Watchers on the Wall Awards: Best Death Scene of Season 7

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There are many twists and turns on Game of Thrones, but death is a constant and this show makes an art of it. Season 7 wasn’t quite the bloodbath that last year was but there were still a lot of bodies hitting the ground in a variety of dramatically satisfying and creative ways. From the opening scene of this season until the finale, GoT brought the carnage, providing plenty of potential for Best Death Scene at the 2017 Watchers on the Wall Awards. We’ve narrowed the nominees down to five, after the preliminaries; it’s time to rewatch, ponder and vote for your favorite!

The final nominees for Best Death Scene are:

Winter comes for House Frey, with a little help from Arya Stark and some poison.

Olenna Tyrell downs her wine and sends a final message.

Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish finally gets what’s coming to him and has his throat slit.

Tyene Sand is poisoned by Cersei, as Tyene’s mother Ellaria is locked away with her forever.

Viserion the dragon is felled by the Night King.

The complete results from round 1 voting in this category can be viewed here!

Final round rules: Cast your vote for the winner in our Best Death Scene poll. In the finals, unlike the preliminaries, fans have one vote to cast. At the end of 72 hours (Saturday 12/16/17 at 5PM ET), the scene with the most votes will be the winner! The results of the poll will be revealed during the live Watchers on the Wall Awards ceremony- specific date to be announced in the near future!

162 responses

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    1. Viserion wins. Littlefinger’s plot at Winterfell was terrible, my least favorite part of Season 7, aside from the Euron cheese. Olenna’s death was a little hokey, but it was good that Jaime found out the truth.

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    2. Karen:
      Arya taking out the Frey and Littlefinger tie for the win in my book. Both well deserved kills

      I agree, but I chose LF, this way House Stark as a whole got the nod.

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    3. Judging from the prelim voting it looks like this one could be close.

      ———-
      *scratch paper post to figure out what we have left to vote on*

      16 categories…
      Final vote “done” on 8: death scene, battle, fight, supporting actor, supporting actress, dramatic scene, leading actor, leading actress

      Prelim vote “done” on 8: speech, funniest quote, costume, VFX scene, guest actor, guest actress, all-around quote, funniest scene…

      So 8 categories yet for us to do final votes for. Yeh! 🙂

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    4. Just because that cold open had me questioning my memory of the Season 6 finale, I went with Winter Comes for House Frey.

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    5. Clob,

      “Judging from the prelim voting it looks like this one could be close.”

      ……………
      Yup. After looking at the Preliminary Round pie chart and percentages, my first thought was “this could go down to the wire like an Alabama Senate race.”

      I know the sentimental favorite’s going to be Diana Rigg and Olenna Tyrell’s swan song, and yet… my thumb clicked the 🔘 next to

      ”Winter comes for House Frey, with a little help from Arya Stark and some poison.”.

      After rewatching Sandor riding away from the Red Wedding with a dazed Arya – who nonetheless wasn’t spared the horrific sight of celebrating Frey soldiers parading her brother’s mutilated corpse with Greywind’s head sewn on – the S7e1 cold open scene had too much impact to vote for anything else.

      Nothing against my boyhood crush Diana Rigg. Olenna’s death by poison was more… intimate and private. The Frey doofuses death by poison was a f*cking spectacle, accompanied by a condemnatory setup speech and capped off by a terse, iconic line delivered by Arya to Walder’s stunned widow.

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    6. Olenna. Funny how her death wasn’t even on screen, yet it had the best effect. I feel like Jaime really was in the best scenes this year. I very much appreciated the others as well (LF should have had an actual counter-argument, but ignoring that, Arya did a fantastic job of showing that she can outright dispatch someone in a second without ceremony). Viserion made me feel more than I thought I would, very well done CGI and that silence…House Frey was rad, yo. Cersei et al was effective but I really can’t care much about SS Dorne. Nymeria and Barbaro went out like champs, though.

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    7. The season started with Winter coming to House Frey and ended with Winter coming to Westeros. Talk about bookends!

      In execution, the cold open was perfectly handled, teasing, stunning, satisfying. I’d read the leaks and expected it, but not its perfection, down to David Bradley’s tongue-in-cheek moment and the explanation of Arya inviting only the Freys who mean a damn (i.e., the guiltiest). And it contained two of my favourite lines from the season.

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    8. My heart says Littlefinger because… Of course it does 🙂
      However, I could not vote for it because I thought the Winterfell plotline was subpar in terms of writing (the screenwriters tried to make it suspenseful when, in my opinion, there was no suspense to be had). Still, the acting saved the last scene and I lost one of my favourite characters so sadness all around as far as I am concerned ^^

      Lady Olenna’s death was perfectly in character but a part of me was slightly annoyed by it for, once again, the Queen of Thorns blatant hypocrisy went unchallenged. Olenna always claimed the moral highground on Cersei even though she had no right to it and, in her final minutes, she did it all over again, utterly unexamined by either Jaime or the show as a whole.

      The Freys’ deaths did not really do it for me. From the first seconds, we knew what was going to happen since we were aware of Walder’s previous demise. So it was pure theatrics for theatrics’ sake, devoid of tension or emotionality. The event had its place in Arya’s story arc, of course, but because it was to be articulated with her later encounter with the Lannister soldiers. On its own, the scene did not do much for me.

      I am sorry to admit I do not care for the dragons at all so Viserion’s death left me entirely cold (no pun intended).

      So, I ended up voting for the Sands’ demise. It was unspeakably gruesome without being bloody, immensely well acted on all parts and it served as a terrifying reminder of Cersei’s trauma (her mother’s death and how she used to be haunted by nightmares of her rotting corpse as a child).

      However, I am somewhat saddened the Tarlys did not reach the final round for they would have got my vote. Their death was a game-changer on many levels : it made Tyrion doubt his loyalty to his queen, it challenged Daenerys’s “breaker of chains” narrative in regards to Westeros, it opened up a space for Sam in the future, etc. RIP Dickon the Sadly Named.

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    9. I always vote for the scene that I want to go back and watch the most. Olenna’s death by a mile.

      The Sand Slugs don’t come close.

      Viserion’s death was just sad.

      I enjoyed the Arya scene, but it was kind of just more of the same. I liked the Walder death from last season more.

      I wish I could’ve voted for the Baelish scene because it was a long time coming, but as others have stated the Winterfell plot was a mess, and, as a result, the payoff was not there for me in the end.

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    10. Sue the Fury,
      Thank you, Sue. I am glad to hear the Tarlys almost made it to the finals ! They deserved it : the actors did a great job of showing their characters’ quiet dignity and unspoken familial love for each other. Dickon was (a tad ret-conned as) a sweetheart and, even though Daddy Tarly was a questionable man with prejudiced beliefs, he had honour.

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    11. Mr Derp: I wish I could’ve voted for the Baelish scene because it was a long time coming, but as others have stated the Winterfell plot was a mess, and, as a result, the payoff was not there for me in the end.

      I did end up choosing it even though it was initially my secondary nomination after Olenna’s. I had to go ahead and choose it because I’ve wanted him gone for the entire series. Literally. After watching the super long sexposition scene in S1 I was done with him. Having already read the books I knew it wouldn’t happen but still…

      I loved that it was Arya that did it and how she did it. However, after seeing that they pretty much abandoned her own storyline, stuffed her into Sansa’s and altered her character just to get to the ‘punchline’ they thought of, I would have preferred Brienne or someone else did it. I kind of wish Arya wouldn’t have gone home yet. Maybe it would have been more fun if she had gone on to KL. Not to the point of getting to Cersei, but perhaps she runs into Gendry, has some scenes and then Davos finds and takes them both to Dragonstone. I don’t know…

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    12. Olenna Tyrell downs her wine and sends a final message

      By far the best final scene of season 7
      The Lannister army taking Highgarden was an unexpected surprise.

      Olenna Tyrell destroyed Jamie in the conversation (basically calling Jamie Cercei’s whipped bitch) and then she finishes the discussion with a final heart breaking thorn.

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    13. Had to vote for Littlefinger. Aiden acted the heck out of that scene even with the Winterfell plotline being lackluster. Plus, feel Aiden doesn’t always get the recognition for being an outstanding actor.

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    14. That was hard. Thought for sure I would go with Viscerion but went with Littlefinger instead. He went through every emotion in that scene.

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    15. Clob:

      However, after seeing that they pretty much abandoned her own storyline, stuffed her into Sansa’s and altered her character just to get to the ‘punchline’ they thought of, I would have preferred Brienne or someone else did it.I kind of wish Arya wouldn’t have gone home yet.Maybe it would have been more fun if she had gone on to KL.Not to the point of getting to Cersei, but perhaps she runs into Gendry, has some scenes and then Davos finds and takes them both to Dragonstone.I don’t know…

      Arya spending more time in the riverlands trying to break her uncle Edmure out of prison. Arya heading to KL attempting to kill Cersei. Arya meets up with Gendry and reunites with Jon, going on the wight hunt. Arya rejoins the brotherhood and makes her way to the wall. There were any number of plots they could have done with Arya that I would have found to be more enjoyable. Even Arya sitting out this season would be better than the shite plot she was stuffed into. Even her return home to WF after 6 seasons was dealt with in 5 minutes. I thought Maisie William’s acting in her Winterfell scenes were also rather subpar.

      I am hoping Arya has a better story next season. Her own story. But considering D and D’s inability to understand the character beyond her being a vengeful killer, I don’t think we are getting it.

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    16. Ten Bears,

      The Frey doofuses death by poison was a f*cking spectacle, accompanied by a condemnatory setup speech and capped off by a terse, iconic line delivered by Arya to Walder’s stunned wido

      yes, this

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    17. For me it had to be : Winter comes for House Frey, with a little help from Arya Stark and some poison

      What a way to start S7! I wondered what the ‘ell was going on at first! However, Ayra doing her faceless man act as Walder Frey and then getting the men of house Fray to drink a toast with the poisoned wine was ‘poetic justice’ for what they did to her family at the Red Wedding.

      Olenna’s death was ok, but would have been more convincing if she keeled over after drinking the poison after telling Jaime- ‘Tell Cersei it was me!”

      As for Littlefinger’s death, we pretty much all know that was on the cards when Sansa turned her attention from Ayra to him and accusing him of treason. So not so much of a surprise there.

      The sandsnakes scene was pretty powerful, but like Olenna we didn’t see Tyene actually die. They should have had a short scene of Cersie returning to the dungeons and few days later to check up on Ellaria watching Tyene dead and rotting away. Now that would have been really horrific! The SFX people do a really good job on the wights as skeletons with bits of flesh hanging off them so to give Tyene a similar appearance would have been easy for them.

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    18. “…the Queen of Thorns blatant hypocrisy went unchallenged…”

      If she were still around to lecture, I could just imagine her acerbically noting that hypocrisy is the coin of the realm amongst the rulers of Westeros.

      Olleana was a fundamentally decent character, working within a corrupt system for the best outcomes she could get. Cersei is a fundamentally malicious character, forever blundering and leaving the bill to someone else.

      The only part of the season I have re-watched is the (very!) cold open, so I will leave this judgement to others. The sentencing of the last Sand Snake has, like the Freys’ Last Supper, a measure of justice, in that the condemned had richly earned their demise. (Were I a meaner Mage, I might vote for the torturous deaths of Tyene and her mother, for the collateral benefit of bringing a long-overdue end to the cursed Dorne storyline.)

      Good luck in voting, and I am sure to be pleased with your choice!

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    19. This one for me was between the two least bloody but best acted scenes: Olenna and the sandsnakes. Difficult choice, really, and in the end I went with our beloved QoT since I will miss her the most.

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    20. Ten Bears: The Frey doofuses death by poison was a f*cking spectacle, accompanied by a condemnatory setup speech and capped off by a terse, iconic line delivered by Arya to Walder’s stunned widow.

      My (extremely minor) “problem” with this scene was that for me there was no surprize to it, you could see it coming miles away. A bit similar to Littlefinger’s death scene – as soon as “Arya’s” trial started, the lead-up to Baelish’s death was so obvious that it didn’t surprize me in the least. Still good scenes both, but not my favorites.

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    21. There were so many awful death scenes this season. LittleFinger and his whole arc was laughable. The Frey scene in the cold open was lame, predictable, pandering to the fans. Olenna’s death was meh, Jaime really couldn’t care less about Joffrey. D & D had a golden opportunity to prove that it wasn’t the book material that was carrying them and not vice verse, and they failed miserably. TERRIBLE.

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    22. Black Raven: The sandsnakes scene was pretty powerful, but like Olenna we didn’t see Tyene actually die. They should have had a short scene of Cersie returning to the dungeons

      On the contrary, the way both deaths were (not) depicted only added to their impact, imo. Insinuations often leave much deeper impressions than blatant in-your-face graphic violence – the classic thrillers and horror movies were built on this.

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    23. LatrineDiggerBrian:
      There were so many awful death scenes this season. LittleFinger and his whole arc was laughable. The Frey scene in the cold open was lame, predictable, pandering to the fans. Olenna’s death was meh, Jaime really couldn’t care less about Joffrey. D & D had a golden opportunity to prove that it wasn’t the book material that was carrying them and not vice verse, and they failed miserably. TERRIBLE.

      Why are you here? You offer nothing but negativity to any topic. Go away.

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    24. Olenna Tyrell, by all means.
      Only one of those characters I had some sort of empathy for.
      Plus, she had the best death, literally. No pain, just some sorrow I guess, but with the final satisfaction that she had had the upper hand.
      Honestly, compared to her rivals in this category, Olenna was lucky.

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    25. Sou: Oh my God, WHO WAS SER RODRIK CASSEL???

      Umm, let’s see…Jory’s uncle. Winterfell’s master-at-arms. Cat’s escort and bodyguard on her mission south. The guy who denounced Theon for his betrayal of the Starks, and had his head sloppily hacked off by Theon, who was trying to live up to Ned’s maxim about the one who passes the sentence being the one who swings the sword, and then botched it. The guy with the weird sideburns that were braided underneath his chin.

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    26. While I was moved by Viserion’s death and Olenna’s death was incredibly badass… it HAS to be Littlefinger in the end. Say what you will about the misdirection about “who’s playing who” in the previous episodes – ultimately that scene was as iconic as Littlefinger killing Lysa back in S4. Incredible, and chilling. This kind of says it all better than words.

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    27. Tar Kidho: On the contrary, the way both deaths were (not) depicted only added to their impact, imo. Insinuations often leave much deeper impressions than blatant in-your-face graphic violence – the classic thrillers and horror movies were built on this.

      I couldn’t agree more. Storytelling is often so much more effective when it’s oblique and nuanced than when it rubs our noses in literal depictions that leave nothing to the imagination.

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    28. Firannion: Umm, let’s see…Jory’s uncle. Winterfell’s master-at-arms. Cat’s escort and bodyguard on her mission south. The guy who denounced Theon for his betrayal of the Starks, and had his head sloppily hacked off by Theon, who was trying to live up to Ned’s maxim about the one who passes the sentence being the one who swings the sword, and then botched it. The guy with the weird sideburns that were braided underneath his chin.

      Jory…..*wails* ☹

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    29. Tar Kidho,

      There were a lot of good conversations, particularly in Dragonstone. I liked episode 2 a lot, to me it was the only episode of S7 that was on par with the rest of the great earlier seasons (Bryan Cogman has proven these last couple of subpar seasons that he wasn’t ever carried by D & D and is a force to be reckoned with). The Arya / Nymeria scene was great, even if the meaning of it wasn’t what I was hoping for. But yeah, there just weren’t many standout moments for me. I ripped S6 pretty hard, but even in that I could think of 10 or so moments that I loved.

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    30. Best Death: Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish finally gets what’s coming to him and has his throat slit

      Another incredibly tough category! I could write an excellent case for voting for each and every one of these five finalists – and such variety in terms of why they should win. From the emotion of Viserion’s death to Olenna’s mic-drop, all five made for fantastic, dramatic television.

      Littlefinger’s death comes after seven seasons of slimy, smarmy dastardly dealings. And there is a sense of satisfaction in watching Littlefinger fail in Winterfell as he himself ensured Ned did in King’s Landing. Both were out of their natural environments and dealing with relationships and people they failed to fully understand.

      As with many deaths in Thrones, there is an upside and a downside to the demise of Littlefinger. We have the satisfaction of seeing the Starks bring down the man who plotted against their family and pitted them against one another, but in doing so we lose a great actor from the cast in the form of Aidan Gillen. His performance as Littlefinger has been fantastic throughout, and he played this final scene beautifully. For all his conniving, Littlefinger ended up whimpering on the floor at Winterfell, begging for his life.

      Whether knowledge is power or power is power, Littlefinger ended up powerless to stop his execution – and it was all his own fault. He schemed and betrayed too much on the way up to get any help on the way down.

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    31. It’s come to my attention that some on this site are huge meanies. However, I’ve decided that I shall not give into trolls. Instead, I shall continue my run of excellent behavior, arguably the greatest stretch of behavior this site has ever seen, if I’m being frank.

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    32. Ya know, Littjefonger being taken down by the stark kids was as satisfying as hell. But I got to go with the Frays. It nearly broke the Internet!

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    33. LatrineDiggerBrian:
      “ …Instead, I shall continue my run of excellent behavior, arguably the greatest stretch of behavior this site has ever seen, if I’m being frank.”

      Friendly unsolicited advice?
      The self-aggrandizement turns people off. Even if you’re being facetious.

      (“Turns off people?” I forget the grammar rule. Where’s King Stannis when you need him.)

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    34. Sue the Fury:
      ACME,

      Yeah I loved the Tarlys’ death scene. They were a strong 6th place in the voting.

      Good riddance to Father of the Year Randyll. But Dickon’s decision to join his father in the Drogon barbecue was truly tragic. Props to re-casted Dickon Tom Hopper (?) for making me care so much in so little screen time.

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    35. I’m pretty surprised more people aren’t picking the Ellaria/Tyene death scene, I thought people were raving about Cersei’s performance in it and that was one of the reasons they picked her for best actress (among all the other great scenes she was in).

      It was tough for me between that scene and House Frey, but ended up going with House Frey. Ellaria/Tyene was a very close second though. It might actually be the most twisted, agonizing punishment I’ve ever heard of. Maybe besides being flayed alive, that is.

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    36. “Leave on wolf alive and the sheep are never safe.”

      Winter coming for House Frey was arguably one of the best scenes of the whole series.

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    37. Jaehaerys: I’m pretty surprised more people aren’t picking the Ellaria/Tyene death scene

      There were so many great death scenes this season that this amazing scene was only a close fourth in my book!

      Last season… Sept splosion meant there was exactly one death scene that was a clear winner, this year more spread out.

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    38. It was a good scene, but I didn’t pick the Sand Slug death scene because I just don’t have any emotional investment in those characters.

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    39. Mr Derp:
      It was a good scene, but I didn’t pick the Sand Slug death scene because I just don’t have any emotional investment in those characters.

      My sentiments exactly.

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    40. J17: Winter coming for House Frey was arguably one of the best scenes of the whole series.

      This is a little risque, so I’ll cover it in greyscale spoiler coding. Here’s another fan’s reaction to this scene, as reported on Axey’s Storify of tweets during S7e1…

      When Arya peeled off Walder’s face and said “if people ask you what happened here, tell them, the north remembers; tell them winter came for House Frey”, a woman named Eclair Huxtable tweeted:

      ”Me and winter just came at the same time.”

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    41. Jaehaerys,

      I wasn’t impressed with the Ellaria-Tyene death scene because they were supposed to be these kickass, fearless warriors…but went out whimpering and sobbing.

      Compare that with the self-composure of Olenna, or even Randyll and Dickon. I felt that the Ellaria-Tyene scene did the characters – and the actresses – a real disservice. What’s that old saying? … If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime.

      What did they expect might happen when they senselessly murdered innocent Myrcella, and her looney tunes mother Cersei ever got her hands on them? Actually, Cersei’s other options, eg, carving up Tyene’s face or applying the Gregor-Oberyn squashed melon execution method, would’ve been worse. Tyene got off easy: a little nose bleed, then quickly collapse and expire.

      Having said that, Lena Headey was fabulous in that scene.

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    42. FWIW, I just saw on IMDB that Littlefinger’s death is their No. 1 death of the year (video was of Arya slashing his throat).

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    43. “I wasn’t impressed with the Ellaria-Tyene death scene because they were supposed to be these kickass, fearless warriors…but went out whimpering and sobbing.”

      That was one of the reasons it made for such a great death scene. They’d been indulged by Oberyn (and Doran) to the point where they actually believed they were toughened fighters, but really they were just a pampered courtesan and her jejune daughter and nieces. Their very first foray outside of their safe enclave resulted in swift capture and death by *real* players of the Game.

      This was all foreshadowed in the scene which introduced the Sand Snakes. Ellaria tells them, “you don’t need an army to start a war,” to which I thought, “but you need one to win it!” They we’re starting a war, and wars rarely go as easily as the planners believe. (To hammer the point home even harder, each died by her own weapon.)

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    44. I’m very glad to see that all five of the scenes that I voted for in the preliminary round made it, although I wouldn’t have had any issue with including the Tarlys as a sixth nominee. I loved that scene as well!

      Best Death Scene: Tyene Sand is poisoned by Cersei, as Tyene’s mother Ellaria is locked away with her forever.

      Close Second: Olenna Tyrell downs her wine and sends a final message.

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    45. Tensor the Mage, Who Loves A Good War So Long As It’s Fictional:
      “I wasn’t impressed with the Ellaria-Tyene death scene because they were supposed to be these kickass, fearless warriors…but went out whimpering and sobbing.”

      That was one of the reasons it made for such a great death scene. They’d been indulged by Oberyn (and Doran) to the point where they actually believed they were toughened fighters, but really they were just a pampered courtesan and her jejune daughter and nieces. Their very first foray outside of their safe enclave resulted in swift capture and death by *real* players of the Game.

      This was all foreshadowed in the scene which introduced the Sand Snakes. Ellaria tells them, “you don’t need an army to start a war,” to which I thought, “but you need one to win it!” They we’re starting a war, and wars rarely go as easily as the planners believe. (To hammer the point home even harder, each died by her own weapon.)

      The Mage speaks harshly…and truly. Well, not harshly as you’ve already said you are not a mean Mage….:)

      That’s a great analysis of their undoing. I hadn’t bothered to acknowledge the ….symmetry?…of their deaths. It was an especially satisfying payoff to see Ellaria’s daughter…er, jejune…die by a poisonous kiss as Cersei’s daughter did.

      Still, I voted for Olenna and have no regrets.

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    46. Best Death Scene: Olenna Tyrell downs her wine and sends a final message.

      Honorable Mention: Tyene Sand is poisoned by Cersei, as Tyene’s mother Ellaria is locked away with her forever.

      Tyene and Ellaria’s death is definitely the strongest as a scene, but it already got my vote in the Dramatic Scene category, which I think is more appropriate considering the magnitude of the performances. Solely as a death scene, I’m going with Olenna’s.

      Nameless House Frey members and a CGI lizard (as Firannion put it) were never in contention. Littlefinger’s death was certainly memorable, but lacks the artistry of the Tyene/Ellaria scene or the sheer “wow” factor of Olenna’s scene, thanks to her final line.

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    47. Stark Raven’ Rad:
      FWIW, I just saw on IMDB that Littlefinger’s death is their No. 1 death of the year (video was of Arya slashing his throat).

      Excellent, though unsurprising, news !

      For all the flaws of the Winterfell storyline, Littlefinger’s death brought narrative closure and was elevated by Aidan Gillen’s acting. So yippee ! ^^

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    48. This is hard for me. It depends on what makes a good death scene.

      I really was soooo happy the Freys and Littlefinger finally got theirs. I thought that both of those two scenes were handled beautifully. Granted I agree that the Winterfell plot was horrible. I mean really? Why didn’t Sansa or Arya just ask Bran earlier if they doubted the other one or just asked each other plainly for details instead of playing games. Arya playing the game of faces showed more than ever she’s not mature enough to handle ‘the gift’ of death for what it really is. Anyway – the scene where Littlefinger was killed was brilliant on everyone’s part. The scene with the Frey was great too – some great lines! And both David and Maisie were wonderfully done.

      I loved the scene with Olenna and Jaime. Diana is so amazing to watch and every time she comes on screen you’re sucked in and invested. Knowing its her final scene made it even that much more.

      I didn’t like the Sand Snakes but I thought that scene was sad. I thought this was Cersei’s worse season for dialog. All she did was repeat the same phrases over and over again. I don’t know how many times she said ‘my only daughter…’ in that scene. Like she was repeating it so often in case anyone in the dungeon forgot in that 5 min span or like they would suddenly agree she was justified if she said it enough times. Cersei was horrible this year.

      I keep coming back to the scene beyond the Wall with the dragons and the White Walkers. I feel like I’ve voted for it for everything – fight, battle, etc etc – but that was the only death I found myself both shocked, appalled, horrified and heartbroken. Sadl as it might be, when it comes to TV & Movies, there are acceptable deaths of people and then there are unacceptable deaths of babies and dogs and other cherished animals (real or fantasy). And we’ve literally seen Viserion grow up from an egg to a full grown dragon.

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    49. Jaehaerys,

      I’m pretty surprised more people aren’t picking the Ellaria/Tyene death scene

      not sure about everyone else, but I voted it most dramatic scene…so didn’t want to double up. that way I can shorten the list of nominees

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    50. Ten Bears,

      I wasn’t impressed with the Ellaria-Tyene death scene because they were supposed to be these kickass, fearless warriors…but went out whimpering and sobbing.

      aside from it being a horribe way to go, they were mother and daughter, not just fearless warrirs

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    51. ACME,

      I love several of these scenes far more than you do, but like you, was stunned that the Tarlys didn’t make it. I was deeply and unexpectedly moved by the old man’s death and his final gestures to his son, and as you note, those deaths were (and I expect will still be) very, very consequential moving forward.

      On a different note… Lovely to see you back!!!

        Quote  Reply

    52. LatrineDiggerBrian,

      I don’t think it was about Joffrey. I think it was about a) Jaime’s shock in realizing that he hadn’t even thought of Olenna, and b) the long-awaited confirmation that Tyrion was innocent. (The last scene between Jaime and Tyrion in the dungeon is very different in the book, but let’s not get into that.)

      Jaime and Cersei are twins, but one of the ways in which they are most different is that Cersei really does want to play the game (as their father did), whereas Jaime cares little for machinations. He prefers directness, and thus cannot (or chooses not to) think in all the devious ways necessary to actually survive as the leader of a great house in this particular world. Olenna outwitted them and rubbed it in his face, and he recognized it and didn’t hate her for it in her final moments.

      Should Jaime survive his journey to Winterfell and gain a pardon from Bran (which I hope he’ll ask for as a way of clearing his conscience), I think he and Sandor might unexpectedly find they have much more in common than they had ever cared to admit.

        Quote  Reply

    53. Ten Bears:

      I wasn’t impressed with the Ellaria-Tyene death scene because they were supposed to be these kickass, fearless warriors… but went out whimpering and sobbing.

      Compare that with the self-composure of Olenna, or even Randyll and Dickon. I felt that the Ellaria-Tyene scene did the characters – and the actresses – a real disservice. What’s that old saying? … If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime.

      I’m going to respectfully disagree with you here, because I don’t see a contradiction in being “kickass, fearless warriors” and showing agonized emotion in the end. They’re mother and daughter. Had they not felt or exhibited anything, I would have feared for their humanity–deemed them no better than the Mountain, the man whose monstrous actions precipitated Oberyn and Ellaria’s visit to King’s Landing and, ultimately, the fall of House Martell.

      I’m married to a man who saw combat, and he still weeps when thinking of his mother, who died shortly after he performed CPR on her 28 years ago.

      As for the “self-composure of Olenna,” she had lost her entire family and had, what, more than a year (?) to grieve and plot against the woman who took everything from her. As the Dornish–pardon me, the Spanish–say, “Revenge is a dish best served cold.” And serve it cold she certainly did.

      I was unexpectedly touched by Ol’ Man Tarly’s demise–and Dickon’s bullheaded, honor-bound insistence on joining his father–but unlike Ellaria and Tyene, they didn’t face days or weeks of anticipation followed by an eternity of psychological torture. What happened to the Tarlys wasn’t even close to what happened to the Sands; it was what happened at Ground Zero in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

      (On that note, I’m pretty damn sure that, consciously or unconsciously, GRRM wrote his dragons as the atom bombs of Westeros: A culmination of everything that is simultaneously most wondrous, terrifying, beautiful, and destructive about the known world, and most important, harnessed by only a select few.)

      /refills whiskey
      /contemplates tomorrow’s incredibly heavy workload
      /wonders why anyone ever responds to her verbose, meandering comments

        Quote  Reply

    54. Wolfish,

      Yeah, but it was meant as a gotcha moment to give Olenna the last laugh. I think we agree that Jaime doesn’t care so it was an odd juxtaposition regardless of how it impacts him. Overall, the scene was just flat, predictable, and not impactful to me like most of the rest of S7.

        Quote  Reply

    55. LatrineDiggerBrian,

      • “We” don’t agree that Jaime doesn’t care. He sure did. He got played, and was none too thrilled about it.

      • I’m glad that you’ve reconsidered many of your recent posts, and now concede that “most of the rest of S7” was “impactful to [you].” 🌈

        Quote  Reply

    56. Wolfish,

      refills whiskey
      /contemplates tomorrow’s incredibly heavy workload
      /wonders why anyone ever responds to her verbose, meandering comments.”

      ……………….

      Neither verbose nor meandering.
      You have persuaded me.

      A man…can only admit when he was wrong, and ask forgiveness.

      Tyene and her “mama” forced to watch each other tormented, and Ellaria forced to watch her “favorite” die and decay, were indeed reasons for them to freak out.

      Silly Disneyfied me wanted Bronn to break in, kill or incapacitate the guards, and rescue his “Bad P___y.” Then, ride off, and as she bites his ear, tell her “You were right. I need you.”

      (F-ck me. I’ve watched “The Cutting Edge” too many times.)

        Quote  Reply

    57. Ten Bears,

      I see what you did there. That was not my intended meaning and you know it!

      How did Jaime get played? He believed Tyrion when he said he wasn’t guilty.

        Quote  Reply

    58. LatrineDiggerBrian,

      Actually, I didn’t “know it.” However, I re-read your sentence a few times, and now understand you intended to convey that “most of…S7 was not impactful” to you. It was ambiguous. Nevertheless. I apologize.

      Jaime got played by Olenna, because, e.g., he never suspected her; he was duped into overriding Cersei and giving Olenna a gentle death; Olenna used her own death confessional to belittle Jaime and blister him with truth bombs; Olenna got the last word and there was nothing he could do about it – she gulped down the pain-free poison like a construction worker chugs down a beer on a hot summer day; and dignified, genteel Lady Olenna was the one who caused his incest son to die so horribly.

      Honestly, what I found a bit “off” about that scene is that Olenna made no mention of FecalFlinger’s complicity in Joffrey’s death. Why not expose LF? He’s the one who helped serve up Loras and Margaery to the High Sparrow & Cersei, wasn’t he? Olenna had nothing left to lose by the time Jaime showed up with the vial of poison: Her family, her House, her castle, her wealth, and her life were all gone.

        Quote  Reply

    59. Wolfish,

      Wolfish at 1:57 am (10:57 pm Pacific time):

      refills whiskey
      /contemplates tomorrow’s incredibly heavy workload
      /wonders why anyone ever responds to her verbose, meandering comments”

      ————————-

      T.B. at 8:29 am EDT:

      * refills coffee;
      contemplates today’s incredibly heavy workload;
      wonders why anyone ever responds to his verbose, meandering comments.*

        Quote  Reply

    60. Ten Bears:

      (F-ck me. I’ve watched “The Cutting Edge” too many times.)

      /coffee out nose

      Forgiveness happily granted! And I must confess that the itty, bitty, tiny niblet of squealing teenager that resides deep in my subconscious was also hoping for a Bronn ex machina. But then it wouldn’t have been GoT.

      The Cutting Edge, on the other hand, is absolutely perfect in all its cheesy, romantic glory. I can’t tell you how many times my children have watched that movie. It’s probably been 15 years now, but all one must do for them to erupt in gales of laughter is say—in a certain breathless/sexy/snarky tone of voice)—”Toe pick!”

        Quote  Reply

    61. Ten Bears,

      Because for many of us (eccentric/slightly maniacal/well-read/introverted/overworked/overwhelmed by the dumpster fire in “the real world”), these are the best conversations we have in the day-to-day.

        Quote  Reply

    62. Clob:
      Judging from the prelim voting it looks like this one could be close.

      ———-
      *scratch paper post to figure out what we have left to vote on*

      16 categories…
      Final vote “done” on 8: death scene, battle, fight, supporting actor, supporting actress, dramatic scene, leading actor, leading actress

      Prelim vote “done” on 8: speech, funniest quote, costume, VFX scene, guest actor, guest actress, all-around quote, funniest scene…

      So 8 categories yet for us to do final votes for.Yeh!

      I think it would be awesome if one of the votes was for best episode of the season. It’s not quite as obvious this year who’d win as I think it would’ve been for past seasons.

        Quote  Reply

    63. Ten Bears:
      LatrineDiggerBrian,

      Honestly, what I found a bit “off” about that scene is that Olenna made no mention of FecalFlinger’s complicity in Joffrey’s death. Why not expose LF? He’s the one who helped serve up Loras and Margaery to the High Sparrow & Cersei, wasn’t he? Olenna had nothing left to lose by the time Jaime showed up with the vial of poison: Her family, her House, her castle, her wealth, and her life were all gone.

      That was my initial reaction as well. But then I realized that, as far as Olenna knew at that point, Littlefinger was still capable of worming his way back inside the Lannisters’ trust by claiming that he was working as Cersei’s double agent against the Starks – and thereby still capable of doing the Lannisters harm, whether from outside or inside. Why not leave him intact as a loose cannon on her way out? Olenna’s beef was never with Littlefinger personally ; she always knew he was a tool – an effective one, however dangerous to rely upon. He might have carried on her revenge against Cersei even after her own death, even if it was for his own reasons.

      She was, of course, not taking No One into consideration. Who does, until it’s too late?

        Quote  Reply

    64. Firannion,

      • But LF really did harm the Tyrells. He was directly responsible for Loras and Margaery getting arrested and tortured by the High Dirtbag.

      “She was, of course, not taking No One into consideration. Who does, until it’s too late?”

      😆😄😁😀😃👸🏻🤺🗡🔪

      What you wrote made me flash back to Monty Python’s skit: “Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!”

        Quote  Reply

    65. Wolfish,
      Delighted to be back and immensely happy so “see” you again too 😉

      Very much like you, the Tarlys’ death brought an entirely unexpected shiver down my spine and a slight mist to my eyes. The understated emotion was made all the more poignant by the contrast with the over-the-top threat. A gorgeous scene all around that, hopefully,will get its narrative due and conclusion in season 8.

      You are right to note that no that many death scenes affected me this season. Aside from the Tarlys and Littlefinger (it shattered my heart ^^ but it was telegraphed since the day he put a dagger to Ned’s neck so I was not exactly taken aback), not many demises kept my emotional attention in season seven. For me, the “feels” were to be found with the living : the Hound’s broken prayer for the father and daughter, Tyrion’s admission that he would never forgive himself for killing Tywin in spite of who and what his father was/did, Meera’s realisation that the Bran she knew was dead, Theon’s trauma resurfacing and causing him to jump off the boat, etc. Those made my tiny, shrivelled and blackened heart beat again.

      Ten Bears: Honestly, what I found a bit “off” about that scene is that Olenna made no mention of FecalFlinger’s complicity in Joffrey’s death. Why not expose LF?

      My take on it is that Olenna wanted to use her last opportunity to stick it to Cersei and Jaime, even (perhaps especially) if it meant taking responsibility for stuff she did not really do. Let’s face it, in the plot to murder Joffrey, Olenna was a glorified extra, a bit like Ser Dontos. Littlefinger wanted to kill Joffrey for his own personal reasons and just allowed Olenna to jump on the bandwagon while making her feel like the architect or the whole thing. It allowed him to kill two birds (ha !) with one stone and use his desired regicide to strengthen his links with the wealthiest House in Westeros.
      He played Olenna like he did Tywin for both the Queen of Thorns and the Old Lion had similar personalities : very smart, cunning, ruthless but burdened with such huge egos that they could not always see when they were being fooled for it was, to them, unthinkable.

      In her final moments, Olenna was more than willing and happy to claim exclusive authorship for the regicide because a) she may have been self-important enough not to realise it would have happened even without her input and b) she wanted Cersei (and Jaime) to suffer, believing they had offered a “kind” death to their son’s sole murderer.

        Quote  Reply

    66. Firannion,

      Firannion:

      With your permission, and my promise of attribution, I may in the future rip off your line:

      “She was, of course, not taking No One into consideration. Who does, until it’s too late?”

      It’s quite appropriate, since – as her scene with Ed Sheeran’s Lannister soldiers in S7e1 showed – Arya can come across as an unthreatening, diminutive young girl. She even announced to them her intentions in going to KL, “I’m going to kill the Queen”, and they thought it was a joke.

      Likewise, Sansa giggled when Arya first mentioned her “list” of people she was going to kill. I think Brienne didn’t take her seriously when she asked to train with her.

      (*👨‍🚀🤖Tinfoil fanfic digression*): NK makes the same mistake…and Arya cuts open his neck with her VS dagger)

        Quote  Reply

    67. ACME,

      Everything you wrote describes how I felt as well. With the Tarlys, I admit I did not expect Randyl to try to dissuade Dickon from his actions, but was pleasantly surprised. And the extended hand…it’s the little things like that that get you.

        Quote  Reply

    68. How did Viserion make it on here, and not the Tarlys? I mean we knew next to nothing about it – or any dragon apart from Drogon. How are we supposed to have a connection? I can neither feel sad nor exhilarated by it.
      Or is it because of the effect its death will have on the power balance in the great war?

      Still, I don’t see it. For me it was a close call between Olenna (getting the last word in) and Tyene (that scene stayed with me for its utter cruelty).
      I didn’t vote for Arya because it’s the death of random Freys in the end, and not Lord Walder.
      Littlefinger’s death was way to anticlimactic for me – he would have deserved a more dramatic end to his machinations that started all this.

        Quote  Reply

    69. Ten Bears,

      But your middle paragraph makes my point for me. It’s just not high drama, especially for the death of a major character. And really doubt Jaime cares that much that he got duped, it’s just a whole lot of meh imo, but agree to disagree. They should’ve tied her ending with Cersei somehow imo. Real bad job.

      It’s just shocking how bad D & D have been. They were in such a rush to tie all the loose ends, and somehow they managed to do a bad job on everything. Real bad showing by these guys. It was their time to shine and they failed so miserable, it’s astounding.

        Quote  Reply

    70. Pigeon,
      That hand-holding was indeed moving as hell…

      It is so rare to see displays of affection between male characters that, when it happens, it always carries added weight and emotionality. Jaime kissing Tyrion after he helped him escape from prison is another example of how thoroughly tear-worthy two guys caring for each other can be.

        Quote  Reply

    71. I had already voted for the demise of House Frey in another category, so I went with Olenna. Another very powerful scene and a nice send off to a fantastic character.

        Quote  Reply

    72. LatrineDiggerBrian,

      Jaime and Joffrey may not have been close, but he was still his son. It’s perfectly understandable that discovering that Olenna, a woman he had just shown mercy to, was behind his demise would have some sort of impact on him. You have to remember that Joffrey died at the time Jaime decided to try and be a better father to his children. Now, he will never get the chance. Besides, it wasn’t just about Joffrey’s death. His death set a chain of events in motion. It led to Tyrion’s trial, Obeyn’s death, Myrcella’s death, Tywin’s death, Cersei takin power, etc.

        Quote  Reply

    73. LatrineDiggerBrian:
      Ten Bears,
      It’s just shocking how bad D & D have been. They were in such a rush to tie all the loose ends, and somehow they managed to do a bad job on everything. Real bad showing by these guys. It was their time to shine and they failed so miserable, it’s astounding.

      8 seasons isn’t rushing anything. Any smart showrunner knows when to end a story and I’m glad that HBO isn’t interfering with their decision. Otherwise, Game of Thrones would have become as drawn out as The Walking Dead. There’s a reason why The Walking Dead’s viewership is declining whereas Game of Thrones continues to rise.

        Quote  Reply

    74. ACME:
      Pigeon,
      That hand-holding was indeed moving as hell…

      It is so rare to see displays of affection between male characters that, when it happens, it always carries added weight and emotionality. Jaime kissing Tyrion after he helped him escape from prison is another example of how thoroughly tear-worthy two guys caring for each other can be.

      Exactly, and from someone you wouldn’t particularly expect it from (Randyll the hardass) it really kind of has that additional impact.

        Quote  Reply

    75. This was the worst choice ever!!!! Ok, gave it to Olenna because Dame Diana has been a bad ass from way back. But you gotta know, I cheered when Littlefinger got his most just desserts and well, I am still mourning Viserion.

        Quote  Reply

    76. ACME,

      Since Sam still doesn’t know about his father’s and brother’s deaths, one of the things I’m very cautiously looking forward to in S8 is his discovery of such. If it’s during his first face-to-face with Daenerys… well, that’s going to be pretty much the most awkward moment in TV history.

      (Lovely to see you back, and I do fervently hope you’re at the Con in May.)

        Quote  Reply

    77. Ten Bears:
      Firannion,

      Firannion:

      With your permission, and my promise of attribution, I may in the future rip off your line:

      “She was, of course, not taking No One into consideration. Who does, until it’s too late?”

      It’s quite appropriate, since – as her scene with Ed Sheeran’s Lannister soldiers in S7e1 showed – Arya can come across as an unthreatening, diminutive young girl. She even announced to them her intentions in going to KL, “I’m going to kill the Queen”, and they thought it was a joke.

      Likewise, Sansa giggled when Arya first mentioned her “list” of people she was going to kill. I think Brienne didn’t take her seriously when she asked to train with her.

      (*‍Tinfoil fanfic digression*): NK makes the same mistake…and Arya cuts open his neck with her VS dagger)

      Quote away, by all means. No attribution necessary.

      And I like your tinfoil (though I still think that a dragonglass-shardectomy is going to be required, rather than a mere slit throat), in part because it jibes with my notion that they may drop a little homage to Tolkien by making the Night King parallel to the Witch-King of Angmar (Lord of the Nazgul) and Arya parallel to Meriadoc Brandybuck: able to get in close enough for a thrust with a short sword in the back of the knee, on account of being easily overlooked. If they take that route, Brienne might get to play Eowyn’s part.

      Also, I am still trying to figure out how all the No One jokes align with Odysseus versus the Cyclops.

        Quote  Reply

    78. Wolfish,

      “Toe pick” is right! ⛸ 25 years later and Moira Kelly still has fans come up to her and chant those two words. That movie is timeless. And so are her gorgeous costumes.

      And let’s not forget recently departed GoT alumnus Roy Dotrice (wildfire Pyromancer Hallyne in S2 and ASOIAF audiobooks narrator), who played Russian figure skating coach Anton Pamchenko in “The Cutting Edge.”

        Quote  Reply

    79. Young Dragon,

      I’m not meaning they’re not doing enough seasons. I’m meaning that they’ve done an extremely poor job with the plotting and character arcs. They became so concerned with getting the pieces of the puzzle in place so they could end the series, that they forgot to tell a good story and instead turned GoT into a typical Marvel / Disney venture. The show isn’t special anymore.

        Quote  Reply

    80. ACME:
      Pigeon,

      “…It is so rare to see displays of affection between male characters that, when it happens, it always carries added weight and emotionality. Jaime kissing Tyrion after he helped him escape from prison is another example of how thoroughly tear-worthy two guys caring for each other can be.”

      1. I noticed upon re-watch that Beric and Thoros, in their own way, showed affection for Sandor Clegane. Look at their faces when he’s insulting them. They’re smiling and laughing. And though few words passed between them, Thoros picking up a shovel and helping Sandor bury Rabbit Stew Sally and her father was a subtle display of affection.

      Earlier in that S7e1 scene, Sandor and Beric had this nice exchange:

      Sandor: “I’ve known you a long time, Dondarrion.”

      Beric: “Aye. I think the first time we met was at that tournament–“

      Sandor: “And I always thought you were dull as dirt.”

      (Beric laughs)

      Sandor: “You’re not bad. I don’t hate you. Don’t like you, but you’re not bad.”

      Beric: “Thank you, Clegane. That warms the heart.”
      ***

      2. Minor quibble: Why couldn’t Arya and Sansa spend e5 – e6 with displays of sisterly affection between female characters? Their last scene together in the battlements* was so sweet – without getting too corny – that I wish the WF plot could have had them complementing (and complimenting) each other instead of threatening each other.

      * I loved this part…

      Sansa: “…You’re the strongest person I know.”
      Arya: “I believe that’s the nicest thing you’ve ever said to me.”
      Sansa: “Well, don’t get used to it. You’re still very strange and annoying,”

        Quote  Reply

    81. Pigeon: Exactly, and from someone you wouldn’t particularly expect it from (Randyll the hardass) it really kind of has that additional impact.

      I could not agree more.

      Randyll, in his last few moments, showed us why a woman as sweet and caring as his wife could love him in spite of all his horrible downsides. And Dickon, once confronted with the realities of war, went from the spoilt favourite son he was in season 6 to a brave young man who refused to cower away in the face of impossible odds. He basically exhausted the Season 1 Jon/Robb storyarc in a couple of scenes !

      The writers sometimes mess up (don’t we all ?) and deserve to be called out for it. But, in all honesty, when they get it right, they get it bloody right.

      Wolfish: If it’s during his first face-to-face with Daenerys… well, that’s going to be pretty much the most awkward moment in TV history

      That is a brilliant point. Poor Samwell (and poor Melessa ! This adorable woman has lost her husband and beloved son)

      We also have to factor in the possibility that Jon himself may not know of the Tarlys’ death. He was still a glorified hostage at Dragonstone at the time and, while he may have heard Daenerys executed two people, it is entirely imaginable he does not know of their names… For all intents and purposes, Jon is back to square Olly so to speak : he pactised with the people who murdered one of his closest and most loyal allies’ family. Except that this time, he might very well not even know about it yet. Joy and happiness all around ! ^^

      (Lovely to see you back, and I do fervently hope you’re at the Con in May.)

      I will most certainly try my damndest to be there ! And if you are, it will be a genuine pleasure to meet in person 😀

        Quote  Reply

    82. Ten Bears: 1. I noticed upon re-watch that Beric and Thoros, in their own way, showed affection for Sandor Clegane.

      The Hound’s power of seduction work on everyone ! ^^
      All joking aside, you are entirely right. We saw the development of a mutual respect and a begrudging form of affection between Sandor and the Brotherhood. It has not yet reached the heart-shattering dimension of his tragic friendship with Brother Ray (that character was superb, dammit !) but it was most certainly delicate and moving.

      2. Minor quibble: Why couldn’t Arya and Sansa spend e5 – e6 with displays of sisterly affection between female characters? Their last scene together in the battlements* was so sweet – without getting too corny – that I wish the WF plot could have had them complementing (and complimenting) each other instead of threatening each other.

      I can understand your frustration but, given Arya and Sansa’s then-circumstances, it would have been out of place, I fear.

      The sisters never cared for each other before tragedy hit their family and their six-year separation did nothing to bring them any closer. They missed each other, obviously, but more on a conceptual level (“I miss my family and my former life in general, annoying sister included”) than on a personal one (“I miss Arya/Sansa because she was so X and so Y”).
      Season 1 Arya and Sansa did not appreciate each other because Sansa was a self-centered, shallow brat with a social superiority complex and Arya was an indulged, misogynistic brat with a moral superiority complex. And that bad blood had not been purged before they parted ways.

      The writers were never discreet in the way they established Arya and Sansa as Lysa and Catelyn (respectively) 2.0 so, when the sisters finally reunited, the situation had to follow the Tully girls’ script to be brought to its natural paroxysm so the Starks could overcome it in a different way from their mother and aunt. Arya’s calcified bitterness had to be bled out in order to be mobilised differently from Lysa’s.

      As for the scene on the battlements, I, for one, liked it but did not love it (but I am delighted you did ! 😉 ) Had I been in Sansa’s shoes at that moment, I would have been slightly more reluctant, I think. To me, it should have gone something like this :
      Arya : We’re totally cool now, sis’ !
      Sansa : Yeah… You still threatened to murder me and wear my face as a trophy just because planning Jon’s succession and letting Northerners vent without immediately executing them is, to you, a form of treason… We’re cool, but we’re not that cool. We’re cool-ish but not quite even-Steven… I will still lock my bedroom door at night just in case you get some weird ideas.

        Quote  Reply

    83. ACME,

      “… I will still lock my bedroom door at night just in case you get some weird ideas.”
      – Sansa
      ………….

      I would have loved to hear that line on the show!

        Quote  Reply

    84. ACME,

      ”The writers were never discreet in the way they established Arya and Sansa as Lysa and Catelyn (respectively) 2.0 so, when the sisters finally reunited, the situation had to follow the Tully girls’ script to be brought to its natural paroxysm so the Starks could overcome it in a different way from their mother and aunt.”
      …….
      Hmmm. Interesting way to look at it. Though I don’t recall Lysa doing anything comparable to threatening to peel off Catelyn’s face and wear it.

      Also…I’ve got to consult my dictionary. The only time I ever heard the term “paroxysm” before was in a fun little movie called “Hysteria” starring Maggie Gyllenhaal, Hugh Dancy, The High Sparrow, Felicity Jones, Edmure Tully, and Rupert Everett.

        Quote  Reply

    85. ACME:
      Season 1 Arya and Sansa did not appreciate each other because Sansa was a self-centered, shallow brat with a social superiority complex and Arya was an indulged, misogynistic brat with a moral superiority complex. And that bad blood had not been purged before they parted ways.

      Couldn’t agree more. Both characters were portrayed a bit more complexly, even as children, in the first books, with more context for Arya’s scorn for femininity, and Sansa being unable to relate to her but never actually mean (Jeyne Pool, on the other hand, was). In the show, both girls were quite spoiled and bratty in their own ways.

      ACME:The writers were never discreet in the way they established Arya and Sansa as Lysa and Catelyn (respectively) 2.0 so, when the sisters finally reunited, the situation had to follow the Tully girls’ script to be brought to its natural paroxysm so the Starks could overcome it in a different way from their mother and aunt. Arya’s calcified bitterness had to be bled out in order to be mobilised differently from Lysa’s.

      Oh, you’re right! I hadn’t really considered Sansa and Arya’s relationship being a revisit of Cat & Lysa’s before, but it’s such an obvious thing. I’ve always viewed it as the two sisters each embodying distinct parts of their Aunt Lyanna’s traits, but there’s no reason that their dynamic wouldn’t also echo their mother’s with her sister.

      It’s been a while since I read AGOT, but I don’t recall young Arya and Sansa bickering as much as they did on the show.

      ACME:As for the scene on the battlements, I, for one, liked it but did not love it (but I am delighted you did ! 😉 ) Had I been in Sansa’s shoes at that moment, I would have been slightly more reluctant, I think. To me, it should have gone something like this :
      Arya : We’re totally cool now, sis’ !
      Sansa : Yeah… You still threatened to murder me and wear my face as a trophy just because planning Jon’s succession and letting Northerners vent without immediately executing them is, to you, a form of treason… We’re cool, but we’re not that cool. We’re cool-ish but not quite even-Steven… I will still lock my bedroom door at night just in case you get some weird ideas.

      Haha – exactly.

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    86. Ten Bears: Though I don’t recall Lysa doing anything comparable to threatening to peel off Catelyn’s face and wear it.

      You are right; Lysa was never that openly gruesome. Nevertheless, she happily ignored Robb’s (hence Catelyn’s) calls for more troops. She kept the Knights of the Vale in the Vale, knowing perfectly well any weakness on her nephew’s side could lead to his and his mother’s deaths. Lysa was her own kind of vengeful.

      As for the Arya/Lysa and Sansa/Catelyn parallels, it has always been there, in the background but last season was really when the writers laid it as thick as they possibly could. Arya took a page out of Lysa’s book when she started rehashing age-old petty feuds and perceived insults (the recrimination about her sister’s “pretty” handwriting was striking in this regard).

      Sansa must have felt like she was caught in a time loop for some of Arya’s lines were blatant echoes to the Catelyn-rant Lysa had subjected her to…
      Lysa : “Cat always went straight for the sweetest thing. The most obvious thing.”
      Arya : “You always liked nice things. They made you feel better than everyone else.”
      Lysa : “Cat was the firstborn daughter after all. It was important that she remain desirable”
      Arya : “I remember the pretty dress you were wearing, I remember the fancy way you did your hair”

      Also…I’ve got to consult my dictionary. The only time I ever heard the term “paroxysm” before was in a fun little movie called “Hysteria” starring Maggie Gyllenhaal, Hugh Dancy, The High Sparrow, Felicity Jones, Edmure Tully, and Rupert Everett.

      Ha ! If it has the seal of approval of both the Faith and House Tully, it can only be good. I will check it out ^^

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    87. ACME,

      Oh wow, you’re right! Ugh, until you pointed it out I’d completely missed the parallels between show!Lysa and show!Arya. I was worried about where they were taking Arya in Season 7 with the petty vindictiveness and harboring of old grudges and jealousies. I really hope they’ll discontinue that theme, now that Littlefinger’s malignant influence has been removed.

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    88. Gwidhiel: Couldn’t agree more. Both characters were portrayed a bit more complexly, even as children, in the first books, with more context for Arya’s scorn for femininity, and Sansa being unable to relate to her but never actually mean (Jeyne Pool, on the other hand, was). In the show, both girls were quite spoiled and bratty in their own ways.

      Excellent distinction indeed !

      In the books, Arya is not a misogynist at all. She does not relate to feminity but she respects it and values it as much as masculinity. Show!Arya, conversely, is as blatantly misogynistic as the world she lives in (hopefully, it will change. Fingers firmly crossed).
      Sansa in the first book is more tragically deluded than anything else. She ignores problems and red flags because she sees the world in technicolor “PrettyVision” (patent pending), desperate for reality to conform with the songs and tales she is buried under. However, Season 1 Show!Sansa is more of a Westerosi Valley Girl.

      Oh, you’re right! I hadn’t really considered Sansa and Arya’s relationship being a revisit of Cat & Lysa’s before, but it’s such an obvious thing

      Whenever Littlefinger is caught between two sisters, you can bet good money it is a Catelyn/Lysa redux 😉

      It’s been a while since I read AGOT, but I don’t recall young Arya and Sansa bickering as much as they did on the show

      In the book, I seem to recall they mostly ignored each other.

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    89. Gwidhiel: I really hope they’ll discontinue that theme, now that Littlefinger’s malignant influence has been removed.

      The sisters are over the worst of their feud, I am certain (there is too little time left for more of it anyway ^^). However, we must not, I believe, forget that Littlefinger was never capable of creating feelings or wants; he simply used those that were already there to his advantage.

      Baelish did not “make” Lysa love him or loathe Catelyn (and Jon Arryn), she did that very much on her own. He merely harnessed those preexisting emotions to get her to do what he wanted.
      Similarly, he did not “make” Arya resent Sansa, she started harbouring those feelings long before she even met him. He just exploited them to bring the situation to a crisis.

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    90. Ten Bears,

      Half an hour after I posted that comment, the first thing I saw when I got on the freeway was a work truck for Cutting Edge Tree Service. I’m sure I looked totally deranged, driving down 101 laughing my head off.

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    91. ACME:

      In the books, Arya is not a misogynist at all. She does not relate to feminity but she respects it and values it as much as masculinity. Show!Arya, conversely, is as blatantly misogynistic as the world she lives in (hopefully, it will change. Fingers firmly crossed).

      Whoooooaaaa there! Let me be the first of many grownup tomboys and lifelong feminists to point out to you that rejecting the stereotypical ‘feminine’ roles that one’s society tries to shove down one’s throat IN NO WAY makes one a misogynist. While they have their differences, neither book!Arya nor show!Arya ever denigrates women for being women. They simply chafe at women’s narrow opportunities in medieval society, and mostly look up to men because men get to Do Stuff. I felt the same way at Arya’s age. It has nothing to do with misogyny.

      Arya wants nothing to do with the external fripperies that are expected of her because she was born female. It’s hard to have adventures when you’re wearing clothing that restricts your ability to move quickly, for example. I still cannot fathom why any woman in her right mind would voluntarily wear stiletto heels. Does that make me a misogynist? My activist CV says no.

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    92. ACME:

      We also have to factor in the possibility that Jon himself may not know of the Tarlys’ death. He was still a glorified hostage at Dragonstone at the time and, while he may have heard Daenerys executed two people, it is entirely imaginable he does not know of their names…

      Remember, when Daenerys returned to Dragonstone she told Jon she had “fewer enemies” (or words to that effect), and upon seeing Jon’s wordless reaction asked, “You don’t approve?” If I recall correctly, that was followed by the exchange about both wanting to do good things but having to do terrible things in order to reach their ultimate goals. So no, he doesn’t know… and it’s going to be awkward af when he finds out.

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    93. Thanks to everyone who pointed out the parallels between the Tully sisters and the Stark sisters. I hadn’t thought of that, and it explains some of their interactions in Winterfell over the most recent season.

      Though I don’t recall Lysa doing anything comparable to threatening to peel off Catelyn’s face and wear it.

      Threatening to throw Cat’s eldest daughter out the Moon Door certainly qualifies, at least in my book.

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    94. SerNoName,

      I sadly agree about last season and Arya. After having the scenes with the Lannister soldiers and Brienne, D&D turned her story into a mere, mishandled footnote. I’ve always said that Bryan Cogman is the only one of that crew who understands Arya. I’ll admit that I am less excited about the final season because I have little hope they’ll do her justice.

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    95. ACME:
      Season 1 Arya and Sansa did not appreciate each other because Sansa was a self-centered, shallow brat with a social superiority complex and Arya was an indulged, misogynistic brat with a moral superiority complex.

      I love this. 😂

      ACME:
      As for the scene on the battlements, I, for one, liked it but did not love it (but I am delighted you did ! 😉 ) Had I been in Sansa’s shoes at that moment, I would have been slightly more reluctant, I think. To me, it should have gone something like this :
      Arya : We’re totally cool now, sis’ !
      Sansa : Yeah… You still threatened to murder me and wear my face as a trophy just because planning Jon’s succession and letting Northerners vent without immediately executing them is, to you, a form of treason… We’re cool, but we’re not that cool. We’re cool-ish but not quite even-Steven… I will still lock my bedroom door at night just in case you get some weird ideas.

      …and Arya would have just looked at her, then away, and smiled. ☺

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    96. Gwidhiel:

      Oh wow, you’re right! Ugh, until you pointed it out I’d completely missed the parallels between show!Lysa and show!Arya. I was worried about where they were taking Arya in Season 7 with the petty vindictiveness and harboring of old grudges and jealousies. I really hope they’ll discontinue that theme, now that Littlefinger’s malignant influence has been removed.

      The only parallel is that LF came between the older and younger Tully sisters, and in Winterfell Arya is like Lysa in being the younger sister. Otherwise, they are dissimilar. Lysa was thrice-crazy: about her son, about Petyr, and about anyone she thought attracted him. OTOH, Arya is neither crazy nor malevolent, but she IS experienced in operating as No One to attain a dangerous goal.
      Bran had observed her and surely knew that. In the Godswood, he looked at Arya and held out LF’s dagger. Eyes locked on him, she asked, “Are you sure? It’s Valyrian steel.” Bran: “It’s wasted on a cripple.” She nodded slightly. He gave a meaningful look once he had handed it over. (Jaqen too is the master of few words and meaningful looks.) Whatever Bran intended, shortly after, when Arya asked Brienne to practice, she had already become No One. It’s shown by the way she walks and talks, her “No One” quip, even the music, and of course the deadly stare she gave LF after showing off HIS dagger. I believe everything she did after getting the dagger was aimed at destroying the man who had brought it to Winterfell in the first place. And once she showed Sansa how the Game of Faces works for lie-detection, she passed her LF’s dagger so Sansa could finish the job. Resentments and jealousies exist for both of them, but for Arya they were mainly useful tools to get Littlefinger before he could get the Stark kids AND Winterfell.

      BTW, once LF was dead, Arya was herself again and concerned about Sansa (like she had been in Season 1 when she had asked Ned how he could let Sansa marry someone as terrible as Joffrey). On the ramparts, Arya began their healing conversation by gently asking Sansa, “Are you all right?” Thanks to the three of them, the Pack had survived.

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    97. ACME: The sisters are over the worst of their feud, I am certain (there is too little time left for more of it anyway ^^). However, we must not, I believe, forget that Littlefinger was never capable of creating feelings or wants; he simply used those that were already there to his advantage.

      Baelish did not “make” Lysa love him or loathe Catelyn (and Jon Arryn), she did that very much on her own. He merely harnessed those preexisting emotions to get her to do what he wanted.
      Similarly, he did not “make” Arya resent Sansa, she started harbouring those feelings long before she even met him. He just exploited them to bring the situation to a crisis.

      Very true about Baelish exploiting what was already there. And that is why I have some anxiety about what Arya will be like in the next season. I agree with you that they’re unlikely to expend much, if any, further time on tension between Arya and Sansa, but there are plenty of other people who could wind up in Arya’s crosshairs if they persist in making her so negatively reactive to women she feels, rightly or wrongly, are prettier and better at being feminine than she is.

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    98. Firannion: Whoooooaaaa there! Let me be the first of many grownup tomboys and lifelong feminists to point out to you that rejecting the stereotypical ‘feminine’ roles that one’s society tries to shove down one’s throat IN NO WAY makes one a misogynist.

      You are right to point out that rejecting stereotypically feminine activities does not a misogynist make. However, decrying feminity, no matter how stereotypical, as “lesser than” masculinity does.

      That is precisely why neither Bokk!Arya nor Brienne is a misogynist. They do not care for traditional feminity and do not recognise it as something they wish to partake in but they most certainly acknowledge that it has worth. Value in its own right, not diminished or tarnished in any way.
      Show!Arya, conversely, has on many occasions demonstrated utter disdain for feminity as a concept, ranking stereotypically masculine activities (like shooting arrows) above their feminine counterparts (like embroidery) not as a matter of personal preference but as matter of objective worth.

      A non-stereotypically feminine non misogynist would say something like : “You have courage. Not battle courage, perhaps, but, I don’t know… a woman’s kind of courage.”
      A non-stereotypically feminine misogynist would say something like : “Most girls are idiots”…

      While they have their differences, neither book!Arya nor show!Arya ever denigrates women for being women. They simply chafe at women’s narrow opportunities in medieval society, and mostly look up to men because men get to Do Stuff.

      Even in a society as narrow-minded and prejudiced as Westeros’s is, women do Do Stuff. All the time. Stuff of value. They raise children, they run household, they hold their families together, they nurture their fellow human beings. Catelyn, Talisa, Gilly, Melessa, Margaery, Shireen, Lady Crane, etc. All of them never did anything “masculine” in their entire lives yet they were/are important. They matter(ed). They did/do stuff.

      The greatest trick the patriarchy has ever pulled, I believe, is not only to forbid women from existing outside of predetermined (and extremely narrow and suffocating) roles but also to make them believe that said roles were inherently less “worthy” than the roles assigned to men. The very idea that masculinity is fundamentally more performative than feminity is, in and of itself, misogynistic for it validates the “feminity < masculinity" onto which patriarchy is built.

      Arya wants nothing to do with the external fripperies that are expected of her because she was born female. It’s hard to have adventures when you’re wearing clothing that restricts your ability to move quickly, for example.

      If it were just that, then indeed Arya would not be misogynistic. However, I am afraid it is not.

      The way she spits out the word “pretty”, the manner in which she explicitly despises anything “girly” while propping up “boy stuff”… Those are not the affects of someone who simply does not enjoy stereotypically feminine things. They are the emotions of someone who deems them as beneath her.
      What is wrong with prettiness ? Why is wielding a sword “better” than working with a needle ? Were the men who fought in the Battle of Hastings more important/creative/intelligent/performative people than the women who painstakingly embroidered their deeds in one of the most stunning artworks known to humankind ?

      I still cannot fathom why any woman in her right mind would voluntarily wear stiletto heels. Does that make me a misogynist? My activist CV says no.

      Yet, I would be willing to bet good money that you do not have a problem with stilletoes existing. Nor do you have a problem with other women liking them if it is their thing. You are more than open-minded and intelligent enough to accept that, simply because you do not value certain things, it does not mean that they are inherently worthless or that people who enjoy them are “idiots”. And that is precisely what makes you not a misogynist.

      I, like you, was very much a tomboy growing up and have dragged many of those traits into adulthood. Nonetheless, I never despised “girly” activities. Pink glittery unicorns, while not my thing, are not “lesser than” Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ^^

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    99. Pigeon: …and Arya would have just looked at her, then away, and smiled.

      Ha ha! Brilliant ! 😀
      And that, I believe, would have worked superbly as a tentative reconciliation between the sisters. Better, dare I believe, than repeating ad nauseam the same old Ned-inherited slogans. I, like you and Ten Bear, would have loved to see that happen on the show, dammit ! ^^

      Wolfish: If I recall correctly, that was followed by the exchange about both wanting to do good things but having to do terrible things in order to reach their ultimate goals. So no, he doesn’t know… and it’s going to be awkward af when he finds out.

      Bloody hell, you are completely right ! Jon is not aware (cue Ygritte’s emblematic line).
      Oh boy, that Winterfell gathering is going to reach Festen levels of tense… Thank the Seven, we will have the Jon/Arya (and Tyrion/Sansa) reunion to warm our hearts !

      On a sidenote, have we considered that Jon may have a fetish ? First Ygritte now Daenerys. Maybe the poor man is really into women who murder his closest friends’ families… His should be an interesting Tinder profile !

      Gwidhiel: there are plenty of other people who could wind up in Arya’s crosshairs if they persist in making her so negatively reactive to women she feels, rightly or wrongly, are prettier and better at being feminine than she is.

      There are but Brienne and The Hound will be around. These two are the Stark Sisters’ whisperers so everything should be alright 😉

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    100. ACME:

      There are but Brienne and The Hound will be around. These two are the Stark Sisters’ whisperers so everything should be alright 😉

      👨‍👩‍👧‍👧 <– if only I could customize this so that only the mother had blonde hair, and the father had half a burned face, and one daughter was much taller than the other.

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    101. Gwidhiel,

      “…but there are plenty of other people who could wind up in Arya’s crosshairs if they persist in making her so negatively reactive to women she feels, rightly or wrongly, are prettier and better at being feminine than she is.”
      ……………

      I am not sure what you mean by this. Arya “I Don’t Want to be a Lady” Stark has never cared who’s “prettier” or more “feminine” than she is.

      She’s comfortable in her own skin as kickass ninja warrior princess. Look at her attitude of self-assurance when she walks into the WF courtyard in S7e4.

      The whole bit about wearing Sansa’s face and clothes was (in my mind) an unfortunate misfire.

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    102. ACME,

      I do not understand. Arya accepts who she is. There’s no resentment.

      Arya: I’m just the executioner. You passed the sentence. You’re the Lady of Winterfell.

      Sansa. Does that bother you?

      Arya: I was never going to be as good a lady as you. So I had to be something else.

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    103. ACME: You are right to point out that rejecting stereotypically feminine activities does not a misogynist make. However, decrying feminity, no matter how stereotypical, as “lesser than” masculinity does.

      I don’t agree. Misogynists are people who put down femaleness, which includes such roles are motherhood, childrearing etc. Putting down what society determines constitutes ‘femininity’ is not the same thing at all. Femininity is an affect or attribute, not a behavior.

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    104. Ten Bears: I do not understand. Arya accepts who she is. There’s no resentment.

      She most certainly does seem to now and I am delighted for her. Like I was delighted when she responded as emotionally as she did to Lady Crane caring, nurturing attitude. That may very well indicate that all the bad blood has been expelled which is great news !

      Firannion: I don’t agree. Misogynists are people who put down femaleness, which includes such roles are motherhood, childrearing etc.

      Not necessarily, I believe.

      Misogynists can, and more often than not do, elevate to the point of deification certain types of femaleness, with the intention to restrict women to said types. To pick an example from Game of Thrones, the Faith of the Seven has a Mother as one of its deities to be worshipped, which does not prevent it from being, in many ways, a fundamentally misogynistic religion (women can only exist within its ranks as mutes -Silent Sisters- or subordonates to men and they are not allowed to preach).

      Putting down what society determines constitutes ‘femininity’ is not the same thing at all. Femininity is an affect or attribute, not a behavior.

      Behaviours do not have any intrinsic value though; they are deemed “good” or “bad”, “worthy” or “worthless”, once viewed through the prism of affects and attributes as social constructs.

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    105. Gwidhiel:

      …but there are plenty of other people who could wind up in Arya’s crosshairs if they persist in making her so negatively reactive to women she feels, rightly or wrongly, are prettier and better at being feminine than she is.

      What? Arya doesn’t give a s*** about “prettier and better at being feminine.” Arya doesn’t have a problem with femininity in itself; after all, she very much loved and respected her mother, who was the epitome of femininity within the confines of a patriarchal society. Arya isn’t jealous of Sansa’s beauty or skill in feminine arts such as embroidery. She’s a) resentful of the fact that as a girl, she’s always been expected to be something far different from her true self, and b) sharply cognizant of the fact that having skill in the feminine arts is only window dressing (pardon the cliché) when not supported by character, intelligence, and ethos. She might not consciously know that, but she’s always subconsciously known it; hence her love and respect for her mother, a strong, intelligent, thoughtful woman (whose single truly unforgivable flaw was her treatment of Jon), as opposed to her disdain for Sansa, who as a girl displayed none of these traits. Arya didn’t dislike Sansa because she was beautiful; she disliked her because she was superficial.

      Whew, didn’t mean to write a short essay.

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    106. ACME:

      The greatest trick the patriarchy has ever pulled, I believe, is not only to forbid women from existing outside of predetermined (and extremely narrow and suffocating) roles but also to make them believe that said roles were inherently less “worthy” than the roles assigned to men. The very idea that masculinity is fundamentally more performative than femininity is, in and of itself, misogynistic for it validates the “femininity < masculinity" onto which patriarchy is built.

      If this was on Facebook, I’d give it 100 hearts.

      I just read portions of this conversation out loud to my husband, and in response he said: “Why did women in the West (of the U.S.) have the vote long before women in the East? In part, because their roles as farmwives were so fundamentally important to survival. No one was going to tell a woman who’d crossed the Plains in a covered wagon and built a homestead that she couldn’t vote.”

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    107. ACME:

      The way she spits out the word “pretty”, the manner in which she explicitly despises anything “girly” while propping up “boy stuff”… Those are not the affects of someone who simply does not enjoy stereotypically feminine things. They are the emotions of someone who deems them as beneath her. What is wrong with prettiness? Why is wielding a sword “better” than working with a needle?

      Playing Devil’s advocate–and as a continuation of sorts to what I wrote to Gwidhiel, whose comments I’ve really been enjoying–I’ve never reacted to Show!Arya’s disdain of “pretty” as feeling superior or resentful of prettiness in and of itself. I always thought she disdained Sansa’s idea of “pretty” because when she was younger, Sansa viewed it as the end-all and be-all of what being a woman is–instead of what it should be, the gilt on a strong edifice built of character traits such as kindness and empathy. I always go back to the scene when Sansa, as a particularly disinterested and bratty 13-year-old, asked Septa Mordane a question and then, when the latter began to respond, lazily and arrogantly said, “Oh, I forgot. I don’t care.” Arya never would have done such a thing.

      In addition, I don’t think Arya dismisses typically feminine behavior just because it’s associated with femininity. Her insistence on treating the Hound’s wound is beautiful, empathetic–and quintessentially feminine–behavior in both Book!Arya and Show!Arya.

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    108. Ten Bears:
      Gwidhiel,

      “…but there are plenty of other people who could wind up in Arya’s crosshairs if they persist in making her so negatively reactive to women she feels, rightly or wrongly, are prettier and better at being feminine than she is.”
      ……………

      I am not sure what you mean by this. Arya “I Don’t Want to be a Lady” Stark has never cared who’s “prettier” or more “feminine” than she is.

      She’s comfortable in her own skin as kickass ninja warrior princess. Look at her attitude of self-assurance when she walks into the WF courtyard in S7e4.

      The whole bit about wearing Sansa’s face and clothes was (in my mind) an unfortunate misfire.

      I agree that the whole scenario was a misfire. My understanding of Arya is informed by our introduction to her in the books:

      Arya’s stitches were crooked again. She frowned down at them with dismay and glanced over to where her sister Sansa sat among the other girls. Sansa’s needlework was exquisite. Everyone said so. “Sansa’s work is as pretty as she is,” Septa Mordane told their lady mother once. “She has such fine, delicate hands.” When Lady Catelyn had asked about Arya, the septa had sniffed. “Arya has the hands of a blacksmith.” …

      …. “Arya, why aren’t you at work?” the septa asked. She rose to her feet, starched skirts rustling as she started across the room. “Let me see your stitches.” Arya wanted to scream. It was just like Sansa to go and attract the septa’s attention. “Here,” she said, surrendering up her work. The septa examined the fabric. “Arya, Arya, Arya,” she said. “This will not do. This will not do at all.” Everyone was looking at her. It was too much. Sansa was too well bred to smile at her sister’s disgrace, but Jeyne was smirking on her behalf. Even Princess Myrcella looked sorry for her. Arya felt tears filling her eyes. …

      … It wasn’t fair. Sansa had everything. Sansa was two years older; maybe by the time Arya had been born, there had been nothing left. Often it felt that way. Sansa could sew and dance and sing. She wrote poetry. She knew how to dress. She played the high harp and the bells. Worse, she was beautiful. Sansa had gotten their mother’s fine high cheekbones and the thick auburn hair of the Tullys. Arya took after their lord father. Her hair was a lusterless brown, and her face was long and solemn. Jeyne used to call her Arya Horseface, and neigh whenever she came near.

      [Edited: I posted prematurely!] I wouldn’t expect Arya, after all she’s been through and has become, to revert to the petty jealousies of her childhood, but that’s what they did to her in Season 7.

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    109. Wolfish: “Why did women in the West (of the U.S.) have the vote long before women in the East? In part, because their roles as farmwives were so fundamentally important to survival. No one was going to tell a woman who’d crossed the Plains in a covered wagon and built a homestead that she couldn’t vote.”

      All the hearts to Mr. Wolfish ! 😀
      Gilly who, after all the victimisation, the hardships and the sexual violence she suffered, is still capable of being a loving, caring, compassionate and joyful human being is infinitely more badass than all the Sand Snakes, Dothraki and Faceless Men put together !

      Playing Devil’s advocate

      Ha ha ! There is no Devil here. Even if I turned out to be correct in my estimation of Arya’s feelings about feminity, it would not, in any way, shape or form, make her evil. Simply a product of her environment. 😉

      having skill in the feminine arts is only window dressing (pardon the cliché) when not supported by character, intelligence, and ethos.

      That is entirely true. And it also applies to masculinity. Having skills in the masculine arts is only window dressing as well when it is not supported by character, intelligence, and ethos (cf. Robert Baratheon ^^)

      Now, the Robb Stark Arya knew, namely the one from before Ned’s death, was as shallow in his masculinity as Sansa was in her feminity. Young Jon himself had only a very superficial understanding of what it truly means to respect and protect others (Tyrion helped him educate himself out of his “They hate me because I am better than they are” worldview). Both young Stark men did not, back in early season 1, have the character, intelligence and ethos life experience and adversity would later give them. Their outrageously sheltered lifestyle had encouraged them to “impersonate”, so to speak, masculinity with little to no understanding of its meaning, depth or consequences.
      They played at being lords, like Sansa played at being a lady. All summer children, so to speak 😉
      Yet Show!Arya did not judge her brothers poorly. She adored them already, blind to their lack of substance. Thus she appears to apply different criteria to people depending on whether they display stereotypically masculine or feminine attributes.

      Arya doesn’t have a problem with femininity in itself; after all, she very much loved and respected her mother, who was the epitome of femininity within the confines of a patriarchal society.

      To be fair, most misogynists love their mom. And their daughters. I am sure Hoster Tully loved his three children with his whole heart, still he “sold” a reluctant and disgusted Lysa away to serve as a broodmare to a man old enough to be her grandfather.

      I always go back to the scene when Sansa, as a particularly disinterested and bratty 13-year-old, asked Septa Mordane a question and then, when the latter began to respond, lazily and arrogantly said, “Oh, I forgot. I don’t care.” Arya never would have done such a thing.

      Dear lord, that scene… Sansa truly was an insufferable Bratz Doll in early season 1, wasn’t she ?
      And you are right, Arya would never have done such a thing. However, she would have thrown food at someone’s face, unprovoked, just for the fun of humiliating them in public… How cute ! ^^
      On a side-but-related note, I do love me Ned and Catelyn but given how bratty all the Stark kids were in season 1, are we sure these two were really good parents ?

      Her insistence on treating the Hound’s wound is beautiful, empathetic–and quintessentially feminine–behavior in both Book!Arya and Show!Arya.

      That, to me, is where the show and book versions of Arya clash. Book!Arya never expressed disdain for stereotypically feminine characteristics in any way, shape or form. She is not, nor has she ever been, a misogynist. Show!Arya, in my opinion is (“most girls are idiots” is as clear a line as it gets).
      So, at times, when elements of Book!Arya’s character resurface into Show!Arya’s storyline, it can create thematic discontinuity. And the Hound scene you rightly describe is a prime example of it.

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    110. Ten Bears:
      ACME,

      I do not understand. Arya accepts who she is. There’s no resentment.

      Arya: I’m just the executioner. You passed the sentence. You’re the Lady of Winterfell.

      Sansa. Does that bother you?

      Arya: I was never going to be as good a lady as you. So I had to be something else.

      Yes, but just a few days(?)/weeks(?) earlier, she’d said accusingly to Sansa, “You always liked nice things. They made you feel better than everyone.”

      As ACME has pointed out, Baelish didn’t make Arya resent Sansa and suspect her of trying to undermine Jon. Arya was already predisposed to view Sansa that way.

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    111. Gwidhiel: I wouldn’t expect Arya, after all she’s been through and has become, to revert to the petty jealousies of her childhood, but that’s what they did to her in Season 7.

      Strangely, I felt it was thematically and emotionally appropriate. Mshandled on a writing level but thematically and emotionally appropriate.

      All the Stark children were “interrupted”, so to speak, in their growth and maturation process. Tragedy struck and they have had to survive. It made them grow up incredibly fast in some areas but arrested their development in others. All their childhood traumas, no matter how petty or ridiculous they may seem compared with the horrors they later went through, were never dealt with and have not disappeared; they are merely buried under the more urgent survival-related issues.
      The moment the Direwolves pups are reunited and relatively safe, the resentments and injustices of old are bound to resurface. It was already visible with the way Jon and Sansa interact. So the Arya/Sansa feud was virtually inevitable.

      if only I could customize this so that only the mother had blonde hair, and the father had half a burned face, and one daughter was much taller than the other.

      The world needs and deserves more Hound and Brienne-related emojis ! 😉

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    112. Wolfish:
      ACME:

      If this was on Facebook, I’d give it 100 hearts.

      I just read portions of this conversation out loud to my husband, and in response he said: “Why did women in the West (of the U.S.) have the vote long before women in the East? In part, because their roles as farmwives were so fundamentally important to survival. No one was going to tell a woman who’d crossed the Plains in a covered wagon and built a homestead that she couldn’t vote.”

      I’ve been dipping in and out of the conversation today and haven’t kept up but want to echo Wolfish’s applause for ACME’s incisive observation about the patriarchy and the value given to traditionally feminine activities.

      Wolfish I should have included you in my earlier response to Ten Bears about why I have the sense that Arya was, at one point at least, jealous of pretty, traditionally feminine girls. The show obviously doesn’t give us the same insight into characters as their POV chapters do, but nothing about Arya in the show ever led me to wonder if they’d changed that aspect of her psyche.

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    113. Ten Bears:
      ACME,

      I do not understand. Arya accepts who she is. There’s no resentment.

      Arya: I’m just the executioner. You passed the sentence. You’re the Lady of Winterfell.

      Sansa. Does that bother you?

      Arya: I was never going to be as good a lady as you. So I had to be something else.

      I really thought that it would have been more in character for her to say something more like:

      “I would never have been as good a lady as you – I wanted to be something else.”

      Arya, in my mind, never had a desire to be a lady.

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    114. Ah so much good stuff here!

      ACME:
      Gilly who, after all the victimisation, the hardships and the sexual violence she suffered, is still capable of being a loving, caring, compassionate and joyful human being is infinitely more badass than all the Sand Snakes, Dothraki and Faceless Men put together !

      Yes, thank you! I’ve often thought that Gilly’s bravery is largely overlooked.

      ACME: And it also applies to masculinity. Having skills in the masculine arts is only window dressing as well when it is not supported by character, intelligence, and ethos (cf. Robert Baratheon ^^)

      Now, the Robb Stark Arya knew, namely the one from before Ned’s death, was as shallow in his masculinity as Sansa was in her feminity. Young Jon himself had only a very superficial understanding of what it truly means to respect and protect others (Tyrion helped him educate himself out of his “They hate me because I am better than they are” worldview). Both young Stark men did not, back in early season 1, have the character, intelligence and ethos life experience and adversity would later give them. Their outrageously sheltered lifestyle had encouraged them to “impersonate”, so to speak, masculinity with little to no understanding of its meaning, depth or consequences.
      They played at being lords, like Sansa played at being a lady. All summer children, so to speak 😉

      Hear, hear!

      ACME: Yet Show!Arya did not judge her brothers poorly. She adored them already, blind to their lack of substance. Thus she appears to apply different criteria to people depending on whether they display stereotypically masculine or feminine attributes.

      You’ve precisely articulated here what I’ve observed and found frustrating about Show!Arya. Show!Arya is much more arrogant and swaggering than Book!Arya.

      ACME: To be fair, most misogynists love their mom. And their daughters. I am sure Hoster Tully loved his three children with his whole heart, still he “sold” a reluctant and disgusted Lysa away to serve as a broodmare to a man old enough to be her grandfather.

      After making her drink moon tea to abort the child she’d conceived with a young, disgraced Petyr Baelish.

      ACME: Dear lord, that scene… Sansa truly was an insufferable Bratz Doll in early season 1, wasn’t she ?
      And you are right, Arya would never have done such a thing. However, she would have thrown food at someone’s face, unprovoked, just for the fun of humiliating them in public… How cute ! ^^

      In the show, yes.

      ACME: On a side-but-related note, I do love me Ned and Catelyn but given how bratty all the Stark kids were in season 1, are we sure these two were really good parents ?

      I think that the show presented the happy Stark family in a way that would resonate with viewers who have modern, Western ideals about what a happy nuclear family is like, and what constitutes typically naive adolescent or pre-adolescent behavior. That way the audience would relate to the Starks and feel real sadness when the family was torn apart. Show!Sansa’s bratty attitude towards Septa Mordane in Season 1, or later to Shae, is nothing like Book!Sansa. And similarly Show!Arya is more openly rebellious and disdainful of social rules than Book!Arya. Neither of the girls’ Season 1 behavior would have been tolerated for very long in a traditional feudal society.

      ACME:That, to me, is where the show and book versions of Arya clash. Book!Arya never expressed disdain for stereotypically feminine characteristics in any way, shape or form. She is not, nor has she ever been, a misogynist. Show!Arya, in my opinion is (“most girls are idiots” is as clear a line as it gets).
      So, at times, when elements of Book!Arya’s character resurface into Show!Arya’s storyline, it can create thematic discontinuity. And the Hound scene you rightly describe is a prime example of it.

      Yes, I couldn’t agree more.

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    115. ACME:

      I loved your 10:49 pm post, above, and wrote a lengthy reply to it that was, perhaps, too lengthy because apparently it must be reviewed by a moderator before it will appear. Apologies to the group if that post suddenly pop out of sync (not sure how that will work).

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    116. Gwidhiel,

      Oh, don’t worry. We’ll all be here tomorrow. 😉

      On that note: I discovered some time ago that when I tried to be efficient and responded to four or five commenters’ posts at once, my response would go into moderation and show up some hours (if not a day) later. That’s why you’ll see five posts of mine in a row, which might be annoying… but at least they’re posted in “real time.”

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    117. ACME: You are right to point out that rejecting stereotypically feminine activities does not a misogynist make. However, decrying feminity, no matter how stereotypical, as “lesser than” masculinity does.

      That is precisely why neither Bokk!Arya nor Brienne is a misogynist. They do not care for traditional feminity and do not recognise it as something they wish to partake in but they most certainly acknowledge that it has worth. Value in its own right, not diminished or tarnished in any way.
      Show!Arya, conversely, has on many occasions demonstrated utter disdain for feminity as a concept, ranking stereotypically masculine activities (like shooting arrows) above their feminine counterparts (like embroidery) not as a matter of personal preference but as matter of objective worth.

      A non-stereotypically feminine non misogynist would say something like : “You have courage. Not battle courage, perhaps, but, I don’t know… a woman’s kind of courage.”
      A non-stereotypically feminine misogynist would say something like : “Most girls are idiots”…

      Even in a society as narrow-minded and prejudiced as Westeros’s is, women do Do Stuff. All the time. Stuff of value. They raise children, they run household, they hold their families together, they nurture their fellow human beings. Catelyn, Talisa, Gilly, Melessa, Margaery, Shireen, Lady Crane, etc. All of them never did anything “masculine” in their entire lives yet they were/are important. They matter(ed). They did/do stuff.

      The greatest trick the patriarchy has ever pulled, I believe, is not only to forbid women from existing outside of predetermined (and extremely narrow and suffocating) roles but also to make them believe that said roles were inherently less “worthy” than the roles assigned to men. The very idea that masculinity is fundamentally more performative than feminity is, in and of itself, misogynistic for it validates the “feminity < masculinity” onto which patriarchy is built.

      If it were just that, then indeed Arya would not be misogynistic. However, I am afraid it is not.

      The way she spits out the word “pretty”, the manner in which she explicitly despises anything “girly” while propping up “boy stuff”… Those are not the affects of someone who simply does not enjoy stereotypically feminine things. They are the emotions of someone who deems them as beneath her.
      What is wrong with prettiness ? Why is wielding a sword “better” than working with a needle ?Were the men who fought in the Battle of Hastings more important/creative/intelligent/performative people than the women who painstakingly embroidered their deeds in one of the most stunning artworks known to humankind ?

      Yet, I would be willing to bet good money that you do not have a problem with stilletoes existing. Nor do you have a problem with other women liking them if it is their thing. You are more than open-minded and intelligent enough to accept that, simply because you do not value certain things, it does not mean that they are inherently worthless or that people who enjoy them are “idiots”. And that is precisely what makes you not a misogynist.

      I, like you, was very much a tomboy growing up and have dragged many of those traits into adulthood. Nonetheless, I never despised “girly” activities. Pink glittery unicorns, while not my thing, are not “lesser than” Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ^^

      Gah. I feel like I haven’t been expressing myself clearly enough. Or else maybe we just have fundamentally different definitions for what ‘femininity’ means. To me, that word signifies all the trivialities, the externals that society attaches to being female – being ‘decorative.’ That’s what, in my interpretation, Arya and Brienne both reject. I feel that it’s really important to make a distinction between ‘femininity’ and femaleness or womanhood.

      You say that it’s a symptom of patriarchy to devalue ‘feminine’ activities. I say that the most patriarchal part of it is classifying behavior such as nurturing and healing as ‘feminine’ at all, or physically strenuous activities as ‘masculine.’ Anyone should be able to do both. Of course our story is set in an era where gender roles are strictly circumscribed, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t many women (and even some men) in such societies who are capable of questioning the sense or morality of such pigeonholing. I see Arya as one such. And I don’t think there’s anything wrong or ‘misogynistic’ of her to conclude that girls who buy into such a rigid system, or who value getting dressed up and looking ‘pretty’ over exercising some sort of agency (whether it’s by learning water dancing or making awesome tapestries), are acting like idiots.

      On the question of stiletto heels, it’s not so simple as you surmised. In point of fact, I do wish that they would all end up in museums and theatrical wardrobe departments – not because some authority said that women who wanted to wear them were not allowed to, but because women as a group decided to stop undermining themselves by buying into the patriarchal notion that clothes that hamper one’s ability to run away from a would-be rapist are ‘sexy.’ (That’s not even getting into what they do to your spine, your hips, your knees, your feet…) And I categorically reject the notion that my thinking that women who wear them are acting foolishly signifies that I am misogynistic, closed-minded or less than intelligent. I’m not advocating taking anyone’s choices away, but I do reserve the right to exercise judgment as to the wisdom of certain choices.

      Good thing I have a son and not a daughter, I suppose. A daughter would probably rebel against me by wanting to wearing lots of pink and glitter and froufrou. And heels that could be harmful to her health and safety.

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    118. Firannion:

      Good thing I have a son and not a daughter, I suppose. A daughter would probably rebel against me by wanting to wearing lots of pink and glitter and froufrou. And heels that could be harmful to her health and safety.

      I’ve really been loving this conversation, and I love this entire comment… but this last part really got me. True story: I totally screwed up my feet wearing 4-inch heels throughout my 20s and into my mid-30s (and much of that time in kitchens, no less!), in no small part trying to make up for what I perceived were deficits in my appearance and demeanor. (Let me tell you: It wasn’t easy being a Morticia Addams during my 80s adolescence, when everyone worshipped Christie Brinkley, Kim Alexis, and Renée Simonsen.) I’m “traditionally feminine” in some ways but not in many others, and I can relate to Arya not so much because she’s a “tomboy” but because she knows herself so well, and refuses to capitulate to what she’s “supposed” to be. My daughter relates to Arya for other reasons. You wrote, “Good thing I have a son and not a daughter”; I’ve always felt, “Good thing I have a gay daughter, because I’d have had great difficulty coping with a straight one.” I never had to deal with excessive clothing expenses, curling hair before school dances, boy drama, squealing over musicians, having to learn how to apply makeup on other people, obscene expenses associated with cheerleading practice and uniforms, and a whole lot of other shite that too many of my friends with “traditionally feminine” daughters have dealt with. That might sound terribly, terribly narrow-minded and judgmental, but that’s a really big part of why I jump to Arya’s defense in regards to the way she’s always viewed her sister: I’ve just seen far too much of this in real life.

      I do fervently hope to see, in my own lifetime, the day when women, like men, are judged first and foremost on their wits and ability and not their appearance and perceived fuckability. And the day when adolescent girls don’t feel compelled to bend over backwards to pursue the latter instead of the former.

      /end rant

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    119. Firannion:Or else maybe we just have fundamentally different definitions for what ‘femininity’ means. To me,that word signifies all the trivialities, the externals that society attaches to being female –being ‘decorative.’

      Indeed, we may be talking at cross-purpose… ^^

      “Feminity”, as far as I am concerned, refers to all the things that are socially and culturally constructed as related to femaleness, regardless of what they are or to whom they apply. It is therefore unseparable from its counterpart “masculinity”, aka all the things that are socially and culturally constructed as related to maleness.

      You say that it’s a symptom of patriarchy to devalue ‘feminine’ activities. I say that the most patriarchal part of it is classifying behavior such as nurturing and healing as ‘feminine’ at all, or physically strenuous activities as ‘masculine.’ Anyone should be able to do both.

      You are utterly right that the random “genderification” of universal and fundamentally human concepts or attitudes such as nurturing and physically strenuous activities is, in itself, a symptom of the patriarchy. However, if that were the be-all-and-end-all of the system, it would be ok. Ridiculous but ok for everyone would just dip in and out of the so-called “feminine” and “masculine” without batting an eyelash, vaguely amused at the unnecessarily gendered tagging system.

      Patriarchy is, first and foremost, an oppressive power and, as such, relies on a hierarchy. So it does not, it cannot stop at randomly assigning a gender to things that are, in essence, genderless; it also needs to attribute a worthiness to them depending on said gender.
      To its credit, the value system is fairly easy to remember : everything “feminine” is negative (or inferior); everything “masculine” is positive (or superior). Those connotations root the hierarchy into the very minds of the people its subjugates and thus prevents much of the behavioural fluidity that would otherwise occur : men are not tempted to explore or claim their “feminity” because it would be demeaning to them and women either are too plagued with self-doubt (after being told their characteristics are worthless) to try anything or take pride in becoming “one of the boys”, as if wafting in the rarefied air of “masculinity” was a privilege. An elevation accessible only to a few “special” girls. Which, of course, implicitly reinforces the hierarchy and the oppressive system.

      And I don’t think there’s anything wrong or ‘misogynistic’ of her to conclude that girls who buy into such a rigid system, or who value getting dressed up and looking ‘pretty’ over exercising some sort of agency (whether it’s by learning water dancing or making awesome tapestries), are acting like idiots.

      I am afraid I disagree on this point.

      Assuming that women who value things like getting dressed up and looking pretty thereby relinquish their agency is fundamentally misogynistic for no one ever presumes that men who value things like getting beefed up and looking suave lose theirs in the process.
      Agency is merely the ability to act independently, according to one’s own preferences and tastes. The subjective quality of said preferences and tastes is irrelevant. Someone can make very stupid or questionable choices and still be a full agent, as long as the aforementioned choices are their own. So if Arya’s “most girls are idiots” statement relied on the idea that girls who like to dress up can only do so by or as the result of losing their agency, I am afraid that statement was indeed misogynistic. All the more so because I do not recall Arya passing an equally harsh judgment on boys who like to play act as soldiers…

      because women as a group decided to stop undermining themselves by buying into the patriarchal notion that clothes that hamper one’s ability to run away from a would-be rapist are ‘sexy.’

      To be fair, most clothes deemed “sexy” or “elegant” are utterly impractical. Both for men and women. I defy any man to win an impromptu fistfight while wearing patent leather dress shoes, a three-piece suit and a cummerbund ^^

      I’m not advocating taking anyone’s choices away, but I do reserve the right to exercise judgment as to the wisdom of certain choices.

      Indeed. As long as you do not presume that their choices are somehow not their own, that they are either too stupid or too vapid or too alienated to exercise their agency to make the decisions you disagree with, then of course. 🙂

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    120. Wolfish: I never had to deal with excessive clothing expenses, curling hair before school dances, boy drama, squealing over musicians, having to learn how to apply makeup on other people, obscene expenses associated with cheerleading practice and uniforms, and a whole lot of other shite that too many of my friends with “traditionally feminine” daughters have dealt with.

      You were lucky to have a smart and reasonable daughter. 🙂

      Not being a parent myself, I cannot speak from personal experience but I assume that raising a traditionally masculine boy can be just as much of a pain in the butt as raising a traditionally feminine girl. Monstrously expensive fashionable trainers, playing video games all day, girl drama, shouting at athletes, having to learn how to apply hair gel (or how to put on a condom) with the lads, obscene expenses associated with football practice and kits… Parenting is not for the faint of heart ! 😉

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    121. Pigeon,

      Ah, true. I can’t begin to count how many times Arya has said “I don’t want to be a lady” on the show.

      You’re right: “I wanted to be something else” would’ve been more accurate than “I had to be something else.”

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    122. ACME,

      Oh, there’s plenty of emotional and financial drama with boys as well. Wolf Pup #2 has a brother who’s a year and a half older than she is, and his shoe expenses (specifically, Nikes) were astronomical. 😉

      In all seriousness, though: Even though I didn’t grow up with men (my parents divorced when I was 3), when they were teenagers dealing with adolescent boys seemed easier to me than dealing with girly girls. I’m not saying it is easier… only that it was for me personally.

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    123. ACME,

      Testing. 2:28 pm

      Trying to reply. Everything’s disappearing into Alphabet Heaven.

      Edit, 2:29 pm.
      Lovely. Test comment posted. Actual comment won’t.😡

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    124. Pigeon: I really thought that it would have been more in character for her to say something more like:
      “I would never have been as good a lady as you – I wanted to be something else.
      Arya, in my mind, never had a desire to be a lady

      While I completely understand your point, I confess I have mixed feelings about it…

      On the one hand, I wholeheartedly agree with you that Arya never had any desire to be a lady so her reaffirming this would have been entirely justified; on the other appendage, we cannot ignore the fact that Arya was simply not good at the “lady” thing, no matter how hard she tried. The Game Of Thrones extract Gwidhiel very kindly posted is evidence of that.
      And I have to admit I genuinely like the idea of someone, anyone, confessing to their limitations. To me, there is something fundamentally elegant and incredibly brave in such an admission. It moves me. Arya could never have been a “good lady”, even with all the best will in the world, just as Sansa could never have been a Faceless Man, not in a million years.
      Different people, different talents. And I felt Arya’s acknowledgment of that was truly beautiful and courageous. But the “I wanted to be something else” version of the line works perfectly as well, undeniably so.

      Gwidhiel: ACME’s incisive observation about the patriarchy and the value given to traditionally feminine activities.

      And now, I shall blush. Demurely. Because I am a lady, goddammit ! ^^

      Yes, thank you! I’ve often thought that Gilly’s bravery is largely overlooked.

      Well, Gilly should make an effort ! If she wants her bravery to be acknowledged, she should have a weapon. A sword, a dagger, a spear… A fire-breathing creature of some sort even. Anything that can be used to murder a fellow human being, anything even remotely allusive to stereotypical masculinity will do. That is how we know a woman is “badass” 😛

      After making her drink moon tea to abort the child she’d conceived with a young, disgraced Petyr Baelish.

      So she could be forced to marry, age 16-17, a sixty-something with no tooth in his mouth. A man who agreed to the deal so he could impose pregnancy after pregnancy upon the reluctant young woman in order to have an heir, even though he technically already had one in the person of his nephew. A man Ned Stark thought was one of the best and most honourable he had ever met.
      One of these days, I would like to understand what Ned’s definitions of “honour” and “good” were. Out of sheer curiosity ^^

      I think that the show presented the happy Stark family in a way that would resonate with viewers who have modern, Western ideals about what a happy nuclear family is like, and what constitutes typically naive adolescent or pre-adolescent behavior.

      That is an excellent point ! The Stark sisters’ behaviours in season 1 are almost anachronistic, infinitely more similar to 21st century tween standards than to medieval principles.

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    125. Wolfish:In all seriousness, though: Even though I didn’t grow up with men (my parents divorced when I was 3), when they were teenagers dealing with adolescent boys seemed easier to me than dealing with girly girls. I’m not saying it is easier… only that it was for me personally.

      That is entirely and perfectly fair ! To each their own, everyone chooses their favourite poison 😛

      Ten Bears: Trying to reply. Everything’s disappearing into Alphabet Heaven.

      I am sorry to hear that. I would have loved to read your post !

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    126. ACME,

      My vanishing comment/reply was about putting in context Arya’s “Most girls are idiots” line, and if the dictionary definition of “misogyny” applies.
      I’ll see if I can retrieve an unedited version and try again. It’s strange: I push “Post Comment” and the screen goes to the very top of the article – and the comment doesn’t post. Must be some quirk in the algorithm.

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    127. ACME: The Stark sisters’ behaviours in season 1 are almost anachronistic, infinitely more similar to 21st century tween standards than to medieval principles.

      Indeed. Some of their S1 interactions could have been lifted straight out of The Patty Duke Show back in the 1960s. Being British, it’s unlikely that you’ve ever seen it, and you’re probably too young as well. It involved identical twin teenage cousins (both played by Duke with a split screen), the mischievous one of whom would constantly bait the stuffy one. GRRM is certainly of an age to remember it.

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    128. Ten Bears,
      Strange indeed… I wish I could help you out but I am utterly hopeless with anything even remotely technological. Sounds like a very interesting post.

      Firannion,
      Thank you infinitely for the source ! Indeed, I have to confess I had no idea this show existed (or who Patty Duke was ^^). And you do make n excellent good point about the writers probably knowing about it and using it as a form of template for the depiction of sisterly relationships. After all, it is a famed and time-honoured trope.

      That being said, I cannot shake the feeling that the screenwriters, not George RR Martin in this case, went a tad too far with it. Early Show!Sansa is not merely stuffy, she is arrogant; and early Show!Arya is not just mischievous, she is mean-spirited. And they both, in very different ways, seek the exact same thing, namely male validation. Sansa attempts to achieve it by “being a propoer lady” and seducing men (insofar as a 12-year-old can seduce) and Arya ties to get it by mimicking them and disparaging feminity.
      Perfectly understandable in a world where women live and die by men’s opinion but quite sad, really.

      PS I am sorry to confess I am not British. I am French, hence the weird syntax and spelling mistakes ^^

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    129. ACME:
      Ten Bears,

      Firannion,
      Thank you infinitely for the source ! Indeed, I have to confess I had no idea this show existed (or who Patty Duke was ^^). And you do make n excellent good point about the writers probably knowing about it and using it as a form of template for the depiction of sisterly relationships. After all, it is a famed and time-honoured trope….

      PS I am sorry to confess I am not British. I am French, hence the weird syntax and spelling mistakes ^^

      Sorry – I leapt to conclusions based on your ‘favouring’ British spellings.

      Patty Duke, as you may have discovered by now, was at the time the youngest person ever to win an Oscar for acting, after playing Helen Keller in the screen version of The Miracle Worker (she had also starred in the Broadway version). So they gave her her own TV sitcom, styled to echo the success of Disney’s The Parent Trap with Hayley Mills a couple years earlier, and both of them spawning a fair few later imitators (e.g. the Olsen Twins movies).

      Nowadays, I fear, she is mostly remembered as Sam Gamgee’s Mom.

      Isn’t the TV Tropes website priceless? If I could afford to retire, I think I could happily spend half my time browsing there unto the end of my days. Though I must say that it does tend to terrify me from ever trying my hand at writing fantasy fiction. Is there anything left at all that hasn’t been clichéd to death?

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    130. Firannion: Sorry – I leapt to conclusions based on your ‘favouring’ British spellings.

      No apology needed ! If anything, I am vaguely flattered . As for the British spelling, well, good ol’ Blighty is our close neighbour (^^) and, as a French speaker, I am used to useless letters in words 😉

      Patty Duke, as you may have discovered by now, was at the time the youngest person ever to win an Oscar for acting, after playing Helen Keller in the screen version of The Miracle Worker (she had also starred in the Broadway version).

      I was completely unaware of the Helen Keller movie until I checked her out. And, to my surprise, I had seen her in another film (Valley of the Dolls) but had never memorised her name and had no idea she was otherwise famous. I am glad you introduced me to her, she sounds like a fairly fascinating woman.

      Isn’t the TV Tropes website priceless?

      I could not agree more. It is bloody brilliant ! But terribly addictive… It is impossible for me to read just one article. Those links are simply too tempting, with their fantastically snarky names ^^

      Though I must say that it does tend to terrify me from ever trying my hand at writing fantasy fiction. Is there anything left at all that hasn’t been clichéd to death?

      I fear the short answer is “no” 😛
      But, if I may be so bold as to give advice I have no place giving, you most certainly should give fantasy fiction writing a shot ! You are intelligent and talented, there is no reason why your work would not be as well. As for clichés, well, I tend to think about them like dishes. The ingredients for ratatouille are the same for everyone but a ratatouille prepared by a genius chef (or by one’s mom… ^^) and one cooked by a hack will definitely not taste the same. A talented and intelligent writer elevates the clichés !

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    131. Gwidhiel,

      re: “….the sense that Arya was, at one point at least, jealous of pretty, traditionally feminine girls. The show obviously doesn’t give us the same insight into characters as their POV chapters do, but nothing about Arya in the show ever led me to wonder if they’d changed that aspect of her psyche.”
      ——————

      Just curious: What did you make of Arya’s reaction when Hot Pie told her (paraphrasing): “I can’t believe I thought you were a boy. “You’re pretty!”
      I thought Arya was taken aback. Her reply, “Thanks”, was tentative – as if she didn’t know what to say.

      (🤖👨‍🚀 Discarded tinfoil theory/wishful thinking: A while back, and especially after I saw the more than psssing resemblance between Aisling Franciosi and Maisie Williams – I had been speculating that it would be a juicy twist if Arya turned out to be the prophecied Younger, More Beautiful “Other” who cast down Cersei and took all she holds dear: After all, Lyanna 1.0 “took” away Prince Rhaegar from Cersei, and even in death Lyanna’s corpse took away Robert from Cersei [see Robert’s candid conversation with Cersei, and Cersei’s admissions to Ned in S1).
      To have Lyanna 2.0 (Arya, as Lyanna’s virtual doppelganger) finish the job would’ve been satisfying (for me). However, I realized the show would have to resort to a Hollywood teen movie-style makeover for this to happen; and I much prefer the Warrior Princess Arya of S7e4, than a dolled-up Arya in a dress. Though I have no doubt The Many-Faced Goddess could easily pull off the glamorous look of Lyanna 1.0 in her S7e7 wedding scene.
      – End Futile Wishful Thinking Scenario –

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    132. ACME,

      ”On a sidenote, have we considered that Jon may have a fetish ? First Ygritte now Daenerys. Maybe the poor man is really into women who murder his closest friends’ families… His should be an interesting Tinder profile !”

      ———————
      That might very well be an interesting topic for intensive discussion. However, when did Ygritte murder his closest friend’s family?
      Also, on a side-sidenote, I’d be curious to know why/how Jon rejected Melisandre mid-lapdance (!) because he “still loved” the deceased Ygritte, and yet he showed up at Dany’s stateroom door like a man on a mission – no reluctance. Was it simply that two years was long enough to mourn? Or did he instinctively sense that Melisandre was bad news? (Glad he didn’t bite: seeing the real, ancient Mel could’ve made him reaffirm his NW’s vow of celibacy.)
      Anyway, I wonder what a “compare and contrast” Ygritte and Daenerys assignment would yield.

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    133. Pigeon, Wolfish, ACME, Gwidhiel, Ten Bears, et al–GREAT conversation. This late ,my small contribution is that Arya has only ever wanted the freedom to follow her own path, which she knew meant breaking rules. And for that she was treated cruelly by Septa Mordane, Jeyne Poole, Sansa, etc. But even Arya respects women who use their minds and exert some agency, though she’s known few because practically all of her interactions have been with rather formidable men (a shame she never got to know the formidable Tyrell ladies). But she did respect/cherish her mother, Lady Crane, and IIRC in the books Lady Smallwood and the Waif. And when called a boy, if it was safe Arya always asserted she was a girl.

      As Wolfish said, young Sansa was shallow, though I think after S7 Arya has come to respect her, especially once Sansa grabbed the dagger by the horns and condemned Littlefinger. And Sansa’s “You’re the strongest person I know” shows their respect is mutual. IMO, they have become two sides of the same coin, two aspects of the teachings of Ned Stark, and probably Catelyn too. And while Arya had been the investigator/instigator of LF’s exposure, in the trial she was willing to play executioner for Sansa’s judge. (However, she would never have killed LF if she were not convinced he was actually guilty of crimes against innocents, which Bran proved he was.) It will be interesting to see how they interact in Season 8.

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    134. Ten Bears: However, when did Ygritte murder his closest friend’s family?

      I may be misremembering but didn’t Ygritte kill Olly’s father ?

      Was it simply that two years was long enough to mourn?

      Often, the simplest explanation is the best and I believe you hit the nail squarely on the head. Furthermore, in the intervening year, Jon died and learnt that there was no afterlife, no heaven where he could be reunited with Ygritte. So it might have motivated him to move on, so to speak, instead of remaining faithful to a woman who no longer exists and cannot be rejoigned.

      Glad he didn’t bite: seeing the real, ancient Mel could’ve made him reaffirm his NW’s vow of celibacy.

      Hey there ! I’ll have you know that Melisandre is extremely foxy for a 900-year-old ! ^^

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    135. Stark Raven' Rad,
      Stark Raven Rad, I like and respect the hell out of you. I am not kidding, I genuinely do. I like and respect the hell out of your intelligence, your dedication, your attention to details, etc. I am more than happy to admit that you have made me see Arya in different lights over the course of our exchanges, lights I never would have thought of myself. But here, I am afraid I simply cannot see what you see.

      If, as you extrapolate, from the moment Bran gave her the dagger, she knew he was implicitly telling her to kill Littlefinger, why didn’t she simply ask her brother why he wanted such a deed committed ? Why did she bother go through the song and dance number when the Westerosi equivalent of an omniscient god was literally sitting one foot away from her ? Why not talk to her siblings ?

      Sometimes, the simplest explanation is the best (apologies for the repetition) and, in this case, the simplest explanation is that Arya did not “investigate” anything at Winterfell. She simply fell for Littlefinger’s trick until she found out that it was a trick.
      Why is it so unbelievable ? Arya is, after all, human. She chose not to finish her training with the Faceless Men andkeep her identity, thereby not getting rid of her feelings, of her prejudices, of her emotional baggage and of her personal memories. Two of such feelings / prejudices / emotional pieces of luggage / memories are that a) Jon is a demigod who cannot be questioned because he is the awesomest of awesome big brothers and b) Sansa is a selfish and stupid b*tch who is mean to Jon.
      That is the prism Arya still (demonstrably) has. So, when she witnessed the lords favouring Sansa over Jon and what she deemed to be Sansa’s “lackluster” defense of their absent brother, she jumped to the conclusions she was predisposed to jump to, offering the possibility to murder the lords for having spoken words she did not like (yeah for free speech ^^) and blaming Sansa for not being loyal enough to Jon.
      Then Littlefinger, who needed Ary out of the way and had realised the best way to achieve that was to turn her into a threat, baited her with the letter. And she bit. Hard.

      Now, obviously, she did not immediately kill her sister because she is not a maniac (and perhaps because she feared Jon’s reaction when he would find out a bit) ! Nevertheless, she did the next best thing and tried to scare and intimidate her into “loyalty” (read submission) because she genuinely believed Sansa was thinking of betraying their family and deposing Jon (she wasn’t and she wasn’t).
      And the situation would have remained at a standstill if, as per the cut scenes, Sansa had not gone (at long bloody last… Those Starks are slow !) to ask Bran a few questions.

      None of that makes Arya evil or stupid or *insert negative adjective here*. It merely makes her fallible, which all human beings are. Even ninja princesses;)
      Very intelligent but fallible and a touch emotional when it comes to the matter of Jon or Ned. That, to me, sounds like a very human Arya. She does not need to be perfect to be loved or even admired !

      Stark Raven' Rad: Arya has only ever wanted the freedom to follow her own path, which she knew meant breaking rules. And for that she was treated cruelly by Septa Mordane, Jeyne Poole, Sansa, etc.

      In the books certainly but not on the show. This is why the distinction between both Aryas is, I believe, crucial.
      Show!Arya was never cruelly treated by Jeyne Poole (who barely existed for about five minutes on the show, never shared a scene with Arya I think and has not been seen since episode 1 or 2); she was never treated cruelly by Septa Mordane who only wacked her fingers because her handwriting was poor not because she was too “free-spirited”; she was not treated cruelly by early Show!Sansa who, as unsufferably bratty, arrogant and shallow as she was, seemed to be more indifferent to or vaguely annoyed at her sister than anything else.

      One may very well say that Book!Arya was bullied, to put it in modern terms, by women/girls but Show!Arya most certainly was not. If anything, she was the bully, throwing food at people’s face to humiliate them for no other reason than sh*ts and giggles.
      Yet, Book!Arya is the one who respects feminity and women whereas her show counterpart… Well, “most girls are idiots”, according to her fourteen-year-old self.

      But even Arya respects women who use their minds and exert some agency, she’s known few because practically all of her interactions have been with rather formidable men

      I struggle to understand how Arya having met mostly “formidable men” can translate into her deciding that “most girls are idiots”. Furthermore, I would argue that Arya, at the time of that statement, had met more than enough women with agency to realise that feminity is not inferior to masculinity and that denigrating the majority of her sex was probably misguided : Catelyn had agency, Cersei has agency (we may not approve of her but her agency is fine ^^), Septa Mordane had agency, Old Nan had agency…

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