Thrones director Daniel Sackheim hosts a Reddit AMA

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Game of Thrones director Daniel Sackheim took to Reddit yesterday to answer fans’ questions about his episodes, “Oathbreaker” and “Book of the Stranger.” Here are some of the more noteworthy and interesting answers to come out of that.

First, a couple of questions about his directing of specific moments and interactions:

Q: You directed what I, as well as many others, consider to be one of the most iconic scenes in Jon and Sansa’s reunion. Between their meeting in the courtyard to their discussion by the fireplace, what were some things you wanted to nail down to give the audience those heartwarming moments? These are characters that have changed drastically from when we first met them, so I’m curious as to how you approached this.

A: The characters had not seen each other for a number of years (six seasons) and so what we discussed was that it should seem almost dream like to them, and that there would be some tentativeness to their actions. It was about stringing along the anticipation of the reunion as long as possible to create the feeling of longing and so that the moment they hugged would feel earned and satisfying.

Q Thank you so much for the comedic breaks! It truly does help cut into some of the melodrama. My question: How much of the Tormund/Brienne dynamic was written into the script, and how much was your whim?
(Yes, I am shamelessly trolling for any hope that this ship might sail.)

A: That was definitely written into the script, however we did play around a bit with it on set, tonally. I will say I was amazed by the reception that flirtation received on the internet. It was surprising certainly because Brienne’s character has been driven largely by duty and honor, and we’ve never gotten to seen her as a sexual being. Torment, is… well he’s a Wildling, so enough said there. It was a very unexpected development.

And then some about working with the cast:

Q: Hey Daniel, thanks for your time! Who was the actor that most surprised you when directing your episodes? Also, who did you have the best time working with? Thanks!

A: Lena Headey was the most surprising. She would routinely come to set with very specific ideas, some of them different from my take on the scene. She would say, just let me try it this way and if you don’t like it I’ll do it differently. At every turn her ideas were inspired and that’s what ended up on screen. I had a ball working with Iain Glen

Q: I wanted to ask if there’s anyone on set who tends to stay in character between scenes or does everyone just start chatting normally as soon as you shout cut? I find it hard to imagine, as nice as he is in real life, Kit Harington stop brooding about between shots. Also I hear Conleth Hill is hilarious on set and makes people break constantly, as the director does it make you laugh too or is it at all annoying?

A: I would say as a rule, most of the actors break character after the camera cuts. Sophie Turner, for example is a real cutup. Conleth and Peter Dinklage love to take the piss out of each other. They cast are very close, and while they work very hard, they like to try and keep the atmosphere on set light.

Lastly, some lore and plot related questions:

Q: Hi Daniel, can you tell if the sword that Arthur Dayne sticks in the ground at the beggining of the Tower of Joy fight scene is DAWN?

A: Yes it is.

Q: Why do you think the “Pink Letter” theory got so popular? Would you change anything knowing what you know now about that scene? Thanks!!

A: My understanding of the theory is that the letter was not written by Ramsay, correct? I went on record with Tech Insider that it was written by Ramsay. No idea why this theory has gained traction.

Q: Hi, great work! Are you positive that is Shaggydog’s head? Kinda small for a direwolf, if you ask me…

A: Your right it does seem small. I had the same question, but I was assured by the creature maker that was responsible for crafting the head that it was the correct size. Good question.

WinterPhil: What a fascinating way to word that last answer. It definitely lends a bit more fuel to the fire that the Umbers are setting Ramsay up and Rickon is in on it. If that is the case though, it does make Osha’s death even more tragic. Either she wasn’t aware of the plans or had no choice but to go to Ramsay so as not to ruin the surprise of a later betrayal. Poor Osha.

The rest of Sackheim’s answers were more straight-forward but no less interesting. It’s always great to get these behind-the-scenes glimpses into the production decisions and what it is like working on this show. Thanks Dan!

74 responses

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    1. Osha’s a fighter. I know she was running from the white walkers at the start of the series, but I don’t see her running from a fight with mortal men. It could even have been part of the plan for her to try to assassinate Ramsey.

      That said, I don’t think there’s a conspiracy by the Umbers against the Boltons. I think the Northern houses and Northern men in general aren’t as loyal as people like to think. People project Ned’s sense of duty and honor on all the men he leads, but the Boltons and Karstarks have shown us Northerners can be awful, too.

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    2. The last answer, regarding the direwolf head size, could be interpreted both ways – correct size could be the correct direwolf size or the correct fake-direwolf size. The director agree with the viewers that it seemed a bit small, but nothing is confirmed by his answer. If the Umbers were setting up Ramsay, Osha could still have acted the way she did with knowing the plan. Maybe the plan was for Osha to kill Ramsay. Smalljon says he brought Osha for Ramsay and Rickon for Karstark, after all. Neither the Umbers nor Osha could have known the extend to which Ramsay tortured Theon, so they might have thought the surprise element will help them.

      The one thing the director says regarding the books is that Ramsay did write the Pink Letter. I suppose he was talking about book theories, because in the show, there is very thin chances that anyone other than Ramsay would write the Pink Letter.

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    3. My favorite part of the Jon and Sansa reunion was when she turned around and Jon kind of took a little step back like he was completely shocked. It’s the little things.

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    4. Vasud:
      What’s the theory on the pink letter he is referring to?

      In the books, Jon receives a similar letter from Ramsay (like he did in EP4 – it is called the pink letter because it is sealed with pink wax for the Bolton colors), in which Ramsay says Stannis is dead, he wants his bride back, and lot of threats. But the book-readers do not see Stannis die. There is some confusion regarding time-lines, and but most people think Ramsay is lying and someone else wrote the Pink Letter to lure Jon and/or the wildlings to Winterfell. There are several theories regarding who is the real author of the letter.
      In the show, there is less scope for theories regarding the author of pink letter, but I think some people say that the Umbers or Karstarks wrote the Pink Letter, to get Jon to fight Ramsay.

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    5. Lady anti-Jonerys,

      Just a joker in North American slang (elsewhere it means distressed lmao). This doesn’t surprise me, I don’t think I’ve seen a single Sophie Turner interview where she hasn’t made someone laugh. My favourite is the Pussy Pop one.

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    6. My thinking is the head is that of a wolf (nothing in Sackheim’s response says it’s the head of a dire wolf). I think we’re supposed to notice it’s the wrong size. But whether that means the Umbers are involved in a plot with Rickon remains to be seen. [The dire wolf may have escaped, for example.]

      Osha could have been part of an assassination plot against Ramsey Bolton, or she could have been trying to murder him knowing he was planning on killing her. [At the least, she avoided the usual fate of Ramsey’s hostages by her actions.]

      A similar historical action occurred at Richard III’s defeat and death at the Battle of Bosworth Field. This defeat largely due to the actions of William Stanley, who switched sides at a timely moment, leading to Richard III’s death.

      But I definitely could see Peter Baelish and his Aerie forces playing the role of William Stanley here, rather than Smalljon Umber. Umber may be the traitor that he looks to be, in which case, poor Rickon.

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    7. Lyannaes,

      Oh, now this make sense, google translate had the “distressed” result.
      Yes, Sophie seems a lovely girl, I love to see her with Maisie, apparently the girls developed a nice friendship.

      Ser Gerold,

      Thanks to both of You guys!

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    8. Sansa said to Jon : “You are the son of the last true warden of the north ….”

      But shouldn´t “You are the brother of the last king in the north” be more appropriate?

      Robb being a king is a wayyy bigger deal than Ned being warden.

      Also in Sansa/Jon conversations revenge for Robb never comes as a driving force, he isn`t even mentioned … They have forgotten about him already.

      Im afraid the show`s lack of mentioning Robb means we won`t see

      Robb legitimizing Jon as he did in the books

      🙁

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    9. I don’t think the Umbers are going to double-cross the Boltons. Why give up the real Stark heir to a psychopath (Ramsay) and a pedophile (Karstark)? Too risky.

      That being said, I think Smalljon is toast. He seems like a nice final boss for Tormund to kill. If the show ever introduces an Umber heir after the battle or next season, he’ll bend the knee to his Stark overlords.

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    10. Hoyti Von Totiy,

      You never know…maybe one of the houses that fought with Robb will produce his last will….but maybe they will omit it completely and just have the houses of the north follow Jon anyways….as great as the Jon Sansa reunion was, I hope they will include a couple scenes with them dicussing Arya, Robb, even Benjen…

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    11. Hoyti Von Totiy,

      I love Robb, but I think Ned commands more respect and his presence is still looming on the show. He’s mentioned in almost every episode. Robb got rekt in The War of the Five Kings, and as we’ve seen….the Umbers and the Karstarks remember. Ned was also warden far longer than Robb was king. I don’t think Jon and Sansa forgot him though 🙂

      I think the will is getting replaced by endorsement from Sansa and the Mormonts. Jeor appreciated Jon and even gave him his family’s sword. Lyanna Mormont loves the Starks (as we’ve seen in season 5). I can’t wait to see her on the show!

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    12. Hoyti Von Totiy:
      Sansa said to Jon : “You are the son of the last true warden of the north ….”

      But shouldn´t “You are the brother of the last king in the north” be more appropriate?

      Robb beinga king is a wayyy bigger deal than Ned being warden.

      I’m so glad you mentioned that. It’s exactly what I thought. Despite how good those scenes were it disappointed me in a few ways.
      EDIT: Yes, Ned is obviously remembered more…but then at least the betrayal could have got a mention, since that was how it got into Bolton hands in the first place

      There was a total lack of mention of any other Stark – I mean I felt Robb really should have got mentioned at that point; possibly how that it was the Boltons who betrayed him and are now holding it,
      also Bran cos Jon was told by Sam about him going North of the Wall;
      and Arya because Brienne told Sansa about her.
      also what on earth Brienne was doing there (how previous oath to Catelyn was why she was, and saved Sansas life whilst she was at it)
      The fact that Jon bloody died!!!!
      What happened to Uncle Benjen!!!

      Those issues should have been discussed – at least 1 or 2 of them – on screen; cos most of them are huuuuge news – potentially (definitely) going to alter the overall plans each of them had from before….Could have got mentioned either at that first sit down or during the meal at the end

      One I was hoping for from before but doubted would be mentioned is Sansa telling Jon how it was Janos the Coward Slynt who betrayed Ned; and then Jon could have mentioned how he lopped his evil head off!

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    13. Flayed Potatoes,

      But remember Season 1 ?

      Jon´s farewell to Robb was more emotional than his akward goodbye talk with Ned when Ned basically blew him off no hugs no nothing…

      In the TV show Robb > Eddard (for Jon and the north i mean) thats just fact.

      This warden thing makes less sense when you take notice that even tough Roose Bolton rebbeled against the crown by marrying Ramsey to Sansa he still styled himself “warden”. Who are you wardening the north for? You rebbeled against Tommen!

      Same thing with Ramsey. Lord of Wf and warden of the north …. makes no sense.

      I know im nitpicking but it the show could have done it better.

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    14. I am quite sure that was not Shaggydog’s head. I don’t think we are going to see the direwolf though. I think Rickon is going to warg into Ramsey’s bitches after some mockery / humilition and loose them on him

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    15. I clicked on the Reddit link and while many questions are valid and he was gracious in answering a lot ,so many are beyond belief and left me red faced!

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    16. Hoyti Von Totiy,

      The Boltons allied with the Freys and Lannisters in season 3, so Roose probably got the warden title, as well as Winterfell. Cersei didn’t name a new warden in season 5. She just approved Littlefinger’s intentions to attack them in exchange for the title.

      I think officially stripping Roose of the title would have made the Boltons suspicious and they’d be alerted of LF and Cersei’s plans. It’s better if they believe the crown doesn’t know.

      I have no idea why Ramsay would style himself that way, but knowing his personality….it doesn’t surprise me. He wants to feel legitimate. Look at how many times he calls Jon a bastard in the letter. It makes Ramsey feel more important and feel good about himself.

      I remember season 1 and I love their relationship. But I also think that some houses would be reluctant to follow them because they followed Robb and the results weren’t so good. Some lords might mention they are hesitant because of they don’t want a repeat of that. However, looking at how messy the south is, I wouldn’t be surprise if the North would eventually declare its independence again. Northern lords love shouting KITN lmao.

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    17. Flayed Potatoes:
      Hoyti Von Totiy,

      I love Robb, but I think Ned commands more respect and his presence is still looming on the show. He’s mentioned in almost every episode. Robb got rekt in The War of the Five Kings, and as we’ve seen….the Umbers and the Karstarks remember. Ned was also warden far longer than Robb was king. I don’t think Jon and Sansa forgot him though 🙂

      I think the will is getting replaced by endorsement from Sansa and the Mormonts. Jeor appreciated Jon and even gave him his family’s sword. Lyanna Mormont loves the Starks (as we’ve seen in season 5). I can’t wait to see her on the show!

      Yeah, Robb and the other rebelling kings were like the Robert E. Lees of Westeros. They came. They saw. They failed. Best not bring Robb up to the Northmen when trying to convince them to get behind you, no matter how much Jon loved Robb.

      I am super-excited about Lyanna Mormont, too! I hope she lives up to my hype.

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    18. Ginevra,

      Yup. D&D have been working heavily on those Jon-Ned parallels since season 5 (maybe even 4), so they’re going to come in handy. Ned is good PR.

      How can Lyanna Mormont not live to the hype when she pretty much tells Stannis to fuck off? She’s got balls!

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    19. Vasud:
      What’s the theory on the pink letter he is referring to?

      Pretty sure the theory being talked about is that Littlefinger sent the “pink letter” on the show.

      It stems from the fact that “come and see” is apparently something that Littlefinger says.

      That theory makes no sense (how would Littlefinger know about Rickon and Shaggydog?). But for some reason it’s gained traction on the intrawebs.

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    20. From reddit: Signifcantly, actor playing youngish Ned (Aramayo) will appear

      briefly in Ep6 and then featured in Ep10(!)

      Per a newspaper article on the actor

      http://i.imgur.com/4MKfdPw.jpg

      I wonder if the Nights King will somehow try to block Bran from seeing what’s going on in the Tower.

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    21. When making a television show that is roughly 55 minutes with 6-7 different plot lines in different locations, it is going to be hard to get every character to say everything that a fan would like to hear. I am sure there has been time for Jon and Sansa to chat while we were watching Tyrion give away Meereen to the Masters or Little Finger humiliating Royce. And I guess Ned letting Jon know he still had “his” blood and promised to let him know who his mother was, is ill treatment. *shakes head* Some people just can’t be pleased.

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    22. Maybe Ramsay gets pissed st Osha trying to kill him, and he offs the Umber in response. This then unites the Umbers with Jon when he comes calling.

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    23. aabe: But the book-readers do not see Stannis die. There is some confusion regarding time-lines, and but most people think Ramsay is lying and someone else wrote the Pink Letter to lure Jon and/or the wildlings to Winterfell.

      I think that it’s a stretch to say “most people.” I’d amend that to “most Stannis fans who are unwilling to accept the concept that he is dead.”

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    24. Sorry to disappoint some of you, but I really don’t see this as some Umber conspiracy against the Boltons. If it were, placing their liege Lord (a kid of what, 8 supposedly), in the clutches of a known psychopath who skins his victims is a crazy, crazy move. And to what end?

      If they wanted to double cross Ramsay all they’d have to do was offer up the wolfs head, and two bodies.

      The Greatjon is dead. His son hated him. They explained that in like, 5 seconds- there’s nothing more to it than that. Let’s move on now folks.

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    25. Josh L: Pretty sure the theory being talked about is that Littlefinger sent the “pink letter” on the show.

      This is the first time I’ve heard the suggestion that Littlefinger was the forger. Most discussions that I’ve read point the finger at Mance and/or Stannis, with possible complicity from Asha/Yara who was Stannis’ prisoner the last we saw of her in the books.

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    26. aabe,

      Honestly, I think Stannis dies in that battle (both in the books and tv show). People make a theory out of everything. The only exception is that he probably takes down more Bolton soldiers in the books, which allows certain Northern houses and Jon 2.0 with his Wildling army to take over.

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    27. Apollo:
      Sorry to disappoint some of you, but I really don’t see this as some Umber conspiracy against the Boltons. If it were, placing their liege Lord (a kid of what, 8 supposedly), in the clutches of a known psychopath who skins his victims is a crazy, crazy move. And to what end?

      If they wanted to double cross Ramsay all they’d have to do was offer up the wolfs head, and two bodies.

      The Greatjon is dead. His son hated him. They explained that in like, 5 seconds- there’s nothing more to it than that. Let’s move on now folks.

      Rickon is actually 11 years old in TV continuity.

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    28. I was also thinking about the Umbers messing with Ramsay. Not just due to the fact that the Direwolf head was a bit small in my opinion, but more because I thought Lord Umber looked a lot like Thoros of Myr.

      I know it isn’t him now, for sure, but it just popped to mind during that scene.

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    29. Hoyti Von Totiy,

      I don’t know about your final assumption. I guess Robb’s will would complicate things a bit for this new alliance between siblings.

      The way I see it is that Sansa says that Jon is the son of the last true Warden of the North to emphasize what they have in common instead on dwelling on his bastardy (sorry, I’m probably making this word up). She appologized to Jon for having tretaed him poorly (always underscoring that he’s her half-brother).

      I see the phrase as another sign of Sansa’s growth, maturity and better understanding of the game: she needs Jon even when she says she will take WF on her own. Now Jon is the closest person in her life and someone with the charisma and skills to command a force against the Boltons.

      In the books, when she had to pass as Alayne she said she better understood how difficult it must have been for Jon all his life. She felt braver.

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    30. Hoyti Von Totiy:

      Jon´s farewell to Robb was more emotional than his akward goodbye talk with Ned when Ned basically blew him off no hugs no nothing…

      Gotta disagree big time with this. Even though it is short Ned and Jon’s final scene together feels like one of those foundational scenes on which the whole series is built. And it is absolutely dripping with emotion. The way Ned’s voice cracks when he says “you may not have my name but you have my blood”… Perfect.

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    31. Bring Back Benjen:
      Theon told Sansa about Bran & Rickon. She’s on the same page as Jon, so we don’t need to see them talk about it.

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    32. Boardshorts85: That the Pink Letter was actually written by Mance Rayder, who double crosses Jon after leaving the wall.

      Or that it was written by Stannis. Or that it was written by Theon. Or that it was written by Manderly. I suspect that there were other suggested culprits, but those are the primary ones that I remember. Basically, it was classic fanboy “But it would be too obvious an answer to the mystery of who wrote the letter!” if it was written by Ramsay. The problem was: it never was supposed to be a mystery: GRRM was tyring to put Jon in a the predicament of having to deal with a threat coming from the south: his vows forbid him to respond and his vows forbid him from no responding.

      (And, really: how could it have been done in such a way that it would not have been a mystery? The only PoV character ever near Ramsay could not have been with him when the letter was written: the letter was written in part because he was nowhere near Ramsay!)

      Sunfyre: Gotta disagree big time with this. Even though it is short Ned and Jon’s final scene together feels like one of those foundational scenes on which the whole series is built.

      Yeah, I agree with you. What made the Jon-Ned departure emotionally powerful was just how awkward it was. You could tell that there was just so much left unsaid and unrealized between the two: both of them wanted a more “tender” farewell, but neither was comfortable initiating it. It communicated all by itself that Jon’s childhood must have been uncomfortable for Ned and somewhat cold for Jon.

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    33. GhostCR: . I guess Robb’s will would complicate things a bit for this new alliance between siblings.

      Yes, “bastardy” is a word!

      But as for the Will, it probably will not come up again in the books. It basically was a backdrop in the books for re-raising the issue of who Jon’s mother was. And it never comes up in either Crows or Dragons. If GRRM was going to do something with it, then he would have needed to lay some groundwork for it in those books. Instead, we see that one northern family is aware that Rickon is alive and is trying to lay the groundwork to restore him. We see that another couple of northern families are quite happy to see the Starks out of power, albeit for different reasons.

      Of course, it is quite possible that the will is in the hands of Howland Reed: and he probably knows the truth of Jon’s parentage, which in turn invalidates the premises of the will. So, if it does come up, then it will be as a pretext for getting to the point of who Jon is!

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    34. Apollo: And to what end?

      There seems to be a belief that: 1) the Umbers would be bad people for being more worried about their own existence than about restoring the Starks to power, and 2) the Umbers are not bad people; ergo, they must be more worried about restoring the Starks than saving themselves and would therefore futilely let themselves be eradicated by the Wildlings rather than seek aid from the strongest power around.

      (I think that there are additional assumptions that the Umbers somehow know that the Wildlings are not there to reave, rape and ravage, or that the Umbers somehow know that the Wildlings do not represent a gigantic military threat. However, as I don’t think that the Hearth gets HBO, I do not see why they would!)

      But, seriously, I agree with you. The Umbers have to worry about saving their own people: if they are decent people, then they will do whatever they have to do to defend their vassals and underlings from savages who have historically done them great harm in bands of only dozens but now have an army of thousands led by a Stark bastard. If there was to be some ploy, then the Umbers would swear loyalty to the Boltons, hide Rickon and Shaggy Dog, and then turn on the Boltons later on the grounds that their oaths to the Starks superseded their oaths to the Boltons.

      Ser Gerold: I very very much want to believe the Umbers are still loyal.

      But shouldn’t they be loyal to their own people, first? Why do you want the Umbers to be people that would allow hundreds and even thousands of people in their lands suffer horrible deaths at the hands of the Wildlings (all people that they have sworn to protect from such a fate) out of loyalty to the Starks?

      You can say that you want the Umbers to be loyal to both: but that is not an option, and ceased to be one (insofar as they know) as soon as Jon led the Wildlings into Westeros.

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    35. Apollo:
      Lord Parramandas,

      Ok… So he’s 11.Does that make it an acceptable age to leave their liege Lord in such mortal danger?Where is the logic to this?

      There’s none. Just people grasping at straws because they really want their beloved Umbers to remain loyal, even if it makes no sense at all.

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    36. Firannion: I think that it’s a stretch to say “most people.”I’d amend that to “most Stannis fans who are unwilling to accept the concept that he is dead.”

      I don’t think there is any ruse behind the Pink Letter. I also don’t believe Stannis is dead in the books. He still needs to sacrifice Shireen and since they’re not together for the time being, it seems Stannis lives a while longer.

      In my opinion he does defeat the Boltons and sacrifices his daughter trying to defeat the Others. Since he’s obviously not AA, he fails. That will be his great tragedy in the book!verse.

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    37. dragonmcmx:
      LatrineDiggerBrian,

      Shhh, not so loud, you’re gonna wake poor Wyllis!

      WWWWWWWWWW
      YYYYYYYYYYYYYYY
      LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL
      LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL
      IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII
      SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS
      !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    38. I get the arguments for why the Umber’s potential plotting against the Boltons lacks any obvious motive other than a viewer’s hopeful desire to see them still loyal to the Starks. However, Smalljon’s unwillingness to bend the knee to Ramsey still sticks out to me as odd. His reasons for not doing so were pretty convoluted when you look at it. Also, introducing Umbers and Karstarks to both side with the Boltons seems unnecessary. If they are both backing Ramsey then did the show really need both houses in this series? Could it not just have been the Umbers? I know the Katstarks have the greater motivation for hating the Starks but other than that there’s no real need to have two Northern houses in these scenes. Having one house siding with the Boltons and another seemingly siding with them, but with contrasting underlying loyalties, seems to make more sense from a writer’s point of view.

      Call me an optimistic dreamer if you like but I still fancy the Umbers to turn on the Bolton’s at some point! And I loved the idea above that the Umbers could mirror the actions and effects of William Stanley’s troops at the Battle of Bosworth Field.

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    39. Wimsey,

      Morgoth,

      Glad I’m not the only one who sees how ridiculous this secret Umber allegiance is. SmallJon clearly mentions his hatred of the Wildlings, justifiably so after centuries of raiding parties, carrying off daughters etc. They need to protect their own people before before bending the knee to a family that has been pretty much wiped out.

      We have one Northern Lord pretending to ally with the Boltons, we don’t need anymore- that’d be over-egging the pudding.

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    40. OK I want to share my pet theory of the moment (not that there’s anything I can point to back it up I just like it right now 🙂 Jon is a Baratheon and true heir to most recent ruling family and will not want the throne but when he finds out who he is will feel obligated to take it cause you know, WW and shit coming and he needs to be a leader to rally the people, meanwhile Gendry will come ashore, finally, and want to challenge Jon for it and won’t believe all the stories about what’s coming. Meanwhile Dany wanders in with huge army, dragons and shit and of course she will be able to subdue the 2 Baratheons cause power behind her, so then behind the scenes Jon says to Gendry let’s have a truce me and you and let this woman have her throne because the real war is coming, throne don’t mean shit right now, and she has dragons that can help. Only this Euron character phucks things up somehow and 2 dragons get killed. I don’t know what happns next. Gotta think on it some more….

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    41. The Pink Letter not written by Ramsay theory got traction because certain types of people think everything is a trick… even though GRRM rewards attentive readers and sticks to very logical story telling. George likes to play with the reader’s EXPECTATIONS based on ACCEPTED NORMS of cliched story telling. He’s not trying to trick us.

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    42. GeekFurious,

      I’ve never understood the Pink Letter not written by Ramsay theory. It’s idiotic, about as bad as Quentyn’s alive/Euron=Daario/High Sparrow=Howland Reed/Rhaegar=Mance.

      Anyway, what’s more interesting for me (in the novels) is how much of the letter is truth. Did Stannis really die in the novels? With all the weirdness about the identity of the writer, people forget the letter itself.

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    43. Benjen Stark Owes Me Money!: However, Smalljon’s unwillingness to bend the knee to Ramsey still sticks out to me as odd. His reasons for not doing so were pretty convoluted when you look at it.

      Smalljon’s reasons are not at all convoluted: they are very simple. Smalljon is saying “fuck the old order.” (He says “fuck” a lot, it seems.) The Umbers are done being followers. They will be team players, but as co-captains.

      I suspect that Smalljon is yet another person who misunderstands Ramsay badly. My guess is that Smalljon has chafed at the old order, and he views Ramsay as a fellow “revolutionary.” Nope! Ramsay’s just a psychopath! (Unfortunately, the Westerosi do not have a word for that….)

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    44. Apollo: SmallJon clearly mentions his hatred of the Wildlings, justifiably so after centuries of raiding parties, carrying off daughters etc. They need to protect their own people before before bending the knee to a family that has been pretty much wiped out.

      I thought that the show did a really good job of showing just how much animosity there is between the Northerners and the Wildlings. However, I think that viewers let their own emotions cloud their perceptions. We’ve seen the Wildlings up close: and we’ve seen that they basically are people, not monsters: yeah, you have some real jerks (the Thenns!), and you have a more casual moral system,but there are plenty of “good” people among the Wildlings.

      The bigger problem is that because many viewers “hate” the Boltons but do not hate the Wildlings, they assume that the Northerners are going to feel the same. But they wouldn’t: the old hatred of the Wildlings would be much deeper for many of them than the new hatred of the Boltons.

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    45. Mr Fixit: I don’t think there is any ruse behind the Pink Letter. I also don’t believe Stannis is dead in the books. He still needs to sacrifice Shireen and since they’re not together for the time being, it seems Stannis lives a while longer.

      In my opinion he does defeat the Boltons and sacrifices his daughter trying to defeat the Others. Since he’s obviously not AA, he fails. That will be his great tragedy in the book!verse.

      Point conceded: Book!Stannis does have a few things left to ‘accomplish’ before his time is over. But I think it’s foolish not to believe that his meter is running out quickly. So I’ll amend my hasty choice of words from ‘refuse to believe that Stannis is dead’ to ‘that Stannis is about to be dead.’

      I still think that most of the fuel for the theories that the Pink Letter was a forgery came from readers with exaggerated fantasies about Stannis’ importance to the story. That Ramsay is perfectly capable of salting a partly-true letter with some lies always was a simpler and more likely explanation that somehow failed to occur to some fans.

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    46. Direwolf Lvr:
      LF does say “come and see” to Robyn before he shows the falcon. Hint or coincidence? Hmmm?

      Oh Lord. I too said “come and see” to my girls just a few minutes ago to get them to come and watch Peppa Pig, but I swear I did not write that letter. 😊

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    47. Morgoth: There’s none. Just people grasping at straws because they really want their beloved Umbers to remain loyal, even if it makes no sense at all.

      It is also because the guy who played Smalljohn really made the character interesting. He seems quite a cool character, so I guess people hope he will be a positive one and not a sidekick of Ramsay’s.
      Personally, I would just love it if someone double-crossed Ramsay.
      But I do realise it is just wishful thinking: handing to a known psycho your Lord, be him 8, 11 or 17 years old (which is most likely the actor’s case), hell, even if he is 45, is probably the stupidest plan possibly. Boldrick stupid, for any Blackadder fans.

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    48. maria: Anyway, what’s more interesting for me (in the novels) is how much of the letter is truth. Did Stannis really die in the novels? With all the weirdness about the identity of the writer, people forget the letter itself.

      Yes, Stannis did die. But he hasn’t yet! I know that sounds like lines from a Doctor Who episode. However, the issue is that GRRM has the plotlines timed to the story, not to linear time. Stannis’ death is in the past when Jon gets the Pink Letter. However, the plotline tied to Jon’s storyline is ahead of the plotline tied to Theon’s storyline. Thus, the Theon Winter chapter that we’ve gotten happens before Jon’s assassination.

      The issue is that Theon’s Winter chapter is probably setting up his contribution to the Winter story (apparently about internal conflicts associated with alliances of necessity.) However, I think that leads to the other problem for Stannis Fans: too many of them just do not get that Stannis is a supporting character, not a protagonist. Stannis does not have an arc: he is a static character who provides arcs for main characters like Davos and Jon who basically have to bend themselves to move the world for Stannis’ inflexibility. As the blacksmith forewarned, Stannis is iron: and iron breaks rather than bends. But without anyone to bend reality around him, Stannis is pretty much doomed to break.

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    49. Sou: Oh Lord. I too said “come and see” to my girls just a few minutes ago to get them to come and watch Peppa Pig, but I swear I did not write that letter.

      I just saw a commercial telling me to “come and see” a baseball team! Obviously, it is a trap to get us all flayed….

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    50. Mr Fixit: He still needs to sacrifice Shireen and since they’re not together for the time being, it seems Stannis lives a while longer.

      In my opinion he does defeat the Boltons and sacrifices his daughter trying to defeat the Others.

      I really doubt that Stannis will sacrifice Shireen. (Obviously! As I think that Stannis has predeceased Shireen in the books.) Instead, instead, Selyse and her goons will. My bet is that Book!Selyse (who is even more bat-shit bonkers than Show!Selyse) will be in denial about the Pink Letter, but sacrifice Shireen in hopes that R’hllor will provide Stannis with the power that he needs.

      Of course, my pet conjecture is that some of the whack-jobs with Stannis will wind up getting him either killed or badly set back by sacrificing people to R’hllor and either setting half the camp on fire or causing a major ice melt or something like that.

      But as for Stannis defeating the Boltons, Starks really have to do that. Jon, in particular, needs to be in on it because Jon letting the Wildlings into the Kingdom is too good a deed to go unpunished in Martinverse: and thus we will realize that Jon’s actions to try to save lives for the fight against the Walkers comes at the price of lives lost to Wildings and Northerners because Northerners have no reason to believe that there is a White Walker threat.

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    51. Wimsey: I really doubt that Stannis will sacrifice Shireen.

      I don’t. For one, in the video discussing 5×09 David and Dan say that Martin told them as much. So unless GRRM changes his mind in the meantime — which, I guess, is possible but highly unlikely — Stannis is going to sacrifice his daughter.

      Secondly, I think it just makes perfect thematic sense. That is the moment his whole dramatic arc has been building toward, with Stannis having to choose between duty to the realm on the one hand and his personal rights and feelings of being wronged and slighted on another in a series of ever escalating and dire choices. First Renly who, although his brother, is a false pretender to the throne after all. Then comes Edric Storm who is completely innocent of any wrongdoing, yet Melisandre argues will be instrumental in “waking dragons from stone”. Davos even foreshadows Shireen’s fate as he thinks to himself: “If Stannis is Azor Ahai come again, does that mean Edric Storm must play the part of Nissa Nissa?” In my opinion, it all points to the ultimate choice and test: the final sacrifice to make Stannis Azor Ahai and savior of the world. It won’t work, of course, but I’m certain it’s where his story leads to.

      The fact that Shireen is at Castle Black and Stannis near Winterfell makes it rather hard for the sacrifice to occur soon (and no, I don’t think it’ll be done without his knowledge or via raven-delivered orders). This in turn leads me to believe that Stannis will defeat Boltons one way or another, be reunited with Shireen and finally sacrifice her under circumstances different to those seen on the show, probably having something to do with the Others/White Walkers.

      Think Iphigenia. Or Isaac if you want to get Biblical. Only in this tale, Isaac dies.

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    52. Firannion: Point conceded: Book!Stannis does have a few things left to ‘accomplish’ before his time is over. But I think it’s foolish not to believe that his meter is running out quickly. So I’ll amend my hasty choice of words from ‘refuse to believe that Stannis is dead’ to ‘that Stannis is about to be dead.’

      Following up on my previous post and replying to you at same time, I find speculations on Stannis’s fate very fascinating. Honestly, I can’t make up my mind. He will likely die, but how? Breaks before he bends… Does that imply he will commit suicide after realizing in horror that he sacrificed his only child for nothing? That would certainly be a powerful moment, narratively speaking. Does someone else kill him/ put him out his misery a la Brienne on the show? There are some who think that Stannis takes the black and becomes the last Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, which is also not a bad idea.

      I dunno. We’ll have to wait and see.

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    53. It’s not just that Littlefinger says “come and see” in the same episode that the letter appears in. It’s that Littlefinger says it, AND it’s repeated (unnecessarily) three times in the letter itself, which is different from the book version. Again, all in the same episode.

      I’m not saying that LF unequivocally wrote the letter – I am saying that if the show didn’t want us to consider the possibility they should have been more careful checking over their scripts (though I personally think they wanted us to consider that it could be LF, whether he actually did it or not).

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    54. ‘Come and see’ is such a commonly used expression that I would be very reluctant to read much into this.

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