Unsullied Recap, Game of Thrones Season 5 Episode 4: Sons of the Harpy

Barristan

Spoiler note: The discussion in this post is primarily for non-book readers (book fans can discuss the show-only here). We ask that all Sullied book-readers refrain from posting spoilers in the comments here, veiled or otherwise. No spoilers, at all! This show is best viewed without knowing all the surprises beforehand or afterwards, so please be respectful of your fellow fans. Thank you!

Greetings to the Unsullied (non-book) reader army and welcome home to the Wall. Time for our Monday morning quarterback session discussing and loosely analyzing the episode of night’s past.

Your chosen Unsullied leader at our frozen address goes by @OzofThrones, but if I may be honest, a man is really more interested in what you, the viewer took from Sons of the Harpy.

Unfortunately, I seem to have more questions than answers…

Welcome back for another edition of “non-book readers try to figure this shit out.”

This highly regarded recap is aimed at the non-book reader army, although the Sullied are invited to share their thoughts on our uneducated estimations (minus the book spoilery or leakage discussion of course).

So let’s hit it.

Traveling by boat appears to be commonplace in Season 5. Jorah, Jaime, and Bronn continue to keep this trend alive in Episode 4, not to mention the implied upcoming travels of Meryn Trant and the socially awkward Mace to Braavos. We’ll get to that in a bit.

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Bronn and Jaime head to Dorne on a merchant ship where the two have a candid conversation about the true intent of the mission and exactly what Jaime is trying to prove. Bronn may be Sellsword, but his bluntness and ability to perceive the situation rivals that of some of his more educated counterparts depicted in Westeros.

While Jaime’s internal struggles with him self are often difficult to watch, the duo arguably offer the most entertaining dialogue at present. That said, Bronn talking to a tree would likely be entertaining as well. Or in this case, talking to a hand. Jerome Flynn doesn’t receive due credit.

At yet another very small Small Council Meeting, the ongoing issue of debt is discussed and Mace is conveniently sent packing with Meryn Fucking Trant as an escort. Of course, Mace is delighted. But it is not until after Cersei’s meeting with the High Sparrow that we learn more of her motivation for sending Mace to Braavos. Or do we?

Cersei puts a plan into action arming the Faith Militant to supposedly help rid King’s Landing of the unjust, including a “certain sinner in our very midst.” As this is an army to protect the common people (the ones who Cersei previously cared nothing for), the writing on the wall suggests that this plan may horribly backfire in her face at some point.

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At the heart of all the backstabbing and closed-door plots being played, the core essentially amounts to a chess game between Cersei and Margaery; a game that Cersei seems to hold the upper hand in, at least for now.

The contradiction that apparently confused many show viewers last night is how this holy, seemingly peaceful man known only as the High Sparrow could condone such acts of violence depicted in the justice sequence.

Again, the prophecies of the witch from Episode 1 presumably come into play and help explain the actions of the Mother of Madness. And watching Tommen try to deal with the fallout is almost as uncomfortable as watching Selmy die in an Unsullied trap in Meereen. Oh, did he die? More in a moment….

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Loras is in the hole. Time to call Grandmomma.

The other note of interest here was a note from Baelish sitting on the table when Cersei fought the urge to drink wine in front of the Sparrow. The note says something about the establishment; the same words used by Olyvar during the raid on the brothel. Petyr may already be aware of the actions that Cersei intended to take. And if so, he will likely be plotting with his new friends on sparking the inevitable backfire.

Later in the crypts of Winterfell, Petyr tells Sansa that he is indeed riding for King’s Landing while somehow miraculously reassuring her that remaining there alone is the best thing for her. And Wardeness of the North has a nice ring to it.

But of all details that Petyr is aware of, the sadistic nature of Ramsay seems to have somehow bypassed him. Or has it? Betting on Stannis and putting Sansa at risk would put Petyr in a strong position in the North even if Stannis does pull off his quest for the throne.

My question is, will Sansa ever forgive him for leaving her there? Something horrid will happen after he leaves. It is known, even by those who know nothing. Just like Jon Snow…

Jon does apparently know self-restraint, even though he has a thing for reds. But Red Velvet has transformed more to a Black Velvet, and Jon upholds his vows for now including staying at Castle Black.

Meanwhile, if there weren’t enough Stannis supporters before 504, there most likely are now. The scene with Shireen was as unexpected as it was heart wrenching. And after coming across as a complete jackass in S2, this guy just keeps winning over the masses.

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And again, more greyscale talk, the significance of which we are still somewhat left in the dark about.   Maesters? Dragons? The Lord of Light? Conflicting reports.

After much fanfare, we are finally introduced to the Sand Snakes… see “overall thoughts.”

Finally, Dany and Selmy share a story of song and share a pleasant moment that when depicted in Game of Thrones, usually means that something tragic is inevitable.

The Sons emerge, trapping a small group of Unsullied after working with the “White Rat” whore on more slayings. The Unsullied are obviously outnumbered, but even so, the viewer has been led to believe that these soldiers are an almost unstoppable force. The enemy here was a group of masked men and armed with knives with no armor.

This is likely food for thought by other commenters already. And we can argue the ins-and-outs of battle and hand-to-hand combat in a confined area until we are blue in the face.

What we can’t argue was that Ser Barristan was an honorable man; a man that fought his ass of until he was ultimately overcome by an abundance of Sons.

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Selmy fought valiantly. Selmy fought nobly. Selmy apparently died.

But initially, that was unclear to Ozzette and myself, at least until the preview for Episode 5 popped up. I sincerely hope I have spoiled nothing by writing it. It also leads one to believe that this scene’s intent was not fully reached.

Does it mean that the Unsullied are not as fierce as we once believed? Was this a poor execution of a scene (no pun intended)? While Meereen is a large city and the plan was to trap a small group of the Unsullied, where are the other 8,000? And what exactly was the point in killing off Selmy other than firing up Dany and most likely unchaining the dragons? Is this a portal for Jorah to reemerge as Dany’s advisor based on need?

As stated above… potentially more questions than answers.

Episode 504 Personal Awards

Favorite Action Sequence: Two nominees this week, but I’ll go with Bronn and Jaime being saved by the hand. Pure gold. (Did it bend the sword?)

Favorite Quotes: “There’s nothing like a good fight to get you in the mood for fucking.” –The Wisdom of Bronn

“Your niece?” –The Wisdom of Bronn

“Let me show you what you’re fighting for.” –Red (Black) Velvet

“I can’t dig very well with one hand.” -Jaime

Ow, That Shit Hurts Award: Scorpions on a head. And then a spear to the head.

Overall Thoughts: My review is completely mixed. While the episode did encompass some intriguing plot points, the execution lacked on a number of levels. Were we supposed to be left wondering if Selmy is dead?

Furthermore, the Sand Snake intro fell completely flat. The acting came across as strained and the scene seemed to be inserted for the sake of merely getting that intro out of the way. Even with Jaime and Bronn arriving in Dorne, it felt out of place. Was the beach canopy completely necessary?

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The jury is still out on the Snakes. Regardless, I’m a Rosabell fan.

To put it simply, this was not my favorite ep.

Speak up please. Is a man’s critique too harsh?

Next week, we all return to knowing fairly nothing, at least as it pertains to the show. Imagine that.

Much to chat about today… what say the Unsullied army? Share your thoughts below and we shall discuss.

Until next week, hang out and stay awhile. Invite an Unsullied to join us. And may there always be peace in your realm. –Oz

Find Oz on Twitter.

**SPOILER NOTE: The Management of this fine site would like to remind you that spoilers (book or leak) are not allowed in Unsullied posts. This includes spoilers that may be covered by code or otherwise. Personally, I appreciate feedback from Sullied and Unsullied alike, so long as they do not include any type of hinting or conversation related to the written verse. However, spoiler coded comments do tend to lead to further Sullied conversation and for that reason, we ask that you please refrain from posting any SPOILERY content whatsoever in Unsullied posts. Thank you for the coop. -Oz

82 responses

Jump to (and Always Support) the Bottom

    1. Great episode.

      Two problems with the final scene:

      One, Barristan is supposed to arguably be the greatest knight in Westeros. Apparently, Sons of the Harpy with table knives are pound-for-pound #1 in Essos. It was underwhelming and didn’t do Barristan justice.

      Two, did anyone notice how Grey Worm was just chillin’ in the back and watching Barristan fight while 3 Sons just surrounded him and also watched in awe, not even thinking about attacking and killing a vulnerable Grey Worm?

      Also, not the final scene, but during Jaime’s fight against the Dornish guard his sword suddenly warped from outside of the guard’s arm to going through his chest in the space of one frame. It was one of the more noticeable screw-up’s that I’ve seen in the VFX department for the show.

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    2. Yung Wolf, when Barristan showed up they were outnumbered big time, and grey worm was severely injured. I think Selmy kicked ass and took a bunch of Sons down, but even he couldn’t beat the odds. He is also getting pretty old so he wouldn’t be as good a fighter as he was.

      I guess greyworm and those three Sons were just in awe of Selmy. Lol.

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    3. So, Mel does have her eyes on Jon! Who noticed she’s not red now she’s at The Wall? Does that mean more than a wardrobe change? Somehow, I think not. There again, she may tell me, ‘You know nothing’. What a line to deliver!

      Stannis shows emotion too! That’s a rare glimpse of the man.

      What can you say about Sansa in the crypts? LF had no place to be down there, which is proving he is beyond creepy. I would say Sansa’s hiding how she’s growing inside and that’s not what LF’s worked into his equation. She knows when to show LF the weak side of her. Maybe we’ve not seen the last of the crypts with Sansa. She’s going back over some history whenever she’s down there, and, obviously, it’s been years since she’s been there, not just at Winterfell.

      I think it was clearly on the cards Tyrion would see through Jorah’s ‘disguise’. Perhaps it wasn’t pure coincidence Jorah was at the exact same place as Tyrion.

      Can Dany trust Daario now? I’m moving towards him being bought by Hizdahr.
      D&D have make a mistake if they’ve killed off Barristan. I can fully appreciate it if Ian McElhinney was the actor who complained. He had more to offer to the show, and to Dany’s arc. Barristan was Dany’s link to her family, telling the good and the bad.

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    4. I just finished watching Babylon, featuring a eulogy from Ian McElhinney. Hope he’s not dead, why else did he get saved from a throat-slitting?

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    5. Brilliant episode
      So the faith militants were Cersei’s weapons but I think that will back fire on her with the faith militants going against Cersei and Tommen in the future. Loved the Stannis scene and that last fight was great but the unsullied did not put up much of a fight which was disappointing except for greyworm who was badass (Please don’t be dead barristan) This episode really moved the plot forward a lot, with the Iron bank and hopefully some Infighting between the lannister and Tyrell forces and Stannis going up against Bolton

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    6. Yung Wolf,

      What? Barristan killed like 10 of them, at least, while fighting in a small cramped room where outnumbered hugely. That’s UNREAL. I don’t see how that didn’t do him justice. Its not a fairytale where the hero’s and greatest swordsmen can kill hundreds without getting cut. 10 is a massive amount, considering the situation. Grey Worm did fantastically to even make use of the spear in that room too. Just because he lost the fight, or drew, does not mean it does barristan a disservice. Think of the numbers.

      Saying that, I’m saddened by Barristan. And the choreography looked laboured and he fight wasn’t shot too well.

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    7. LynneBlackwood,

      Did you even take into account the surroundings? Its a shitty little corridor/room. Knives win over spears in that environment 9/10 times. No matter how good the unsullied are. Its almost impossible to manouver the spear well in that kind of space.

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    8. All this time, I have no reason to believe Barriston is like a Jedi Knight and unstoppable, he’s had that reputation and may have been that way in his younger days, but an old man dying that outnumbered? Not inconceivable. Could have been staged a bit better, but a thrilling ending regardless.

      Honestly, they have what, like 26 episodes left, assuming 7 seasons total? Barriston Selmy is barely in the top 20 of characters on this show that we care about living or dying, they need to get shit MOVING like ASAP, start killing off some of the secondary characters and get this show on the road. White Walkers have to come, dragons have to be tamed, alliances have to be formed to survive all this shit … all in 26 episodes. Show wise, not a big loss, there’s going to be plenty more where that came from.

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    9. LynneBlackwood,

      Unsullied are not ninjas, that’s pretty much exactly what they are not. They’re superbly disciplined, impeccably trained soldiers. Stick them in a line on the battlefield they will follow orders to the letter, and they will not break regardless of what is thrown at them. That’s where their reputation comes from. Not from being the best individually, but being the best as a unit.
      Ambush them in a street brawl though, the best soldiers in the world die just as quickly as anyone from a knife in the back.

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    10. I for one really liked how they did the last scene, with better trained soldiers facing off against enemies that knew just how to overcome all of the Unsullieds’ advantages. The Unsullied are some of the world’s best soldiers in battlefield combat, using a tight phalanx,which does not mean they are unstoppable 300-esque killing machines, but that they know the ins and outs of using formation tactics and moving a large number of men in an organized fashion. This time they are surrounded, outnumbered and in an environment where their favored spears give them a natural disadvantage – see where an Unsullied runs his spear through a Son, just to be stabbed as three others run in, too close for the spear. They are reduced to using their shields as clobbering tools.

      Then Ser Barristan charges in, truly showing how he is the greatest knight in the realm by slaying more than half a dozen of them while wearing light armor, not the usual heavy plate of the kingsguard.

      I honestly believe the detractors are expecting another genre of fighting than this show uses; this is not the Hobbit, this is not 300, the heroes do not cut through hundreds of enemies on their own, there is no Legolas to surf a shield into battle whilst shooting dozens of foes through the eyeslits of their helmets. More specifically, there are no ninjas.

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    11. Okay, I am really sad about Selmy. I think he died, and that makes me sad. Nice scene with Kaleesi before he died.
      I haven’t stopped thinking about the mentions of both Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark in yesterday’s episode. What was discussed was important. All this time I was under the impression that Rhaegar Targaryen may have been a crazy like his brother and father, based on the mentions of the fact that he kidnapped Lyanna and raped her by Robert and Robert’s hate for Rhaegar Targaryen, and then Bran mentioning this as well when he was in the crypt with osha. Then there was the conversation yesterday between Sansa and LF…. again she mentions Rhaegar Targaryen kidnapped her raped her and she died shortly after rescue….. and LF had this look on his face like he knew something she didn’t know. THEN SELMY talks about how nice and sweet Rhaegar was… a people lover and didn’t like to kill people like his father. I think all this is important, I think that Rhaegar did not kidnap Lyanna, but she ran away with him because she loved him also, but she was promised to Robert. How she died? I don’t know… maybe it was Robert.

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    12. Annie Wilkes,

      Learn the point of this thread, Madame.

      That goes for everyone. Keep your bookreader reactions out of it, kthanx. Your opinions are not whose I come here to read; I talk to my husband after the show, I know what purists have to say. Rather predictable, isn’t it? NOT SAME=SUCKS. Got it.

      Looking forward to it, Oz!

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    13. Yung Wolf:
      Doran’s Gouty Foot,

      Hahaha, holy shit, I just went back to that scene to check and they do have elf shoes.

      Oberyn’s boots turned up at the toe as well. It seems to be a Dornish thing. At least they’re being consistent? But yeah that style always seems a little impractical.

      And yes, this is the thread for UNSULLIED, NON-BOOK-READERS. Leave all book-related comments out of this thread, please. We do moderate these threads closely.

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    14. Sue the Fury: Oberyn’s boots turned up at the toe as well. It seems to be a Dornish thing. At least they’re being consistent? But yeah that style always seems a little impractical.

      Well, the mongols wore that kind of boots and didn’t seem to stop them being badasses. Of course, the Dornish don’t appear to be horse specialists, even if they do have the best ones in Westeros.

      But yah, they fundamentally look silly to our eyes…

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    15. I agree the execution of some scenes seemed off. The High Sparrow’s demeanor seems completely at odds with the actions of his followers. There’s a good chance that’s intentional, but at this point it can come off as confusing. I feel like we needed a scene of the High Sparrow giving instructions to his flock. So far he’s been seen only with Cersei.

      And the Sand Snakes intro definitely felt strained. Perhaps it was a mistake to introduce three characters at once in an episode that only had time for one short scene. If they really want to make these three of Oberyn’s daughters distinct characters, that would’ve been best accomplished by giving each of them a separate introduction. Since that might not be practical, maybe they should’ve only included one daughter?

      But obviously we can’t pass final judgment based on one scene. We’ll see how their presence is handled in future episodes.

      I don’t find it too unbelievable that some Unsullied and Barristan were overwhelmed when outnumbered in a close quarters fight in an unfamiliar city, but the motivations and strategy of the Sons are pretty unclear at this point as you said. They have no leader as far as we know.

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    16. I thoroughly loved this episode. Interesting they spoke of Rhaegar a great deal. I think that’s kind of confirmed a popular theory.

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    17. Queenofthrones,

      Not only the mongols, there was also a shoe called “Crakow” which was very popular in the 15th century. They’re not “elf shoes”, this style absolutly exisited.

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    18. I’ve been saying for ages that Dany needs to kit Barristan out with a nice suit of armour. Why did she not listen to me !?!?!?!?!

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    19. “The acting came across as strained and the scene seemed to be inserted for the sake of merely getting that intro out of the way.”

      I feel this critism is definitely quite harsh, how many scenes has Game of Thrones had with characters that didn’t have a lot to say but just needed to get checked in with?

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    20. Deesensfan,

      GRRM maintains that if you see a death on the page, take as read. That character has died in front of your eyes. If you go back through the seasons on the TV show, the same does apply.
      Grey Worm is seriously wounded. He’s the last man standing (crawling, in fact). So, he goes over to check on Barristan, who did show us why he’s called The Bold.

      This may be total coincidence. Earlier this afternoon, watched ‘Star Wars – Episode IV’, as part of May the 4th…. What struck me was the way Obi-Wan moved with his lightsabre was almost echo’d by Barristan. Barristan even resembles Obi-Wan. Nice nod, casting & fight crew!! It’s worth checking out.

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    21. Again, this post is for the Unsullied. If you are a book reader and want to post do NOT post any spoilers (covered or otherwise) and do NOT refer to or mention the books. The point of these Unsullied posts isn’t just to keep from spoiling them, it’s also a safe space for them to discuss things without having to listen to book readers whinging on about how it did or did not match the books. Now in Sue’s recaps, I want to read ALL your book reading thoughts but NOT here.

      Don’t make me pull this car over! Okay? 🙂

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    22. Disappointment. Well written, but poorly directed overall, and the scenes that did work (Jaime and Bronn in Dorne, Stannis and Shereen, High Sparrow and Cersei) were down to the actors’ skill, IMHO.
      Still, the pace is picking up now, with the halfway mark in view and all those showdowns to look forward to.
      The passionate Stannis is much appreciated, as is the honorable Lord Snow, who’s true love for Ygritte protects him from She of the Red Velvet Snatch. Methinks another shadow baby may be on her agenda, perhaps as a gift to the Bolton’s? She seems to have sussed out the secret of Lord Snows parentage. Does she mean to tell him?

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    23. It’s unclear why queen Margaery doesn’t use the White Cloaks and/or the Gold Cloaks to disarm the Faith Militant. FM is reestablished by the order of the Queen Mother, it’s unclear why the Queen doesn’t disestablish FM.

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    24. Deesensfan,

      I think you are right on point with the speculation regarding Rhaegar. Selmy obviously held him in high regard, calling him “the finest man I ever met” back in Season 3 Episode 3. But there is a huge difference in opinion on him and a coinciding untold story that for some reason, has been brought back to the forefront. Is Littlefinger the only one that knows now? Is this his Ace whenever Dany makes the trip West?

      I don’t think Robert killed Lyanna, but she most definitely could have broken his heart.

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    25. 3eyes,

      “She of the Red Velvet Snatch” That wins the Internet, mi amigo! Did you watch my video from last week? Snatch joke in there too. Great minds think alike!

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    26. Abyss:
      Queenofthrones,

      Not only the mongols, there was also a shoe called “Crakow” which was very popular in the 15th century. They’re not “elf shoes”, this style absolutly exisited.

      Also the Normans had pointy shoes at the time of King William Rufus (of England), not to mention [probably before your time] a style of shoes familiarly known as “winklepickers” in the UK in the early 1960s – of course they were not intended to be worn when fighting!!!!

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    27. Dame of Mercia,

      In the Balkans they wore Epankes, which in some areas were pointed. I used to wear them for folk dancing performance. So yeah, the style didn’t through me off. But the stilted language did.

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    28. It seemed totally obvious to me that Selmy died given the size of the pool of blood he was shown lying in. He couldn’t lose that much blood and live, especially not in a world sans ERs and blood transfusions.

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    29. I agree with your whole posting Oz, and doubly so for the following:

      As this is an army to protect the common people (the ones who Cersei previously cared nothing for), the writing on the wall suggests that this plan may horribly backfire in her face at some point.

      Nothing good can ever come from regilious extremists, real world or fantasy.

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    30. While there seems to be a slightly mixed bag opinion-wise, it is interesting to me that more Sullied people favored the episode (my impression going through the Sullied review comments), and Unsullied didn’t so much. I think Oz captured those concerns, and I agree that there are some disjointed scenes: the inconsistency between the High Sparrow’s demeanor and his followers’ actions, to be sure. And others.

      I wonder if a book reader’s knowledge of the history and what’s to come may have enlightened to us some things they couldn’t possibly have done for someone without the same information… just something to ponder? Or perhaps I’m totally off base.

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    31. Yung Wolf:
      Great episode.

      Two problems with the final scene:

      One, Barristan is supposed to arguably be the greatest knight in Westeros. Apparently, Sons of the Harpy with table knives are pound-for-pound #1 in Essos. It was underwhelming and didn’t do Barristan justice.

      Two, did anyone notice how Grey Worm was just chillin’ in the back and watching Barristan fight while 3 Sons just surrounded him and also watched in awe, not even thinking about attacking and killing a vulnerable Grey Worm?

      Also, not the final scene, but during Jaime’s fight against the Dornish guard his sword suddenly warped from outside of the guard’s arm to going through his chest in the space of one frame. It was one of the more noticeable screw-up’s that I’ve seen in the VFX department for the show.

      You act like Barry is superman or batman. The best skilled knight? Yes. Can he take more than 5? Absolutely. Can he take more than that at once? No.

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    32. Oz – Agree with your assessment 100%. As a matter of fact, this may be my least favorite episode of the entire series which is interesting since I know a lot of folks loved it. There were some great scenes but thought overall just too clunky. But happy next week – Cogman episode.

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    33. 3eyes,

      Yes, I thought the same of Ms. Red Velvet….she has sniffed out the secret to Jon’s parentage…King’s blood. I think this may have something to do with the many recent mentions of Rhaegar & Lyanna…Food for thought…

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    34. I wasn’t too unhappy with the final scene — some of the choreography did fail to impress me, but I assumed Barristan’s fate was meant to be a cliffhanger. Of course, that was without watching the “next episode” sequence, so I dunno.

      The Sand Snake intro scene, on the other hand, felt forced. Obara’s(?) little monologue was particularly painful. Why tell that story to people who have known both her and her father? Why not just say “Yes”? For that matter, the whole “Are you with me?” angle. It’s already been established that the are. Why show them [pretending to] make the choice now?

      Other than that, I liked the episode as a whole. Proud of Jon and his restraint. That woman uses her vagina to devour souls; it wouldn’t do him any good at all to put anything in there.

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    35. I thought everything was awesome other than the Sand Snakes scene being pretty stiff and awkward.

      I agree with whoever said that they should have been introduced in a longer scene or else one at a time. Maybe we could have had a Plankeytown scene with ship captain going to Obara, then Obara taking him to Nym, then the two of them bringing him to Tyene who suggests scorpion-torture-fun-time? Then we could see them all react separately.

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    36. Three Eyed Raven,

      that’s exactly what I am thinking…. my sister and I were thinking, okay there has to be meaning to all this. Ned told jon before they last saw each other that, although he does not have his name, he has his blood. He also told him he would tell him about his mom when they meet again. He has to have royal blood in him… and unless the true identity of his mom is a royal and not a HO, then it make sense that ned isn’t even his father. there is an importance to Lyanna… the whole Rhaeghar stuff.
      this would be insanity.

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    37. Magiese,

      Great additional point about the Sand Snake scene. Obara’s monologue is basically a forced Shakespeare soliloquy to tell the audience what she’s thinking, which the show has tended to avoid since Littlefinger’s awkward sexposition scene in season 1. Otherwise she has no reason to tell Ellaria and her sisters something they already know.

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    38. I think this is my last time reading your reviews Oz,i liked you better in the earlier seasons when you weren’t obviously influnced by outside book opinion,i wish you success but you don’t entartain me anymore .

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    39. Agree with Oz’s analysis, it wasnt the best of episodes, to be honest, still good. As for the point about the unsullied in the battle, though they are amongst the finest soldiers in the world, they were definitely severely disadvantaged in this battle, if anything the complaints should be that it was unrealistic for them to able to kill all of the Sons of the Harpy.
      They may be great soldiers, but this situation was probably one of the worst imaginable for them, they were badly outnumbered, and surrounded in a tight space. The spears they use are for closed ranks, pitched combat when there are many of them standing together on a field of battle, but these tactics dont work when there are like half a dozen of them surrounded in a narrow corridor, when the harpies had knives which were far better suited to close quarter combat. Maybe in other tv shows and films the unsullied would come out on top, but this GoT, which is more realistic, and where circumstances of combat matter massively, and where even the best fighter cant take down anything more than four or five people by themselves.

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    40. Great episode!

      Though I agree with you Oz on the Sand Snakes. Their introduction could’ve been handled better. The only interesting character in Dorne to me is Doran.

      I am sad that Ser Barristan Selmy is dead. I thought the fight scene was done well and just like the fight between Jon(long sword) and Karl Tanner(knives), long weapons are useless in cramped space. With those small streets in Mereen Dany should arm the Unsullied with knives.

      My favourite scenes of the episode were the talks about Rhaegar and Lyanna. Last episode Selmy told Dany the truth about her father, so I think he is also telling the thruth to her about Rhaegar being a good person. And as far as I know even Ned hasn’t talked badly about him or at least didn’t seemed to have the same anger towards him as Robert does. Weird if this guy supposedly kidnapped and raped your sister.

      And with this I would like to ask Oz and other Unsullied if they have watched the Histories and Lore videos on the box sets? They provide a little bit more info on this. And I always thought this picture looked more like two lovers on the run rather than a woman being kidnapped.
      http://gameofthrones.wikia.com/wiki/File:Lyanna_and_Rhaegar.jpg

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    41. tyrion101356,

      To each his own. But there’s no reason to come and post that you’re going to stop reading Oz’s reviews just to make some sort of point of how he somehow doesn’t entertain you anymore (‘entartain’, as you so elegantly put it).

      I personally love to read Ozzy’s breakdown of every episode. His reviews have always come off as his own opinions on each major scene… from the early seasons to this most recent episode. I also didn’t notice any influence by outside book opinion in his review.. he always makes it a point to stay as ‘unsullied’ as possible.

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    42. I enjoyed this episode. The FM are disturbing and I see Cersei’s strategy biting her in the butt. Lots of foreshadowing with the Castle Black and Winterfell conversations. I really want Sansa’s inner badass to blossom this season. I want to know Varys’ next play. I love him. I’ll miss Selmy. I’m intrigued to see what happens next with Dany, I really don’t like Hizdahr. More questions than answers, which I feel is as it should be right now. I’d like to see more Grey Worm but I understand if this is it. A good point for Jorah and Tyrion to pop up. It was well done. So many stories, I want more Arya, more Bran, more Theon, I want everyone all at once, though I know I won’t get it. I enjoyed the Sand snakes as well! Inside the episode was good, too. I like that the program is departing from the books, two story lines give me more of the characters I’ve grown to love and hate.

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    43. Overall, I liked the episode. Definitely there were scenes that could have been handled better (i.e., the Sand Snakes).

      Some observations:

      1. LF (Aidan Gillen, amazing actor) has this tiny facial tick that he does – a small furrow of the brow, eyes narrowing for a second, a slight shift of his head – when he doesn’t agree, doubts, or is perturbed with what is being said, but that he doesn’t want to say anything to disagree or show his hand, so to speak. He did it when he was being called a money grubber and whoremonger by the lords and lady of the Vale. In this episode, in the crypts, he did it when Sansa mentioned Rhaegar kidnapping and raping Lyanna. This is clearly a you know nothing about Rhaegar episode

      I find that Sansa increasingly has the same mannerisms. She keeps her thoughts to herself. She has an intense gaze and you can see the wheels in her head turning. You can imagine her as an old wizened woman, the Wardeness of the North, like Olenna Tyrell, the Queen of Thorns, plotting without revealing.

      2. Is it me, or when Melisandre responds to Stannis that she is out there to serve her “Lord”, she actually meant not only her Lord of Light, but in fact, she also meant “Lord” Commander Snow who she was staring at, and not Stannis behind her?

      3. Love J. Pryce as High Sparrow/High Septon. Love his response “All sinners are equal before the gods” while staring straight at Cersei when she talks about the rich getting away with murder (she’s definitely shortsighted and not as smart as she thinks she is, my opinion).

      4. I’ve become more of an Obara fan. The actress definitely has the better accent and acting chops. Although, they only had two minutes on the screen, I guess I’ll give them all the benefit of a doubt.

      5. Love the Shireen/Stannis scene. Got me all farklempt.

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    44. Yung Wolf:
      Great episode.

      Two problems with the final scene:

      One, Barristan is supposed to arguably be the greatest knight in Westeros. Apparently, Sons of the Harpy with table knives are pound-for-pound #1 in Essos. It was underwhelming and didn’t do Barristan justice.

      Two, did anyone notice how Grey Worm was just chillin’ in the back and watching Barristan fight while 3 Sons just surrounded him and also watched in awe, not even thinking about attacking and killing a vulnerable Grey Worm?

      Also, not the final scene, but during Jaime’s fight against the Dornish guard his sword suddenly warped from outside of the guard’s arm to going through his chest in the space of one frame. It was one of the more noticeable screw-up’s that I’ve seen in the VFX department for the show.

      Selmy is also old and was extremely outnumbered.

      This isn’t “Star Wars” where the good guy can take out 50 bad guys without a scratch. Even the best knight living is going to have trouble when outnumbered 20-2.

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    45. I do think you are a bit too harsh in your assessment of this episode.

      1. The Unsullied are warriors- not policemen. And they were outnumbered. As was Selmy.

      2. Are they dead? I think it’s pretty obvious that the show wanted that to be a question for next week to answer, or they would have show Selmy’s throat being slit.

      3. I agree that the Sandsnake scene was lacking…but at least we have the set-up for Sandsnakes vs Jaime/Bronn.

      4. I’m amazed that you didn’t mention anything about the history lessons in this episode, since they were rather prominent.

      Anyway, those are my thoughts on it.

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    46. I think the Unsullied/Sons of the Harpy battle was very well presented.

      The hardest thing for a soldier to do is to be a cop. Add to that being in an urban setting and in an unfamiliar culture with very sketchy intelligence. Your soldiers are now incredibly vulnerable, no matter their skill and weaponry.

      The Unsullied were funneled into a narrow corridor where all the advantage went to an attacking force with short blades and superior numbers. The fight looked cumbersome because it was . . . for the Unsullied.

      Ser Barristan, even though his sword was better in tight quarters, still found himself in a situation where his fighting skills were hampered. His skill and experience compensated for everything except the superior numbers. And, even then, he took down an awful lot of Sons.

      When he first heard the bells, Selmy didn’t know what was happening just that whatever it was . . . was pretty bad. When he saw the Unsullied getting massacred, he didn’t hesitate. He attacked. It was a straight forward heroic act.

      When he and Grey Worm went down, my initial thought was that BOTH of them were done. Selmy for sure. GW, probably. At any rate, I was strongly affected by that scene. As, I am sure, the producers meant for me to be.

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    47. Great stuff Oz!

      I can only say that as a sullied viewer I came away with very similar thoughts. Not my fav episode, even of this season. Inconsistencies. But, hey, it’s still GoT, that beats just about anything….

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    48. I didn’t care for the choreography of the last fight scene either, but even more, I didn’t care for the music. It was super dramatic and overblown, and seemed inappropriate to me for a back alley ambush by masked insurgents in a turbulent occupied city.

      I even find myself wondering now if part of the reason that some people felt so put off by Selmy’s defeat there might have been because of that music. It was idealistic super-hero music, for a scene in which a group of soldiers trained for open battle succumb to guerilla tactics and the last generation’s great hero knight, now of advanced years, succumbs to pure numbers. Perhaps the super-heroic music led people to expect super-heroic outcomes, rather than the grittier, more realistic (if still somewhat heroically exaggerated) outcome the show was actually giving us?

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    49. Deesensfan,

      I’m unsullied, so just speculating. All the Rhaegar mentions seem to confirm, but they could be trolling us.
      Dame Pasty,

      All credit to The Great and Powerful Oz.

      Three Eyed Raven,

      One is reminded of the look she gave our Jon (sorry-Lord Commander Snow) at the end of last season.

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    50. I’m sure Hizdahr is going to betray Dany. The fighting pits re-opening that he’s pushing so hard has got to be a ruse, a cover for something bigger. And he’s had time to study the Unsullied up-close. He would’ve learned their weaknesses by now. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was the leader of the Sons of the Harpy.

      As for the High Sparrow, I don’t think he’s shown his true face to Cersei, yet. But he’s hinted at it in the things he’s said to her. But of course, Cersei wouldn’t catch on. She’s convinced herself no one in King’s Landing is smarter than she is. Yet, she’s totally overlooked her and Jamie’s sins. As if the Sparrows will let her get away with such a despicable “sin” as incest. She’s a narcissistic fool. There’s no way this can’t crash in on her.

      Totally forgot that Ser Meryn Trant is on Arya’s kill list. And he’s going to Braavos. When I remembered that, I stopped worrying about poor, befuddled Mace, and started wondering how Arya is going dispatch Trant.

      I did like this episode, and I also found it a little unsettling, but not for the same reasons others may have mentioned. What I found unsettling were the scenes that hit close to real world problems. Religious fanatics attacking and killing people for their “perversions” and sins. Basically, just terrorizing people who don’t believe and worship the Gods the way they do. Political fanatics in Meereen ambushing and killing soldiers. Ser Loras being arrested, persecuted, for being gay. That’s real world stuff. And it’s just as unsettling in the Game of Thrones world, as it is in ours.

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    51. Aerynsunx:
      Totally forgot that Ser Meryn Trant is on Arya’s kill list. And he’s going to Braavos. When I remembered that, I stopped worrying about poor, befuddled Mace, and started wondering how Arya is going dispatch Trant.

      Oh! Right! I’d totally forgotten about that, too.
      Although with her luck, she’ll get to him just as he’s being killed by someone else.

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    52. Random thoughts after re-watching the episode:

      1). Does anybody else think that Varys will already be at Dany’s side when Jorah and Tyrion finally show up?

      2). I think Shireen is the safest character on the show. The audience would NEVER tolerate any harm coming to her. Would it be a “jump the shark” moment for you? And, would you walk away from the show? I would, at the very least, consider it.

      3). If Sansa does truly become endangered by Ramsey, would it cause Reek to have a singular moment of clarity? Enough that he would sacrifice himself to protect Sansa?

      4). Is it just me, or has Hizdahr been talking to Dany each time the Sons of the Harpy have struck so far?

      5). Who will be the last name to be stricken from Arya’s list?

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    53. Bob:
      LynneBlackwood,

      Unsullied are not ninjas, that’s pretty much exactly what they are not. They’re superbly disciplined, impeccably trained soldiers. Stick them in a line on the battlefield they will follow orders to the letter, and they will not break regardless of what is thrown at them. That’s where their reputation comes from. Not from being the best individually, but being the best as a unit.
      Ambush them in a street brawl though, the best soldiers in the world die just as quickly as anyone from a knife in the back.

      This. It needs to be understood that spearmen are specialists against horse mounted units – it the case of Essos this is the Dothraki. To do this against horse or foot needs ranking formation with a layer of 4 – 5 spear points in a spear wall ( see http://s168.photobucket.com/user/Chesterthegreat12/media/Syntagma.jpg.html ). They were on unfamiliar ground and in a confined space ( why they weren’t patrolling with short swords drawn is another question) facing a fanatical enemy obviously prepared to kill or be killed.

      Soldiers make unwilling and ineffective policemen.

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    54. I don’t understand why HBO even does previews. It’s not like Game of Thrones is a series where you can just check in on an episode occasionally. Either you follow it or not. I don’t previews are gonna affect that.

      HBO Nordic doesn’t do previews or previously on and I wish regular HBO did the same so i wouldn’t be spoiled on characters deaths in an unsullied recap. I think the ep made out vague if Greyworm and or Barristan died and would have enjoyed finding out the next week.

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    55. Wilshade

      1. No. I think that Varys may have even seen Jorah take Tyrion. I think he has other things to do “for the realm”.

      2. What do you mean “the audience would NEVER tolerate?” LOL. The audience has already tolerated much watching GoT. I don’t want Shireen to be killed, but I certainly would NEVER stop watching the show. Why would I? I am invested this far, I will see it through.

      3. I think that Reek will react if Sansa were in danger, but I also think there may be something between Reek/Theon and Sansa that helps free Winterfell. Redemption for Theon.

      4. I hadn’t noticed.

      5. Last name on her list? I think it could be Cersie in a “late in the show” payback moment. Exactly when Cersie would least expect it.

      Now…my own thoughts on the episode. I also felt that the show jumped a bit too quickly as compared to the first three episodes. It sure made that 53 minutes go by very fast. I have watched it now three times and it actually gets better on re-watch.

      I swear, if Littlefinger kisses Sansa on the lips one more time I am going to reach through that tube and snatch him bald. That is just the creepiest thing ever!!

      The Sand Snakes. I think there was too much hype about this prior to this episode and that “some” were jaded a bit not to like the scene. That said, the scene did fall a bit flat, but I am willing to give it time to come around.

      I keep reading that everyone is loving the Jorah/Tyrion boat show. What boat show? Two minutes of them? Not enough that I would crow about it. But I love the pairing. Now Bronn and Jamie, much more time in comparison and Bronn is, as ever, engaging in his own way. Jamie seems lost to me. Bewildered. I have a bad feeling about Bronn though.

      Last for me. Is it me or are they aging Cersie UP this season? She looks older and haggard to me. And she certainly seems to be losing a bit of perspective about her own sins.

      hmmmm. R + L = J. I don’t know. Don’t have a clue but it seems to be all the buzz this week.

      RIP Ser Selmy. You died with your boots on!! HUZZAH!!

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    56. From Season 3, when Dany first met the Unsullied, Missandei mentioned their training of short sword, shield and 3 lengths of spears. Where are their short sword fighting that probably would have worked better in those close quarters?

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    57. Game of king chairs:
      I don’t understand why HBO even does previews. It’s not like Game of Thrones is a series where you can just check in on an episode occasionally. Either you follow it or not. I don’t previews are gonna affect that.

      HBO Nordic doesn’t do previews or previously on and I wish regular HBO did the same so i wouldn’t be spoiled on characters deaths in an unsullied recap. I think the ep made out vague if Greyworm and or Barristan died and would have enjoyed finding out the next week.

      QFT… Now we’re even being spoiled by HBO and as a result it seeps through here 🙁

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    58. First of all: Great review as always, Oz! I am sullied but It’s my favourite review to read each week.

      Arya havin’ a larf?: It needs to be understood that spearmen are specialists against horse mounted units – it the case of Essos this is the Dothraki. To do this against horse or foot needs ranking formation with a layer of 4 – 5 spear points in a spear wall ( see http://s168.photobucket.com/user/Chesterthegreat12/media/Syntagma.jpg.html ).

      Nope. Throughout history polearm formations were standard battlefield formations. The Macedon phalanx you linked us to was designed to beat the Greek phalanx and would be therefore considered even as an anti-infantry-formation.

      The spear is one of the most versatile weapons in history. Most soldiers before gunpowder became the defining factor on battlefields used some kind of polearm as their main weapon. Even knights to some extend. Swords were used as kind of backup weapons.

      Regarding Unsullied soldiers and their spears. GRRM seems to have based the Unsullied as the Elite force they are to some extend on Spartans (Greek hoplites). And like hoplites they fight with spear, shield and a short sword as backup weapon. As ace just said: In close quarters they could have used their short swords.
      Another option would have been to hand out shorter spears to them or let them shorten the ones they already have. This was indeed my first thought when seeing the Unsullied patrols in the street. There’s nothing wrong with using a spear in a city. But it should be a spear short enough to attack and defend oneself in this kind of area. Spear and shield by themselves are a deadly combination.

      Regarding Barristan: He fought and went down as I would have expected from an old knight armed with a weapon suited for the place, trained with it and being still outnumbered.

      Regarding the scene as a whole. It felt to me a bit forced. I think we all got the point that soldiers trained for battle are no police force and not trained for this kind of warfare. But the executing wasn’t the best. Even in battle a soldier wouldn’t run his spear through an enemy just to wait for the next to slaughter him.
      It would have been easy to change the story the scene is telling by just letting some Sons of the Harpy follow the unsullied through the entrance and attack them from behind while the soldiers try to hold the other sons back that attacked them from the front. So we would a) see that Unsullied are hard to beat in a fight face to face and b) that the Sons of the Harpy just try to avoid this kind of fight and use chaos and backstabbing as their main weapon.

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    59. Well, I wanted to wait and rewatch before i comment because I was tired when first seeing this episode (and because I was quite a lot disappointed by it).

      So, good things first: Castle Black bits are consistently great this season. Overall, I love how Dorne is shaping up, BUT … (see below). Mace Tyrrel is very entertaining. Did Cersei actually order Meryn Trant to kill Mace when out of King’s Landing? After also getting rid of Loras, this would leave a greatly diminished amount of Tyrrels to deal with (albeit the two most dangerous ones: Olenna and Margaery would remain). And I love the Sansa/Littlefinger scenes. The best part? As I expected, it’s Sansa’s turn to play (well, at least within the borders Baelish set – for now).

      And well, now the bad: I’ll start with what I alluded to, some Dorne troubles. The Sand Snakes introduction wasn’t that bad, I liked the visuals, I liked Ellaria’s arrival and the cinematics. I even liked Nymeria and – uh, can’t remember her name now, the youngest of the three, daughter of Ellaria, her too I liked. But Obara seemed way off. That monologue felt out of place there and it was kinda weirdly acted. Another bizarre thing: For a country where they “don’t hurt little girls”, an awful lot of people are fine with the idea. Even when it ultimately leads to a strife within Dorne itself, that’s just stupid when seen from the outside.
      Jaime’s arrival in Dorne was another stupid thing (as Bronn pointed out). They arrive somewhere near Dorne’s capital and then just walk in the city? Two strangers out of nowhere with nothing more than (foreign) clothes and swords. Oh my… (That said, the fight was nice and the Dornishmen looked like relatively capable combattants.)
      And the biggest weirdness of the episode: Faith Militant is barely mentioned for the first time and already there are Sparrows murdering people all over the city? Seemingly on first day they organise so well and gain so much arrogance as to deny passage/entrance to the King himself? I’m sorry but that just wasn’t believable to me, at all.

      When it comes to Mereen plot, I was mostly fine with that. Unsullied being surprised in close quarters fared adequately to their armament (spears in city streets …). Barristan did cut through 6, 7 or 8 of those Sons of the Harpy. Given his age and lack of armor, that’s believable and consistent with how he might have been the best swordsman in his younger days.

      Overall, this episode was probably weakest of Season 4 so far. It felt like there was half an episode of material missing/rewritten/reshot that would better introduce Obara (or leave it for another episode), that would come up with a more believable arrival of jaime in Dorne, and that would add more time to the creation of Faith militant in King’s Landing.
      And it’s a pity, since the other half of the episode was pretty good.

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    60. Wolkenkratzer: Regarding Barristan: He fought and went down as I would have expected from an old knight armed with a weapon suited for the place, trained with it and being still outnumbered.

      The greatest Westerosi knight of his generation should not get a Meets Expectations grade while dying in his first fight. Nor should his one and only fight not even remotely compare to the theatrics demonstrated minutes earlier by another character, Bronn, who took down 3.9 mounted warriors (Jaime gets credit for the remaining 0.1, but we all know Bronn could have taken him too).

      Heck, Daario has gotten countless “I am an uber badass” moments – against the Yunkai champion, at the back gates with Jorah and Grey Worm, casually killing the Titan’s Bastard and the other leader of the Second Sons without so much as a second thought, finding the hidden Harpy, etc. Couldn’t Selmy have gotten at least one good one before dying to peon redshirts?

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    61. @Chad Brick
      Good points!
      There were plenty of opportunities for the writers to give Barristan some badass moments. They should definitely have given him some fighting to do during Daenys betrayal of the slave masters of Astapor or even let him take part in the conquest of Yunkai …

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    62. Deesensfan,

      Yes and when Stannis was looking at him training he mentioned a Tavern wench wasn’t Ned Stark’s style. There has to be more to this, is like we are being drip fed… I was a big Lost fan so I see conspiracy everywhere mind you so I could be barking up the wrong tree!

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    63. Chad Brick,

      Well, I think that specifically because Barristan didn’t get to fight much (or at all) lately, he didn’t manage better. After all, without exercise, with age and alone (at that point, Grey Worm was on the floor wounded trying not to get finished), there’s only so much you can do.

      Compared with other scenes (Yunkai fight, Bronn achievements), could Grey Worm and Barristan fare better? Of course. But I rather have problems with those other fights’ realism than with this one.

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    64. I almost feel sorry for Cerci who has arrested Margery’s brother & also sent her father on a wild goose chase (maybe even to his death), when Grandma Tyrell finds out what’s happening to her family. I am excited to meet Oberin’s 3-Badass daughters. Jamie & Bronn in Dorne (say that 3 times fast), can he really kill his brother if he sees him again? Broken Theon had a moment where he looked like he wanted to save the day, but even if he fails big-knight-lady Brienne is tracking Sanza to Winterfell & Arya’s ‘training’ begins! Barrister saves Worm (or do they both die???); I don’t want him to die, he’s Dany’s voice of reason. Many starts to ‘uh-oh moments’ have sprung this episode. All areas are imploding but what happens when there’s overlap? Stannis heading to the North to overthrow the Boltons; winter is coming to Castle Black; Tyrion traveling to Mereen w/Jorah who was exiled, they’ll arrive in the middle of the civil uprising w/Dany’s 3 dragons in waiting (who are a little mad at her right now, but they’ll always love their momma!); the plot against the Lanister daughter w/the Sand Snakes & Jamie meeting somewhere in the middle; Cerci’s dble trouble – the holy war & matriarch Tyrell…plots & more plots w/only 6 episodes left I am going crazy trying to figure it all out. My favorite moment will be when the remaining Starks finally find out who is still alive among them..

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    65. Anyone noticed Sansa’s wearing the same ring as Cersei (probably Joffreys) … and both on the index ?

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