,

      He said “the writer.” So I’m pretty sure he agrees with you —he meant GRRM. At least, that’s how I understood it.

      davyJones,

      The difference will only be felt by book readers, which make up a small part of the show watchers, so most people won’t notice any of the differences you mention this coming season. Anyway, the change has been progressive, not sudden at all: each season has been less faithful than the previous one.

      It’s funny (though a bit depressing) that you categorically state that it’s “obviously a financial decision.” Yes. Just ignore the whole point of that article —D&D explaining their creative decision. The fact that you don’t agree with their creative decision doesn’t meant it’s not a creative decision, it doesn’t mean it was a cynical move. It only means you don’t agree with them. And that’s fine. You don’t have to justify your disagreement with the boogeyman of the HBO budget.

      Similarly, adapting AFFC and ADWD seems more like a creative decision than a financial one —you can’t just cut those books in half. There would be no climax for pretty much any of the storylines in season 5. No satisfying character arcs. It’d be a clusterfuck. Splitting ASOS only worked because of the Red Wedding, and still, many characters suffered because of it, because their story arcs were stretched too much.

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    66. mariamb,

      I guess I was somewhat deluded in my excitement regarding how the weirnet would be “visualized” onscreen. I thought that would be an impressive challenge for the showrunners. BR could take Bran anywhere, maybe even to visions of past events (ToJ, Knight of the Laughing Tree, Blackfyre Rebellions, Dragon Dances, etc), or to places that we haven’t seen yet (Land of always winter, Greywater watch, etc), or to events that take place off-page (Balon, Hardhome, Nymeria raids, etc), or to realtime events (Theon & Sansa and weirwood voices…). Bran could fly like the dragon shadow did over KL in S4 teasers.

      BR and Bran mindmelding could be like an ASoI&F version of Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol”. 🙂

      Oh well, HBO wanted action over cerebral possibilities. Understandable, but oh what it could be! S5 will still be filled with intriguing stuff. TWoW in 2015!

        Quote  Reply

    67. Wimsey: There would have had to have been a backlash for them to admit that one affected things.To the contrary, the ratings went up and the critical accolades continued to be piled onto the show.The real danger was that the RW would generate a backlash: and even that didn’t.

      Er, I’m not talking about a ratings backlash.

      Theon’s season 3 story was not remotely well-received. Indeed, if you look among the Unsullied audiences and critics, to a great extent it killed their interest in the character. The writers do pay attention to what audiences say, and, for that matter, they’re capable of assessing the final product themselves, once they’ve finished working on it.

        Quote  Reply

    68. Wimsey,

      I agree with what you say (and I really like your “Kill the… become the…”-way how you said it regarding all characters!), I was simply listing the locations + their POVs to make it sound more un-spoiler-y and compare in numbers GRRM’s several (new) storylines (since AFFC & ADWD) and how D&D want to focus on the well-known main characters.
      You’re right about: locations =/= storylines, characters = storylines, it was simply my way to put it.

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    69. Hodor’s Bastard,

      Not delusional necessarily. What you are expressing is the imagination of a book reader – like me – who hoped to see aspects of the story that we have wondered about for years.

      The Unsullied, however, they aren’t wondering about the Tower of Joy, Greywater Watch, etc. They are wondering about when Dany is going to get to Westeros and why the White Walkers “adopted” the baby. Honestly, the Sullied are wondering about these things as well so something has to be eliminated. Only 30 hours left to tell this massive story; every minute is precious, I suppose.

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    70. Why did D&D stretch Theon is season 3… but not Bran in season 5?

      Because – at least it introduced a new villain and a new location in the process. And HBO needed a bit more violence and T&A and Theon added it better than Bran could. You could TRY to do some T&A in a vision of Bran’s I guess – but that’s just creepy. We’ve got Sand Snakes and Miranda and what have you… Bran adds nothing visually that exposition can’t also add…

      I hate to boil it down to something that simplistic – but there’s got to be a desired rough quota for “that” stuff…

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    71. mariamb,

      But it wasn’t just my “book-reader” desires….In my defense, the showrunners did attempt to visualize the weirnet mindmeld in S4, with Bran touching the weirwood and Jojen’s projections at Crasters. Those were exceptional scenes in S4, imho. I guess that tease set my delusion in motion for S5 and BR. I want more!

        Quote  Reply

    72. a) Of the two hefty books being adapted for S5, Bran has only 1 chapter of material that hasn’t been covered.

      b) We know D&D don’t want Bran’s plot to get too much ahead of other character’s plots, for reasons we cannot know yet.

      c) S5 is expanding an already vast show with a absurdly large cast.

      >> So, it seems to me like a sound decision. “You won’t walk, but you will fly,” seems like a great breaking point and cliff-hanger.

      Excluding a character for one season isn’t the most ideal scenario, but it won’t kill the show either. If holding off on Bran’s plot and having training (ill suited for the TV medium) occur off-screen allows for Bran’s plot to align the way it needs to with other events, then I’m all for it.

        Quote  Reply

    73. Luka Nieto:
      jentario,

      Hm, you are “100% sure they could make room for him.” Bold position, especially considering that D&D, the actual producers who know the future of the story, are also sure of their decision. Hm… I wonder who has more credibility. As they explain in the article, Bran’s storyline HAS to be put on hold so that the chronology makes sense. They know the chronology, the whole story. We don’t.

      My point being, why not wait for the reasons for not advancing Bran’s story further to become obvious when TWOW and Season 6 are released? Until then, you literally have no legs to stand on. D&D know what’s up. We don’t. Also, Dany is one of the most acclaimed characters in the show, while Bran’s storyline is undoubtedly the most criticized for being incredibly slow (which will be avoided by NOT stretching a single chapter across a season). So… sorry if the world disagrees with you, but that is very much the case.

      All right, let’s do this

      I stand by everything I said. I am 100% sure they could have made room for a very short Bran arc that would take more or less 15 minutes of screentime out of the entire season. For reference, that’s 1/40 of the season devoted to Bran. You want proof? It’s all in Benioff’s comment. Does he ever say that Bran is excluded from season 5 because there was no room? No, he doesn’t. His explanations are purely from a story perspective of them not knowing how to deal with Bran in season 5, and them wanting to avoid his training altogether (which means he skips all of season 5 and at least half if not more of season 6). Does cutting Bran from season 5 leave them more wiggle room for the other characters and storylines? Absolutely, but there was definitely room for him.

      And let me address your other point: oh, how booooooring would Bran’s arc be in season 5! It doesn’t matter that it would only be there for ~3 scenes!

      Oh look, the first hypothetical Bran scene- what?! This scene involves Bran actually understanding the fantastical elements present in the season 4 finale (including the Children and the 3ER)?! How terribly boring! It most certainly ISN’T a question the Unsullied have been clamoring for! I’d rather slit my wrists than see that take a five minute scene, along with a Hodor/Meera cameo and Bran being taught to warg a raven or something.

      Oh look! The second boooring Bran scene! What? He can warg into the Weirwoods now and see THE PAST?! I am offcially bored to death! What’s this, Ned fucking Stark followed by a quick vision sequence a la S4E2? I’m sorry, I was so bored at seeing Ned fucking Stark again (the beloved dead character from season 1, whose actor is completely on board with this idea!), that I fucking fell asleep!

      What’s this, a Theon scene. Very interesting! He’s talking to a Weirwood, now it’s starting to get boring because it might be somehow related to Bran who is just so fucking boring! What’s that? The tree is calling out to Theon? That’s Bran? TERRIBLE AND BORING SCENE. Even though it’s not technically a Bran scene and doesn’t take aqny screentime from other storylines at all!

      Oh look, the final Bran scene of the season! D&D involve some TWOW teases, without delving too deep into what Bran actually does in TWOW (for example: Bran wargs a raven and flies over a the White Walker host massing at Hardhome or wherever while the 3ER gives a disturbing speech about “Winter has finally come” or whatever). NOPE NOPE NOPE, BORING! Cut it all, cut all those measly 15 minutes, gah!

      And FYI if this post makes me seem in any way angry, know that I’m not. Just a bit disappointed. I already accepted this way back after Nairn’s interview. I just think it’s the wrong decision and that it misses out on a lot of potential, and also in a way completely fucks up the Bran storyline (after season 5 and a big chunk of season 6 where it isn’t addressed at all, who the fuck would care about that storyline?). I could understand Bran not appearing for half of season 6, even a bit more than half (depends on where he converges with other storylines), because by then they would have maxed out his training storyline. But what they’re doing is cutting it entirely- along with the awesome flashback with you know who, along with an explanation that I think Unsullied definitely deserve after S4E10, and along with that really cool scene which ties into to another storyline (though I guess they could keep that, not that anyone who hasn’t read the books will actually understand what’s going on), and along with a very small scene that hints at TWOW just to wrap up the arc. All gone.

      D&D are great writers. They pulled off some things really well in the past few seasons, creating arcs from scratch (Arya in season 4, Theon in seasons 3 and 4, Dany in season 2- even though that one isn’t exactly appreciated by the fanbase). I was expecting/hoping them to do the same with Bran in season 5. 3 scenes, that’s all it would take to service the character. 3 awesome, eventful scenes that I’m sure people would have liked (maybe to the point of salvaging Bran’s storyline from being “boring”). Skip him in season 6 when the training starts to get repetitive, don’t just scrap it entirely- that’s my opinion, and I stand by it.

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    74. mariamb: I also liked that final Bran chapter. It was the culmination of his entire arc across five books. It also really turned up the fantasy element.

      On the other hand…it would make for a seriously cool cold open for Season 6. Camera floats down to a weirwood tree in Winterfell, and we see Sean Bean praying there…eventually cutting to Bran “watching” his father. Ooooooh.

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    75. Sean C.: heon’s season 3 story was not remotely well-received. Indeed, if you look among the Unsullied audiences and critics, to a great extent it killed their interest in the character.

      I am highly skeptical of this claim. The sort of audience that watches these type of series loves characters for whom you have conflicting feelings. They did a great job of making Theon both loathsome and pitiable: and Season 3 did a great job of that. Yeah, Theon might have chosen the worst options when present a series of bad choices (fundamentally: betray his birth family or his adopted family): but nobody deserved that. The only comments from critics that I recall were essentially positive, noting that B&W did not shy away from just how brutal comparable societies were in real history. (Series such as The Tudors, Rome and Breaking Bad did similar things: and there is a huge overlap in the audiences for these series.)

      At any rate, if you think that audiences are not interested in Theon anymore, then you are very much mistaken! These sorts of audiences might not like him: but that doesn’t mean that they do not appreciate him.

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    76. jentario,

      Oh, I agree those scenes would be great. But why do you assume they are gone? Even if TWOW has a considerable amount of Bran, I think it’s a good idea to pack exactly those scenes you mentioned (except Theon’s; that can be done this season, without Bran being there, just as in the book) in Season 6, alongside whatever Bran will do in TWOW. For once, his story arc for a season won’t be criticized for being incredibly slow and meandering.

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    77. Luka Nieto: Splitting ASOS only worked because of the Red Wedding, and still, many characters suffered because of it, because their story arcs were stretched too much.

      Agreed. Arya and Jaime did fine, as did the Rob/Cat conclusion. Tyrion suffered a bit, but Cersei didn’t. The ones that truly suffered were Stannis (he was often stranded) and Jon (to an extent).

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    78. Greatjon of Slumber,

      No doubt it would be a cool open for S6. I think that Bran’s visions will make for very cool scenes regardless of when they are shown.

      I’m concerned about viewers’ interest in Bran after a year-long hiatus. It has never been the most dynamic of story lines. To rouse that interest in S6, they will need to use unexpected and emotionally powerful scenes.

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    79. Luka Nieto,

      Benioff basically confirmed in the above interview that Bran’s training is scrapped entirely. They removed Bran from the season because they thought the training won’t make good television- which in my opinion means they didn’t think that through very well. Because it could have been great… The next time we see Bran is when his storyline is relevant to other characters. We’ll see him through the eyes of, say, Jon and by then he’ll have finished his training. That’s pretty much exactly what Benioff says… I don’t see those scenes appearing in the show, because they don’t work in the context of an already trained Bran. Nor do I think they’ll have the time to backtrack in season 5.

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    80. Greatjon of Slumber,

      Stannis the most, certainly. Not because of the plot; plot can be invented and work great (such as the trip to the Iron Bank, which I loved), but because of his character. His post-Blackwater depression was stretched out for far too long, which made him more unlikable than he could have been. In ASOS he starts depressed after his failure in King’s Landing, but then by the end he’s bounced right back. Stretching this out was necessary, of course, because the split DID work perfectly for so many characters, but in the case of Stannis it harmed his story arc a bit.

      jentario,

      I’m sure we’ll have some visual evidence of his powers when he comes back, won’t we? Whenever he’s doing plot-relevant stuff will be the perfect place to show his powers. Maybe something more relevant than “hey, it’s dad.” Maybe R+L=J is confirmed through him, if it is true. Or something of that caliber.

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    81. There are also postive effects to this, of course:
      1- as I said, it gives other storylines more wiggle room (yes, it’s only ~3 scenes, but you can do a lot with 3 scenes)
      2- the next time we see Bran, it will be really exciting (though I’m not sure how Unsullied will feel about it, probably good)

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    82. Luka Nieto,

      Yeah, but I don’t think they’ll be getting into Ned flashbacks and the like. They’ll have way more important TWOW stuff to deal with. Hell, maybe I’m wrong, but I think it’s an educated guess.

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    83. Luka Nieto:
      Greatjon of Slumber,

      Stannis the most, certainly. Not because of the plot; plot can be invented and work great (such as the trip to the Iron Bank, which I loved), but because of his character. His post-Blackwater depression was stretched out for far too long, which made him more unlikable than he could have been. In ASOS he starts depressed after his failure in King’s Landing, but then by the end he’s bounced right back. Stretching this out was necessary, of course, because the split DID work perfectly for so many characters, but in the case of Stannis it harmed his story arc a bit.

      On the other hand they made his blackwater arc even more briliant. Became my most favorite character after that episode on the TV show. I loved how his men had to drag him away screaming because he wouldn’t give up, even when he lost. That scene owned every single Stannis scene we had in the whole book.

      Bar the first theon chapter in twow where Stannis has a great speech, that one is even better and I hope to see it in the show next season

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    84. jentario,

      I agree that S6 Bran could be fascinating. I imagine that we will see him in full control of his powers.

      As far as the Unsullied, I’m not sure if they are fully engaged with him. Maybe they will care when he starts using his powers to impact the story.

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    85. davy,

      I was an Unsullied back then, and I actually thought that the Lannisters managed to take him captive. lol

      That scene wasn’t clear enough, but yeah it was a great Stannis moment.

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    86. Messy Justin Massey,

      Messy Justin Massey: I was simply listing the locations + their POVs

      *looks sheepish* My bad!

      One the “Kill the Wabbit, Become Bugs Bunny” note, Martin frequently includes one line or set of lines that beautifully summarizes a given story. In Swords, it was that great soliloquy that Jaime gives about what you are supposed to do when Oath A and Oath B say “Break the Other Oath.” (That was well done on the show, too.) In Thrones, it was the exchange between Cersei and Ned, where Ned states both that he was taught to kill his enemies, but that he won’t kill women and children (who are his enemies). (That also was well done on the show.) For Dragons, that really struck me that this was the line.

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    87. Wimsey: I am highly skeptical of this claim.The sort of audience that watches these type of series loves characters for whom you have conflicting feelings.

      The negative reception of that story had nothing to do with “conflicted feelings”. It had to do with the audience finding the scenes overly grisly and extremely repetitive, and nobody really had any idea why the show kept returning to Theon being tortured, as it never seemed to be going anywhere.

      The only comments from critics that I recall were essentially positive, noting that B&W did not shy away from just how brutal comparable societies were in real history.

      That was absolutely not what most critics were saying. Sepinwall, to cite one example, absolutely loathed Theon’s story that year, and made it clear even in his reviews for the following season that he now had an automatic dislike of returning to these characters.

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    88. jentario:
      davy,

      I was an Unsullied back then, and I actually thought that the Lannisters managed to take him captive. lol

      That scene wasn’t clear enough, but yeah it was a great Stannis moment.

      I was unsullied back then too. After that scene I immediatly bought the books as I wanted to know more about Stannis. Been a huge fan of him ever since hahaha. So even though Stannis was ruined by the show although some, I will always love him in the books ánd the show no matter what he does.

      Outside of that Stephen Dillane is absolutely brilliant too, he is as much Stannis in real life as he is on the show.

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    89. mariamb,

      I am equally uncertain. I think they should have included his training for season 5, that would have made him far more interesting for the Unsullied before disappearing until partway into season 6. Would have been a much safer bet than this, and we lose some cool scenes. But fine, I’m over it. Like I was over Arianne and the character from the ASOS Epilogue. What’s next, Manderly? I’ll get over that too.

      Hopefully season 6 will be amazing in its own right, regardless of the (many) missed opportunities.

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    90. Sean C.,

      I think the Theon scenes in season 3 were necessary. Remember that Ramsay wasn’t yet introduced in season 2 (unlike the books), so you can’t just turn up with Reek and the Boltons. You wouldn’t get who they are, and introducing them AFTER all the torture wouldn’t have worked. Also, they had the room for it! A lot of room in splitting ASOS into two seasons.

      Could the scenes themselves have been done better? Absolutely, I think they could have been done better. Should they have scrapped that storyline? Hell no!

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    91. I noticed that Benioff didn’t mention Meera. I’m sure she won’t simply sew and skin rabbits in the cave for months/years as Bran trains his brain. If she isn’t destined to be Jojen paste dessert, maybe she escapes the cave, gets past the Harryhausen wights, and heads back to the Wall? I wonder what her destiny will be? She could deliver a message to Jon. Heck, she could be an amalgamated Val! 🙂

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    92. There goes my hopes and dreams for a tower of joy vision / flashback through the eyes of Bran 🙁

      I’m not so upset about the training part not make it to the show because I read it in the book . But if you were an Unsulied and all this seasons you were waiting for bran and his party to meet this three eyed raven and find out what/ who the hell is he and what does he want from him and fiiiiiiiiinally after all this hard journy + Jojyn’s death + seeing the children for the first time for 1 min , then finally seeing the TER setting in that way and you learn that he’s been watching them all their lives with thousands eyes and one ( not sure about that one though 🙂 ) and finally …” You will never walk again but you will fly ”

      After that They come and say heee Bran will not be in the new season at all 🙂

      If I was just a show watcher I would be so upset but thank the god We knew a few things about the children / his traning / visions

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    93. Lady Nym,

      I think some of the viewers will be exactly as you describe. Others willbe all “Bran is boring as fuck, yay! no Bran!”. The big question is which will be the more prominent opinion, and how all of it will affect Bran’s return in season 6 (assuming it’ll be 6).

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    94. A good decision. There’s enough to cover this season without token Bran scenes.
      To be honest, I’d be happy if they did the same with Sansa and even Brienne (depending on where her character is going to end up going).

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    95. Not that this had a high probability of happening, but Bran not being in S5 eliminates another possibility for the White Walkers to be involved with.

      Everyone else of significance on the show is no longer Beyond the Wall. Who exactly are the Walkers supposed to deal with in S5 (assuming they appear as I think would be a very good guess).

      I know a lot of fans are saying Hardhome will be on the show but I have a hard time believing the show will devote the time and resources necessary to insert that segment when it involves exactly zero known characters. That’s not something the show does.

      I keep envisioning perhaps a smaller WW encounter that’s closer to the Wall that Jon either witnesses or hears about that is the last motivator to convince him to take all the Wildlings in. Just my best guess at this point.

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    96. Luka Nieto,

      I have to agree with Luka, jentario. Imagine Bran having very limited plot development in TWOW as well (entirely possible). That would mean Bran has an incredibly small storyline in both season 5 an 6 (as well as S4 really). Most of my Unsullied friends are already bored by Bran’s slow arc now! Imagine how bored they would be after next season or the season after. Isn’t it then better to skip S5 and give him a substantial arc in S6, that would actually keep/re-win viewers’ interested in the storyline? I would say so.

      There’s also the point made that they don’t want to get him any further than he is now, in order to maintain overall continuity. If that is truly so important, which we can’t know, why should we not embrace this decision?

      Lastly, while I agree individual seasons demand build-ups and pay-offs and character arcs, I still look at this as a 70(+) hour movie that can be seen as a whole. In the end, Bran’s in it for 40 hours, then absent for 10 hours, then back for the final 20(+) hours. I would say that sometimes it is worth it to “sacrafice” some aspects of an individual season for the sake of the overall 70(+) hour story.

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    97. Luka Nieto,

      The actor who does the standard White Walker was also asked to return, but wasn’t available IIRC. So that means the WWs will be in as well, not just wights. And potentially a different-looking WW for once.

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    98. Luka Nieto:
      King Tommen,

      I don’t know about White Walkers (though I personally assume that we will see them), but a “sword fighting wight” is confirmed.

      Gods be good *_*

      Edit : I don’t know why I freaked out /:

      Maybe we will see what happend with baby craster after he turnd to one of them or what is going on on the lands of always winter

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    99. Dutch maester,

      We’ll agree to disagree then 🙂
      I doubt Bran will have a full arc in season 6. They won’t just randomly bring him back into the fold. But I’ve already explained that a couple of times in this thread, I won’t do it again.

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    100. King Tommen:
      I know a lot of fans are saying Hardhome will be on the show but I have a hard time believing the show will devote the time and resources necessary to insert that segment when it involves exactly zero known characters. That’s not something the show does.

      I slightly disagree. GoT S1 opened with unknown characters that led to a major character plotline (Ned). In S4, the wildlings/Thenns attacked a small village (not Mole’s Town), which led to a character that killed Ygritte via Chekhov. There are other examples, including the WW baby recruiting scene. I think the “unknowns leading to knowns” scenarios are handled well in this tale. It is something I find quite interesting and, as you can tell from my persistent minor character quibbling, I hope it continues.

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    101. Hodor’s Bastard,

      Yeah, but both of those examples are essentially short one-off scenes that quickly establish a larger point, shit brewing beyond the Wall and Wildlings rampaging though the Gift, respectively. A proposed Hardhome storyline would have to be a much more involved affair. I don’t see them going for it. It would be quite a drain on screen time and resources for very little gain.

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    102. I haven’t read the whole thread, so apologies of I’m repeating anyone, but I can definitely see why they’d make this decision. I imagine that Bran’s story has already been the hardest to adapt in a compelling way, and with the plot cul de sac they sent him on last season, I’d much rather have a break from his storyline than have them try to fill time with him again, especially since it would be even harder now with his current location. I think the contrast with Theon being in seasons three and four is that, aside from the fact that D&D obviously favor Theon’s story (and rightly so), there was a lot more “off-screen” content to make use of than for Bran. His last chapter in ADWD would also be very tough to film coherently and in a way that would fit into the current narrative, as interesting as it is in the context of the overarching story. If it was between this and delving into TWOW material with him, I’m happy to take a season off.

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    103. Mr Fixit,

      I guess I see Hardhome like Harrenhal in S3. We know something dire happened there and key characters eventually interact with it. As a result, we got a deeper Robb/Cat plotline and we got Qyburn!

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    104. Hm, Patchface said Bran was in, although with leftover footage from season 4. This seems to stand it contrast to Benioff’s comments which indicate there’s nothing good to show this season. Hoping he’s legit…

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    105. Al Swearengen,

      I don’t think people take your opinions on board anymore. There are numerous people in this thread and others who don’t like the decisions that D&D make, but are reasoned with their criticisms. Unfortinately, you choose not to be, and it is bizaare that you continue to visit a fansite for a show you evidently dislike,

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    106. Josh,

      Maybe there was some leftover footage that they opted not to include in S5. Similar to unaired scene(s) with Mance in S3 that weren’t in S4 either.

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    107. Mr Fixit,

      How would a Hardhome storyline be a prolonged affair?
      -have Jon and the Wildlings mention it a couple of times
      -show a big White Walker scene, perhaps as short as two minutes
      That’s it, really.

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    108. Hodor’s Bastard,

      Sure, but Harrenhal set had already been built for S2. Also, Jaime/Brienne/Roose obviously had important scenes there as well. Hardhome sequence, on the other hand… what exactly would it show? How would it intersect with the Wall storyline for Season 5?

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    109. jentario,

      Well, I guess something like that isn’t impossible. However I was under the impression that the biggest proponents of Hardhome wanted something a bit more involved and in tune with the books: a bigger, more expansive scene, maybe Pyke’s rescue operation, etc. I’m not sure what a random 2 minute WW attack on a remote Wildling outpost that has no bearing on the main Wall storyline would accomplish, narratively speaking.

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    110. Mr Fixit,

      As Jentario mentioned, I believe it is “what comes next” after a devastation like Hardhome is shown. We would suddenly get thrust into what civilization could become with the WW infiltration (did they take some ships to get around the Wall?). We haven’t seen anything like that yet…and it suddenly escalates the WW issue to front-and-center. It could be quite an impactful scene, especially if viewed by Tormund and accompanied by some NW men.

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    111. Mr Fixit,

      It would show the White Walkers have an army, and that the Wall (and then Westeros) is their next target. Every season thus far has taken the WWs to a new level, and I don’t think that should/will change in season 5.

      We do know for sure that there’ll be a WW/wight scene. Your guess is as good as mine as to what it would be about.

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    112. Hodor’s Bastard,

      We’ll have to see what the show does with WW threat this season. I assume the shit finally hits the fan somewhere during S6. A final reminder/progression of WW plans before The Real Deal will probably be included this season. What that is anyone’s guess.

      Season 1: the prologue; wight attacking Mormont
      Season 2: Craster’s son; march on the Fist
      Season 3: Battle of the Fist, if you can call it that 😉 ; Sam the Slayer
      Season 4: Baby Otherification
      Season 5: ? ? ?

      If the pattern holds, something will be there, possibly something big, at least in the WTF department. I’m just not sure Hardhome is it. I’m more for something closer to home, whatever that means.

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    113. *Ahem*

      It WAS reported, and confirmed, by Isaac, that he filmed scenes for Season 5…

      It was reported here, and other sites… After Hodor let slip, Isaac commented that he IS filming Season 5… Now Bineoff is saying he’s out?

      Something smells fishy here…. I can’t quite put my finger on it…

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    114. jentario,

      Theon may have only appeared in three epusodes in Season 4, but even that small storyline had a beginning, middle, and end (Roose wants Ramsay to get Moat Cailin and prove his worth, Ramsay sees how far Theon has gone and comes up with a plan to use him, then executes it successfully). Three appearances by Reek just being Reek, with nothing accomplished, would have been bad storytelling.

      I don’t know what “end” they would potentially be leading up to if Bran showed up in S5. What would they be building up to? Three training sessions that don’t lead anywhere isn’t good television (or literature, for that matter). I’m thinking the next significant event for Bran is likely to be something that effects another storyline, so obviously throwing that in would be problematic. And it would be difficult to throw something for him to do now that he has reached the weirwood tree.

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    115. Luka Nieto,

      I want something of that sort too, but I’d like it to cover something that’s relevant and connected with the main Wall storyline. Hardhome doesn’t fit the bill in my opinion. This would perhaps be a good time to bring something forward from TWoW (if there is anything to bring forward), if only to whet our appetites with some hard-hitting stuff. Something to close the season with maybe?

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    116. Mary D.,

      think it also solves the problem of Isaac growing up before our eyes. If we come back to him later as older and now well-trained in his powers, that could be a compelling transformation

      Actually thats the first thing I thought of. I really liked Bran’s arc in the books, wasn’t that wild about it in the show. Having his training off screen, and him showing up later as something someone very different with some power would definitely add to season 6. Just hoping that they stick with Isaac, I like him as an actor, and hope he has some other project to be involved with this year.

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    117. “Fair warning Bran, grinding up the charred remains of your dead friend in order to give you sustenance is going to take a long time. We won’t be doing anything important for a while. Check back with me in another season or so to see what’s up next for you.”

      -Creepy old dude in tree with little leaf-kid companions

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    118. Lady Nym: Gods be good *_*

      Edit : I don’t know why I freaked out /:

      Maybe we will see what happend with baby craster after he turnd to one of them or what is going on on the lands of always winter

      I think an episode devoted to their familial structure, how they divvy up the kitchen duties, babysitting, watching the Night’s King shave (I mean, how is he so clean-shaven? The other White Walkers are fugly, man) who operates the livery for the dead horses (maybe it’s Hostetler, from Deadwood? He is dead after all), that kind of thing. That’d really be the next step. That or one of their elections.

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    119. I agree the torture of Theon was necessary in S3 but the way it was handled was totally retarded. I wish they would explain that.

      There is a reason why were weren’t in Theon’s head when he was getting tortured and mutilated.

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    120. Honestly, this only further fuels my personal theory of a timeskip between books 6 and 7. They need to get all of the characters on the same page, so it’s natural they’d hold off on Bran’s story.

      We should also expect most of Sansa’s storyline this season to be filler, too.

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    121. arden: There is a reason why were weren’t in Theon’s head when he was getting tortured and mutilated.

      Yes: it would not have served the storytelling in the books. B&W made it serve the storytelling on screen. TV works on “show, don’t tell” and this is simply a case where the cinematic medium is much better suited for linking torture and Stockholm syndrome to Martin’s story than the literary medium is simply because it is much easier to show this than to tell this.

      Renly’s Peach:
      We should also expect most of Sansa’s storyline this season to be filler, too.

      It won’t be filler. It probably will be something similar to Arianne’s or Victarion’s storyline from the books, but set in a very different place. Remember, one of the long-time trends that Martin is setting up is:

      Sansa vs. Arya vs. Rickon for control of House Stark and the North, once the dust settles and there are fewer Boltons with heads attached to shoulders.

      Now, one of those obviously is going to get going this season. The other cannot, because so far this third “Head of the Wolf” (sorry, couldn’t resist) is not a protagonist at all. Martin hasn’t initiated anything on page for Sansa: but

      it already has leaked that Martin is taking Sansa in a very different direction in WoW that is going to shock/offend some readers.

      Given that Maleficent Stark is present, and given that there are a few things you can do with the general “Kill the Child, Become the Adult” storyline with her right now, there is a lot of non-filler stuff that you can do.

      GeekFurious: At this point, I just hope to read Winds of Winter before I see it.

      Heck, I’m worried about there being another glaciation before we get to read Winds of Winter, and that’s after taking into account climate change! (I was 32 when I read the first book, and I’ve just turned 50: if I watch Dream before I read it, then I’m not too fussed at this point….)

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    122. Didn’t somebody mention a few months ago that there were leftover Bran scenes from season 4 that would be included next year? Probably that creepy fuck Patchface. He’s not to be trusted. Not to be trusted. >:|

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    123. Greenjones,

      Well they might carry over a previous shot scene with Leaf, Bran and Bloodraven, one that wasn’t cinematic enough as a season ender, but more anti-climatic.
      Another question comes to mind more important than no Bran for a season or longer, and that is could Treebran in the future be an entirely different actor, just throwing that out there for thought.
      A bigger issue is Balon and the leeches, haven’t heard one whisper about Gemma or Patrick back on the set, let alone that pesky last leech.

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    124. Westernhagen,

      His testimony isn’t what first made people think that though. It’s because Octavia Alexandru’s CV credits Alex Graves (who isn’t doing any episodes this year) as directing her scene(s) for ep. 501.

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    125. Greenjones:
      Westernhagen,

      His testimony isn’t what first made people think that though. It’s because Octavia Alexandru’s CV credits Alex Graves (who isn’t doing any episodes this year) as directing her scene(s) for ep. 501.

      This is a very weird one. I was ready to dismiss it when I saw her IMDB page referenced in a couple of the links because IMDB can’t be trusted at all and lots of people edit it just based on assumptions and it always ends up being the 1st episode of the season they’re listed for. Also there was Graves listed as director which is obviously not the case in 5×1 and could’ve just been transposed from 4×10 where Graves directed her scenes.

      But then I saw that her Agency CV was specifically referencing her appearing in both Season 4 and 5 with Graves as the director. I really don’t think they’d have bad info on that. So that would lead you to believe that her agency has been informed that scenes that had been shot by Graves would be used in the following season. Note that the most recent update says that she is currently APPEARING in S4 and S5 as opposed to FILMING (which I’ve seen as a descriptor for other actors).

      I’m still skeptical because the show has never once filmed scenes in one season and used them in a later one. But there’s obviously a first time for everything. It also could kind of explain Hempstead-Wright’s answers to the questions about when we’d see him next: “in the next season of GoT in the spring”.

      I don’t know exactly what to think but that’s some pretty hard evidence. I’m also having a tough time thinking about a scene they would use in the premiere that is useful enough to show the audience Bran and then never go back to him again for the rest of the season. I guess it could be BR priming him for what his training will be like and that the expectation is that he won’t be ready to play a role for some time which sets the audience up for not seeing him again. Would be tough though.

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    126. Westernhagen,

      Just want to reiterate that I am NOT Patchface – I took the moniker of Patchy Face back in 2011, long before he ever posted….always thought his info was pretty suspect …

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    127. This post made me disappointed .. bran is one of my favourite characters .. basically anyone north of the wall is a favourite of mine .. not seeing him next season hurts me a bit .. but I trust david and Dan so it’s OK I guess .. I just wish .. we could see a glimpse of him in the finale .. maybe a last shot of him … something like.. a fast montage showing visions from past and future events.. and then Baaam! .. a zoomed in shot of bran’s eyes opening looking at the camera .. ending credits rolls .. dammit .. I wish .. I wish ..

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    128. King Tommen: ene if you want to and it doesn’t require Hempstead-Wright to be a part of the cast to do so. It’s a disembodied voice coming from a weirtree right? Don’t really need Bran for that.

      Yep! I think many are overreacting to this explanation. Voice overs are totally within reason if he’s using the trees….and it sounds like Bran’s story in the next book is likely to give away too many unanswered questions in both the show and books. They can advance his story with just a scene or two involving his voice (from another character’s perspective) and then we get Bran 2.0 (3.0?) next season. I would also be surprised if there is not more info given about the three eyed raven in S5. (which doesn’t necessarily need to be from Bran’s arc…we might be getting more than the expected flashback in S5)

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    129. Sean C.: Theon’s story has no climax if that’s the case; nor does Jon’s.

      Psst … That “climax” can be handled with a simple voice-over. He doesn’t have to physically BE in the scene.

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    130. Chillax people! Bran will be shipped to the land of ‘will be back’ characters; that’s better then being killed off (Jojen).

      The kid as good arms, maybe he’ll help Gendry with some rowing (insert drum roll please)

      Seriously though: WHERE IS GENDRY?

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    131. Regarding the “how much will the Unsullied miss Bran this season” question… a lot of people had Joffrey “withdrawals” so to speak. I know the Joffrey-hating and the Bran-hating are different in nature, but i think his absence can make people miss him a bit more. Personally, i think it’s a good move.

      In fact, poor Meera is the one that could get forgotten. Nobody will forget Hodor, of course.

      As for the Leaf actress, could it be that she’s going to play random Children of the Forest ( ala White Walkers) in non-book scenes? A CotF elsewhere… I couldn’t wrap my head around how and why, but the show might go there if they want.

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    132. I can understand this decision, but I feel that the lack of Bran will be detrimental to the season.

      Bran’s story – the simplicity of it, and the archetypal mythic flavor of it – acts as a counterweight to the incessant moral muddiness of the political intrigue occurring all across Westeros and Essos. For a lot of people, it provides a glimpse of the sublime in an otherwise mundane world. His story is the equivalent of a fresh drink of cool water on a hot summer’s day, while the otherstories are like a multi-course French meal: very good and with a sophisticated flavor, but a little too rich, filling and exhausting.

      I feel that without the Bran counterweight, the story will wear viewers down.

      Unless we get some existential stuff from Tyrion and Varys on the Rhoyne…Please D&D, be brave with that storyline. Give us the seemingly endless river, give us turtles, and give us grey-scaled men on bridges.

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    133. Wimsey,

      Hmmm I don’t know man, I read several critics reviews during S3, and Theon’s torture arc was crticized more than it was applauded from my sample of reading. I think Sean T Collins defended those scenes but that’s the only one I remember liking those moments.

      In a post-season interview, though, D&D have said they were proud of the storyline, so I don’t know about critical reception being the main cause of their changed tactics. The thing is having frequent appearances that stretch out a not-always-eventful storyline was a problem concerning the way they handled numerous characters since the beginning of Season 2. They were experimenting a bit more in S3 I think (Second Sons is structured more like a S4 episode) and when they got to S4 they decided that with some characters, less is more. Glad they realized that, Bran and Theon’s material was much stronger for it.

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    134. Anyway, since the Hibberd guy clarified his comments about “not doing the big II subplot” and that “II scenes might be in”, I’m still holding out hope that less Bran scenes = more Yara + at least one uncle. Same for the Griffs.

      Why can’t the producers come forward for all these characters like they’ve just done with Bran? Because they had to contend with Kristian Nairn talking too much perhaps?

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    135. I thought I heard something about his scened being filmed this year. Although that would make sense if they filmed season 6 scenes this year for him instead of next year because his actor is growing up fast and he’s too well-known in the role to be recast…

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    136. Hodor Targaryen,

      I would have loved to see something similar to what I described above. Yes, “Bran training” isn’t much of an arc, but I do think it would have been entertaining enough to show (and only around three scenes!) and it’s much better than the alternative (which is skipping Bran for season 5 and most of 6).

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    137. Mr Fixit,

      I think Hardhome will become important in TWOW. Jon already planned to set off with a small army and help the Wildlings. His plans got fucked a bit, but that’s not to say that after he’s back to normal (healed/resurrected/whatever) he won’t decide to set off there again. There’s just something very eerie about Hardhome in the books and I think GRRM will pick it back up and expand on it in TWOW ;which would make including it in seasons 5 and 6 make sense).

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    138. SamJam199,

      Nothing wrong with that. Some people simply don’t like the show all that much.

      Ryan McGee, now that’s a TV critic I can’t remember ever being in agreement with. The things he likes…

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    139. I think there’s a big difference between Theon’s story in 3 and this. Theon is proud and arrogant. Him becoming Reek is unexpected–that’s what makes good TV, since the unsullied viewer doesn’t know what will happen. But what happens to Bran is more expected. He came north to be trained, and B&W say he’s getting trained. I don’t think a whole season of Things Go As Planned is needed–I’d love to see more Bran, but there’s a reason why training montages are usually short.

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    140. I don’t buy for a second D&D didn’t want to “get this out there”. It’s wise of them to get this done with now. Prevents disappointment next year. They wouldn’t have clarified this if they didn’t want to.

      This reaffirms my belief that SH is in. Her omission could have been clarified a long time ago in respectful and rosy words. And yet, there has never been a statement, never a clarification, and fans get kicked out of conventions whenever they ask a question about her.

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    141. Maria,

      It seems basically anything “confirms” LSH nowadays. I’m not saying she’s cut for good, but don’t look for clues where there are none.

        Quote  Reply

    142. It’s possible that they aren’t talking about LS because they consider it a book spoiler that they’d rather have show watchers enjoy when/if they read the books. But I do think it’s fishy (and a little annoying too), even if LS is 99% cut.

        Quote  Reply

    143. jentario: It’s possible that they aren’t talking about LS because they consider it a book spoiler that they’d rather have show watchers enjoy when/if they read the books.

      Indeed, it is a book spoiler for everyone right now. Because LS was not important in either Crows or Dragons, and because they are only going to include important character right now, bringing LS back would tell us something about Winter that we don’t yet know. Now, it’s probable that Martin intended LS to be important in 2000: but as we’ve seen, many of his plans circa 2000 have changed quite a bit.

      At any rate, the one thing that would right now tell us anything is an actual copy of Winter: and although B&W know what is in that book, we do not!

      BrightroarsBane: I’d love to see more Bran, but there’s a reason why training montages are usually short.

      It also creates a problem in that it’s not like the training presents Bran with obvious moral dilemmas of the sort that other characters are going to be facing. So, it does not do much for the story, either. (Now,

      if they had Bran had to choose between making Jojen into a nice bowl of oatmeal & helping to save Westeros vs. letting Jojen be fine and leaving Westeros to it’s own devices, then it might fit: but that’s a bit hardcore even for B&W!

      )

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    144. Westernhagen:
      Didn’t somebody mention a few months ago that there were leftover Bran scenes from season 4 that would be included next year? Probably that creepy fuck Patchface. He’s not to be trusted. Not to be trusted. >:|

      Although his bit about a red-haired character being somewhere you don’t expect could be…Tormund Giantsbane in Hardholme! (Look, it fits.) 🙂

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    145. Greatjon of Slumber,

      Honestly I can forgive him for forgetting Sansa dyed her hair, if he was referring to her. Problem is, I doubt he was referring to anything specific. He made that comment as vague as possible so it’ll be right no matter what and as he said himself(!) when more filming news leaks out he’ll be able to go into detail- because that’s when he’ll have actual info to work with. Classic troll.

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    146. Without Isaac and Hodor (HODOR), the list of possible actors/characters to appear in all 5 seasons so far dwindles to…

      Emilia Clarke
      Iain Glen
      Kit Harington
      Maisie Williams
      Sophie Turner
      Charles Dance (assuming Tywin’s corpse)
      Lena Headey
      NCW
      Peter Dinklage
      Conleth Hill
      Aidan Gillen
      Julian Glover
      Alfie Allen
      John Bradley
      Finn Jones
      Ian Beattie (Meryn Fucking Trant)
      Ian Whyte (White Walkers, giants, Gregor Clegane)

      That’s 17. That right?

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    147. SamJam199,

      I do think that Sepinwall likes Game of Thrones, but I agree that his commentary on the most recent season was a bit frustrating. I think that his difficulties with the show could be a symptom of just how much TV he has to cover as one of the most popular TV critics in the country. I read a lot of his work, and he’s very fair in his criticisms, but perhaps out of necessity, he has a quicker hook than he used to. I’ve noticed that when he finally loses patience with a particular character or storyline (in any show, not just Game of Thrones), he LOSES PATIENCE with it, full stop. As in – “This isn’t working. Don’t show me any more of this – ever.” Once that happens, it’s very hard for that particular character or storyline to get back into his good graces. I know that he lost patience with what he dubbed “The Passion of the Greyjoy” in Season 3, to the point when anytime Theon and Ramsay appeared in Season 4, his reaction could basically be boiled down to “Ugh.” He lost interest in Robb (son of “Stupid Ned Stark”) and Catelyn somewhere between Seasons 2 and 3, which is why he was one of the only critics who was unmoved by the Red Wedding. Jon and Dany’s storylines in Season 2 wore him down, and while he thought they were much stronger in Season 3, he still doesn’t consider Jon to be among the most interesting characters, so he thought the Battle at the Wall was a step down from Blackwater (which I recall him liking quite a bit). And of course he had major issues with the sept scene – though to be fair he wasn’t alone there (at least he didn’t write a thinkpiece about it). He hasn’t expressed such aversion to Bran, but it’s clear that’s not one of the storylines he’s most interested in (well, aside from Hodor. He loves Hodor). In general, I feel that he’s been pretty consistent in his stated belief that the internal politics of King’s Landing – and especially the material surrounding Tyrion – has been the best and most consistent part of the show. That may be a cause for concern going forward. I guess we’ll see.

      Personally, I think the best Unsullied recaps out there are done by Andy Greenwald at Grantland. That guy is a phenomenal writer and you can tell from both his writing and his podcast that he genuinely loves the show (especially the Lannisters. He might be the biggest fan of Cersei out there). He had major issues with Theon’s storyline in Season 3, but part of that stemmed from his freely admitted lack of taste for darkness and violence (that was one of the reasons he didn’t like True Detective). But he seldom lets that aversion bog him down – you could tell that with each new episode he was trying to look at it with fresh eyes and find the positive. He’s expressed some uncertainty about Bran’s storyline as well, so I don’t think that he’ll be sorry to take a break from that particular corner of the show. But his commentary is always carefully weighted, humorous, and insightful. If you aren’t familiar with his work, I highly recommend it.

      Mr Fixit,

      I’m with you on Ryan McGee. I’ve seldom encountered a critic where our taste in shows is at least passably similar, yet his opinions so instinctively rub me the wrong way. I used to read his Fringe recaps quite regularly until the series rebooted its universe in Season 4 and erased a major character from the timeline (don’t ask). He got so hung up on it that he would use his recaps to talk about that decision and what a mistake he thought it was – and literally nothing else. His opinions on Game of Thrones are pretty trite as well. Oh well. Different folks have different tastes, and his perspective on the merits of various scripted television series simply aren’t for me.

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    148. Jared,

      Nicely said. I happen to like Sepinwall quite a bit – but more for his recaps of Justified, a show he loves, and I love, too. (And we still don’t have a Justified/GoT crossover…but it seems doubtful it will happen.)

      Justified remains one of the few shows I watch in the Dec – March area that isn’t just serving as “I’m just passing time till Game of Thrones.”

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    149. Greatjon of Slumber:
      Without Isaac and Hodor (HODOR), the list of possible actors/characters to appear in all 5 seasons so far dwindles to…

      Emilia Clarke
      Iain Glen
      Kit Harington
      Maisie Williams
      Sophie Turner
      Charles Dance (assuming Tywin’s corpse)
      Lena Headey
      NCW
      Peter Dinklage
      Conleth Hill
      Aidan Gillen
      Julian Glover
      Alfie Allen
      John Bradley
      Finn Jones
      Ian Beattie (Meryn Fucking Trant)
      Ian Whyte (White Walkers, giants, Gregor Clegane)

      That’s 17. That right?

      Nice list. I believe that Jerome Flynn also qualifies.

      Also, while their return isn’t confirmed and doesn’t appear likely, Ben Hawkey and

      Rory McCann

      would also qualify if they put in a cameo appearance next season.

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    150. King Tommen:
      Greatjon of Slumber,

      Uhhh, Ghost?? Drogon, Viserion, Rhaegal???? C’mon, don’t be such a specist!

      HA yes of course. So, those actors, plus the actors inside the rubber suits as the dragons, and the dogs. And some of the ravens, although if I recall Theon killed all of the ravens.

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    151. Jared,

      How about – Stephen Dillane, Liam C, Carise VanH, Gilly, Sherese and daughter, Roose and Ramsey, Yara

      Oops – sorry – see you qualified by all 5 seasons..these are mainly 4 seasons?

        Quote  Reply

    152. Patchy Face,

      Yes. That list of characters that Greatjon of Slumber compiled consists of all of the characters who will have appeared in all five seasons of Game of Thrones to date (Jerome Flynn also qualifies, as I noted). All of the actors that you mentioned didn’t make their first appearance on screen until Season 2 or Season 3.

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    153. I haven’t posted in a while so forgive me if this has already been added to the disussion but no Bran is no big loss. Bran’s off screen transformation allows us to see him once again when he can wow us with his new powers. That will take time to acquire. Not like Luke learning to be a jedi over a few days on Dagobah(spelling probably wrong but point is made) plus Isaac is not an actor I look forward to onscreen even though I’m intrigued by his story in the books.
      Alfie on the other hand had to go through transformation on screen because if we see him after taking a year off and he is a wretched thing, viewers would wonder what happened to him. That was also another way to introduce Ramsays brutality so viewers know his character is bat shit. And finally, Alfie is a better actor so losing him for a year would be missed

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    154. I think it’s a good decision and a brave decision. It shows they are actually thinking of the bigger picture.

      Also on a side note I’m glad if Patchface has been proven to be a troll, as it gives hope to seeing some of the RW fall-out this season.

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    155. Greatjon of Slumber,

      I’m with you on Justified – that’s one of my favorite shows as well! I’ll admit that I thought that this most recent season was by far the weakest of the five, but there were still quite a few good moments and I have very high hopes for the final season (apparently Sam Elliot, Garret Dillahunt, and Jeff Fahey will all appear, which is awesome).

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    156. Is Patchy a troll? I always hoped we had someone among us on the inside. I must have missed something, what gave this away?

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    157. SamJam199,

      I should note that there’s another reason that Sepinwall might be down on Game of Thrones a bit – one that unfortunately doesn’t directly relate to the show but to its fans. He has had major, major, MAJOR issues with people spoiling events from the series for both him and his readers. He has placed an enormous disclaimer at the bottom of every one of his Game of Thrones reviews warning people to talk about the show as the show and not to discuss the books at all. But – surprise! – people still do it anyway. Some times it’s an innocent slip-up, other times it’s deliberately trolling behavior. You know, the kind where someone decides to respond to the speculation of a show-only viewer by revealing upcoming plot points or by excoriating them to “READ THE BOOKS!!!!!” We’ve all encountered at least one member of this delightful fraternity of literary enthusiasts in our time.

      (He’s had similar issues with The Walking Dead and has a similar ban in place on discussing the graphic novels it’s based on. But he did read The Walking Dead comics, and that particular show has diverged from its source material enough that it’s less of an issue now.)

      It got so bad after the Red Wedding (which was also spoiled for him) aired that Sepinwall decided to indefinitely shut down all comments on his Game of Thrones reviews. Once that happened, assholes the world over started tweeting spoilers at him directly with handles like @TyrionKillsTywin. Really petty, juvenile, trollish crap like that.

      Comments on Sepinwall’s Game of Thrones reviews have since been restored, but he no longer reads them, and they’re strictly moderated by colleagues of his who have read the books. Unfortunately, I think that he has come to view the show’s fandom (particularly those who have read the books) as an active detriment to his ability to review it as a television show. He’s too much of a professional to take it out directly on the show or just throw up his hands and walk away, but his frustration is abundantly clear. And to tell you the truth, I can’t say I blame him.

      Lady Stoneheart was also spoiled for him around the time that the Season 4 finale aired. For the record, he thinks that it sounds like “a really stupid idea”. Make of that what you will.

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    158. Is it possible that they are filming scenes with Bran and Leaf while the actors are young? Hence why both actors seem to say they’re filming S5? I could see them filming material this season that will be used in S6.

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    159. I remember Patchface saying that he thought Kristian Nairn was joking about their absence. But he never outright confirmed anything. He tends to keep his comments purposely vauge. He might have had good sources from a few of his comments but thats about it.

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    160. jentario,

      Thanks J – I try not to troll! Also, glad to see Greenwald get some love here. He is definitely a good unsullied fan and very entertaining. One of my top 3 reviewers.

        Quote  Reply

    161. It would be interesting if they let all the Stark kids fade into the background “gap years-style” and then bring them back with an unexpected BANG.

      Maybe even (LS)Cat and (Ghost)Jon.

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    162. Something like this was bound to happen when adapting an unfinished book series with so many plot strands. I’m disappointed, since I find Bran compelling, but not upset or angry by this development. And I have no control over the plot mapping anyway, so it is what it is. It will work out in the end.

      This is one of those things where absences would be frustrating during the original airing of the show, because of the year-long wait between seasons. But once the whole story is finished and all the seasons are on DVD, it won’t be as glaring since there isn’t that wait anymore – you can binge watch by then.

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    163. I appreciate cutting Bran will disappoint some, but D&D know the end-game, his training can easily be done off-screen even if we do lose that flashback component that his powers afford him. Even in the books (bar book 1) I always got the feeling that Mr Martin was keeping Bran on the peripheries intentionally, and as a result his arc and progression suffered a bit.

      I will say that as the show draws to a close, the Stark children become the focal point once again. It started with them, it should end with them.

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    164. Jared,

      Dammit. I always forget someone. Jerome Flynn, yes. And if Ben Hawkey makes a cameo, he’d be in, too. And we won’t talk about the other guy… but that’s 18, or 19 if Hot Pie shows up again, but I can’t help but think throwing him into the mix again would seem forced. Maybe one more time before the show ends, but every year? Tough to do that. But we better get our annual Salladhor Saan appearance.

      Jared,

      For sure. I did not realize Jeff Fahey was going to show up. He has the right sort of dirtbag look that belongs on that show. I knew about the others. I think this season will be a bang-up one, after the weak 5th season (the first real weak season of the show).

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    165. Turri,

      Thats what the winds of winter will be like. The Stark kids will be coming back with a bang. Bran will master cerebro and have all kinds of power, Arya will make Ezio from assassins creed look like an amateur, Sansa will be the new littlefinger, Rickon will be king in the north, Jon is going to be a sad little bastard still.

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    166. Why didn’t they write Bran a new subplot in which he gets tortured and sexually assaulted by hot chicks or CGI skeletons for an entire season?

        Quote  Reply

    167. Dave,

      I think that a massive physical change is coming for Bran regardless of the actor’s age. He’s growing into a tree. 17 years old vs. 15 years old is minor compared to that.

        Quote  Reply

    168. Greatjon of Slumber,

      Agreed. Hot Pie’s brief cameo in Season 4 was a really fun little surprise, but I don’t really think we need to see him again, at least until the end. He escaped, he survived, and he found a relatively happy refuge. Let him continue to perfect his wolf-bread-making skills in peace. 🙂

      That being said, if Ben Hawkey does make an appearance in Season 5, I think we can all agree that he’ll seize the title of “Most Unlikely Character/Actor to Appear in All Five Seasons” from Ian Beattie’s Meryn Fucking Trant quite easily.

      Salladhor Saan, on the other hand? He and his raunchy, terrible jokes can show up whenever they damn well please. All hail Lucian Msamati, Sex Pirate Extraordinaire.

        Quote  Reply

    169. Jared: Nice list. I believe that Jerome Flynn also qualifies.

      Also, while their return isn’t confirmed and doesn’t appear likely, Ben Hawkey and

      would also qualify if they put in a cameo appearance next season.

      Does Peter Vaughn?

        Quote  Reply

    170. Jared,

      Amen. On all levels.

      TheTouchOfFrost: Does Peter Vaughn?

      Peter Vaughan did not appear in the second season. He’s in “Baelor,” and then does not show up again until “Mhysa.” Mark Stanley is in all four seasons, too, but I don’t expect we’ll get a Grenn appearance now that he’s dead, either. Alliser Thorne, meanwhile, missed two seasons.

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    171. His Door Solar Rack,

      That image is doctored. It is a real tweet edited to fit Plester’s Tweeter after it was deleted. His personal Twitter account is also gone but you can find traces of it if you do a search there I believe. So it’s more like 60/40.

        Quote  Reply

    172. Greenjones,

      Yeah, I think his argument now is that I’m an HBO mole who made an intentional hatchet job of Plester’s “real” tweet in order to discredit it. At least that’s what I take away from when he posted as “The Mannis”, and possibly “Kamchatka” as well, on the other thread.

        Quote  Reply

    173. SamJam199,

      I have to give him some leeway here. Sepinwall’s a solid reviewer and very smart, and really engaging, and I think we can all agree that the GoT fandom can be pretty rabid at times, and so it got him a bit ruffled.

        Quote  Reply

    174. SamJam199,

      I can’t offer any definitive proof that the constant spoiling has affected Sepinwall’s opinions toward Game of Thrones in any way. I just know that he’s expressed his exasperation several times regarding the fundamental inability of many of his readers to respect his desire to remain unspoiled and analyze the show as its own entity. I can’t take issue with you holding him to a higher standard of tolerance – he is a professional TV critic, and dealing with disrespectful idiots on his blog and on Twitter is an unwritten but unfortunately necessary part of his job. That being said, the guy’s only human. After his request for people to cease and desist gets ignored for the 286th time, I can’t fault him for getting irked. I certainly don’t believe that he’s consciously taking out his frustration in his reviews – his writing has remained professional and focused strictly on his reaction to the show’s content. It’s mostly on his podcast – a naturally more free-flowing and unfiltered medium – that his displeasure has come through. I was disheartened and more than a little annoyed to hear what a sarcastically harsh tone he adopted during much of his post-finale discussion with his podcast partner Dan Fienberg (Fienberg, incidentally, has read the books and appears to have a more consistently positive opinion on the show at this point).

      I’ve typed out a lot of words defending the man, but as I outlined in my first reply, I still found Sepinwall’s reviews of Season 4 to be quite frustrating, even for the episodes that he liked. I’m still going to read his reviews next season, but I certainly won’t fault you if you want to swear off them. There are definitely better Unsullied reviews out there at present.

      As for the YouTube guy – I think I know exactly who you’re talking about. Unlike Sepinwall, that guy is most certainly not a professional critic. He’s the furthest thing from it. “Amateur” and “reviews” aren’t fair words to describe him and what he does. I would use the terms “infantile” and “nonsense”. I’m glad that he appears to be done with the show.

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    175. jentario,

      I laughed so hard at that pic that my chest hurts. Thx for that! Now all we need is Drogon swooping down behind them, ready for a barbeque!

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    176. I was really hoping for Bran originated flashbacks for this season. Fingers crossed for a Cersei flashback though.

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    177. 3waywithCersei,

      No finger-crossing needed. Maggy is being cast, and D&D said there will be at least one flashback, which will be the opening scene for the season So, a Cersei dream/flashback is pretty much confirmed.

      It’s not even particularly difficult to piece together what might happen specifically: Cersei will dream about Maggy, as she did later in AFFC, though it will probably look more like a straight-up flashback than a weird nightmare; and then she will be woken up to hear about Tywin’s murder. Cut to opening credits, similar to the death of the Night’s Watch men in Season 1 or Tywin burning Ice in Season 4.

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    178. No finger-crossing needed. Maggy is being cast, and D&D said there will be at least one flashback, which will be the opening scene for the season. So, a Cersei dream/flashback is pretty much confirmed.

      It’s not even particularly difficult to piece together what might happen: Cersei will dream about Maggy, as she did later in AFFC, though it will probably look more like a straight-up flashback than a weird nightmare; and then she will be woken up to hear about Tywin’s murder. Cut to opening credits, a cold open like the death of the Night’s Watch men in Season 1 or Tywin burning Ice in Season 4.


      PS. The comment in moderation. Reposted in case it was a mistake. Same thing again. Maybe it’s because of the links?

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    179. jentario:
      Clitorismestra,

      It’s only a guess, but yeah. I don’t see it happening before the midseason.

      I’d say it’s a guess based on pretty much nothing especially since we don’t even have book material to go by.

      I mean maybe it happens but that’s not what the show normally does. If there are character arcs during the season, we hit them pretty much all in the first 2 episodes.

        Quote  Reply

    180. Okay, I’ll have another try at this, with only one relevant link so that it doesn’t immediately enter into moderation:

      3waywithCersei,

      No finger-crossing needed. Maggy is being cast, and D&D said there will be at least one flashback, which will be the opening scene for the season. So, a Cersei dream/flashback is pretty much confirmed.

      It’s not even particularly difficult to piece together what might happen: Cersei will dream about Maggy, as she did later in AFFC, though it will probably look more like a straight-up flashback than a weird nightmare; and then she will be woken up to hear about Tywin’s murder. Cut to opening credits, a cold open like the death of the Night’s Watch men in Season 1 or Tywin burning Ice in Season 4.

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    181. jentario,

      You really think so, Jent? That is a lot of missed eps for Bran. I think they’ll try to bring him in as soon as the other storylines are brought up to date.

        Quote  Reply

    182. Strider,

      I doubt Bran would just show up in 601 all like “Hey guys, remember me? I was with the treeman and the kiddies… No? Nothing? Well, never mind- here’s a season wide arc. Shove it up your ass.”

      And what will he be doing? Benioff clearly states all his training happens off screen and that the next time we see him, he’ll be very different. And I can’t see them randomly shoving him back into the story- he has to be introduced through another character (and none of the characters are even remotely close to that, given how busy they are doing other things).

      So my guess is that he comes in in the second half if season 6.

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    183. Tibatonk:
      King Tommen,

      Only in this case it would perfect sense if Bran only re-entered the story through someone else’s arc, most likely Jon’s.

      Like I said, it’s possible but it’s just as likely that there’s a couple of setup scenes with Bran and Three Eyed Raven to show how far he’s come before he links up with someone else’s arc.

        Quote  Reply

    184. jentario,

      Do you envision him not having an arc in season 7 either?

      Wouldn’t that be a bit weird? I mean, you can hate them or love them, but he did have narrative arcs in seasons 1, 2, 3 and 4.

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    185. Clitorismestra,

      She didn’t really address anything. She just said, from the perspective of an actor and a friend, she would love to have Michelle Fairley back. She didn’t say it will happen or that it won’t, and she didn’t even giver her opinion about LSH as a character and a storyline disassociated with Fairley’s return. Well, since the audience member’s question assumes LSH won’t be back (“I know we won’t see her, but…”), and Christie doesn’t correct her, I guess at most you could say it is implied she assumes LSH is gone as well.

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    186. The lovely Esme Bianco. I’m surprised you haven’t heard about Ros’ resurrection this season and rampage against all those who wronged her. Bold choice by the producers.

        Quote  Reply

    187. SamJam199,

      That’s my point. The question had been asked before but avoided so far.

      Unless Gwen is an excellent liar, it looks like she has no scene with LSH this year or she wouldn’t have to “hope” to work with Fairley.

        Quote  Reply

    188. I’m just concerned about everything being non-stop political intrigue now. Bran’s story gave us a breather. A chance to clear our minds and realize the pettiness of human ambition, when compared to the wondrous cosmos (including the unknown).

      I agree that “training” would be hard to capture on screen. But playing with Bran’s memory, and and a short scene or two of him exploring the depths of this mysterious cave (via Hodor, I suppose) could have injected a bit of needed much-mysticism into the mundane proceedings. I’m talking only one or two scenes across the entirety of the season.

      Anyway, here’s to Tyrion’s storyline giving us a bit of the existential to compensate for Bran’s absence.

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    189. I think it will be cool to bring him back talking through a certain raven in a certain snowy village.

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    190. Dave:
      And they’re not anticipating a massive physical and visual change in the actor in that 2 year time period? But if that’s alright with them, than why are they using the excuse of 7 seasons because it won’t look right to have maturing kids?

      Did you see that wig they slapped on his head? They don’t care how he looks.

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    191. If they’re willing to do that off screen, then it makes me wonder why we’ve been privy to Theon’s “transformation,” which happens off screen in the novels. Contractual differences?

      Bottom line: Alfie is a star and Theon is D&D’s favorite character. They also said they can’t retain an actor for 2 scenes which was why they delayed Meera & Jojen’s intro until S3. I had trouble understanding how Theon broke in the books until I saw it on the show.

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    192. Luka Nieto: What makes you think that what’s been cut from Season 5 will appear in Season 6?

      Meera & Jojen were “cut” from S2 because they couldn’t justify retaining those actors for a season just to shoot 2 episodes.

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    193. I just picked up the “The Princess and The Queen”.
      I didn’t know it was narrated by Jorah fucking Mormont! (Ian Glenn)
      Time to learn more about the Dance of Dragons :-]. Thanks the gods for Amazons free audiobook 30 day trial.

      I could listen to Ian Glenn narrate a calculus textbook, he’s that good.

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    194. Sandor Claws: I had trouble understanding how Theon broke in the books until I saw it on the show.

      That actually is not too surprising: besides the fact that we didn’t read the breaking, only the wreckage in the books, TV/Movies is a much better medium for communicating pain and discomfort than the written medium is.

      Sandor Claws: Meera & Jojen were “cut” from S2 because they couldn’t justify retaining those actors for a season just to shoot 2 episodes.

      They also were superfluous to the story at that point. It’s bad TV to introduce characters in a season and then never use them for anything: there needed to be some payoff then. Otherwise, they would just have been visual clutter.

      If I recall, then this was another example of how fans argued that the characters “couldn’t” be inserted later without confusing the audience, only to have them inserted in a way that nobody had any problem understanding. (Gee, the guy with visions can actually find people: who’d have thunk it?!?!?) But, then, I think that there are still Harry Potter fans who insist that nobody understood who Cedric Diggory was at the end of Goblet of Fire because he wasn’t in Prisoner of Azkaban….. 🙂

        Quote  Reply

    195. I am generally skeptical of people who insist, based on dubious intellectual grounds, that something isn’t “interesting” unless it involves political intrigue, family dysfunction or melodrama. A journey into the unknown, mythic or otherwise, is incredibly interesting to me, and apparently a whole lot of other people…

        Quote  Reply

    196. Wimsey,

      They weren’t any more superfelous in season 2/book 2 than they ever were. All their best, most memorable scenes were in that book (“open your third eye”, “the winged wolf”…) and sadly D&D didn’t salvage them in season 3 (instead focusing on Meera and Osha measuring cocks, for some reason…)

      I liked Jojen and Meera in season 4, but it was far too late for any Unsullied to care about them too much. I understand that these are the woes of adaption, though. It’s tough when Bran’s one of your favorites…

        Quote  Reply

    197. Young Dragon:
      ArgonathofBraavos,

      It all comes down to personal taste.

      Agreed. The problem I have is when people insist that there’s a narrow standard of “interesting” that should apply to everyone. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard variations on “Bran’s story just isn’t interesting!” or “All my friends hate Bran’s storyline, and so does everyone else.”

        Quote  Reply

    198. jentario,

      Good points! The casting of Thomas Brodie-Sangster and Ellie Kendrick were inspired choices for Jojen and Meera. However, they have not been well-utilized. (Meera is one of my personal heroes in this story.) They enhanced Bran’s storyline when I was reading.

      I kept hoping to hear “the wolves will come again” and some mention of the Knight of the Laughing Tree. But no, we got a rabbit-skinning contest instead.

      Chalk it up to the “woes of adaptation”, as you say.

        Quote  Reply

    199. Wow I just caught up on this thread and apparently I missed a lot..

      1. Jentario that photo is hilarious!

      2. How could you forget the incredibly gorgeous Esme Bianco/Ros? Great show only character (combining sort of all prostitutes into one), and such a beautiful lady! 🙂

      3. I think it’s going to depend on what GRRM has written in TWOW and what Bran’s role will be, exactly when he will be back in Season 6. If he is needed for Jon’s situation, then, maybe we can expect S6 ep 1, if not maybe later, like if his powers grow and he is needed for flashbacks or for fighting wintery things. At this point we’re as unsullied as the unsullied.

      4. Turncloak thanks for the recommendation on Princess and the Queen! I haven’t read it yet but will happily listen to Iain Glen read anything, as you say 😉 I’m much more motivated to get an audiobook if I like the voice of the narrator 🙂
      also, according to this link for “Dangerous Women” a compilation of stories:
      http://www.randomhouse.com/book/216901/dangerous-women-
      Sophie Turner reads one chapter (Sansa?!?!?)
      and Jonathan Frakes reads another (Number one?!?!?)

        Quote  Reply

    200. Wimsey: (Gee, the guy with visions can actually find people: who’d have thunk it?!?!?)

      Yep. I actually quite enjoyed Jojen’s introduction, appearing first in
      Bran’s dream, and then showing up and being able to calm Summer down without a problem. I loved their book intro as well, both of them presenting themselves to Bran in Winterfell.

      But the show change was necessary in a sense: it means at the end of Season 2, Luwin’s decision to send Bran and Rickon north to Jon is a smart one, and the only defensible one, given they don’t know where Robb is. It also gave Bran in Season 3 the ability to slowly realize the extent of his abilities, and so when he decides not to go to Jon, but to keep going, it’s a decision he makes himself and shows the growth of his character over being figuratively carried all the way to the Three-Eyed Raven.

      It’s smart in that respect, much as Sansa’s dawning realization of Littlefinger’s plotting, and her public confession to the Lords of the Vale, makes her the one in charge of her own actions. Arguably it means she suffered some in Season 3 but that’s ok given Darth Sansa.

        Quote  Reply

    201. Tootie:
      Fedejru,
      Yes, there has been – first season, and a few other spots.In the crypt with Ned and Robert, in Ned’s words to Jon when he left for the Wall…

      Not to mention in S4’s Oberyn’s conversation with Tyrion regarding Rhaegar running away with another woman that wasn’t his sister. That’s about as overt as it gets.

        Quote  Reply

    202. Tootie,

      There have been many implications in the show that Ned is not Jon’s father, especially early on. It’s a popular theory, or even an assumption, amongst many Unsullied, I think. But there is nothing specifically pointing to R+L=J, certainly nothing in the caliber of “Promise me, Ned.”

        Quote  Reply

    203. Luka Nieto,

      I’m pretty sure Neds last whispered words when he is on the chopping block are actually “I promise.” – It’s hard to hear, but I think that’s what he is saying.

        Quote  Reply

    204. The other thing is, proponents of this idea (

      R+L=J

      ) shouldn’t forget that there still are a lot of fans that adamantly reject the idea. Many fans took details from Dragons as “proof” that someone else was the mother. (Of course, we got “proof” of two other ideas: which isn’t exactly my idea of proof!)

      Now, I never go by personal sample sizes, because they are small and very non-random. But I know a lot of casual readers of the book, and one commonality is that most of them seem to accept we were told who the Mother was in the first book!

      Greatjon of Slumber: It’s smart in that respect, much as Sansa’s dawning realization of Littlefinger’s plotting, and her public confession to the Lords of the Vale, makes her the one in charge of her own actions. Arguably it means she suffered some in Season 3 but that’s ok given Darth Sansa.

      I do not enjoy being wrong anymore than the next person, but I’m glad that I was wrong here. I didn’t credit Sansa with the intelligence to step up like this: Martin developed her as an incurious, non-empathetic, non-generalizing individual of the sort that rarely steps up in the real world Yet, here she is, stepping it up. (I prefer Maleficent Stark, myself!)

      One thing that the show did set up was that Cersei seemed to actually mentor Sansa, even more overtly than Cersei did in the books. I do wonder if Sansa has decided that, basically, Cersei has the right of it and her mother had the wrong of it.

        Quote  Reply

    205. King Tommen,

      Thinking about it they’ve further cemented it in the show with Jon not being allowed at the feast for Robert’s visit to Winterfell in the first series. If he was Ned’s son then he wouldn’t be worried about offending Robert especially as Robert wasn’t the kind of guy who would be offended by a bastard being present at his table. The real reason was to stop Robert getting suspicious if he saw any resembelence between Jon and L as we all know how much R + L pissed Robert off.

        Quote  Reply

    206. Fedejru,

      I don’t understand why people expected to get the Tower Of Joy flashback at any point so far. That flashback would reveal Jon’s parentage, and so it can’t be shown until that news is revealed within the story. I suspect(and hope) that when it is time to reveal who Jon’s mom(and dad) is, the TOJ flashback is what will be used.

        Quote  Reply

    207. TheTouchOfFrost,

      Jon wasn’t seated at the feast because Catelyn didn’t want him to be there in the show. And Robert did see Jon when he arrived and the Starks greeted him. Plus, Jon is said to look like a Stark. In the books, he’s tall and lean, possibly more of a Targaryen build, but his facial features are all Stark.

        Quote  Reply

    208. I’m late to the party. There’s no way I am going to read all of the comments. I’m fine with this decision and applaud it. Trying to create filler for the sake of keeping a character on screen, with little to no story to tell, is not a winning proposition. We’ve seen this with Yara. And no, this is not comparable to Theon appearing in season 3. His transformation needed to be shown, but it wasn’t properly executed, other than to tease the audience about who Ramsay was and hold off on revealing the Bolton’s betrayal until the RW. Sure, they could film Bran seeing visions of his family members, but that is not interesting TV, unless there is important info to be revealed. I think holding him out until season 6 allows him to have a full storyline, leading up to his storyline converging with other ones, and no, the wind whispering ‘Theon’ is not truly important. That can happen with any voice.

        Quote  Reply

    209. Jaime’s girl,

      Yes I just finished listening to the Princess and the Queen today!
      It’s the very last part of the audio book about 4 hours long and Ian Glenn was indeed fantastic. Sophie Turner does narrate a short story in Dangerous Woman, unfortunately though, it’s not ASOIAF related.

        Quote  Reply

    210. jentario,

      If you get a message that says you ‘timed out’ or something like that, then just click the ‘back’ arrow on your browser. Your message should still be there, and you just have to hit ‘post comment’ again.

        Quote  Reply

    211. There is a new blog post in the official “Making Game of Thrones” blog. It’s again written by Dave Hill, who by the way will write an episode this coming season instead of GRRM —in case someone did not know. The new filming report, even more vague than those that came before it, is titled “Sabotaged by the Sea”:

      Day 52: Today we film in beautiful Murlough Bay. We’re shooting on a rock-strewn beach. The jagged coast of Scotland beckons 11 miles in the distance, across a blue sea. Everything is set for a gorgeous day on GoT…

      Yet, as the saying goes, time and tide wait for no man. On the North Coast in autumn, not only don’t they wait, they rush in like dry land is going out of style.

      In the morning we have more beach than we knew what to do with. We set up on the beach between two mammoth stones, one large enough to host a miniature cave. As the hours pass, the waves advance up the shore and don’t retreat, swallowing more of our set with every take. By the afternoon, we occupy only one final yard of beach. The two mammoth stones now wade in the bay, mocking our earlier hubris.

      After a particularly bold wave almost makes off with a skiff, we urge our director to pull a Canute and order the tides to stop. We are half-joking, but he is considering the half that’s not.

      Maybe we were being too harsh on the sea. Maybe the sea just wanted a spoiler…

      The text makes reference to this part of filming in late September, though as far as I am aware we knew nothing about what it involved. Not that we know much more now, to be honest.

        Quote  Reply

    212. Greenjones,

      I know, I linked to it as well 😉

      Honestly, we knew nothing about which storyline or characters this part of filming involved… and we still have no idea.

        Quote  Reply

    213. The only thing we know is that this particular location has been used in previous seasons. It was the spot where Theon first rode with Yara on horseback in Pyke. And it’s where Davos was picked by Saan after Blackwater.

      Hill also states that they filmed between rocks big enough to host a miniature cave.

      So, rocky beach with possibly a little cave involved. It’s either Iron Island stuff (ie Yara and/or Balon) or perhaps Brienne or Sansa stuff. That would be the only storylines I can think of that would be depicting mid-Westeros area coastlines.

        Quote  Reply

    214. Huh. Something I just noticed is that an early blog post basically confirmed Jon Snow will have an action scene, which he didn’t really have in the whole of ADWD. Unless it’s just training with a sword, which he does a lot in the book. If not, maybe they’ve added a mid-season action scene for him, similar to Season 4?

      I also hope “Day 8” has to do with… “Edd, fetch me a block.”

        Quote  Reply

    215. King Tommen,

      And we also know it wasn’t with any of the KL actors because they were shooting in Dubrovnik at the time. Other than that though, there’s no way to know any more.

        Quote  Reply

    216. Luka Nieto: I also hope “Day 8″ has to do with… “Edd, fetch me a block.”

      They might change that to

      Slynt attacking Jon and Jon slaying him.

      Besides being more cinematic, I would very much worry that the book version would cause the audience to start disliking a character who is essentially the #2 protagonist in the story.

        Quote  Reply

    217. King Tommen,

      An execution doesn’t really showcase Harrington’s legendary swordfighting skills, does it?

      Wimsey,

      Slynt is an annoying coward, which is even more pronounced in the show. Is there anyone who didn’t cheer for Jon for that decision? Isn’t that scene widely seen as a totally badass move by Jon? Come on, even Stannis nods his head like “Good on you, boy.” Am I missing something here? He executed someone who disobeyed his military leader; that is, pretty much a deserter, a traitor. Did people hate Ned for killing that Night’s Watch deserter? Or Robb for executing Rickard Karstark for treason?

        Quote  Reply

    218. King Tommen,

      I think he was just trying to help people realize how big the rock was, that doesn’t necessarily mean they will actually have a cave in that scene on the show.

      I’m glad we finally got confirmation on the Bran thing rather than relying on Hibberd’s words alone. I don’t mind him sitting this season out at all.

        Quote  Reply

    219. Oh Bran is cut for a season

      My whole House is cut from the show Arrrggghhh
      I am richer as this rock bugger Tywin. Where are my cool grandsons? My only grandson in ths show is a sword swallower and is flirting with Dornish goat f…er. Only my smart girl Margy has potential. Damn you GRRM for ignoring me. Let me out of my Hightower…. #NOONEUNDERSTAAANDS

        Quote  Reply

    220. There’s one thing I still dont get about the

      R+L=J

      theory

      GRRM has established the fact that descendance is traceable via hair color. (Robert Baratheon black of hair). We know that apparently Targaryen blood tends to give you silver hair. So I dont know if Stark blood is stronger in hair color or not but jon’s hair are not in favor of that theory. Though everybody’s talking about Kit’s hair.

        Quote  Reply

    221. Tyrion Pimpslap,

      Are you sure as when they’re being presented I remember the whole Stark household being there (including Jory, Rodrik and Hodor) minus Jon and Theon?
      L was a Stark too so would have also looked like one! 😛 Plus if he had any Targ features then that may also get Robert’s brain ticking. He is quite lax-minded on everything unless it involves R+L which sharpens him and his anger up quite considerably.
      May have been Catelyn, may have been an excuse Ned used (whitewashed Cat of the show would be less likely to ban him) or he at least didn’t fight her hard.

        Quote  Reply

    222. NoSer,

      No. He established that the Baratheon dark hair was always dominant over the Lannister blonde hair whenever those two families bread with each other. There have been plenty of dark haired Targaryens, including Baelor ‘Breakspear’ and Rhaegar’s daughter Rhaenys, just to name two.

        Quote  Reply

    223. Luka Nieto:

      …He executed someone who disobeyed his military leader; that is, pretty much a deserter, a traitor. Did people hate Ned for killing that Night’s Watch deserter?

      It is curious that this whole tale begins with a gross misperception and a wrongful death.

        Quote  Reply

    224. Hodor’s Bastard,

      And it’s the hero who’s doing the misperception and the wronging. It’s a great opening scene that is taken for granted way too often. It tells us the “good guys” are blind from the start. (Curiously, it’s only Bran Stark who perceives an injustice at work).

        Quote  Reply

    225. Tyrion Pimpslap,

      Really ? I guess people have thought it through if it is a popular theory. Still I’m not sure poor old Ned would have come to that conclusion easily. He didn’t see many things coming up for him but he figured out Cersei and Jaime. Though NOBODY did before. Except for Jon Arryn. But Jon didn’t see his own wife poisoning him huh ?

      I love the

      L is your Mom

      part of that theory, it’s great for Ned, for Cat and all. But the Destiny, chosen one, warg, multi combo thing doesn’t feel very GRRM. I hope it won’t be too easy for him. For the watch.

        Quote  Reply

    226. NoSer,

      I think George will find a way to turn it around in some way and make it unique.

      Hell, he already killed him. While I believe Jon will be resurrected, I don’t think he’ll be the same. I think the ultimate tragedy will involve Arya and Jon in some way, as I see them reuniting, but not in a good way. ‘Stick them with the pointy end’ will come back to be a very prophetic phrase, IMO. I think one of them will wind up killing the other. That’s my crazy prediction.

        Quote  Reply

    227. NoSer:
      Martin is applying standard genetic theory as it applies to hair-color in extant humans. A black-haired person can have have blonde children only if he/she is carrying recessive genes for blonde hair. Someone homozygous for dark hair can mate with the blondest person in the world, and he/she will have dark-haired children. (Blonde grandchildren are, of course, an option.)

      So, what Jon Arryn and later Ned Stark realized (without understanding the genetic or inheritance theory behind it) was that Robert Baratheon was homozygous for hair-color genes.

      For the character in question, this tells us only:

      nothing. It tells us that Elia Martell had a blonde-haired gene, given that one of her children turned out blonde; remember, the deceased daughter was brown-haired. It tells us that Lyanna had dark-hair, but it would be 50-50 than any child of hers by a blonde man would be blonde even if she had a blond-haired gene. (Given that Catelyn’s auburn hair predominated among the Stark Children, we know that Ned had a recessive gene: but that doesn’t mean that Lyanna did.)

      One hypothesis as to why Ned let people think that Ashara Dayne was Jon’s mother was if Jon turned out looking like his father, then it could be blamed on the Dayne genes (not that anybody thought like that), as the Daynes had many features in common with the Targaryens. However, Ashara seems to have been completely cut, which is just as well: TV audiences will not remember characters only mentioned and never shown.

      NoSer:
      Really ? I guess people have thought it through if it is a popular theory. Still I’m not sure poor old Ned would have come to that conclusion easily. He didn’t see many things coming up for him but he figured out Cersei and Jaime. Though NOBODY did before. Except for Jon Arryn.

      And Varys. And Littlefinger. And Pycelle. And Tyrion. And the 3rd Goldcloak on the Left. Actually, a lot of people had worked it out! It tells us a lot about Robert Baratheon: he obviously gave very little thought to it, which is consistent with what both the book and TV show developed about his relationship with his “family.”

      Tyrion Pimpslap,
      Alternatively:

      Jon isn’t going to die at all. Melissandre could simply save him after he is badly wounded. I would bet on that, first.

      As for the other prediction,

      GRRM is setting up a conflict between Sansa, Arya and Rickon at this point. Jon is out of the picture: he has flatly refused to become a Stark and claim the inheritance, and he deeply holds the conviction that the other Stark children (of whom he thinks only Sansa to be alive) come before him even if he is legitimized.

        Quote  Reply

    228. NoSer,

      many people are expecting a grand R+L=J reveal to happen except… George doesn’t work that way. A grand reveal would be a classic fantasy trope that GRRM does his best to avoid. Will it be revealed? Yes. Will it be grand such as Aragorn reclaiming his kingship? Doubtful

        Quote  Reply

    229. Tyrion Pimpslap,

      That would be cool, totally up for something like that.
      And yes even if, for the reasons I said before, I don’t want

      resurrected Jon

      to happen, I guess that something like that will eventually happen. And I guess we have to trust George to tell it the right way. It ain’t what you do but the way that you do it.

        Quote  Reply

    230. Luka Nieto,

      I really hope this means

      Jon accompanies Stannis to Deepwood Motte :-). He can leave Sam in charge in his absence. Oh Jon, what happened to “The Nights Watch must take no part” :p

        Quote  Reply

    231. Greenjones,

      You think? The northern storyline is pretty expansive in ADWD. I would think they would have more than enough material than to go the show only route. For example they can even have Jon going to

      Hardhome and then be one of the few to make it back alive. That would be epic and also solve the White Walker quota for the season

        Quote  Reply

    232. Turncloak,

      Sure let’s trust the man. My other fear is for Dany who is such an obvious hero that I can’t accept it to be too easy for her. I like the consequences of her actions in Slavers Bay, I understand he makes us understand she is still a child when she spends twenty minutes choosing a dress when I don’t remember who comes back with supposedly an important news, but still she can’t just take back westeros too easily. I’m not sure she even should. And I’m sure he wants me to realize it after I wanted so bad her to take back her throne. And I’m totally ok with it.
      And I’m sorry I talk about many different things but I realized recently that she just gives so much power to The Lord of Light when she dracaryses people, that might even be thanks to him she got her dragons in the first place, it has to lead somewhere.

        Quote  Reply

    233. Turncloak,

      I think they’ll mix Hardhome with the Varamyr prologue and some other

      wildlings beings threatened by WW incidents.

      BTW when the fuck are we going to find out who’s playing Varamyr?

        Quote  Reply

    234. Turncloak,

      That’s exactly what I’ve been thinking of (and hoping for) for a while now. the only problem is, with all the Stannis/Mel stuff, Mance stuff, Tormund stuff, letting the wildlings over. the election, and the pink letter, I’m not sure if it’s even possible for it to fit.

        Quote  Reply

    235. NoSer,

      i see Dany winning the Iron Throne but dieing of disease shortly after. GRRM loves to use lots of parallels and forshadowings. In the first Dance of Dragons we see Aegon II try to usurp the crown from her elder sibling Queen Rhaenyra. I see another Dance of Dragons coming in Dany vs fAegon. The problem being that Queen Rhaenyra was known as “the half year queen”. And Aegon II did not hold the throne for much longer. My thinking is that Dany getting sick at the end of ADWD is foreshadowing to her demise and to George’s “bitter-sweet” ending

        Quote  Reply

    236. Greenjones:
      Turncloak,

      I think they’ll mix Hardhome with the Varamyr prologue and some other

      BTW when the fuck are we going to find out who’s playing Varamyr?

      this! Well atleast this means that all of the northern casting has not been completed yet :). If I remember, Mance was filming into December during season 3

        Quote  Reply

    237. Turncloak: Will it be grand such as Aragorn reclaiming his kingship?

      How are these in any way comparable? (Of course, the “reveal” there was really poor: Tolkien actually failed to mention that Aragorn was heir to a kingship!) At any rate, the “reveal” is more apt to be like, say, the “reveal” as to why Severus Snape was doing everything that he was doing.

      As for anybody dying of diseases, think of one thing: it’s mentioned in the book that Dany never suffers from any sickness. At any rate, this sort of thing as fitting in with Martin’s stories. Dany is the principle protagonist: in the end, it will be her choices (more than those of anybody else’s) that tell the story. IF she dies, then it will be because of some “X is Right/X is Wrong” dilemma where she makes the choice knowing it will kill her. (The Aegon example isn’t evidence to the contrary, as he wasn’t a protagonist in the story in which he appears.)

        Quote  Reply

    238. Turncloak,

      I agree…a difficult end is coming.

      After reading TP&tQ, the Rogue Prince, TWoI&F and even the D&E tales, we understand that GRRM is fascinated with the Targs and their dysfunctions. Their tale is still very much in progress. There will be another “Dance”, another Blackfyre Rebellion, possibly with BR’s influence…only this time the Starks and Lannisters are also in the mix.

        Quote  Reply

    239. Turncloak,

      I really can’t see an end. That’s what I love about these books. I don’t see Dany on the throne, I don’t even see a throne. The whole point to me is to reconsider an old and somehow dying civilization. So to me it can’t end with the same country different king. Especially not one that should be there because of birth right. One of the keys we don’t have is about the white walkers obviously. What do they want and why ? How do they work ? The end to me is more related to the realm versus the white walker than kings, queens. Because it’s never ending and it’s smallers issues in the end, those battles, when everyone is threatened.

        Quote  Reply

    240. Turncloak,

      That wasn’t

      a disease: that was a moderate case of poisoning from eating the wrong berries

      . Poisoning and illness are two very different things. It did, however,

      seemingly induce a miscarriage: which means that she’s not as barren as she thinks. (The berries that she ate might have been an abortificant, which often have nasty side effects: or, more exactly, the miscarriages that they induce are side effects of the other nasty properties.)

      .

      NoSer: The whole point to me is to reconsider an old and somehow dying civilization. So to me it can’t end with the same country different king.

      A consideration on an old civilization is not the point. This is a character-driven story with protagonists and antagonists, not a plot-driven one with heroes and villains. The points of the different stories is to experiment with how different people will react when faced with different sorts of moral dilemmas. Moral A says Thou Shall Do X, Moral B says Thou Shall Not Do X. Kill the Boy, Become the Man. Etc.

      The relevance of things like the White Walkers will be in the moral dilemmas they create. The TV show has shown a big one already: what do do with victims of one Enemy (the White Walkers) when those victims also are an enemy? This is another of Martin’s triangles: the Watch vs. the Wildlings vs. the White Walkers. Ultimately, our learning about the motives of the White Walkers is going to induce some major ethical dilemma for one or more of the protagonists. Moroever, the dilemma it produces for Protagonist A might be at odds with the one it produces for Protagonist B. What that (or these) will be, I have no idea: but given the theory of story telling to which Martin subscribes, we can pretty much bank on that.

        Quote  Reply

    241. NoSer,

      I think there has to be a king/queen at the end. I believe George may have even stated that there will be. The ultimate unknown is the white walkers, but I can’t see them winning in the end. They will cause a lot of destruction, and it may end in some sort of truce/understanding, but them wiping out all of Westeros would not be the least bit sweet.

      I think Dany is likely to die in the final book. As for Jon, I’m not sure. George has dropped so many subtle hints to Jon being king in the books that I think it would be some big time trolling if Jon doesn’t wind up as either King In The North,King Beyond The Wall, or King of Westeros. I like Jon, and would be happy if he and Tyrion wound up as King and Hand. I’d prefer that over some less featured character winding up as king or queen. Jon and Stannis are really the only two kings I’d be happy with.

        Quote  Reply

    242. I found this on castingcallpro:

      Zoe Smedberg as “Wildling Female”. Here’s her Spotlight CV but it doesn’t mention Thrones. http://www.spotlight.com/interactive/cv/3094-9085-0257

      (Let’s NOT assume she’s Val).

      Also Merry Frey (Grace Hendry)’s has GoT mentioned castingcallpro page saying 2014 but I think that’s just because it was only updated now. It doesn’t list her for 2012 (when she would’ve shot her RW appearance), so I really don’t think she’ll be back this year. Certainly if we’re not getting Walder either.

        Quote  Reply

    243. Greenjones,

      Probably a one off role, but there’s still a chance she’s

      one of Mance’s washerwomen in Winterfell. That would mean she’s have to appear in at least two episodes, so when they update her Spotlight CV we’ll know.

        Quote  Reply

    244. Turncloak,

      And it would also offer a climax other than FTW (you know what I’m talking about, I am lazily avoiding spoiler tags even though it makes my post longer). I’ve been suggesting that since Season 3, and I think it’s generally a great idea if they have room for it. But since they’re getting to the end of most of the ADWD arcs (instead of going for closer to a season and a half on books 4 and 5), I doubt there’s room for it. Unless the not-in-Iceland battle ends up being Hardhome, which would be interesting, but would leave the rest of the Northern storylines stalled.

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    245. jentario,

      There’s not really enough info here to guess what “wildling female” she’ll be but, definitely, it’s worth keeping an eye on her CV to see what it says when it updates. Whether she’ll be north of the Wall, at CB, heading south of the Wall… knowing who directs her scene(s) could tell us something.

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    246. Turncloak,

      Yes, it really only describes Daemon Targaryen’s life leading up to the Dance in a bit more detail than TP&tQ did. GRRM seems to be in that mode these days; he takes a subject and writes a whole bunch, then his editors seem to strip out some stuff and “save it for later.” The Rogue Prince stuff could have easily fit within TP&tQ, but as you know, that tale describes the Dance while TRP is a detailed prequel. The Targ stuff in TWoI&F is quite well-explored but GRRM has said there were about 150,000 more words left on the cutting room floor that will be saved for “Fire & Blood” in a “few” years. Obviously, this publication profit model (implemented by including these bit pieces in anthologies) is being exploited to its full potential…while we and the publishers all wait for you know what.

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    247. Tyrion Pimpslap,

      I’m totally team Stannis, and Tyrion deserves to rule. Book Jon too I guess. Again maybe it.s just about the way George handles how they get there that will make it satisfying.

      It is a character driven story I agree Wimsey, but I think it is one of the themes of the story. So it affects the characters and their choices. The realm as we found it and the way it worked will change.

      They fact that the story is based on the characters and not plot makes me want to think FTW is definitive. It had to happen. It’s good that it did, it was surprising plot wise but totally understandable given the choices that he made and the characters around him. Now if he survives again, the explanation better be good. Because it would be plot driven. I need this character to go there and do that.

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    248. Greenjones:
      I found this on castingcallpro:

      Zoe Smedberg as “Wildling Female”. Here’s her Spotlight CV but it doesn’t mention Thrones. http://www.spotlight.com/interactive/cv/3094-9085-0257

      (Let’s NOT assume she’s Val).

      Also Merry Frey (Grace Hendry)’s has GoT mentioned castingcallpro page saying 2014 but I think that’s just because it was only updated now. It doesn’t list her for 2012 (when she would’ve shot her RW appearance), so I really don’t think she’ll be back this year. Certainly if we’re not getting Walder either.

      The first thing came to my mind id Val but than I thought no the show will not bring her , maybe she’s a washer woman

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    249. NoSer: It is a character driven story I agree Wimsey, but I think it is one of the themes of the story. So it affects the characters and their choices. The realm as we found it and the way it worked will change.

      Except that the books make the opposite point: Westeros is considered to be an immature civilization by the people of Essos. The Weserosi are viewed as children or savages, depending on who is talking about them.

      At any rate, never in the books or show do people discuss or even think about changing Westeros society. There are no republicans or whigs: the question is, who will be monarch and how many monarchs will we have. Now, there is a strong theme about the oppressed (women, slaves, bastards & dwarves) shaking off their shackles (or embracing those shackles): but that has not extended to the People vs. the Crown.

      NoSer: I’m totally team Stannis, and Tyrion deserves to rule. Book Jon too I guess. Again maybe it.s just about the way George handles how they get there that will make it satisfying.

      Stannis would make an absolutely horrible king! Martin (and B&W) have used Stannis quite effectively to show the danger of giving moral absolutists in any sort of power: Stannis is so rigid in his ways that he lacks any flexibility or any ability to see the different circumstances call for different solutions. That’s why Stannis is such a good foil for Davos: Davos is extremely loyal, but also quite pragmatic: and that is a difficult combination when you work for Stannis.

      There also is no way that Tyrion could work for Stannis. Tyrion’s head would be on a spike within a couple of weeks, tops.

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    250. Wimsey,

      I don’t agree, even if people don’t talk about it out loud in the book or doesn’t mean you don’t feel it as you read it. And that it isnt a message from the author, just like what you said about Stannis ruling.

      It’s not either about how Essos people think westerosis are. Are they right ? wrong ? It’s a matter of point of view.

      What I felt as I read the book is ( and that doesn’t mean I’m right or that it’s really THE theme but still) you have people leaving in a world that is old. So old that people have forgotten why they live the way they live. They forgot about dragons and their existence, white walkers, religion seems to be more cultural than really powerful, magical. They forgot about their alliances, why should they listen to a king that is far away from all the realms. Because dragons are gone, white walkers too, maybe their power is linked to the powers of some of the religions, the targaryen dragons are gone too, nobody to bend the knee to really.
      So it is a society that doesn’t really have a meaningful purpose except for one profit and power. Problem is, it is about very few people in the realm. People that sometimes don’t care about the small folks like Cersei or even the five kings that created the brotherhood whithout banners by fighting and starving and killing small folks.
      So all of that is present in the books and are important themes because it’s what characters are about. Cersei versus margaery is about that, the BwB, the wildlings…
      Everybody is putting their world in question. The north doesn’t want a king from the south, Dorne too, the greyjoys, the baratheons. The one that want a united realm are of course the one that have the power.
      And as a reader you see that. And it’s not just personal judgement because through the characters you see it’s just about plotting and power and money and manipulating. So it’s not “good”. There can not be a change because it’s not Disney and he clearly states that people are like that you don’t get to change them.
      But you see people acting to change things.
      When I say I don’t see a king I don’t mean there won’t be one. But I mean I’m not sure that is the point of the story. Really. It’s not about who wins the game. Or if there is a winner, it will be about is he really a winner ? What did he/her sacrifice for that ?
      That’s what George does I think, always questioning the consequences of things. Especially in the powerful versus powerless. Riots in kl, astapor, the mess in the riverlands…
      It’s a complex story that have I think more shades than just who characters will become.

      About Stannis you’re probably right I just like him. And about the trio, I think they’re characters that seem to care about responsibilities toward the realm and stuff, even Stannis, he goes to the wall, it’s probably just to prove himself to the realm but still it’s to save it. So I don’t say they’ll rule together. But they’re good candidates. Others are just about the game and plotting even marg, Dany is more thinking about her than people. Or just people as a concept. She just thinks they want to love her as a queen.
      But yeah I’m really not saying it’s true or should be what happens, it’s not thought through. It’s the feeling of the memory I have of the books the experience I’ve had.

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    251. NoSer: I don’t agree, even if people don’t talk about it out loud in the book or doesn’t mean you don’t feel it as you read it. And that it isnt a message from the author, just like what you said about Stannis ruling.

      Whether you “feel” it as you read it has no bearing on whether it is a theme. (What any one person feels while they read things varies quite a bit: and often contrary to the themes that authors hope to express!)

      Look at it this way. Pretend that you are back at university and that you are taking a literature exam. Let’s pretend further that you’ve read SoI&F as one of many books. (Not a high probability, given that it’s a series and given that, at best, literature profs are going to consider SoI&F relatively good for fantasy, which is sort of like talking about a relatively literate sign-language chimp to them.)

      Now, one of the essay questions on your exam is: “compare and contrast the themes of SoI&F with those of Book X.” Of course, when you took your lit classes (however many years ago that was for you), you didn’t write about the “feelings” you got from tales. (Well, hopefully: if you did, then you got a low mark!) Instead, you provided specific recurring things: e.g., the disenchantment of the disenfranchised (i.e., women, bastards, dwarfs and broken things); or how the enemy of my enemy is often another enemy of mine and not my friend. (Stark vs. Lannister vs. Baratheon; White Walker vs. Watch vs. Wildling; etc.) You contrasted what differed in the statements being made, and whether it seemed that the authors were taking different sides of sociopolitical issues. In other words, you discussed what united a variety of recurring specifics in the books in some logically inductive thread.

      Now, fantasy/scifi might be considered a low form of literature (if only because it is viewed as escapist and overly prone to arbitrary plot resolutions), but it still works under the same rules. “Theme” means the same thing when you are discussing Anna Karenina or The Luminaries as it does when you are discussing SoI&F or LotR.

      Now, some of the things that you list do fit into basic themes. For example, it is very true that the Seven Kingdoms are disunited. That disunity feeds into the theme of the Enemy of My Enemy Need Not Be my Friend. (Martin uses this heavily to develop triangles throughout his series.) However, the common denominator is that monarchy is a common denominator of everyone concerned. Nobody is questioning that. Nobody is question some basic aspects of the “natural order”: instead, they are questioning who should fill various positions in that natural order.

      Moreover, if you look at the direction that characters are heading:

      Manderly has basically pledged the North to Stannis under Lord Rickon; given Manderly’s clout, that will carry a lot of people; Yara/Asha is having her eyes open about the consequences of the Reaver life, and she has basically offered to be Lady Greyjoy under Stannis:

      and the unifying forces of Dragons to the east and White Walkers to the North is going to bury those differences still further.

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    252. Wimsey,

      Haha i didn’t think we’d be going that far.
      For the feelings thing, i understand your point but first of course when I first answered at 4am I didn’t have in mind to like make an actual analysis of the books, so what I mean by it’s just feelings or memories means like, I’ve not thought it through especially not while reading it. It would be an analysis if I would have checked the books after and that’s not what I intend to do. It’s my expectations as a fan.
      And just as far as literature analysis in school, facts and reason are also things that are not too much in the author mind I hope. It’s litterature, it’s art, it’s feelings. Before plot mechanism.

      You’re right about the not putting the king in question as, not an answer to the problems of the realm. I guess I didn’t expressed myself well saying I didn’t see a king. Again I meant I’m not even sure it matters. Or rather : It’s not part of my expectations about the end of this story. I don’t know what the end can be I want it to blow my mind so if it was just about : this one is sitting on the throne I’d be disappointed because there has been lots of kings since the beginning. Nothing tells me he’ll stay on it for long.
      I totally agree on the fact that white walkers and dragons will change that. this is a song of ice and fire. The clash of kings is just an episode.

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    253. So here is my question, why did they have to finish Bran’s storyline in Season 4?

      And why are they upset that this info leaked. I think it’s better to warn your viewers that a major character who was part of 4 seasons will not be appearing in Season 5. All last season I kept thinking to myself, where the hell is Rickon?!

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