The Game of Thrones writers answer season 5’s big questions

Jon and Mance 2

David Benioff, D.B. Weiss and Bryan Cogman take on big questions from Entertainment Weekly about where our favorite characters are headed in season 5, as part of the magazine’s ongoing coverage this month of Game of Thrones.

The showrunners comment on the coming-together of characters, the new lands, and the ongoing adaptation of the books.

Benioff says of Arya and Tyrion‘s journey, “Worlds are colliding. For so long, we’ve been in separate continents, and finally this season we’re starting to see some crossover. Tyrion and Arya—at end of season 4, we saw two major characters bound for Essos. That changes everything for us.”

Later he elaborates on Arya’s path: “Arya is going to Braavos to find her destiny there, which is fascinating for us. She’s been wandering the moors for years in the same costume, and this year she gets a new costume, new hairdo, new people to pal around with—or fight with, as the case may be. It’s an exciting season for Arya and Maisie loves it.”

Benioff also address the future of Jon Snow, noting that this is “a huge season for Jon.” The executive producer explains, “This season, he starts from a position of more authority than he’s ever had before, and all the responsibilities and pressures that come from that. He’s caught between two powerful kings, Stannis Baratheon [Stephen Dillane] and Mance Rayder [Ciarán Hinds], both of whom he admires in some ways but also finds frustrating because neither is willing to compromise.”

Daenerys‘s conflicts will center around her continued struggle to learn to rule, which is more complicated than merely being a conqueror. According to Benioff, “She’s struggling to maintain her sense of justice and to do the right thing, and learning that’s impossible when ruling a city as large as Meereen.”

In other areas of the show world, the writers were “so happy to be able to include” Dorne this year, says D.B. Weiss. He admits, “We didn’t know if it would fit, to be honest—because of budgeting, scheduling and story reasons. There were a lot of ways we had to cram it in. But it’s such an important place. Of all the places in Westeros you’d ever want to live, the Dornish seem to have figured out the right approach to life. It’s the one most aligned with what our approach to life would be if we weren’t making this show. It’s our Brazil—we dream of Dorne and the way they do things down there.”

Benioff addresses an often-sore subject for fans- the adaptation of the books and drifting from the source.

“If we were to remain entirely faithful to A Feast for Crows, half the characters—the most popular characters—would be absent from the screen this season,” he says. “It’s always been about adapting the series as a whole and following the map George laid out for us and hitting the major milestones, but not necessarily each of the stops along the way. It’s an adaptation, it will have to adapt in order to survive. There are always going to be some people who want everything to remain exactly as in the books. For us, it was never a choice.”

EW’s James Hibberd asks a good question: “With winter coming, does that mean that some areas of the show will be winter-free?” Bryan Cogman fields this one.

The jury is still out on how much winter appears everywhere. We’re only really seeing evidence of winter in Northern areas. What’s fun about it, though, is not only does it become a thematic part of the story, but it will become a practical part, as well. Weather will impact the story in cool ways.

Winter is coming…sooner or later.

Head on over to Entertainment Weekly to check out the full article for more on Cersei, the dragons, and George R.R. Martin’s decision to not write an episode this season.

179 responses

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    1. Poor Dave Hill didn’t get included. Ah well.

      As for Arya’s “new people to hang around with”, am I the only person really surprised that the Waif casting hasn’t come out yet? I guess we’ll just have to wait ’till 502 airs for that one.

      EDIT: Hodor. I guess.

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    2. If we are only seeing evidence of winter in the North then that means that Bri and Bod are definitely in the North

      dammit ninja’d ahah

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    3. Greenjones,

      You think we’ll see the Waif in 5×02? Introducing the House of Black and White, the concept of the Faceless Men and the Many-Faced God and the Kindly Man himself is enough for an episode, is it not?

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    4. don,

      Tomorrow, right?

      We’ll know lots of 5×01 spoilers by tomorrow night, European time!

      Lady Wolfsbane,

      We know for a fact the Waif is in season five, though we have no idea who’s playing her. There was a casting call for the character.

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    5. “If we were to remain entirely faithful to A Feast for Crows, half the characters—the most popular characters—would be absent from the screen this season,”

      Does he really think that’s what people are talking about when they talk about adaptation choices? I’m sure there’s at least one person somewhere who thinks it was a bad idea to combine the timelines for the show, but it was an obvious and necessary choice from the beginning to do so. No one could reasonably argue that, and as far as I’ve seen, no one has.

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    6. Luka Nieto,

      Aye, and she’s one of the very few from those casting calls who hasn’t turned up on a CV yet.

      Luka Nieto,

      IIRC the official summary saying Arya’d be introduced to the Many-Faced God was for 503 actually.

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    7. Ffiferoo,

      That’s not the point, which was left unsaid because it’s obvious, I believe. The only way to be faithful to those books is to spend a whole season for each of them, but as you said there’s no way they are gonna split the timeline in the show. Then they can either adapt them more loosely so that it all fits within a season, which is what they did, or adapt half of each book in a season and then the other halves in another… which would be a terrible idea, because the middle of AFFC and ADWD have no possible climaxes for pretty much any of the characters. Where would you find any climax for a season five which only adapts the first halves of AFFC and ADWD? Cersei, Daenerys, Jon Snow, Tyrion, Stannis? Anyone?

      They were able to split ASOS in two seasons thanks to the Red Wedding, which was an uncharacteristically climactic event in the middle of a book; and even then, some characters suffered because of the split: Stannis sulked for almost two seasons in Dragonstone, instead of only one; and though I loved Arya and the Hound, their plot advanced very little in the whole of season four, because they were adapting only a few chapters and stretching it out.

      So, thank God they decided to do what they did. Honestly, it was the only possibility. A more faithful adaptation of AFFC and ADWD into two seasons would leave us with a mediocre and terribly anti-climactic season five and probably a very stretched out season six.

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    8. FreyPie,

      It was snowing in the mountains of the Vale last season, so I wouldn’t say it’s “confirmed” yet, but she does have to go somewhere this season and since

      Brienne will likely know that Sansa and “Arya” will be in Winterfell this season, it would make sense for her to at least head in that direction.

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    9. Nothing big, but I get the weather point; even in winter, it rarely snows all the way south in Dorne — except in say, crippling 10 year winters that come once every century or two.

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    10. Ffiferoo: Does he really think that’s what people are talking about when they talk about adaptation choices?I’m sure there’s at least one person somewhere who thinks it was a bad idea to combine the timelines for the show, but it was an obvious and necessary choice from the beginning to do so.No one could reasonably argue that, and as far as I’ve seen, no one has.

      That’s obviously not what people are referencing with adaptation changes but it’s the most diplomatic example to use without talking about things from the book that you don’t think are that great.

      They could have said that if they adapted AFFC and ADWD as written, the audience would have shot themselves in the face in boredom but I don’t think they’d do Martin like that.

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    11. Luka Nieto,

      I expect Lollys Stokeworth will have a cameo as long as Fat Walda did in S4. Varamyr at least seems like a character that they would highlight somewhat if they’re bothering to introduce him.

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    12. My favourite part of the interview when D&D are asked if Martin and them still get along because he wasn’t writing an episode anymore. It was the standard answer of that they still have a really good relationship and that he wanted to concentrate on finishing his book which they supported. But they also said that they don’t agree on everything that happens on the show and now I need to hear these disagreements just so I can picture Martin in pure book-purist mode, railing against an adaptation choice.

      In truth, the stuff Martin seems to rail against the most on the show are the stupid things that don’t really bother anyone else, like minor character deaths and unrealistic battle scenes.

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    13. King Tommen,

      Agreed! Not even convinced Lollys will have a line.

      Still, they’re the only three book characters who we haven’t pinned an actor to yet we are sure are going to be in season five.

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    14. King Tommen:
      In truth, the stuff Martin seems to rail against the most on the show are the stupid things that don’t really bother anyone else, like minor character deaths and unrealistic battle scenes.

      I expect that GRRM has more substantive critiques, but that’s not the kind of thing you make public, at least not while the series is running. They’re paying him handsomely, after all, and it’s fair to expect that he support it in exchange (I don’t doubt he generally likes it anyway, but I’m sure he has more significant disagreements than things like killing Mago).

      Hibberd responded to my question about whether that was “Northern” vs. “northern” by saying he doesn’t know, so that’s unclear whether Brienne is going there or not. I’m increasingly of the opinion she is, just because they’re clearly changing up that plot a lot and I otherwise have a hard time figuring what she’s going to do this season.

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    15. crabbers son:
      Great so basically brienne is confirmed to be going north….

      In the comments:

      Sean_C
      We’re only really seeing evidence of winter in Northern areas.

      Out of curiosity, Mr. Hibberd, what was the format of this interview? Are these email responses where you know if that’s meant to be a capital N or not (i.e., “Northern” vs. “northern”)? I ask because if it is “Northern”, that basically confirms that Brienne is going to the North this year.

      Reply
      James Hibberd Sean_C

      I love how so much seemed to ride on the capitalization! I’m changing to lower case, as I assume he just vaguely meant general north…

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    16. Sean C.,

      I had serious doubts they were going to have a blizzard-like dumping come to the Riverlands this season given that even Winterfell still looks pretty barren.

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    17. George didn’t write an episode this season, so some fans wonder if you’re still on good terms.
      Benioff: We don’t always agree on everything in the series, but we have a great relationship with him. George wants to finish the book, so when he decided not to write a script this year it wasn’t a contentious thing. It wasn’t a screaming match. He just felt like needed to prioritize the book, and that makes sense to us.

      Yeah, we all wondered…some of us just a few days ago…lol

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    18. Sean C.,

      I’m surprised by people saying they’re “changing” Brienne’s storyline. Some people interpreted last season’s Brienne & Pod journey as a sort of extended prologue to her AFFC storyline, and her storyline in Season 5, whatever it is, as an alternative direction from the books, as in the case of Jaime.

      However, I’d argue that the changes were last season; this year it will be invention, and just maybe something inspired by TWOW, just like Sansa. Not like Jaime. Though Brienne’s specific journey last season was changed almost beyond recognition in terms of the plot, her story remained the same. During Brienne’s long travelogue in AFFC, a lot of stuff happens, but the things that are actually relevant to the plot happen in Brienne II (she meets Pod), Brienne III (she learns that Lysa is dead), Brienne IV (she learns that a daughter of Lord Stark has been seen with the Hound), Brienne VI (Arya Stark is alive and she, not Sansa, was the one who was last seen with the Hound, who is now reportedly dead), Brienne VII (Brienne has a fight with someone who pretends to be the Hound) and Brienne VIII (Brienne meets a certain someone.)

      Season 4 adapted all of that, except for the last plot point. The difference is that in AFFC Brienne finds about all of this while meeting many eccentric characters, every one of which has been completely excised from the show. However, she still receives the relevant clues and support: she meets Podrick as well, except he is at her side from the beginning; later, she learns from Hot Pie that Arya is alive and last seen with the Hound, which Shagwell and the Elder brother told her in the book; and in fact, the Elder Brother’s claims of Arya being alive and the Hound being now dead are confirmed by Brienne firsthand in the show, when she meets them both and beats the Hound half to death herself —but not before he tells her that Lysa is dead, a crucial piece of information which in AFFC was relayed early in her journey by Lord Tarly, a change that allowed her to get much closer to the Stark girls. Also, her fight with the Hound parallels her climactic fight with Rorge, who was pretending to be the Hound. In 3 episodes, the show has functionally adapted the first 7 out of her 8 AFFC chapters. The plot may be unrecognizable in detail, but her story remains the same.

      What about the fifth season? She will get embroiled with the Knights of the Vale at least for a few episodes, I’m sure, which is pure invention. And then… who knows? If she goes to the North, it will be again pure invention. Will they adapt Brienne’s last AFFC chapter in some form, even if it’s only thematically? I think they will, just as I’m sure she won’t meet who she meets in that chapter. But I do expect that something will happen to Brienne which will leave her in a similar place as she was left at the end of AFFC.

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    19. King Tommen: That’s obviously not what people are referencing with adaptation changes but it’s the most diplomatic example to use without talking about things from the book that you don’t think are that great.

      They could have said that if they adapted AFFC and ADWD as written, the audience would have shot themselves in the face in boredom but I don’t think they’d do Martin like that.

      I see what you’re saying, but it just seems like a straw man for him to phrase it that way.

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    20. Why does nobody ask them if the next season (book 6) and the ending will be different or the same as in the books. That’s the burning question most fans have for months now.

      The next season is probably already written. Did George tell D&D everything? Or only some bits and pieces? I really want to know if seasons 6 and onward will be 90%fanfiction or not.

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    21. Luka Nieto:
      I’m surprised by people saying they’re “changing” Brienne’s storyline.

      I actually meant that they’re changing the Northern plot, what with Sansa going there. Hence, any number of other changes can also happen.

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    22. Ugh, stupid boards not allowing editing.

      TFT:
      Why does nobody ask them if the next season (book 6) and the ending will be different or the same as in the books. That’s the burning question most fans have for months now.

      The next season is probably already written. Did George tell D&D everything? Or only some bits and pieces? I really want to know if seasons 6 and onward will be 90%fanfiction or not.

      People aren’t asking them that because that was already asked and answered. GRRM spent a week giving them the details of his vision for the remaining two books, and they intend (and always have intended) to use GRRM’s ending, because it is very satisfying.

      Now, season 6, especially, will no doubt have enormous differences from TWOW, because of all the plots and characters excised.

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    23. There’s a show on Sky Atlantic on Thursday (22:00 GMT). It looks like it’s an edition of Thronecast dedicated to the premiere. Red carpet, etc. If we see anything new, we’ll be particularly lucky.

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    24. Benioff: The first year working in Northern Ireland, we go through customs, and the customs officials would go, “What are you working on?” “A TV show.” “Which show is it? “Game of Thrones.” “Is that some kind of game show?” Now we come through and they say: “Don’t kill Arya!”

      It’s good that they know they’d be in for it if they killed her off.

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    25. Luka Nieto:

      What about the fifth season? She will get embroiled with the Knights of the Vale at least for a few episodes, I’m sure, which is pure invention.

      Is it possible that Yohn Royce does not know that Brienne killed his son Robar?

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    26. Luka Nieto:
      Sean C.,

      What about the fifth season? She will get embroiled with the Knights of the Vale at least for a few episodes, I’m sure, which is pure invention. And then… who knows? If she goes to the North, it will be again pure invention. Will they adapt Brienne’s last AFFC chapter in some form, even if it’s only thematically? Personally, I’m sure they will, just as I’m sure she won’t meet who she meets in that chapter. But I do expect that something will happen to Brienne which will leave her in a similar place as she was left at the end of AFFC.

      Does it still an invention if Brienne’s story this season is actually might be what her plot will be on the future books? We might actually be on spoilery territory we just don’t know it yet.

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    27. TFT,

      I’m pretty sure they’ve gotten outlines of anything GRRM know about where he’s going in the future, and have gotten to read whatever draft material from Winds is available at the time they’re writing. The only things they don’t know are the parts Martin hasn’t decided on yet. Which may be a lot, but who knows.

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    28. Uknow0: Is it possible that Yohn Royce does not know that Brienne killed his son Robar?

      [spoilers]From the spoilers, Littlefinger is the one who sends them. For…some reason.[/spoiler]

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    29. TFT:
      Why does nobody ask them if the next season (book 6) and the ending will be different or the same as in the books. That’s the burning question most fans have for months now.

      The next season is probably already written. Did George tell D&D everything? Or only some bits and pieces? I really want to know if seasons 6 and onward will be 90%fanfiction or not.

      They have stated that George has told them the ending some time ago and a very general framework of most of the major happenings. This conversation took place prior to writing Season 3. Then, there was another confirmed huge sit down with Martin before they started writing season 5 where they asked Martin to lay out (as best he knew) the specific arcs of all the main characters in the final 2 books. They needed to have this conversation in order to know what to cut and what to keep in S5 because they knew they needed to condense the story instead of expand it the way Martin had done in AFFC and ADwD.

      So while they’ve known how the books will end for quite some time, this is the first season where they have knowledge of the more specific details of all the characters and how they intertwine.

      This is why it is probably a good idea to pay attention to things that have been cut and things that have been kept because while they’re adapting and making changes, they will adhere to the general paths of the characters even if they have to make detours and condensations along the way.

      This is not to say that Arianne, Euron or Aegon (for example) aren’t important to the plot of the books but perhaps they aren’t SO important that some of their plot-relevant actions can’t just be taken on by an existing show character instead.

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    30. As a book reader that knows the difference between my ASOIAF books sitting on the shelves and my GOT show coming back Sunday nights on my TV.
      I am glad D&D were able to adapt such a complex series in a way that is as big as it is now. Sure I like Arianne and her dark nipples but I trust what D&D are doing, after all they know more than I do.

      Anyway, I’m hoping for some snow making its way already 🙂

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    31. Luka Nieto:
      Brienne VII (Brienne has a fight with someone who pretends to be the Hound)…. Also, her fight with the Hound parallels her climactic fight with Rorge, who was pretending to be the Hound.

      In that very disturbing Brienne chapter, GRRM was definitely not kind to the Maid of Tarth. To this day, I have a hard time revisiting it…she was losing and severely wounded before she blacked out. Interesting that Biter and Rorge, who seemingly brought Brienne to the brink of death during that surprise attack, were so easily dispatched by a wounded Hound and a child in the show. A bit bothersome. Anyway, dark times are probably ahead for Brienne.

      Thank R’hllor for Gendry! 😉

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    32. TFT,

      We know that:

      1. The next season is not written, as they write it in April/May generally.
      2. George told them pretty much everything
      3. D&D have access to the finished chapters from TWOW

      Which will probably result in an adaptation that is (in Benioff’s words) “following the map George laid out for us and hitting the major milestones, but not necessarily each of the stops along the way”.

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    33. Hodor’s Bastard,

      A very harsh chapter, that one, I agree. The show did something similar, though less disturbing, with Brienne and the Hound. Both of them fought dirty, and in volcanic rock. People watching are always wincing while watching that scene, so it worked.

      As for Rorge and Bitter, I think they were always portrayed as more ineffectual, especially Rorge. I cannot imagine show|Rorge being confused for the Hound, can you? Anyway, Bitter got Brienne by surprise, not skill or strength, just as he did the Hound in the show, and eventually the Bitter’s wound did defeat the Hound, in a way.

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    34. If they’re really tired of producing the show, instead of wrapping it up in seven seasons, after writing season 7, Benioff could take a year off producing duties, promote B-Cog to help Weiss with that, then season 8 come back to write and produce it and let Weiss take a year off producing. Then make season 9.

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    35. What do they mean the jury is out, it’s right there in the books, the Riverlands is covered in snowfall and Kings Landing experience it’s first snow by the end of Dances.
      That should be a no brainer for Cogman to answer.

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    36. spacechampion:
      If they’re really tired of producing the show, instead of wrapping it up in seven seasons, after writing season 7, Benioff could take a year off producing duties, promote B-Cog to help Weiss with that, then season 8 come back to write and produce it and let Weiss take a year off producing.

      At no point have they said they’re tired with doing the show (it’s exhausting work but they seem to love doing it). The reason they want it to end in 7 seasons is not because they want to be done with the show, it’s because that’s the proper length of time to tell this story without putting unnecessary bloat.

      And to be truthful, in a story where in the first moments, you introduce the Ice and Fire elements of White Walkers in the North and a dragon queen in the East who are on a collision course in Westeros, there is only so much time you can stall towards putting that endgame in motion. The audience for a TV show isn’t going to be overly patient with a story that continually concentrates more on world-building rather than giving the main protagonists exciting things to do and forward momentum.

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    37. Could you imagine the reaction from non book readers if D&D decided to do a perfect adaption of book 4 and 5

      TV ratings would drop like a stone and non book readers would be wondering if D&D or HBO have lost their minds lol

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    38. Its nice to have a reminder that they actually filmed for as many days as possible. This season is gonna be one hell of a feat and I’m glad they went the extra mile by imposing a crazy filming schedule upon themselves. No half measures (any fellow BB fans here?).

      Also interesting that there was a point in time when D&D didn’t know if they’d even have time to include Dorne. I’m glad we’re getting the show version of it!

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    39. season 5s burning questions that no one cares about….burning questions should of been confirming if certain people are cut or not or atleast a reason why the ironborn was ommitted. Even if they are I dont understand why they left Balon Alive but im still hoping for s6 but by this point its safe to assume they are with the drowned god. Wouldve been cool tho to see Some Greyjoys that arent treasonous cunts.

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    40. DBWizzle,

      I’d bet that Balon dies this season, or early in season six. He’s alive because they’re not adding the Kingsmoot or the Greyjoy uncles, so Balon has to be alive… for now. But his days are numbered.

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    41. DBWizzle,

      “atleast a reason why the ironborn was ommitted”

      The ironborn were omitted because their story was really boring and a big reason why I didn’t like book 4

      That is why it was thankfully cut from the show

      there I answered your buring question

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    42. They said they change the story but all the major milestones are still there.

      Id say meeting Aegon, LSH, the ironborn/queensmoot, etc. should still be in because whether people liked them or not Id say they were major milestones of the story since they are all i can remember from the last two books. If i picked 10 scenes from Affc and ADWD id say The Walk, Daznak, For the Watch, Queenmaker, Kingsmoot, Brienne yelling sword, Deepwood Motte, Meeting Aegon/Boat trip on sorrows, Varys monologue, Quentyn bbq. We should expect some forms of all these scenes.

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    43. Crabber’s Son:
      They said they change the story but all the major milestones are still there.

      When the sun sets in the west and the purist can combine their money to pay more actors on top of the million cast already on it and find a way to film an hour show into two hours, I don’t see it happening.

      Thank the Gods!!

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    44. I really hope they show it snowing in King’s Landing in the last episode like in the books. I feel like that moment could be a really ominous scene in the show because it proves that winter truly is here and we know what winter will bring….

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    45. They seem to be saying the winter snow will be a practical, physical issue. Could this be hinting at

      Stannis?

      🙂

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    46. Al Swearengen,

      I heard they addressed LSH a week ago, confirming that she would not be appearing at all in this season and the next. I can’t seem to find the interview though.

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    47. Lady Wolfsbane: Of all characters needed, why the Waif?

      Oh, god, expecting more Missy Grey Wormish scenes.

      Sean_C: I ask because if it is “Northern”, that basically confirms that Brienne is going to the North this year.

      I would have left that bit out because always keep your foes confused. If they don’t know who you are or what you want, they can’t know what you plan to do next.

      Uknow0: Is don-quixotish Brienne really going to meet Roose Bolton again?

      I totally forgot about that.

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    48. Patchface: George didn’t write an episode this season, so some fans wonder if you’re still on good terms.
      Benioff: We don’t always agree on everything in the series, but we have a great relationship with him. George wants to finish the book, so when he decided not to write a script this year it wasn’t a contentious thing. It wasn’t a screaming match. He just felt like needed to prioritize the book, and that makes sense to us.

      Yeah, we all wondered…some of us just a few days ago…lol

      I am sure they still have a great relationship and George is not going to get in a dispute with them.
      But I wish George would express his thoughts on this issue and not just say “the show is the show.”

      Is George writing an episode for season 6?

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    49. Luka Nieto,

      The big problem for me with Brienne’s storyline is how murky it is. Indeed, it boggles my mind that there are 8 chapters of it and almost nothing seemed to emerge from it. I think that it had something to do with the “sanctity” of vows to the dead: but I still cannot puzzle out what was the “boy” and what was the “man” in Brienne’s part of the story.

      Hopefully, B&W will paraphrase GRRM in such a way that it is intelligible!

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    50. Boojam

      Is George writing an episode for season 6?

      They haven’t announced the writer’s for S6 (probably won’t for a bit) as they’re only in the middle of breaking out the overall structure for the season at this point.

      But based on George cancelling a lot of upcoming appearances to hunker down on the book, I’d bet that he takes a pass this year as well.

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    51. where did don and crabber’s son get their source, since all the EW article said was that each episode cost at least $8 million. it never mentioned 15 anywhere.

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    52. Wimsey: it boggles my mind that there are 8 chapters of it and almost nothing seemed to emerge from it.

      That’s because she spent a lot of time chasing Nimble Dick and thinking about Jaime in the tub.

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    53. Luka Nieto,

      My guess is that they will add Euron to S6 as Balon’s heir. He’s not important yet, but he eventually will be. The kingsmoot and the other uncles will be cut out.

      The Griffins are completely cut out, tho. Maybe Trystane will take on some of fAegon’s role.

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    54. Wimsey,

      Which ones do you think wont be done in some manner?

      1- quentyn getting burned will be replaced by maybe Greyworm or someone else getting burned.
      2- queenmaker will probably happen or it could just be a rescue thats very similar.
      3-we are getting some sort of boat trip and we may still have an aegon reveal (im hoping for the greyscale/stonemen though but doubtful).
      4- for the watch is definetly in.
      5- varys will most likely have his scene
      6- the walk we know is in
      7-daznak we know is in
      8-we know stannis is covered in blood and the battle of ice isnt happening this season so some sort of deepwood motte battle is most likely happening
      9-the kingsmoot may be in season 6 as a great way of introducing the greyjoy uncles atleast 2 of them.
      10-Brienne and sword may be in although we dont know who will lead the BWB.
      All of the major milestones arent cut and the only one which might actually never make it is kingsmoot but the rest are going to happen just like they said.
      Bonus: Arya going blind

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    55. “Dany said she was the Mother of Dragons and she didn’t mean that as a metaphorical thing, but that they are the only children she will ever have. ”

      There is a theory that Dany can fulfill prophecies and then bear children again. This shoot the crap outta that theory, IMHO. Good, I like that.

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    56. OrtMeyer,

      I cannot find the link where I read it but I’m sure I read that somewherw i thought it was common knowledge on this site. It was tied to an article talking about the actors being paid in tiers. Everything I saw looking for it said season 1 had a budget of 60 million and season 2 had a 15 percent increase.

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    57. Wimsey,

      There’s nothing murky about Brienne’s chapters, IMO. They are the most poetic and suggestive passages in the saga (probably on the level of Theon’s ADWD plot). And it’s not about anyone turning into anything, or a boy turning into a man or a girl into woman. It’s about an idealist faced with a world where idealism has died a gory death, and how this leads her to isolation. It’s also about the poetic irony of her being driven to distrust for the first time, and her instincts failing her, because she lacks the discernment built into so many of the other characters.

      In short, it’s about the miraculous resilience of innocence, and the destruction of that innocence when faced with irreconcilable choices. They may be the most tragic chapters GRRM has ever written.

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    58. Al Swearengen,

      Because that’s their policy and I imagine they want to give themselves avenues in case they change their minds later on. They don’t want to tip their hands on what happens later on the show.

      They don’t want the show to be a constant comparison to the books. They want it to stand on its own.

      I assume you are a fan of other HBO shows based on your username. Do you recall any of the showrunners on The Sopranos etc being particularly transparent with their choices? We’re lucky that D&D talk the amount that they do. Most showrunners don’t at all.

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    59. This may be as close as we get to an explanation on Arianne’s absence, in a way.

      ” And Indira Varma—once you have someone of her caliber, you want to double down on that casting strength.”

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    60. King Stannis,
      As an astronomical aside, unless we’re using a Martell-ish reference here (perhaps to help fulfill Mirri Maz Durr’s prophecy), doesn’t the sun traditionally set in the west in Westeros?

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    61. Mildred,

      Thank you for that.

      I also found Brienne’s fateful journey quite intriguing. It was a maddening descent into darkness as she desperately/naively held onto her cursed and convoluted vows: the one to Cat and the one to Jaime. Westeros was simply awful, evil and cold to her. GRRM seemed to be intentionally dismantling her. And in her penultimate chapter, she met with demons from the nth level of Dante’s hell who literally tried to rip her apart….only to barely survive and be escorted to yet another level of deranged madness. Oh, what her vows have become! 🙂

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    62. Luka Nieto,

      And we’ve still got delusional fans insisting D&D should’ve spent 3 seasons on the two books. THREE SEASONS. Jesus Christ, there’s a significantly large portion of fandom that doesn’t not exist in reality.

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    63. Hodor’s Bastard,

      That’s a wonderful suggestion. She really falls deeper and deeper into hell in every chapter – and every lower level brings a new monstrous revelation. I think it is one of the most promising threads going into The Winds of Winter.

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    64. Mildred,

      Even Sam’s father, Randyll, occupied one of those early levels in her descent. Once I read all Brienne’s chapters in AFfC, I realized how appropriate (and symbolic) it was to meet him early on during her fateful trek.

      I share your TWoW riverlands anticipation!

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    65. Hodor’s Bastard:
      Mildred,

      Even Sam’s father, Randyll, occupied one of those early levels in her descent. Once I read all Brienne’s chapters in AFfC, I realized how appropriate (and symbolic) it was to meet him early on during her fateful trek.

      Remember one of the raven’s sight short clips with Brienne and Podrick. We might actually see a little bit of that descent.

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    66. Never understood For the Watch.

      To make more drama? It’s obvious he’s not dead so why leave a cliffhanger? One of the worst part of Grrms writing is ooh he’s dead but he’s not actually is zombie. Glad Stoneheart is cut. Hopefully this is too. I suppose if he is dead his watch is ended and he can foresake NW vows but it’s just seems irrelevant. We all know he’s not dead.

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    67. I think these “running into each other” of characters are making things a bit unrealistic. Brienne randomly getting the info from hot pie and then boom, pin pointing Arya+Hound via GPS in mountains of Vale! Now shes gonna run into more characters we know this season? Hope not!

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    68. Al Swearengen,

      They want the show to explain itself. Also, they don’t want to open the floodgates; they get enough criticism by book readers as it is.

      Mildred,

      I actually liked Brienne’s chapters. However, there shouldn’t have been eight of them but four or so, precisely to tell that story better —more clearly and concisely. Honestly, I think the show changing the detail of the plots but leaving in the major elements resulted in a better way to tell the same story: Brienne starts the quest as an idealist, and her idealism even gets her a win, despite Pod’s criticism (being honest with Hot Pie), only for it to hit her in the face when she meets Arya and the Hound. All that idealism is for naught when Arya and the Hound notice her ‘Lannister gold’, and when Brienne claims she will take Arya to safety, the Hound asks the question we might have been asking: “Where the fuck is that? Her whole family is dead!” Which is completely true! And so, they must fight. Brienne almost wins, and at first Brienne tries to be knightly (“I have no wish to kill you, Ser”), but that goes nowhere (“I am not a knight”); so then they beat the shit out of each other and Brienne finally goes berserk on the Hound and wins, which is a tragic lesson to learn for the character. And she losses Arya!

      Considering what we’ve seen of season five (“Nothing’s more hateful than losing the ones you love”, probably to Sansa; “The good lords are dead, and the rest are monsters” to Pod), her disillusionment with the world will only continue.

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    69. Voice of Reason,

      They meet on the single road to/from the Eyrie. Not unrealistic at all. Brienne and Pod were going to the Eyrie; Arya and the Hound had being going there, and now were coming back. They literally had to meet. And yes, we know for a fact she will meet Sansa.

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    70. Im sure we’ll wont see the Iron island in this show. It doesnt make Sense for season 6 because of whats happening in S05. 🙁 Ahhh damnit..

        Quote  Reply

    71. Tatters:
      We have a replacement for the ironborn. Just watch vikings if you miss some hardcore seafaring.

      I’m glad someone else has seen this show other than me! Do you spot Meryn Trant being decapitated? Is that type-casting or a stereotype? Hire Ian Beattie. We can chop him up into little pieces. Be careful with that axe, Eugene!

        Quote  Reply

    72. Luka Nieto:
      Voice of Reason,
      They meet on the single road to/from the Eyrie. Not unrealistic at all. Brienne and Pod were going to the Eyrie; Arya and the Hound had being going there, and now were coming back. They literally had to meet. And yes, we know for a fact she will meet Sansa.

      This. Considering that the Crossroads Inn is the Piccadilly Circus of Westeros, there is only the Eastern/High Road into The Vale and we know that going off piste is too dangerous because of the hill tribes.

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    73. Voice of Reason:
      I think these “running into each other”of characters are making things a bit unrealistic. Brienne randomly getting the info from hot pie and then boom, pin pointing Arya+Hound via GPS in mountains of Vale! Now shes gonna run into more characters we know this season? Hope not!

      Arya running into Brienne was more believable than

      Arya running into Sam in Braavos

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    74. How to solve the mystery of Balon, The Non-Dead King, and other matters Ironborn?
      Roose can make Reek into Theon, Prince of Pyke, Heir-apparent to the Seastone Chair. Roose now has a fleet. (Reek will be all at sea with this cockameme story.)
      Brides must walk down the aisle at huge weddings. Who better to walk the last Stark bride than…. Theon Greyjoy? Wasn’t Robb proclaimed King In The North? Doesn’t that make Arya (or Sansa) into a Princess In The North?
      Does this raise the significance of this wedding, to Ramsey Bolton?

      Sansa’s lost her Stark name to Tyrion Lannister – right? Arya is the last Stark bride, therefore. Once wed to Ramsey Bolton, there is no other known Stark alive. (Forget that viewers know different. The word has it Theon killed the boys.) Therefore, the Stark line and name is completely ended.
      Jon Snow is a loose end, and still a bastard.

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    75. My one problem with the fArya storyline is … Arya Stark was promised to the Freys as part of the deal that Catelyn made with them. The Freys slaughtered Robb’s whole party because Robb didn’t uphold his side of the deal. Why would they then turn around and just let the Boltons take Arya? I don’t think I ever saw this addressed anywhere in the books.

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    76. Have we had any intimation of what they’re doing with Yara/Balon yet? I know the Iron Islands have been cut from this season in favour of showing Dorne (both places have their fans and detractors, so it’s not an issue for me), but will we get a five minute scenes like Yara returning to the Islands to find them fishing out a corpse and being told “Oh, isn’t that your uncle’s ship over there..?” do you think?

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    77. Young Dragon,

      Exactly! Going to and from the Eyrie means using the High road —they simply had to meet. Meanwhile, Arya met him in the super-sized Venice that is Braavos. That is unlikely, not Brienne & Pod meeting Arya & the Hound.

      Fall_Of_Byzantium,

      Some people love take for granted that D&D hate the ironborn, or even more crazily that they have short-changed Asha Greyjoy. However, the fact remains that, in terms of overall screen-time vs ratio of pages in the books, until now they have had considerably more prominence in the show, especially Yara.

      In the second season, Yara took over the roles and lines from Asha’s uncles Aeron and Victarion and other more minor characters. In the third and fourth season, the character has appeared briefly —yet those ten minutes of screen-time are more than the utter lack of Asha Greyjoy in ASOS, a book in which she wasn’t even mentioned. By the way, Balon also appeared briefly in season three, while in the corresponding book he is only ever spoken of; his only relevant plot point merely discussed by others, never narrated in the page.

      Granted, the show’s head start will most likely be undone this coming season, since AFFC is where the ironborn story truly starts. Among other things, it’s when Asha Greyjoy becomes a protagonist with her own POV chapters. Since the Kingsmoot is gone in the show, I think we can expect Balon and Yara to appear this season but not as much as the ironborn feature in AFFC and ADWD —yes, I did say Balon. When he came back for Season 3 in “Mysha”, it was quite a surprise. I see no reason not to be surprised again.

      So, after this coming season I doubt we can keep saying the Greyjoys have had more prominence in the show, but until now that’s been demonstrably true —their ratio of featured screen-time to featured number of pages is simply larger in the show. Still, even though the unfortunate death that precedes the Kingsmoot and the event itself have been cut from the show, I expect Asha’s subsequent story-line in the North to have at least a parallel in the show, even if they do not follow it to a tee. Bryan Cogman has said they will follow up on last season’s brief appearance by Yara —he said that there will be consequences to her taking Theon for dead and escaping from the Dreadfort.

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    78. Luka Nieto:
      Young Dragon,

      Exactly! Going to and from the Eyrie means using the High road —they simply had to meet. Meanwhile, Arya met him in the super-sized Venice that is Braavos. That is unlikely, not Brienne & Pod meeting Arya & the Hound.

      Not to mention Tyrion and Jorah meeting in a random “establishment” in the middle of the vastness that is Essos.

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    79. Mildred,
      Hodor’s Bastard,
      Luka Nieto,

      Wonderful insight about Brienne!

      The first time thru AFFC, I got impatient while reading some of her chapters (mostly the Nimble Dick ones). However, her encounters with Septon Meribald and Elder Brother are some of my favorites in all of ASOIAF. In later re-reads, I grew to appreciate the importance of her entire journey. She is one of the few pure characters in the story and, therefore, her disillusionment is heart-breaking. (Randyll Tarly remains on my “hate list” forever.)

      I am looking forward to her story in TWOW and in S5.

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    80. Fall_Of_Byzantium,

      No. I mean, who is her uncle? Why mention him and then not do anything with him?

      In a TV series like this, a gun put on the wall in Season 5 must have some firing in Season 5. If Yara’s uncles are important to the Winter story (doubtful) or plot (more probable, but probably not uniquely so), then introduce them then. The only exception would be if it is the closing of the season: if they are going to be important next year, then it is ok to do a cliffhanger teaser.

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    81. Josh L.,

      Huh, do you know, I do not remember anyone raising that before! Even if they know she is an imposter, then they should still be demanding her.

      This is closer to a Knightesque idiot plot than a true plothole; I suppose that a lapsus is the best way to think of it. However, you are right: such arbitrariness should be there. (Good thing GRRM did mot catch; otherwise, he would be saying that he will make the cons IF he turns in Dragons on time! 😀 )

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    82. Dutch maester,

      Indeed! If I had editted Crows, I would have told GRRM double Arya, double Sansa, cut Dorne and the Iron Islands (we CAN all get slong if we just agree that both were bad instead of arguing which was worse!), trim Brienne in half, cut Cersei & Jaime by 1/3 each, and we have half of a great novel in hand!

      (And, yes, I am one of those evil editors who says, “we will publish it, but trim 20%”)

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    83. Josh L.,

      Because by joining the Lannisters they concede that Robb was an attainted traitor and never had the right to promise Arya to them in the first place.

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    84. Wimsey,

      That would’ve been a much better novel (and I like AFFC!)

      I don’t get how anyone can say that Arya’s story in AFFC is in any way filler. It’s only three chapters, and they are quite packed with plot and especially a lot of story and character development. Meanwhile, there’s the Kingsmoot, which should’ve been one chapter instead of three; the Dornish chapters, which should’ve been from a single POV and more compact; and Brienne’s story, which I love but should’ve been cut to about half the chapters.

      It seems season five will adapt six of Arya’s chapters: Arya I, Arya II and Cat of the Canals from AFFC; The Blind Girl and The Ugly Little Girl from ADWD; and Mercy from TWOW. Well, they might not adapt all of them (I’m pretty sure they will simply skip most of her two ADWD chapters), but her plotline will span Arya’s story in the books from Arya I in AFFC to Mercy in TWOW. There will be plenty for Arya to do in season five. She appeared only in six episodes last year, but that’s understandable considering she only had a few ASOS chapters left two adapt. Now she’s got six, so she can be in most episodes with no filler and the plot actually advancing each time, contrary to season four. Make no mistake, I loved the journey of the She-Wolf & the Hound, but it was all character and almost no plot.

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    85. Wimsey:
      Dutch maester,

      Indeed!If I had editted Crows, I would have told GRRM double Arya, double Sansa, cut Dorne and the Iron Islands (we CAN all get slong if we just agree that both were bad instead of arguing which was worse!), trim Brienne in half, cut Cersei & Jaime by 1/3 each, and we have half of a great novel in hand!

      (And, yes, I am one of those evil editors who says, “we will publish it, but trim 20%”)

      I agree wholeheartedly. I have long mused on the best way to edit Feast and Dance. I would bring a similar hammer down on ADwD as well. Cut 1/4 to 1/3 of Jon, Tyrion, and Dany, cut Quentyn completely, slim some others as well (Davos’ first chapter and some of Barristan material come to mind)… and then bring back the beginning of TWoW where it begins: at the end of ADwD.

      As for Arya’s AFfC plot: among the best things in the book, no doubt. Actually, I’m not quite clear on *why* Martin didn’t devote more time to her arc. He is on record saying that could write a whole book about Arya’s Braavosi adventures… well, why didn’t he? Why devote so many pages to tangents that could’ve easily been slimmed down or even cut without losing much and then skimp on the only two of the original protagonists present in the book (Sansa included)?

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    86. Ffiferoo: I see what you’re saying, but it just seems like a straw man for him to phrase it that way.

      It is absolutely a straw man and comes off a little insulting IMHO

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    87. Luka Nieto,

      I don’t think people’s complaint is that Asha has been short-changed in terms of raw screen time, more just that she doesn’t feel like Asha from the books. People like her in the books because she’s a fun character, but she comes off as kind of dour on the show.

      Also, I’m on the team that Arya book 4 was mostly filler. It’s a lot of Braavos world building leading up to a cheap twist about her being blind but not really. People would’ve freaked out, but I think it’d be a stronger story in the long run if Feast/Dance omitted Arya entirely, and we got reintroduced to her through the Mercy chapter in Winds, like he had originally intended to do after the five year gap. I think Sansa and Bran could’ve been similarly omitted, assuming they have equally shocking re-entry points. I think that would’ve been a good compromise between his original desire to have time skips for the kids and his later discovery that he needed some continuity for the adults.

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    88. Josh L.:

      Well…Cat and Robb are dead, so that deal seems to be void. The new Lord of Winterfell gets to make his own deals, and the Freys are hardly in a position to object when this new Lord is in league with Littlefinger and he controls the fLady in question. It may have even been part of Tywin’s original deal to get the Boltons to defect. We aren’t privy to the details since there was no pov character present, so it’s all conjecture until GRRM lays it all out for us like the Spicer deal. Or he can just leave the reader to guess, which seems like something he might do.

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    89. Wimsey,

      i liked the

      Kingsmoot plot and I’m liking where the Greyjoy storyline is going in regards to Dany. Dorne felt anticlimactic. Too much setup

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    90. Afeastfordances,

      So, if I understand you correctly, you wanted half the chapters in a saga’s fourth book to be mostly comprised of new characters, completely omitting 3 of the original protagonists? Oookay… That wasn’t GRRM’s original plan by the way. There would be a gap between novels, not in them; not a filler book with none of the original protagonists (thank God that didn’t happen.)

      Turncloak,

      Both storylines had way too much setup. But yeah, at least the Gryejoy plot gets going after the Kingsmoot. I like how they seem to be fixing Dorne in the show.

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    91. Wimsey,

      I like Dorne, especially the concept of the man in the wheelchair and the three vengeful daughters. But it would have been better if it had been written from a single POV: Doran, cutting out Quentyn entirely. Which is basically what the show is doing, so that’s great. The only difference is that Arianne’s role has been given to Ellaria, with which I have no problem at all.

      Luka Nieto,

      I agree they might

      skip the blind girl part. One thing they might do is switch Mercy and The Ugly Little Girl around. That way, as a final moment of the season, she enters a new stage of her training and is brought to the room (dungeon?) with all the faces. Epic final discovery and visual:

      http://unspoiledpodcasts.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Arya-Faces2.jpg

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    92. Wimsey,

      One possible reason that the Freys would not pitch a fit over fArya is because they already know that she is a fake.

      That’s just speculation on my part, but it’s likely that not everyone in league with Bolton is ignorant of fArya not being the genuine article. They’re just not in a position to do anything about it. Yet. Beside the Freys, House Cerwyn is within a half day’s ride to Winterfell, and there are also some survivors from Ramsay’s sack of Winterfell. They would recognize that Ramsay’s bride isn’t the real Arya Stark…

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    93. Wimsey,

      Luka Nieto,

      I have exact oposite opinion on the books 4 and 5. Dornish and Ironborns chapters (with exception of Aeron) are the best chapters by far. Chapters of established characters sucks, especially those of Tyrion and Arya who both got boring once they left Westeros. Quentin´s chapters are masterpiece compared to Tyrion journey.

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    94. Maester of Ceremonies:
      Wimsey,

      One possible reason that the Freys would not pitch a fit over fArya is because they already know that she is a fake.

      Yeah, they stand to gain more from alliance with the Boltons by going along with it, since the Starks are out of the game to all intents and purposes as far as they know.

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    95. Luka Nieto:

      Mildred,

      I actually liked Brienne’s chapters. However, there shouldn’t have been eight of them but four or so, precisely to tell that story better —more clearly and concisely. Honestly, I think the show changing the detail of the plots but leaving in the major elements resulted in a better way to tell the same story: Brienne starts the quest as an idealist, and her idealism even gets her a win, despite Pod’s criticism (being honest with Hot Pie), only for it to hit her in the face when she meets Arya and the Hound. All that idealism is for naught when Arya and the Hound notice her ‘Lannister gold’, and when Brienne claims she will take Arya to safety, the Hound asks the question we might have been asking: “Where the fuck is that? Her whole family is dead!” Which is completely true! And so, they must fight. Brienne almost wins, and at first Brienne tries to be knightly (“I have no wish to kill you, Ser”), but that goes nowhere (“I am not a knight”); so then they beat the shit out of each other and Brienne finally goes berserk on the Hound and wins, which is a tragic lesson to learn for the character. And she losses Arya!

      Considering what we’ve seen of season five (“Nothing’s more hateful than losing the ones you love”, probably to Sansa; “The good lords are dead, and the rest are monsters” to Pod), her disillusionment with the world will only continue.

      Totally agree. I understood what Martin was trying to accomplish with Brienne’s chapters, and the writing was certainly poetic and tragically evocative at times. But eight chapters was probably excessive. I eventually arrived at a point of diminishing returns on the bleak mood and the thematic explorations of lost idealism and innocence. There’s only so far that those things can further my sense of investment in the story when the characters and the plot aren’t also tightly holding on to my interest, and unfortunately, Nimble Dick and the expedition to Crackclaw Point weren’t doing that. Furthermore, that inherent poetry and tragedy didn’t make her chapters any easier to read (it’s worth noting those chapters are also quite long, frequently approaching or exceeding 30 pages. That’s pretty standard for AFFC, but quite a bit above average for the series as a whole). Ultimately, while I enjoyed many notable setpieces along the way (the Quiet Isle, especially), I didn’t find the climax of Brienne’s story to be worth such a significant expenditure of words and grief (and not just because I have little use and no affection for the ‘character’ that she meets at the end).

      As you outlined in one of your previous posts, the show managed to adapt all of the major plot points in Brienne’s arc (outside of the last chapter) last season with remarkable efficiency – and in doing so, they even managed to improve several things. It may be less poetically futile, but I think that it’s more tragic and effective that Brienne will actually manage to meet the Stark girls in the show – only to be be refused. Her disillusionment has already started to set in, and it will only continue to grow next season.

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    96. Jared,

      It’s fascinating to read how certain scenes affect us in different ways. For instance, the Nimble Dick chapter (the chapter of misplaced mistrust I was talking about earlier) was where I began to feel something more mythological at work – where I realized GRRM was taking Brienne’s story somewhere outside the overall “realism” of his saga. It worked wonderfully for me, and I too found it hard to read, but not because it was boring but because of the revelations that started hitting me. And it only improved from there. That said, her first two chapters could well have been omitted or condensed. I’d say about six chapters (instead of eight) would have been a good number for this story.

      And I agree with both of you that the show has being doing a good job reworking her story. The poetry is gone, but one could argue it would have been out of place in the series anyway. And her scene with the Hound in episode 10 (a brilliant twist on her fight with fake-Hound in the books) is as extraordinary a scene as anything from the book. The only thing missing is the sense of deepening descent, but hopefully that is continued in season 5.

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    97. Dutch maester,

      Quentin´s chapters are like Brienne´s chapters. Both are great depictions of impact of the war in Essos/Riverlands (even if they took too much place in the books). Tyrion´s chapters consisted of endless “where do whores goes” and Penny. Just because those chapters are Tyrion´s, it does not mean they are any good. And it doesnt help at that point Tyrion is very unlikeable.

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    98. I wanted to see what would happen if they did adapt AFFC 100% for season 5. Would they pull the plug on the tv show? Is the reaction from the viewing audience going to be negative or surprisingly positive?

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    99. Jared:

      It may be less poetically futile, but I think that it’s more tragic and effective that Brienne will actually manage to meet the Stark girls in the show – only to be be refused. Her disillusionment has already started to set in, and it will only continue to grow next season.

      Mildred:

      The only thing missing is the sense of deepening descent, but hopefully that is continued in season 5.

      In the last Sight video, and in the trailers, Brienne seems not only disillusioned, but pretty bitter. What’s worse – going in circles and never finding the Stark sisters, or actually meeting them and having them slip through your fingers with nothing to show for it? (And failing terribly, at that.)

      If Brienne does follow Sansa only to encounter Stannis and become his prisoner, that’ll mess her up even more. Jaime could be in for a nasty surprise when they reunite.

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    100. To me Quentyn was an unnecessary plot device that served 2 purposes. First, to feed GRRMs obsession with breaking fantasy tropes(oh you like adventures? Let me show you what adventure is really like!). And 2nd to come up with a way to pit Dorne against Dany.

      I wish GRRM would have come with a different solution to fill these 2 needs. In hindsight it makes Doran look incredibly foolish to send his son to Dany. It would have been wiser to send someone charismatic like Oberyn instead. Either that or someone that’s sexy but expendable in case things go wrong (Daemon Sand comes to mind).

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    101. Luka Nieto:
      All that idealism is for naught when Arya and the Hound notice her ‘Lannister gold’, and when Brienne claims she will take Arya to safety, the Hound asks the question we might have been asking: “Where the fuck is that? Her whole family is dead!” Which is completely true! And so, they must fight. Brienne almost wins, and at first Brienne tries to be knightly (“I have no wish to kill you, Ser”), but that goes nowhere (“I am not a knight”); so then they beat the shit out of each other and Brienne finally goes berserk on the Hound and wins, which is a tragic lesson to learn for the character. And she losses Arya!

      Chivalric ‘n lil bit pompous Brienne + realistic squire Pod form a tandem that bears a resemblance to that of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. Brienne seems clever and brave lady, but actually she is stupid. Her knightly idealism makes her one of the most laughable ‘n pathetic characters in the show.

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    102. Jared: It may be less poetically futile, but I think that it’s more tragic and effective that Brienne will actually manage to meet the Stark girls in the show – only to be be refused. Her disillusionment has already started to set in, and it will only continue to grow next season.

      Well stated. If there’s any one bit I hope to see, it would be either the Quiet Isle (which, given events in Season 4, probably becomes less likely), or at least the soliloquy from Septon Meribald. The show did a fairly good job of depicting the horrors of war on the countryside, mostly through the Arya/Hound plot, where each interaction includes, notably, shots of overturned carts and dead people. I would expect we’ll see more of that in the Brienne plot.

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    103. Greatjon of Slumber,

      The beautiful “Broken Man” speech simply has to be included, whether it is in season five or later. Thanks to casting calls we know that Brienne meets an old woman in season five who harbors her for a while, so maybe she could deliver that speech. I hope so!

      Dutch maester,

      Don’t think so. A piece of worldbuilding, however shocking, is not a proper way to end the arc of a character for a season. It needs to be something about Arya herself; a change in her character, a decision. So she’ll end the season as she did the chapter Mercy.

      That is, regaining her identity as Arya (which she never truly lost despite trying to be “no one” and other people), which will most likely mean the end of her apprenticeship at the House of Black and White. That is a climax.

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    104. Turncloak,

      It’s pathetic that sending Quentyn was the best plan Doran could come up with after years and years of waiting. Really undermines the whole Fire and Blood speech.

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    105. GaiusB: Both are great depictions of impact of the war in Essos/Riverlands (even if they took too much place in the books).

      Hardly. Quentyn’s first chapter is just him travelling and remembering being attacked by pirates. The last two are him in Meereen dealing with Dany and the dragons. He has won chapter about the war, his second one.

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    106. The show ruined AFFC. I was reading it and there were so many characters and I was just thinking these could be interesting but I dont care about them because I know the show is going to cut them. Aurane Waters, Nimble Dick, Redwyne, Kettleblacks, Darkstar, quentyn, cant remember the rest my brain shut off for most of them etc. The only ones that made me more invested in reading were the ones i could see being introduced on the show like Randyll Tarly, Euron, Arianne, and the Griffs. BTW, What do you guys think the small council will look like this year btw? Cersei, Kevan?, Pycelle, Qyburn?, Mace Tyrell?

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    107. Mildred,

      Thank you for your thoughts! I agree that it’s incredibly interesting how the same words can inspire such different reactions and levels of passion – which of course, is one of the many things that makes this series so rich and fun to discuss in any medium! Perhaps I’m being too hard on Nimble Dick and the Crackclaw Point chapter – I singled them out because I considered that sequence to be the most representative of Brienne’s overall arc in AFFC and the frustrations that I had with it. Brienne’s first two chapters at Duskendale and Maidenpool may have been better examples to cite. They were far less eventful and thematically interesting on pretty much every level, and could have easily been condensed or excised. Even if they were essential set-up, there was no reason for them to be as long as they were.

      The spectrum of opinions is even more likely to fracture once you factor in the subjective nature of what each individual reader is seeking from the narrative. When I read any book for the first time, I’m primarily concerned with how any given chapter advances the plot and develops the characters – the straight text, in other words. Of course, the deeper thematic significance may naturally emerge thanks to a talented author’s efforts. But seeking it out isn’t my priority because I’m not usually taking the time to re-read passages or dwell on the chapter during my first reading – and of course, I don’t have the whole picture at that time. As such, I freely admit during my first read-through of AFFC, my opinion of Brienne’s chapters was colored by a growing sense of impatience and an increasing certainty what she was doing was pointless. Once I lost faith that her journey was going to lead her anywhere interesting, the repetitiveness of certain beats wore on me to a greater extent than they otherwise might have (I’m afraid that I will never again be able to read the phrase “a maid of three-and-ten with auburn hair” without rolling my eyes).

      As we’ve discussed, much of that futility was intentional on Martin’s part – but it didn’t make it any less frustrating. When I re-read the book a few months later, I was able to appreciate the uncharacteristic surrealism and allegorical nature of Brienne’s chapters a bit more, but I still wasn’t quite able to let go of my initial impressions (or, in some of my darker moods, tar them with that reductive and pejorative phrase, “travelogue”).

      However, time and distance softens most things, and I’m always willing to keep an open mind! In addition to my annual rewatch of the first four seasons, I recently began re-reading AFFC and ADWD in advance of Season 5. Because I’m doing it specifically to prepare for the new season and time is a factor, I admit that I intend to devote much less time and attention to the chapters and characters that I know won’t be covered by the show (Sayonara, Greyjoys). However, when I reach Brienne’s chapters and the Crackclaw Point sequence in particular (I believe it’s Brienne IV?) I will make sure to slow down and give them extra consideration. Free from expectations, perhaps I’ll find those chapters more rewarding. In fact, I expect that I will. 🙂

      On the matter of how those chapters relate to Game of Thrones and the demands of the adaptive process, however, I don’t expect my opinion will change. I maintain that it was a smart and correct decision on the part of the writers make the changes that they did and exclude the things that they excluded. Brienne’s something a wild card this season, and I’m very interested to see where she goes and what she does.

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    108. Big Mac,

      Like last year’s premiere of 4×01, “Two Swords,” I expect that tonight’s premiere at the Tower of London will just screen the first episode, 5×01, “The Wars to Come.”

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    109. Jared: I understood what Martin was trying to accomplish with Brienne’s chapters, and the writing was certainly poetic and tragically evocative at times.

      What was GRRM doing there? Everyone else has some sort of “Kill the boy, become the man” arc. I assume that Brienne has one, too: but although I get that there is is something about rising to become the Oathkeeper to the Dead, I didn’t get what the “boy” in question was, or what exactly the “man” is here.

      Crabber’s Son: What do you guys think the small council will look like this year btw? Cersei, Kevan?, Pycelle, Qyburn?, Mace Tyrell?

      Probably some no-name yes-men.

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    110. GaiusB:
      Wimsey,

      Luka Nieto,

      I have exact oposite opinion on the books 4 and 5. Dornish and Ironborns chapters (with exception of Aeron) are the best chapters by far. Chapters of established characters sucks, especially those of Tyrion and Arya who both got boring once they left Westeros. Quentin´s chapters are masterpiece compared to Tyrion journey.

      Lets not go overboard. I too thoroughly enjoyed both Dorne and the Iron Islands and I’m more forgiving of of Quentin than most, but calling his chapters a masterpiece is a little bit ridiculous. The one thing most of us seem to agree on is that books 4&5 could have used more trimming, even if we disagree on where. Personally I think a little bit off everyone would have helped, with the highest cuts to Cersei (I realise I’m in a minority here, but its my personal opinion and I’m sticking to it) and Quentin (but not cut him completely). Also while I did love Dorne and Iron Islands, they were not flawless. Streamlining them into one POV each and better linking them to established characters (like the show is doing with Jaime) would have been a vast improvement.

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    111. AP’s Livestream of the premiere arrivals.

      I have both livetreams cued up on the off chance they’ll have different interviews. Chomping at the bit, here…

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    112. Wimsey,

      I really hope so because I think that would fit very nicely with Tywins crypt speech about listening to wise council. Cersei was so disgusted by him giving a lecture next to her dead son she didnt hear any of the advice that would probably help her more than tommen.

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    113. Wimsey:
      Dutch maester,

      Indeed!If I had editted Crows, I would have told GRRM double Arya, double Sansa, cut Dorne and the Iron Islands (we CAN all get slong if we just agree that both were bad instead of arguing which was worse!), trim Brienne in half, cut Cersei & Jaime by 1/3 each, and we have half of a great novel in hand!

      (And, yes, I am one of those evil editors who says, “we will publish it, but trim 20%”)

      Here is how to “fix” AFFC and ADWD without even necessarily removing any content (I enjoy the Ironborn and Dornish storylines, by the way):

      – AFFC is 700odd pages, ADWD is 1000+
      – Move all Arya, Jaime, Cersei and Arianne chapters from ADWD to AFFC, which has plenty of space in terms of page count.
      – This would accomplish a number of things. Firstly, all of the above characters would have better end points than in AFFC. Secondly, ADWD would not seem so “top heavy” and oddly structured with too many POVs in the second half (the only crossover POVs would be Asha and Victarion, and these would be out of necessity by virtue of them crossing over into ADWD storylines).
      – Most importantly, ADWD would have 6 chapters worth of space freed up to include the battle of Meereen, thus giving the book a much more satisfying ending (in fact with all of the other major events that happen at the end of ADWD it would constitute an extremely strong final third rivalling any of the other books).
      – Bonus: extra space is freed up in TWOW for the story to progress further in that book. The start of TWOW would still be very exciting with the battle of ice, cersei’s trial, storm’s end etc.
      – If more space is required in ADWD to fit in the battle of meereen or even add the battle of ice, then some of the fat can be trimmed from Tyrion chapters in particular (also some from Jon and Dany).
      – Bonus #2: the epilogue of ADWD would be even more dramatic and surprising for the reader, as it would be the only time to check in to events at kings Landing in the whole book, yet it would not seem out of place as it links back to earlier events in the book (Aegon).

      Sorted, easy as that!

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    114. The official Game of Thrones Twitter account and the official Game of Thrones Facebook page have posted a clip featuring Tyrion and Varys on the balcony.

      https://twitter.com/GameOfThrones/status/578266299991654400

      Transcript:

      Tyrion: You never told me why you set me free.

      Varys: Your brother asked me to.

      Tyrion: You could have said no.

      Varys: Refuse the Kingslayer? A dangerous proposition.

      Tyrion: Not as dangerous as releasing me. You risked your life, your position, everything … why? You’re not family. You owe me nothing.

      Varys: I didn’t do it for you. I did for the Seven Kingdoms.

      Tyrion: A drunken dwarf will never be the savior of the Seven Kingdoms.

      Varys: I don’t believe in saviors. I believe that men of talent have a part to play in the war to come.

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    115. Uther Snow,

      I watch Vikings too. After watching that, I’m now sure that “The greatest swordsman who ever lived” wasn’t killed by “Meryn Fucking Trant”. Ian Beattie was a glorified extra in that show.

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    116. Damn, the AP livestream sucks. Still better than nothing I guess.

      Very excited about the Winterfell wedding confirmation, though!

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    117. Dutch maester,

      My first thought when seeing that picture was, “Still a better romance than Twilight”. Which is to say that I imagine that the picture will enforce the opinions of people already skeptical.

      Cool costumes though, and from seeing her in a couple of things, New!Myrcella is a good actress.

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    118. Daniel Portman thrown the LS bomb on CNN: “I heard that’s something for future seasons”.

      Are they f—— serious?????

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    119. Ffiferoo,

      No that’s just a ready-made spin answer

      Basically a politicians way of dismissing valid criticism by pointing to an absurd alternative that criticisms if taken to their extreme would result in

      Doesen’t invalidate constructive criticism of their adaptions at all

      They have some good ones and there are some they could have done better. Eg they could have used dream sequences and flashbacks to provide backstory to things like Tysha can at least be mentioned and Tyrions reason for shooting Tywin actually makes some sense

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    120. Of the Night: too thoroughly enjoyed both Dorne and the Iron Islands and I’m more forgiving of of Quentin than most, but calling his chapters a masterpiece is a little bit ridiculous

      I like the Quentyn chapters well-enough, but I do not think that they added enough to the story to justify keeping it. The “trying to be the child your parents wanted instead of the person that you are” storyline is always interesting, but it already exists in the tale. The one plot device that it served could have been done any number of other ways, which leaves it unnecessary for the tale as a whole.

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    121. Archmaester,

      Good suggestion, although the “Boiled Leather” version suits me the best. Who knows when GRRM actually completed each AFfC/ADwD chapter after the reworking the timeline? But with hindsight, it’s a better experience to reorganize/trim the chapters, not cut them completely. Everything has value to someone. I like the title of ADwD because the book really does follow 3 “dragons” and their dragon wannabees.

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    122. Ghost’s Lunch,

      Tyrion’s reason for shooting Tywin made perfect sense to anybody who paid any attention. When your own father participates in your framing, steals your girlfriend and then admits candidly that he had long wished you dead, nobody wonders what drove you to kill him.

      On the other hand, bAsing it on a character who never appeared in the show would not have made sense to anyone save those readers who remembered that part of the book. As adding scenes to include Tysha would have left us where we are (with nearly everyone understanding why Tyrion commited patricide) and taken away scenes that developed characters or plots advancing other portions of the tale, they came out ahead this way.

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    123. Josh L.:

      Lol

      Edmure to Roslin was an attempted makeshift adjustment of said contract/pact

      Red Wedding means the contract in its entirety is over, meaning “Arya” is free to marry the Boltons

      Especially if the Boltons and Freys have their own deal via Roose marriage to Fat Walda. They may have a discrete understanding that it is not the real Arya

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    124. Wimsey:
      Ghost’s Lunch,

      Tyrion’s reason for shooting Tywin made perfect sense to anybody who paid any attention.When your own father participates in your framing, steals your girlfriend and then admits candidly that he had long wished you dead, nobody wonders what drove you to kill him.

      On the other hand, bAsing it ona character who never appeared in the show would not have made sense to anyone save those readers who remembered that part of the book.As adding scenes to include Tysha would have left us where we are (with nearly everyone understanding why Tyrion commited patricide) and taken away scenes that developed characters or plots advancing other portions of the tale, they came out ahead this way.

      I was meaning the reason to go up there, after he found Shae fair enough to a degree

      Tywin had every reason to believe Tyrion may have done it going by the facial expressions over Joffreys body and it doesen’t look good for Tyrion so he can maintain his perspective with a straight face

      But Tywin gave him a way out which involved taking the Black, it was Tyrion who demanded formal trial by combat in front of the court and he tied Tywins hands (despite the fact he nearly won)) so this whole “why did you sentence me to death?” makes no sense at all

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    125. spacechampion:
      If they’re really tired of producing the show, instead of wrapping it up in seven seasons, after writing season 7, Benioff could take a year off producing duties, promote B-Cog to help Weiss with that, then season 8 come back to write and produce it and let Weiss take a year off producing.Then make season 9.

      Could “We’re very tired” in some aspect mean “We want more money, HBO?”

      Maybe…I don’t know them personally. And I know they fucking deserve all the money they could get 😉

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    126. Boojam: I am sure they still have a great relationship and George is not going to get in a dispute with them.
      But I wish George would express his thoughts on this issue and not just say “the show is the show.”

      Is George writing an episode for season 6?

      He did on the comments of a post in his blog, and also said that when the show will surpass the books it would be akward, but not the show or D&D’s fault. So he acknowledge that the show would overtake tha books

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